Gameday Grades: United vs Columbus

Gameday Grades: United vs Columbus
March 22, 2011, 8:50 pm
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Monday, March 21, 2011 4:50 PMBy Sebastian SalazarCSNwashington.com

Following United's 3-1 win over Columbus we take a look back at Saturday night to hand out some grades from D.C.'s first test of the season. Scores are on a 1-to-10 scale, with 1 being the worst score possible and 10 being the best.

Pat Onstad: 4 (Last week grade: NA, Season Avg: NA)

Onstad made a great, diving stop on Tom Heinemann in the 69th minute, but looked shaky coming out on multiple crosses. Some of it may be rust, some of it may be age, but I think the sooner Bill Hamid is ready, the better for DCU. Onstad does deserve some credit for the organization along D.C.'s backline, which allowed for few opportunities from Columbus.

Marc Burch: 6 (Last week grade: NA, Season Avg: NA)

Burch's clearance off the line in the 15th minute kept D.C. United level just when a goal against would have been devastating. He earned an assist on Davies' final goal, and did well finding his forwards' feet throughout the game. Also did a great job changing the point of attack with some quality, cross-field switches. Did pick up an unnecessary yellow card.

Dejan Jakovic: 5 (Last week grade: NA, Season Avg: NA)

Showed moments of good anticipation, but also took some extra time in clearing balls when he could have been quicker. As United's tallest field player, Jakovic needs to become a more consistent threat on set pieces in the opponent's final third.

Perry Kitchen: 6 (Last week grade: NA, Season Avg: NA)

Overall a great debut, especially considering that two years ago this kid was playing high school ball. Looked a bit overzealous at times, but I prefer that to the opposite. Displayed a defensive understanding of the game that made him a steal as the third pick in the MLS Draft.

Jed Zayner: 7 (Last week grade: NA, Season Avg: NA)

The only thing Zayner could have done better was stay healthy. In about 90 seconds, he saved a sure goal with a last-ditch tackle on Andres Mendoza and then set-up Josh Wolff's goal with a difficult ball for the Columbus defense. According to Steve Goff of The Washington Post, Zayner may be able to play this Saturday.
Andy Najar: 5 (Last week grade: NA, Season Avg: NA)

There were a few moments of excitement from Najar, but none of them ended in anything concrete. I think United's distributors had a hard time finding the youngster in dangerous positions, forcing Najar to try and make something out of the few times he did see the ball in a good spot.

Clyde Simms: 5 (Last week grade: NA, Season Avg: NA)

Simms' disappearance in midfield wasn't necessarily a bad thing, it just meant everyone around him was doing their jobs.

Dax McCarty: 7 (Last week grade: NA, Season Avg: NA)

McCarty's poise on the ball was phenomenal all night, and for the amount of touches he took, there were very few poor ones. He won plenty of 50-50 balls and did well to distribute them in a positive manner. His fire was noticeable and seems to have rubbed off on some people.

Chris Pontius: 6 (Last week grade: NA, Season Avg: NA)

The most important thing we wanted to see out of Chris Pontius was health, and he certainly looked fit. He was dangerous on the ball and linked up well with Ngwenya and Wolff in the first half. Drew 62nd-minute penalty with sharp move in box.

Joseph Ngwenya: 2 (Last week grade: NA, Season Avg: NA)

Ngwenya had very few positive touches and looked slow. He may have suffered a knock early, but even taking that into consideration he wasn't up to snuff. Lost possession far too often.

Josh Wolff: 8 (Last week grade: NA, Season Avg: NA)

Leaving RFK Saturday night, I wasn't sure if Wolff had taken a bad touch all night. Watching the replay, there may have been a few... but nearly all his touches either kept possession or put the Columbus D in compromising positions. The first goal is always the toughest to come by and Wolff delivered where no one else could. Did a nice job creating scoring chances for those around him.

SUBS:

Charlie Davies: 7 (Last week grade: NA, Season Avg: NA)

The guts Davies showed in stepping up to the penalty spot in the 63rd minute were impressive. His goal a few minutes later showed how his quickness can turn a simple long ball into a dangerous opportunity. Probably deserves an 8 when you consider the emotional boost he provided United's fans, but for just 40 minutes of work a 7 isn't bad.

Rodrigo Brasesco: 5 (Last week grade: NA, Season Avg: NA)

Took a couple rough touches, but they didn't end in anything bad for United. Looks like he has the physical ability to be pretty solid at outside back.

Santino Quaranta: NA (Last week grade: NA, Season Avg: NA)

Didn't see enough of the ball over the final few minutes to earn a grade. How he adapts to his new role will speak volumes about just how much he's matured.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Davies deserves all the credit he's getting, but just to be a little different, I'm going Josh Wolff.