'Your papers, please' must never be heard in America
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Five years ago, Kyle Porter's anonymity evaporated. That tends to happen when a soccer player takes his career to a top-flight club in Germany — even an 18-year-old prospect whose only action would come in reserve matches.
As Dwayne De Rosario fought back tears, the D.C. United captain could hardly speak. It was a stunning sight, really, to see such raw emotion out of a figure celebrated as a commanding presence on the pitch. Vulnerability is not a trait one associates with the 34-year-old.
Over the course of nearly 10 months, D.C. United's winding path from playoff outsider to MLS Cup contender has taken the club through a grueling 34-game regular season and a trio of hectic postseason contests.
Upon joining D.C. United some 10 months ago, Nick DeLeon envisioned himself thriving on the biggest stages MLS has to offer. How quickly such events would transpire, of course, was a mystery. But he was confident it would be soon.
The MLS playoffs have been full of twists and turns for D.C. United. After a poor second-half performance against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday, the club will have to find yet another memorable moment if it wants to play for this year's championship.
A superstorm, a nor'easter and a pair of corresponding postponements stood between D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls playing their decisive playoff contest as planned. But when the match finally unfolded Thursday at Red Bull Arena, the drama proved worth the wait.
As the final whistle blew, the waves of emotion washed away four years of frustration. Flags and flares emerged from the boisterous sea of black that filled RFK Stadium’s lower bowl. And as D.C. United’s players and coaches mobbed each other, Ben Olsen and Chris Pontius savored a long embrace.
D.C. United sure haven't wasted time getting their money's worth out of Lionard Pajoy.
Dwayne De Rosario had his moment, and it was sweet. But then the script was spoiled by a most unlikely source.
For the past 3½ months, Nick DeLeon has found himself running right up against the rookie wall. Those darting runs from the flank that came with such frequency earlier have been few and far between. Concurrently, his spot in the starting lineup became an uncertain proposition.
It's safe to say the duo of Chris Pontius and Maicon Santos wasn't D.C. United's first-choice forward partnership to start this season. Nor was it the club's second option. Or third, in fact.
Coach Ben Olsen often noted this past offseason that D.C. United's restructured roster, with substantially more depth and balance than in years past, sure looked good on paper. But in Saturday's 2-1 win at the New England Revolution, those qualities paid dividends where it matters most - on the field.
If nothing else, D.C. United rookie Nick DeLeon knows how to make a first impression.
D.C. United last season learned all too well the chances a team takes when fielding a thin roster.
When Nick DeLeon had a brief chat with D.C. United coach Ben Olsen earlier this week at the MLS combine, the former Louisville midfielder didn't get much of a feeling he would end up in the nation's capital.
"We know the potential of this team," DeLeon said. "Now it's time to unwind — and come back even harder next season."
"To be successful, we need to wear this team down, and the way we're going to do that is by possessing the ball," winger Nick DeLeon said. "If we can do that over long periods of time, they're going to get tired from having to chase back and forth, and that's when gaps open up. That's when we go at them. It's just about being patient."