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Chris Snear

I am one of the few journalists covering soccer, or any sport for that matter, that actually played the game at a high level. And though I no longer play, I love the sport and I love to write. My goal is to make you go 'hmmmm..interesting' or be so furious with me that you write back to disagree...but if you do, be careful because I will write back!!! I started covering DC United and the National Teams in 1997-98, took a hiatus for a few years and then back into it in 2002 and have been sharing my thoughts ever since.


TANGENTS

United Handle Montreal 3-1 on a Night of Firsts

Written by on August 3, 2013 | No Comments »
Posted in Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, DC United, General, Houston Dynamo, MLS, Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, New York RB, Philadelphia Union, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC

It was going to happen sooner or later. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut…a whole rash of clichés would work but in the end this was going to happen sooner or later.

United scored more than two goals in a match for the first time this season, handling Montreal 3-1 in fairly easy fashion for only their third win of the season. They scored multiple goals in only one other match, a 3-2 home loss to Philadelphia in April.

There were an abundance of firsts for the home side actually, as Connor Doyle, signed on loan from Derby County (England) on July 18 via the MLS lottery system, scored his first ever professional goal to give United the lead in the 68th minute, after coming on for Dwayne De Rosario four minutes earlier. He added his first ever assist on Jared Jeffrey’s capper in stoppage time, which was also his ever goal.

The two were only United’s 5th and 6th second half goal of season and their first go ahead goal in the second stanza since their first win of the season, 1-0, against Real Salt Lake way back in March.

There’s more…

Collin Martin, (18, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School), who bypassed his sophomore year at Wake Forest makes his league debut and became yet another Homegrown player to see action for United this season. Four of United’s seven available substitutes were Homegrown players-Martin, Bill Hamid, Ethan White, Conor Shanosky.

All of the firsts aside, Luis Silva has now played in three matches for United and scored in all of them, which shockingly makes him the team’s leading scorer. No United player has tallied in three consecutive matches since Chris Pontius scored in all three matches in June 2012.

Silva had a go in traffic inside the box, beating Troy Perkins off the far post in the 19th minute, capping a portion of the match United clearly dominated.

“There were some holes and some miscommunication, especially in the second part of the first half, they broke us down a couple of times but we started very bright the first twenty minutes, we were aggressive,” said United Coach Ben Olsen. “The way our outside backs went about the game to me was probably the difference in the way we played.”

United’s spacing and rhythm was good for most of the night with Silva and De Rosario pressing very high and exchanging nicely up top. But quite a bit of the attack was generated from the flanks, primarily from Chris Korb’s and James Riley’s numerous runs down the right flank and delivering quality balls, something that has not often been the case this season.

“We had the ball more. You have to have possession to really allow your outside backs go,” said Olsen. “I think we match up well against Montreal because they didn’t press us very high and we had a little bit more time to get that possession and get a rhythm out of the back. Our outside midfielders did a great job of tucking in and making them make tough decisions.”

Doyle’s goal was the result of a decisive run joining a good, simple, fundamental cross from Riley to the near post that was exquisitely timed. Doyle met the cross in stride inside the 6-yard box and poked through the legs of Perkins for the go ahead goal.

We talked about in film that the first guy needs to make a hard run past the near post just to open up the space behind and it just so happened that James (Riley) put the ball in the right spot and it was a perfect ball.

But it was the play of DeRosario and Silva that stretched the defense. This was really the first extended period of time the two have played together and bother were taken off around the same time, 69 and 64 respectively, which was Olsen’s plan from the onset.

“It was one of those nights where everything you wanted to get out of the game happened. Getting those guys out at the right time and I thought the subs did a great job,” said Olsen.

“I thought the first twenty minutes it was very good,” said Olsen about the Silva/De Rosario tandem. “They are very like minded players. So the trick there is their spacing and making sure we can stretch their center backs at times and not have 4, 5, 6 guys all in the midfield and no one making their center backs work. That allows them to push their line because there is no real threat high. When we did that, I thought they were good. You need 4, 5, 6 games together to really get that understanding.”

 United travel to Chicago for a U.S. Open Cup semifinal match on Wednesday against the Fire.

“We were looking to get two things out of tonight, the first was getting a winning mentality and this will help with that but we were also looking to get rhythm,” continued Olsen. “DeRo and Luis haven’t played together; Perry (Kitchen) is back in so you are trying to get these guys to log as many minutes together as possible. It’s strange to say over half way through the season that we are still trying to find our rhythm and the way we want to play but that’s the case.”

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