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D.C. United shut out again, 1-0 by Chivas USA

With the more important match three days away, D.C. United turned to several reserves for the MLS encounter against Chivas USA on Sunday night. Not that it mattered who was in the lineup: Full strength or half strength, United can't score goals, particularly on the road.

Despite superior possession and quality chances, United dropped a 1-0 decision at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., its eighth shutout in 11 road matches and 14th overall, one short of the league record.

United (4-15-3) has scored just six goals away from RFK Stadium. Justin Braun provided the lead for Chivas USA (6-11-4) on a 13th-minute header.

For more details and three videos.....

In choosing his roster and lineup, United interim coach Ben Olsen had Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup semifinal against the Columbus Crew in mind.

Three starters (Marc Burch, Pablo Hernandez and Danny Allsopp) did not make the trip for rest-and-recovery purposes, and four others (Bill Hamid, Julius James, Clyde Simms and Andy Najar) were in reserve.

The lineup included goalkeeper Troy Perkins, who had lost the starting job to Hamid; rookie defenders Barry Rice and Jordan Graye; recent defensive acquisition Jed Zayner; reserve defensive midfielders Stephen King and Kurt Morsink; and back-up forwards Adam Cristman and Jaime Moreno, the captain, who hadn't started in six weeks.

United enjoyed the better of play through most of the first half, but typical of this season, had nothing to show for it. Also typical: an early deficit. Braun beat Rice to Ante Jazic's high ball and directed a 17-yard header over Perkins for his eighth goal of the season.

It was a rough half for Rice, who also missed two quality opportunities in the box, gave up the ball to Braun for a clear shot that sailed off-target, and suffered a gash to the head just before halftime. James replaced him at the break.

United deserved better than the deficit. In the 45th minute, Santino Quaranta's 25-yard blast struck the crossbar and, with goalie Zach Thornton still facing up field, the ball caromed off the keeper's right calf and went wide of the post.

Najar's entrance for Cristman 12 minutes into the second half energized United's attack, but scoring remained elusive. In the 69th, Moreno's eight-yard header off a corner kick beat Thornton but was cleared off the goal line by the leaping Mariano Trujillo.

Braun's goal:
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Quaranta's shot:
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Moreno's header:
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By Steve Goff  |  August 30, 2010; 12:09 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  | Tags: D.C. United  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Matchnight: D.C. United-Chivas USA
Next: Monday kickaround: Adidas-MLS, FIFA referees, Beasley to Hanover, USL-2, college soccer, WPS spin, Barcelona video


Once again, Branko Boskovic, while not *bad* per se, shows less than many players in the League paid a fraction of his salary.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | August 30, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Another blah match from Boskovic. For DP money, for $500k, shouldn't he at least have as strong an impact as many midfielders in the league making 25% of that? *At least* that good?

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | August 30, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

This was a pickup game. Let's hope playing in the Euros brings something out of him.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | August 30, 2010 12:44 AM | Report abuse

didn't think I'd ever say this, but Morsink had a pretty outstanding game, save for the ridiculous challenge he got booked for. Tino seems to be playing much better since his run in with Simpson. As for Branco, I'm done defending him. He mailed in that 2nd half, and hopefully Benny lights him up for it.

also, anyone else notice that when ESPN showed Bob Bradley out in the crowd, there was no mention of Eric Wynalda, who was sitting two seats over? Hopefully GeneWells saw it.

Posted by: VTUnited | August 30, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

Is it a foregone conclusion that Jaime will be out of MLS after this season (J. P.: "We'll miss him.")?

Jaime starting in a game that's being tanked: That's a disgrace; throwing a player of his stature out there with the scrubs in a game that the management has designated as meaningless.

MLS game meaningless? That's whole other issue.

Posted by: lgm6986 | August 30, 2010 5:46 AM | Report abuse

Just watched the 20-min version. Looked like Quaranta kept going, kept trying, didn't give up. That's the encouragement for next year I'll take away from this match.

Posted by: DCB23 | August 30, 2010 6:28 AM | Report abuse

Branko Boscovic = $500k DUD.

Posted by: Ron16 | August 30, 2010 6:51 AM | Report abuse

You people are so brilliant. I mean obviously Boscovic is going to come into a new team that has been terrible all season and turn things around. I could have sworn he was going to get 5 assists and a hat-trick a game after coming here. Where can I hitch a ride on the pessimist wagon?

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop | August 30, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

You people are so brilliant. I mean obviously Boscovic is going to come into a new team that has been terrible all season and turn things around. I could have sworn he was going to get 5 assists and a hat-trick a game after coming here. Where can I hitch a ride on the pessimist wagon?

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop | August 30, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

saying things twice has a certain authority.. a certain authority

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop | August 30, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

DC United looks like they have zero interest in avoiding the "wooden spoon".. I doubt they'll even be in DC next year.

Posted by: cidcamp70 | August 30, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Hey Steve,

Why no full article in this morning's Post? It looked like a brief AP writeup. Has the Post tossed in the towel on DCU too?

Posted by: jofij | August 30, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

But there is something to the fact that we don't see games on the West Coast, or we don't see games on the East Coast, and stuff like that. It's so unfair, because there is a bias that takes place.
Marcus Allen

Posted by: csd1 | August 30, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

branko>than the last dps
he is doing more so im not mad.

lets see him in Euros see what he really brings

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | August 30, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Perkins caught out of position again. Was he waiting for a cross ?

Posted by: Charisma_Man | August 30, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

The issue is not the effort of the players. They are professionals who love and respect the game enough to play as hard as humanly possible. Throw in the added dimension to DCU's mix that the players now are playing for their spots for next year, and you will always get a superlative effort.

The problem is that the team is populated with players, despite their finest effort, that are simply not good enough, and the reason why these players are on the team connects directly to the persons whose job it is to bring them to the team.

It astounds me that Kasper and Payne, the persons referred to above, are still in their positions. The broadcast opened last night with a graphic displaying the past four years of consecutive questionable moves (ESPN, in a rare moment of understatement, resisted the temptation to call these moves what they are, abominable), that excluded several others (Vanney, Filomeno, Donnet, Crayton, Carroll, et al).

This is the issue for this organization. Kasper has failed miserably for four staroght seasons to do what he is handsomely paid to do. There is no hope for this team if he is still in the position of making personnel decisions.

Posted by: lgm6986 | August 30, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Why is everyone focusing on Branco? Najar was dangerous, if he learns how to finish he'll be the leagues best player.

Posted by: bighungry | August 30, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

As ineffective as Boskovic was, Moreno was a black hole. Bad passes, bad touches, and bad reactions exposed him as being a shadow of the player he used to be.

Posted by: jason1551 | August 30, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I don't know... shadows tend to be long and narrow. He's more of a funhouse mirror image of what he used to be.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | August 30, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

1. The criticism of Branco is premature, and misplaced. The guy's quality is very evident, and especially in the 1st half he had several ingenious short passes that, had anyone but Quaranta been moving off the ball, could have led to much much more than they did, in part because . . .

2. United were effectively playing with 9 men in the 1st half. Cristman is worse than nothing, because you wouldn't pass the ball to nothing. And you can say it is an "disgrace" to play Moreno in this game, but he also lost the ball 90% of the times it was dealt to him, and missed some combinations because he just can't get there in time. I seriously don't think he should be complaining about not playing, nor should his fans (of which I consider myself one) complain that he IS playing. It's time, and I think that's beyond dispute at this point. Just hoping it can be dignified.

3. Like Zayner quite a bit. Very good add.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 30, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

It is the organization that has left itself in the stone age -- surpassed in money, energy and talent by New York, LA and others. What worked in early MLS years does not work in 2010. Other teams have discovered this but we have not. Santino, Najar and a few others are showing alot of class and promise.

Posted by: KRIKET | August 30, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Cristiano Ronaldo out 2-3 weeks. Nice start, RM!

Posted by: Reignking | August 30, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

If Boskovic is a bust at 500k, then Ljungberg, Beckham and Henry are disasters on the field. Throw Marquez in there too, there's no possible way to justify his salary on the field.

Posted by: JkR- | August 30, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Fire Olsen!

Posted by: Reignking | August 30, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Can we burn down RFK? No more rent to be paid, no more losses and we can build on top

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop | August 30, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

@TenoriosLaptop - I've had reasonable expectations for Branco, and have not been one of his critics on here. I think he has great vision, a nice touch, and a solid left foot. Anyone could see he had a productive first half, linking up well in the attack, and having a pretty decent shot from distance on goal. but you can not deny that he basically gave zero effort in the 2nd half of a game that DC should have gotten at least a point from.

Posted by: VTUnited | August 30, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

VTUNited, recall C Gomez' role and fitness when he joined mid year in 2004.

Unless my memory is bad, he often played 60 mins, including the MLS cup game. Fitness issues for mid season acquisitions doesn't appear to be a new issue.

Posted by: JkR- | August 30, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Moreno was awful last night. It would be one thing if he were slow from age but still had his magic touch.

Yes, it's a foregone conclusion that if he can't play with the worst team in the league, there is no value for anyone else picking him up. I know we have 3 games in 7 days, but that was just awful.


Posted by: dsheon1 | August 30, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

@JkR- Fitness doesn't cause you to make sloppy passes to the other team, or be easily dispossed on the dribble. again, I like the guy, and think hes got a lot of quality that will be much more obvious once he is in game shape, but last night he played like a guy who was clocking a paycheck and didn't care.

Posted by: VTUnited | August 30, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I'll just disagree. Tired legs has everything to do with what you're describing.

It's not a biggie...on to the next thread...

Posted by: JkR- | August 30, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I like KRIKET's statement above. As much as I can't stand SSFC, watching the game v Chicago was amazing. Energy, enthusiasm, it just screams the future of MLS....meanwhile this FO tries to recycle a proud past with no clear vision articulated for where we go. And ever present--it seems everyone is getting a permanent home but us. Look at what is rising in Kansas City, that stadium is gonna be amazing. Can't wait for that pre-game Q/A with the FO. Let them expalin how they intend to bring back those fans who are not showing up.

Posted by: DCB23 | August 30, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

The pre-match ESPN graphic mentioned above was a capsule indictment of DCU's putrid front office. Here's ESPN's complete list of DCU busts:

2008--Neill, Martinez, Gallardo, Peralta, Crayton
2009--N'Silu, John, Szetela
2010--Castillo, Emilio

Pena can probably be added to the 2010 list.

Seeing all these names in one place on national TV spotlights the rank performance of Payne/Kasper. Have these guys no sense of embarrassment and responsibility? They make Vinnie Cerrato look somewhat competent.

Posted by: runningcloud | August 30, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

TenoriosLaptop, no one reasonably expects Branko to "turn things around here", no one has said so, and you know it.

But we do expect a player of his (DP) stature to at least make an impact. Branko hasn't. At his all-too-rare best he has been a slightly above-average MLS midfielder.

Some DP.

Posted by: Ron16 | August 30, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

TenoriosLaptop: when you get finished building strawmen and knocking them down, consider this question.

Folks who are defending Boskovic: what is it about his play that, by your reckoning, makes him worth a $500k annual salary? He's not scoring goals, and he's not controlling the midfield. What *is* he doing that's worth a DP cap hit?

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | August 30, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Spot on, Running Cloud.

As for Payne/Kasper feeling any embarrassment or responsibility, it is not in their DNA.

Recent comments by KP clearly indicate that he believes this mess is not his fault or the fault of anyone in decision-making roles at DCU.

Kasper pulled the most dishonest stunt of them all, firing Curt and sending the message that the mess is his fault.

The two of them have massive egos and they delude themselves into thinking that we all have short memories. We are all supposed to forget that after last season, DCU was so toxic that not only did Soehn want no part of this mess, but neither did a college coach from Akron (that's AKRON! Not North Carolina, not Wake Forest, not Maryland) and that the coach they hired was at best the third choice. Kasper's difficulties are compounded by the fact the man is dumb as dirt and has no idea of what the concept of responsibility means.

Posted by: lgm6986 | August 30, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I too am curious about comments above claiming Boskovic has shown his obvious quality. When? Where? How? He makes me feel nostalgic for Gallardo. Marcelo might not have wanted to be here, but he seemed to try when he was on the field. I know Rice, Cristman and Zayner were subbed off, but I started to wonder if Brankovic had been subbed off at halftime without anyone noticing.

Sure, he's not solely to blame. The flip side of Branko's non-effort is Quaranta's over-effort. True, he almost scored the finest goal of his career, but his energy seems to cause him to overhit almost every ball off his foot. Moreno also seems to suffer from delusions of past grandeur, as he constantly tries to make plays that his legs no longer allow. James is pretty scary in central defense. Can't wait for Shanofsky to step in there next year.

The biggest problem this team has is they're simply not dangerous in the final third. The speed down the wings doesn't produce any opening because the quality crosses aren't there. The play through the middle is far too slow to ever produce anything, too. One thing I've noticed this year is the team seems to make more chest passes than any team I've ever seen. It's as if no one on the team know how to bring a ball down in traffic, so they just cehst it to someone else.

Posted by: fischy | August 30, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Perkins was out of position on the goal. A keeper who stays all the way back on his line can avoid getting lobbed but will have less chance at getting to balls coming into his area or of cutting down the angle quickly when an opponent dribles at goal. Staying several yards in front of goal is where a keeper normally ought to be when the other team has attacking possession. Mostly it was a great and somewhat lucky goal from Braun on one of Chivas' very few scoring opportunities.

Barry Rice, I think, gave up the ball on an unforced pass to give Chivas possession on the goal sequence. It was an awful night (or at least an awful half) before Rice was lucky enough to get a bloody headwound that made it look like he was replaced due to injury.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | August 30, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Its kind of hard to judge Boscovic when he's only the best player amongst what equals an MLS reserve squad. (Disclaimer: I only watched the 1st half). My guess is that if he had another Boscovic to receive some of the passes he's capable of in the final third, we'd be scoring goals. We should have scored 2 anyway.

We need 2 more Boscovic quality players for the team to be any good.

Moreno is just plain fat. That's disgraceful for a soccer player at any age. I can't even fathom how a professional athlete can be fat unless they aren't practicing and are stuffing themselves with Alfajores at every turn. Ridiculous.

Posted by: united100 | August 30, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

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