Sometimes soccer is a complicated game, and sometimes it’s simple.
On Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium, it was simple.
Borek Dockal and C.J. Sapong scored goals, and the Union won for the first time since the season opener on March 3.
The 3-2 victory over D.C. United was sorely needed, especially for the Union’s two most important attacking players. Dockal struck the winner, smashing home a shot from close range in the 72nd minute for his first goal in a Union jersey.
“We definitely needed to get three points [for a win] today, and I needed to score a goal or create a chance or something,” Dockal said. “In our last three or four games, we struggled to score a goal. I felt a responsibility to do something to get a result.”
But the Union had to play from behind early on. In just the seventh minute, Jack Elliott gave the ball away to D.C.’s Yamil Asad, who made a quick pass to Luciano Acosta, who fed a wide-open Zoltan Stieber for the game’s first goal.
Fortune turned the Union’s way in the 37th minute when they got their first goal since April 7. Ilsinho, making his first start of the season, created it. The Brazilian cut in from the right flank with a nifty run, then played a pass toward Sapong that deflected into the net off D.C.’s Frederic Brillant.
It wasn’t pretty, but at least it was earned. And the Union (2-3-2, 8 points) certainly weren’t going to turn it down.
In the 60th, the Union scored an actual, genuine goal. Haris Medunjanin started the play, floating an inch-perfect 25-yard pass to Bedoya at the edge of the six-yard box. Bedoya then headed the ball across the goalmouth for Sapong to finish with a header of his own. It was Sapong’s first goal since the season opener.
Just when the mood was starting to lighten, Darren Mattocks turned it sour. He equalized for United (1-4-2, 5 points) in the 70th minute, nailing a flying volley after Stieber whipped in a cross from the left wing.
Fewer than two minutes later, Dockal came to the rescue. He pounced on a pass from Fafa Picault and nearly blew a hole in the net with the force of his shot. His celebration was simple but emphatic: a fist pump and a scream toward the nearby River End stands.
“That’s how it should be,” Dockal said. “I hope this result is going to give us the confidence we need.”
The Union need a lot of confidence, and not just because of the standings. They now embark on a stretch of three road games in eight days: at reigning champion Toronto (Friday), Columbus (May 8) and Montreal (May 12).
But this win certainly can’t hurt, especially given who made it happen.