Dwayne De Rosario and Hamdi Salihi scored on either side of halftime to help D.C. United to a comfortable 2-0 win over the Colorado Rapids at RFK Stadium tonight. With the win United (6-4-3 21 pts) jumped into a tie for second place with idol Sporting Kansas City, just behind Eastern Conference leaders New York Red Bull (22 pts). United also equaled their win total at RFK from last season in only their seventh match of the season (4-1-2).
Head coach Ben Olsen made a number of changes to the lineup with the Black-and-Red in the midst of a three match in 8-day stretch (all at home). Lewis Neal, Hamdi Salihi and Branko Boskovic were brought into the side in favor of Danny Cruz, Maicon Santos and Chris Pontius and the replacements didn’t miss a beat as all three played a part in both United goals.
In the 24th minute, Neal sent a defense-splitting pass to De Rosario who walked in one-v-one with Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens and the Canadian sniper slipped it past Pickens for his third goal of the season and the 1-0 lead. United continued to pour on the pressure and if not for the heroics in net by Pickens, United could have arguably been up by four or five goals by halftime. As it was, Pickens made sensational back-t0-back saves on De Ro from 25 yards and the point-blank header from Robbie Russell on the ensuing corner kick just seconds after United took the lead. Najar and Salihi were also stoned by Pickens as the teams went to the break with United leading 1-0.
After the break, Colorado went to 3-5-2 formation and starting pressing forward in search of the equalizer. However, it was United who would score the games remaining goal in fine fashion. Lewis Neal was sent down the left flank on a counter attack in the 60th minute and his pinpoint cross met the head of Boskovic only to see Pickens make another spectacular reaction save. Salihi trailed the play all the way and scooped up the parried shot and scored from the ground as he almost overran the initial shot from Boskovic. The goal was Salihi’s third of the season and was tough luck for his much maligned Designated Player team mate Boskovic. Boskovic certainly deserved better as he arguably played his best game in a United shirt in league play and is certainly worthy of a recall for this weekends match up with win less Toronto FC (0-8-0).
United will take on Toronto FC this Saturday night at 7:30pm at RFK Stadium. The match will be televised locally on Comcast Sportsnet.
- Dejan Jakovic made the subs bench for the first time since injuring his ankle in a 2-0 win over New England in April
- Maicon Santos (resting), Nick DeLeon (hamstring) and Emiliano Dudar (hamstring) were held out of the 18-man squad
- Robbie Russell left the match with a suspected groin injury, adding further woes to United’s defensive corp.