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D.C. United rewind

New coach, better effort, improved synchronization, a catastrophic defensive misstep, same awful finishing, and of course, another defeat.

Are we nearing the bottom of this freefall yet? Maybe not.

With the 1-0 defeat at New England, United set the club record for scoreless performances in a season with its 13th empty display. And D.C. accomplished it in just 19 matches. The last time someone other than 17-year-old Andy Najar scored in MLS play? Adam Cristman against Seattle two months ago.

Poor Ben Olsen. The club icon shouldn't have to oversee this disaster created by others.

Club owner Will Chang, who authorized the dismissal of coach Curt Onalfo while leaving the rest of the rotting operation in place, watched from the elite field-level seats at Gillette Stadium. In the locker room afterward, I approached him for a quick interview. He didn't want to talk.

What did designated player Branko Boskovic, the culprit on the goal, think of the match? "I don't know, I don't know what to say. ... I don't really have anything to say. I don't know what to say."

First-time scorer Pat Phelan, marked (sort of) by Boskovic, described the goal this way: "I started in an offside position and came back onside. When my man didn't follow me, I was in the middle of the [penalty area] and just had to deflect it one way or the other. I just had to not mess it up, really."

A United-related note: Luciano Emilio, who had been seeking a new MLS destination after being cut by DCU in July, told me that he plans to sign a short-term contract with Uruguayan club Danubio on Tuesday.

My match report is available here.

Video highlights, if you dare:

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By Steve Goff  |  August 8, 2010; 12:26 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , MLS  | Tags: D.C. United, MLS  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Matchnight: D.C. United-Revolution
Next: American players abroad

Comments

My heart almost stopped when I saw the word "Emilio." I thought you were going to tell us he was coming back again.

Luci's a class act and a half and I love him to death for that 2007 season, but his time is passed and it's time to move on.

Unrelated, but interesting, note: the last time we didn't suck was 2007, when we won the SS and lost to the Fire because some hack ref called Christian Gomez offside on what would have been the series-tying goal (with no away goal decider). I'm sorry, but I still refuse to believe it was offsides, and refuse to look at any replay that suggests otherwise. ;)

Anyway, the following season, we signed a sponsorship deal with Volkswagon, and every since we removed the three stripes for that VW logo, we've been downright terrible. Anyone else we should go back to the classic United, Adidas Three Stripes across the chest, look? Not only is it more appeasing to the eye, but we also didn't suck while wearing it!

Posted by: kdiff813 | August 8, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

*sigh*

Posted by: PEddy | August 8, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

there was a lot of nice build-up tonight. thats all i got.

Posted by: crocken | August 8, 2010 12:49 AM | Report abuse

Sorry guys, but I'm kind of checked out at the moment. It's a boring team with fewer and fewer likable players. Even the Beat lost tonight.


Only good news I got tonight is that USA-China (women's) is coming to Kennesaw later this year. And that one more DCU loss means one step closer to a front office overhaul.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | August 8, 2010 12:56 AM | Report abuse

I got ONE word: US OPEN CUP and VAMOS freeking UNITED!!! OK Two words!

Posted by: 9Nine9 | August 8, 2010 1:53 AM | Report abuse

Someone should do a DP ranking. Despite Beckham never playing for the Galaxy I still think he is worth more to the organization than Branko is to DCU.

Why can’t we ever sign a decent DP? I’m guessing no decent player would ever commit to playing in a decrepit stadium with a trainer who sends you to Germany for a hernia surgery if you stub your big toe.

For the first time in my life I can easily say I like more of the players on the Red Bulls than DC United. Our owner is a joke, our stadium is a joke, our GM is a joke, our training staff is a joke, our DPs are always jokes, our coach is inexperienced and I wouldn’t be half surprised if they were traveling to away games in a 30 year old DC city bus.

This is the real life version of the Cleveland Indians in Major League only our team doesn’t have a picture of Chang in a bikini with cloth sections covering him.

Move the team to Florida so we can start over again from scratch with an expansion team…there is nothing salvageable about this organization except for the name, which I’m sure we can preserve for a new team in 2015 or beyond.

Posted by: Southeasterner | August 8, 2010 2:34 AM | Report abuse

There is no way Baltimore can win the Open Cup if they continue playing like they did today. We're at the stage where teams start taking the tournament seriously.

I wonder if Chang ducked comment because he plans on changing things in the front office soon and didn't want to have to lie to the press. Baltimore deserves better than Kasper and Payne.

Posted by: chemweapon | August 8, 2010 3:18 AM | Report abuse

You know it's really really bad when even Goff, who has to get interviews with these guys, calls it a "rotting operation".

I think a great part of the reason United sucks is because of the ownership situation. When you have an absentee owner, this is what you are liable to get: people like Payne and Kasper running the franchise into the ground and blaming in on middle management like Onalfo. All Curt did was take the money. He didn't create this crappy roster full of rejects (Cristman), no-name Australians (Alslop) and no name DPs like Boskovic.

And shame on Payne and Kasper for dumping this mess on Ben Olsen. A guy that loved DC United less would have immediately rejected being put in such a no-win position. I doubt they even increased his pay!

Posted by: tundey | August 8, 2010 6:48 AM | Report abuse

The United need to get some sort of goal celebration set up like the Revolution. That six gun salute thing is pretty cool.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | August 8, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

The United need to get some sort of goal celebration set up like the Revolution. That six gun salute thing is pretty cool.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | August 8, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

At least there was a good Ligue 1 game on yesterday. Great to see Bocanegra. I think that's the only positive I got out of yesterday's day of soccer.

Posted by: nairbsod | August 8, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

I saw a lot of good things last night. Except for the one mistake we had the better opportunities and could have won.

Hernandez is making opportunities, he will score.

Boskovic is creating opportunities. He is doing well. He gets better each game. Givve the guy a break and see what he does after he has settled in a bit.

We all need a bit of patience. This year is done. We're playing for next year at this point. We should be starting the rookies and recent signings and such and see what they can bring.

Hamid did well
Julius Jamesdid well
McTavish did well.
Burch was poor, as usual.
Q did well
Najar did well
Bosko did well offensively, was at fault for the goal (that's fixable)
Hernandez could have done better on his shots but he was there and helped create them (he is fixable), nice corner for Cristman.
King did OK, almost scored.
Cristman: I don't see what he brings, should have scored on an open header.

If it were me, I'd tel Perkins his time is over, look elsewhere.

Posted by: RRP1 | August 8, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

tundey:

The location of ownership, whether or not it is "absentee," has nothing to do with anything, at least based on the club's history.

The ownership history (actually in MLS more properly called the "investor-operator" since the people or groups don't actually own the teams as they do in other leagues, they invest in the league as a whole and acquire the rights to operate a team in a particular market) of DCU proves that absenteeism is irrelevant.

The first investor group, Washington Soccer LP, that KP put together, consisted of several individuals (George Soros, Paul Tierney, Marc Cowan, Neil Tyra, and others) who were never around the organization. KP ran things as he does now, and thanks to Bruce's genius, the team went to three cups finals in each of his years at DC.

When the team's investment share was acquired by AEG, you didn't see Uncle Phil around the new offices in Chantilly or at RFK, or anyone from AEG for that matter, and another MLS Cup was won (2004).

In truth, Will has had a larger presence in the company of the team than any other investors before him, regularly showing up at RFK on both on game and non-game days, and making appearances on the road.

What we should be hoping for is that the GM of the team become the individual who is absent. Permanently.

Posted by: mightymax | August 8, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I already have tickets for the rest of the season, so I will probably hit a few more games. As for next season, there will have to be massive changes for me to have any interest in buying a single ticket to this garbage. In fact, they should pay me to show up.

You are a joke, DC United. You have been for years now.

-Section 231

Posted by: Hoost | August 8, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Is Christman on the take? How do you miss from there?

Up next for DC United: ruin Ben Olsen's coaching career.

Posted by: alan19 | August 8, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Alright, I'm hiring myself as Bosko's PR guy. You say "I lost my man on a play, and it will not happen again." Then say something about how you are acclimating to the league and the style of play, and are looking forward to next match.

Incidentally, you don't say "Whatever, I was once a respected player, give me my pay check and let me leave this raccoon infested place."

Posted by: UnitedDemon | August 8, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Well..... just read your article in this morning's paper. You left out (a) the huge disparity in shots and possession with DCU leading both. (b) the 2nd yellow card that was NOT issued to Gibbs after a borderline red card quality tackle on Pontius at the top of the box. Somehow the ref got distracted by an "injury" of another Rev 20 yards away and literally forgot to give the 2nd yellow. (c) the wide open Cristman header from 10 yards that he bounced into Reiss' arms. Finally, Hernandez (who had a good night overall) missed that gift opportunity because, (here it comes) this professional soccer player apparently can't shoot with his left foot. Really??? He shanked the shot because he had to hurredly try to contort his hips and legs to strick it with the outside of his right foot, when the pass is scooting directly from his left side. Amazing. These were 2 gimme goals.

Posted by: dbcoyle6 | August 8, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Ben Olsen was more entertaining to watch than the game at points (I was behind the DCU bench at Gillette).

As much as I dislike him, man, you can't say he doesn't love the team. Every club needs a guy like him.

Posted by: revsfanindc | August 8, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

There are some postives to take away from this. Intensity was much better. Cristman did well to head down. He just headed too far down. 9 out of 10 times an MLS player heads a liner stright to the keeper, and no one gives those a second thought. His ahem, head was in the right place. It just didn't go in.

Also, the team did not fold its tent as it did against Salt Lake. Score one for Benny. This team of course lacks talent, but hustle and fight require no talent, and they had it last night for 90 minutes.

Negatives. Well I am not going to dwell on them other than to say I hope Boscovic proves to at least be a decent MLS player. DP material he ain't.

A reasonable objective for this group is to start scoring some goals, and win a few at home the rest of the way. I think under Benny there is some hope for achieving that.

Posted by: Ron16 | August 8, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The United need to get some sort of goal celebration set up like the Revolution. That six gun salute thing is pretty cool.
Posted by: PowerBoater69

How bout 2 raccoons, 2 rats and two bastard alley-cats. We could call it the...ummm...well, it doesn't matter what we call it because we never score! :(

Posted by: 9Nine9 | August 8, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

The United need to get some sort of goal celebration set up like the Revolution.

Posted by: PowerBoater69
----------------------------
How do you know we haven't?

Posted by: troy6 | August 8, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Gibbs definitely should have been sent off in the second half with the reckless challenge in Najar that was definitely at least a Yellow which would have been his second. Could have changed the whole complexion of the match. Or maybe we just wold have had more shots on goal to screw up.

Posted by: DCU_VW | August 8, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

BERBATOV SCORES! Chips the on-rushing keeper from 20 yards. This must be his first goal since moving to England.

ManU 3 - Chelsea 1. Red Devils win first silverware or the 2010-11 season.

Giggs sets career records of 13 appearances and 8 wins

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 8, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

2 raccoons, 2 rats and two bastard alley-cats.
Posted by: 9Nine9
=============

Raccoons, rats, cats, bee hives
How many were going to St. Ives?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 8, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I blame the fans that wear Quaranta, Burch, and Perkin jerseys to the stadium.

Posted by: Ivanovich84 | August 8, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Unrelated, but interesting, note: the last time we didn't suck was 2007, when we won the SS and lost to the Fire because some hack ref called Christian Gomez offside on what would have been the series-tying goal (with no away goal decider). I'm sorry, but I still refuse to believe it was offsides, and refuse to look at any replay that suggests otherwise. ;)

Anyway, the following season, we signed a sponsorship deal with Volkswagon, and every since we removed the three stripes for that VW logo, we've been downright terrible. Anyone else we should go back to the classic United, Adidas Three Stripes across the chest, look? Not only is it more appeasing to the eye, but we also didn't suck while wearing it!

Posted by: kdiff813 | August 8, 2010 12:42 AM
----------------------------------------------------------

I believe, if you replay that moment, you'll discover that the "hack ref" did not call Gomez offside. The goal was disallowed because Gomez brought the ball down to his foot using his arm -- a handball foul. While we did some bellyaching here, it was probably the right call. Gomito didn't do it deliberately, but still the right call.

On the VW sponsorship -- I did say this would be some really bad karma/ju ju.

As long as I'm correcting stuff -- Berbatov has scored 49 goals since moving to England. 27 with Spurs, and 22 now with Man Utd. Not his first goal, for sure. On the other hand, it was arguably Hernandez' first goal for Man Utd., if you don't count the North American tour.

Posted by: fischy | August 8, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

As for United's play -- there have been a lot of games in recent years where United seems to control play, but loses due to defensive lapses and inability to score. It's a recurring pattern that has played out in numerous games this year, too. I see little improvement. If anything, United looked even less dangerous last night than usual.

Posted by: fischy | August 8, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm burning my white, playoff giveaway T-shirt emblazoned with "Will you be there for the Fifth?" and four gold stars.

It's got to be done. Probably should have been done long ago anyhow, with it's big mustard stain . . .

Burn, baby, burn.

Posted by: delantero | August 8, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Either way fischy, it made me want to jump through my TV and tear the ref's head off. Right call or not.

Posted by: kdiff813 | August 8, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I guess we know who's calling the shots: RM wears home white at the Rose Bowl, while LA wears road navy.

RE:Berbatov. I was sarcastically commenting on his lower-than-expectations productivity since moving to Old Trafford.

We stank pretty badly after Rongen's first season through Hudson's tenure, with die drei Streifen on the jersey front.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 8, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I think the entire roster has taken turns missing wide open, empty net headers from

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | August 8, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

less than 10 yards. The plays the "cost DCU points" rarely make the highlight reels.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | August 8, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Of course Real Madrid was the home team- they're a measly 6,000 miles from Pasadena, while Carson is a tedious 21! It's not about calling the shots, it's about proximity to the venue! ;)

Posted by: kdiff813 | August 8, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

# of games w/o a goal: 13
# of goals scored in MLS: 12

Is this right?

Posted by: prokaryote | August 8, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

The only thing that would make that six gun salute cool would be if it was a firing line set up for "The" Execution of "The" lamest DCU fan on the planet: "The PB".

Posted by: DadRyan | August 8, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

DCU has always had a traditional goal celebration, even if it has been heard a bit too infrequently this season and perhaps not as voluminous as in years past. It is the full-throated, electrifying roar of the barra, screaming eagles, la norte, and the rest of the rfk crowd. We don't need gun salutes, fireworks, cheesy organ music, or anything else.

We will probably not make the playoffs, but Benny will get a few goals and hopefully a few home wins out of this group. Hustle and fight is all we got, but that is enough to get some results here and there in this league.

Posted by: Ron16 | August 8, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I predicted before the season started that we will finish 5-15-10. hmmm...5-20-5 looks more reasonable at this point.

Posted by: FAkeemail9875 | August 8, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm burning my white, playoff giveaway T-shirt...Burn, baby, burn.

Posted by: delantero

I have suspected that one of me two United coffee mugs is cursed. After reading your post I decided take a hammer and mash it to bits...not out of hate but to break the bad joss!

VAMOS UNITED!!!

Posted by: 9Nine9 | August 8, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

I think this might be rock bottom. When PowerBoater's comments make sense and fit in with the general direction of the comments you know we're in real bad trouble

Posted by: rightback | August 9, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Ben Olsen was more entertaining to watch than the game at points (I was behind the DCU bench at Gillette).

As much as I dislike him, man, you can't say he doesn't love the team. Every club needs a guy like him.

Posted by: revsfanindc | August 8, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse
_________________________________________________

We had just yelled at the TV, "Just shoot the ball!" when they showed Benny saying "Shoot the &$!&*@$ ball!" Gotta love that about him. I don't think he'll be one to mince words and will definitely push these guys.

It was, however, as frustrating as ever to see them take it to the 18 so many times, just to back it back out and reset. If you don't shoot, you can't score.

Posted by: HarkesyRules | August 9, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Goal celebration?? What we need is a Scapegoat of the Match hazing ritual, where the designated scapegoat has something humiliating done to him. You could borrow plenty of ideas from Silent Library. Or maybe the Tim Tebow haircut

http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/09/tebow-is-willing-to-trim-ego/

Posted by: Wiggan | August 10, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

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