D.C. United hoped to snap run of bad luck in New Jersey against a New York Red Bulls side that found themselves in need of an identity or form or whatever, similar to what D.C. did two weeks prior. And like two weeks prior when D.C. beat the Philadelphia Union, the Black-and-Red found themselves on the bad end of a 2-0 result.
And let’s see what you thought of it, shall we?
Bill Hamid: 5.5 (MOTM) | Community: 5.8
3 nifty little saves, but could have addressed goal 1 a little bit better and seemed like he was out of sorts on goal 2. Does it feel like he’s going to need to revert back to the God-like 2014 mode because the quartet in front of him aren’t in good positions to help out?
Sean Franklin: 5.5 | Community: 5.7
Started at right back out of necessity and injuries to people in front of him and clocked in with a 60% pass accuracy number and key pass. Defensively had 6 recoveries, 3 clearances, 2 blocks, a tackle and at times was either having problems on a mark (on goal 1) or slow to read a play (on Derrick Etienne’s near-breakaway). The good news is he wasn’t the worst on that in back, but that’s hardly reassuring.
Bobby Boswell: 4 | Community: 4.8
Also a 60% accuracy number, won 6 aerials. Defensively did a ton of work; a tackle, 10 clearances, 5 interceptions, 3 recoveries. That said, had to do this, and missing picking up Bradley Wright-Phillips on goal 2 after losing him minutes before, and looked not great on one other sequence. Will presumably stick around for awhile while the Cap’n is down, but when Birdbomb returns, can we try (yet) another partner with him?
Steve Birnbaum (Captain) (off 95’): 5.5 | Community: 6
At 70.4%, was the most accurate backline passer (woof). Led the team in shots (also woof) before his late subbing off due to a concussion (triple woof). Led the team also in won aerials with 7 and had 8 clearances to go with a recovery, and has to share some blame on goal two. Get healthy, then we’ll figure out if you can play.
Taylor Kemp: 5 | Community: 5
57.9% on accuracy, worst among field players on the night, of his 38 passes, 15 were categorized as long balls on Whoscored (connecting on 6). Had 4 recoveries, made 2 of 3 tackles, had 3 interceptions, 7 clearances and 4 recoveries, but looked bad on two corners to Alex Muyl, one of which was goal 1. ‘Member when Shooter had a January camp?
Jared Jeffrey: 5 | Community: 4.4
Had 4 recoveries, 2 tackles, an interception and clearance. Action wise was even a little left of center and played a co-driving role (to an extent) with Harkes in the 6 car as he did the week prior. Didn’t contribute much, was a typical JJ performance. More important not as accurate a passer as Marcelo Sarvas in (Jeffrey’s 67.7% is about 10% off any given Sarvas game),
Lloyd Sam: 6 | Community: 5.7
Connected on 20 of 25 passes with a key pass and had a shot (which was on goal) to boot, even had a won aerial. 4 recoveries defensively in an otherwise nondescript night.
Ian Harkes: 6 (MOTM) | Community: 5.94
24 of 32 passing, and the only other guy who had more than 1 shot on the night. Had 2 tackles defensively (including a sweet and gutsy one deep in his area next to Hamid), a clearance and 6 recoveries. He’s going to look real nice when some of the people around him can get their games together or are replaced.
Luciano Acosta : 6 | Community: 6.2 (MOTM)
3 key passes, a shot and 64% pass accuracy. Took a yellow for a silly foul on Sacha Kljestan, but had 10 recoveries, 8 of which within a 20 yard range from the ends of the midfield circle. Certainly wanted to do his part.
Nick DeLeon (off 48’): 6 | Community: 5.4
Made 14 of 16 passes, had a shot, won 3 aerials(!) and had 6 recoveries before coming off to injury. Seemed to like being back in midfield albeit briefly, hopefully he can be called upon if Patrick Nyarko’s hamstring continues to be out this week.
Jose Ortiz (off 65’): 5.5 | Community: 4.5
Connected on 5 of 7 passes, had a shot on target, had an interception and recovery. Have seen at least one comparison to Lionard Pajoy which I think is misplaced; at least Pajoy was given opportunities and squandered them, you can’t fault Ortiz for a lack of workrate and still see he gets a dozen or so touches a game.
Sebastien Le Toux (on 48’): 5.5 | Community: 5.1
Had a decent look at goal, also could have had a case made for a drawn foul/yellow on a chance. Connected on 65% of passes and a key pass, had a recovery, clearance, tackle and interception on the backside, and may see some time this week.
Lamar Neagle (on 65’): 5.5 | Community: 5.4
Had a shot on goal, a key pass and connected on 4 of 7 passes on the day. Added 2 recoveries and a tackle for a generally average day.
Kofi Opare (on 95’): 6 | Community: 5.4
His only touch was a shot on target, and will need to reinsert himself into the center back discussion with Birnbaum out.
Muyl is the Man of the Match:
Sorin Stoica - Referee:
Sorin was scored at a 4.64 based on your votes.
0-0, 1-2, 0-1, 0-2, 0-2, 0-3, 0-1, 2-2
The above are D.C. United’s results at Red Bull Arena since Nick DeLeon slotted a shot home in the Eastern Conference playoffs (a game which should be noted had D.C. on the backfoot for most of the night, and were it not for encroachment would have been one they would possibly have lost after Bill Hamid was sent off). There is, or was, always going to be some sort of introspection on the bigger flaws of the team after this game, all the more so after it was learned that your first choice left midfielder was missing.
This isn’t to say that there shouldn’t be cause for concern, because there should be: first and foremost, our best wishes and speedy recovery to Steve Birnbaum for his concussion. Get healthy, then worry about whether you can play. But D.C. started its road trip pretty much as you’d expect them to: they remain winless on the road, and if recent history is an indicator, a win on the road is hard to get for them as they had the fewest road wins of any playoff team last year.
They head into Foxboro to play the New England Revolution likely missing 3 starters and depth being tested already this young season, and in between Ben Olsen trying to figure out what his central midfield is going to look like based on their performances combined with bad luck due to injury, expect a not-pretty game again this week, a la last year’s scoreless tie.
Then it’s down to Georgia for a midweek game against Atlanta United FC and if you thought D.C.’s defense looked bad and out of sorts now, start girding your loins appropriately.