Something is still missing from this United team. Well a couple things I guess. We all know the team is missing a striker and a central attacking midfielder.
But they are also missing something intangible. My co-author might call it Focus, but I'm going to call it Chemistry. How else do you explain the countless passes that are just one step too far in front of your teammate? That's a good way to make it look like you've come close to scoring, but it's not going to actually earn you any goals.
DC United has two more major problems that have been plaguing them all season. They don't know how to come from behind. And they don't know how to score in the second half. If there is an easy way to fix these two problems, I don't know it. And evidently, neither does Curt Onalfo.
Aside from the terrible free kicks, I enjoyed watching Christian Castillo in this match. It took him about 30 minutes to get going, but once he hit that shot from outside that missed the goal by about two feet, he seemed to have finally found his confidence. And for the remainder of the first half and a portion of the second, he was exactly the Christian Castillo I imagined prior to the season. He was calling for the ball, he was working off the ball, he was finding his teammates in good positions. He was finally the Christian Castillo we've all been waiting for. Some consistency would be great, but this was a good start.
Danny Allsopp worked well with Castillo and seemed to be the only United player really likely to score at any time. Even if Pontius is able to return next week, Allsopp's job should not be in doubt.
On the other end of the field, I was pleased with the efforts of Kurt Morsink and Jordan Graye. Morsink showed that he is a great ability to pick up his head and put the ball into space where his wingers and strikers can run onto it. Graye had some really nice passes to start the attack, and was more involved offensively than Khumalo and Barklage combined.
Bill Hamid is catching a lot of slack for letting up the goal because he was beat at the near post. So does that mean his starting job should be questioned? Well I think you have to ask yourself if Troy Perkins would have made that save given the same opportunity. And with the Perkins from the first sixth of the season in net, I believe the answer to that would be no. And he probably would have let in another goal later in the match too.
Sticking to the topic of the goal, Juan Manuel Pena had a decent night, but was a bit unlucky to miss blocking Ballouchy's shot, and probably partially screened Hamid in the process. The entire United defense played well for 60 minutes, but they seemed to give up after that and allowed many more chances immediately following the goal. That's got to stop.
Curt Onalfo's halftime substitution of Brandon Barklage for Boyzzz Khumalo was intended to make up for Khumalo's poor touches and lack of creativity in the first. Instead, Barklage brought on a new element of lazy crosses and surprisingly low effort. Santino Quaranta can't come back soon enough!
I know he's gaining in popularity around these parts, but I was completely unimpressed with Adam Cristman in this match. He looked like the hardest working guy on the field for the first 20 minutes, but he was invisible for most of the second half, and probably should have been subbed out for Moreno before the goal even happened. As long as he continues to play a style that is somewhat similar to Danny Allsopp but with less skill, I don't think Cristman is long for the starting lineup. His toughness and work rate might benefit the team better as a 65th minute substitute.
DC United started the day tied with the Philadelphia Union in the standings, and had a chance to pass them, but instead finished the day right back in last place. And its hard to say that they don't deserve it.
I think its time for another change. But wait... We already made three of the changes I recommended a week and a half ago when they benched Perkins and Quaranta and adopted a more physical style. So what is left to change?
Hmmmmmmm... I know one thing...