If you'd asked me prior to game time where D.C. United's goals would come from tonight, I wouldn't have had an answer for you. Maybe a Jaime Moreno penalty kick after Pablo Hernandez gets taken down in the box? I don't know. A shutout always seemed the likeliest result.
The 11 players who started for United tonight have combined for a total of two goals this season. And none since April. And when Moreno was sent off, that number became one.
It's as if our team was resigned to the fact that we were going to set the record for most scoreless matches in a season. But really, with so many players injured and away, we didn't have much of a choice.
The results were as expected. A solid first half of soccer for D.C. yielded plenty of chances but no goals. (I feel like I've written that before.) And then the Earthquakes, on their first real chance of the night, pound the ball into the net. It must be nice having a striker with a nose for goal like Chris Wondolowski. I miss those days.
At least in the first half, I was impressed with newcomer Carlos Varela, who was got his first MLS start tonight. Filling in for the suspended Andy Najar, Varela was utilized in a similar manner, who long crosses to allow him to put his speed to good use against Bobby Convey, who was playing out of position at left back. I actually thought that the double ejection would benefit United because it forced Convey into a more defensive role, taking away some of his crossing opportunities. Turns out that didn't matter too much.
I also liked seeing Stephen King getting involved in the attack. He's been much more reserved in other recent showings, but tonight he wasn't afraid to shoot.
Speaking of being afraid to shoot, what the hell is Pablo Hernandez's problem? He had a clear look at goal from about 12 yards out, but decided to cut back so he could get it on his left foot. C'mon man! We're trying to avoid a shutout here and you won't even shoot the freakin' ball when you're one-on-one against the goalkeeper. I still think Hernandez can be a good player in this league though. Give us Wondo and Hernandez will look like a star.
Our defense was really set up to fail tonight, which makes me feel bad for rating them so poorly. Clyde Simms and Jordan Graye had no business letting the ball bounce and fall to the feet of Wondolowski on the first goal, and it was Jed Zayner who was beaten on the second.
The only good news about this match is that we'll never have to see this lineup again. Get set for Najar, Julius James, and Dejan Jakovic to all return next week in Chicago. Branko Boskovic will be out another week as his Montenegran National Team faces a critical first place showdown on Tuesday. His 3-0 side will take on England's 3-0 side for control of Group G in Euro 2012 qualifying.