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United Rewind

Even in defeat, D.C. United had been competitive in every match this season. Not tonight. The Mile High Hex continued with as dodgy of a performance as we've seen in a very long time, a 3-0 rout that was over at halftime. Maybe it was the busy schedule, fatigue, travel or altitude. Whatever the reasons this time, United failed to win here for the 10th consecutive appearance (0-8-2).

United's four-man backline -- a first for Coach Tom Soehn this year -- made Omar Cummings look like Samuel Eto'o. The decisive moment came late in the first half when, after Chris Pontius's header hit the left post, Avery John delivered a perfect through ball to the speedy Cummings -- which, of course, was a problem because John plays left back for United.

Read my full match report with quotes.

Wicks 5; Namoff 5, Janicki 3, Jakovic 4, John 3; Olsen 4, Simms 4, Gomez 5, Wallace 4; Quaranta 6, Pontius 5. Subs: Khumalo 5, McTavish 5, N'Silu 5.

With two weeks until the next league match and the U.S. Open Cup opener still a week and a half away, United will return home Sunday and then take a three-day break.

They need it.

Final thoughts?

By Steve Goff  |  June 21, 2009; 1:20 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Matchday: USA-Egypt



In a month no one will remember this one.

Posted by: taran | June 21, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse

John deserves a 2 and a free ticket to Shady Acres. What a pass.

Also, Pontius was a 4, at best. Had one decent play in the first half, never held up the ball, looked like a rookie.

Quaranta. Showed admirably on both sides of the ball. We're going to lose one of these guys to the Gold Cup, surely.

N'Silu doesn't ever seem to be in a hurry.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | June 21, 2009 1:57 AM | Report abuse

USA was knocked out of contention for the Beach World Cup later this year in Dubai :

Posted by: ESFan21 | June 21, 2009 2:32 AM | Report abuse

fire tom soehn

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | June 21, 2009 2:47 AM | Report abuse

That conversation between eadc and I about left backs looks more pressing after 2 straight awful performances from both of ours. It's not that either game was a summation of Burch or John as players; it's that neither can guarantee that these kinds of things are once-a-season debacles.

Like I said in the other thread, with the missing players, a taxing game on turf in a wild environment just 3 days before, and at altitude, this was always going to be a really tough game. We didn't step up, and were accordingly outplayed by a well-rested Colorado side. That we had to hand them their goals on a platter each time nags at me a bit, since that means even a decent effort might have gotten us something. However, I think this one isn't one that casts a light on a heretofore unknown flaw with this year's team. It's not one you stay up all night mulling over (note: I'm not up at 5am because of the game). We played poorly, lacked energy, and our opponent punished us for our mistakes. It'll happen every once in awhile. Let's take out our frustrations on Wednesday against the Barons.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | June 21, 2009 5:16 AM | Report abuse

1. That we gave away the match is galling to me. I didn't figure we'd win but it would have been nice to at least make it tough. For Avery John, this was a bit bizarre because he's just coming off some international action--go figure! For Janicki, completely understandable, it's a result of fixture congestion (so few practices) and no reserve league.

2. With hindsight, I actually like Soehn's lineup. He knew he had to get minutes to Janicki so he put him in a 4-man backline. On maybe the widest field in the league with our guys at altitude and a bit jetlagged and emotionally spent, he fielded a formation that is a quasi-bunker (4 man backline) that reduces space back there. It just didn't work out. No-one was special, John and Janicki were awful and agreed that Pontius maybe had his least impressive match of the year.

Credit Colorado for showing up. It's seems that's very much their MO--they may not be the most impressive team but they show up every match and make you earn the victory for the most part. And if you make mistakes they'll take advantage of them.

Posted by: JoeW1 | June 21, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

It's been no secret that left back is a liability this season. I just didn't think it was this bad. I have been wondering why Burch keeps getting minutes. The fact that John was responsible for 2 goals is disturbing - bad pass on the first and no marking the back post on the third. Wallace makes a feable attempt to come back and cover, but way too late. You can see John trotting in the middle of the field while his man puches the ball in the net on the back post. My dad commented that a good college team could have beaten DCU last night. He watches about 2 games a year with me.

I was actually worried about the 4 man back line being a communication problem. It seems neither middle back wanted to step towards Cummings with the ball at his feet in front of the goal. I know that it was probably warranted given the field and the fatigue, etc. But if they aren't used to playing it, they also aren't used to the level of communication necessary for a four man line. Then you look at how much ball watching happened on the left side and you wonder if that was a good decision or not.

No matter what, no one played well. Benny summed it up at halftime and nailed it. Unfortunately, nothing changed for the second half.

Let's hope the rest will do them good.

Posted by: spata2 | June 21, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I know that a lot of people don't like Burch, but Avery John should never wear the Black and Red again. He looked lazy and tired from opening kick-off. Worst game I have seen in years.

Posted by: BarraLoco | June 21, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Ack, what a disaster. I had to turn it off I was so disgusted.

I have a problem with Soehn in this fiasco.

Shifting to a new formation on the road and filling it with two defenders who haven't played much was begging for abuse.

I think he relies too much on Pontius and Wallace and they are wearing out. Shifting Pontius to be the main forward in a new role was a bridge too far. that he did OK is a credit to him but he was set up for failure. N'Silu would have been the obvious partner for Tino if it were me.

Putting Olsen on the wing was also setting him up for failure. He's been out for weeks and at altitude you ask him to run the flanks????

Our players made mistakes but they were set up by the coach.

Posted by: RRP1 | June 21, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Our players made mistakes but they were set up by the coach.

Posted by: RRP1 | June 21, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Agreed, Olsen on the flank made no sense at all. At times it seems Soehn's key strategy is to put players in positions they aren't suited for in order to confuse opponents or perhaps his own players. Can someone explain the Wallace as D-Mid for 2 games then it's back on wing?

It usually takes me until halftime to figure out who's playing where. I'm waiting for Wicks to get his turn at forward.

Posted by: SoehntheExit | June 21, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

The problem is that in this league with its limited roster and limited payroll is there are no consequences for performances like this one. In any decent league around the world, today we would see an announcement that John has been released and Janicki and Wallace have been sent to the reserve side not to be seen again for weeks, if ever. In that situation, then maybe the players would give 110% every minute they are on the field out of fear this may be their last chance. If you want to ask how this works ask Bobby Convey. If this morning Soehn was worried his job is in jeopardy because of the performance, then maybe he would not be quite as cavalier saying oh well, we’ll have games like that. He’ll have games like that so long as he and the owners allow it.

Posted by: congguy | June 21, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

MLS 2009 Standings:

1 Houston Dynamo --- 28
2 Chivas USA ------- 27
3 D.C. United-------- 23
4 Seattle Sounders FC--22
5 Chicago Fire------- 21
6 Colorado Rapids---- 20
7 Kansas City Wizards- 19
8 Toronto FC--------19
9 Columbus Crew----19
10 Real Salt Lake-----16
11 NE Revolution---- 16
12 LA Galaxy--------15
13 FC Dallas-------- 13
14 SJEarthquakes---- 12
15 NY Red Bulls----- 10

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | June 21, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

don't forget folks Brazil v Italy show will start at 2 pm...talking. I would imagine on espn

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | June 21, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

i will remember this one.

the Omar Cummings show. blew by janicki the jakovic twice. speed. no one could keep up with him.

stern john just standing in the middle of the box allowing that colorado player to come down to far post uncontested was disgraceful.

john needs to go.

now i know why i have had to endure burch all season.

Posted by: castroviejo | June 21, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I said when we signed him that I didn't like Avery John. He proved me right last night, unfortunately. He's just not capable.

Posted by: FAkeemail9875 | June 21, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I will go ahead and give Wicks a 6. He had no chance on the goals after horrible defending and he made some quality saves to keep it from being more embarrassing.

From a neutrals point of few the passing and possession by DC United at the end of the first half was about the worst I have seen all year in the MLS.

Concur with others, mulligan game from a fatigued team in a place they have had troubles in the past. Should give them some nice motivation moving forward.

Posted by: csd1 | June 21, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Gary Smith needs to take over for Bob Bradley. He's completely revamped the Rapids in less than a season; and they play with heart. I don't think his contribution should be overlooked. The Rapids worked really hard last night, and DC had a lot of trouble with the high pressure defense around the ball. They did a really lousy job of switching fields - often kicking the ball out of bounds; and Christian Gomez was a non factor.

I don't think altitude was a factor. The damage was done in the first half; guys were still running fine. It just looked like the Rapids were very organized and committed; and got pretty lucky with Cummings actually putting a couple goals away.

Posted by: hacksaw | June 21, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the larger field was a bigger factor than the altitude, but the biggest problem was playing Avery John. Any remember the brain fart he had for New England, when, without being pressed and for no reason, he turns and kicks the ball over the end line to give up a corner kick? He gave the perfect back pass to Cummings. A little to the right or left and our defenders would have cleared it.
Only Pontius played consistently with heart and with his head.

Posted by: dsheon1 | June 21, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

""Shifting to a new formation on the road and filling it with two defenders who haven't played much was begging for abuse."'

That's pretty much it, but add to it, starting Ben Olsen, who hasn't played in a month at a position he hasn't played in a long time. So, essentially 3 new players and a new formation . . . brilliant, Soehn.

The third game in a week, on the road and you pull that lineup and that formation out of your arse? Stop taking advice from Bob Bradley.

We should have been in a 3-5-2 with McTavish in a d-mid spot behind Gomez. The team would have been much better. I'm not promising we would have won, but the play would have been better.

Posted by: delantero | June 21, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

""Putting Olsen on the wing was also setting him up for failure. He's been out for weeks and at altitude you ask him to run the flanks????""

My bad, you got that one too. Maybe I should finish reading the posts.

Posted by: delantero | June 21, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Why would Sohen play Ben Olsen out right? I guess you'd have to ask him but my guess is that it was to deal with Colin Clark, knowing that if Clark gets shut down the Rapids are going to struggle to be dangerous.

Posted by: prk166 | June 21, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

@ unitedemon:
Neither Quaranta or Pontius are going to be called in for Gold Cup.

Posted by: owendylan | June 21, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

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