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The Last Word on the (Continued) Hex in Houston

In which we move onto the next one yet retain a bit of the same dread.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

On short rest, D.C. United went to Houston to play a Dynamo team which was very clearly invigorated with the lineup additions of Demarcus Beasley and Luis Garrido in it, as Houston threw everything but the deep fryer at the D.C. United backline in the hopes of getting their first win in almost three months. And then, well, things happened.

Their Words:

Steven "Something awful always happens to D.C. United here, be it an own goal, red card, series of injuries, critical missed call or just a downright miserable performance...So wouldn’t you know, as Sunday’s match against the struggling Houston Dynamo entered stoppage time, another cataclysmic episode crashed down on United, resulting in a 1-0 defeat before 20,061 at BBVA Compass Stadium."

Jason Anderson: "In many ways, this was the quintessential United visit to Houston: The Dynamo were in charge for long stretches thanks to some sloppy DC giveaways and Houston's ability to win more 50/50 balls. However, the game appeared to be petering out to a draw until some extraordinarily bad defending in stoppage time gave Will Bruin the easiest goal he'll ever score."

Darrell Lovell, :via MLS: "When a frantic play is developing, sometimes it’s easiest just to keep things simple. As the Houston Dynamo’s Will Bruin saw the pile up that led to the winning goal Sunday night against D.C. United, that’s what he did."

Ben Olsen, (On the type of performance from the team): "It was a gutsy performance from us, and we knew it was going to take that. We knew we were going to have to hold the fort at times. I thought we did that, and to end that way is tough to swallow. It doesn’t get any easier next week. Our focus is to learn from this, and move on like we’ve done this year."

- Houston coach Dominic Kinnear (On the goal.): "Well it wasn’t drawn up. It was a good second effort by Omar (Cummings). The ball was bouncing, and he makes a play, and creates a little bit of panic. Will (Bruin) follows up on the play, and gets the tap in. Sometimes it comes down late, and a lot of times it comes down to a secondary effort, and I think we got that from the two goals on that goal."

Ben Olsen, (On recovering quickly for Sunday's matchup with Houston): "It was end to end, and when you play this team, from an energy level standpoint it’s always taxing. The quick turnaround, going to Houston, will be tough, but we’re going to be tested at some point with our depth. We’re going to rely on guys in the next month or two that haven’t seen a lot of minutes so that’s a good thing. I’m looking forward to getting those guys in, to test them in real games and that might start with Houston."

Bobby Boswell (On the ending):  "Not the greatest way to end a game. We knew they were going to be hungry. It’s our third game in eight days, and it was hot. Kind of faded a little in the second half. I thought we played well enough to get a point. In these type of games, and I’ve been a part of a lot of them here in Houston. It’s one play that goes either way. One play can win it for you, and as we saw tonight one play can lose it for you. Good group of guys, our depth tested tonight. Not the result we wanted but we’ll move on, and learn from it. We have to come back down here later in the year, so obviously we need to learn from the experience."

Wilson Calvertvia Dynamo Theory:  "The Dynamo started out on fire and managed to do everything right but put the ball past Bill Hamid and into the net. Bruin had two great headed chances in the first 30 minutes that were both mere inches from going in. One went off of the crossbar while a second was saved by Hamid over the bar. Taylor Kemp was starting at LB for DCU and was Dom Kinnear's target by working the left side for most of the night. "

My Words:

In the past, we speculated on seeing changes in the lineup which included maybe giving older legs like Davy Arnaud's a bit of a breather. However, we did not anticipate seeing Lewis Neal and Taylor Kemp in for the leg tightened (or more specifically, beset by minor hamstring injuries according to DCU play-by-play guy Dave Johnson) Nick DeLeon and Chris Korb, specifically. And while Neal generally did okay, Kemp was picked on early and often, by Oscar Boniek Garcia, Kofi Sarkodie, and whomever Houston wanted to run at him. It started early with a yellow card taken just outside of the box and ended with his stoppage time header back to Steve Birnbaum that ultimately led to the Bruin goal.

That said, let us be clear that we are not dreading when a second choice player comes into the lineup; substitutes & homegrown players Collin Martin and Michael Seaton need the time to play and seeing them last night was encouraging. They are going to need to be called upon over the course of the next month, and they should use this as a sign to Ben Olsen and gang that they want to stay here, so long as the lapses in judgment which occurred in the final moments like they did Sunday do not prove to be as costly.

The Last Word:

Now it is off to Salt Lake and Rio Tinto, where D.C. United have yet to win, US Open Cup Championship notwithstanding. While the late Perry Kitchen yellow card will cause him to miss the game for accumulation (his second such suspension this year), Real Salt Lake will be without Tony Beltran and Chris Wingert for the same reason. That we will (should?) see Fabian Espindola return to the RioT in those conditions is good, though the anticipated midfield of Arnaud and Neal for that is a bit of a letdown. The team (minus All-Stars Hamid, Boswell & Sean Franklin) have a week to get ready; the opponents are not going to get any easier.