The weather may have been a tad ugly last night night, but the soccer on the field of CommunityAmerica Ballpark was the epitome of "exciting and attractive."
And, as often happened last year, it wasn't Curt Onalfo's side putting on the attractive attacking display.
He did get a great seat for what that type of football looks like though.
The changes implemented by Peter Vermes this off-season seemed to work beyond anyone's imagination. The team was more fit, the attack more confident and the new players (Stephane Auvray and Ryan Smith especially) more settled and skilled that most thought.
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The Wizards took an early 1-0 lead and, after United had a goal called back for offsides, there was never really any doubt as to who the best team on the pitch was.
The ImpressivesRyan Smith.
The left winger was everything fans could've imagined and then some. He was involved in every attacking move and his touch leading to Davy Arnaud's goal was sublime. (Opening his goal-scoring account in his first-ever MLS game was huge.) Let's hope the knock he took to his leg late in the game is minor. He was walking on his power (though gingerly) after the match.Matt Besler.
The two Jimmys (Nielsen and Conrad) get some credit for the shutout, but the Overland Park native was a beast on the backline and should've had a goal. (It was just barely touched offsides.)
An honest-to-goodness ox-to-box midfielder. Finally.Davy Arnaud.
Last year's form is last year's form. Thank God.Jack Jewsbury.
More fit than I thought and a surprise (to me) starter. Hit the penalty with typical Action Jack authority.
The Not-So-ImpressivesDC United's attack.
Jaime Moreno, Chris Pontius and Santino Quaranta weren't able to get the ball forward with any space and, save one move easily parried away by Nielsen, the trio were basically silenced.Josh Wolff.
It's hard to find fault with anyone on the field in a 4-0 thrashing... but Wolff was a non-factor for most of the game and was subbed off for Teal Bunbury in the second half.The national soccer media.
I don't mean to take a reactionary stance on this one, but I'm pretty sure the folks who predicted the Wizards to finish at 7th or worst in the East are probably feeling a little silly today. It's a long season and many, many things can change. But this much is sure: If they were basing their predictions on last year's team, none of their predictions are valid. At all.
Line of the Night
The All-HD broadcast of the game on KCWE was really great. Dave Borchardt and Sasha Victorine were both solid. It was Victorine that had the line of the night though, when discussing how D.C. United would chase goals in the second half.
"[Curt] Onalfo isn't afraid to lose 6-0."
Yeah, don't Wizards fans know it.
The Wizards gave pretty much everyone in the MLS something to think about. The attack was precise, the defend solid and the three-man midfield of Auvray, Arnaud and Jewsbury completely controlled the pace of the game. Next up is Colorado on April 10.
In other news
Thad atThe Back Post is reporting that Sunil Chhetri's P-1 visa
has cleared. A roster move (and international spot) will have to be made to clear up space for him. The Wizards don't play this weekend, so there's probably no rush. I'm leaning toward Santiago Hirsig (who dressed but didn't play) as the odd-man out. My eyes will be open for a trade toward the end of this week.