United's best attacking weapon was 17-year old Andy Najar
I'm sitting here wondering if I just saw it.
Nah, that couldn't have been it. Not now. Not already. Could it?
Did we just see the end of the season?
I want to say that other MLS teams have come back from farther behind to make the playoffs late in the season, but I'm too pissed off to actually do that research right now.
Some might write tonight about how DC United created plenty of chances but were thwarted by a good goalkeeping performance from Kasey Keller. But that's not what I'm going to write. Because I don't think United deserved to win this match. United got beaten by a team that's better than them. And that team has a 5-8-4 record.
There was only one player wearing black who looked likely to score, and that was Andy Najar. Najar was frequently making good runs off the ball, abusing Leo Gonzalez, and when his teammates found him, he usually got off a decent attempt. Julius James also had another impressive match at center back. He has a penchant for winning the ball, then immediately drawing a foul from the opposing attacker. Quality.
89 minutes of good defensive efforts from Dejan Jakovic and Jordan Graye, but a letdown in the final minute of action cost us the game. Graye played well defensively, but made quite a few poor passes in transition to give away chances. Jakovic getting beat by the previously terrible Roger Levesque is inexcusable. I spent all of halftime worrying that United would fall to the Sounders in the second half because Seattle would bring on newcomer Blaise Nkufo for Levesque, but it turns out they didn't even need him.
The Sounders had 11 corner kick chances and Clyde Simms defended 5 of them. No kidding. But United should have dominated the midfield in this match. We had far more talent in that area. But it just didn't happen tonight.
Santino Quaranta was more involved than he has been in some other recent offensively disappointing matches, but it still didn't amount to more than that big 0 on the scoreboard. I felt like the link was often missing between the back and the attack. That's supposed to be Quaranta's role.
Neither of our two new additions had much of an impact on the match after entering in the second half. Pablo Hernandez came on and immediately attempted to overlap Najar on the right during a counterattack when he should have been trying to get open in the middle. Had he not been watching the rest of the match? Or watching Najar in practice? Najar looks to be the fastest attacker on the team, and he needs no help bringing the ball up the wing in those situations. Get open! Branko Boskovic did little better, and was disrupted easily and often by Osvaldo Alonso.
The match changed in the Sounders' favor when Chris Pontius got a red card and was sent off early in the second half. Oh wait, that didn't happen. Although it sure seemed like it, because he totally disappeared from the match. Outside of one strong run up the left in the opening minutes, and his predictable cut in move at the top of the box when given way too much room by James Riley, Pontius didn't contribute much tonight.
Stephen King had the chance tonight to get revenge against his former team and solidify his vanishing spot in the starting lineup all at the same time. Neither happened. The Sounders had no trouble advancing through the midfield, especially in the first half. Simms is partially to blame for that too, but I didn't notice King causing much of a disruption at all. Can't believe I was advocating him remaining a starter ahead of Najar earlier this week.
Now's not the time to write this team off though. Maybe we did just fall prey to a good goalkeeper tonight. Maybe this was just Kasey Keller making up for his horrific performance in our victory in Seattle last month. And surely I'm being way too hard on Hernandez and Boskovic, who deserve more of a chance as they get better adjusted to D.C.
But 11 goals in 16 matches sure doesn't sound like a playoff team.