I spent the first quarter or so of the match wondering where this United team had been during the month of April. Constant pressure, dominant possession, and clearly the better of the two teams. But ultimately, the result was the same as all those before. DC only came to play in one half, and couldn't finish any of its chances while having the better of play.
And the second half had the same predictable result as well. Every fan of this team knew that the New York Red Bulls were going to score early into the second after DC United came out of the locker room with a total lack of energy. And adding a second goal soon afterward seemed far too familiar too.
I'm getting tired of this story. The season is only five games old and I feel like I've written the same damn thing five times already. Read on for more punishment.
You won't see any positive player ratings here tonight, because there wasn't a single player wearing black who deserved higher than a 1 in the second half. But one guy who would have had a 5 at the conclusion of the first half was Christian Castillo. He's obviously gained a lot of confidence in the last two weeks. Maybe getting benched was just the wake up call he needed. Hmm... If that's true, maybe Quaranta should be benched too. Castillo was very active during the first 45 minutes, contributing both offensively and defensively, and actually looked like the most talented individual on the field.
Props to Jordan Graye for making the most of his first MLS start. I had a bad feeling about this match when I saw Graye was in the starting lineup, but he proved to be the least problematic defender for us in this one, as he's the only guy who I place no blame on for either goal.
Unfortunately Adam Cristman was not able to continue his scoring form from earlier in the week. As it turns out, the New York starting defense is better than the FC Dallas reserve defense. Who knew?
Besides Castillo, the only other thing I'm excited about after watching this match is the combined play of Clyde Simms and Kurt Morsink in defensive midfield. Specifically, that play in the 16th minute was the most attractive piece of soccer I've seen from United all year. Simms made a strong run off the ball up the middle of the box, and Morsink timed a lofted ball perfectly just before Simms entered an offside position. Of course the result was no more than a shot straight at the keeper, but it was very promising stuff.
I really am serious about benching Santino Quaranta. If Barklage or Khumalo or King wants to work his ass off in practice this week, I would have no problem giving any one of them a start ahead of Quaranta. His only attempts at offensive production in this match involved falling down in the box. No creativity, and not even one cross that I can remember. On a separate note, I'm pretty sure that we're the only team in MLS now yet to receive a penalty kick call in our favor.
The defensive pairing of Juan Manuel Pena and Carey Talley could quite possibly be the oldest center back combination in the history of MLS, with a combined age of 70. What does that get you? It gets you a good first half, and a bad second half. Sounds about right. Neither looked good on either goal. Rodney Wallace shares some blame on both goals as well. After an adequate first half against Dane Richards, Wallace got beat by him a couple of times in the second, resulting in one goal, and one foul that led to a goal from the ensuing free kick.
Andy Najar has a bright future ahead of him, but he still hasn't played well in any of his four regular season appearances. As long as he continues to tear up the opposition in reserve matches and Open Cup play-ins I'm happy, but I'm still waiting for that to translate into positive results on Saturday nights.
I was fully behind the move that brought Troy Perkins back to DC this offseason. But an 0-5 record sure doesn't seem worth it. Was he even watching the game when the second goal was scored? I just don't see the body-risking effort from Perkins this year that we've seen from him in the past, and that we see from most of the goalkeepers we've faced this season. Switch Perkins and Coundoul and this match might have ended 1-1. We've got two matches next week. I want Bill Hamid to start one of them.
Curt Onalfo is a player's coach, and I could see him becoming the same kind of media darling that Bruce Boudreau has become. But I couldn't help looking across the sideline, seeing Richie Williams, and wondering if United hired the wrong former player to be their head coach.