Wednesday, June 20, 2012

DC United On a Roll !


Moments before entering the field of play, substitutes off of D.C. United’s bench receive a brief series of last instructions.  With Head Coach Ben Olsen presiding over on-field activities, assistants Pat Onstad and Chad Ashton are usually left to deliver the all-important final message.

That message was crystal clear in the final quarter-hour of Saturday’s 1-0 win over Philadelphia: HOLD THE BALL.

“That was obviously the idea,” Lewis Neal said of his assigned duties after coming on in the 61st minute.  “It wasn’t really happening for us all over the field.  It was one of those times when [D.C.’s technical staff] were trying to get us on to just get a hold of the ball a little bit and keep it.  I thought we did an OK job of that.”

Eleven minutes after Neal replaced rookie Nick DeLeon, Branko Boskovic joined the Englishman as another set of fresh legs in midfield.  The pair combined to complete 24 of their 26 attempted passes as United denied Philadelphia any prolonged spells of possession at a time when the Union were pushing for a score.

“Those guys are real possession guys,” Olsen noted when asked about his second-half midfield reinforcements.  “I thought they bought us some real time on the offensive possession, and that was key down the stretch.”

Boskovic’s effort in a central role was particularly impactful.  The Montenegrin picked up his third assist in as many outings while completing all eleven of the passes he attempted during an 18-minute stint.
“He controlled the midfield,” Dwayne De Rosario said of Boskovic.  “He found the little pockets when I was underneath and we started to knock the ball around and keep possession in [Philadelphia’s] half, which was lacking a little bit."