Learning to close out a big step for young DC United
In the two games prior to Saturday's 1-0 win over archrivals New York, a young D.C. United side had seen four points evaporate in the two previous games, as they conceded late goals against Houston and Philadelphia at home.
Winless in their last five games, DC found themselves up a goal with under 30 minutes to play thanks to the heroics of new acquisition Dwayne De Rosario. It was familiar territory, but instead of another collapse, the defense held firm to pick up a huge win.
“Every win right now is key, especially winning a 1-0 game,” head coach Ben Olsen told reporters after Saturday’s win. “For us right now it’s important because we have had some leads that we have squandered and tonight was a good effort. I thought we held the fort down.”
It was one of DC’s best performances this season, and continued their success on the road. With the win, United’s record away from RFK moved to 3-3-2.
“From the first whistle to the last whistle we played some good football out there,” Dwayne De Rosario told MLSsoccer.com. “We were able to shut down a very potent New York attack, a team coming off a 5-0 win, a dominant win, and to come out the way we did and limit their chances up front — out whole team was exceptional tonight.”
McDonald, Hamid strong against New York
It took a complete team effort to blank New York, but DC’s other new addition two weeks ago, Brandon McDonald, hardly put a foot wrong in the 1-0 win.
Acquired to give United’s young back line a lift with his experience and physical presence, the 25-year-old central defender helped stifle Thierry Henry and New York’s attack, shutting out the Red Bulls for the first time at Red Bull Arena.
McDonald’s vocal leadership in particular has been valuable along the back line.
“He’s played a lot more than most of our rookies,” goalkeeper Bill Hamid told MLSsoccer.com. “He’s strong in the air and a talker, something we needed back there.”
Hamid, who also said that the back five has quickly meshed with the new addition, made four saves along the way to earning his fourth shutout of the season.
“I feel like I played a very good game,” Hamid said. “I’m just here trying to help the team, keep the team in games.”
He did that on a few occasions, including a sharp second half save on Henry. A miscommunication between McDonald and Ethan White allowed the French striker in on goal, but his low shot was stopped by a strong left-handed save from the 20-year-old netminder.
Brettschneider suffers concussion
Rookie forward Blake Brettschneider suffered a concussion in the win, a D.C. United spokesman confirmed to MLSsoccer.com on Monday.
Shortly after coming in as a substitute in the 87th minute for Charlie Davies, the rookie forward took a kick to the head from New York’s Jan Gunnar Solli. He had to be helped off the field after the game ended, and will undergo further testing this week.
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @travismclark.