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Continuing the downward spiral

As frustrating as it was to watch this team on a roller coaster ride that had its share of ups and downs the past few months, I would trade the past three weeks for that roller coaster. I'm not going to argue that we deserved to win this match, because clearly we didn't, but it sure made it hard for us to have a chance when we suffered from the worst display of officiating that we've seen all year. And for the second match in one week, we saw a red card go to a central defender on a challenge that deserved a yellow at worst.

1. Boyzzz Khumalo scored his first MLS goal, and was maybe our only attacker to look dangerous for any sustained period of time. What do you guys think of the nickname "Z3" for him?

1. As pissed off as I was at the midfield in general, I've got to hand it to Santino Quaranta. He showed a lot of heart, clearly playing through some significant pain, even a eliciting a Curt Schilling bloody sock reference from Bretos. I'm just worried though that some longer term damage could have resulted from Soehn leaving him in too long.

1. Sorry, but I will not be joining the Louis Crayton apologists from this match. Sure he made some great 1v1 stops, and maybe there was only one goal that you could truly blame on him, but he let in five goals, which hasn't happened to us in over two years. That's unacceptable.

2. This is one of those matches where you'd tend to hold the entire backline accountable. But McTavish did manage to score a goal, so it's just Marc Burch, Bryan Namoff and Gonzalo Martinez for this one.

3. But worse even than the defense was the midfield. And that's Clyde Simms, Ivan Guerrero, and Fred. I have a feeling that the team of Fred/Simms/Quaranta/Guerrero is the best foursome that we've got for most of the rest of the season, and this was their worst match collectively. Simms looked like he belonged back in Richmond the way he was abused by Donovan. The wingers didn't have horrible matches, but I expected much more. When the speedy Guerrero is on the same side of the field as David Beckham, we should be using that to our advantage. Becks may still be a world class crosser, but Guerrero should have been able to beat him up the left side all night, if only the team had tried. And I only saw Fred make one of his patented diagonal runs in this match, and he was called offside for that one.

4. Tom Soehn was straight up out-coached by Bruce Arena. Arena knew enough to take advantage of our lack of speed in defense, and Soehn did nothing to adjust. Of course he was hampered for most of the second half thanks to the Beckham Rule (You know, the one where you automatically get sent off if you knock him over?). I also thought the 77th minute was way too long to wait to bring in your first offensive substitute.

I'm normally very optimistic about this team, but I think we've reached an obvious crossroads here. Even with the 3-7 start, and the mid-season roller coaster, I never really had any doubts that we'd miss the playoffs. Until right now. This is the first time all year that I'm thinking DC has about a 50-50 shot at making the playoffs, and that's scary.

So with that said, I'm ready to punt the CCL. We really have no shot of winning at Marathon, even if we sent our best lineup. So really, why bother? I would have no problem with Moreno, Emilio, Fred, Quaranta, Martinez, Namoff, and Crayton all heading home to DC until the weekend. None of these players should be forced to see action during the remainder of the CCL, as they need to be as healthy as possible for the playoff push. And I sure hope Peralta is close to recovered, because Burch's suspension really necesitates his availability for our big road match this weekend.

By the way, what kind of shitty scheduling would cause the only two professional sports teams that I'm emotionally attached to to both be playing Sunday afternoon in Dallas this weekend?