I promised you all that I would get D to do the 6 word recap. That hasn’t happened. So, as a head nod to his cleverness, I will be starting the 5 word novel recap. I can only hope to be half as awesome as my inspiration.
5 Word Novel Recap: Dero- “Who are you guys?”
Leaving RFK, I had the inescapable feeling that I’ve seen this movie before. The last time I sat in Section 316, I was watching the team capitulate to Chicago Fire in stoppage time, and feeling the urge to drink. This time, I had to take a breath and realize that this was game 1 of a long season, and that this team has been retooled extensively with little time for coordination.
The best way to impart my feelings on the match are to do ye olde player ratings, instead of writing a journalistic recap, of which you can already find plenty.
Bill Hamid- 7 (Man of the Match)- I remember last season when many said Hamid was not making the saves he needed to, and that he wasn’t communicating with his back line. Last night showed the benefit of USMNT callups and an extra year of seasoning. Hamid was making every save he should, and most of the ones he shouldn’t. He was communicating with his back line, despite their inability to do as he was instructing them. More on that soon.
Daniel Woolard- 6 (1st half) 4 (2nd half) 5 average- In the first half, Woolard was being targeted by SKC, and aside from poor distribution and some strange throw in decisions, Woolard was proving adequate. Not stellar, but not bad. In the second half, Woolard was targeted less, but when he was called upon, he was unable to keep up his effort. The goal was partly his fault, but mostly the fault of poor team marking. This game was Daniel Woolard in a nutshell.
Brandon McDonald- 6 McDonald was the best of a bad to average backline last night. He was physical, loud, and usually in the right place. He had to cover for his partner frequently, and was not shy about telling Dejan what he thought of his performance.
Dejan Jakovic- 4 Poor performance from the Canadian, who seemed to be a step behind the entire night. SKC has a quick and talented front line but Jakovic showed major rust and an inability to fight the speed of the opponent. At the most important, Jakovic (one of the team’s tallest players) was inexplicably guarding an SKC player outside of the 18. This proved decisive, and DC wound up walking out of RFK with no points.
Robbie Russell- 5 Not impressed with Russell last night. Distribution was poor out of the back, and he was largely anonymous for most of the match. I believe he will improve as the season progresses.
Andy Najar 6- The 6 is perhaps charitable, as despite Najar’s talent and speed, he was unable to provide service for the forwards. A number of times, Najar refused to get the ball into the box with his left foot, preferring to try to send in a cross with his right despite no openings. Along with the rest of the team, he showed a lack of understanding of his teammates.
Branko Boskovic 4- This one pains me, as I have been a Branko Booster since he’s gotten here. To be fair, this is the first real match Branko has paid in about a year. Unfortunately, that fact was plainly evident. A number of square balls intercepted by the SKC midfield almost lead to goals, and he offered very little going forward. He was more committed to defense than he has been in the past, but Branko needs to be better.
Perry Kitchen 5- Kitchen was doing the best he could, and that was pretty darn good. Did a good job disrupting passing lanes and getting physical when necessary. His presence will be noticeably missed.
Chris Pontius- 5- The team missed Pontius at the tail end of last season, and they were surely glad he was able to start the opening match of the season. Not a bad match by Pontius, but like Najar, Chris was unable to provide service to Salihi and DeRo.
Dwayne De Rosario- 5- The 2011 MVP was anonymous, but skillful on the rare occasions he got the ball at his feet in the box. More minutes with Branko and Salihi are important, and in the next few weeks, De Ro should be back to his old self.
Hamdi Salihi- 5- Salihi had two real opportunities, a lofted header and an odd man rush in the second half that he scuffed wide. Hard to judge Hamdi on those two chances, especially since he rarely got the ball. I am excited to see him as the weeks progress and the team gets a better understanding of how to get the ball to him.
Subs: Josh Wolff, Danny Cruz, Maicon Santos- 5 Neither good nor bad. Only Santos had a chance to contribute, and it didn’t quite work out. Olsen made the subs most probably would have made, but last night, they were ineffective.
All these numbers aside, patience is key for the DC United fan early this season. As previously noted, this team has gone through major changes this season, and hasn’t had a chance to play together with the first choice XI. Further call-ups and tournaments are certain to disrupt this as the season progresses, but as the season continues this offense will gel. They are too talented not to.