By Elliot Sangara.
Wayne Rooney’s DC United are at their best when they keep it simple. That’s exactly what they did on Saturday night when they took on the Chicago Fire at Audi Field in Washington DC.
Two former English Premier League veterans led the way for United. In the first 10 minutes of the match Mateusz Klich, formerly of Leeds United, received the ball in his own half and lifted up his head in time to see Christian Benteke making a run toward Chicago’s goal.
Klich threaded a perfectly weighted ball to Benteke, who was being tracked by Chicago defender Rafael Czichos.
These are the situations that have earned Benteke his reputation as a bustling center forward with strength and quality.
Benteke collected the ball perfectly on his chest, dropped it to his right foot, and shifted it to his left with Czichos in front of him trying to hold him off.
As he controlled the ball with his left foot he glided past Czichos and held him off as he put the ball in the far left corner of the goal. It was a brilliant goal and an exceptional pass from Klich to set it up.
Having lost their previous two matches, DC United fans may have not known what to expect from their team. A thumping 4-0 victory over Chicago Fire lifted the home crowd and eased tensions about the current season.
Prior to yesterday, DC United hadn’t won a league game since early July. One has to wonder how frustrated Rooney must have been. However, last night’s performance will surely put a smile on the English manager’s face.
Benteke scored the first goal, but he created the second one.
Once again, DC United played a long ball to the big Belgian striker. This time, Benteke showed his intelligence and highlighted how his teammates are learning how to play with him.
Benteke was a few yards outside the box with his back to goal as he controlled the ball, he decided to juggle the ball in the air for a moment or two in order to provide his teammates with time to run into the box toward the goal.
Theodore Ku-DiPietro, an exciting young player, knew exactly what to do and ran into the box. Benteke juggled, turned toward the goal, and delivered a pass to Ku-DiPietro who used his own momentum from the run as well as the weight of the pass to tap it into the back of the net and make it 2-0. Chicago’s Kei Kamara had a chance just before halftime, but he couldn’t beat the goalkeeper as he flicked the ball to himself in DC United’s box and fired toward the goal.
The third goal in this game is the reason why some European soccer fans aren’t making much of Messi’s success in MLS…the questionable defending that borders on comical.
For the third goal, Benteke received the ball just outside the box, he was being pressured by a defender, and he decided to quickly pass the ball to Ku-DiPietro who was making another run into the box. This is where the comedy ensues.
Chicago defender Carlos Teran tries to stop Ku-Dipietro by barging into him, both players fall on the ground, as he’s falling Teran is unaware of where the ball is, as Teran is on the ground the ball hits off his foot and loops over the goalkeepers into the back of the net.
There was a moment directly after the goal where the referee seemed confused about whether to give a red card for the foul in the box or to let the goal stand. He let the goal stand and it was 3-0 before halftime.
Chicago created more opportunities in the second half, but unlike DC United, they lacked a clear focal point for their attack. Chicago could get the ball in the right areas but never had anyone to finish the opportunities.
The final goal came from a loose ball in the box. Chicago defenders were watching the ball as Benteke was hanging around the opposite post unmarked, Chris Durkin saw Benteke and made a pass across the goal, 4-0.