Well, it was only DC United but you still have to beat the opponent in front of you.
The Fire did just that with a resounding 4-1 beat down of the league's bottom dwellers. Joel Lindpere enjoyed his best outing in a Fire uniform and Chris Rolfe scored his 3rd and 4th goals of the season to secure the win. The club has managed to show that they are a step above the "lesser" teams in the league over the last two months but they've also displayed an inability to beat the top tier.
The schedule gets tougher in the next month with games against Eastern playoff contenders Houston, Philadelphia, Montreal, New England, and Sporting Kansas City on the horizon. The rematch of this game in the US Open Cup semi-final won't be as easy either if DC has Chris Pontius and Dwayne DeRosario back in the line-up on August 7.
The next six weeks will provide a more accurate depiction of where the Fire stand in 2013.
GK Paolo Tornaghi (6) - The only blemish on the night was Luis Silva's 59th minute golazo from outside the penalty area. The Fire defense briefly let up a bit and allowed Silva the time and space to tee up a shot that Tornaghi didn't have much of a chance against. Nice fingertip save on Thorrington's shot that was deflected and could have ended up in the net. Other than that DC rarely threatened as Tornaghi registered 2 saves.
D Gonzalo Segares (6) - DC didn't have much going on from the flanks throughout the night. It was good to have Segares back in the line up after missing the Vancouver game due to yellow card accumulation.
D Bakary Soumare (6) - Solid game from Soumare and a much improved defensive effort as a team but it's tough to judge if that was more a result of DC just being plain awful.
D Austin Berry (6) - Charged with marking Carlos Ruiz most of the night and the veteran forward had absolutely nothing going on.
D Jalil Anibaba (5) - Didn't hurt the side but did have a few oops moments, particularly in the first half. Fortunately Nick DeLeon had even more lowlights.
M Jeff Larentowicz (6) - DC won the possession battle (61-39) which proves that the stat is sometimes useless. The Fire took the lead early and stepped on the gas without ever being seriously threatened for control of the match, despite some of the numbers. Delivered an assist on the second goal after a pretty move to dust Daniel Woolard from the left side of the DC box.
M Alex (6) - Active in the first half as the Fire took control early. Didn't figure into the scoring but he was effective in his role.
M Dilly Duka (5) - A quiet night for Duka. Passing and combination was so-so before leaving the match in the 47th minute with what Klopas called a hamstring or groin injury.
M Joel Lindpere (7) - The man of the match in my view. Excellent service over the top of the DC defense in the second minute to set up Rolfe for the first goal set the tone. Finished his chance in the 11th to make the score 2-0 and seal the game early. Another great ball to Rolfe right before the first half ended made it 3-0 and the Fire finally had a laugher. Lindpere talked about his desire to get back into the starting eleven in post game. Easily his best game in a Fire shirt and now leads the team in assists with 5.
F Chris Rolfe (7) - Two well taken goals and excellent in the flow of the offense, particularly in the first half. Ben Olsen credited the play of Rolfe and Magee up top as a combination that will make the Fire difficult to play against. "I thought Rolfe and Magee's relationship is becoming very clever. They're both bright players. They get it. They play off each other very well right now. They are tough to deal with," said Olsen. More on Rolfe here.
F Mike Magee (6) - Converted a spot kick in the 56th for his 12th goal of the season, momentarily tying him for the league lead with Vancouver's Camilo (who scored later in the night).
F Quincy Amarikwa (6) - Came into the match in the 47th as a sub for Duka and played very well again. Drew a penalty when he was dragged down in the box by Woolard, who had a tough night. Had a shot deflected out for a corner kick in the 66th and almost set up Lindpere for another score in the 76th.
M Logan Pause (5) - His first game action in several weeks due to injury. Subbed in for Alex in the 77th and kept the ball moving in a positive direction.
F Maicon Santos (5) - An 82nd minute sub for Magee as the clock wound down.
Javier Leon confirmed that the newest addition to the team is from Ecuador and the club is looking to loan out Sherjill MacDonald. Forward Juan Luis Anangono appears to be set to join the club some time this week....more on him later.