There were good performances all over the park last night for D.C. United, which managed its home opener well enough to opportunistically find a second-half game-winner against Real Salt Lake and take all the points in a 1-0 win.
Outside back Chris Korb looked spry along the left. Dejan Jaković was quite good in the center and Perry Kitchen was effective on attack and defense from his central spot.
Kitchen played a little higher up the field than usual. He was able to because of veteran John Thorrington. With Thorrington positioned slightly deeper, young Kitchen was freer to show that he’s no one-trick pony, that his abilities go beyond destroy-and-distribute.
And this is exactly what Thorrington can be when he healthy. He’s smart enough to know what a game needs, skillful enough to provide it. He’s a far better fit than Marcelo Saragosa in this way. Again, all of that applies only when Thorrington is healthy.
Of course, there’s the rub. Since a couple of reasonably healthy years in Chicago, Thorrington started just 28 matches over the next three seasons (9.3 stars a year during the that time.)
It looked like a great addition for Ben Olsen and United – but with that significant health history caveat.
Sure enough, it was a shame to see Thorrington taken off last night, injured. What Olsen had to say about it afterward:
We don’t think it’s anything season ending, but there’s probably something in there, maybe an MCL, but we’ll wait. We’ll wait until we hear what’s going on. I thought he had a great night. He calms us down. I thought Dejan [Jakovic] was pretty sharp tonight, and [Brandon McDonald] and the back four were very connected. We weren’t connected and we didn’t look out for each other in Houston and the back four did a great job of that tonight.”