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On Clean Sheets

I'm not concerned with the fact that DC United finds themselves in last place in the Eastern Conference after 5 weeks. Because as others have pointed out, the MLS Regular Season is long and forgiving. Nor am I concerned with the team being in the bottom third of the league in goals against, despite having played against some pretty weak opponents.

Here's where I'm concerned... The following teams have earned clean sheets so far this season:

Week 1: Columbus, Colorado, Kansas City, New England
Week 2: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York
Week 3: Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, RSL
Week 4: Dallas, Kansas City, San Jose, Toronto
Week 5: Columbus, New England, New York, Toronto

Notice anyone missing?

That's right. DC United (along with Chivas) is the ONLY TEAM in the league thus far that does NOT yet own a clean sheet. That's embarassing. The expansion Earthquakes have one. Hell, Toronto finished in last place last year, and they've got two! New York's best defender is Bobcat Goldthwait, and they have two. Even LA has one, with their defense anchored by a United reject and a Portuguese hack.

And it's especially disappointing given United's high level of play in certain matches. They just haven't been able to close out any matches without letting in a late goal. It might not really seem like a big deal to give up a cheap goal when you're already up 3-0 or 4-0, but it's hard to see that happening very often this year. I'm much more concerned that United will continue to give up cheap late goals, even when winning a close match with only one score.

It would be unfair to blame Zach Wells for the lack of a clean sheet. Remember that Jose Carvallo started in goal during the forgettable 4-0 loss to Real. Wells' Goals Against Average of 1.5 is actually not horrible. Some people might like to blame Gonzalo Peralta, but I won't go there either. If anything, it starts at the top. Coach Soehn has got to find a way to keep his players motivated to close out these games.

So if given choice, I would rather see a 1-0 victory over Colorado this Sunday than another freakin 4-1 win.