WASHINGTON – Scoring goals simply doesn’t seem to be as big of a problem anymore for the new-look D.C. United.
Thanks in part to five goals from league-leader Charlie Davies, United have scored nine goals through six games, almost half what they managed in all of 2010.
One of the biggest keys has been the introduction of new faces into the mix, and the club has impressed in brief stretches in the attack by their ability to possess and pass the ball.
D.C. United return to action on the road against the Houston Dynamo on Friday (8:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer).
“It’s something that’s very important,” captain Dax McCarty said. “We need to have that guy to thread the ball through and create chances, so it’s something we’ve been working on in training, trying to play it simple, play quick passes and get guys in behind defenders.”
All four of the listed strikers on the DC roster are new this year – Josh Wolff, Blake Brettschneider, Joe Ngwenya and Davies – and require time to get to know both each other and the midfielders who will be supplying service throughout the duration of the season.
It’s a process that can’t be rushed, according to assistant coach Chad Ashton.
“It just takes time,” he said. “It takes guys getting repetition on the field together, getting different scenarios.”
Of course, DC coaches and players aren’t just sitting back waiting for things to happen. Head coach Ben Olsen has experimented with different combinations at both forward and the wide midfield spots, and has challenged players to compete for playing time.
Branko Boskovic, perhaps the team’s best passer in the final third, has been coming off the bench, while Andy Najar’s time has been limited.
Up front, it appears that Davies and Wolff are the front two preferred – at least for the time being. After starting Wolff and Ngwenya together in the first two games, Davies’ hot start looks to have forced Olsen’s hand into dropping the US international into the starting lineup.
As the season progresses, DC are confident things will come together and the attack will only continue to get more dangerous.
“We have players that just came together this year,” midfielder Chris Pontius said. “It takes time to gel as a team, but I think things will start clicking soon. You’ve seen some outbreaks in some games, so we just have to be sharper with the final ball.”