Measurable progress—that’s what we saw last night at RFK when D.C. United tied the Chicago Fire 2-2.
“We looked a lot better. A lot more dangerous in terms of the attack,” said Assistant Coach Chad Ashton. “I think we got more people involved. We had a better balance. We weren’t so direct.”
With the majority of the possession, United kept calm in tight spaces, stayed patient and trusted each other on the ball.
“We picked and chose our times to go quickly and when to build it up, slow it down and get more people involved,” said Ashton “The partnership of the two [Fabián Espíndola and Eddie Johnson] was great. We started to get more midfielders involved and even outside backs. It was a real positive.”
There were many positives on the night. Espíndola netted his first goal of the season, putting away an indirect free kick, and Perry Kitchen scored United’s second goal and dominated the midfield.
“I thought Perry was great,” Ashton stated. “I thought he had an unbelievable game. It was great for him to get rewarded with the goal. Obviously, we hoped he got the game winner. But, shoot, I thought he was one of the best players on the field.”
Another player who added an offensive spark was Luis Silva, who exited the match in the 38th minute due to an ankle injury.
“Silva’s injury is unfortunate. The game changes when he has to come out. We had to make some adjustments. I thought we started okay, but as time went, I thought we missed him a little bit. It was unfortunate, but hopefully his injury is not that bad.”
While the positives were evident, there is still work to do on both sides of the ball.
“I still think when we get service, we can get more people in the box, give ourselves, percentage wise, a better shot to get on the end of it,” Ashton said. “On the flip side of it, we can’t give up goals. We try to look at the cup half full as a coach. Yeah, we are making strides, but at the same time, two goals needs to be enough. We can’t give up that second goal.”
This week, the Black-and-Red will watch film and figure out where the breakdowns occurred on both of Chicago’s goals.
“The first one is a set piece, and I think I know what went wrong; it was a communication problem,” he recalled. “The second one, we get isolated out wide and we get beat a little too easily. Then, you have to lock up guys in the box. We have to look back and see what we can work on in training to lessen their chances.”
With a point in the books, seventeen shots, nine on frame and two goals on the night, D.C. United is making measurable progress.
“We want to reinforce the things we did well,” Ashton said. “We are very happy that we are moving forward, but we have to turn those positives into results.”
The Black-and-Red returns to RFK to host the New England Revolution this Saturday, April 5 at 7 p.m. Buy tickets now.