A win, is a win, is a win. It wasn’t pretty, and at times it didn’t look likely, but DC United grabbed another stoppage time winner to pick up three points on the road. There are definitely some issues that United need to address in order to keep up these results. But, in the meantime, United scored more goals than their opponent and for that we should celebrate.
Halfway through Fabian Espindola’s suspension, United has picked up nine out of a possible twelve points. Going into the season most United fans would be thrilled if they knew that the club would pick up nine out of twelve points while missing Fabian Espindola, Eddie Johnson, Luis Silva, and Markus Halsti. This must sound like a broken record, but its been the narrative every week, “Just wait until United X gets back…” and then the team will play better!
So, while sitting atop the Eastern Conference, why do United fans seem so dissatisfied with the team’s play? For starters, it really hasn’t been pretty. The team has won all three of their matches 1-0, and all goals coming late in the second half or right at the death. While exciting, it’s certainly not a sustainable way to stay atop the Eastern Conference. United has also kept three clean sheets, but have given up a large amount of shots and relied on the brilliance of Bill Hamid between the pipes.
The criticism of DC United does have merit, but it doesn’t bother me- here’s why. DC United teams under Ben Olsen have historically been pretty bad in the month of March. As the season goes on, the team comes together and the results start to turn themselves around. This DC United team is no different, they have started out the season just as disjointed as they have in previous seasons, including last year.
In 2014, United started out the season losing two games and drawing one in the month of March. We all know what happened next, Chris Rolfe joined the squad, the formation was altered slightly, and United went on to tear through the month of April and never looked back. The difference between this year and last year is that, despite playing poorly, we have gotten results. As players return, and the chemistry starts to come together, the play we saw from United in April and May of 2015 will come back. The difference is that DC United is already in a great league position, and that should make the fans, and players, feel good as the season starts to really get going.
In the meantime, March has ended and DC United face another huge test at home against the Red Bulls. The Atlantic Cup matches are coming thick and fast this year, and a first and second place matchup in the Eastern conference should be a major test for both clubs. Even though Luis Silva played the last 15 minutes against Orlando, including the game winning goal, I wouldn’t expect him to be anything other than a late game sub. United will come out unchanged against the Red Bulls, and another gritty defensive performance will be the key to securing another three points and staying on top of the conference.