D.C. midfield dominates in victory
WASHINGTON - D.C. United took the field on Friday looking to wipe a bitter taste from their collective mouths.
After sputtering last weekend in a hard-fought 1-0 loss to visiting Eastern Conference rival Kansas City, and looking to remedy the inconsistency that has plagued them of late, they did just that on a humid night at RFK Stadium, coming away with a with a decisive 3-0 win against a white-hot San Jose Earthquakes squad on the strength of Christian Gomez's two goals.
Jaime Moreno was stellar in his return from an ankle sprain that kept him out of last week's contest, contributing a goal and an assist to ensure the important midseason victory for coach Peter Nowak's side.
"We all learned from our mistakes (last week)," said Nowak. "After the loss to Kansas City, this was a step in the right direction ... we stayed compact and organized, and we had Jaime back. ... We just want to move on and build something special after this game."
Nowak was particularly impressed with the work rate of his midfield in what was an entirely one-sided affair.
"The guys in the midfield did a titanic job today," he said. "They made the difference."
The forward triumvirate of Moreno, Gomez, and Freddy Adu dictated the pace of the game and created the bulk of the scoring chances throughout.
"We cannot forget about Jaime, Christian, and Freddy," Nowak said. "They did really well. By the third goal, Freddy took the attention from all these people and Christian was wide open."
Nowak was referring to his team's final tally of the night, sparked by Adu's brilliant dummy run through the box while Moreno distributed the ball behind him to Gomez with acres of space right in front of the goal. Gomez calmly drilled it home for his eighth goal of the season, tied with Moreno for the team and league lead.
"I made the run across (the box)," said Adu, "and all three of the defenders just kind of followed me. Christian was just wide open, and kudos to Jaime for finding him. It was great."
The effervescent 16-year-old agreed with his coach's sentiment about the synchronous play among him, Moreno, and Gomez - and was optimistic that it was a sign of even more positive things to come.
"I think it's the beginning of a pretty big thing," Adu said with a smile. "Playing with guys like Jaime and Christian is great because they play the same style I feel like I play. They like to play the one- and two-touches and everything was just gelling tonight. ... Hopefully we can keep doing that for the rest of the season."
Gomez, who made something of a disappearing act in last week's match, was frequently involved in the United attack, particularly in transition. He was undoubtedly the hero of the game.
"Christian is very dangerous all around the goal," Nowak said. "He's a very special player for our team. Everyone trusts him with the ball.
"Players like him always make the right decision. They always play with the sense of (wanting) to do something special. I love players (like him) where every pass is correct, every move is correct. I need smart players, and Christian has fit in very well with us in the year he has been here. It is going to be his first All-Star Game (this season) and he deserves it 100 percent."
When asked how Gomez compares with some of the other No. 10's in the history of the league, Nowak chuckled in response: "He's better than me." Nowak also wore the famed number, usually assigned to a team's playmaker, during a prolific career with the Chicago Fire that included an MLS Cup.
United goalkeeper Nick Rimando was rock solid between the pipes, but pointed to a true team effort in securing the favorable result.
"Tonight we played with a lot of attitude," he said. "We were upset about the loss at home (to K.C.). We felt like we didn't concentrate for a full 90 minutes last week, and we wanted to make sure that this week we did that and we played together as a team."
Added an elated Adu: "It was one of those days where you feel like if you make the right run, or just one play, that it can turn into something (positive) for the team."
Omar Garriott is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.