That's more like it. Everyone got very excited about the thrashing of the LA Galaxy on opening day but this victory over DC United was maybe as dominant and impressive. The midfield largely ran the show with DC's dangerman, Gallardo, barely featuring. I can't really remember Bouna having to make a real save because the defense marshalled things so well and the attacking play was frequently exciting to watch.
It took everyone a few minutes to work out the line-up. No starting place for Cooke, Clark or Burciaga and three strikers on the field. Well, two and half really. Jacob Peterson really played as more of an attacking right midfielder with Omar Cummings and Tom McManus up front. Finally, Christian Gomez had two strikers to play with. There were also starts for Ugo Ihemelu in central defense and a first MLS start for reserve team captain, Jordan Harvey. It was kind of a 3-4-1-2, certainly going forward anyway, with Harvey playing a little more forward than the rest of the back line and then reverting to a regular left back when defending. Full marks to coach Clavijo for trying something a little more edgy.
And it worked. The Rapids could have had a few goals in the opening ten minutes. Cummings and McManus both came close with headers and probably would have expected to score. Both full backs, Harvey and Kimura, were linking very well in attack and, just as importantly, getting back comfortably to their places when defending, something that was missing against Chicago last week. LaBrocca and Mastroeni were pretty tireless winning the ball in midfield and it was very good for the team that Pablo got 90 minutes under his belt. Despite all the chances and the dominance, it was scoreless at halftime with the deadlock only broken in the 52nd minute when Jacob Peterson walloped in a screamer from about 15 yards after a pass from Christian Gomez. I know a lot of people have been frustrated by Christian Gomez since his much-heralded arrival but he was instrumental in both goals today and played a really important role in the game. His ballwinning also led to the goal for his fellow Argentine, Facundo Erpen, who headed in a delightful chip from Terry Cooke who had come on as a substitute for Peterson barely a minute before. Cooke, himself, should have made it 3-0 a few minutes later when he pushed a shot wide after a good move from Herculez Gomez and Colin Clark. These two substitutes combined very well when they came on and created a lot of chances. Food for thought for Clavijo with the next game selection. Herculez had come on for Cummings in the 60th minute. Cummings played well and will have done his chances no harm for possible call-up to the Jamaican national squad whose coach was watching in the stands. His striking counterpart, McManus, who had impressed so much in his recent games, was not at his best today, his first touch letting him down a bit. But he ran his heart out and deserves a good run in this team. Great stuff overall. The boys are back.