D.C.'s Rimando pounces on Revs' streak
Playing their third contest in a week, D.C. United executed the perfect game plan as they jumped all over the New England Revolution in the opening minutes and got plenty of help from goalkeeper Nick Rimando to put an end to the visitors' 11-game unbeaten run with a 2-0 victory Saturday night before a raucous crowd at RFK Stadium.
"Nicky in the goal was outstanding," said D.C. head coach Peter Nowak. "He kept us in the game."
Rimando made 10 saves on the evening, but praised his defense's quick recovery after an uneven performance against Chicago earlier in the week.
"We know they had their chances tonight," said Rimando. "Especially coming off a three-goal performance on Wednesday, we came back and showed a lot of heart."
United finally displayed the opportunistic attitude that served them so well last season, as they took advantage of a rare mistake from Revs 'keeper Matt Reis to open the scoring 10 minutes in.
Santino Quaranta, making his fourth consecutive start at the striker spot, rewarded Nowak's faith by heading home a Christian Gomez free kick after Reis had allowed the cross to float over him.
"We gave him a chance and he really earned it today with another goal," said Nowak. "So I'd say he's in the best way to keep himself in the lineup. He took this opportunity and played very, very well."
Barely two minutes later, United captain Jaime Moreno stunned a trio of New England defenders with a bewitching slalom run through the Revolution box and rolled home his sixth goal of the year. Moreno gave the Revs back line fits throughout the first half, and could've notched a hat trick had Reis not saved two breakaway opportunities.
"The first 15 minutes was crucial, and we did well," said the veteran Bolivian. "We scored two goals, and sat back a little bit. I had two great chances to take it to 4-0, but the keeper made a good save and that's part of the game."
His coach echoed the sentiments.
"We started with great intensity," said Nowak. "You could see that the ball was moving pretty well, and we created a lot of chances. We were supposed to be (up) 3- or 4-0 going into halftime.
"The second half wasn't pretty, all you could say is that the guys were playing their third game in six days, and you could see sometimes the brain didn't work the way they wanted. But the heart was there and the effort was great."
United clearly faded in the later stages, allowing New England to step up the pressure and take 12 shots in the second half. But time and time again, Rimando came up big to deny the Revs.
"We actually tried to keep the line high," said center back Bobby Boswell, "but it's the third game in a week and we got a little tired. As long as we don't have pressure on the ball, the back can't really hold the line high. So we got a little bit more than we'd like."
But United avoided the danger, and can now enjoy a four-day break from training thanks to an 11-day layoff before their June 29 match at Chicago. An excited Quaranta effectively summed up the mood of his teammates, who now have not lost a game in three weeks.
"We're fired up now," said the tall striker. "I feel like we're on our way."
Charles Boehm is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.