There is nothing certain about life in Major League Soccer. The league is unpredictable and competitive, but reeling from two consecutive shutout losses D.C. United delivered the expected response in an emphatic 4-2 win over the Colorado Rapids.
After a perfect July with four wins, United needed to make a statement in August. Sunday at R.F.K. Stadium United made it clear from the beginning they were going to take the game to the Rapids and 12 minutes into the first half the Black and Red’s approach paid dividends with a goal from Luis Silva.
D.C. United needed to be assertive after lackluster losses on the road to Houston and real Salt Lake. With first place Sporting Kansas City securing all three points on Saturday in a win over Toronto, it only added to the pressure for United. It was not literally a must-win situation, but it felt that way.
- United is built to weather the storm. In the midst of its busiest stretch of the season, United is also dealing with injuries. Taylor Kemp started in place of Chris Korb, out with a hamstring injury, at left back and responded with two assists and handled his defensive responsibilities. Kemp was aggressive, confident, and composed. The two assists were Kemp’s first career MLS points. Midfielder David Estrada was acquired to give United the necessary depth to navigate a schedule that also includes CONCACAF Champions League fixtures. Not long after Chris Rolfe scored on a wonderful ball from Kemp, he was replaced by Estrada. Without hesitation Estrada jumped into the fray and assisted on Fabian Espindola’s goal.
- Espindola and Silva have a connection. United was 4-2 in six games without Fabian Espindola because of a knee injury. Luis Silva thrived in Espindola’s absence, but the two players are better together. Before Espindola was forced to the sideline he assisted on Silva’s three goals in a 4-2 win over Montreal. Against Colorado Espindola and Silva exhausted the Rapids defenders with their menacing runs and nifty flicks and through balls. Ben Olsen said: “I think sometime when you are tight with someone off the field I think that translates on the field. I think they have a good relationship in the locker room and outside the game. I think they just have an understanding. It hasn’t been practiced a lot. Even in training there has not been a lot of Luis Silva and Fabian Espindola 11 vs. 11 type lineups. They just understand each other, and it can be a beautiful thing. The two times they have been paired up Silva has five goals, and like I said, sometimes when you like playing with someone it translates on the field.”