The MLS season ended last night for D.C. United with a 1-0 loss at home to Sporting Kansas City, closing out a disastrous end to a season that had United as likely playoff entrants just one month ago. United acquired just one point from its final six matches. That's just not good enough. Not a playoff team.
I'm not going to be too hard on United though for losing to the winners of the Eastern Conference. The two sides looked entirely even for the majority of the match. Sporting found their goal on a corner kick in the 54th minute, and things became more difficult for United in the aftermath. D.C. allowed nine corner kicks. With the big forwards of SKC in the mix, a goal was bound to come from one of them. Kei Kamara beat Perry Kitchen on a header that rang Bill Hamid's woodwork, and Matt Besler collected the rebound and held off Marc Burch for the finish.
It was difficult to watch this match though with the thought that one team was about to win home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and one team was going to watch at home. United looked up to the task, creating just as many scoring opportunities as the opponents. They even came close to tying the match in the dying minutes as a cross from Santino Quaranta found the head of Andy Najar in the box. The young Honduran played the ball across the box, but Josh Wolff's open look at goal found the crossbar instead. That's United. A fitting end to the season.
The result wasn't a surprise. They had everything to play for. We had nothing. They put out their regular starting 11. We didn't. Ben Olsen opted to use an experimental 4-2-3-1 formation last night for the first time all season, but was forced to switch back to a 4-4-2 due to the early injury to Clyde Simms. I'd hate to see Simms' United career end with him being pulled due to a concussion, but that seems like it might be the case.
With the season drawing to a close, you might assume that the posting frequency on B&RU would slow. Not in the least. It may increase actually. There's lots to reflect on this season, and we'll spend plenty of time doing just that. You can also expect a revitalization of the River Or Life feature to give a sort of approval rating for each player on United's roster (real interested to see the results for Charlie Davies), and the voting for the 2011 Benny Awards will soon follow.