Tuesday, July 3, 2012

United Returns to Form

From http://www.dcist.com/ :

Here's a bit of Major League Soccer-related conventional wisdom: win most of your home games and average at least one point on the road, and you'll be in the playoffs come November.

In recent years, D.C. United seems to have forgotten that formula, losing at home—often in heartbreaking fashion. Over the past couple of campaigns, the Black and Red have been downright awful at RFK Stadium, going 7-16-9 while watching its attendance numbers dwindle in return.

This season, however, has been a completely different story. With a home record of 7-1-2, DCU has already matched its win total from the previous two campaigns and is making the venerable stadium a fortress once again. The club continued its winning ways on Saturday evening, trouncing the Montreal Impact 3-0 in front of its largest (and sweatiest) crowd of the year—18,032 people.

The victory—combined with a Sporting Kansas City Loss and Red Bull tie—allowed United to reclaim sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference.

"It's great," midfielder Chris Pontius said after the match when asked about his side's home performance. "It's the one thing for our fans and this organization, every one of our goals this year is to take back RFK and make it a fortress to play against us this year, and I think we've done that. "

United's goals remain clear. "We always say if we win at home then we find the road to be a playoff team," Pontius shared after the match. "So, we are winning at home and we are doing all right on the road as well. We need to get a couple more results on the road and boost ourselves and create the gap between us and some of the top teams in the East."

United's July looks nearly empty—the club will travel to Houston on July 15 for its next match, and will play at Columbus the following week. We won't see them at RFK in a league match until early August. If you need your DCU fix before then, though, you'll have your opportunity on July 28 when the club takes on Frencdh powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain.

One thing is for sure—if United keeps its current form, we'll have to stop talking about the team as a playoff possibility and start talking about it as a cup contender.