Win lifts DC to 1st place, but coach Olsen still "unfulfilled"

WASHINGTON — Saturday’s 3-2 win over New England Revolution completed a perfect three-game homestand for D.C. United.

But you wouldn’t have known it if you were in the club’s locker room after the game.

“I feel unfulfilled, and our team feels unfulfilled right now,” United manager Ben Olsen said. “But it’s nice to be feeling unfulfilled with three points in the bag. [Our performance over the three-game homestand] has been good, but today we had [bad] moments.”

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United roared into halftime with a two-goal lead thanks to Brandon McDonald and Dejan Jakovic, but they gave up that lead when the Revs struck twice in two minutes just after halftime. Only a goal from Maicon Santos in the 61st minute allowed United to earn the three points and move one point clear of the New York Red Bulls at the top of the Eastern Conference.

This is the latest in a season that United have been in first place since July 4, 2009.

Two recent recurring themes came to light in the win: striking early, and the threat of Branko Boskovic’s set pieces. McDonald’s goal in the 15th minute marked the fifth time this season that United have scored within the opening quarter hour of a match.

“When you’re at home, you want to push the game,” Olsen added. “You want an early lead, and make them chase a little bit. We get [goals] at good times. We get an early one, and then one right before half, and that usually breaks team’s backs. I give them credit for coming out and getting two back.”

Boskovic, who made his third straight start, had the assist on McDonald’s goal with his swerving freekick from about 40 yards out, and his neatly whipped corner kick led to Jakovic’s goal.

“Like every free kick, it wasn’t something special,” Boskovic said of his assist. “But McDonald was in the right place at the right moment. I will continue to serve balls like this, because we have tall players, and players who can score from free kicks.”

Three times this season now United have won after conceding an equalizer. So if the performance early in the second half left a bad taste in the players’ mouths, the determination to gut out a victory was sweet.

“We are a bunch of fighters,” United keeper Bill Hamid said. “[But] we are a little unhappy with the performance. We could have played better throughout the 90 minutes, but to get a result and get nine points out of three games is what we are going to take into this break.”

That, and the knowledge that they are in first place in the East.