The Last Word: DCU Falls to Chivas (and Other Stuff)

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The narrative remained the same as D.C. United fell to the Western Conference's last place team. We promise not to dwell on that narrative (too much). Instead, let's think some deep thoughts like "what's our magic number for clinching the #1 position in next year's MLS SuperDraft?" or "How many people actually saw the telecast on Sunday?"

The opening leg of D.C. United's annual two-game series/derby/NotSoClassico against teams from SoCal kicked off on Sunday night at Stub Hub Center. D.C. United played Chivas USA in a battle of conference basement dwellers, falling to the Goats 1-0. About the only positive things that can be said are that we are one game closer to the 2013 season being over and our magic number for securing the #1 pick in the MLS SuperDraft keeps getting lower (or is that higher? Shoutout to the first person who computes that magic number and explains it below.).

Their Words:

- Steven Goff, via Washington Post: "The D.C. United-Chivas USA match was everything you would expect involving last-place clubs. Which is to say, not much...Ben Olsen‘s starting lineup averaged 23.6 years old and included seven players age 23 or under."

- Adam Taylor, via B&RU: "It was basically the same story we've seen so many times. D.C. United dominated possession, but created little danger in the attacking end and fell due to hilarious incompetence in front of their own goal. If anything, this was a little bit worse, as United fell 0-1 to Chivas USA, the resident raging dumpster fire of MLS...Well, that's all I can stomach at the moment - I'm off to bed."

- MLS Match Recap: "While the Goats (6-15-7) claimed a rare win, D.C. United's road drought continued. The Red-and-Black [sic] have not won away from RFK Stadium since Oct. 6, 2012 - a streak of 15 matches." [author's note: this doesn't include a playoff win over our heated rivals in New Jersey (YOU CAN'T HOLD US BACK) or a US Open Cup semifinal played in the suburbs of Chicago last month]

My Words:

Taking on Chivas USA using a young lineup that included Ethan White, Dennis Iapichino, Collin Martin, and Conor Doyle, D.C. United played most of the first half on the front foot, put some pressure on Chivas' excellent goalie (Dan Kennedy), gave up a goal early in the second half after a long chaotic defensive sequence, and then relied on Bill Hamid to keep the score from getting worse as the game came to its inevitable conclusion. With both teams entering the game with a combined 8-33-12 record and -49 goal differential this season, no one was expecting much (not even the 7,781 announced ***cough*cough*** crowd) and the game lived up to expectations. Going up against NBC's opening "Football Night in America" game that pitted the Dallas Cowboys against the New York Football Giants, we have to consider that D.C. United's game against Chivas in only Los Rojiblancos' second local telecast of the season may be among the lowest rated MLS telecasts in history (another shoutout if anyone can produce TV ratings proving/disapproving this assertion).

The Last Word:

Adding to the woes of this annus horribilis, we find ourselves still in the part of the season in which we're absolutely sick of the continued losing but still too far away to get really excited about the Oct. 1 US Open Cup final against Real Salt Lake. To be honest, we've been in this phase for some time now. With three games left (LA Galaxy at home, at New England Revolution, at Toronto FC) before D.C. United heads to Sandy, Utah, there's no doubt the excitement will build. But, that excitement wasn't evident on Sunday night.

A few random thoughts since so much of what could be said has already been said this season:

- The D.C. United youngsters looked dangerous at times, but couldn't solve Dan Kennedy. Conor Doyle had two excellent chances, but Kennedy proved the United States is blessed with a deep bench of excellent keepers (even those who had the misfortune of playing their career in parallel with Tim Howard).

- Erick Torres is the real deal. Not only did he score his 7th goal in his first 9 games, but he could have had more in the second half if not for Bill Hamid's acrobatic excellence.

- It was nice to see Chris Pontius get about 25 minutes under his belt in his first action in a long time. He looked like a player coming off a long layoff, but knocking the rust off now and over the next few weeks is just what is needed if we are going to see CP13 back in form for #USOC100.

- With three of United's players away on duty with the Canadian Men's National Team, the question must be asked: Will the Canucks ever score again? One goal in their last nine matches following a 0-0 draw against Mauritania on Sunday...

- How much did Chivas USA's sponsors pay to get naming rights for "Jamba Juice substitutions" and "State Farm corner kicks"? Or, is this a barter deal fueled by free fruit smoothies and friendly insurance agents? Yes, this was what we were reduced to on the open game thread.

- What or who will change the repetitive D.C. United narrative over the next few weeks?

- The home-and-away series against teams from lovely Carson, California, will conclude next weekend when D.C. United takes on the LA Galaxy. LA is in a tricky part of their season right now which I'm sure we will discuss further this week in the run up to the game. Having lost to the Colorado Rapids at Stub Hub on Saturday night; being in third place in the Western Conference (but only a few points from falling out of a playoff position); having Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, and Omar Gonzalez all playing World Cup Qualifying matches last Friday and again this Tuesday; and with a CONCACAF Champions League match four nights after their match at RFK (and a game against the Seattle Sounders three days after that), Bruce Arena will have some interesting lineup decisions to make. Will the crowd that turns out at RFK next Saturday to see some of the biggest names in MLS be happy with those selections?

What are your random thoughts after Round 27 of D.C. United's season?

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