The Black-and-Red did something they hadn’t done at RFK for nearly a month, well at least in roughly 400 minutes. They scored a goal, not only that they rallied from a one goal deficit to beat the visiting Atlanta United FC 2-1 in front of a good crowd. Patrick Nyarko and Luciano Acosta turned in a couple of quality performances as D.C. United got a much needed win.
Both goals in the first half came courtesy of each team taking advantage of their opponents mistakes. A miscommunication between Steve Birnbaum and Kofi Opare on a ball that was passed by Ian Harkes led to a goal from Julian Gressel. D.C. United would respond six minutes later on a poor clearance attempt by the Atlanta keeper, Jose Ortiz applied the pressure. The ball got back to the feet of Acosta and he made magic happen, beating two defenders before lofting a shot off the far post that rolled into the net.
The second half was literally both teams getting chances and not finishing. The visitors had to deal with an extremely sharp Bill Hamid while the Black-and-Red had the goal posts standing in their way. Nyarko nearly scored twice in the second half before finally breaking through in the 60th minute, scoring on a pretty volley to the far post. Hamid would have the final say on the outcome of the game as Atlanta got a free kick in stoppage time, the kick deflected off a player and was headed to the near post, Bill got a hand on it to parry it away and the game was called literally seconds later.
While it wasn’t the best of performances for the home side, it was definitely one of their finest games over the last month or possibly the season for that matter. It’s just one step in the right direction as Ben Olsen stated after the game. Nyarko made it clear that the team enjoyed getting the result, they are far from satisfied considering where they sit on the tables.
D.C. United travels to Philadelphia on Saturday.
Sloppiness. While I agree with Nyarko’s and Olsen’s post game comments about the team playing with a bit more trust in each other, specifically in regards to when a player is on the ball. There was still far too many occasions when possession was immediately given away after winning it. The game looked beautiful in a couple of stretches when D.C. United let the ball do the work, as stated, they still have a ways to go.
Lucho. He is starting to shoot more, being more aggressive in that regard makes the Black-and-Red a bit more difficult to defend. One small critique, he has to shoot with his left foot. Had several opportunities in the game to take shots, but refused to do it whenever the ball was on that foot.
Nyarko. Proved why he’s so important to the team with his performance. His ability to not only create for others, but for himself was on full display. He also did a good job making quality runs, but was just unlucky as he could of had two more goals.
Brown’s Debut. Deshorn Brown made his debut for the Black-and-Red, coming in for Ortiz in the 60th minute. While he didn’t score a goal, he definitely gave a couple of different clues as to how he could fit here. He has good size, but is more of as speed guy. Play the ball forward and let him go get it, he’s okay as a hold up player but nowhere near as imposing as Mullins. He only had one practice under his belt prior to the game, but he felt comfortable enough to bark out instructions to teammates while he was up top.