December 14, 2019

D.C. United Game 22 Recap: Youthful United overpowers Montreal, 3-1

Three players all under the age of 25, none of whom were with D.C. United when the 2013 Major League Season started, scored goals tonight as United upset the Montreal Impact, 3-1. The win improved United’s record to 3-15-4 (13 points) on the season, while the Impact dropped to 10-6-5 (35 points).

Luis Silva, Conor Doyle, and Jared Jeffrey all scored for D.C., as United won a league match for the first since a 1-0 triumph over the San Jose Earthquakes on June 22. United had gone 0-4-1 in its prior five MLS matches.

Jeb Brovsky scored the lone goal for the Impact, a nice finish off a give-and-go that drew Montreal level at 1-1 in the 52nd minute. But after quelling the remainder of the Impact’s rally, United neatly put the game away in the latter part of the second half.

Doyle, introduced as a substitute for Dwayne De Rosario in the 65th minute, stamped his presence on the match just 3 minutes later. With space on the left attacking side, United defender James Riley curled in a nice cross to the center of the Montreal penalty area, toward the top of the 6. Doyle met it with a volley that beat Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins to give United a 2-1 lead.

Doyle’s first MLS goal was a thing of beauty – the type that a forward makes look easy, but was actually anything but. Doyle made the right run, read Riley’s cross perfectly, and capitalized on the opportunity with a sweet finish. It was a piece of smart, attacking soccer (by both Riley and Doyle) that has been lacking much of this season.

With the two starting forwards, De Rosario and Silva, both subbed off late and United settling for counterattacks, D.C. produced a perfect answer to Montreal’s pressure to seal the game three minutes into second-half stoppage time.

After Jeffrey won possession for United, Collin Martin, making his MLS debut at age 18, found a defender in front of him at midfield, with Jeffrey just in front of him and half a field of open space to his left. Martin played the ball to that space and the unmarked Doyle ran onto it. Jeffrey joined the attack to Doyle’s right, leaving two United players in on Perkins.

Doyle dribbled off most of the ground to cover, drawing Perkins out to cut down the shooting angle, before dishing a pass to Jeffrey, who smartly stayed behind the ball to stay onside and finished into the empty net for his first MLS goal, making it 3-1, as a steady rain fell at RFK Stadium.

In a frustrating season, tonight’s performance was easily one of United’s best, and that it was keyed by players who figure to be in the fold for United for a significant amount of time gave plenty of reason for optimism down the road.

Even though Bill Hamid has returned from his duty with the U.S. National Team during its victorious run at the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup, Joe Willis got the start in goal tonight and made four saves. Perkins had to make six stops to keep Montreal from being blown out of the building, as United produced 9 shots on goal, roughly triple their season average.

Silva started the scoring, his third goal in three matches for United after being acquired from Toronto FC for allocation money on July 9. Unlike his goals in losses at Chicago and at home to New England, this time Silva scored from inside the penalty area.

After Riley and Nick DeLeon exchanged passes in Montreal’s defensive third, DeLeon’s attempted cross was deflected away by a Montreal defender. The rebound came to Silva in the area, about 12 yards from goal, to Perkins’ left. No one on the Impact really reacted to the play effectively, as Silva ran on to meet the ball.

Once Silva collected it, he fought off Impact defender Dennis Iapichino, then found a small shooting lane between the beaten defender and his teammate, Matteo Ferrari. Shooting between them, Silva scored at the far post to Perkins’ right with a low shot. Silva’s third goal with United gave him the team lead in scoring, despite this only being his third match in United’s colors.

Like last week’s 2-1 loss to the New England Revolution, United went into halftime with a 1-0 lead, but had gone a bit flat late in the first half. And just like last week, United gave away the lead early in the second half.

Tonight, it was Jeb Brovsky and Davy Arnaud working a nice give-and-go toward the United penalty area that caught D.C. defenders flat-footed. Brovsky finished nicely – starting what ended up being the theme of the night, as the goal was the first of Brovsky’s MLS career. Montreal’s top scorer, Marco Di Vaio (11 goals) was held off the board, with Chris Korb in particular doing nice work in tight quarters on Di Vaio.

Unlike last week, United never fell behind tonight. And with younger players coming on as subs in Doyle and Martin (18 years old), United not only grabbed the lead but put the game away. It marks only the second time this season that D.C. scored more than one goal in a league match. The other was a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Union.

The win cost Montreal a share of first place in the Eastern Conference due to New York’s 3-2 win at Sporting Kansas City. The Red Bulls now lead the East with 38 points, two more than SKC and three better than the Impact.

United could be 20 points out of a playoff spot in the East if Houston beats Columbus, but for one night anyway, there are positives to be drawn going forward. Given how the season has played out to this point, there should be plenty of opportunities for United’s youthful players to get minutes over the final 12 matches of the MLS season.

Tonight’s win also provided United with some badly needed momentum heading into Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal at the Chicago Fire, who beat United, 4-1, when the teams met in a league match on July 20. That match kicks off at 8:30 p.m. Eastern from Toyota Park.

United’s next league match is next Saturday at Philadelphia, an 8 p.m. kickoff on the NBC Sports Network.

UNITED 3-1 MONTREAL
Silva 19′
Brovsky 52′ (Arnaud)
Doyle 68′ (Riley)
Jeffrey 93′ (Doyle, Martin)

Discipline:
DC – Kitchen, yellow, 29′
DC – Korb, yellow, 48′
MON – Romero, yellow, 62′
DC – Porter, yellow, 65′
DC – Jeffrey, yellow, 87′

Shots: DC 18-8 MON
Shots On Goal: DC 9-5 MON
Corners: DC 8-1 MON
Fouls: DC 16-14 MON
Offside: DC 5-2 MON
Possession: DC 52.6%-47.4% MON

UNITED (3-15-4): Willis; Woolard, Korb, Jakovic, Riley; Kitchen, Porter, Jeffrey, DeLeon (Martin 77′); Silva (Sainey Nyassi 70′), De Rosario (Doyle 65′).

IMPACT (10-6-5): Perkins; Camara, Ferrari, Brovsky, Iapichino; Bernier (Paponi 71′), Romero (Martins 75′), Arnaud; Sanna Nyassi (Smith 70′), Mapp, Di Vaio.

Ed Morgans is the United Page Editor for District Sports Page. For in-game analysis and story notifications, follow him on Twitter @writered21.

About Ed Morgans

Ed Morgans is DC United Page Editor for District Sports Page. Ed worked for The Journal Newspapers (now The Examiner) and covered DC United from 1997-2002. He spent the 2003 season writing for the club’s website. Ed has covered All-Star Games, MLS Cups, CONCACAF Champions Cup, World Cup qualifiers, and international friendlies. He also worked as a blogger at www.bigsoccer.com, the country’s leading soccer message board website. You can follow Ed on Twitter @writerEd21.

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