The good news from this 2-2 draw between DC United and Chivas USA is that United's attack remains a force to be reckoned with. Five goals in two matches against the above average defense of Chivas USA is a pretty solid tally.
The problem is that we needed six.
United's attack isn't what we should be worried about. The boys can finish. That feels good to say after what we saw from United in 2010, and what we saw from Joseph Ngwenya in Seattle.
What we suddenly need to be worried about is the other side of the ball. The defense gave up five goals this week, and was bailed out by their goalkeeper to prevent a few more.
We never thought "heart" would be a problem with a team coached by Ben Olsen, but it was tonight.
There were other signs of danger in this match though that didn't exist in the first matchup between these two teams. For a 5-10 minute period prior to the second Chivas goal, United could not string together more than two touches at a time. That's why no one in RFK Stadium was surprised to see the visitors tie the game. Win the ball, clear it. Win the ball, clear it. That's not a strategy for victory when you're up by only one goal with 20+ minutes remaining.
Four points from two home games was our intention going into this week. Earning only one tonight while utilizing our best healthy lineup means United will have to work even harder to get the full points on Saturday against a Real Salt Lake team that just dominated the New York Red Bulls at RBA.
Full recap here. Player ratings below.
I thought Ethan White was the Man Of The Match for United in this one, and not just because of his clean and competent finish on his first career MLS goal. White won every header in his region and was our best defender on the night.
United's two wingers played a big part in the win, as each of them created a dead ball opportunity and then served up goals as a result. Andy Najar delivered a perfect cross to DeRo for the first goal after generating a free kick, and Santino Quaranta was consistently dangerous in his service from the left, although he'll go uncredited for an assist on the White goal.
Dwayne De Rosario was once again involved in almost every attack for United and always looked likely to score. He did, but only once. De Rosario failed to convert a gift of a penalty kick opportunity that we probably didn't really deserve.
Both of Chivas' goals were well-struck without giving Bill Hamid the opportunity to make a save, but the young goalkeeper made several other stops and was a force behind the defense.
Brandon McDonald was the closest thing we had to a goat tonight, as he was knocked down by Angel far too easily on the tying goal for Chivas. He was also the biggest culprit in the "win the ball, clear it" sweepstakes. Like White, he won all of the headers sent in his direction. Well all except the one that mattered most.
I'm not going to blame McDonald though for slipping while trying to mark Nick LaBrocca on the cross leading up to Juan Pablo Angel's goal. But I am going to place some blame on Daniel Woolard for doing an impression of an orange traffic cone in no man's land in the box while LaBrocca got off the cross without pressure, as well as Perry Kitchen for losing the battle to Angel on the header.
The final pass was what United lacked many times in the second half, and King was the one who missed that pass on two or three occasions. United went long stretches in the second half without sustained possession, and coincidentally or not, those stretches began when King entered the field.