They say numbers never lie. Well, D.C. United is on a 5-game unbeaten streak, winning three of those matches. The Black-and-Red has 11 points, sitting in third place in the east after beating the first place team in MLS by a score of 4-1.
“It’s big for our confidence,” Assistant Coach Chad Ashton said. “The game changed on the red card. To that point, we could’ve been a little better. To put a big number up against a team that is top of the table in the entire league is big for us.”
Fabián Espíndola, far and beyond the man of the match, scored two beautiful goals and had one crafty assist, all worth the replay button.
- Watch: D.C. United beats FC Dallas 4-1
“Unbelievable,” Ashton said through a smile. “Just a big time performance. You can’t say enough about how much he created. He filled up the box score, and he probably deserves a couple more lines in there because I thought he was just incredible. Hats off to him, just an incredible performance.”
Let’s rewind for a minute. FC Dallas opened the scoring in the 13th minute. Mauro Diaz finds the back of the net on a pretty piece of pattern play. Then, Zach Loyd gets his second yellow and is sent off; Dallas goes down to ten men. What happens next was magic.
Let’s go goal-by-goal, shall we?
First, Espíndola finds Nick DeLeon, who passes to Eddie Johnson out wide. Johnson’s run is worth noting here. As Espíndola cuts in, Johnson pulls wide. DeLeon finds his feet, Johnson whips in a great cross, and Espíndola buries it.
“He’s doing a lot of little things,” said Ashton of Johnson’s performance. “People want to get on him for not scoring, but he had a fabulous ball on the first goal. He’s such a handful on anything that is played out of the back. It allows us to start attacks higher up the field, which is huge.”
Feeling a small tweak in his hamstring, Johnson’s night ends in the 50th minute, and Conor Doyle comes on.
“He brought great energy to the game,” Ashton recalled. “He helped with our possession. He helped get their backs off the ball. He works super hard. It helped us start our attacks higher because of his defensive relentlessness.”
Moving on to goal number two. Jeff Parke does a great job to head the ball back across the box, Doyle gets his laces on it and Chris Seitz is forced to make a save, but there’s too much power behind Doyle’s strike to catch it. The ball bounces out to Bobby Boswell, who puts his head down and drives the ball into the back of the net.
“Bobby and Jeff were big time on set pieces, keeping things alive for us. Bobby did a great job with the goal, but Jeff and Bobby were solid all game,” Ashton said.
This is fun—next.
Espíndola makes two Dallas defenders look silly, drawing them towards him with patience on the ball, then slipping between the two. He picks his head up and finds Sean Franklin, who calmly flicks the ball into the lower right corner with one perfect touch.
“That’s why we went out and got all these guys. We know what they are capable of when they hit their ceiling and play to their potential. There’s no stopping them. Sean is one of those guys,” explained Ashton. “He had a great goal, beats the guy to the spot and a nifty little touch. He and Nicky were a handful on that side all game.”
And last, but certainly not least.
Chris Rolfe, whose addition to this team has been huge, finds Espíndola who volleys it home with one touch, to which the commentator said, “Okay, this is just getting out of hand now.”
No sir, D.C. United was in complete control of the night. Fabián Espíndola made sure of that.