First Impressions - D.C. United 4 : 1 New York Red Bulls
Finally, two steps forward. For weeks United would allow us to flirt with hope, only to step backwards with another game where you left wondering if anyone learned anything.
However, United came out of Chicago and managed to put together a win that helped consolidate the progress that they had been making recently. And this was a comprehensive win. If the scoreline flatters United, it is on the defensive end, as United certainly did enough to earn all four goals scored. New York still had chances, and perhaps it should have been closer, but United deserved the victory. Lowlights happened at the start of each half, with United conceding a goal early in the second half on some haphazard defending, and starting the game with one of the poorest opening kick routines I have ever seen. However, that's about it in terms of things we can take them to task for. The Martinez-Burch combination proved effective as outside backs in the absence of Namoff. Dyachenko's biggest influence may have been the help he gave Simms in terms of pressure and release points, but the playmaking to make up for Gallardo came primarily from Tino, Jaime, and Fred, all of whom had strong matches.
Which brings us to Emilio's three goals. The first was the culmination of one of the best team moves I have seen this season. Quaranta's through ball to Fred was the best pass he's made all year, and Fred putting in the low cross to Emilio on the first touch was picture perfect. The amazing thing was that New York technically had numbers back, but it was a classic case of three men using momentum to carve up five defenders.
Emilio's second goal was helped by Quaranta not sending a ball over the post, but instead trying to place the ball far post and getting the rebound you want to see if you can't have the ball go in the net. The third goal for Emilio was a strong finish, made possible with strong running from Mediate who held the ball not too long, but also didn't jump the gun when he saw Emilio in space but held it long enough to minimize any chance of a defensive recovery.
There's something about wins against New York that just make me feel better about this team. Thinking of all the wins over New York over the past three years that helped convince me a United team was for real, most recently last year's Ben Olsenpalooza. New York Red Bulls... It's good for what ails ya.