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DC United lose to FC Dallas, are back to normal

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Nothing could be more normal than Jeff Cunningham giving someone a piggy back ride
Nothing could be more normal than Jeff Cunningham giving someone a piggy back ride

After DC United's first victory of the season earlier in the week, there was some sentiment that our team had finally found themselves, and would now be back on course.  United missed the playoffs by 1 point each of the past two seasons, and I think most of us assumed that the team would finish the season in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference again this year.  Somewhere between 2nd and 7th.

The result of this match doesn't change that.  Not at all.  I think we're still on track for normalcy.

1-0 losses on the road are going to happen.  Despite Dallas only having one previous win on the season, their string of ties against some pretty good opponents and a road victory over Houston are evidence that they're also in that middle of the pack of the league, just like we are.

A 1-0 road loss to a team that is roughly the same level of talent is nothing to be ashamed about.  That's normal.  And it's still an improvement over that early 4-0 road loss, and all those damn 2-0 home losses.

I missed the match due to a family emergency, but I think I have a good enough grasp of how it went down to stumble through some player ratings.  Read on.

Sounds like the most impressive defender from DC United in this match was Julius James, who entered midway through the first half in relief of the hamstrung Jordan Graye.  James played well enough to earn future starts while Graye is recovering, and maybe even challenge him for a starting role.

United came inches away from scoring twice in this match, with Clyde Simms striking a post and Kurt Morsink striking the crossbar.  It says more about your forwards than anything else when your two best scoring chances came from your two defensive midfielders.  Morsink leads the team in minutes, fouls committed, and fouls suffered.  Simms remains the only returning DC player who could be said to be having "a good year".

The best sequence of the match came in the 13th minute off a great cross from Christian Castillo, resulting in two straight shots right at Kevin Hartman, first from Adam Cristman, and then from Danny Allsopp.  DC creating chances in the first half but failing to finish?  Ah yes, that's the United I know and love.

Dallas's lone goal was the result of David Ferreira beating Devon McTavish for a through ball to Jeff Cunningham, who beat Carey Talley for the score.  One of the top attacking pairs in the league beating one of the worst defensive pairs in the league shouldn't be a surprise.  The only surprise is that they only scored once given multiple chances.

I don't know whether to blame the coach or blame the players, but Curt Onalfo has not yet made one impactful substitution this year.  Luciano Emilio and Jaime Moreno were practically nonexistant.  Emilio disappeared quickly after entering the match, and Moreno was frequently dispossessed.

***

DC United finishes this week with 3 points, which is more than they've earned in any other week of the season.  The idea of playing against two somewhat equal teams and beating one at home and losing to the other on the road is... well... fairly normal.  Its enough to get you into the middle of the pack, but probably not into the playoffs.  Especially after the team's terrible start.

But its nice to see United starting to look a little more like a real team that knows what they're doing.  Now instead of being totally hopeless like we were in April, we can instead have a little hope in improving even more once Jakovic, Pontius, Burch, and Namoff return to action.