Kick in the Balls? | a DC United Match Reaction

That was the headline that might have been. It was almost perfectly set up. Two Sounders had gone down previously with boots to their nether regions. On comes Marc Burch, fresh from slagging off United in the media, only for Sigi to give him just two and a half minutes to prove what he couldn’t in a handful of years with DC.

It was there for him. After a raking cross-field ball to start the move, he followed in Alonso’s shot and crashed a header off the post with just seconds to play. Of course, this is Burch we’re talking about. He’s no longer our cause for woe…

So what then is the prevailing feeling in the aftermath of a 0–0 home draw against what is arguably one of the best teams in the league?

Mixed.

Both teams had one glorious chance spurned, one good chance pinged off the post, and precious little else to show for 90 minutes of endeavor. Both spent periods in the ascendency and periods where they bent but did not break at the back. Despite the lack of goals, the neutral would have little to complain about as neither team sat back and both had their moments.

Talking points?

  • While United’s attack reverted somewhat to previous form: moves often breaking down through miscommunication, ill-timed runs, and a lack of passing anticipation or vision, the solidity of the defense was encouraging, particularly with McDonald suspended. Seattle (outside of that late, late Burch chance) created very little when they weren’t on the break[1].

  • Salihi continued his pattern of getting a half-decent chance, but not making it count. There’s a conundrum here. Are you disappointed that the guy on DP bucks couldn’t bury that one presentable chance or are you concerned that he’s not getting more than one look per game? The onus has to be on the rest of the attack to give him more chances. When those come, I have little doubt the goals will follow.

  • Najar back into the starting slot? I think so. Cruz gives you tons of energy, but he’s also liable to cause a cracked LCD when you throw something at it in frustration when he tries to do anything with the ball at his feet. Can I get an “ugh” for miserable technique? For the first 50 minutes or so I was contemplating a post on Cruz being shifted to right back since Russell looked hopeless, but the latter came on really strong in the second half before getting subbed off, and I’m really not sure I’m ready for the body (and card) count that would be sure to follow Cruz’ move to the back line. Disciplined he is not…Hope Russell’s okay, because he finally was starting to look like a worthwhile addition for twenty minutes or so.

  • Boskovic’s performance mirrored Russell’s in miniature. A hopeless beginning that started to give way to actual competence. I’ve not yet seen enough to have me calling for a new deal in the summer, and I’m not convinced that he fits with the high-energy United that Olsen wants to field (of course, neither do Dudar and Salihi, but there you go…). Still, there were times when his subtlety and calm on the ball were refreshing.

Quick hits?

  • Dudar’s heading technique is…um…let’s just say he’s got the Morrissey haircut and that’s pretty much how I imagine Morrissey heads a ball. Sigh.

  • Still not sold on De Rosario in central midfield. I know we’ve got other weapons up top now, but for my money, he’s still most dangerous closer to goal. Unleash the trequartista!

  • DeLeon had his moments, but so did Pontius in a brief substitute appearance, including a sweet flowing combination move that he probably should have pulled the trigger on a step earlier. Who do you start?

So. Disappointed in the end? Maybe a little. But given the last few years, I’m sure you were as gunshy as I was to run into the arms of Lady Optimism after the 4–1 demolition of Dallas. At this point, I’ll take back-to-back, points-earning results as something to build on, particularly with a clean sheet against a quality team.

Still, not enough for a “vamos!” though. Let’s leave it with an understated fist-pump and a smoldering Olsen-glare at the horizon, shall we?


  1. United often looks worrying vulnerable on the break, particularly after their own set pieces deep in opposition territory, but that’s pretty common for any team.  ↩

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