Well, it was certainly an entertaining night for the national television audience, but fans of the Black-and-Red couldn't get the happy ending, as D.C. United fell 2-1 in Harrison, N.J. to the New York Red Bulls. Lloyd Sam's cross-shot opened the scoring after just 8 minutes, looping over the outstretched arms of Bill Hamid to go in off the far post. Just under half an hour later, Nick DeLeon equalized, bringing down a Dwayne De Rosario cross at the far post and beating a defender before netting past Luis Robles. It took only two minutes before Tim Cahill would find the winner, though, beating Daniel Woolard to Jonny Steele's cross and putting his downward header back across goal to beat Bill Hamid.
United had plenty of opportunities to put a second past Robles, but they couldn't put the finishing touch on the ball. A great series of one-touch passes set up Lewis Neal 10-yards from goal, but his effort missed wide. Later, Neal found himself a bit farther from goal - maybe 20-25 yards out - but his left-footed volley forced a good save from Robles and won a corner (which of course went for naught). Late in the second half, DeRo found the end of a beautiful early cross from the right side, but his header went horribly off-target.
None of those was the worst of it, though, as none of those was a missed penalty. DeRo, after winning a penalty and a man advantage by forcing Ibrahim Sekagya to foul him in the box in the 72nd minute as the ball rolled - what should have been harmlessly - back to Robles, put the ball too close to the keeper, and his attempt was saved and ultimately cleared.
Ultimately, the game could have gone either way, but the Metros were better when it counted, capitalizing on two United mistakes as United failed to punish them for theirs. Most culpable on those mistakes is probably Dejan Jakovic, who failed to cover back during the build-up to the first Jersey goal - instead raising his hand because he thought there was a foul or offside or a third-grade teacher asking for a volunteer to go to the supply closet, who the hell knows? Jakovic also allowed himself to get spun and then failed to close down Steele on his cross to Cahill for the game-winner. Those are in addition to several other missteps by the Canadian international that went unpunished. It's the second game in a row where Jakovic's nonchalance was an issue in dropped points for United.
But in the end, the whole team wasn't quite good enough to put a second goal past the Metro defense. Luis Silva popped up here and there, but he didn't make enough of a difference. John Thorrington, coming in during the first half for the injured Jared Jeffrey (ankle sprain), stayed too deep and, one near miss off a headed shot notwithstanding, wasn't involved enough in the attacking half of the field. DeRo needs to do better with his scoring opportunities, and Nick DeLeon needs to force his way into games rather than letting the game come to him.
We'll be back later with The Last Word. In the meantime, share your first thoughts on the loss in the comments.