Allsopp scores twice, D.C. United gets first win of season
Thursday, May 6, 2010
At 7:19 p.m. Wednesday, in the 12th minute of the sixth league match 40 days into D.C. United's sour season, Australian forward Danny Allsopp drove a 15-yard shot past Kansas City Wizards goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.
For the first time this spring, United had the lead. For the first time, the club had scored at home. And less than two hours later, after Allsopp scored again and 19-year-old goalkeeper Bill Hamid completed a sterling pro debut, United for the first time was able to celebrate a victory, a 2-1 decision that ended the worst start in its 14-year history.
"It's just one win but it's certainly an important one," first-year coach Curt Onalfo said. "What we dealt with over five weeks in terms of adversity has been really trying."
United (1-5) played with discipline and poise over almost the entire 90 minutes, traits that were glaringly absent from its previous performances. Allsopp, slowed by a hamstring injury in recent weeks, formed an effective frontline partnership with Adam Cristman to score in the 12th and 34th minutes, equaling United's goal total in the first five matches.
Reserve Kei Kamara scored for the Wizards (2-3-1) in the closing moments.
Hamid, an Annandale resident who rose through the club's youth academy before signing last fall, made two exceptional saves and mastered the penalty area to limit the Wizards' chances in front of 10,038 at RFK Stadium. He started in place of veteran Troy Perkins, who has failed to meet expectations after rejoining United this year.
The possibility of starting "was kind of on the table [this week], but it all had to do with my performance in training," Hamid said. "I was prepared for the situation, so when they told me [Tuesday], I was happy. At the same time, that is when the whole focus started."
Hamid had a few awkward moments, but for the most part, displayed sharp instincts and leadership.
Meantime, United attacked patiently but efficiently. On the first goal, Rodney Wallace volleyed the ball 40 yards toward Allsopp, who muscled Pablo Escobar for position and then won possession from Jimmy Conrad on a big bounce. He turned and then took on Conrad before ripping a shot that appeared to be deflected slightly.
Hamid passed his first big test in the 17th minute, blocking Chance Myers's one-timer deep in the box after initially showing indecision coming off his line. He also collected high crosses and managed the box with the poise of a seasoned keeper.
In the 34th, United's pressure forced a giveaway and led to Allsopp's second goal. Escobar distributed the ball meekly out of the back and Cristman pounced on the opportunity, seizing possession in front of Stephane Auvray. He slipped a pass into a gaping channel for Allsopp, who took one touch before unleashing a low 18-yarder into the far corner.
The supporters' groups serenaded him with chants of "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oye, Oye, Oye!"