Santos finds redemption

03 April 3:53 pm

Santos finds redemption

By Sebastian Salazar

Veteran forward Maicon Santos gives United much-needed strength up top

Watching Maicon Santos celebrate his first goal of the season early in Friday's 4-1 win over FC Dallas, it was clear that the veteran forward was playing with a sizable chip on his shoulder.  

For starters, Dallas happened to be Santos' last employer.  After trading for the Brazilian mid-way through last season, Schellas Hyndman and company chose not to pick up his option for 2012. On top of that, Santos' season was off to a frustrating start as just one of his nine shots on goal had made its way on target.

WatchingMaicon Santos celebrate his first goal of the season early in Friday's 4-1 winover FC Dallas, it was clear that the veteran forward was playing with asizable chip on his shoulder.  

Forstarters, Dallas happened to be Santos' last employer.  After trading for the Brazilianmid-way through last season, Schellas Hyndman and company chose not to pick uphis option for 2012. On top of that, Santos' season was off to afrustrating start as just one of his nine shots on goal had made its way ontarget.

Sowhen his 28th-minute blast easily bested ex-teammate Kevin Hartman,one can understand the intensity with which Santos celebrated.

"Ithink he was a little bit extra revved up because it was Dallas," Olsensaid afterwards.  "Playinga former team gets you a little more focused and more motivated."

"Iwas very inspired," Santos admitted.  "There is always more inspirationagainst your former team.  Itgives you a little bit more energy.  Itwas [a good night]."

Whilehis two goals and one assist were certainly welcome Friday night,it's not necessarily what is needed from Santos on a weekly basis.  With his bullish strength, the 28-year-old's most important characteristic is the ability to play with his back togoal. When midfielders and defender serve the ball forward, Santos hasquickly become D.C.'s best bet to keep possession. 

"Hebrings a different element to our team, one which we needed," said DwayneDe Rosario, who provided the assist on Santos' second tally Friday night.  "He's a guy that can bephysical.  He can take hitsfrom behind and hold the ball up and get guys into the play.  We really saw the best of that onFriday."

DeRosario can take extra satisfaction in the Brazilian's success knowing that hehelped bring Santos to Washington.  Thetwo played together while in Toronto, and the reigning MVP had no qualms inrecommending Santos to Olsen and his staff this offseason.

"Benasked me how he was in the locker room and I told him he's a good guy," added United's captain.  "He has a lotto offer.  Why not have aguy like that on your team if you have an opportunity to get a player of hiscaliber."