In his first appearance with D.C. United, we saw some positive and some negative moments from Long Tan. We can understand now why he's always been such a highly rated prospect, and yet also why he was let go from the Vancouver Whitecaps so cheaply. Tan is constantly finding himself in good positions, and I don't think that's due to luck by any means, and not entirely due to his speed either. Tan's movement and anticipation is high quality, allowing him to get the ball in dangerous spots quite often. Now if he could only figure out what to do with the ball when he gets it...
Chris Korb also offered positive and negative moments against the Columbus Crew. The positive ones came on offense. The negative ones came on defense. That's not something you usually want to say about a defender. Korb was shockingly more involved in our attack than several of our midfielders, and came inches away from scoring the tying goal late in he match.
The balance of the back line had fewer positive offensive contributions, and so they're graded a step lower than Korb. Columbus has been shut out several times this season, but Brandon McDonald, Dejan Jakovic, and Daniel Woolard weren't able to do it because of a poorly executed offside trap that saw Chris Birchall running free. Jakovic was in his usual one-bad-play-a-game form. Remember the disallowed goal for the Crew just before half time? Remember the free kick that started the sequence? That free kick happened only because of an isolated and unnecessary foul from Jakovic.
I worry that I'm going to turn into a broken record when talking about Chris Pontius. He had a few chances, one that he bungled early on. He didn't have enough chances though. He can never have enough chances. Right now, Pontius is the best scorer on our team. Get. Him. The. Ball.
Playing with a lead at home against an expansion team? Yeah, that seems like its a good time to play Lewis Neal as a central midfielder. Playing on the road in a critical conference matchup filling in for our most accurate passer? Apparently that's not quite as good a fit for Neal. Olsen gambled on Neal rising to the occasion, and this time he didn't. For the most part, Neal did well at keeping possession and distributing throughout the central third, but didn't really create any good chances. In other words, he didn't pass The Standard.
As we've already discussed in a bit of detail, this wasn't a good game for Dwayne De Rosario. Nor was it a good game for his protege Nick DeLeon. The rookie was nondescript for the entire match, a shell of what had us raving early in the season. De Rosario made some poor decisions, and yet he still could have tied the match almost immediately after Columbus took the lead if not for a close call from the referee.