Two weeks and six player transactions have passed before our eyes since the last time that D.C. United took the field for a regular season MLS match. Not watching this team has been rather restful. But now they're back, and despite all the changes the results are entirely the same.
- Stephen Goff (Washington Post): "United had made defensive strides in the past month, allowing five goals in six league matches. But in the second minute Saturday, Lindpere went unchallenged along the sideline before dropping a perfect cross over Daniel Woolard and onto the foot of Rolfe, who snapped a 15-yard volley past advancing goalkeeper Joe Willis. Nine minutes later, Jeff Larentowicz surged past Woolard, cut the ball back to penetrate the penalty area and set up Lindpere for a sliding finish from 14 yards. United has yielded 16 goals in the first 30 minutes of matches"
- Ben Olsen (dcunited.com): "It’s easy to have momentum and play with nothing to lose when it’s 3-0. I’m looking for us to play for nothing to lose from the start. We learned some lessons tonight. I think some of our young guys learned a lot tonight, so maybe that’s a positive."
- John Thorrington (dcunited.com): "We should be fighting and scrapping for every point get can get at this point. Tonight wasn’t our night. I’ve been on a lot of teams in the league, I know this isn’t a bad group of players, I know it’s not a bad coaching staff, I know there is something here but for whatever reason it hasn’t been working. We’ve showed signs in the last month so maybe we can start a bit of a turn around."
- Tyler Day (Soccer By Ives): "There were a couple of bright spots for D.C. United, who again featured a number of young players with an eye towards the future. The first half damage could have been worse, but center back Ethan White recovered on another Rolfe opportunity and a few minutes later cleared a shot off the line from Fire midfielder Dilly Duka."
- Sean Spence (Hot Time In Old Town): "Step right up, folks, step right up! Plenty of room for everybody! Doctor Olsen's Feel-Good Syrup is good for what ails ya! Tri-chromosonal? Just got a cold? Doc Olsen's Feel-Good Syrup doesn't care either way! Just down the hatch and you'll understand! Can't score in a brothel? Couldn't kick the ball in a lake from a boat? Doc Olsen's is guar-on-teed to turn those frowns upside down."
- I'm getting tired of hearing that old refrain that Joe Willis could start for several MLS clubs. His goals against average says otherwise. Unfortunately for every monster game like last week in Colorado, Willis has a game where he doesn't make any big saves and lets in some pretty mediocre goals. Willis is a fine backup, but until he can be more consistent, it would be difficult to find an MLS team who'd be thrilled to have him as their starter.
- Do you guys remember the last time that Ben Olsen yanked a central defender at halftime? I do. It was the last time that a central defender was at least partially responsible for allowing three seperate goals in the first half, which is something that could also be said about Daniel Woolard - not Ethan White - after 45 minutes last night. But White was the one that Olsen chose to remove at halftime, and Woolard would go on to be directly responsible for a fourth goal in the second half. The tale of Brandon McDonald following that substitution should serve as a warning to Olsen. McDonald appeared to lose all confidence following that match in Columbus back in April, and he hasn't been the same since. And while I can certainly agree with Olsen that White wasn't having a very good game, I also didn't feel like his removal was worth the risk of harming the confidence of probably the only player on this team who is playing better in 2013 than he's played in any previous year. Furthermore, I don't think any United fan would have told you that White was the team's worst defender in the first half, and yet there he was on the bench to start the second.
- This is the counter to the arguments that "Olsen should get another year because he hasn't been given enough talent to work with." The lineup choices and substitution patterns are completely within the coach's control, but Olsen continues to make the wrong decisions. Dave Kasper has given him more options than he's had previously, and yet those options went unutilized. Luis Silva's strike was a small bit of proof that our new Young American plan can work. So why was Sainey Nyassi in the starting lineup again? Why is James Riley still getting minutes?
The Last Word
I'm really having a hard time coming up with any answers to these questions. Nyassi wouldn't make an 18-man lineup for literally any MLS team, and yet here he is, starting five out of eight possible games since coming to D.C. Kasper is using every MLS roster mechanism at his disposal to acquire potential building blocks for the future. We have no idea whether or not Jared Jeffrey or Conor Doyle will be good fits for this team, but isn't it worth finding out now? Surely there's a greater chance of either of them (or Collin Martin, or Michael Seaton) being impactful members of this team in 2014 than Riley or Carlos Ruiz.
How many more losses must we suffer through this season before we start seeing changes on the field instead of just on the back of the roster?