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DC United lose at Houston Dynamo, 4-3

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Two main points learned from this match: 1) Houston is really good. 2) The DC defense isn't.

Can you imagine how great this team would be if Dwayne De Rosario was still on the roster? This is already an all-star midfield, with Stuart Holden, Brad Davis, and Ricardo Clark all playing the best of their careers. I'd say that we really missed Clyde Simms again here, but I'm not sure he even would have made a difference tonight. We were dominated in possession.

But where I was most disappointed was in our defense. With Wicks and Jakovic playing in place of Wells/Crayton and los Gonzalos, our defense was supposed to be better this year. That just doesn't seem to be true though. After 20 matches in 2008, United had allowed 34 goals. Now through the same point of the season in 2009, we've allowed 32.

1. Bringing on Luciano Emilio for Gomez to start the second half turned out to be the most important call of the match for Soehn. Emilio was clearly hungry, and although his first goal was a bit lucky after getting a deflection, his second goal was well deserved after he almost scored on a backheel. Hopefully the best thing we'll take from this match is that Emilio is back in business.

2. This was a Gros-esque performance from Fred, who covered a lot of ground in the first half, and then added a goal in the second after being allowed to roam free a bit more, which was an important result from the formation shift

1. Two of Houston's goals came off Bryan Namoff's side of the field, and he may have been at fault on their third, although I would argue more that it was just an awesome goal. Regardless, Namoff still had some really good defensive plays, and he also earned an assist on Emilio's first.

1. This was the worst match we've seen from Josh Wicks in a United uniform. It seems that just like Crayton, he started off strong, but the fanbase will eventually lose confidence in him. Wicks might be above average by MLS standards, which is something we haven't been able to say since the departure of Perkins, but I just think it's rare to see that type of disappointing performance from the more consistent MLS keepers like Onstad, Busch, and Reis. In order to remain our long term starter, we need to see more consistency from Wicks.

2. Not the best night for Dejan Jakovic. If not for his penalty kick foul, this match may have ended in a 3-3 tie.

3. Santino Quaranta was a total non-factor in this one. He looked like a guy who's only played one match in the past month. You can thank Bob Bradley for that.

4. It was Ben Olsen's fault that Brad Davis had so much space to shoot for Houston's first goal, and he also turned the ball over on the play that led to their second.

The big question that remains though after one of the most exciting MLS matches of the season is whether we should be using a 4-4-2 formation more often. United won the second half 3-1. Now that's not exactly fair to the Dynamo because they weren't pushing as hard since they had a 3 goal lead for the majority of the period. But at the same time, it seemed as if our backline was much stronger after adding a fourth defender, and we didn't lose much in the midfield. As with any other tactical decision, I think it depends on the situation. On the road against a team with several strong attackers might be a good situation for the 4-4-2. Let's see if DC goes to this formation again in their next league match on the road against Toronto in two weeks.