With only 10 matches left in the MLS season, the team deep in last place fell on the road to the team entrenched in the midst of a playoff competition. D.C. United did little to help their mid-Atlantic brethren on Saturday night, falling 2-1 to the Montreal Impact in rather predictable fashion.
-Sofiane Benzaza (Mount Royal Soccer): " scores at the 81st minute with a beautiful left footed finish after feeds him a pass inside the box. The Impact defence got caught out of position and DC took advantage of it. Doyle did not know that Stade Saputo was Di Vaio's house and the Italian made sure to remind him. Two minutes later, Bernier finds Di Vaio on the left side of the pitch with a precise long cross. Jakovic's marking was too generous for the veteran striker. A feint later, Di Vaio sends a rocket of a shot in the opposite corner of Bill Hamid's goal and scores the winning goal."
- Conor Doyle (dcunited.com): "Well I thought that we were a bit slow on our start in the first 15 to 20 minutes, but I think we put ourselves back in the game, had a few chances, didn’t take them... Then we were able to get back into the game 1-1 and gave away another goal late on to make it 2-1. But I thought we played really well for the most part and I thought we deserved at least one point out of this game."
- Steven Goff (Washington Post): "Irritated by how far Schallibaum had strayed, Olsen began yelling and pointing at his counterpart. Schallibaum spun toward Olsen. Fourth official Silviu Petrescu and United’s John Thorrington intervened to prevent a physical confrontation. As Impact captain Patrice Bernier pulled Schallibaum by the right sleeve of his sport coat, Olsen could be heard saying, "Get the [expletive] back!" When tempers cooled, Elfath, in apparent consultation with Petrescu, directed both coaches to the locker room. Olsen was baffled why he had been tossed. On his walk to the tunnel, Olsen smiled, nodded and waved his arms repeatedly at Montreal’s supporters’ group behind the goal."
- Marco Schällibaum (via goal.com): "I was one meter out of my technical area but I didn’t say anything," Schällibaum said. "When you have a friend or a player that dangerously goes flying into a TV Camera its normal that I’m going to go over there and help. The referees weren’t sensitive to this, that’s all it is". (Editor's note: My conversion chart indicates that he was exactly one Swiss-Canadian meter outside of where he should have been standing.)
- Olsen was beloved by United fans when he was player, but wasn't typically all that popular amongst fans of opposing teams. And that's actually one of the things we loved about him. So it's only natural that the same be true now that he's on the sideline. Hearing Olsen curse at referees and seeing him get in the face of Marco Schällibaum (who is roughly 12 inches taller) without the hint of hesitation reminds me of why he's so dear to our hearts. It's really unfortunate though that there wasn't a camera in the tunnel as Schällibaum appeared to be speeding up his walk to intentionally brush past Olsen. Since we didn't get to see the end result, I'm just going to have to assume that Olsen whipped his ass.
- If United doesn't manage to retain Conor Doyle this offseason, I sure hope whatever striker replaces him studies the heck out of his highlights. Doyle's movement is perfect, and his finishing is proof that you don't necessarily need to do anything spectacular to score goals. Sometimes just a simple well-placed touch will do.
- When we faced the Impact two weeks ago, I applauded Dejan Jakovic for marking Marco Di Vaio out of the game. Welp, not so much this time. This time the All-Star abused the consistently inconsistent Jakovic repeatedly. The Canadian defender lost his mark on both goals. With only ten games to go in the season, this would be a good time to give Ethan White some extended time to see if he can lay claim to a starting position.
The Last Word
If we caught Montreal off guard at RFK Stadium, they sure were ready for us this time. It's true that United played the Impact even for several stretches of the match, but that was far from enough to top a good team.
This was still some very modest progress though when compared to other recent road matches. United actually showed a bit of resilience by scoring a potential tying goal at one point. That's certainly an improvement over our trips to Philadelphia and Chicago. Real progress though would be actually winning a game on the road. The best chances would be either Sep. 8 against Chivas USA or the final tune-up for the U.S. Open Cup Final on Sep. 28 in Toronto.