Against last place Montreal it was hard for D.C. United supporters not to dream about getting all three points at home. The reality for United on Saturday was almost a nightmare before Eddie Johnson broke through for his first goal with the club to secure a 1-1 draw the Impact.
The goal was not only relief for Johnson, but the exclamation mark on a better second half after United failed to find any consistency in the first half. It also evened the game after United paid for casual defense that spurred a Montreal counterattack and led to a Jack McInerney goal.
“I hate to say it, but I feel okay with the tie because I thought they (Montreal) were pretty good on the night, and I was surprised at their energy level after coming off of Wednesday. Saying that, I don’t think we came with the right enthusiasm for the game in the first half. There was some tactical stuff and some lack of quality in the way we played at times. We still needed to turn it up some. I felt that we did that in the second half. The ball moved a little quicker for us in the second half. There were times that they were trying to slow down the game and that proved difficult for us. They had some great chances and I’ve been saying it all week, they’re as good as it comes in terms of the counter. They’re certainly not as bad as their record indicates. I give them credit.”
1. It’s in the net for Eddie Johnson. The phrase, the goals are going to come, had been repeated over and over again when talking about Johnson. It had been pointed out all the good work he had been doing to free space for teammates like Fabian Espindola to operate. That’s nice, but Johnson needed a goal. Before the game Olsen told me he hoped Johnson would be more of an “aerial presence” against the Impact. Johnson was and his goal was proof positive of that. During our broadcast on Comcast SportsNet, we had a separate camera on Johnson and he was active making clever runs to try and get into dangerous positions. Johnson could have scored earlier, but in the end he was right on time.
2. Chris Korb is enjoying his best stretch as a professional. Korb’s confidence is soaring with his play on the field. From his right back position he is an important part of United’a attack without compromising his defensive responsibilities. When he gets the ball there is a sense something good is going to happen. On defense Korb has been organized and successful 1 v 1 marking. In the second half Korb saved a goal when he recovered to block a shot after a United turnover.
3. Cristian Fernandez needs to be careful. We have witnessed Fernandez’s quality with his service from the left back. When we discuss veteran experience helping United’s resurgence, Fernandez is a part of that conversation. Fernandez does need to avoid casual moments. Twice in the last three weeks he has had a turnover with his back to the attacking player that has triggered a quick counter and a goal. It happened on the first goal conceded in Portland and then last night against the Impact. Fernandez needs to be aware of that pressure.