Twenty five to one sounds like long odds. Instead 25 to 1 was the advantage the Impact had in shots against DC United and it should have made it long odds for the Black and Red to secure any points from their road trip to Montreal.
Despite the odds and shots disadvantage United secured all three points with a 1-0 win over the Impact. United is now the first team in MLS history to win with only one shot on goal according to Elias Sports Bureau. The victory over the Impact was different from United’s victories the previous two weeks when it battled back from early two-goal deficits against Philadelphia and Real Salt Lake.
United’s only shot and goal came from a Montreal miscue in the 13th minute when Marco Donadel played a difficult back pass to defender Wandrille Lefevre just outside the area. United forward Jairo Arrieta pressured Lefevre into a turnover and then escorted the ball to Chris Rolfe who finished for his team leading ninth goal of the season.
- Bill Hamid is the best goalkeeper in MLS. Hamid returned from a five-game absence after surgeries on his left hand and right knee and didn’t miss a beat. The Impact had three breakaway chances that were calmly snuffed out by Hamid and in the end he was credited with eight saves. In short Hamid was the difference between a win or a tie and a loss. It doesn’t make sense that Hamid was not called by the United States Men’s National team for the Gold Cup
- Detailed defending. In addition to Hamid’s heroics, United was better as a team on defense. In recent games when United has leaked goals early it has not been about one player or one specific problem. In wins over Philadelphia and Real Salt Lake United was loose on defense. Against the Impact the marking in the penalty area was better by United defenders and players were helping each other out and working collectively as a unit.
- Chris Rolfe is the glue to United. Rolfe provided the only goal against Montreal and he leads United in goals. There is more to the Rolfe story. He started his career as a forward, but is also now an accomplished midfielder. Rolfe not only invents on offense but defends well and was up to the challenge against Impact flank players Andres Romero and Costa Rican international Johan Venegas.
- Fabian Espindola was missed. Give fill credit to Jairo Arrieta because his tenacity led to the game’s only goal, but United seemed to be bypassing the midfield and playing more direct. When Espindola plays below striker Alvaro Saborio he is able to link the midfield to the attacking third. It is not clear how long Espindola will be out with a knee injury, but Thursday against New York City FC United will have to find a way to be better connected and keep more possession.
“I can only be concerned about so many things with this team. I could be concerned with giving up goals, not giving up goals. We would’ve liked to play better. We had a guy go down the day before a game, so we played two numbers 9’s up high. You can prepare all week and things go wrong and you change it up and you adapt.”