Powered by two goals from Australian Danny Alsopp and a very good debut effort by keeper Bill Hamid, DC United grabbed its first points of the season with a 2-1 win over Kansas City. I am not going to reject the points because football is a game of confidence and a win boosts the confidence of the team as they head into a road game against the similarly tragic FC Dallas this weekend. But I am not going to sugar coat the win either, DC United still has some real problems.
Look Allsopp and Adam Cristman as getting the ball and taking shots. As any first year coach will tell you, you can't score if you don't put the ball on target. So, I am happy that Allsopp and Cristman are doing their job. Despite them being slow, they are showing they can get shots off, hold the ball fairly well (let's face it they are no Brian Ching), pressure the opposition defense and make a nuisance of themselves. So I am happy for that.
Despite my reluctance, I have to say that Kurt Morsink was, for a brief time, listed as my bad singing of the off-season, but the former Wizard has proven to be willing to put in the sweat and work necessary as a defensive midfielder. I am not a big fan of having two defensive midfielders pairing Morsink and Clyde Simms on the pitch at the same time, was not a particularly good idea, but it seemed to work--this time.
But the United defense is not particularly good. Their shape is horrible and their discipline is as bad. Now admittedly, the back four last night is far from Curt Onalfo's first choice back four, but they looked like crap. If Kansas City has been able to hold the ball last night and string together more than four passes at any one time, then DC would have been in trouble. But the back four left the weak side far too exposed and proper passes and proper runs by Kansas City would have plucked apart the back line at will. The center backs were too easily sucked in toward the ball, which left them vulnerable on attack. The communication between the center backs, Carey Talley and Juan Pena, was practically non-existent. Luck on defense is not how you are going to win games on a regular basis.
A few words about Bill Hamid. Yes, he had a good game and if his back line had kept their head in the game, he would have walked out with a clean sheet on his first MLS start. He is big, strong, and vocal (you could hear him yelling at his defenders, doing his job organizing his defense). Hamid was well positioned and aware of his position relative to his line and his goal. He is a spectacular athlete (he is a big boy) and I think well on his way. As DC United's first homegrown player signed from the Academy, Hamid has shown that he was well worth the risk. His performance will push Troy Perkins to get better and I am not sure that Perkins was aware of how good Hamid was.
I can see Hamid getting some time on the U-20 National Team (he wasn't called in for the current camp) and probably as the keeper for the 2012 Olympic team (he will be 21 in 2012). I also see a starting role for him in the next couple of years or a move abroad.
Now, it is good that DC United got the win, but let's not make it into more than it was, a win over a Kansas City team that played poorly. Onalfo and company have work to be done.