As we sometimes do, I shared 3 questions with Martin Shatzer of Black and Red United...head over to his blog to see my answers to his questions.
1. DC has only lost 1 of their last 10 matches and they've both grinded out results while also winning high scoring affairs. What's been the key to recent success?
United's offense has really started to come together lately as the young team continues to gel. Chris Pontius is having a career year, and Andy Najar is back to his 2010 form after getting off to a slow start. Josh Wolff deserves a lot of credit for being the creative orchestrator as a withdrawn forward behind Charlie Davies. And then all of a sudden last week D.C. shut out the highest scoring team in the league.
If the young United backline can perform consistently as well as they did against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, this team could definitely compete for the Eastern Conference title.
2. Were people in DC surprised by the Dax McCarty to New York trade and how has Dwayne DeRosario gelled into the squad here in the first couple of weeks?
We weren't surprised that United moved McCarty since he never really seemed to fit our system and wasn't even able to lock down a starting job ahead of Fred da Silva and Stephen King. And we weren't surprised that United brought in De Rosario, as management had hinted in the past that they were looking to acquire a true central attacking midfielder and the team's strategy this season has been to acquire established talents rather than unknown foreigners. But we WERE surprised by the sudden shift in tone from Rebuilding to Win Now. Its playoffs or bust now for this team.
3. Give us someone who might not be a household name that could have a big impact on Saturday and why?
Watch out for our young center backs. Homegrown rookie Ethan White is a physical force who is progressing way faster than anyone had anticipated, and newly acquired Brandon McDonald is now providing the experienced leadership that our backline was previously lacking.