Following a disappointing performance the week before, D.C. United coach Ben Olsen lambasted his team’s performance and expected better of them heading into the weekend with the Philadelphia Union. The result? Not great, Bob.
So what did you think?
Bill Hamid: 5.5 | Community: 6.2
Took his place back in the starting lineup, had a howler of sorts on the first goal, and on the other three you had some pretty nifty golazos mixed with a point blank corner which granted, Bill can and has saved. Basically served as George Costanza to the Union’s Frogger.
Steve Birnbaum (Captain): 5 | Community: 5
So with Sean Franklin out injured, Ben Olsen had natural right back options in Chris Odoi-Atsem and Chris Korb. Rather than nod to the Chris’, he crossed and picked the captain, putting the center back in at right back. OK then. Was winning his aerials (5), had a shot and key pass to go with a 79.4% accuracy number, 4 recoveries, a blocked shot and a clearance. Can he start at center next week? And can he replace the next guy we’re about to discuss?
Bobby Boswell: 4.5 | Community: 3.9
Where do we want to start with this? Do we want to start with his foul on Fafa Picault, his bitching about it and subsequent attempted (and failed) goading of same? Or do we want to start with his turnover in his own third as he was slow to react, or do we want to start with how he managed to lose Oguchi Onyewu on a corner for a goal? Had 5 recoveries, 4 clearances, 3 interceptions, a blocked shot and a tackle to go with 2 shots and a 78% accuracy. All this being said: Stop. Starting. Bobby. Boswell.
Kofi Opare (off 53’): 5 | Community: 4.8
2 clearances, 2 blocks, an interception and tackle defensively, and at 71.4% passing was the second least accurate player on the field. Stayed compact positionally as far as the actions go despite the bulk of the attack existing on his side of the field.
Taylor Kemp: 5.5 | Community: 4.9
80% accuracy, a key pass and 2 aerials won to go with 3 interceptions, 2 clearances, a block and 7 recoveries. It was actually good to see Kemp distribute at higher positions and do it with some sense of purpose even if the game was gone.
Jared Jeffrey (off HT): 4 | Community: 3.6
Another game where he could (and should) have come back to help on an attack by an opponent. 4 tackles and 8 recoveries, but I think we’ve learned what the ceiling is for JJ and that’s pretty much that.
Lloyd Sam: 5 | Community: 4.4
Credited with 96.7% on Whoscored, though the MLSS chalkboard has him less accurate and active to boot. Had that missed point blank shot to go with everything else the team was doing, and has 1 assist in his last five games, all starts lasting longer than 80 minutes. His anonymity so far is interesting, and remains to be seen if it’s because of form or the lack of effective weapons on the field.
Ian Harkes: 5 | Community: 4.6
4 recoveries and a tackle defensively, and on the front side connected on 13 of 18 passing per the chalkboard on a pretty quiet day for the rookie who will look at a new (or reprised) partner in center this week.
Luciano Acosta (ejected 55’): 5 | Community: 4.1
Had a shot and 61% passing, or more to the point, assuming this chart of Lucho’s actions is accurate, it’s a nice impression of a late stage Fabian Espindola:
The discussion about the league “protecting” Lucho is one that has been had before and will be had again but the fact of the matter remains regardless of the hacking (and if we’re being honest, Onyewu has made similar fouls on opponents this season and done them harder as well), he’s got to do better with his time on the field, and this needs improvement.
Lamar Neagle: 5 | Community: 4
Raise your hand if you had the team’s only shot on goal! Also had 73% passing and 2 key passes to go with 2 tackles, 2 recoveries and an interception. Moving on.
Patrick Mullins (off 73’): 5.5 | Community: 4.25
8 of 11 passing and shotless, and his off the ball work were a little rusty: a sequence with Acosta would have almost certainly been a scoring chance if he finished his run. And now he’s without Lucho for a week. Hooray!
Marcelo Sarvas (on HT): 4.5 | Community: 3.9
Came on for JJ and at 2 tackles, 2 clearances and an interception didn’t do as much, and continued steady and accurate ball distribution (83.3% for him, 85.7% for Jeffrey), though it’s not like he was standing people up based on Philly’s shot map in the second half:
Chris Korb (on 55’): 5.5 | Community: 4.5
On for Opare who had a knock of some sort (status TBD as of this), Whoscored credited him with connecting every pass he had (17), though could have stepped up on the Picault goal a little better than he did. Nice to have him back, but let’s not go crazy here (Ron Howard voice: Benny did go crazy and played him over Odoi-Atsem).
Sebastien Le Toux (on 73’): 5.5| Community: 4.7
8 of 10 completed passes. Eh.
Haris Medunjanin almost doubled up Gooch as the MotM:
Chris Penso - Referee:
Penso had an average of 2.1 based on your votes.
So, yeah. It’s a little difficult to ascertain much from this game, but I’ll note that I called D.C. getting shut out by the Union in our predictions thread last week. So I’ll laugh, then cry, for a bit.
With that out of the way, a refrain I saw several share, for better or worse, that Chris Penso had a bad game, and it impacted D.C., which I can’t completely get behind, primarily because of the team’s passing and offensive actions in the first half:
This was for a couple of reasons: first, Medunjanin had perhaps his best performance as a deep lying midfielder, doubling his defensive actions from his season average. With the presence of Alejandro Bedoya, the two-man mids helped bottle D.C.’s possession and on the flip side, Jeffrey and Boswell’s inconsistent or even bizarre positioning led to chance after chance. Combined with Birnbaum being on the right, D.C. essentially abandoned any decision to attack on that side and Boswell and Kemp paid the price for it early on.
So now, D.C. misses its creative center as Acosta gets to watch as the Chicago Fire come to town, but more importantly D.C. plays a stretch of 4 games in 15 days, with the Fire, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Dax McCarty being on one end of that sandwich, and the possibly resurgent LA Galaxy and Romain Allesandrini on the other. In the middle? A cross-country trip to Vancouver on turf and a midweek game against an Orlando City SC squad yet to leave their new stadium empty-handed, winning 5 of their first 6 games.
D.C., down their most talented player, is going to have to figure out a way to score goals this weekend, and considering they’re already 3rd worst in the League for goals, prepare for some ugliness. Moreover, they need to get a win this weekend and end their home stretch on an up note or by the time they return they’ll find themselves eating their meals with a wooden spoon.