D.C. United claims first in the East
This win felt different, more important, bigger. You could hear it in the locker room; cheers, singing, visible emotion from players otherwise even-keeled. But ask them what this win means, and they’ll all give you the same answer: nothing yet.
“The job is certainly not done,” said D.C. United’s Davy Arnaud. “We still have tough games coming up. We still have to keep grinding away and keep doing the same things. We’ve been preaching that all year. It’s not just game to game, but within the game, you get the feeling in the group even up 3-0 with ten minutes left guys are still saying, ‘Let’s grind, let’s get it done.’ It’s a great mentality to have.”
D.C. United is currently in the Supporters Shield race and atop the Eastern Conference with 43 points (13-7-4), made possible by its most recent win—its first-ever win at Sporting Park.
Three goals in eight minutes saw United top Sporting Kansas City 3-0. Fabián Espíndola opened the scoring on the night, reaching nine goals for the fourth straight season. Chris Rolfe followed just four minutes later, finishing a perfectly-weighted, chipped pass from Luis Silva. Fast forward three more minutes, and Rolfe then finds Perry Kitchen streaking past Sporting’s high defensive line. Kitchen calmly claims the third goal of the night, notching his fourth on the year.
“It’s a huge win for us, especially here,” Kitchen said. “For me, that’s the first time I’ve won here, which is pretty cool. It’s a tough place to play. They’re a good team, even better at home. It’s huge for us.”
But the sentiment continues; there is still work to do.
“It’s nice but, we have ten games left,” said Kitchen. “It means nothing if we don’t build off of it. We can’t get too comfortable with where we are at, or we are going to start losing. We just have to keep it moving.”
“It's still a long season,” Head Coach Ben Olsen said. “It's nice for these guys to be on top for all the hard work they have put in. They get that there is more to this than right now.”
While the Black-and-Red certainly understands its coach’s messages, they also took the time to enjoy the win before packing up and heading to Los Angeles to face the Galaxy on Wednesday night.
“It’s a big win,” Arnaud said. “There is no other way to put it. We’re getting later on in the season now, and we’re fighting for first and second, so we knew how important the game was and we’re obviously happy to win the game.”
“I think it's a big win, not just for where we stand, but it's a statement game across the League,” Franklin added.