DC United spoiled the return of Chris Wondolowski for the San Jose Earthquakes with a 2-1 victory in California earlier Friday evening. Keeper Bill Hamid made a variety of saves with his best yet arriving in the 92nd minute to deny a point-blank header from Alan Gordon. Both teams created their chances, but the low scoring was due to decent performances off the ball.
Hamid was relied on a bit too much for a keeper, as DC United could have hit San Jose on the counter more than once. Their first goal was a penalty scored by Eddie Johnson. Speaking of Johnson, he has been nowhere near as good in the nation’s capital as he was last year with the Seattle Sounders. His laziness on and off the ball proves that he does not have the same hunger. He even states earlier this season that there is insufficient individual talent here compared to Seattle.
He is lucky to still be playing here if that is true.
Chris Rolfe earned the penalty by having his shot hit the arm of defender Brandan Barklage. He then assisted the second goal by slotting a pass near the six for Luis Silva to slide home. Rolfe has quietly been the best player for DC throughout the season offensively. His presence on the field has been crucial when it comes to creating chances, connecting accurate yet dangerous passes and sometimes even scoring to finish off plays. His hustle goes unnoticed since he is not one of the league’s bigger names.
Wondolowski looked good on his return to show that he truly is the missing offensive piece of the puzzle when it comes to this team. However, his only goal of the match was not enough to overcome a tougher DC side. Wondolowski must still be reeling after that horrible miss in front of frame against Belgium during the World Cup. Regardless, his performance will pick up once he gets back into the rhythm of MLS.
DC United tops the Eastern Conference with 31 points after 18 games. San Jose is bottom out west with only 16 points of their own. The difference is form is quite obvious but the talent for both teams is surprisingly high. The difference is coaching, confidence, defensive work-rate, and the ability to capitalize in front of frame.