D.C. United has regained its rhythm at home. The Black-and-Red overcame Chivas USA, snapping its five-game unbeaten streak with a 3-1 win. Eddie Johnson notched the first of the night, putting away a penalty after Chris Rolfe was fouled in the box.
“I think it just helped unlock them,” Assistant Coach Chad Ashton said of Johnson’s goal. “If you look at their little win streak here, they typically have been able to weather a lot of the game by sitting in a defensive shape and not get broken down. In each of those games, the pattern was kind of similar where they would shorten the field early and then gradually start to fall back. Basically, the goal allowed us to pull them out of that and push the game.”
Perry Kitchen found his third goal of the year off a set piece— Chris Rolfe played in a good ball, which Johnson knocked down to Kitchen’s feet. With one touch, Kitchen drove the ball into the corner of the net.
“The second goal was very timely,” Ashton explained. “We were starting to fall back a little, and they were starting to push the game. It opens them up when they go down 2-0. They have to push forward a little bit more and now, when we get it, we can force them to chase. We had a game plan, and we carried it out very well.”
When games open up and United is able to push forward, it plays into Johnson’s strengths. Last night, he played a large role in both the first and second goal, but also had a handful of dangerous chances on the night.
“I thought Eddie was big time,” Ashton stated. “He was player of the game with a goal and an assist, but it was all the little things he does; he was closing down defenders, making runs, little flicks, the knock down on Perry’s goal. Those are little things that don’t show up in the box score, but are so essential for the team success.”
To add a cushion, Silva netted the last goal when Chris Korb played a great ball through to the cutting forward, who finished with ease and class. Though Steven Birnbaum committed a foul in the box that led to a penalty shot, D.C. United earned a 3-1 victory and three points at home.
“It’s big,” Ashton said of the win. “Anytime you’re at home you have to take care of points. When you can steal points on the road, that’s huge, but when you’re really getting things done at home, it makes life easier. We’ve got to maintain this fortress.”