For D.C. United, August ended up being pretty unpleasant. On paper it doesn't look too bad: Two wins and three losses in league play, as well as two shutout wins in the CONCACAF Champions League. Of the losses, one was out of conference and another came against a team that isn't challenging United for the Supporters Shield or for home-field advantage in the Eastern Conference playoffs. That sounds pretty OK, right?
The devil is in the details, as always. United's two MLS wins were both laughably unlikely based on how the games went. Beating Real Salt Lake 6-4 is a game I know I'll remember for the rest of my life, but it involved going down 2-0 in the first 21 minutes and not really getting on course until half an hour was gone. You don't win games that way. Next up, a 1-0 win at Montreal that saw the Impact out-shoot the Black-and-Red 25 to 1. You don't win games that way either.
These were bad performances that United got away with, and it was no real surprise that the unlikely escapes ended in short order. United actually looked like their normal selves for a half against NYCFC before imploding, and followed that up with arguably their two worst performances of 2015. Losing 2-0 at home to San Jose sucked; getting steamrolled by the Red Bulls 3-0 was worse.
The only positive from this month? The CCL, where United notched a late winner in their toughest game of the group stage - on the road against Arabe Unido - before dispatching Montego Bay United at RFK 3-0. The level of competition is well below MLS, and United's second-choice players are breezing through Group H as a result. The fact that the game-winning goal in both of those games was scored by Miguel Aguilar impressed our voters enough to give him the Player of the Month title for August:
It's hard to find a bright spot for a team that went 2-3 in League play, so I'll go a little off the grid and look at the two CONCACAF Champions League games, where Miguel Aguilar scored goals in both games and put him just behind Alan Gordon in the race for the vaunted Golden Boot, where small sample size will likely catch up to both players soon, but it is fun while it lasts now.
Adam M Taylor
A month that started wacky ended horribly in one competition and brilliantly in another, leaving precious few candidates for August POTM, at least for my money. Given the importance we tend to place on the ConcaChamps around B&RU, I'll give the nod to Miguel Aguilar and his two game-winning goals that have los Capitalinos in pole position to advance from Group H.
In a month of poor league results, it's hard to argue with the breakout performer in the CONCACAF Champions League. Scoring his first two goals for the team, one of them a legitimate game-winner, and the other technically a game-winner, Miguel Aguilar is my Player of the Month.
August was a struggle bus kind of month for the Black-and-Red in league play, but two CCL wins helped salvage things a bit. Miguel Aguilar scored the lone goal in the road win against Arabe Unido, and opened the scoring against Montego Bay at home. For that, he gets my vote. He's proving to be a pretty useful depth player.
Until the final votes were submitted, we were looking at breaking a three-way tie with runner-up votes. Here were the other players that caught our collective eye:
blazindw (voting for Chris Rolfe):
Once again, Chris Rolfe stuffed the scoresheet with 3 goals, including the gamewinner in Montreal, and also added an assist against NYCFC. We'll need him to continue to be hot and put goals in the back of the net to keep United on pace in September. He's my pick for August POTM.
Ben Bromley (also voting for Rolfe):
Chris Rolfe provided the difference in two games this month, the 6-4 win over Real Salt Lake and the 1-0 win over Montreal Impact, giving the team a six point boost in the league. In a month where games were plenty but league points were short, that is enough to get my vote over performances in the CCL.
touchline (voting for Bill Hamid):
Bill Hamid gets POTM based on his performance in Montreal alone, where the Impact had 70% possession and Hamid had 30% possession. The goal strike chart for Montreal looks like Bill Hamid was going for the high score in a game of Space Invaders. 25 shots, but a clean sheet.
I also voted for Hamid:
I knew my vote before I put out the call, but in the interest of not swaying the process I do not tell the electorate what I'm thinking. However, that didn't stop me from telling our staff that I think they're nuts the moment voting closed yesterday. Hamid may have only played 3 games, but I had him as a clear man of the match in all of them. United probably loses in Montreal without Hamid, and it was Hamid who kept the NYCFC and NYRB losses from becoming a rout and a possibly historic rout, respectively. I thought Hamid was sensational in August, even though I'd much rather see him bored for 90 minutes.
Steven Streff (voting for Michael Farfan):
In a tough month for United, not many stood out amongst their peers. But Michael Farfan picked up three assists in Champions League play, and despite getting the hook at halftime in the defeat to the 'Quakes, seems to be on the good side of Benny. If Arnaud misses any extended time with a concussion, Farfan just might be the option alongside Kitchen.
It could well be that the good times in the CCL are what we want to think about right now rather than the more unpalatable performances in the league. Or it could be that we just love a goalscorer, or a rookie. Whatever it is, those are our thoughts. Want to take up the torch for the runners-up, or someone we ignored? Take it to the comments.