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United Rewind

On the surface, a tie against Columbus -- the reigning MLS champion on a 5-1-5 run and unbeaten at home since June 2008 -- while Emilio, Moreno, Quaranta and Jakovic were missing isn't a bad result. (Rogers and Marshall were absent for the Crew, too.) However, United knows all too well it let three points on the road slip away. D.C. was much better on this night, but the finishing wasn't up to par and one breakdown resulted in a Columbus goal.

Bryan Namoff: "It's definitely frustrating. In games that we are playing well on the road, we do need to get these three points. As you go along through the season, you just never know and you want to secure as many points as you can."

Ben Olsen: "Offensively, it was a good effort, but if they don't hit the net, it's going to put a lot of strain on the defense. If we lapse on one play, like we did, we come out with a tie. It's a disappointing result for us because we felt like we were a much better team tonight and we should have come away with the win."

Read my match report with quotes.

Wicks 6; Namoff 7, Janicki 7, Burch 7; Khumalo 6, Olsen 7.5, Simms 6, Gomez 8, Wallace 5; Pontius 6, N'Silu 6. Subs: Fred 6, Barklage 6.

By Steve Goff  |  July 4, 2009; 11:55 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Clearly, these ratings are relative to the game at hand as no one impressed me tonight.

Well as far as being a class above middling . . . save Olsen.

Ben was a madman in the middle and engaged throughout. He challenged for every 50-50 ball, even every 30-70 ball and caused them headaches all night.

Mr. Schletto meet Mr. Olsen.

Posted by: delantero | July 5, 2009 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Esky is "the new Galaxy hero." He scored the only goal in the ninth minute for LA.

Posted by: sitruc | July 5, 2009 1:04 AM | Report abuse

One of the worst displays of non-finishing I have witnessed from this team. Especially with the night Hesmer was having, the total of one goal is humiliating.

Summed up near the 30 minute mark; N'Silu receives a ball at his feet at the 18, no defenders within 10 yards of him on any side, and he whiffs. Doesn't even get a chance out of it.

As much as I've come to trust Soehn, and as thin as this roster is right now, this is ridiculous. Some of these guys don't appear to belong in the pros, period. Oh well, whatever Soehn sees in them, I hope the rest of us catch a glimpse of it sometime between now and when the sun explodes.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | July 5, 2009 2:28 AM | Report abuse

yeah he may have waved him off to go double cover a nobody. Burch migrates to the middle of the box to cover the same guy that janicki is covering. leaving moreno wide open and wallace out to dry. Burch has got to pick up moreno.
Burch has been a massive dissappointment all season long. his crosses, defense, decision making. all horrible.

he needs to go. unfortunately we got no other left backs. we need to pick up someone.

N'silu is a complete bust. dump him. No goals, no touch , no service. a veritable black hole for chances

Posted by: castroviejo | July 5, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Wow Steve, i think you under-rated pontius. I think pontius had a great game, had nsilu been playing well, i think the tandom would have scored more. I think we played very well yesterday, we controlled the game, and kept possession. We are lacking the finishing and that can be frustrating, especially considering the fact that we dominated play throughout the game. The goal we allowed was a complete lapse on defense. For a minute our defence looked as if they were playing neighborhood ball, everybody going for the ball, and assuming columbus was not good enough to pass. Burch needs to control his vigilante tactics at the back or else i vote for John. On a brighter note, the tie keeps us in first for a few more hours :)

Posted by: g3impreza | July 5, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to United players following all shots at goal? We didn't do it at the Soccerplex earlier this week and we didn't do it last night. As many balls as Hesmer was spilling, we could've had a couple of more goals if players were buzzing around the net after any shot attempt. I feel like this important tactic used to be a priority for United, but it seems like its fallen by the wayside lately.

Posted by: DrBeaker | July 5, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I see where you're coming from with the 5 for Wallace. His finishing (lack of) was costly. And I guess you could say he should have been defending deeper on their goal - though I think that was a systemic screw-up.

But in a weird way, I thought Wallace was the best player on the pitch. Or, I guess I should say, the most gifted player out there. He really lifts the team going forward. And his teammates look to him for that lift. Not something you see much from a rookie - forced to play an antiquated wing-back role. He's a guy (to me) looks like someone that will be moving out of this league rather soon.

Posted by: Kev29 | July 5, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe we got rid of Doe for N'Silu. N'Silu sucks, no movement, no touch, no effort, he needs to go.

Posted by: GoUnited | July 5, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I can understand why Pontius got 6. Even though he got some shots his finishing were very poor. Lost the ball in the mids of dribbling near the box. Gomez gave away a golden chance too for that matter. Fred had done nothing. N'Silu has played a couple of vicious tackles. Simm's decision at blast should have been to pass to the two sitting 10-15 yard unmarked but he blasted wide. Barklage sub should have been for N'Silu and not for Khumalo. Even though Khumalo sucks at crossing and finishing but he trace back to defense and hustles a lot. In short, gave away.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | July 5, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Wallace was nowhere in the first half and everywhere in the second. Gomez was on fire but a little selfish at times, I thought. Same with Party Boy. He took several questionable shots or held the ball when he maybe would have had a better result if he had passed.

All in all, a good effort, especially while missing 4 key players, but we fell short. I was shocked that Wicks was time-wasting at the end; I for one wanted us to go for the win and the rest of the players seemed to agree. I was also surprised that the Crew fans were the ones booing when the ref blew the whistle a little early. Were they watching the game? Weren't they aware that their team was under siege ALL night? Weird.

Good showing from the United fans! There were several times that I could hear them on TV when the Crew supporters were either silent (which was often) or just quiet (also often).

Posted by: kdiff813 | July 5, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Giving credit where it is due, the possession game was terrific. It really looked like two different teams out there. With Moreno or Emilio in instead of N'Silu, I think we score another goal or two on give and goes. Anyone else get the impression that as the match wore toward its conclusion Columbus was playing for a tie at home?

I'm puzzled by N'Silu. I've seen flashes of good stuff, but no consistency. Khumalo has great speed and I love the way he covered the whole field yesterday, but his touch was disappointing at times. I don't understand the 6 rating for Fred, because as far as I could tell he had no impact on the game. I was very disappointed that the level of play didn't pick up (and in fact the goal was scored the other way) after he came in. That says something about both Fred and Khumalo, I suppose. Still, did not seem like the same intense Fred we saw the first couple of games after his daughter's surgery. Maybe he was tentative coming back from injury.

I go back and forth on Burch. I think he is the best option right now at left back. Unlike some others here, I like his toughness and aggression. But it did appear that he was the most likely candidate for being out of position when Moreno was unmarked for the goal. Overall I think he continues to improve at the position, and lacking any better alternatives, I say continue to play him, and let him learn, as long as the season seems to be going well. . . And look for options when the signing window opens.

Great job by Janicki, reminding me of why I liked him so much at the end of last season. Assuming Jakovich only lasts a year or two before he goes back to Europe, its nice to have Janicki there.

Posted by: regularfan | July 5, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

What's disappointing is that the ball kept falling for Wallace who seriously has to work on his composure. N'Silu has been hugely disappointing as a line-leader in the absence of a fit Moreno or Emilio, so the attacking midfielders are likely to get the chances.

Wallace struck the ball repeatedly at their keeper as if he thought that hit hard enough, the ball would pass through his body. He had the time, just not the composure to put the shot either side of the keeper.

I'd like to see Pontius play up top with N'Silu. If N'Silu was given instructions to stay central and look to hold up the ball and try to play Pontius through, I think Pontius has the technique to beat the keeper.

Posted by: gooner71 | July 5, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

It is disappointing from any angle you look at when you fall under an expansion team Seattle on points and let Chicago slip up top. Forget reaching Houston on points.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | July 5, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Give Wallace time, he was a defender in college, I'm sure Sasho didn't have him working on deft finishes in the box.

N'Silu seems to be regressing. Saw him in the first Open Cup play-in and I thought "wow, much better than Doe." Now, not so much.

At this point, I actually think Khumalo is more effective than Fred. What does that say for Fred's longevity? I know he has had an awful year personally, perhaps he just needs time to clear his head, but lately on the field he has been dreadful.

Posted by: griffin1108 | July 5, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Normally, as part of the pregame ceremonies, the players walk onto the pitch accompanied by small kids. Last night in Columbus, the civilians were decidedly older than usual. If the BSPN2 folks offered an explanation, I didn't catch it.

Posted by: universityandpark | July 5, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

The crew scored because there was lack of pressure on the ball from Fred to start with. Poor finishing, poor subs and three points given away.

Posted by: uknowmeas-GQ | July 5, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Also, one disappointing thing that wish I saw from Tommy at sideline was screaming his lung out to the boys pushing for win.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | July 5, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: uknowmeas-GQ

The crew scored because there was lack of pressure on the ball from Fred to start with. Poor finishing, poor subs and three points given away.


My thoughts exactly. Fred should have a 5 at best for his failure to close down the crosser on that ball. One thing that Khumalo did last night was put pressure on the opposing winger. When Fred came on the field that pressure went away.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | July 5, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

will those people blaming fred for not putting pressure on the ball. please look at the tape. burch comes over to guard janickis player that he is guarding leaving a lone striker moreno wide open.

does he really need to double team someone and then leave another player wide open?

fred is there more for his creativity, which u can probably bash on that but to hang a noose on freds neck alone is quite a stretch.

Posted by: castroviejo | July 5, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

that's what I remember watching live castroviejo. Burch should have let Janicki do his job.

Posted by: DadRyan | July 5, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Because when you are up 1-0 on the road and playing a 3-5-2, you defend with numbers.

Columbus had an even number of players in the box . . . . Wallace needed to drop and provide support.

Posted by: delantero | July 5, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Looking at the replay, Wallace was slacking. Fred also could have been a little more, agro, but dude is always getting criticized for making kicking people, soooooo.

Man this whale wars show is kinda gnarly.

Posted by: DadRyan | July 5, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

uknowmeas-GQ : For the record, that would be two points that we gave away, not three.

I put some blame on Fred mostly because I don't think that Ekpo would have been able to get off such a clean cross if Khumalo was still on the field. I wonder if Fred is still not 100%, or if Khumalo has really passed him on the depth chart?

I'm not too upset about this one though. If Emilio was playing in place of N'Silu, we win this match.

Posted by: DCUMD | July 6, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Nsilu was a absolute crap on offense. Time after time after time, he managed to either wiff a shot, give up the ball or do the wrong thing to prevent United from scoring.

Frankly Nsilu was Columbus's best defender. He was horrible in the Open Cup game and was horrible in the Columbus game. I've seen enough of him this year that I don't think he's even worth a developmental slot.

Posted by: dcufan531 | July 6, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse


How you can rate Nsilu equal to Pontius and ahead of Wallace is beyond me.

Posted by: dcufan531 | July 6, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

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