It was perhaps no coincidence that D.C. United's impressive shutout on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes came just as center back Dejan Jakovic was making his first start since May 29.
Jakovic returned to the lineup for the 2-0 victory after a hamstring injury had shelved him for two months. The game also also marked the first MLS game in which he partnered with fellow center back Brandon McDonald, who joined DC from San Jose on June 27.
“I’m glad to be back,” Jakovic told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Saturday night. “I was really comfortable with [McDonald] beside me and I thought we came out with a great result.”
The duo had started together the weekend prior against Everton in a friendly and had a couple of shaky moments. But against the Earthquakes, they were in fine form — albeit against a San Jose attack that had struggled in recent weeks.
Jakovic said he had little problem with his hamstring, save for a collision after the break.
“It feels great," Jakovic said. "I felt good in the first half, in training all week it felt good. Second half, it kind of got a little tight when I got hit.”
After getting a shutout in their first meaningful game starting together, Jakovic thinks things will only improve as the two continue to get to know each other on the field.
“It’s good to get this result, to have a clean sheet this early — it can only get better,” he said.
De Rosario, McDonald return to the Bay Area
Saturday’s win was special for DC’s two newest players — McDonald and goal-scorer Dwayne De Rosario, both returning to where they’d played at different points in the past.
“It was a little bittersweet,” McDonald told reporters after the game. “All of those guys have been my friends.”
McDonald’s stint in San Jose came to an end after he was sent to DC in June for allocation money, and he’s been a starter ever since switching to the nation’s capital. De Rosario's playing days in San Jose ended in 2005, when the team moved to Houston for the 2006 season.
The memories were fond for him, including MLS Cup wins in 2001 and 2003. But the past is just that.
“It’s always nice to come here and play,” he said. “I’m just happy first and foremost that we came out here and played the way we did and were able to come out with a positive result.”
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, college and youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @travismclark