DC Notebook: Elusive home win comes in a big way
WASHINGTON — Saturday’s 4-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps brought a sense of relief to D.C. United as it snapped a long winless hex at RFK Stadium this season.
Prior to that victory, it had been more than three months since DC last won on home turf, last besting the Seattle Sounders, 2-1, on May 4.
"It’s good to give our fans something to cheer about," midfielder Chris Pontius said, "and it’s good for our team morale."
The lopsided win was also a breakout performance for a continually improving offense because it was the first time in 2011 the team scored four goals in one game, though the team had posted three three-goal games prior to the win.
“It feels like it’s been a long time coming,” assistant coach Chad Ashton said. “I don’t remember the last time we had a game like that. … Hopefully we can realize the things we did well and use them going forward.”
Pontius puts on a show
Chris Pontius' fine form continued on Saturday as he shredded the Vancouver right flank and scored a brace. He now has seven goals — a career high — and two assists in what is a bounce-back season for the third-year winger.
His first goal of the night came at a crucial juncture, scoring just moments before the halftime whistle by sliding in a cross from Dwayne De Rosario. It came with a slice of luck, though, as Whitecaps goalie Jay Nolly got a slight touch on the ball, causing Pontius to miss the ball with his first foot and hit it with his trailing foot.
“[Pontius] had a great game,” Ashton said. “He put a quality performance, and in the second half you started to see that the attacking pieces really worked together.”
He scored the third goal of the game in the 70th minute after Stephen King's deflected shot fell to Pontius, who smashed it in off the crossbar.
King gets first goal for United
Midfielder Stephen King wasn’t brought to DC in early 2010 to score goals, but he rounded out the scoring Saturday night with his first goal in a United uniform — and just his third in his four-year MLS career.
With Vancouver already stretched, King put himself in position at the top of the penalty box. De Rosario found him, and he cut past Whitecaps defender Jeb Brovsky and finished with his left foot.
He deflected focus from himself and onto the entire team’s performance.
“It felt great. I think the biggest thing is that we won 4-0,” he said. “We know that we’re at a time in the season that if we want to make the playoffs, we’ve got to make the push now, and we wanted to improve on our home form.”
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, college and youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @travismclark.