Another game, another late goal by a substitute to increase D.C. United's point total. Against the New England Revolution and on the road, Chris Pontius was able to get us three points. Against the Montreal Impact and at RFK, Maicon Santos salvaged a draw in what was otherwise a dour night.
What they're saying about it:
Shatzer: This was a dangerous time to have to face the Montreal Impact. Expansion team or not. With only a few days' rest from a hard-fought win on the road against the New England Revolution, a high-pressure high-energy highly aggressive team like the Impact isn't who you might pick to face. That's the kind of team that's prone to take advantage of the slightest mistake, and they did tonight in a 1-1 draw against D.C. United at RFK Stadium.
Streff: In particular, United struggled to match the intensity of the Montreal in the first half. After a morale-boosting win over New England on Saturday, United came out flat-footed in the first stanza of the game, and failed to create any dangerous chances in the first 45 minutes.
Davis: It would be easy to say Maicon Santos’introduction in the 61st minute changed things for D.C. United’s rudderless attack; his will and energy certainly helped add some pep. But it was so much more than that. When Santos came on he partnered with Chris Pontius at forward while Dwayne De Rosario dropped into the midfield in place of the drifting and ineffective Boskovic. That was the change that mattered even more.
Goff: With a 1-1 draw against the expansion Montreal Impact on Wednesday night, D.C. United continued a maddening inability to build on a small sampling of prosperity.
Stouffer: D.C. United still needs to crawl before it can walk. A five-game unbeaten stretch is plenty to be excited about for a team that is getting used to being in contention instead of hoping not to fall apart. But as much as United deserved to defeat the rugged but unrefined Impact, they walked away with a fair result, especially considering the lackluster first half. United players were late to 50-50 balls and physically pounded.
Hund: Given the tilt with New York at the weekend however, and the reasonable depth that United possesses, I can understand the rationale of going with the team that Benny did. Doesn’t make dropping points at home to expansion-fodder any more palatable though…
What I'm saying about it
Don't get me wrong: this sucked. There was none of the fire, the bite, the high pressure that United has shown over these past few games in the first half; when it was finally turned on after halftime, United looked like a different team. Had they played like that the entire game, we would be talking about how they finally strung two wins together. This looked like a team that thought it could just sleepwalk through this game and still impose its will upon the Impact, which never really happened.
But it was also illuminating. Sure, Olsen probably should not have thrown so many new faces in there all at one time, but he had to get a look at the depth that he has. Many fans have already resigned Boskovic to the waiver wire, and it is hard to see a way he sticks around unless he takes a massive pay cut. Had this been the start of 2011, there would have been time to keep putting him in to let him grow into the role. His injury robbed us of that opportunity and the team does not have that luxury this year.
Also worth noting is that whereas Montreal could only put on goal past this defense, New York would have been up by two or three against this team's first half performance. Hopefully Emiliano Dudar will return to marshal the defense and hopefully Dejan Jakovic will be back to put pressure on Brandon McDonald or even start in his place. Hurry back too, Ethan White.
Final thought: Was Tyson Wahl's hit on Danny Cruz a red card? The ball was clearly gone and Wahl both leads with his forearm and follows through with the forearm and elbow. Here is the relevant passage from the Advice to Referees: "If the foul involved the use of excessive force, totally beyond the bounds of normal play, then the referee must send off the player for serious foul play or violent conduct, [and] show the red card..." Also from the Advice, "'Involving excessive force' means that the player has far exceeded the use of force necessary to make a fair play for the ball and has placed the opponent in considerable danger of bodily harm." Thoughts? Any refs in the audience?