IMAGE: Zoltan training

Stieber influencing play in the final third for United

Since making his D.C. United debut Aug. 26, Zoltán Stieber has helped revitalize the Black-and-Red’s attack, recording a goal and an assist in six games played.

But Stieber’s impact can not be fully measured on the scoresheet, as the Hungarian’s deft touch and adept dribbling ability out of the midfield has generated multiple high-quality scoring chances for United. In the four games Stieber has started, the Black-and-Red have scored nine goals.

“If [Stieber’s] on the ball, we’re going to be pretty good,” Ben Olsen said following United’s match against San Jose Sept. 23. “He’s a good passer, he’s got a good final product and he understands the game.”

In four starts, Stieber has played alongside Patrick Mullins, Luciano Acosta and Paul Arriola in the midfield, and has quickly developed chemistry with his new teammates. Paired with Luciano Acosta, United now have two creative and fleet-footed players in the middle to complement the finishing ability and pace of Mullins and Arriola, respectively.

During Mullins’ historic four-goal game versus the Earthquakes, Stieber suffered a foul that led to a United free kick, and tormented San Jose defenders throughout the night with a strong-possession game.

In the Black-and-Red’s next match against the New York Red Bulls, Stieber was instrumental in United rallying for a crucial draw, scoring his first MLS goal on a free kick and later providing the secondary assist for Mullins’ fifth goal in two games.

Through six games played, Stieber’s crafty play has given United supporters another reason to be optimistic about the club’s future.