Several thoughts from D.C. United’s 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps at RFK Stadium. But first, the video package.....
*Despite the wide margin, the outcome was very much in doubt late in the first half. United had lost its groove and Vancouver was gaining traction. Joe Willis’s leaping save on Camilo’s free kick kept it scoreless, however. Had United fallen behind, given its home difficulties this summer, who knows how this club would’ve reacted? So Willis makes the stop, two shots are blocked deep in the box (handball?), and five minutes later, Dwayne De Rosario’s wonderful set-up for Chris Pontius provides United with a halftime lead. Jay Nolly’s howler early in the second half secured the outcome.
*De Rosario, by the numbers since arriving in Washington: seven matches, six goals, three assists, club has a 3-1-3 record. If United embarks on a late-season surge, DeRo will enter the MVP picture.
“He’s a game-changer – a play here, a play there,” assistant coach Chad Ashton said. “In the second half they really started to converge on him with bodies and our guys did a good job running off him, and that created a lot of holes. Not only does he make plays, but other teams are so aware of him, he creates space just with his presence.”
For much more.....
*Willis was cool under pressure during the match, but “for most of the day and the early part [of the match], I was pretty nervous. A lot of the older guys talked me through it. By the time I got through warm-ups, I was ready to go and the nerves were gone.”
*Why did Willis start ahead of veteran Steve Cronin? He flat-out beat him out for the job during a week-long competition. Bill Hamid will return to the lineup Thursday at Chicago, but Willis seems to have earned his way onto the travel squad for that match as well as next Sunday’s visit to Kansas City.
*The last time United scored four goals in a league match: June 29, 2008, vs. Los Angeles (4-1). The last time United won a league game by four goals: Sept. 1, 2007, at Dallas (4-0). Ben Olsen scored twice.
*United is in good standing to end its three-year playoff absence. With the top three clubs in each conference assured of an automatic berth, United is just a point behind third-place New York and has played three fewer matches. Even without a top-three finish, if the season ended today, United would be among the four wild-card teams.
*Attendance went up, but just barely: 11,738 on Saturday after 11,684 last week. Yes, it’s the worst time of the season to sell tickets and the recent opponents haven’t driven sales, but United is having a hard time attracting fans to lovable/hateable RFK. After drawing 18,000, 26,000 and 18,000 in the first three home dates, United has seen crowds of 11K, 11K, 12K, 14K, 15K, 13K, 15K (on a Wednesday), 11K and 11K.
*Unrelated to the match, United has parted ways with Judah Cooks, a former DCU prospect who oversaw the under-18 academy squad and had worked in the club’s youth system for several years. No explanation was given.