Since his arrival in the middle of DC United’s miserable 2011 campaign, Dwayne De Rosario has been the focal point of an attack that has produced few goals, outside of his own, and marginal results. For one night at least, that all changed but then again it still stayed the same.
United was fluid in attack but not without a few early hiccups in the back as they dominated FC Dallas 4-1 in front of 13,169 happy fans at RFK Stadium. Maicon Santos scored two goals and added an assist against his former team and Nick DeLeon chipped in with a goal and assist for United, who had scored just once in their first three matches of the season.
De Rosario added two assists but was once again the most influential, and the best, player on the field. But he did get a little bonus help from his goalkeeper.
Daniel Woolard’s bad touch just outside of the 6-yard box nearly gift wrapped a goal for Ricardo Villar but Joe Willis bailed out his defender with a quick leg save in the 4th minute. He equaled that save six minutes later when Blas Perez broke thru a tight central defense but was denied by the charging Willis a step passed the penalty spot.
“I thought a lot of what we’ve been working on was executed tonight but they had quite a few chances. This game could have been 2-0 without Joe Willis and that game looks a whole lot different with them packed in trying to break that down is not that easy so he is the most valuable player in this game hands down. You don’t make those two big saves early,” said United coach Ben Olsen, “the game is done.”
De Rosario hit the crossbar in the 13th minute with a sensational blast with the outside of his right foot from 30-yards and at that point, United regained their composure and sustained significant possession, something they had not done in any of their first three matches.
“We started to take the game a little bit (at that point),” said Olsen. “After we scored the goal I thought we started getting a little bit cute with too many touches and not moving the ball and fighting but in the second half I thought we were pretty good.”
Each time De Rosario touched the ball Dallas defenders converged from all directions, as it is in every match, forcing his teammates to situations and move accordingly to relieve the pressure.
“Physically he set a real nice tone for us in there,” said Olsen. “Dwayne is going to bring people around him regardless. He’s a marked man and every time we play him he’s circled (by the other team) and he’s been that way for as long as he has played in this league. He’s going to bring a lot of attention so finding guys in behind him or areas off him is important.”
“I had to keep my game very, very simple. They definitely come after me and it’s to be expected,” added DeRosario. “I need the movement off the ball and guys were moving constantly. Guys like Nick and Danny (Cruz) were constantly moving and playing one, two touch through the midfield. The chemistry is still building but a win like is a big confidence booster but we have to maintain it, keep our focus and not get too beside ourselves and just keep working for each other.”
DeLeon already has a distinct chemistry and bond with Danny Cruz, who combined with his long time friend to score United’s third goal.
The other beneficiary was Santos who has been taking much of his recent criticism to heart in recent weeks.
“We understand each other and I know where he is going to be and he knows where I am going to be, he knows my moves so it’s easy for us to get together and understand each other,” said Santos.
Playing against his former team may have helped a bit too.
“I think he was a little bit extra revved up because it was Dallas always playing a former team always gets you a little bit more focused and motivated and he knows their players,” said Olsen. “He was on the move more and we got him facing goal more and physically he is a tough match up. If he wants to hold the ball up, he’s a big boy and it’s tough to move him.”
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