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D.C. United falls to Columbus Crew, 2-1, in overtime in U.S. Open Cup semifinals

D.C. United lost again. It's what they do in 2010. This one was crushing because of the manner in which it unfolded and because it extinguished the club's final hope of salvaging an otherwise miserable season.

Interim coach Ben Olsen's postgame theme: "We can't reward ourselves," referring to the club's failure to finish a good performance before conceding a late equalizer and then a goal in extra time of the U.S. Open Cup semifinal. He repeated it several times.

Club president Kevin Payne's postgame theme: "%#@&%$#!," referring to referee Chris Penso for red-carding Pablo Hernandez early in the second half, and to the U.S. Soccer Federation for assigning a secondary official to a consequential match while MLS veteran Jair Marrufo worked a friendly between the Philadelphia Union and Chivas Guadalajara two hours away at PPL Park.

In MLS, Penso has served as the fourth official in several matches. United remembers him from an Open Cup qualifier in April, when, as the head referee, he tossed then coach Curt Onalfo.

For more.....

Olsen's comments in the media room after the 2-1 loss to the Columbus Crew were terse and barely audible; he was gutted.

Payne's comments in the locker room were lengthy and quite audible; he was furious. While reporters waited for players to return from the showers, Payne instructed an employee to set up video of the Hernandez incident on the wide-screen TV.

What did it show? The Argentine forward is knocked from behind by Chad Marshall, and as he is falling, Danny O'Rourke runs into him from the side. O'Rourke's knee appears to make contact with Hernandez's mid-section. With Hernandez on the ground, he kicks out at O'Rourke and seems to make light contact. O'Rourke reacts angrily to the retaliation, leaning over the DCU player to berate him. Nearly face to face, Hernandez swings his arm toward O'Rourke.

After conferring with fourth official Jeff Gontarek, who was steps from the commotion, Penso sends off Hernandez and cautions O'Rourke.

Stop. Rewind. Play. We saw the video clip three times. My opinion: yellow cards for both players. Hernandez reacted to O'Rourke's aggression, but his actions were not particularly violent.

On the matter of Penso being assigned to a knockout match, Payne said that the USSF "doesn't take this tournament seriously. We do. They don't."

Although the ejection altered the match, as most red cards do, United looked as though it would survive. But a deflected shot in the 89th minute tied it and a penalty kick in extra time won it for the Crew. United should have done better with its chances: Andy Najar, so elegant and unpredictable, touched a 90th-minute shot wide of the charging keeper, and Dejan Jakovic missed from six yards midway through overtime after being set up brilliantly by Najar.

The good news: Only eight matches left in this lost season.

By Steve Goff  |  September 2, 2010; 1:27 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , U.S. Open Cup  | Tags: D.C. United, U.S. Open Cup  
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Next: Thursday kickaround: Whitecaps coach, Petke's retirement, SuperLiga, WPS playoff race, college oddity, TV listings


It would have been nice to win and all, but really, who cares? Nothing can change the fact that this is the worst United season of all time, in all categories.

Posted by: kdiff813 | September 2, 2010 1:46 AM | Report abuse

I feel ill.

Posted by: chemweapon | September 2, 2010 1:48 AM | Report abuse

DC United are a solid team in a bad season. I think Ben Olsen can lead things forward...and I say that as a Red Bulls fan.

Posted by: geoffersen | September 2, 2010 1:58 AM | Report abuse

i just threw up after the deflected goal we gaveup all the way into the 90th minute. Just cant get a break even in a hard fought match like this. Also I can't understand why in the hell we were going 70 yards back when we were ready to put in a cross.

Posted by: godpere | September 2, 2010 2:32 AM | Report abuse

oh, and way to show up, folks, can't imagine why the team would contemplate a move.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | September 1, 2010 10:36 PM


Couldn't agree more. United supporters have known for a couple of months that this was the only real meaningful game left on the schedule and 3500 show up? As several people noted on this blog a few weeks ago; when a franchise struggles while also pondering a move, poor attendance historically acts as an accelerant to the move not as an effective means of protest to get heirarchal change. In general, as a whole supporter base we are really screwing up but at least they are smiling in Baltimore. And yes, I was one of the 3500.


Amen on Tino. How can a professional shoot it high every single time? I have been pulling my hair out for weeks about that.

Posted by: croftonpost | September 2, 2010 3:54 AM | Report abuse

The ref was totally overmatched..that was real obvious even before the red card.

The crowd size was embarassing for the self proclaimed "best supporters in the MLS"

I've never, ever seen a team with worse luck.

Ben coached and DC played their asses off...despite the fact that DC is terrible and could easily have already quit on the season.
There is talent on the roster, plenty to build with if the right pieces are brought in next year.

Final Observation
DC isn't even close to good enough to overcome adversity (red card) and mistakes (Talley PK and the poor finishing).
Any true DC fan is gutted right now. I expected us to win...even though yes we are terrible....I just really thought we'd find a way to pull it out.

Posted by: matthewjfyoungs | September 2, 2010 4:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm a Sounders fan and was hoping for an Open Cup rematch. Thought it'd be good for us and good for the MLS flagship side, DC United.

Keep the faith United supporters. You guys held the standard through some dark days for the MLS. You've been dealt a tough hand with the stadium and team, but Barra Brava has always been the ones we all look to and emulate.

Those of us who wanted a successful American league all these years have you to thank. You guys made it happen. Don't forget that.

Posted by: DerekY | September 2, 2010 5:45 AM | Report abuse

I'm hoping Payne was so upset because Chang told him he'd be fired if they didn't at least win the Open Cup this season. As usual, he resorted to blaming someone other than himself for this pathetic excuse of a team.

Sure bad refs suck, but there was a time DCU was good enough to overcome even worse refs early in MLS' history.

Posted by: grognard66 | September 2, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

If only Kevin Payne takes tournaments seriously as he did in making management decisions, than maybe we'd have something.

Posted by: Section117 | September 2, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Hot night, players dragging, Quaranta walking ... where are the subs? On the bench is the greatest ball control game wet blanket in history -- and he's not brought in until after we fall behind. If Soehn had managed a game like that, everyone would be screaming for his head.

Posted by: granadoskerry | September 2, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

"If Soehn had managed a game like that, everyone would be screaming for his head."

Speaking for myself, I know that having two subs on the bench that late was screaming for trouble, and kept looking over to the subs to see who was close to coming on.

That said, comparing a recently promoted assistant coach still in his first year of experience to a guy who was an assistant for a half dozen years (over two teams) before becoming a HC himself is an apples and oranges kinda thing, I think.

Posted by: Section117 | September 2, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

The reactions of Ben and Payne show that the team is alive and will see better times soon.

Posted by: KRIKET | September 2, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

The ref really didn't have a clue out there. I'm still wondering about the first yellow card, which seemed to be a reward to Schelotto for complaining about called for a foul when he tripped Tino a minute or two earlier.

But, I can't blame just the ref. The game was there for the taking. United was the better team, but didn't do enough with their possession (I blame Quaranta, who wasted a lot of that possession all by miself) and didn't finish their chances.

To repeat what I posted late last night: Tino hustles like crazy, most of the time. That's not his problem. He also has some real skills. He's great with the ball at his foot...dribbling. When he hits the ball in the air, it's a very different story. Tino overhits every ball. Not some balls. Not most balls. EVERY ball!!!

Let me say that again, Tino overhits EVERY SINGLE ball that he kicks into the air. If he's trying to pass to someone, he'll lead him too far. On a corner kick, he'll kick it almost over everyone. If he's hitting a free kick, he will hit it too close to the goalie or again, too far over to the far side. And, his shooting? Every shot goes over the goal. It was a miracle that he hit the crossbar on Sunday. If this game is archived somewhere, watch it. EVERY ball he plays into the air is overhit.

Also, if you watch it again, watch for something else. Tino misses every jump-ball header that comes his way. At some point, I started to wonder if it was deliberate on his part -- that he's trying to avoid heading the ball or perhaps just avoid head-to-head collisions. Time after time, I watched him move towards balls headed his way only to see the ball sail over his head to the Crew defender behind him. Either he cannot judge a ball in flight, or it's something else.

I think Tino needs to go through some very basic drills, to get his kicks under control and to line-up lofted balls for headers.

If we could combine Tino -- who overhits every ball -- with Jordan Graye -- who, as fedsoccer notes, hits his passes with the pace of a 5-year old -- we'd have one really good player.

Posted by: fischy | September 2, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

KP's rant about USSF is slightly disengenuous. Yes, USSF doesn't take the competition seriously, and one of the ways in which it does not is in the game-site bid process. Setting aside the fact that one could question whether DCU always takes the competition seriously, putting out reserve team line-ups more often than not, DCU has certainly been the beneficiary of that dodgy site-bid process in recent years.

Also, USSF not taking the USOC seriously is nothing new, going back to 1997 when the governing body wouldn't implement into that year's DCU/Hershey game a FIFA-mandated rule change regarding the positioning of 'keepers prior to a PK. That prompted one of Bruce's more memorable tirades. We may recall that game was settled by PKs.

As for the ref last night: MLS/SUM very likely did what it frequently does: it pushed USSF to assign an established ref to its friendly, since to MLS/SUM that game is a higher priority.

But the most important fact, one that maybe we all should ask KP about at his spinfest this weekend at RFK, is that DCU's technical department (Kasper, KP, and the coaches) knew the identity of the ref as far back as last Friday, Monday at the latest, and probably did nothing in advance to question the assignment. DCU, perhaps in concert with the Crew, could have appealed to MLS to do something about the assignment with USSF, and if they squawked loud enough, could have got the assignment changed. They could have made a colorable argument that this ref not be assigned based soley on the episode earlier in the tournament involving Curt. Such an appeal would not have been without precedent.

At the end of the day, in this case literally, this is nothing more than KP doing what he does well: blaming anyone else, in this case USSF, but himself or his organization's lousy decision-making. Talley and Jakovic, the primary culprits in the loss, are Kasper additions. Where is his accountability? It's not always about the officiating.

Posted by: lgm6986 | September 2, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

USSF not taking something seriously? NO! You don't say!

Honestly, more and more I am hating on the USSF for the smallest of things to the biggest of things lately. What are they doing? Do they do anything lately? I see a lot of what they DON'T do as opposed to what they SHOULD do. They keep Bradley as coach, they send crappy refs to important games, they do not protest enough when something is obviously wrong in international tournaments. In other words, they are very much like Sunil Gulati, silent and pensive with out much of a voice or wanting of one.

Posted by: elfelixg | September 2, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Last night was brutal but there are a couple silver linings.

1. DC is playing better. The team isn't good enough but we're beginning to see the return of a style of play. Onalfo's team had NO off the ball movement.

2. Hamid's reaction to the loss was promising to me. Seeing the kid gutted at the end of the game suggests that the youngsters coming through the youth ranks have a real love of the shirt and a real desire to win competitions.

3. Only 8 more games to get through...

Posted by: MortonFC | September 2, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Now that the season is done, I wonder how many season ticket packages DC was able to sell with their discount?
DC better make some discounts on their last remaining games especially the Moreno Finale!

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | September 2, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm hoping Payne was so upset because Chang told him he'd be fired if they didn't at least win the Open Cup this season. As usual, he resorted to blaming someone other than himself for this pathetic excuse of a team.

Sure bad refs suck, but there was a time DCU was good enough to overcome even worse refs early in MLS' history.

Posted by: grognard66 | September 2, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse


Preach on. KP is as tired of an act as their is in the league.

Posted by: beach3 | September 2, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Will Chang put it out there that winning the Open Cup was the team's primary goal in 2010. That has failed. When does he back the truck up and load up everyone?

Posted by: mightymax | September 2, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

You know its bad when Jair Murrufo is cited as being a better ref.

I don't know any MLS refs, but I know his name.

Posted by: Reignking | September 2, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Derek Y -- Thanks for the love.

To top off a miserable evening, I can't believe DC closed the tunnel to get onto 395 leaving lot 8 (granted I left at the end of the 1st OT half -- kid was falling asleep). They should be happy there weren't a lot of folks at that game, because everyone getting onto the surface streets would have sucked.

Posted by: torrey151 | September 2, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Payne needs to shut his pie hole about Hernandez's red card. He retaliated 2X in the span of 5 seconds. First he kicked at the player and then from my vantage point on the quiet side looked like he backhanded him in the face when he was getting yelled at. Either is justification for ejection, both = no brainer.

Hernandez has a good work rate and is pretty good on the ball, but I am sick of his diving and whining. Same story, different player when it comes to not adjusting to the physicality of the league. I don't see him as a $250k player. Thanks for the audition.

Also, thought Jakovic looked great in the midfield. He could approach Joseph as a DM if he played there regularly. Too bad there are 7 or 8 other positions that need addressing first.

Posted by: Henchlow | September 2, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Why aren't we talking about the $uperliga final!?!

Posted by: Reignking | September 2, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

It's all about blaming someone else for Payne. It's never about his team or organization. Or him.

Posted by: mightymax | September 2, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Just watch KP will fall back on this game and the red card as his crutch during the q/a sessions. The red card does not erase the major issues we face.

Having said that, this was the first match I've seen in a long long time where we actually played the role of the "down-one-man-squad-that-seems-to-play-stronger-than-the-full-strength-side" team. So many times we've been up a man and still been clobbered. Andy Najar is a joy to watch pure and simple.

Second positive: Hamid being pissed about the loss. Stay pissed off Bill. Bring that to the rest of the season and maybe we can resurecct like Dallas did toward the end of last year. We got nothing to lose.

Posted by: DCB23 | September 2, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Olsen blew it.

You don't play a 1-0 lead into the 89th minute with 2 subs on the bench. Especially not when you've played 30 minutes a man down. You milk the clock. You use all the legs you have to preserve the victory in regulation.

That's basic coaching/game management. He blew it.

Posted by: delantero | September 2, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

LGM@#%& squawks:

"But the most important fact, one that maybe we all should ask KP about at his spinfest this weekend at RFK, is that DCU's technical department (Kasper, KP, and the coaches) knew the identity of the ref as far back as last Friday, Monday at the latest, and probably did nothing in advance to question the assignment."

Repeating: The most important fact is that he PROBABLY did nothing.

You're speculating, and then slamming him based on that speculation.

Your continued slanderous character assassination schtick is tiresome.

Posted by: JkR- | September 2, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Remember Beckham's red card in the World Cup? Minimal contact. You just can't retaliate or react, that always gets you in trouble.

KP can point fingers at the ref, but as the saying goes, he's got three more fingers pointing back at himself. Yes, this referee clearly didn't belong in this match. I get the impression he is one of the golden boys they are trying to advance quickly for some reason. He looks like he's about 24.... US Soccer has 3 or 4 refs who they pay to be fulltimers. I am surprised they are not assigned to the Federation's biggest games. But frankly I'm not sure having Vaughn or Toledo would have been a whole lot better.

Why can't a fresh 88 year old Carey Talley keep up with Lenhart who played the whole game? All he did on that play was grab Lenhart's shirt two or three times and then let the guy run right past him. If he was gonna foul him for real he should have done it outside the penalty area instead of waiting until he got to the goal area.

And I ask again, why is Pontius not playing?

Ben needs to bear some responsibility as mentioned up-thread. He's got to learn to use his subs better. Is Quaranta really going to be our captain now for good? Heaven help us! Let Najar be the captain and he can lead by example.

Posted by: fedssocr | September 2, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I tend to agree with Steve that both deserved yellow, thought the red was very harsh. I think we would have won had Hernandez finished the game. I know, though, that the MLS cannot be counted on for good officiating so in a way the team needs to be good enough to not rely on the officials. Meaning, Hernandez should have acted professionally. He is getting hacked every game, but that's an adjustment he will have to make mentally.

3500 was a sad turnout, we're not pulling numbers beyond the regulars anymore.

Posted by: CityBlues | September 2, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Carey Talley should never set foot on a soccer field again. Hernandez needs to go. Yeah, he looks nice on the ball, but he doesnt score goals, and last nights red-card fiasco was the icing on the cake IMHO.

Posted by: rickinashburn | September 2, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

It's all about blaming someone else for Payne. It's never about his team or organization. Or him.

Posted by: mightymax | September 2, 2010 8:53 AM
Same is true for Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho. And that is the only thing KP has in common with them.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | September 2, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

"Is Quaranta really going to be our captain now for good? Heaven help us! Let Najar be the captain and he can lead by example." - fedsoccer


Quote of the day, week, month.

Posted by: Ron16 | September 2, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Ref wasn't great, BUT retaliation--twice--in any league will get you tossed. And a yellow isn't an option on that foul. The Laws say "Striking or attempting to strike."

But ref aside, Payne has to go. His shtick is overdone--team has become the worst in MLS, no progress on stadium, consistently bad personnel decision over the past few years, same with coaching decisions. What warrants keeping this management in place?

Posted by: macheath | September 2, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

As much as we love Chang, can we officially s___can the honeymoon? Personal goodwill notwithstanding, can we begin to accept that he's probably not going to be able to fix this?

He's too far away to have a hand in management, he doesn't have the soccer connections to even think about shaking up the FO, and he doesn't have the money or local connections to get a stadium deal done.

I agree that Benny has the guys playing better, and despite ineptitude in certain areas, he's been an overwhelmingly positive force. Not entirely unlike R Williams last year. But fundamental change is not in the cards unless Chang sells to someone with at least 2 of the three attributes he lacks: deeper pockets, better soccer connections, or any local connections.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | September 2, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

3500 in attendance:

mid-week game for a tournament almost no-one cares about right before labor day holiday for a team whose season is about to go on record as the worst in the 15 year history of the league?

what was the question about attendance again?

Posted by: Section107 | September 2, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

This was one of the best showings of the team since early this year. Olsen made the right decisions--for those complaining about not bringing on subs earlier; think about the bench- Moreno, Talley, Christman; none of them could have or should have been brought on earlier. The only complaint I had was that they did not make many adjustments in the first half when Columbus was taking Najar out of the picture.

The red card ultimately was the can't expect to play 40 (much less 60) minutes with 10 men on a hot humid night and expect to shut a team down. We had a chances at the end; in another year; Najar a break on at least one of his shots on goal and Jackovic buries the open shot at the end. The finishing just has killed them.

Posted by: jnel | September 2, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Hey those District Ultras sure kept it thorough. Seems like there's some beef between them and the Barra, no?

Posted by: DadRyan | September 2, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Actually I thought Cristman's bruising hustle might have been a good insertion for a tired Najar, but then we may not have gotten that miss Dejan opportunity.

That's why it's Ben's choice, not mine...

Posted by: JkR- | September 2, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse


If KP, either directly or through his staff, did in fact try to get the ref changed, then I would think that would have been part of his rant against USSF. Knowing KP, when he goes on a roll, especially about officiating, he seldoms leaves any weapons underdeployed.

Yes, it was speculating about what KP and DCU COULD have done before the fact about the ref assignment, but that was not the basis of my slam. That was that KP is all about blaming others, usually the officiating, for his team's woes.

BTW, truth is a defense to slander and in the case of public figures, which KP certainly is in this context, actual disregard for the truth has to be shown in order to support a claim of slander, so until or unless we learn the truth or you can prove that I knew the truth and chose to disregard it, your claim that my comments are "continued slanderous character assassination" is premature if not irresponsible and plainly wrong.

Posted by: lgm6986 | September 2, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I withdraw the comment, and modify it to

'continued boorish character assassination'

Posted by: JkR- | September 2, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

"Hey those District Ultras sure kept it thorough. Seems like there's some beef between them and the Barra, no?"
if supporters group competition means louder chants, bigger tifo, more waving flags...bring it on!

Posted by: DCB23 | September 2, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Hernandez has a good work rate and is pretty good on the ball, but I am sick of his diving and whining. Same story, different player when it comes to not adjusting to the physicality of the league. I don't see him as a $250k player. Thanks for the audition.

Also, thought Jakovic looked great in the midfield. He could approach Joseph as a DM if he played there regularly. Too bad there are 7 or 8 other positions that need addressing first.

Posted by: Henchlow | September 2, 2010 8:46 AM

Couldnt agree more on Pablo. at $250K hes a waste, esp since he doesnt really do his job, which is to score. We need a guy in the mold of Lenhart. rather than fall down at the feintest touch, he seems to take on contact willingly like an NFL running back.

also agree about DJak looking great in midfield, save for his epic miss, too bad hes really needed at CB.

Posted by: VTUnited | September 2, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

DerekY, that was pure class, especially considering the war of words our franchises have had over the past year or so. I won't tell you I'll be rooting for the Sounders in the USOC final, because that would be a lie, but I definitely have some more respect for the organization and especially its fans, who previously had done nothing but publicly display the fact that they are buffoons over the internet.

Posted by: kdiff813 | September 2, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Jakovic's played so far away from the goal for so long now, getting him into an attacking position in a non-corner kick situation musta been hard for him to deal with.... :-)

Posted by: Juan-John1 | September 2, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Offensive or abusive language is also a red card offense. Seems likely O'Rourke could have been sent off, too. I guess the referee isn't too concerned with language anymore since his run in with Onalfo.

When I saw Talley had come in before OT kicked off, I told my buddies we were going to lose. And they agreed. I like the guy, and thanks for his service in the glory years, but as they say in England, he's knackered.

Posted by: Senor_Funk | September 2, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I've seen a lot of opinions as to Pablo's ejection. The real issue is why didn't both players receive the same misconduct? If you haven't been to Referee training and seen the video's about what the USSF considers red-card worthy, you should try it. It was, imho, either both red or both yellow. This exemplifies the primary issue regarding last night's officials: the gross inconsistency in how the game was called.

The real question for me relates to Jakovic's yellow early in the match. Was it for "playing too hard?" That's when I realized the CR was not up to the level of play. Since the ball went 30 yards down the field, there was no advantage to be played and it seemed like an afterthought (upon realize the Crew player remained down) that a caution was issued. I'd love to hear the explanation.

As for the ARs, the bench side AR needs a re-education on offside and, in particular, passive offside. At least twice, Crew players were in an offside position when the ball was played, moved onside to receive the ball and the AR's flag never moved. As someone commented on the last blog, I agree that he probably didn't get a single offside call correct . . . but you have to be in position and paying attention to do that.

Finally, towards the end of the second OT, did I miss a first touch or was there actually a double touch on a restart?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: edmundburke247 | September 2, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Up in section 230, some of us 'had questions' about the play leading to the Crew penalty.

The Crew attacker (Linhart?) clearly won the ball in corner by liberally beating the defender (Burch?) about the head and shoulders with a combination of flying elbows and forearms. 4 feet from the AR, who was staring straight at it. I was as pi$$ed about that as the red card, which I had not seen yet on video.

I feel hard done by that ref crew, and I hate that...

Posted by: JkR- | September 2, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"As for the ARs, the bench side AR needs a re-education on offside and, in particular, passive offside. At least twice, Crew players were in an offside position when the ball was played, moved onside to receive the ball and the AR's flag never moved."

Posted by: edmundburke247 | September 2

That has nothing to do with passive offside. Passive refers to being in an offside position, but not being involved with the play. What you're talking about is basic, active offside.

Posted by: icehippo | September 2, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I personally feel Jaime is being pushed out the door. And again, I feel the F.O. is making another bad decision. Jaime should get to choose when he walks away, if he indeed is the greatest player in MLS history. He still can contribute, and he still can be the link to the glory days for the future team. DC United always talks about TRADITION. Well, that word they use so emphatically is due to Jaime Moreno. He deserves at least one more year to let the MLS and DC United fans properly honor him.

Posted by: alan19 | September 2, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

We are a much better team than we were six weeks ago. Re the subs: No, Moreno should not have come in earlier. If we have 11, yes, of course. At 10, no. He's a forward whose specialty is baffling defenders with his ball control; he is of no current use defensively. With 11, he is immensely useful in protecting a lead. With 10, he is a hole in the midfield when there is already a hole. Re Jakovic: OK, he missed, and he shouldn't have. I'd point out that he's a central defender who has been moved forward to chase. He did well. He is an excellent player. Re Hernandez: The red card was justified, but this stuff is not going to come under control until that situation produces two reds. And no, Hernandez's job is not just to score goals, it's also to create on the attack, which he often does by making a dangerous run that has to draw a defender, thus opening up other space.

Let's support our really good players. There are few enough of them.

Posted by: dccal | September 2, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

That red card really sealed the game for the Crew. Playing with 10 men means extra running around and fatigue was a real factor. You could see it when Najar missed the beautiful setup McTavish gave him minutes after the Crew goal. He was wiped.

Ben did not have a lot of substitution options. Putting in Gray for Allsop sounds fine, going for a more defensive posture with a 1-0 lead, but Gray about set up the Crew for several goals with horrible passes. Our good players in the game were making fatigue related mistakes, and our subs coming into the game were offering fresh leg mistakes.

The new angle for the remaining season is to give the new kids a chance. Go out, dig down in the roster for all of the youth talent, and use this time to give them plenty of MLS experience. This team needs to be rebuilt with a bunch of young players. There will be pain and losses as a new youthful squad matures, but we can offset some of that by having those losses occur in this wasted season.

Posted by: Wiggan | September 2, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse


Much better; thanks :)

Posted by: lgm6986 | September 2, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

For those criticizing Olsen's subs: I had my own complaints, but he wasn't blind to the need to milk the clock. When the goal was scored, Cristman was already up at midfield, waiting to check in. That said, I would have preferred to see Pontius in -- or even Morsink -- and probably a few minutes earlier. Save the Cristman sub for the 90th or 90+, to milk the clock.

In that, the critics are right. It was right to save one sub move, but not both for so long. DCU had the lead, and there were things Olsen could have done to help protect it. However, this was the first time Olsen ever had to protect a one goal lead late in the game. Hopefully, he will learn from this.

I was also disappointed to see James out for Talley. I said to a guy in my section that we would regret that move -- however, I'm not sure why everyone's blaming Talley for the goal. Burch left him out to dry, when Lenhart pushed past him on the end line. Notwithstanding Talley's foul, Lenhart was still able to center the ball and the Crew scored, even though the ref waved off the goal. I thought Burch deserved the blame -- and I didn't see Lenhart sending forearms and elbows as much as I saw him trying to knock away Burch's clutching hands as Marc vainly tried to grab Lenhart from behind to slow him down.

Posted by: fischy | September 2, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

The bottom line is this is a very poor United team, the worst in the history of the team.

Olsen is doing a good job in motivating the team and they are working hard save 1 or 2 players. Unfortuantely hustle and effort can only take you so far. This team is not that talented.

Last night the 2 outstanding players for United were Najar and Jakovic. One is a 17 year old kid and the other a fairly young Center back.

What does it say about the team when those 2 are far and away your strongest attacking threats.

I don't agree that DC United has a great base of players to build on. Frankly I don't see more than 6 or 7 players that I think are worth keeping. The rest need to be moved on; they are not MLS caliber even are the league is starting to pick up the pace of improvement.

Here's who I keep. Hamid, Jakovic, Wallace, Najar, and Pontius. Boskovic is a very good player but I'm undecided if he has or is capable of making DP level impact on the team.

2011 can't come soon enough.

Posted by: dcufan531 | September 2, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

If this "team is not that talented," who is accountable for that? That would be the person responsible for populating the roster with players.

Chang needs to grow a pair and clean up the section of the house where the mess truly is, i. e., in the front office, staring with Kasper and Payne.

Posted by: lgm6986 | September 2, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

On a less negative note: better to lose now to Columbus than in the final to Seattle again. That I couldn't bear.

This season, these are the straws I grasp.

Posted by: RIP-21 | September 2, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Dave Kasper is singularly responsible for the demise on so mnay fronts of this once proud and great team. He has run off employees, players, and coaches. This organization was once a model of all that was excellent in sports, and MLS players spoke in frequent numbers about how wonderful it would be to play here. All that is gone, thanks to an insecure, dishonest, and stupid club executive who has ruined what was once a great team.

Posted by: lgm6986 | September 2, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Props to Hamid for coming over and hanging out a bit with the BBs and SEs post-game. He had to feel as if not more gutted than us. I want that kind of player to stay for a long time.

Posted by: Juan-John1 | September 2, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

You can really tell that Payne is starting to feel the noose tighten around his neck. Going bonkers like that after some BS Open Cup game (a game that is ONLY so important because the MLS season was lost during the previous offseason, much of which lies at the feet of Payne).

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 2, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Have any teams traded back for even a fraction of as many players as we have? That's pure front office. First they decide to trade someone (Jaime, Diaz Arce, Talley, Gomez, Perkins) then they decide - ya know what, we're better off with them. It worked with Jaime so it should work with the others.
Talley does not belong on the field. He's a great guy but that doesn't win games.
I sound like a broken record - but at the end of the 96 season, in the video tape, KP takes full responsibility for deciding to get rid of 6 players a few weeks into the season, which turned the ship around. So why is he not responsible now for the moves and lack of moves that resulted in a team of journeymen who play their hearts out but are playing in a league that has surpassed their capabilities?

Posted by: dsheon1 | September 2, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

The streak of hosting Open Cup games is still intact.

Posted by: Pedalada | September 2, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Approximately 212 days until United's first 2011 league match!

Posted by: Curious99 | September 2, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

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