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United Rewind

D.C. United received a point Saturday night because soccer guidelines say that a team that plays to a tie should be rewarded. But you could certainly make the argument that United deserved absolutely nothing for the 2-2 draw with the Earthquakes -- a result that prevented the club from sharing first place in the Eastern Conference and instead left it in third with league matches at Houston and Toronto mixed in with Champions League games with Firpo and the Real Madrid friendly over the next three weeks.

It felt like a loss because United relinquished a two-goal lead. Because it was thoroughly outplayed for the final 55 minutes. Because it occurred against the worst team in the West. Because that opponent was missing its top two scorers in the second half.

DCU Coach Tom Soehn, on the frustration of another missed opportunity on the road: "Today more than ever because it was probably the worst half of soccer I've seen us play."

Read my match report with additional quotes.

Wicks 5; Namoff 4, Jakovic 5, Burch 4; Fred 3, Jacobson 4, Olsen 4, Gomez 6, Wallace 3; Pontius 4, Emilio 4. Subs: Moreno 4, Szetela 5, McTavish 5.

By Steve Goff  |  July 26, 2009; 3:05 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Sunday Open House


Gomez a 6??? He was terrible.

Posted by: GoUnited | July 26, 2009 3:18 AM | Report abuse

Also a 3 for Fred is way too generous. Wallace played way better than Fred.

Posted by: GoUnited | July 26, 2009 3:18 AM | Report abuse

Tom Soehn gets a 3 also in my book. He simply is not a championship caliber coach.

Posted by: alan19 | July 26, 2009 5:51 AM | Report abuse

I think Gomez gets a 6 for scoring off of a complete BS penalty call and an offsides goal.

The fans should get their money back for probably the worst MLS game of the season.

Posted by: Southeasterner | July 26, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

I think this team has the potential to be something special this year. We've got some depth, we can goals from a range of different players, we've got players in goal and central defense (Jakovic) who are showing they can play at a high level (at least higher than what we're used to over the past year or so) and we've got a couple of guys offensive who can singlehandedly change a match.

And yet we can't finish off an opposing team, we let other teams back into the game. And that's the single biggest reason--until we change that--why we won't win the CL or MLS Cup this year. We'll look good on paper, we'll play some nice soccer. And in a knockout situation, we just won't get it done, we'll let someone like a Toronto or whomever grab a late goal and we'll have to go home.

I hate a losing team but sometimes the talent just isn't there, you get injuries or a key player doesn't perform. I'm not happy with those situations but they happen and I can accept them for what they are. Sometimes a team over-performs--it doesn't win the ultimate but you admire their heart and energy and team desire and fight and you respect that they left it all on the field even when the scoreline isn't what you'd want it to be. But the problem with loving this year's team is that the issues aren't about depth (not at the moment anyway) or talent or the right roles or injuries. All season we haven't been able to keep the victory in the bag (and no, that's not about bad defense), to either maintain the level of play that put us up or to go for the jugular/pound the stake in the chest/the dagger to the heart. And to me, that's the least tolerable types of losses and ties--because those are about heart, concentration and work.

Posted by: JoeW1 | July 26, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Um, I knew something was not right when Gomez and Emilio argued like U10's over who was supposed to take the penalty.


Then with an easy 2-0 lead this team stopped taking San Jose seriously and then never got back on the mindset they needed.

Finally - whether it was Burch, Wicks, Gomez, etc - this whole cast of characters in white last night argued and yelled at each other that seemingly bestowed upon them the ability to look utterly pathetic for the rest of that match.

This team better not be the one that shows up on Tuesday evening.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | July 26, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Not that we really had any other options with Tino at the Gold Cup, but Fred just isn't a 90-minute guy. Last night he wasn't even a 45-minute guy. I think his role should be backing up Gomez for the last 15 minutes of the match in the withdrawn forward/attacking midfield role.

As for his compatriot, Emilio is just a huge disappointment. I haven't seen players argue over who's going to take a penalty kick since U10s. He needs to go back to the bench, work hard in practice, and earn the right to start.

Posted by: dcarmy | July 26, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

I'm gonna be positive:

I think it was a one-off. They weren't together mentally, and it showed. I expect that to be better, the chemistry the rest of the season has seemed too good for it not to be the case.

And, Tino. I've missed him. Heck, they've missed him. They're a mess with out. They've missed him so dang much. They miss being with him, they miss being near him, they miss his laugh. They miss his scent;they miss his musk. When this is all sorted out, I think they should all get one big apartment together.

Also, our national team is in a Cup Final today.

Agaisnt Mexico.

My attentions have fully switched.


Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | July 26, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Sure am glad that I didn't watch this one. Will check out the highlights (maybe). I still question why we play a three man back line when we only have two quality defenders who start (we don't have a left fullback who can do the job). Jakovic was very perceptive the other day in the Post when he said it was better playing on the Canada team in the Gold Cup with a four back set up as there was smaller area to be responsible for. Janicki is decent and should be paired in the center so that we play four back. this will give added help to Burch who is still struggling. I think we've conceded some very lame goals this season because of the misguided three back defense. If Soehn can point to any decent Euro side that plays a 3-5-3, I'll give him a fresh $5 bill. Barca tried it several years ago and it didn't work. Go back to a 4-4-2 and work on getting the fullbacks (Burch and Namhoff) moving up on overlaps!!

Posted by: agoldhammer | July 26, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

The penalty Emilio won was soft, but far from the worst call I've ever seen.

And I know a lot of people will think this is a homer call, but Gomez was absolutely ONSIDE for his second goal. Watch the replay - when Jacobson strikes the ball (the only instant that matters), Gomez is in line with the last two defenders (other than the keeper). As the ball travels, he peels off, and he is in an offside position when the San Jose defender plays the ball to him with a brilliant one-touch pass. But that doesn't matter, what matters is when your teammate plays the ball; at that moment Gomez was in an onside position. Good call by the assistant referee to allow the goal to stand.

At any rate, let's hope this is the last meltdown/wake-up call/$#*! show the lads need this season...

Posted by: TheAMT | July 26, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Soehn insists on playing a three man back line when we don’t have the personnel and this forces Fred to end up playing left back far too often when his real position is attacking central midfield and then when he fails as a defender you dump on him. As for Wallace, now that we have Szetela it’s time to tell Wallace to just go sit on the bench and be quiet and hope that maybe by watching he’ll learn that its possible to pass the ball forward and even to take on a defender and attack.

Posted by: congguy | July 26, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

wallace played better than fred?????

are u kidding it was his bone head play that cost us the game.

wallace 0

fred 1

fred was horrible but when you do something as stupid as what wallace did and account for nothing the rest of the game.

in the immortal words of keith olbermann

wallace is todays worst person in the world.

Posted by: castroviejo | July 26, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know whether or not Tino will be back from the Gold Cup to play on Tuesday?

Posted by: spikeman | July 26, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

"If Soehn can point to any decent Euro side that plays a 3-5-3, I'll give him a fresh $5 bill."

Decent Euro sides tend to field a goalkeeper, so I think your money is safe. (3+5+3 = 11)

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | July 26, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Moreno gets a 4?
I know that he subbed in but, did he actually play?
Wallace needs 2 weeks off. Pontius may be hitting the wall also.
Fred needs to wake up or return to Australia. He seems to be losing it quickly.
I tried to tell a guy I work with about a 2-0 lead being the most dangerous in the game. He kinda got it after the US lost to Brazil. Now I can point to this debacle as further proof. Loss of concentration, lack of effort, overconfidence, etc.
DCU should beat SJ 5-0. Until they do, it will be a first round playoff loss to Chicago where they give up two goals in 3 minutes at home, then fold up the tent and we are left to boo "White" and his teammates.
Quite a frustrating display. I stayed up too late to be tormented with that.

Posted by: googlio | July 26, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Support for Fred has vanish-ed.

This guy clearly is not effective enough to earn that kind of money, and to play on the wing, he has little or no crossing ability, doesn't finish easy chances, and has No defensive ability. A good winger or a solid left back would be far more integral.

Good ratings, I think, for Szetela and Olsen. Olsen really wasn't very good last night, and Szetela passed well when he came on.

Fred deserves a 1. Wallace deserves a trip to the dog house.

As for Gomez v. Emilio... I think Emilio should have taken it. He needs that confidence, that hunger, to be rekindled. We're not ditching him this year, let's help him out. Gomez doesn't need to take that PK, I don't care what his history is.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | July 26, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I think people are being too hard on Wallace. That handball was just a freak play.

Posted by: GoUnited | July 26, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

gounited, there is no excuse for trying to deflect a ball out of the area from a cross WITH YOUR FOREARM!!

But for that, we probably would have won.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | July 26, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I don't see how you can call this a one-off when it has happened so many times this year. Another two points squandered. How many times have we coughed up the lead and allowed the other team to tie us this year? Out of those 11 ties it must be at least half of them if not more. That's a whole lotta points to give away. We should be running away with the league.

Once Tino gets back Fred needs to ride the pine. I think he has been terrible most of the year. Is he hurt again?

Posted by: fedssocr | July 26, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm so sick of the 2-0 lead is the worst lead to have, dangerous etc.

That is sort of like saying it is always the last ski run that breaks your leg.

Ask anyone. would you rather have a 1 goal lead, or a 2 goal lead? I'm not sure about anyone else, but I'd rather have a 2 goal lead. Just keep playing and finish them off.

This team lacks, and has lacked for a while, that killer instinct. When they are down, don't let em up. FINISH IT!!!

Posted by: torrey151 | July 26, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

We can't play a 3 man def3ense with Burch at left back. He doesn't have the quality. I can't remember how many times he made mistakes and I was sick of his just booting the ball forward, no imagination and completely passing over our 5 man midfield.

Soehn relies too much on rookies (Wallace and Pontius) they need a break.

I agree that Soehn's substitutions suck.

Fred was awful and should have come off, not Luci.

We have the talent to win but need a decent left back and a better coach. Til then we'll keep screaming at the TV.

Posted by: RRP1 | July 26, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Seems like the book on United is that they can't handle high pressure defense. Put them under pressure and they give the ball away a lot; sit back and Gomez tears you apart.

Posted by: hacksaw | July 26, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

@Godfather - good catch, don't want to have 12 on the field :-) bottom line as I noted a 3 man back is a recipe for disaster. For those complaining about Burch, good left fullbacks are hard to find. I still think he can do a passable job but NOT in a three man back line. We have two (and with McTavish who played there a couple of years ago, three) decent central defenders. Take advantage of this and ease the defensive pressure on the two fullbacks and outside midfielders. It will make everyone's job easier. If there is one failing of Soehn IMO it is the insistance on a 3-5-2 (got it right this time).

Posted by: agoldhammer | July 26, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

The only redeeming entertainment part of this game after the first 30 minutes was the guy who ran off with the ball.

Hopefully, he got away.

Posted by: J_S_F | July 26, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

i still do not understand why Fred is on this roster. he has not produced at any point in his tenure with DCU, and at his price, I am amazed he made it past his first season. while his touch is sometimes brilliant, his passing is 50/50 and his finishing is awful. The FO could purchase 2 or 3 quality players for what Fred is paid, or give dependable players like Namoff raises. Also, he wears those low shin gaurds/socks, and that just irks me.

Posted by: VTUnited | July 26, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

On a night when someone, ANYONE, needed to step up and take control of the game, no one did. Our vets were poor, our rookies finally had a rookie worthy game.

I thought we played poorly against Colorado in Commerce City, but the final 55 minutes last night were frighteningly bad.

Posted by: delantero | July 26, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I think I counted 8-10 giveaways in the second half from the back forward. Whether it was long balls to no one or poor traps by our mids or forwards, we had zero possession in the second half. IMO, we failed to play to the width of the narrow field and made things easier on them.

Posted by: delantero | July 26, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Fred was indeed awful, but what is Soehn thinking by allowing Fred and Wallace to switch sides for such extended periods of time??? Wallace was absolutely lost on the right for about 30 minutes. At least if we just keep Fred on the right, Wallace can hold his own on the left. With the switch, we absolutely sucked on both outside positions.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | July 26, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I was referring to it as a one off in terms of the apparent lack of chemistry.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | July 26, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

i still do not understand why Fred is on this roster. he has not produced at any point in his tenure with DCU, and at his price, I am amazed he made it past his first season. while his touch is sometimes brilliant, his passing is 50/50 and his finishing is awful.

Posted by: VTUnited

Have you forgotten his great finish to win the US Open Cup last year? Come on, give Fred a break.
(goal at 3:20 mark)

Posted by: Pedalada | July 26, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

@TheAMT: I think your analysis of the supposed Gomez offsides is right on.

@everybody: The 3-back is not the problem. The problem is sitting back and/or playing stupid 50-50 long balls instead of playing possession-oriented attacking soccer through the midfield. Jakovic's preference for a 4-back system pertains to the amount of additional running he has to do, which is something that in my experience center backs are capable of but don't like to do.

Posted by: dccal | July 26, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

The one positive I can take away is that me and Soehn are in agreement. That was just an awful half of soccer. I wish I had gone to bed at halftime.

Posted by: M__N | July 26, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

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