Deja Vu All Over Again | a DC United Match Reaction

Wait, wait, wait--stop me if you've heard this one before. United keeps the ball in their opponent's end for much of the match without ever looking truly dangerous. The opposition, when they do have the ball, go right for the juglar and make United look worryingly inept, managing more and better chances than we do with all our precious possession. Then, roundabout 75 minutes, the visitors kick it up a gear and United are suddenly wounded, a puzzled, haunted expression plastered on their faces. And it's only a matter of time before the coup de grĂ¢ce arrives in comical fashion.

Welcome, my friends, to the Curt Onalfo era...

Well, let's not blame it all on Onalfo; there's a fair bit of blame to be shared around here, particularly by the FO that's built this team. Are there really enough dangerous pieces here for Onalfo to fashion something threatening that might offset his inability to organize a defense? Moreno had his moments, but there's no way he's a starter anymore, much less a 90 minute player (Can somebody explain why he was left on the field all 90 when he was clearly done? Is Onalfo afraid to yank him?). Castillo looked a little better than in previous outings, but didn't ever really look dangerous. And Allsopp? Square peg in a round hole. He just doesn't seem to be playing the same game as the rest of the team: flicks to non-existent runners, dribbling into blind alleys. And how about the big deal that was supposed to solve that looming problem in net...?

Perkins looks utterly lost. He's tentative coming for crosses, gets all confused with his defenders when looking to clear, and what about that second goal? Sure, Talley was doing his best traffic cone impersonation (and had been all night) against McBride...but beaten near post on a flick-on header from a keeper's dead ball clearance from his own end? Really? This is worth a first round pick and a starting attacking midfielder (you don't think Fred could start on this train wreck?). Jeebus! It's no wonder we can't get a stadium built with smooth operators like this at the helm.

Of course, Perkins' giant pile of suck was perfectly in keeping with the quality of his defense. I don't know if they were just being gun-shy about making tackles in their defensive third because of the stunning number of terrible free kick opportunities we gave up last week by being too aggressive, but the inability to close down angles, close down players, and clear balls in and around the box was enough to make you weep. For crap's sake, Collins John was playing alone up top for the Fire and he consistently had time and space in which to operate without having to drop deep. That's pathetic. Sure, sure, I know we were without our starting center backs, but...ugh!

Still, the thought that sticks in my mind comes courtesy of the Fire color guy (electrical difficulties last night meant I had to watch the replay this morning on Match Day Live), who said, as the match began, "DC United are pointless this season."

Spot on in so many ways. We are still without a single point on the table, which was what he meant in the first place. But we also lack any sort of cutting edge that might threaten an opponent (our only goals came courtesy of defensive errors by the expansion team). Worst of all? We don't seem to have any direction. Possessing the ball is nice, but it means squat without creating chances or being able to limit the opposition's chances. The only time we managed to look mildly threatening was from one free kick and a couple of corners. And our defense, as previously pointed out, doesn't seem to have a clue.

We may recover somewhat as the injured start filing back onto the pitch (of course, seeing the Bum Hammy Hammer strike down yet another player [Pontius], we may need a revolving door installed in the treatment room), and maybe there will be some movement in the transfer market this summer that adds a bit of quality if Chang decides he's seen enough of the Kasper-Payne Comedy Hour. But at the moment, I think we need to set ourselves a pretty low bar.

How about beating the points total for the 2009 Red Bulls? At the moment, that looks like it might be a stretch...



  1. That same quote from the Fire commentators (who were even worse than United has been, calling Allsopp Pontius after Pontius went off, hilariously "sponsoring" decent chances as "Best Buy connections", etc.) stuck in my mind for the exact same reason.

    Still, I have this theory that this suffering is to purify us and prove us worthy to receive a stadium. If we can keep our average attendance above 15,000 in a year in which United falls to win a single home game, then the soccer gods will bring forth a stadium shining and immaculate from the muck at Poplar Point, whole and complete for next season's opener.

    Najar's not a bad player, though, is he? And I'm not sure that Morsink is really the problem, either (I'd be quite pleased with him as a third central midfielder, though I'm less excited about him as a starter). As you noted, it's the forwards who are abject at the moment.

  2. And if we end the season at the bottom of the table, it only gets us the third pick in the draft... *sigh*

  3. @rob
    Well, considering the Fire commentators kept saying Pontius was Australian... ;-)

    I'm with you on Morsink. He's really tidy connecting passes through midfield, but doesn't have the range or bite that would make him really stand out. My notes on Najar were pretty much, "good energy, promising moments, but too much 'kid stuff' (balls to nowhere, clearances across the box, etc)." Still, for a high-schooler, the kid can hold his own.

    Ouch. I'd forgotten that. Oh well, we would've just traded that pick away to get back somebody like Burch when we loose them in the expansion draft, right? Allow me to match you... *sigh*

  4. I was at the game and it is obvious we have no attack. There is no player on this team that is a threat to the opponents back line. Najar played his butt off but he is a kid and really should be allowed to serve as a sub behind a seasoned CAM (something we don’t have). This would allow him to learn from a veteran and develop the skills he will need to succeed in the long term.
    On a separate note, as I was leaving the game Saturday night I said "we are the worst team in the MLS right now" to two guys who were seated behind me. This was I believe a statement of fact not an unfounded gripe. The response I received from the genius fan was, "then stay home". I was a bit stunned at first and when I confronted him he proceeded to boast that he supports his team through thick and thin, yada, yada, yada. I honestly wasn't in the mood to have it out with him after sitting through another late game disappointment so I told him what he could do with his opinion and left. My point for bringing this up is I don't think it's enough to just blindly support this team. Furthermore, telling a fellow fan to stay home because they have an opinion different from yours seems pretty arrogant and or stupid. If we all start staying home, we will become the 09 Red Bulls. We pay good money for season tickets and invest our time and effort to be at the game to support the team. I think the fact that I attend every game as a season ticket holder proves my level of support and I expect a better product on the field, period.

  5. Hard to argue that we're not the worst team in the league right now and the most toothless. A -9 goal difference and zero points (everybody else has at least 2) would tend to back that up.

    And I fail to see how it isn't supporting your team when you're critical of bad signings and abject performances. Doesn't this show you care more than mindlessly chanting the party line and blindly saluting the emperor in the buff?

    More power to ya, Dave.