It wasn't the worst month ever, but on the field, it was pretty bad. D.C. United managed only two goals in July, both by new pick up Luis Silva, and both those goals came in losing efforts. United again failed to win in July, earning only one standings point, thanks to a scoreless draw at Colorado. So who do we blame for this month's failures?
In the largest margin of victory to date, United GM Dave Kasper won last month's vote, claiming 80% of ballots cast. Here are the "winners" of the Goat of the Month so far this season -
- June: Dave Kasper
- May: Ben Olsen
- April: Every single attacking player on the team, jointly and severally
- March: Lionard Pajoy
And July's nominees are:
Daniel Woolard: Before his concussion last year, with the 2012 Woolard was having, it would have been strange to hear about his landing on this list. He was United's best defender for good stretches and found himself more involved in the attack from the left fullback position than he had been in previous years. But since returning from his injury, Woolard has been less effective at using his good positioning sense and the chip on his shoulder to counteract his lack of pace, and he's been exposed as a result. Many - if not most - watching United's 4-1 loss in Chicago pinned the blame for two of the Fire's three first-half goals on Woolard, but it was Ethan White who got yanked at halftime; Woolard would go on to concede a penalty in the second stanza. Perhaps more damningly, he is the de facto leader and organizer of a defensive unit that is among the worst and most regularly discombobulated the league has seen in a long time.
James Riley: The former Chivas USA man is where possession goes to die. And he's a defensive liability, to boot. His wing is frequently targeted by opposing attacks - even when rookie Taylor Kemp is playing on the opposite side of the field - and to general success. Both the Fire and the Revolution saw important goals created along their left sideline and at Riley's expense. Whether it's ball-watching, failure to recognize a threat or something else, Riley is frequently the weakest link on an otherwise still very weak defense. Add to that his penchant for passing to the wrong team when United is in possession, and you have a player that many readers here understandably want to see glued to the bench.
Ethan White: He was obviously Ben Olsen's goat for the worst defensive showing this month, being benched at halftime of that Chicago match and also held out against New England. White is rarely beaten 1v1, but his undisciplined positioning - particularly his penchant for chasing withdrawn forwards into midfield - can hang his partner in central defense out to dry, and we saw that in Chicago, as White was nowhere to be found on more than one of the Fire's goals.
Ben Olsen: The man in charge could be our first two-time winner of our dubious award. He deserves some modicum of credit for being willing to throw new players into the mix, starting three recent acquisitions against New England last weekend (Conor Doyle, Luis Silva, Jared Jeffrey), but the results still aren't there. A season after Taking Back RFK, Olsen's Army has lost it again, not only losing games but failing to entertain a dwindling crowd at the (hopefully soon-to-be-put-to-pasture) old building. A coach can only play the talent he has at his disposal, but the near universal opinion around the league seems to be that United is a better team on paper than their ten points from 21 games would indicate. If Olsen can't clear the .5 points per game bar, no matter how poor the roster, maybe he should be to blame.
So who's it going to be this month? That's where you come in, readers: vote in our poll, and tell us why you voted how you did in the comments.