Chris Pontius scored on either side of halftime and Charlie Davies scored his MLS leading 5th goal of the season in D.C. United’s surprisingly comfortable 3-0 win tonight against Toronto FC at BMO Field. United jumped out to a 2-0 lead inside the first 10 minutes of the match and never looked back. The win was United’s first road win of the 2011 season and their second straight shutout against TFC at BMO Field going back to last September’s 1-0 win.
United, which hadn’t scored in the first half all season long, got things going in the 5th minute when Pontius picked up a loose defensive clearance in the middle of the field about 40 yards from goal. He easily glided past two TFC defenders and sent his left-footed shot to the far post and past helpless goalkeeper Stephan Frei to give United the 1-0 lead.
In the 10th minute United doubled their lead from a woeful mistake from the TFC defense. Toronto FC left-back Danleigh Borman sent an inexplicable pass square across midfield to a grateful Charlie Davies. Davies plowed towards goal and when TFC’s central defenders converged on him he deftly slipped a ball to his left to a wide open Josh Wolff, who took one touch and went to the same far post that resulted in the first goal. But Frei was up to the task this time and his outstretched foot got to the ball. However, Davies pounced on the rebound and rifled the ball into the empty net for a 2-0 lead for the Black-and-Red.
With the luxury of a two-goal lead, United sat back and absorbed TFC’s pressure and was happy throwing in the occasional counter attack to keep the Red Patch Boys off balance. United got to the halftime whistle with relative ease and their 2-0 lead.
Right out of the gate in the second half TFC did themselves no favors when Ty Harden was rightfully sent off when he hacked down Pontius who would have been in on goal all alone. The resulting red card was the right call as the thousands on hand at BMO vociferously disagreed. With the state of refereeing in MLS being the #1 topic amongst fans and players so far this season, it seems this call was spot on.
However, United didn’t immediately take advantage of the situation and allowed TFC their most dangerous moments of the night. Although Toronto’s offensive chances came basically from free kicks and long throw-ins, United’s defense certainly was a bit creaky and for the second week in a row, rookie central defender Ethan White cleared a ball off the goal line to help preserve United’s 2-0 lead.
Pontius put the final nail in the coffin in the 73rd thanks to a wonderful goal that was set up by the hustle of United midfielder Fred. The Brazilian snuck in on his defender and poked the ball away instantly setting off a United counter. Fred dribbled to the top of the penalty area and laid off a ball to Pontius on the left wing. Pontius took one touch then cut back on defender Dan Gargan and curled a beautiful right-footed blast past Frei for the final goal in United’s emphatic 3-0 win.
With the win, United vaults off the bottom of the Eastern Conference table and temporarily into second place in the East (other matches were still to be concluded as of press time). United now turns their attention to their most bitter of rivals when the star-studded New York Red Bull come to town on Thursday evening at 8 pm EST. The match will be televised live on ESPN2.
– Andy Najar was left off the 18-man roster due to flu-like symptoms. His status for the Red Bull match is unknown at this time.
– Perry Kitchen was subbed in for Dejan Jakovic in the second half and United were playing with 3 out of the 4 defenders being rookie players for the last 25 minutes of the match. No reason was given for Jakovic’ substitution