After a few weeks of holding its own against mid- to lower-tier MLS teams, D.C. United met a good one on Wednesday night. They met a good one in the Seattle Sounders, and despite putting forth a pretty disjointed offensive effort, the Sounders still had no problem putting away United. Seattle prevailed 2-0 through two entirely avoidable Obafemi Martins goals and United's free-fall towards all-time worst MLS records continues.
- Chris Webb (United Mania): "Once again United were powerless on offense getting shut out for the 11th time in 18th matches this season and the 7th time in 8 road matches. Chris Pontius seemed to be the only player capable of generating any offense by forcing a pair of saves from Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning late in the second half but the damage was already done for the Black-and-Red. With four starters out of the lineup due to injury, fatigue and International call ups, United were forced to put out a watered down version of their already timid lineup and Seattle wasted no time taking advantage"
- Ben Olsen (dcunited.com): "We are looking for help. But again, I still feel solid about this team. I’m not blowing smoke. I still like a lot of what I saw tonight. That’s one of the frustrating parts about this – I like so much about parts of our group. We’re just not getting the final stuff right. I mean, we turn off on one play and it costs us. It was an unchallenged header and it goes to an unchallenged guy who threads a through ball to their striker, who has a free path to goal. That’s not good. That’s one play. It’s probably one of the only plays we turned off all game and we got punished. They’re a good enough team that they can hold a lead so that part is frustrating. We’ve got to score some goals."
- Ethan White (dcunited.com): "I don't think we worked hard enough and I think we may have given them too much respect at the beginning. Once we stepped up and actually made some tackles and we woke up and realized that we were men too then the game changed. I think we underestimated the speed of their forwards and they got behind us. As the game went on I think we got more and more comfortable. The second goal was just a case of our guys pushing forward and one of their players getting behind us, but it is still a loss."
- Stephen Goff (Washington Post): "They’re slow — not just in the way they move but in their decision-making. They’re dull and predictable. They don’t create many scoring chances, and the few that do surface are mangled. (In 18 league matches, DCU has suffered 11 shutouts, scored one goal six times and two goals once — which came in a loss. Would United score against Tahiti?)"
- Eric Flatness (Sounder At Heart): "It was such that DC United came out and made the Sounders work for every inch of field position, challenging every pass and putting bodies in front of shots along the way. Even without their stars, United came out and played like nothing mattered more than winning this one game."
- I see the reasoning behind giving John Thorrington a night off. He shouldn't be overutilized, and Seattle's turf is unforgiving to fragile bodies. But moving Alain Rochat to central midfield proved to be the wrong decision. The move left United exposed at the fullback position to the faster Seattle forwards, and Rochat did little to establish control in the middle.
- Speaking of fullbacks, I think it's time to give James Riley the Brandon McDonald treatment. Stick him at the end of the bench, never to be heard from again.
- We're all eager to see Ethan White take that next step towards being one of MLS's best center backs, but this match was a reminder that he's not there yet. While Riley certainly deserves a large portion of the blame, White wasn't without fault on both of Martins' goals. White may be prone to inconsistency as well, just like all of United's other defenders (besides Riley, who is consistently terrible).
- After Sunday's match against the Colorado Rapids, United doesn't have another league match for two weeks. If a mid-season coaching change is going to happen (I still think it won't), this might be the best time to do it.
The Last Word
If you're looking for a reason to keep paying attention to United regular season matches, it's this: gallows humor.
As you can see, our board isn't quite yet complete, but I have every intention of completing it before Sunday. I'm just going to need your help. So if you've got ideas to add to the bingo board, leave them in the comments below. These should be things that happen fairly regularly during 2013 United matches. While it would be funny to have things like "Cut international signing" or "Trade for MLS castoff," those don't really work in-game.
Once we finalize 24-30 phrases for the DCU Bingo board, I'll create a whole bunch of random boards and distribute them to commenters in the GameThread on Sunday night.
The prize for the winner is you get to turn off the game and go to bed.