(Ahem. See how easy it is KasperPayne?)
But seriously. Who didn't see that coming?
Let's not forget. For all of their pathetic and disjointed play in the first half to contrary, the Galaxy are currently the league leaders in MLS for a reason, and DC are rock bottom for a whole pile of reasons. Add in our lack of confidence and playing on the road...but of course, MLS is a different animal than leagues overseas. The Parity Police pretty much guarantee odd results and a minimum of blowouts. This isn't Chelsea v. West Brom. So what went wrong in this instance?
#1: Benny's powder got all wet. LA were scattershot going forward when DC were actually looking to attack, or at least counter. As soon as United grew content to merely keep the ball, and the possession became pointless, things got dangerous. And I'm still not clear why you wouldn't put Najar up top when you pull Allsopp. Sure, pull Allsopp, he's a useless pile of wombat dung (and some slow-ass wombat dung at that). But leaving Hernandez, an equally slow "tweener" midfielder/forward not likely to chase lost causes up top isn't going to put fear into any defense. Why not push Najar up top to race about and keep them honest? Too tentative an approach by far by Olsen, and it gave an LA side that looked incredibly disjointed going forward the time and space to settle into an attacking rhythm. But...
#2: Do we need to keep gifting goals? Simms should have cleared it. Yep. But when he didn't, Jakovic should have done the job. I really hate the fact that Jakovic has all the makings of a fantastic defender, but he can't cut out the brain-farts. Witness his beating Buddle for pace then matching Donovan over a significant distance, cutting out both runs. Or winning headers, cutting out passes, or delivering precise balls forward. But balance those feats against some of the truly awful choices of passes in the first half. His decision making remains suspect and isn't helped by indecisive play in the midfield ahead of him. And when the first goes in...
#3: It all falls apart. Olsen may have instilled grit and determination, but he can't make the team confident. Only results can do that. Catch 22. Can't hold onto the results without confidence (at least you can't on the road against a team that expects to win...go ahead and tell me Toronto wanted to win). Can't build confidence without holding onto results. DC's defense, which had been pretty steady for the first 80 minutes, collapsed completely when push came to shove and the first chink appeared in their armor. And of course...
#4: That damn toothless attack. Ignoring the giant waste of space that is Allsopp, consider the two glorious chances United had for a second goal and the attendant boost to the aforementioned missing confidence that might have arrived in its wake. Hernandez, who I was extremely impressed by, at least managed to test Ricketts, who came up with the big save to keep the lead at one. But Boskovic has to do better on the break. I know he's not a forward. But he's our DP. A DP's got to finish that chance when his team needs it so desperately. Need further evidence of our lack of fangs? Why is LA the one looking hungry for goals in stoppage time when they already have the lead? Why aren't we at least testing them, forcing them to protect their lead? Why aren't we the ones attacking? What do we have to lose at this point?
* * *
A round of Quick Hits?
* Donovan is such a bitch to the refs and walks all over them, and still the 50/50 and questionable calls go in his favor. Pathetic.
* I thought the teenybopper screamfest for every Beckham appearance was over.
* Anybody else think Kirovski's decided to play the "evil" version of himself, like that one Star Trek episode? You know, goatee = evil? He was certainly brutal enough with the fouls.
* We have some very technical boys who can play some very smooth stuff in attack...Then we have Allsopp.
* Not to harp on it too much, but a reasonably quick forward would have put us up by a couple in the first half. Allllllllllsssssop. It just sounds slow.
* Hernandez actual got a couple of calls in this match. Toledo must not have gotten the memo from Whistlemen HQ.
* Perkins' distribution was awful.
* * *
For much of this match, I had this weird feeling of being in Bizarro World (and no, it wasn't just Kirovski's goat). Usually, United are the ones with the majority of possession, but a lack of runs and a frustrating inability to connect in the final third, while the opposition string quick series of passes together resulting in chance after chance.
But all it took were those final 10-15 minutes to convince me that we hadn't just shifted dimensions. The same familiar pattern repeated itself. True, this time it wasn't a stupid mistake to allow the early goal and much huffing and puffing and failing to recover. Instead, we packed the normal pattern of 90 minutes into a soul-crushing final 10. Or it would be soul-crushing had not the 2010 OnalfoPayneKasper Steamroller already pancaked mine (and, I suspect, most United fans'). In a way, I suppose I should thank them. If not for their dedication to making me feel completely hopeless about my team, I might be genuinely upset right now, rather than shrugging off this result as more of the same old sad tune.