Alright, let's do the whirlwind catchup game after my extended (and unintended) absence...
DC United 1 : 1 Columbus Crew (MLS)
Going by the highlights, recaps, and various reactions across the digital landscape, it looks like we, once again, let one get away. It's encouraging that we managed to control a game on the road against one of our big rivals in the East, but, while we didn't miss having three of our usual offensive starters when it came to possession, we sure did miss the finishing prowess of Emilio and Moreno. Quick hits?
* Gomez looks to be rounding into form and Pontius continues to grow into a monster.
* Khumalo is all smoke and no fire.
* If Wallace can add finishing, he'll be joining Pontius on the approach to monster-ville.
* N'Silu isn't good enough.
* Janicki was, thankfully, much better.
USA 4 : 0 Grenada (CONCACAF Gold Cup)
Again, I'm left with highlights viewed through a hangover filter. But what I saw looked...encouraging? A Grenada sans Joseph is an opponent that even our C team should be handling fairly easily. That said, 4-0 was a statement of intent, and spreading the scoring around was also a positive. Any lasting thoughts?
* Big step for Rogers as the USA left midfield depth looks vulnerable to new blood. Now, if only he could stay consistent. And what's with him being the only scorer looking a bit sheepish after his finish? The others celebrated in proper style.
DC United 2 : 1 Harrisburg City Islanders (US Open Cup)
I'm only going by Limarzi here, so I'm going to just dash through what I heard...
* Why can't we close out a damn game? With United up 2-0, the third division (third-division-leading, but third division nonetheless) opposition goes down to 10 men, and yet they still have the wherewithal and freedom to not only grab a goal, but to seriously threaten for an equalizer. I know this wasn't our first team on the field, but still...
* Fred & Boyzzz can't finish. Honorable mention to McTavish and Wallace, both of whom Limarzi credited with a number of chances that went begging. But the big culprits would seem to be the aforementioned duo. At least Khumalo managed to bag one, but the number of times Limarzi got excited (and I know that pretty much anything gets Limarzi excited ;-) about chances for those two, only for the finish to vanish into thin air, hurt to hear. Now with Khumalo, lower division journeyman depth not clogging a lot of cap space, that's understandable. For $200k+ Fred? Not so much. But at least he's not...
* N'Silu of the lead foot. Again, I'm going by audio, mind you, but it still seemed that attacks that went anywhere near N'Silu went there to die. And I'm struggling to remember, but for all of the times that Limarzi mentioned N'Silu anywhere near goal, there didn't seem to be much indication of shots making their way towards net. Of course, forwards don't always have to score to be effective (see: the USMNT career of Ching, Brian), but you'd expect them to do other things (put runners through, set up trailers, win 50/50 balls, hold the ball in attacking positions). I didn't hear much indication of those happening, did you?
Alright, I'm not going to belabor the point when I really didn't see the match. Suffice it to say that, even if the Open Cup is a bit of a joke, I'm glad we're advancing. Even though it will add a fixture or two to the late summer MLS and CCL qualification calendar, it is a trophy, and it is a trophy we're defending. Likewise, said trophy also gives us a pass into Champions' League qualification for next year should our league position or MLS Cup finish fail to live up to expectations. Time to rest some tired legs with our bye week, hope the rest of the East manages not to win so that we don't lose any ground on the table, and return to action on the 18th ready for a little vengeance.