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A Supporter’s View: D.C. United

Dc_united_logo For D.C. United fans, tonight’s game against the Columbus Crew can’t come soon enough. Anything that helps them forget about the horror that was the 4-0 drubbing against Real Salt Lake will do just fine.

Whether it was the offense sputtering, defense collapsing or new goalkeeper Jose Carvallo ducking for cover, D.C. United played its worst game in ages.

SBI Correspondent Joel Sanderson watched the carnage unfold and learned a lot about the 2008 version of D.C. United. Here is his take on Saturday’s match:

Ugly loss reveals plenty, none of it good


We learned a lot this week, and not in a good way. We learned that not being sold on guys who have a couple of good games is a good idea. We learned that Real Salt Lake took our number and has it hidden somewhere to torment us. We learned that midweek games at full strength and full emotion are draining. We learned (again) that new guys don’t always mean better guys.

The Fighting Gonzalos, Burch, and Namoff have really only played one good game as a group and that was against the Toronto. Even then, Toronto had a few chances and rose above for that late goal. Sure, Gonzalo M didn’t play in the RSL game, but the other three did. I don’t want excuses, I want defense.

This week was a fearful time for the D. Like before, I reserve judgement until later in the season, but at the very least there has got to be better communication. I’m not just talking about Alvarez’s goal for Pachuca, which was the definition of leaving a man open in the box. I could score in 10 yards of space too. I mean, right back should know when he’s needed in the middle and center backs should know when to attack the ball and when to let the keeper get it.

It’s not like Wells wasn’t being called on in the first half either of the Pachuca game, Pachuca just couldn’t score. .

That game had nothing on the cringe-worthy RSL game. Last year RSL got 6 wins, one against DC. This year, they destroyed us, utterly destroyed. Apparently our reserves can’t defend any better than the starters. I don’t even know how to respond to the bizarre angles and poor positioning throughout the night. When in doubt, mark SOMEONE, right? I thought ball watching stopped at puberty.

The easiest hit is Carvallo who looked overmatched. Let’s just address the second goal. I know I wouldn’t want to get beaten near post either, but he was even in position to protect the side netting. Someone needs to tell him that those don’t count.

The only slack available to be cut is because the team was not full strength in the RSL game. Gallardo didn’t play nor did Gonzalo M. Plus the rest of the starters had to be exhausted. Five games in 14 days is not a recipe for success, or even moderate failure.

Usually midweek games for MLS teams have been US Open Cup, meaning reserves in most cases. Well, not Superliga games. Like the European teams know and MLS teams shall certainly learn, the sandwich games are not easy. The DC players needs these five days to recover to play the Crew. Then there’s the nine day layoff for the RSL game at home. By that game I expect full strength and utter domination.

Except that not all those errors were exhaustion and some came early. We have got to clean up that back line or all of Fred’s brilliance will matter as much the game against Pachuca: an empty victory.


  1. MiamiAI, I’d agree with you about the Cup, but unfortunately the way MLS is set up, the regular season has almost nothing to do with winning the cup. Assuming you finish better than the bottom 3rd of the league, you’ll end up in the playoffs with no significant disadvantage to show for it. (think Chicago vs. DC in last year’s playoffs — supporters shield winners were placed on even ground with a team that won only 10 games in the regular season)

  2. We are three games into the season and we need to “rest” players already??? MLS, Champions Cup, SuperLiga, a game of monopoly, just get our damm starters out there! A loss tonight would hurt tremendously. IMHO winning MLS Cup is the top priority, all other tournaments take second place.

  3. The teams that earn the right to play in Champions Cup/Champions League, SuperLiga, etc, simply need more quality players. This is a problem that MLS needs to address and quick. MLS teams winning in international competitions, in my view, will be the single greatest way to get more hardcore soccer fans into seats at the stadium.

    Great piece by the way, Joel.

  4. Joel, I’m sorry man, but you missed the most important factor in this loss. It wasn’t that our new guys aren’t as good as we hoped, or that RSL “has our number.”

    It was the coaching decisions, plain & simple.

    Three big coaching factors:

    1. Resting key players (I can’t really fault Tommy for that)

    2. Using a 3-4-3. DC made the 3-4-3 work against Pachuca in the 2nd leg, but that was with a fairly familiar (by early season MLS standards) defensive grouping of Peralta, Martinez & Namoff, playing in front of Wells. This time out, Tommy asked a different grouping to play the 3 man back line, in front of a brand new keeper… which brings us to #3…

    3. Starting the backup keeper — Carvalho hasn’t ever played with these guys in live action, he’s never played with DC using a 3-man back line, and he’s never even seen artificial turf before. In short, recipe for disaster.

    Come to think of it, it would’ve done Tommy some good to actually watch last year’s RSL road debacle, where all this stuff happened before.

  5. Haha, my personal favorite line was: ‘Someone needs to tell him that those don’t count.’ Well written and good insight!

  6. I can’t help but commend good lines. And these supporter views’ have been filled with them.

    “I thought ball-watching was stopped at puberty.”

    Great line. Good job.


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