November 25, 2020

D.C. United Open Cup Game Recap: De Rosario’s hat trick sends United to quarterfinals

Dwayne De Rosario scored all three goals in D.C. United’s 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union tonight at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md., as United defeated its Major League Soccer rival to advance to the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals. United will host the New England Revolution at the SoccerPlex on June 26 (7 p.m.). New England beat the New York Red Bulls, 4-2, tonight.

Despite an awful start to the MLS season that has seen United post a 1-10-3 record in 14 matches, United now finds itself just three victories from a trophy in 2013, one that would be the club’s third Open Cup championship. United also won the Open Cup, now in its 100th edition, in 1996 and 2008.

The win marked United’s first over an MLS opponent since March 9 when D.C. beat Real Salt Lake, 1-0, in the home opener at RFK Stadium. Forward Lionard Pajoy scored the winning goal that night, and he was involved in the winning goal tonight, as well. Pajoy pounced on a Philadelphia turnover in the Union half, and fed a lead pass to De Rosario who was in the center attacking channel.

De Rosario avoided one Union defender and dribbled the ball around Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath, rounding the keeper’s left side. At that point, De Rosario had a wide open goal to shoot at and he didn’t miss, putting United up, 2-0, in the 75th minute. The goal became a vital one just one minute later, when Philadelphia scoring machine Jack McInerney beat United goalkeeper Joe Willis from about 20 yards out on a shot to once again claw the Union within a goal.

But the Union were never able to net the equalizer, though Sebastian Le Toux had a good chance in the 81st minute, but his free kick missed only barely to the outside of Willis’ left goalpost.

In the 85th minute, De Rosario put the game away with an even easier goal than his second. De Rosario was first to a loose ball in the Union half and, with MacMath well off his line, De Rosario scored from about 40 yards out, making it 3-1 and ending any hopes of a Philadelphia comeback.

De Rosario opened the scoring in the 24th minute. The play started on a nice bit of work from midfielder John Thorrington, who deadened a potential Union counterattack and kept United in a threatening position. De Rosario played a ball to Chris Pontius in the middle of the field, near the penalty area. Quickly, Pontius completed the back half of the give-and-go, leaving the ball off for De Rosario who beat MacMath to make it 1-0.

The play was an example of the cohesiveness and teamwork delivered by United tonight. Beyond the McInerney goal – his 12th goal in all competitions in 2013, so he scores on everyone – United’s defense played well, was in good position, and cleared the ball when necessary. Helping that was a midfield that effectively tracked back and gave the defenders targets to pass to, rather than forcing wayward clears just for the sake of relieving pressure. Thorrington, Perry Kitchen, De Rosario, Pontius, and Nick DeLeon controlled the midfield for the most part.

That changed a bit in the second half after Pontius left at halftime due to injury. Moments after taking a shot to the head and staying down momentarily, Pontius was rushing toward the Union goal when he was hip-checked by Amobi Okugo. Pontius was again slow to get up and was replaced by Sainey Nyassi to start the second half. United also lost Ethan White to an apparent injury in the 68th minute. Pajoy came into the game for White, then assisted on the goal 8 minutes later.

While hoping the knocks to Pontius and White are not serious, United will now prepare for its next action which comes at 7:30 p.m. Saturday when the club returns to RFK Stadium for a league match against Toronto FC. Despite United’s poor start to the league season, Toronto isn’t much better, only besting United by two points so far in the standings. Combined, Toronto and United are 2-17-8 this season.

NOTES:  Taylor Kemp started at left back and played 90 minutes, making a couple of fine plays in the second half to clear balls out of the penalty area and stop Union attacks. … Beyond the goals, two other signs of De Rosario’s strong game tonight were his ability to spray passes to teammates in the attacking third with his back to goal, and his ability to physically fend off defenders to stay on the ball and keep attacks alive. … Philadelphia made a curious substitution in the 61st minute, replacing forward Conor Casey with Antoine Hoppenot. Casey had been dangerous for most of the opening 15 minutes of the second half and had been the key to the Union’s best portion of the match to that point.

Ed Morgans is a Contributor to District Sports Page, covering D.C. United. 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.

Comments

  1. In last match Dwayne De Rosario’s performance was excellent. He has scored three goals. Really it is not an ordinary performance. Hope he will continue it.

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