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DC United Ends Home Futility In Explosive Fashion, Beating Vancouver Whitecaps 4-0

DC United won their first home game since May 4th, using two goals from Chris Pontius and three second-half goals to defeat the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday before 11,738 at RFK Stadium in the nation’s capital.  Pontius scored in stoppage time of the first half to open the floodgates after an even opening stanza.  Rookie Joe Willis, making his debut in the nets following Bill Hamid’s red card last weekend and Steve Cronin’s woeful display in relief, came up huge to tap Camilo’s free kick off the bar and somehow ended up with the ball in his hands following a mad scramble directly in front of his net.  Assistant Coach Chad Ashton, who manned the touchline in place of Ben Olsen, who was also red carded the previous weekend, said of Willis’s performance, “At the start of the week we, as a group, decided we were going to let them [ Joe Willis and Steve Cronin] battle it out over the course of the week. It was a good battle – they both did a good job. Joe [Willis] was just a little bit better during the course of the week.”

The Pontius goal in stoppage time of the first half came after great work from near the touchline by Dwayne DeRosario, who evaded two Whitecaps defenders and delivered a swerving ball to the far post that Whitecaps goalie Jay Nolly, who struggled mightily on the night, could only parry into the path of a sliding Pontius.  United continued its form into the second half, scoring two minutes into the second period, with Nolly again heavily to blame.  Santino Quaranta sent a long diagonal ball that landed at the feet of a surging Andy Najar.  Najar headed towards the end line and blasted a shot from an acute angle that deflected off of Nolly and into the net.  This second goal seemed to dampen the enthusiasm of the away side, who have yet to win in 13 away fixtures this season.  They did have an excellent chance to get back into the game in the 65th minute when Jonathan Leathers sent a beautiful low cross into the box that found giant French striker Eric Hassli, but Hassli’s shot from point-blank range was expertly parried by the quick reflexes of Willis on his goal line, and United effectively killed the match some five minutes later after a flowing move that ended with Nolly giving up a juicy rebound from substitute Stephen King’s shot that Pontius, named Player of the Week on Monday, slammed home with authority from the edge of the six-yard box.  DeRosario and King combined again for the fourth goal in the 81st minute, with King taking DeRosario’s feed and taking a nice touch by his marker before slotting a worm-burner past Nolly to seal United’s emphatic victory.  United had been struggling for weeks to gain three points at home. Pontius heralded the importance of the victory, stating, “We needed this as a group.” United, winners of two of their past three, will head to Chicago on Thursday for a Conference match up with the Fire.

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