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Drilling down on: at D.C. United 4, FC Dallas 1

MLS SuperDraft Prospects Participate In "Creating The Beautiful Game" Art Exhibition

KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 11: MLS SuperDraft Prospect Nick DeLeon talks to the media after participating In “Creating The Beautiful Game” Art Exhibition on January 11, 2012 at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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Man of the Match: It’s dangerous to begin yakking about Rookie of the Year candidates so early in a long season. The “rookie wall” is out there, for some of them, anyway. All that said, Louisville product Nick DeLeon looks sensational, and Friday was his best yet. It wasn’t just the goal and assist for United, his work rate and ability to be a trouble maker along the right was absolutely punishing all night.

Packaged for take-away:

  • A very entertaining game from two teams determined to go get goals. NBC Sports Network will be happy with that one. (Even DC United coach Ben Olsen mentioned after the game how much fun it must have looked on TV.)
  • Right-sided midfielder Danny Cruz didn’t show up in the box score as often as DeLeon, but he was just as busy. A night he can be pleased with.
  • If United goalkeeper Joe Willis did anything wrong Friday, someone needs to point it out to me. He’s been so steady, calm and generally impressive in three games as Bill Hamid’s backup, you have to wonder if DCU manager Ben Olsen suddenly has a tough choice to make. It’s difficult to yank the starting job from Hamid, effectively “punishing” the young ‘keeper for making the U.S. under-23 squad. Still, Willis is playing well.
  • Brandon McDonald’s 20th-minute tackle from behind on Dallas’ Blas Perez looked every bit as dangerous as Adam Moffat’s bad challenge last week, which drew a one-game retroactive suspension from the league. That’s why these choices from the MLS disciplinary committee, while probably necessary in this case, can get very tricky.
  • Brek Shea finished a particularly difficult week with a very difficult night. His touch and timing were clearly off.
  • Seemed that Dallas’ players were having a tougher time with the wet RFK turf. (It rained before kickoff.) Dallas right back Zach Loyd even changed shoes midway through the first half. So it was ironic when DCU center back Emiliano Dudar made the big first-half mistake that led to Dallas’ goal. Logical to assume an odd bounce off the slickness had something to do with Dudar’s sloppy moment, right?
  • Who would think that D.C. United would have five goals in 2012, but none from their trio of DP attackers, Dwayne De Rosario, Branko Boskovic or Hamdi Salihi?
  • In a game with five goals, one that wasn’t was an equal talker. De Rosario’s 13th minute half-volley that cracked the cross bar from 25 yards was the latest De Ro “Wow!” moment.
  • De Rosario was situated at the top of a midfield diamond as Olsen continues to toy with his ideal deployment. Returning under-23 man Perry Kitchen set up shop behind De Rosario.
  • Those two goals from Maicon Santos have to hurt for FCD. That was his total in 11 games last year for Schellas Hyndman’s club, which waived Santos at year’s end.