After a badly needed win the Fire improve to 1-2-1 on the season. The match wasn't exactly pretty but it was effective nonetheless for the Fire. DC was held to very few real scoring opportunities while the only truly dangerous chances were 2 headers from Julius James.
Offensively the Fire looked more composed and fluid than in the three previous matches. De Los Cobos' decision to play one striker worked today since Patrick Nyarko and Justin Mapp (yes Justin Mapp) controlled possesion and frustrated United's defenders for most of the match. Mapp in particular forced several corner kick opportunities on the ragged DC defense. Nyarko continues to impress with his play on the right side and I think he'll improve on his hesitancy to shoot on net as the year goes on as he finds more space from defenders fearing his quickness.
Overall it was a well deserved and badly needed three points for the Fire.
GK Andrew Dykstra (6) - Earned his first clean sheet, made a nice save on a free kick, and picked up an assist. He wasn't really tested but he looked a little more sure of himself.
D Wilman Conde (7) - Conde continues to be the man in the Fire's back line.
D CJ Brown (6) - Wore the armband and was steady again tonight.
D Krysztof Krol (6) - Made a few nice runs and didn't allow any opportunites against.
D Dasan Robinson (6) - One muffed clearance attempt but other than that he was solid.
M Patrick Nyarko (7) - Continued to be the Fire's most dangerous player. His run resulted in the first goal.
M Marco Pappa (7) - His ability to finish today earns the higher mark. Distribution and vision need to improve if he is going to be succesful playing centrally.
M Peter Lowry (5) - Did well to get forward and get off two shots on net. Did well helping the defense against DC's weak midfield. If he is going to be the man to assume corner kick responsibilities on the left side his service needs to be better.
Baggio Husidic (5) - Decent performance. Almost scored in the 69th minute on a sliding attempt.
Justin Mapp (6) - Mapp was better in the first half than he was in the second but provided a solid effort on both ends of the pitch. Hopefully he can maintain the same energy going forward.
Collins John (5) - Almost scored on a chip attempt early and had a few other looks that weren't as dangerous.
Brian McBride (8) - McBride entered the game in the 76th minute and immediately provided a shot on goal followed three minutes later by an assist on the Nyarko goal, and a goal 9 minutes after that. His substitution seemed to change the match.
Mike Banner (5) - Came on in the 84th minute after Nyarko cramped up.
Ref - Silviu Petrescu (4) - Appeared to miss a handball call in the box in the first half and allowed some chippy defending on DC's end.
Houston will be a tougher match up next week. They crushed Chivas USA 3-0 earlier in the day.
Kelly and Doran have done a pretty decent job so far. The half time and post game shows need some work. I'll have some thoughts on that for discussion later this week.