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De Rosario, Salihi lead D.C. past Colorado

DeRoCOL (Getty Images)



WASHINGTON — Prior to the start of the season, D.C. United planned on having Dwayne De Rosario and Hamdi Salihi paired up top as a dynamic duo. While that hasn't been the way the season has played out, the two showed they are capable of creating some fireworks together nonetheless.

De Rosario and Salihi each scored, and D.C. was able to overcome a standout performance in goal by Colorado Rapids keeper Matt Pickens to deliver a 2-0 victory in front of 11,593 at RFK Stadium Wednesday night. 

With Maicon Santos and Chris Pontius, who have become United's go-to strike tandem, both nursing injuries, De Rosario moved forward from his usual place in the midfield and Salihi, a Designated Player making his first start in six games, assisted in shouldering the load up top.

"I think Dwayne’s had a lot of games where we’ve pushed him," D.C. coach Ben Olsen said. "It was good to move him up, maybe give him a little less of a workout today. It looked good. It’s definitely a good option to have.”

De Rosario opened the scoring in the 25th minute, running onto a curling, low pass from Lewis Neal that split the Colorado defense. The reigning league MVP waltzed into the area and beat Pickens for his third goal of the season.

Pickens, who made eight saves on the night, then kept the Rapids in the game with a series of high-quality saves. He robbed De Rosario of his second goal off a blast from outside the area, touching it over the bar in the 27th minute. On the ensuing corner kick, Pickens made a reaction save to stuff Robbie Russell's free header from the center of the box and then punched away a Branko Boskovic blast on the following sequence. 

Pickens robbed Salihi of a header off a corner kick in the 47th minute with another reaction save. In the 60th minute Pickens made yet another major stop to parry Boskovic's free header from point-blank range off a cross from Neal, but the keeper yielded a rebound right to Salihi, who finished into an empty net for his third goal in four games.

"Hamdi stuck with the play and was able to capitalize on the rebound," De Rosario said. "Great goal by him. The more we can get guys scoring and confident in terms of service, scoring goals, the better of we'll be long term."

While Salihi, one of D.C.'s Designated Players is starting to find his groove, perhaps the same could be said for Boskovic, a DP whose minutes have come at a premium and whose contract is up this summer. For him, the match marked his third start of the season in the midfield and his top performance in eight appearances.

"You see him on the field today, he brought nice composure, played the ball wide, kept us in possession," said De Rosario, whose shifted forward allowed for Boskovic to get the start in central midfield. "He's very good on the ball,and that's what we need in that position."

Boskovic was not the only player on the field being reintegrated into the starting lineup. Colorado striker Conor Casey made his first start since rupturing his Achilles 10 months ago. While still in "preseason mode" according to Rapids coach Oscar Pareja, Casey had one of Colorado's best chances in the 22nd minute, firing just high from 25 yards out. Casey gave way in the 65th minute for Brazilian striker Edu, who made his MLS debut.

"It felt good to be out there, get a good run in. Physically it's all positive. The minutes were good," Casey said. "I thought we played OK in the first half. Had a couple of half chances that we didn't put away, they got a counter goal, we made a mistake, and sometimes that's how the games go. We didn't really find our footing in the second half, and it just kind of got away from us a little bit."

The plan for Pareja was to play Casey for a half or a little bit more to build on the 45 minutes he played as a halftime substitute 10 days ago in Dallas.

"You always have his presence up top, and that's important for the group," Pareja said. "In the end you want to keep him on the field, but we're thinking that we have a quick turnaround. We have to be progressive with Conor. It's a process for him, and he's going to need a couple games to get match fit."

The match was the first of a three-game, 10-day homestand for D.C. (6-4-3), which welcomes winless Toronto FC to the nation's capital on Saturday before facing the New England Revolution next weekend. Colorado (5-6-0) returns home to host Sporting Kansas City at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Saturday.

NOTES: Perry Kitchen, who D.C. feared would have to miss time with a knee injury suffered over the weekend, started and played all 90 minutes…Bill Hamid made two saves to earn his second clean sheet of the season…Colorado midfielder Harrison Henao made the bench for the first time since being officially added to the Rapids' roster but did not play…Brian Mullan exited the match at halftime with an apparent ankle injury and was limping in the Rapids locker room after the match, though he said he was OK. Kamani Hill replaced him at the break.


  1. Pickens and Dan Kennedy have both been having stellar seasons for some of the more unheralded keepers in MLS.

  2. agreed. and to think, if everyone were healthy, Olsen would have to decide who to play out of Santos, Pontius, Cruz, and De Leon. there is some great depth on this team.

  3. Good point about the box to box play. I was thinking specifically of the strong, accurate long crosses out of the back. DCUs defenders get a little sloppy with their outlet passes at times. But, Perry seems to hit any blade of grass he wants from across the field.

  4. Dwayne is French Canadian right? Therefore, I think it’s like Charles “Deh” Gaulle. Thus, Dwayne Deh Rosario. On that youtube clip he referred to himself as Dee Ro almost like Jay Lo. He was saying the letter D + Ro. All imho. Btw, he played a great game last night. Ben Olsen is rotating the players really really well right now.

  5. OK, When you shorten it to “DERO” it’s not the same name and thus a different pronunciation, but when he says his FULL name it still sounds like “day” to me! Potato potata ya know?! Gotta admit though he does pronounce it way more Canadian than I expected on the “Rose-air-eeoo”

  6. thats funny dcpedro. during the game tonight they mentioned mastro being out, but they did not say anything about marvell wynne. with chandler out of the picture, the hungry beast might be back in the picture at right back.

    dc united is showing that they have real quality depth.

  7. Completely agree. Not often I tip my hat to a keeper that lost 2-0, but Pickens stood on his head tonight. Had to work hard, and made (to my count) 3 saves that should have been goals. I dont think he should be on the NT radar, but he will keep the Rapids heads above water until they have Wynne back.

  8. It’s worth noting just how good Pickens was. If not for him, this was a rout — but that doesn’t say enough about the degree of difficulty in his saves. Dude should send a clip of this match to Klinsmann.

  9. fair enough, pretty sure it’s “day” though and all these American commentators are just butchering it. Definitely not “dee” !! Either way VAMOS!

  10. Except that doesn’t answer the question. First off, if it’s a strict Spanish pronunciation, it’s closer to “Deh-Row.” However, the dude was raised in Canada. It’s whatever he thinks it is. That’s what I don’t know.

  11. I think the headline really misses the biggest difference-maker tonight. This was the Boskovic that United has been waiting almost 2 years to see in an MLS match. Colorado might have made it easy on him by not pressuring him, but Bosko was on the move and throwing himself into the game in a way I haven’t seen except for his legendary USOC performance against the Revs. With Salihi in the starting lineup and joined by DeRo up top, and Najar on the wing, the only thing needed to throw the offense into high gear was a solid performance by Boskovic. Instead, they got a bravura performance. Except for Neal subbing on the wing, this was the lineup we all expected coming into the season, and it was the offense that I thought could carry United back to the top of the East.

    Watch out, MLS. United hadn’t really clicked yet. They are going to set the league on fire.

  12. Yeah — I’ve never been sure if it’s Deh-Row, DEE-Row or DAY-Ro.

    Kitchen is really starting to get the hang of the DM role. If he keeps playing like that, he’ll get the call for the national side soon enough.

  13. Impressive result from DCU. Makeshift backline of sorts, a bunch of starters out. match congestion and tired legs. Instead, they looked very good. Lots of game changers out there, good team play, kept the shutout. Olsen pulled the right strings. Lots to like about this match if you’re a DCU fan.

  14. Kitchen had a nice, tidy game tonight.

    But he has not developed the box to box abilities that are Bradley’s hallmark. And he doesnt have the ability to impose himself on the game like Mikey either. Even at the MLS level. Give him another two seasons. Beckerman is the most Bradley-like guy in MLS actually.

    I expect Kitchen to be a contributer in the 2018 cycle. He has promise.

  15. Perry Kitchen plays a little like Michael Bradley and I mean that in the best possible way. The two local announcers each pronounce De Rosario’s name a different way. I don’t mean that in the best sense. Finally, Chris Korb of DCU wears halfsy shin guards that I cannot even begin to comprehend. Vamos United. /game report


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