In case you had not noticed — and, if you watched Sunday’s match, I am sure you have — Fabian Espindola and Luis Silva are pretty darn good together. Their partnership is sure to complicate matters when Eddie Johnson returns from his two-game suspension next week.
“When you are tight with someone off the field, I think that translates on the field,” Ben Olsen said of the Espinola-Silva pairing. “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.”
Johnson is eligible for Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League match against Waterhouse (Jamaica) at RFK Stadium but will miss Saturday’s league game at Kansas City. So what happens on Aug. 27 at Los Angeles?
If Espindola and Silva continue to perform well, “it would be tough to take them off the park,” Olsen said. He cautioned, though, “we’re going to need everybody in this stretch [of five games in 15 days]. This isn’t about one or two players. Tonight was a team response.”
Said Silva: “Ever since preseason, we have gotten along really well, on and off the field. And I think that helps when we’re playing. That chemistry goes onto the field and it stays off of the field, as well.”
Olsen said he would lean on several reserves against the Jamaicans on Wednesday.
“How many players will I change? I’m going to change some, that’s for sure. Some guys are going to need to step up and find ways to win games. At times, some of the second group have not done that good enough. It starts Wednesday for them.”
With visits to Kansas City and Los Angeles on the horizon and the regulars needing to recharge, Olsen is going to have to put his trust in others for the start of CONCACAF activities. Don’t be surprised if Wednesday’s lineup includes Joe Willis, Kofi Opare, Alex Caskey, Jared Jeffrey, Lewis Neal, Kyle Porter and David Estrada, as well as Johnson.
*Two weeks ago, Taylor Kemp was not very good in his first start of the season. On Sunday, he was quite good, assisting on the first and third goals.
*Watching last weekend’s match at Real Salt Lake and this one against Colorado helps explain why Perry Kitchen is United’s MVP this year.
*Silva has scored seven goals since mid-June, a span of nine games.
*In his second game back from a two-month layoff, Espindola went the distance. “I don’t know how he went 90 minutes after such a long break,” Olsen said, “but overall a great night for him.”
*On Kemp’s second assist, a cross to Chris Rolfe, Olsen said: “I didn’t see Rolfe so I was about to ask him why the hell he would cross the ball to nobody! And there Rolfe was.”
*United’s lineup Sunday included the team’s first-round draft picks in 2011 (Kitchen), 2012 (Nick DeLeon), 2013 (Kemp) and 2014 (Steve Birnbaum).
Supporters’ Shield standings:
1. Sporting Kansas City: 42 points from 24 matches (+13 goal difference)
2. Real Salt Lake: 42 points from 24 matches (+10)
3. Seattle Sounders: 41 points from 22 matches
4. D.C. United: 40 points from 23 matches
5. FC Dallas: 39 points from 24 matches
(With fewer matches played, Seattle is first in points per game)
Reading material: My match report from the 4-2 victory at RFK Stadium.