Patience, people. Patience.
That's what Ben Olsen wanted to stress in his post-game press conference, and after an embarrassing 4-0 loss to the rival New York Red Bulls, its what we should be stressing as well.
This is a process. Right now they're a better team than we were. Are they 4-0 better than us? I don't think so. But on the night they were.
They're in a different spot right now than we are ... We'll lick our wounds and get back to work ... When you put yourself behind 2-0 against a good team, they're gonna punish you.
And punish they did. To the tune of two goals and an assist for Thierry Henry, three assists for Jan Gunnar Solli, and one incredible individual goal from rising American star Juan Agudelo.
That was a good team that D.C. United just had to face. I asked Perry Kitchen if it was the best team he'd ever played against and he agreed. "One of them for sure."
Kitchen looked about as upset as a player can look after getting drafted No. 3 overall, shining in your professional debut, being whisked away to a foreign land to represent your country, returning to start next to your college teammate, and then getting utterly abused. "I'm just trying to do my best to keep up," he said after the loss. He called Henry "a great player. He's smart. He knows how to create gaps for himself."
Fortunately the rookie won't have to face players like that every week, but he knows that he's going to have to learn quickly and get better.
Full recap here. More quotes below. Player ratings tomorrow.
But not every player hung his head as low as the rookie. Marc Burch applauded Kitchen's leadership qualities, as well as the effort that the team as a whole gave tonight.
I don't think one person wasn't giving 100%. They were dropping back, and we were still fighting down 3-0. It was a lot different from last year.
That's what's important here. Despite the score, this isn't 2010. After disappointing losses in 2010, we sulked. We knew it was hopeless. Not this year though. Not now.
And perhaps that's the difference that I saw in the demeanors of Kitchen and Burch. I think you'd have a really hard time finding any game in Kitchen's entire life that he lost 4-0. This is going to be the first season that he's ever faced adversity. As one of the few players that's been on this team for longer than two years, Burch knows what losing is all about. There's hopeless losses, and there's losses where your team "fouled up a couple chances." Burch knows that this year is different.
Josh Wolff, who told me that he picked up a toe injury in the first half ("It was a weird one") but played through it, also spoke the company line.
There's still room to grow on both ends of the field over the course of the season. Chemistry is gonna take some time.
We have some big games coming up so we'll brush ourselves off.
But the coach put it best.
We're gonna have games like this. We're maybe not where we need to be. But we'll be fine.