It’s clear the legs don’t generate the power and speed they once did. However, the intelligence and bravado have increased ten-fold over the years for Jaime Moreno. It was all on display this evening as Moreno played one of his best individual matches in his long United career. Moreno scored twice within a ten minute period mid-way through the second half to help United to a 2-1 comeback win over visiting FC Dallas before 14,225 fans at RFK Stadium.
For the first 45 minutes it was looking yet again like United was letting their opponent off the hook. Despite dominating the entirety of the first half with numerous shots scooting inches wide of Ray Burse’ goal or worse yet, Moreno hitting the post and having the rebound stickback from Clyde Simms frustratingly cleared off the goal line, it was the visitors who went to the locker room with the 1-0 lead from an Andre Rocha header off a corner kick in the 28th minute. Head coach Tom Soehn and his team did not panic and they stayed with the game plan of high pressure and flooding the attacking zone with numerous players.
Ten minutes into the second half United had their deserved equalizer. Bryan Namoff sent a long ball over the top of the FC Dallas defense and Moreno was inexplicably unmarked. Moreno’s first touch was clinical and he moved into the penalty area with only Burse to beat. His soft left-footed shot was almost saved but it trickled into the net. United continued to pour on the pressure and almost scored the go-ahead goal in the 60th minute. Luciano Emilio was sent through all alone on Burse. The Brazilian pushed the ball to the right of Burse in an attempt to round the keeper but his touch was too strong. Emilio got to the ball before it rolled over the endline and managed to get a good shot at goal but it too was blocked off the goal line. However, just six minutes later a bit of vintage Moreno magic would give United the game-winning goal. The play started with substitute Christian Gomez latching onto a pass deep in Dallas territory. His familiarity with Moreno was no match for the visitors as his no-look pass sent Moreno straight into the penalty area. With Burse charging out to cut down the angle, the intelligence and bravado spoken of earlier surfaced and his cheeky chip over the prone Burse settled easily into the back of the net.
The classy goal from Moreno shocked the visitors into action and took them from a team simply absorbing pressure to a team that needed a tying goal. The next 25 minutes were mostly spent in United’s half of the field with United settling on a defensive posture. FC Dallas never really had any threatening chances though the debut of United keeper Milos Kocic made things interesting. The rookie goalkeeper from Loyola of Baltimore was under pressure mostly from dangerous crosses from Dave van den Bergh. Kocic punched when he should have caught and caught when he should have punched on several occasions but the most unsettling part of his performance was the lack of protection he was getting from game official Ricardo Salazar as the young Serbian was being battered left and right from Dallas players without a single foul being called. Kocic made it through the fire and gained his first ever MLS win.
D.C. United now goes on the road to play Kansas City on Wednesday night. This game will be on Comcast SportsNet at 8:30 pm. After that United will come back home to face Toronto FC at RFK next Saturday night at 7:30 pm. That match was originally supposed to also be on Comcast but is being bumped in order to televise Game 5 of the Caps/Penguins series, should it go that far. There are no plans to tape the match on delay or on another channel. Let’s hope for a Caps sweep of the Penguins.
- Jaime Moreno was honored before kickoff for being the first player in MLS history to score over 100 goals and 100 assists.
- United midfielder Fred was not at RFK Stadium due to his daughter having surgery on Saturday.
- United co-owner Will Chang was asked before the game to comment on the stadium situation from an unnamed source in regards to which local municipality they are talking to. “We’re not talking to anybody, and no one is talking to us”. Ouch…