D.C. United’s 16-match winless run is over, and while it took a crucial Jose Gonçalves own goal to make it happen, beggars can’t be choosers. For the first time since Aug. 3, 2013, Ben Olsen’s team took three points from a Major League Soccer match, leaving New England the beggars after its 2-0 win at RFK Stadium.
Though the Black and Red deserve credit for limiting the Revolution to one shot on goal, they only managed two shots on target themselves, underscoring the importance of Gonçalves’s 43rd minute own goal. Given how little pressure the 2013 Defender of the Year was under while redirecting Cristian’s shot past Bobby Shuttleworth, New England fans would deb right to embrace a few what ifs. In a match where both teams struggled to create chances, Gonçalves’s mistake could have been the difference between a four-match unbeaten run and a D.C.’s much-needed victory.
On the scoreboard, at least, United did offer a little something else, with their newest acquisition scoring in his first appearance for the club. From one point of view, Chris Rolfe looks like another decent if limited veteran added to a team that spent the offseason acquiring decent if limited veterans: Jeff Parke; Bobby Boswell; Sean Franklin; Davy Arnaud; and Fabian Espindola. In theory, however, Rolfe adds a degree of versatility Olsen doesn’t otherwise have at his disposal – somebody who can help connect those too often isolated levels of D.C.’s formation. In the 93rd minute, his volley beat Shuttleworth to give his new team insurance.
It was part of a welcomed but mixed day for United, though you can forgive fans overlooking the multiple chances Teal Bunbury had extend D.C. United’s winless run. Instead, they may wish to focus on Eddie Johnson’s missed chance in the second half and note the team could have broken through without Gonçalves’s generosity.
In time, nobody’s going to remember that minutiae. For a team that’s been forced to accept an evermore depressing reality, Saturday provided reason for hope. So what if it wasn’t the greatest win in the world? D.C.’s not going to go from zero-to-hero over two hours. For one day, all that matters is the result – a positive one.