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De Rosario, defense lead the way in huge win for DC

Dwayne De Rosario isn’t one to shy away from the big moments.

Playing the New York Red Bulls just under two weeks after being shipped away in exchange for Dax McCarty, the D.C. United midfielder reminded his old club what they sent away. He scored the game’s lone goal, leading his new team to a huge 1-0 road win Satuday at Red Bull Arena.

“It’s a great feeling,” De Rosario told MLSsoccer.com over the phone. “But most importantly it was the game-winner, and we were able to come away with all three points.”

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After a scoreless first half that saw both sides create good scoring chances — Charlie Davies had a goal-bound shot cleared off the line by New York defender Tim Ream — De Rosario combined with veteran forward Josh Wolff to open the scoring in the 61st minute.

“I made a run and out of the corner of the eye I saw [Wolff] dropping into the midfield,” De Rosario said. “I dummied it to him, he played a great through ball to me, and the main thing for me is to keep it under control and thankfully when I hit it, it found the back of the net.”

But De Rosario’s match-winning heroics would have gone for naught if, like in past matches at RFK Stadium, DC’s defense hadn’t been able to hold on to a one-goal lead late in the game.

This time though, it ended differently. Throughout the evening, the defense held firm, with goalkeeper Bill Hamid commanding a strong presence in net, and United’s other recent addition, Brandon McDonald, once again looked comfortable in the center of defense.

And after the goal, the late lapse that has been all too common was finally avoided, and DC held on to make De Rosario’s goal stand up as the winner.

“[Not conceding late is] something we approached during the week and something we succeeded in when it came down to crunch time,” Hamid told MLSsoccer.com over the phone. “We kept the mentality for the whole 94 minutes and that’s all it takes. One lapse can result in losing the lead and we managed to avoid that.”

By maintaining the shutout, DC also managed to become the first team to clamp down New York on their home turf in 2011 — something that can serve as a reminder about what this team can be capable of.

“Coming in, to keep a clean sheet, to win 1-0 it just shows the potential we have in this team,” De Rosario said. “But we can’t dwell on this — we have to continue working hard and work for each other because that’s how we got the result tonight.”

Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @travismclark.