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The Aftermath

You knew from the very start, when Carey Talley offered a dangerous header off a corner kick in the first minute, that this was not going to unfold as smoothly as United had hoped. Still, though, the opponent was Real Salt Lake, winless, hopeless Real Salt Lake, and at some point, United would shake off its altitude buzz, adjust to the artificial turf and break the spirit of an emotionally fragile team.

So much for that theory.

United lacked intensity until it was too late. It failed to maintain possession, never found a rhythm and yielded far too many opportunities to a club that was dead last in the league in scoring. The central defense played too high, allowing Robbie Findley to break free twice, and Jay Nolly couldn't come up with a big save to keep United in contention. Luciano Emilio worked hard to get a goal, but Kpene faltered at the end and United's bid to steal an undeserving draw fell short.

Now the club will have to do without Copa-bound Ben Olsen, Bobby Boswell and Jaime Moreno for at least two matches.

Player ratings? How low will they go?

Nolly 4; Namoff 4, Boswell 3, Erpen 3, Gros 4; Olsen 4, Carroll 4, Gomez 4, Fred 4; Dyachenko 3, Emilio 5. Subs: Kpene 4, Simms 4, Addlery 4.

Game report here. Bonus quotes down there.

I'm off to Chicago early Sunday for the Gold Cup final. If ever I needed a flight to arrive on time, it is this one. Come on, Southwest Airlines, you can do it.....

"We didn't come out with any intensity at all. We're a possession team, we don't match the intensity, we don't win balls, you are not going to keep the ball."
(On the field) "It doesn't make for a pretty game, obviously. We like to knock it around, but regardless of that, if you don't do the intensity part and work hard, you are going to come out on the wrong end of the game and that's exactly what we did."
(On the defense) "We talked about the only real threat being balls over the top and we got caught flat on the two goals. Their outlet offensively is to lay balls over the top and they did it twice and it hurt us."
(On Nolly) "He was strung out on one-on-ones. You hope he comes up with a save like that - sometimes you do, sometimes you don't - but we don't need to put him in those kind of situations."
(On Dyachenko) "He didn't have a good day."
(On Emilio) "He worked hard. At least he gave me some of the work I was looking for early, but I don't think we had enough guys tuned in and when you have - what? - six, seven out of 10 guys on the field not doing well, you are not going to do well."
"It's not hard to figure out what happened out there, you know?"
"I just don't think we came to play like we should have. Until we went down 2-0, I think they beat us to every second ball and they just outfought us and it showed."
"I think we prepared. It's one game a week and there's no excuse not to come out and play your hardest. For whatever reason, we didn't do that and it has nothing to do with the preparation from the week because everything was fine. We just didn't show up today."
"We couldn't play two touches in a row."
"We said before the game we have to watch them dump it behind us. But okay we're one down, we have to push up."
(On the second goal) "They played it to Findley and I push up and he touched it to Alecko and then Bobby pushed up. When he pushed up, we couldn't cover."
"I think we were trying to step up and once we got through the first 15 minutes when they were trying to play high, we started to want to play with them and press them, and I think we might've got caught too high and maybe underestimated how fast Findley is."
"I tried to cut the angle down as much as I could. The second one was a lot tougher, he's coming straight in, but I need to help out my team. I need to come up with one of those saves to keep us in the game. It's tough coming back here and having that happen."
(On the second goal) "It looked like both of our backs stepped up to both of their players and they got a lucky bounce through and he was just in clean. Maybe if we would have sat off a little bit and let him come at us instead of trying to be up their backs I don't think he would've been clean through. That's us trying to get three points on the road and pushing up like that. That's why we win a lot of games on the road because we will take those chances - sometimes you win 'em, sometimes you don't."

By Steve Goff  |  June 24, 2007; 1:27 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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"But no!" I said. "DC is good, and RSL is bad!" I said. Those words taste sour in my mouth right now. Glad I didn't get to see the game.

Posted by: QJA | June 24, 2007 2:09 AM | Report abuse

Well, I planned to spit-take my drink if anyone got above a 4, but Goff, you are right...Emilio at least showed a degree of feistiness or combativeness that no one else really displayed (even Benny!).

The players subs perhaps reveal that DC was taking the game for granted.

Posted by: Erick | June 24, 2007 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Another brilliant move by Lalas in trading Findley, while that piece of garbage Jaqua is still wearing a Galaxy jersey.

Lalas is a fool and he needs to be fired.

Posted by: Rich | June 24, 2007 4:42 AM | Report abuse

Did Gomez play? He was horrid last night.

DC can't win west of the Mississippi. DC plays down to their competition on the road.



Posted by: JayRockers! | June 24, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I am not singling out Erpen for this loss and I am a fan of his BUT... is it my imagination or did he not, on at least two plays, pass directly to the opposing team? DC looked uninterested to win this game... sad really.

Posted by: Felix | June 24, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I think Nolly's rating is way too high. I'd put him at a 1 or a 2. I don't fault him on either goal although I have a gut feeling Perkins would have saved one of those breakaways. The reason I rate him so low is that he was consistently flailing at crosses, had no control of his box, didn't communicate with players (see Erpen's flick over his head turned shot for Williams). I don't think I saw him yell at the defense once and with how poorly people were playing he shouldn't have been able to talk after the game. I'm so glad Perkins didn't get called up for Copa America because two weeks of Nolly in there would have been awful.

Posted by: dwbpnm | June 24, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I know this is an unpopular thing to say, but I'm happy to see this result for a couple of reasons:

1.) United is not as good as the unbeaten run had people believing, and they needed a wake up call to remind them to work their butts off.

2.) RSL really, really, really needed a win to keep fans coming to their games, and to have the ability to think "on any given night, we can beat anyone" is a good feeling for a team. I'm a fan of United, and a fan of MLS, and while this was a loss for United, this was a victory for MLS.

Posted by: Logan Circle | June 24, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

If I never see Nolly in a regular season game again, I'll be very happy. I won't blame him for the two goals -- Mr. don't play high when you don't have the wheels -- but his flailing at crosses, poor command of the box and failure to communicate reminded me of Nick Rimando at his worst. Oh yeah, Rimando played last night like he did in the 2004 playoffs. Good for him, but he still was the "acrobatic save Nicky" and "punch, not catch Nicky" we all came to know and love at DCU.

Posted by: griffin1108 | June 24, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the last post. Maybe this loss will do United some good in the long run. They have to know that they just can't show up and win a game. This loss will hopefully remind them of their sorry early season form. You have to show up and play to win in this league.

For RSL getting Findley seems to be a good find. I think Lalas sucks as a GM. I wish he would just shut his mouth he makes MLS look bad in my opinion. I'm glad he is the GM at the Galaxy and not here at D.C. United.

Posted by: glen burnie | June 24, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I thought the 4 rating for Nolly was way too generous. He looked terrible. His inability to control the box was glaring. Every time someone crossed the ball over the box, Nolly was just flailing his arms and looked totally lost. He was so bad he made Nick Rimando look good in the air.

In addition, Nolly added nothing in terms of shot stopping. A decent keeper should have stopped one of those shots and in particular the second where he was beaten to the near post - Holy Meola....

But before anyone thinks I just singling out Nolly for the loss, I would just say you could also write a stinging evaluation of at least 7 or 8 players on the team. For example, anytime your coach pulls you off before half time you really have to be stinking up the joint as in Dyachenkos's case.

This United team continues to show a tendency to inconsistency and mediocrity.

Posted by: Nick | June 24, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

RSL is averaging 16,066, and they actually have a stadium under construction. They're fine.

Posted by: RK | June 24, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Want to Trade: "talented" defensive midfielder Brian Carroll for a sack of peanuts and/or a ham sandwich. Please send offers to Kevin Payne.

Posted by: noptov52 | June 24, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Want to trade Erpen.

Posted by: Neil | June 24, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Why did Nolly get start? B/c he once played for RSL? Give Perkins a break? Was Perkins hurt?


Posted by: K | June 24, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I think there is an error in the article, it says the only player in Real's starting line-up to score this season is Findley. Eski has scored too. (Both with other teams)

Posted by: anonymous | June 24, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Particularly glaring since Esky had a goal against DCU in Toronto...

Posted by: Arrrlington | June 24, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse




Posted by: JayRockers! | June 24, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

We suck again!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 24, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

"They have to know that they just can't show up and win a game. This loss will hopefully remind them of their sorry early season form."

Gee, and here I thought they had learned that lesson from the Galaxy match. Guess we're both wrong.

A pitiful and embarrassing performance. I don't care how crappy the surface is, you don't put up a turd performance like that if you expect to challenge for the Supporters Shield and other various Cups. This team is much better than that. This to me is a definite red flag.

Posted by: A Rickey | June 24, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line: both of those goals are saved with any decent keeper in the world.

Posted by: grumpy | June 24, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

why does no one ever talk about Boswell's messing up on opponent's goals? once again, he was busy calling for an offsides, instead of playing through, and got smoked for a goal by Findley.

also, i can't believe that Steve Goff forgot that Esky scored against United, in his last game with Toronto. [Goff's article in the paper says Findley was the only player active for last night's game who had scored earlier this season.]

Posted by: de | June 24, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Bobby Boswell was terrible again tonight. If he communicates and sets the line the goals don't happen. We all know he's the slowest centerback in the league but now he's gone stupid too.
Lost the RSL? This is officially a low point for DCU.

Posted by: tex | June 24, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see the game but this result brings a few thoughts to mind.

1) I agree w/ Logan Circle that United is not as strong as their unbeaten streak may have suggested to some.

2) Boswell is good, but Carroll & Erpen, while improved, are not still not strong defenders- they make too many mistakes. I hunger to see their progress but I question how good they're ever going to be. Namoff is coming along nicely. Gros is adjusting but I feel we need another grade A full back. Frankly, I'd prefer to see Gros continue to develop as a midfielder. He's a good one now, but it's possible he could turn into very good one. Ahhhhh, Agoos & Pope, those were the days.

3) At midfield I like who we have but no one has shined this year. Gomez, Fred, Olsen are all good players but none are excelling at present- not consistenly. Our offense and our fortunes won't thrive until these guys get going. So far so good w/ Moose but he has a ways to go before (potentially) becoming an impact player.

4) At forward, Emilio will get the job done but he's got to have the support. Moreno will have his flourishes but he just can't carry the load he once could....who knows after this year. I like Kpene's potential, but he needs time to develop and then we'll see. Cross you fingers boys & girls!

5) Visions of Chicago f'ing destroying us in the playoffs a couple of years ago and our loss in the conference championship last season. We need to get to where we're capable of beating good teams on their good days. The question in my mind is whether it's a matter of the need for chemistry to continue to develop w/ our new acquisitions/young players or if we simply don't have the personnel. Fullback is where I'm most concerned it's the latter.

Posted by: Kire | June 24, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Man. I just watched the "highlights", and I really wish that I hadn't.

Boswell got beat bad on that first goal. Findley never should have gotten the ball to begin with, and Nolly had no chance. But the second goal was just a bit of a letdown in the midfield, and Nolly really could have done better. Emilio's goal was just a gift from number 25.

I think that will probably be Dyachenko's last start in a long time.

Posted by: Shatz | June 24, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse


I agree with most of your points but not with item 3. I think that both Olsen and Fred have played very well this year even when the rest of the team has not.

The major exception is Gomez. He is so far off last year's form its almost as if we have an impostor on the field masquerading as a center mid.

Posted by: Nick | June 24, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Man they looked overconfident - At this level they should know better. That is due to piss poor coaching in preparing the team...

Posted by: BobF | June 24, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I was a bit worried when it occured to me the day before the game that the likely RSL midfield would be 2 destroyers with Williams and Ballouchy playing on the flanks. The reason for that worry is that the latter two, both playmakers by trade, would pinch in often. Just as we found the midfield crowded in the 3412, so too was it tough to get going with RSL often having 4 players in a very small space.

The much bigger problem, though, was that the players just overlooked the game. We didn't start playing until around the 75th minute. I don't know whether this was Soehn not motivating the players properly or the players just not listening, but this was a loss entirely on the mental side. We may all joke at RSL's expense, but they're not so far behind everyone that we can just coast to victory. Just like we thought we could brush past LA with no trouble, we will get outplayed (especially on the road) if we aren't fighting as hard as we can. This isn't about soccer, this is about a word I thought we'd seen the last of after we won a couple games: passion.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | June 24, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

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