D.C. United was coming to the end of a tortuous run of games, playing their 17th in 62 days (or about one every 3 and a half days) Friday night against a Seattle Sounders team depleted by their own injuries and national team call-ups. D.C. didn't make things easy on themselves, losing their starting forwards to injury and ejection, and it took a late Tyrone Mears goal for the hosts to come out of Century Link with a 1-0 win over D.C.
Our Words (Steven Streff): "D.C. United's final trip to the Pacific Northwest this season was a night to forgot, as the Supporters' Shield leaders fell to a late Tyrone Mears goal in a 1-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders. After playing with just ten men for much of the match after Fabian Espindola saw red, United were minutes away from escaping Seattle with a point, before Mears took all three points for the Rave Green.
United's meeting with Seattle came at a great time, with the Sounders missing Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans, and Marco Pappa due to international duty, with Obafemi Martins still out with injury. But Luis Silva was lost early to a groin injury, and coupled with Espindola's red, the combination drained much of D.C.'s hope for three points before 30 minutes were gone."
The Washington Post (Steven Goff): "Given the series of unfortunate events Friday night, D.C. United would have been overjoyed with a draw in one of MLS’s most inhospitable environments. Moments from escaping with a point, however, Seattle defender Tyrone Mears scored on an 88th-minute screamer to lift the Sounders to a 1-0 victory before 40,410 at CenturyLink Field.
"I am as proud as I have been in a while of this crew," United Coach Ben Olsen said. "The effort they put, the way they looked out for each other out there. In the end, it takes a wonder strike from them to get all three points."
MLSsoccer.com (Ari Liljenwall): "The Sounders appeared reinvigorated by the return home after last weekend’s 4-1 thumping at the hands of the Portland Timbers, managing seven shots in the first half, including three on target. The improved fluidity of the Sounders’ attack would not result in any goals, however, as Dykstra was able to comfortably handle all of the shots that Seattle did manage to put on frame.
Lamar Neagle had Seattle’s best look of the opening half after turning and unleashing a distance shot from outside the D.C. penalty box, but the attempt would fall harmlessly into the side netting."
CSN Washington (Dave Johnson): "From three league matches in the last ten days United earned four points or a win, a tie, and a loss. Seattle did essentially draw even with United for the top spot in the Supporters Shield race, but there is almost half of the season left to play. United has played two more games, but still enjoys an eleven-point cushion on second place New England in the Eastern Conference. United has survived and can now take a breath before its next league match July 18 in Dallas. To be sure it is disappointing United was eliminated earlier this week in the U.S. Open Cup to Philadelphia, but will be better able to focus its energies on the CONCACAF Champions League."
Sounder at Heart: "Facing Supporters' Shield-leading D.C. United, and looking all the world like they were going to be forced to settle for a scoreless tie despite playing most of the match up a man, Mears delivered an absolutely beautiful goal to give the Sounders a well-deserved 1-0 win. The goal was Mears' first since Nov. 27, 2010 and, more importantly, allowed the Sounders to snap their three-game losing streak.
Mears' goal came in the 88th minute after United failed to clear a Dylan Remick cross. The fell to the feet of Mears, who calmly stepped up and hit it first time through two United defenders and into the upper 90 of the far post."
Fabian Espindola must have started listening to The Clash last year. That can be the only reason for his behavior, right?
Example number one, last year in Montreal, when Felipe Martins shelved him for six weeks:
Then take Friday night, when Zach Scott clumsily fouled him:
So like in "Hate and War," when Fabi gets aggression, he gives it two times back. First in Montreal:
Then Friday night:
And this omits Espindola's red at the end of the second leg of the playoffs, a win over (but elimination to) the New York Red Bulls.
That's three red cards and two Disciplinary Committee suspensions in one year and one week. Or three red cards and two DisCo suspensions in the last 24 games Fabian Espindola has played. When you're the main offensive weapon for your team, it helps if you stay on the field. This may mean turning the other cheek, or having your teammates do your dirty work for you. Hell, it may mean your coach talking to the press and complaining of targeting, God knows everyone does that.
But it does not mean taking yourself off the field because you want to seek retribution. And in a locker room where he played with Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales and Jamison Olave (to name a few), Espindola should know this. Or, if he doesn't, it needs to be discussed. And God knows, with all the people in the locker room (Espindola included) that have appeared in various playoffs and tournaments over the years, it should be. But it may be one of another series of instances that we have heard rumors about Espindola in the locker room where he seems to be treated with kid gloves from friends and employers alike.
The Last Word:
So D.C. has a week off for the first time in four-ish months. And after their game Friday, seeing them on Monday morning seeing their position atop the Supporters' Shield and Eastern Conference races unchanged and their lead in the latter remain at 11 points is impressive. And also, God bless the crummy Eastern Conference. But looking slightly past that, they are 15 points above the red line, where New York City FC currently reside. And below the line teams comprise 9 of D.C.'s final 13 regular season games. We're close to a point where some planning for the postseason needs to occur, and asset management and/or rotation should occur to keep legs fresh. It also means that as the marquee player on his team, that Fabian Espindola act the part.