WASHINGTON, D.C. -- D.C. United was frustrated offensively in its first three MLS matches, scoring just one goal en route to an 0-1-2 start.
That all changed Friday night.
The Black and Red broke out against F.C. Dallas in a nationally televised match, scoring four times on the way to a comfortable 4-1 win.
“I think we made up for the games we missed without scoring,” club captain Dwayne De Rosario told reporters after the match.
Offseason acquisition Maicon Santos led the way with two goals and an assist, and rookie midfielder Nick DeLeon had a breakthrough performance in only his third MLS match, scoring his second goal of the year and adding an assist. Midfielder Danny Cruz scored the other goal.
In the middle of the pitch, orchestrating it all as he normally does, was last season's MVP, De Rosario. After going without a goal or an assist his first three games, DeRo notched two assists on the evening.
“We just stayed positive,” De Rosario said. “We said we're going to find a way to come out of here with three points and we did. That was through the hard work and the fight that everyone showed tonight.”
After an MVP campaign in 2011 where he scored 16 goals and added 12 assists, De Rosario knows he's going to be the center of attention for United's opposition any given night. Friday was no different, as FC Dallas employed Andrew Jacobson and Daniel Hernandez in the middle of the pitch to slow him down.
“I just have to keep my game very simple because they'll definitely come for me,” De Rosario said. “It's to be expected.”
On Friday night, De Rosario won the midfield battle. In addition to his two assists, he managed to get Hernandez sent off in the 77th minute for a second yellow card.
“He's a marked man, every time we play him he's circled,” D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen said after the game. “He's going to bring a lot of attention and finding guys in behind him or areas off him is important.”
De Rosario's midfield compatriots also did their job on the night.
“I just need the the movement off the ball and the guys were moving for me. Guys like Nick (DeLeon) and Danny (Cruz) were always moving, playing one-two touch and creating a lot of space for us in the midfield,” De Rosario said.
If D.C. can receive consistent contributions from its midfield beyond De Rosario's usual brilliance, he knows it can make some serious headway in the lightweight Eastern Conference.
"We got a good thing going right now, we just have to maintain it, keep our focus and keep working for each other,” he said.
As for DeRo himself, he's only getting started.
“I thought that was his best performance (of the season),” Olsen said. “He's gotten better each week, he's fitter each week and getting back to that form that we all know.”
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