DC United made a huge statement on Saturday night as they comprehensively dismantled Western Conference powerhouse Real Salt Lake in the first thirty minutes of what was supposed to be a grueling test of their credentials. Instead, it became a monument to the skills of Dwayne De Rosario and Andy Najar, with the former scoring a wonderful hattrick and the latter responsible for the beautiful strike that opened the floodgates.
Not fifteen minutes had passed before De Rosario fed Najar with a perfectly weighted through ball that slipped the Honduran-born teenager in behind RSL's lines. Najar took the ball in his stride. His first touch was perfect, and the second even better - it shifted the ball to his right foot while looking like the winger was merely continuing his run, leaving Nick Rimando totally helpless as the ball whistled past him half a second later.
Najar's footwork was sublime, but De Rosario's triplet of goals was no less so. The first was a diving header from a from a cross (guess who hit it) but the second was beautifully clipped into the net and the third was a free kick from such a long way out that Rimando barely even bothered setting up a wall. That was in the 31st minute. DC United had put four goals past a strong candidate for the MLS cup in eighteen minutes of football.
The rest of the match couldn't quite live up to that standard, of course, and the hosts stopped going for it as the first half died down. That RSL pulled a goal back in the dying seconds (substitute Alvaro Saborio the man to grab it) to make the final score 4-1 was irrelevant - the fact of the matter is that if DC had felt like it, they could easily have doubled their goals total. One would hope that the home fans will remember this for a long time, because it's as thorough a beating as anyone's inflicted on RSL for ages.