Rod Dyachenko made the most of his first start of the season Saturday, scoring on his first shot of the season. The big D.C. United forward took advantage of a goalie error six minutes into a 3-1 win over the Chicago Fire at RFK Stadium.
"You always want to break through that wall in your professional career," the second-year man said. "I got a sitter, but still it gives me a lot of confidence."
Before Saturday's game, Dyachenko had played just two minutes in two games this season. The 23-year-old got the start because veteran striker Jaime Moreno is with the Bolivian national team for the upcoming Copa America tournament.
Dyachenko is making the most of a second chance with United. After spending the 2006 season with the club and getting into nine games, the native Ukrainian was taken by Toronto FC in November's expansion draft.
"I didn't want to leave the club," Dyachenko said. "I enjoyed the atmosphere, but the upside was that Toronto did pick me, and I was probably going to get some minutes of playing there."
But Dyachenko, who has a green card but no passport, was not allowed to enter Canada. Toronto FC coach Mo Johnson then made a call to United.
"Mo said, 'I know you guys don't want to lose him,' so we made the decision to get him back," United technical director Dave Kasper said.
Dyachenko didn't come cheap. United traded its first pick in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft to reacquire him in February.
"It was worth giving up a lot because he has a big upside," Kasper said. "We are in a lot of competitions this year, and we need a lot of bodies."
Dyachenko came to America when he was 12 with his Ukrainian father and Russian mother, who have settled in Washington state.
"Rod has made a lot of progress," United coach Tom Soehn said. "I always said we will reward the guys that work hard, and he earned that first shot with Jaime's absence and did pretty well."
Said United defender Bobby Boswell, who once roomed with Dyachenko: "He's one of those unorthodox players who does things you don't expect, and sometimes defenders don't know how to defend against him. ... I was happy when he came back. I was at the national team camp, and [former United coach] Peter [Nowak] came over and said, 'Congratulations, you've got your best friend back.' "
Notes — Four of United's players may be called up to the U.S. team for the Copa America in Venezuela. Bobby Boswell, Ben Olsen, Bryan Namoff and Troy Perkins are on the standby list. Coach Bob Bradley could name his Copa America roster today. ...
Except for Jamil Walker, who is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, all of United's players are healthy for the first time this season. ...
The United reserves lost to the Richmond Kickers 3-2 on the road yesterday. Justin Moose and Marc Busch had United's goals. ...
Midfielder Shane Cook, from Liberty High School (Bealeton, Va.), and goalie Bill Hamid, from DeMatha, both members of United's under-16 team, trained with the club yesterday and will again today.