Having taken too long to return from a short trip to South Jersey, we were unable to get down to RFK in time for tonight's United - Wizards match. Nevertheless, albeit fifteen minutes into the game, we were able to get home in time to watch the game on television.
Wow. There are many things that I do not understand, but two have gnawed at me about DC United: first is the (albeit meager) defenses offered of Dyachenko's horrible play and second is the vitriolic criticism of Fred's play. Both viewpoints, I think, were laid bare tonight. Amazingly, all it took was the addition of a couple veteran midfielders -- Joe Vide and Ivan Guerrero -- to settle United's play. Vide, replacing Dyachenko in the midfield, and Guerrero, spelling Thompson/McTavish on the wing, completely changed the face of DC United's defense and, more importantly, their attack. Fred once again looked dangerous on the wing and was part of at least two beautiful offensive sets in the first half, while Guerrero impressed on the opposite wing. The partnership between Moreno and Emilio looked great, largely because Vide played back in the center midfield in front of Simms and closed down glaring holes that seemed always open when Dyachenko was forced to play CAM. After offering only four shots on goal in the last league home fixture against the Dynamo and generally looking inept and impotent, United only managed to double that shot total tonight but threatened to rain down a number of shots with slight improvements in timing and consistently pressured the Wizards' capable backline.
Emilio's goal was, although not particularly aesthetically pleasing, a shining example of what makes him so good -- Emilio got a good ball to his feet in the goal box and he converted. Moreno's goal was remarkable (how do you head the ball with that curl off the back of your head?).
Happy days are here again.