The timing was perfect and so was the effort. From start to finish D.C. United turned in its best performance of the season to defeat the Houston Dynamo 2-0 and move into second place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference.
With Eddie Johnson serving a one-game suspension, Chris Rolfe had no trouble moving from midfield to his natural forward position. Rolfe was partnered with Fabian Espindola and each had a goal and an assist. United dominated a Dynamo team short on answers with Brad Davis and Oscar Boniek Garcia away on World Cup duty.
“I’m obviously pleased. I think we’ve got to be somewhat realistic about the energy level they brought, and they were obviously missing some key guys. But, you know, I thought we took advantage of them on an off night and I thought we did a very good job. I thought Rolfe and Fabi were very, very busy and I thought Lewis Neal really helped in the midfield overloading and giving us the advantage centrally for possession. Outside backs were aggressive, center backs dealt with their big boys very well, and Bill (Hamid) made a save or two that kept us in, so all around a good night.”
Olsen is realistic. United is now challenged with building off the performance against the Dynamo with a road test Saturday against New England. The Revolution sits on top of the Eastern Conference table on 20 points and has not lost in six matches.
- The chemistry is right. Chris Rolfe was a late addition to the D.C. United roster. Signed after United’s third match of the season, Rolfe then scored a goal to help the Black and Red to its first win of the year in a 2-0 result against New England at home. After the win over the Dynamo Rolfe credited the positive culture in United’s locker room that made him feel welcome from the start. Rolfe is versatile and it helped him switch from midfield to forward on Wednesday. “Over the course of my career of my 23 years that I’ve played the game most of that time has been playing in that position, although my professional career is probably been a little bit tilted more towards an outside midfielder. I think with either position, I’ve learned to enjoy them both and make them one and the same.”
- Fabian Espindola sets the tone. Oh we know about Espindola’s five goals and five assists, but his approach to each game is of equal importance. Espindola’s pride in playing for the shirt and the fans bursts through. To go with all his creativity and skill, Espindola’s willingness to compete and defend helps raise the overall work rate of the entire team. As Santino Quaranta said on Comcast SportsNet, “When you see your forward working so hard on defense, it then makes everyone else want to put in an extra effort.
- Defense. D.C. United recorded its second shutout in three weeks. Bobby Boswell and Jeff Parke had a quite night which is another way of saying they sorted out just about everything that came their way. In goal Bill Hamid continues to make the big stop when needed. The outside backs were involved in the offense and prevented the Dynamo from getting quality services from the flanks. Yes, Cristian Fernandez provided an anxious moment with a turnover, but atoned for his mistake with impressive 1-v-1 defending.