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D.C. United rewind: 3-1 loss to Houston Dynamo

Almost 11 minutes of added time? Yes, it's true. (In the past four days, Houston has played about 18 minutes of second-half stoppage time.)

Both coaches ejected for apparently shaking hands? Uh, we think so.

Andy Najar adding to his rookie of the year portfolio? Oh yes.

More D.C. United goalkeeping misadventures and an own goal? But of course.

A DCU loss, its 18th, to tie the single-season club record? Sigh.

For a match between the worst clubs in MLS (actually, with the victory, the Dynamo passed Chivas USA), it was an eventful evening along the banks of the mighty Anacostia.

United seemed on pace for a victory against the fading Dynamo, which played Wednesday in Kansas City. But unfinished opportunities and the weekly breakdowns led to another loss. When Houston drew level in the 66th minute, "That's when the game changed, the here-we-go-again thing, the guys putting their heads down," Santino Quaranta said. "It's the same story all year."

The early version of my match report is available here (and should update with the complete story soon). Video highlights are available here.

For Ben Olsen's postgame comments.....

On the strange sideline events that led to the ejection of Olsen and Dominic Kinnear: "I kind of gave him a head's up, apologizing for the tackle. It was a bad tackle. We went to shake hands. He came over towards me to shake hands, so I got thrown out. That's what happens when you shake hands."

Did you say something to the fourth official?

"After he threw me out, yeah."

The fourth official told you to go?

"You have to ask them, but they should have press conferences. I think that we should institute referees having press conferences."

United President Kevin Payne: "It's a travesty they were ejected -- ejected for sportsmanship."

I requested an official explanation from referee Alex Prus. In a written response, he cited "irresponsible behavior for leaving the technical area."

In your opinion, where does Najar rate compared to past young players to come through D.C. United?

"Number One."

Asked about Najar's poise and temperament at such a young age, Olsen said: "A kid like Andy could step into a World Cup venue and play the way he plays. He just doesn't care where he is. He loves to play the game and he plays it in the proper way, and not just the goals -- all the other little stuff, the way he tackles, the way he runs up and down the field. It's wonderful to watch."

Did you feel pretty good about the way the match was unfolding with the lead in the second half?

"With the season we have had, I don't think I am feeling pretty comfortable at any moment in a game, especially with the lack of concentration we have had over a 90-minute span. It's getting old, it's getting really old. We let each other down again. I don't know what else to tell you."

Goalkeeper Troy Perkins had been showing some promising signs since returning to the starting lineup. Do you hold him responsible tonight?

"I am not going to get into bashing players. As a group, we let each other down."

By Steve Goff  | September 25, 2010; 11:20 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United, MLS  | Tags:  D.C. United  
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Next: American soccer players abroad: 3 goals again


WHen the Allsopp goal was waved off, I started to figure it was a matter of time until Houston at least tied it up. Hard not to blame Perkins on the first goal. He has to do a better job of judging the ball. Not sure if he could've done better on the second goal. Najar was pretty awesome, but he muffed what seemed an easy chance (at least it did on the scoreboard replay), when Tino hit the one ball all game that he actually hit well.

THe defensive breakdowns can't be easily dismissed, but the refereeing was epically awful. Unforgivably. MLS needs to apologize, if not to United, then to MLS fans.

Posted by: fischy | September 25, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

The goalie kind of touched the ball on that cross fischy. Dont be too mad. We will be better next yr

Posted by: grubbsbl | September 25, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

The goalie kind of touched the ball on that cross fischy. Dont be too mad. We will be better next yr

Posted by: grubbsbl | September 25, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure how you put together a highlight package that doesn't include a controversial disallowed goal or two coaches getting tossed.

And I didn't go back and watch carefully but it sure looked like Perkins got undercut by a Houston player on the first goal.

Posted by: benonthehill | September 25, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Najar is 17 he has poor finishing. Give the kid a break he scores anyway. He has the ability to get in enough dangerous positions that it doesn't matter that his decision making in scoring opportunities isn't what it should be for an mls player. But he is 17 so it is amazing that he is as good as he is. Imagine what the season would be without him, pretty bleak. He'll get more clinical with experience.

Posted by: bighungry | September 26, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse


That's what we said last September. And the September before that. "It can't get much worse." That's what we said.

Posted by: benonthehill | September 26, 2010 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Alex Prus's refereeing was WAAAYYYY more "irresponsible" than anything else the coaches could have done.

Posted by: Juan-John1 | September 26, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

@benonthehill Perkins forgot how to play on the flight from Oslo to DC. He missed the cross. He bit and he didn't get there it's as simple as that.

Posted by: bighungry | September 26, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

I missed the game. Was the end result 2-1 per Soccer Insider or 3-1 per the lead article on the Posts' sports page?


Posted by: Curious99 | September 26, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Ben said EFf you to the fourth official by my account. He said it twice in fact. Watching live and in "HD" at my buddies house. I knew I was making a mistake giving Prus relative praise for his fairness and commitment to fairness. Should have known both coaches would be tossed. Crazy crud. I really feel like Ben Olsen is a guy who needs a job with this team. Maybe not the head coach, he wouldn't be the first interim to settle back into a deeper roll as an assistant. It was equally spine tingling and heart breaking to watch his post game interview. Dude doesn't deserve this crap.

Posted by: DadRyan | September 26, 2010 1:19 AM | Report abuse

Can we stop with the ROY talk. Mwanga has 7 goal 4 assist and has played over 500 less mins. than Najar. We know where the trophy's going.

Posted by: sire1 | September 26, 2010 1:50 AM | Report abuse

Ben Olsen brings up an excellent point.

The referees should have a press conference. The players do, the coaches do, what keeps the referees out of having to speak for their actions?

Posted by: douglasquaid | September 26, 2010 2:45 AM | Report abuse

You can always expect DCU management to attack the officiating when things don't go their way. KP has made a career of burning the league's voice mail with diatribes right after games.

It's never about his team or his management team.

Part of the problem is that the technical area at RFK is so crowded with operations personnel that it is easy for the 4th to view the coaches coming together like that as a hostile scene, with all the unnecessary people crowding together. This one dope Bowman, whom Blanco headbutted at the 'Plex, always injects himself into those scenes for no apparent purpose.

Posted by: lgm6986 | September 26, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

How were the rollergirls? I gotta check that out.

Posted by: OWNTF | September 26, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Why was Onalfo fired again? It seems to me just another example of the front office needing to be lynched outside of RFK. You fire your new head coach after a few games into the season, only to replace him by someone who has zero coaching experience and subsequently only gets you two more wins???

Posted by: alan19 | September 26, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Our service from the wings was terrible all night long. I remember at least three that sailed 20 yards over head and out of bounds.

Tino's 2nd half shot from the corner of the box was pathetic---I believe it went into the upper bowl. DRINK!

Allsopp was not offsides on his goal.

All in all, the team showed ok for 70 minutes and then . . oh nevermind.

All I want is 6 more points so we don't finish as the worst team in MLS history.

Posted by: delantero | September 26, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Why was Onalfo fired again? It seems to me just another example of the front office needing to be lynched outside of RFK. You fire your new head coach after a few games into the season, only to replace him by someone who has zero coaching experience and subsequently only gets you two more wins???

Posted by: alan19

I am still VERY happy that Onalfo is gone and that Ben is in charge.

While they have not gotten the results I believe the team's play and spirit has improved under Ben (in the face of a ridiculous number of injuries). And while it's likely that Ben will not be DCU's next coach, the experience he's getting here will be invaluable to him. I think he'll be an excellent head coach in the not-too-distant future.

Vamos United! Vamos Benny!

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | September 26, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Oh, this is also the second week in a row that we failed do simple marking on a cross into our box.

Graye left Donovan wide open last week. Najar let Davis slip in behind.

The only reason it was an OG on McTavish was b/c Davis blew the shot.

Posted by: delantero | September 26, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

The Good: Quaranta, have to give him some credit, his long diagonal ball to Najar for the goal was a thing of beauty.

And, of course, Najar. Great goal.

Posted by: Ron16 | September 26, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

@Ron -- At best -- the inconsistent: Tino had some of the worst touches of the season, in addition to 2 or 3 nice passes. THere was one -- typical Tino, where I couldn't figure out if it was shot or a cross, because it was so bad as either...absolutely betwixt and between. Then there was the ball he almost put in the mezzanine. Najar made some great moves dribbling, but also wasted some great pushes forward with long balls into the box that were way too long..

On the other hand, no one else did much in the attack -- though Boscovic had a moment of sheer brilliance carrying the ball in the air, and also almost sprang Hernandez on a ball over the top.

Still, as I've already ranted, the officials were the worst performers out there. Every one of them made terrible decisions.

Posted by: fischy | September 26, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

@igm6986... While your probably right that the front office tends to focus on poor officiating as a deflection from the terrible team they assembled, but last night the refs were awful. If Allsopp's goal stands DC cruises to victory. For the first 20 minutes of the second half our pressure was excellent. The goal would have probably opened the floodgates. Instead they score and it saps all our teams energy.

The question is does the FO use this game to further the belief that the roster is good enough the refs just screwed DC, or do they realize what we are all saying and blow this team up and start over?

Posted by: grubbsbl | September 26, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

It Takes More

Posted by: beergorila | September 26, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"@Ron -- At best -- the inconsistent: Tino had some of the worst touches of the season, in addition to 2 or 3 nice passes."
Yeah Ron, stop being so positive all the time. ;-)

Posted by: benonthehill | September 26, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

WOW...I just watched the match (DVRed it to VCR, took to shop to put on disk then home to convert to VCR then watched on tape) PATHETICO. Andy Najar's goal was AWESOME but rest was feeble at best.

McTavish's goal assisted by Perkins United's own goal might make OMG (Oh My Gol) top 10 worst goals ever...not this week, not just in MLS but ALL OVER THE WORLD EVER!!!


Posted by: 9Nine9 | September 26, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

You want positive? I know he only played about ten or fifteen minutes, but I thought Junior looked terrific...especially for someone who didn't even have a team all year. He didn't even look that good in the scrimmage against Real maryland a while back.

I didn't know what to make of him. A guy -- even an 18 year old -- without a team, is a huge question mark. Of course, he's in a unique position. His brother probably made it financially possible, and he was probably focused on United, to the exclusion of other options. Still, it was a big gamble for someone hoping to make a career of this. I thought he looked very good. While his passes were a little indecisive, and he got schooled on an attempted slide tackle, he looks terrific with the ball at his feet. Lots of room to grow, but a solid foundation. As much raw skill as anyone on the team, with the possible exception of Najar.

The team is going to have a lot of decent midfield options next year. It'll be interesting to see who they expose to the expansion draft. I know I wrote earlier that they won't lose anyone. Now, I'm not so sure.

Posted by: fischy | September 26, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

fischy, I was not assessing Tino's overall performance, just that one pass leading to the goal, which was vey, very good.

I do like Najar in general. He does make mistakes, but he is a very exciting player to watch, and may very well have the highest soccer IQ on the team. I wouldn't trade him for a baker's dozen of Boskovics. Najar is one of the very few bright spots for this DCU team.

Posted by: Ron16 | September 26, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I had more fun yesterday going to the mall with the old lady than staying home and watching what DC United considers to be "soccer" this year.

That's how bad it is.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 26, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

How many more years do we have to put up with this? Our defense sucks, we need a proven striker or two, and we need help in the middle. I love Ben Olsen but I'm not sure he's the answer as a #1 coach/manager but as the top assistant he would be a great fit with his knowledge and passion for the organization. It's amazing how many teams has surpassed us. Hopefully, we will be better than Vancouver and Portland next year.

Posted by: wrightcor | September 26, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

In better news, N-tieractive won the Dc United Corporate Cup on Saturday. It was hotly contested and the final was won in sudden death OT. Taylor Young was insane. He scored 10 goals in 6 games. Dave Kasper has his tape. Lets hope the scouts are checking Taylor out.

Posted by: jsm3 | September 26, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

For me, the game-breaker was when Allsopp was incorrectly ruled offside. Had United gotten that goal, then it's a weary, downtrodden Dynamo team that's thinking, "Oh no, here we go again." That would have probably taken the fight right out of them.

Instead, we get an overweight, flag-happy AR not in position to line up correctly with Houston's left back (the second to last defender). F'ing brilliant.

Posted by: schmegegge | September 27, 2010 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Alsopp *was* offside. He was behind the next to last defender when the ball was struck that Onstad parried. When the ball was last touched by a teammate, he was in an offside position, and he benefited from that and was correctly flagged. Look at Example 10 in the LOTG Interpretation and Guidelines (p. 106).

"The shot by a team-mate (A) rebounds from the goalkeeper to (B) who is
penalised for playing the ball having previously been in an offside position."

The call was correct.

Posted by: janspoor | September 27, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

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