D.C. United entered this match with a chance to increase its yearly point total by 50%, and more importantly, to move out of the cellar of MLS's Eastern Conference. With a win at RFK Stadium tonight, United would have passed its opponent Toronto FC and would no longer be considered the worst team in the league.
Unfortunately, none of that happened. After showing progress in a scoreless draw last weekend and after a big 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union in the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, United fell back down to reality. That reality is a 2-1 loss to TFC and a 1-11-3 record on the season.
If you're looking for good news as a United fan, take solace in the fact that we're now witnessing Nick DeLeon's return to his 2012 form. The sophomore was clearly United's man of the match tonight, earning the team's first penalty kick of the year early in the match. Dwayne De Rosario put away the penalty kick and was dangerous throughout the match. He also appears to have returned to his 2012 form (but not 2011).
Unfortunately we can't say the same about Brandon McDonald, who has continued his terribly disappointing 2013 form. After being benched for four of United's last five league matches, McDonald was forced back into action due to injuries to Ethan White and Dejan Jakovic, but he did little to earn his starting job back. McDonald could be deemed culpable on both of Toronto's goals, losing a header duel to Robert Earnshaw on the first, and then giving away the very definition of an unnecessary foul to set up the free kick for Toronto's second, which turned out to be an own goal off Daniel Woolard.
At least in this match, United managed to put the ball into their opponents' net the same number of times as they put it into their own net, which is a solid improvement over other games this year.
It wasn't enough though. And while just about every other team in the league has scored a late goal against TFC to avoid losses, United spent the final 10 minutes of this match without a single threat on goal.
We've been asking for weeks now when this team will reach rock bottom. So is this it? Losing at home to Toronto FC is really really bad. D.C. United can't possibly do any worse than this. Right?