D.C. United lost for the second time this month though it was equal to the amount of times they lost in March. But more importantly, how significant is this?
Ryan Bacic: "The match looked, after all, like it might very well be headed in the visitors' direction in the 73rd minute. Fabian Espindola—who started on the bench in Foxboro after playing 270 minutes this past week—equalized from near the six-yard box after being subbed on, collecting a centering pass from Christian and finishing cleanly past Bobby Shuttleworth...Four minutes later, though, the Eastern Conference-leading Revolution had already restored their advantage."
Craig Forde (MLS Soccer.com): "After a slow, scoreless first half of play, the skies and the game opened up in a second half that featured a little bit of everything, ending in a New England Revolution 2-1 victory over Eastern Conference rival D.C. United Saturday night at Gillette Stadium...As much as there were goals in the second half, there were a greater number of bookings, including a questionable red card ejection on Eddie Johnson in the 82nd minute."
Via D.C. United.com:
Ben Olsen: "It’s mostly just that I’m proud about the way we went about the game, barreling back to get to 1-1. We should find a way to get a result out of that, but overall I’m very pleased with the way we played and fought. I think we were unlucky not to get something out of it. But they’re a good team – got a lot of moving parts that keep you on your toes. Not sure about the first goal. I’m sure when I look at it I’ll think again that it was a foul. I’ll have to check out the red on Eddie (Johnson). I’m sure that’s probably a little harsh, too."
Davy Arnaud: "We’re extremely disappointed with the result. I felt like we did more than enough to come out of here with something from the game, and we didn’t. Coming off three games in a week, I think we came here, we matched them, and then some. It’s disappointing to not come away with something from the game."
Bobby Boswell: "To be honest with you, I thought we started off better. At the end of the day it’s all about points. We weren’t able to pick up any points here, and they were able to widen their lead (in the conference). Everyone has stretches during the year where you are going to play a lot of games. That’s especially with CONCACAF and Open Cup, things like that. We have a deep roster; I don’t think that really affected us. I think the coaches made some good changes, and those changes they worked out one way or the other, maybe gave Fabi (Fabian Espindola) some rest so he can go on and score the goal, get some new legs in there, some new life. I thought it was alright, the final score is what killed us. Giving up a goal after we scored one, that’ll pretty much hammer you anytime you play on the road."
Before we put aside what many would consider the main talking point of the match, let us assume for a second that an official who could not properly interpret the DOGSO rule as recently as five weeks ago apparently thinks that Eddie Johnson is such a stupid person that he is really smart to get away with sneaky off the ball fouls designed to injure someone (for the record, I thought he deserved the suspension on Troy Perkins, and am more 'Really?' on this Kelyn Rowe foul).
With that out of the way, in a match were the team was missing the team's game-winning goal scorer and presumed first-choice left midfielder (Chris Rolfe), a second-choice center midfielder in Luis Silva and substitute strikers in Conor Doyle (illness along with Silva) and Michael Seaton (international duty with his match against Serbia later this afternoon), homegrown product Collin Martin and Alex Caskey filled in the roles that Fabian Espindola (sitting after a spell where he played 3 games since March 10) and Rolfe (nursing a hamstring issue the team decided not to start him on for precautionary reasons) decently. Optically, D.C. gave up two goals where Revs midfielder/striker Diego Fagundez shouldered Chris Korb off the ball and led to a Patrick Mullins goal, and another where Lewis Neal (of 180 minutes played since March 10) turned the ball over deep in his own end which led to an...interesting(?) save from Bill Hamid that Fagundez disposed of properly for the game-winner.
Having said that, on a team that played midweek and has some old(er) legs on his backline, D.C. held a team that has a proclivity for torching teams in similar circumstances to zero goals until Rowe came into the game and opened things up enough to earn a positive result for the hosts. At a higher level yours truly was off the grid enjoying some fancy cuisine and once I saw the score I dreaded viewing it. Now that I have, I am encouraged. On short rest, it should be noted that Cristian Fernandez was the second-best player on the night, according to the Squawka stats service.
The Last Word:
I hoped earlier in the week that there would be some rotations of members of the squad and while I was happy for some sort of sacrifice to occur. While nobody likes to punt standings points away (and one could make the case D.C. has done so with seven such points before Memorial Day), I was encouraged to see Martin and Caskey avail themselves well, if nothing else for some form of short-term pain in favor of long-term gain to occur. Hopefully more rotation where Silva plays a prominent role, or Steven Birnbaum comes in at center back.
With Chance Myers being the latest SKC defender to be shelved for the year due to injury, D.C. plays a Sporting Kansas City team that runs a risk of signing Jimmy Conrad to play outside back, they have been that injury-depleted. Sporting Kansas City*, Columbus*, Montreal and Seattle loom as opponents between now and the end of June, and an oft-discussed July and August (about to get even busier once they learn who they will play in the CONCACAF Champions League) should reiterate that positive results, not just any ones, should be the expectation.
*=Playing midweek games before weekend games vs. D.C.