First Impressions -- D.C. United 2 : 1 F.C. Dallas
In the realm of statistics that ultimately mean nothing, but are none-the-less fun to write, I give you this: D.C. United has not lost a match in which they have conceded the first goal. Again, there is a difference between consistency and resiliency, but D.C. United have the second trait fully demonstrated in the early matches.
The major storyline from this match has to be Jaime Moreno's two goals. That was impressive. Even more impressive was the fact that this wasn't a case where Moreno was quiet for most of the match, and suddenly snuck free for his two goals. Instead, Jaime had been active the entire match. With no Gomez in the starting lineup, Moreno was very effective coming back to midfield and distributing the ball. United's attack looked potent. Quaranta, Pontius, and Moreno all put balls low and hard and just beyond the far post in the first half. United's possession was purposeful and intense, but ultimately unrewarded when Dallas took the early lead. Still, it was clear that United's midfield had Dallas flummoxed for the most part, and the two goals in the second half were both beautifully executed by Moreno and exquisitely set up by Namoff and Gomez respectively.
Tom Soehn did look to lock down the match, but unlike previous matches where it seemed a switch was flipped to "bunker," this match featured a more gradual transition starting around the 70th minute. It began with Wallace sliding back, then the substitution of Jacobson And as a result, it seemed more effective and easier for United to accommodate. Furthermore, it was clear that United's defense was starting to lose its shape and confidence as the half wore on, and the injection of defensive support was called for. This is the right way to try and lock down a win.
The start of Milos Kocic was a surprise, and he did seem a bit nervy in the first half. However, while he never dominated his box with full control, he does earn points with me for getting to all of his punches.
My first impression is that this was the best match that Jaime Moreno has had all season, even without the goals, and the best coached match Tom Soehn may have ever put forward. We will look at some of the bad in the debrief, but I am overall pleased with pretty much every facet of this match. Man of the match is Moreno. Certificates of Merit to Marc Burch, Bryan Namoff, Santino Quaranta, and Christian Gomez. Or at least that's what I'm thinking as we approach debrief.