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D.C. United blanked for 15th time, tying MLS mark

*Read the full account of D.C. United's 1-0 loss to the Columbus Crew.

*Video from the match at RFK Stadium.

*United had ZERO shots on goal. "It's better when they are on goal, isn't it?" interim coach Ben Olsen said sardonically. United is 3-0-0 when it scores first, 1-16-1 when D.C. concedes the opening goal. The Crew is now 12-0-1 when scoring first.

*United has equaled the MLS record for being shut out (15) -- and still has seven matches remaining.

*The injuries continue to mount. Besides the loss of Marc Burch to another serious foot injury this week, Chris Pontius seems done for the season because of a troublesome hamstring and Adam Cristman is out with a knee problem that might need arthroscopic surgery.

Said Pontius: "I really feel like I am playing at 75 percent. When you know you can play at a certain level and your body isn't allowing you to, then obviously there is something wrong. [Surgery] is a possibility. It's weak. It just feels like I can't get up to speed. I have always had a hamstring issue. At [U.S.] national team camp [last winter], I strained it, but in the Chicago game [in April], I did something bad."

*The search for a head coach in 2011 has begun and probably won't conclude until after the MLS season. "We had a couple of really preliminary conversations. We have not interviewed anybody. A lot of people are contacting us," club president Kevin Payne said. "There are a few of them we talked to just to kind of say, 'Here is the process, here is what we are going to do,' just so they understand."

By Steve Goff  |  September 5, 2010; 12:05 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  | Tags: D.C. United  
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Comments

IT TAKES MORE...shots on goal.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | September 5, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Why is the field in such crap shape? Too many bad international signings on the grounds crew?

Posted by: benonthehill | September 5, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

DC United, the worst team in MLS with absolutely nothing to play for in a crappy old football stadium...attendance 12,075.

FC Dallas, arguably the best team in MLS with everything to play for in a fairly new soccer specific stadium...attendance 10,033

Our team may suck but we still have the best fans in MLS.

Posted by: Southeasterner | September 5, 2010 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Somehow my wife thinks that whoever has been putting this team together for the past couple of years needs to be fired. Seems to think that whoever he is totally sucks.

Who might that be?

Posted by: seahawkdad | September 5, 2010 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Three minutes in, a picture perfect sequence ending with another open header ballooning over the crossbar. Game over.

So frustrating, because DCU did what they needed to beat a pretty good team, again, except.

Considering the absences and the 120 minutes on Wednesday, it wasn't bad. Considering all the mental and physical hellishness, and lack of fan support, I thought the players showed a lot of heart.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | September 5, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

DC United, the worst team in MLS with absolutely nothing to play for in a crappy old football stadium...attendance 12,075.

FC Dallas, arguably the best team in MLS with everything to play for in a fairly new soccer specific stadium...attendance 10,033

Our team may suck but we still have the best fans in MLS.

Posted by: Southeasterner

Says it all. Thank you.

No need to get upset at this anymore. It's what we expect now. We will still do our part and enjoy the spectacle and the fellowship with the other folks at the game. It's the FO's job to worry about how to rebuild.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | September 5, 2010 2:22 AM | Report abuse

here's a name for you: Jonathan Bru. 26, played for the French youth teams and now the Mauritian senior side. CAM with a lethal shot. In the Portuguese leagues at the moment, where his first division club isn't interested in giving him playing time because he is soon to be a free agent. He scared the bejeezus out of a full-strength Cameroon side yesterday.

Posted by: troy6 | September 5, 2010 4:10 AM | Report abuse

No question, DCU has the best fans in MLS, and one need look no farther than the support given to this year's team for proof of this notion.

This is what makes it so shameful that DCU has fallen so badly this year and why the custodians of the team must be held accountable.

KP should be commended for putting himself out in front of the fans to take the tough questions (although KP has never passed up an opportunity to get his face out tp the public eye, good or bad circumstances), but so should Kasper. On many levels, his role in this shameful mess is more substantial than KP's. Kasper is the one who builds the team, scouting, recruting, and signing the players. By no means is KP uninvolved, but if Kasper puts forth the compelling argument to take a certain course of action, e. g., to sign a certain player, and KP is convinced by that argument, then the course of action is decided.

Kasper needs to stop hiding under his desk and show the sack as KP did in facing the fans directly about the mess that he created.

Posted by: lgm6986 | September 5, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Wednesday night: The referee
Last night: The field

When will this organization stop making excuses and tell the truth?

LGM is right: We have the best fans in MLS. KP and Kasper: trust us with the truth, if you have any idea of what that concept is. Admit you screwed up over the last several years and we'll forgive. We'll even hold the door for you as you get your sorry, no-account butts out.

It takes more: Honesty

Posted by: mightymax | September 5, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

It used to be when we went down by 1, you would still be on the edge of your seat knowing that the comeback is imminent. Now you sit back and say "here we go again." It's sad. And I really hope that Najar makes 4X his current salary next year with the way this team is riding him.

Posted by: nairbsod | September 5, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

I was at the Q/A yesterday, not contentious at all...lots of talk about specific strategic shortcomings etc. Also stressed was a "nobody saw this coming" theme. KP invited us back for the future sessions and I'll probably go just to see if the message evolves.

It was not really the type of discussion I expected given that we are quickly becoming the worst team in league history. I did not sense the urgency that should be there.

Having said that, KP did not appear as the three headed monster he's portrayed as this and other boards. We're all angry but I think I'll be surprised if anyone really acts in a less than respectful manner. There's a big difference between our internet rants and shouting at someone face to face. The bravado--mine included--tends to fade away.

PS--DCU, come on now...maybe for the next q/a just one free drink???? Won't break the bank!

PPS--Someone sitting behind me had some excellent observations and questions. Concise analysis of the situation, seems like KP might want to get some feedback from him and others.

Lastly--agree on the field, it was in awful shape.

Really lastly--I chatted with a DCU staffer I know from some work my org did with the team and I swear he seemed to act like something is up re: stadium progress.

Posted by: DCB23 | September 5, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Time to chase Caleb Porter again?

Maybe he turned DC down because he knew how bad the roster would be. We're certainly not great, but the midseason additions help. When everyone is healthy, we'll be decent next season.

Posted by: neil_g | September 5, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

1. *The search for a head coach in 2011 has begun and probably won't conclude until after the MLS season

How about a search for Kasper's replacement? Or is that playing the blame game?

2. Earlier this season, Chang was offered the possibility of taking over RFK on an interim basis. He wasn't interested, because he said he needs naming rights and he can't have that for RFK. This is the same greedy reaction that, coupled with Fenty's own faults, cost us the chance to have a soccer specific stadium elsewhere. DCU management has nobody to blame but itself for the fix we're in.

Posted by: DCUSince96 | September 5, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the search for a head coach. maybe the should wait to interview the candidates until after they replace Kasper. That way they can make sure everyone is on the same page going forward.

Posted by: rickinashburn | September 5, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Don't fault Will for being greedy because he wants to make money from naming rights. This is the sine quo non of financial success in MLS, along with controling the revenue sources provided by concessions and parking, two streams out of the reach of DCU at RFK as the city gathers those funds.

For MLS teams, these stadium revenue sources are particularly crucial since the broadcast revenues are so minimal. Look around MLS. Are there any teams with a stadium unencumbered by a naming rights deal? San Jose and Houston: playing in college stadia; sure to have naming rights deals in place when they move into a new building. Columbus: the only one.

Posted by: lgm6986 | September 5, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

@DCB23,

Maybe that staffer's been reading bigsoccer.

Posted by: benonthehill | September 5, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Look, the facts are these: Payne and Kasper have systematically destroyed a 2007 Supporters' Shield winner over 3 seasons. First the Gallardo - Gonzalo brothers disaster, then the resurrection of a clearly over the hill Gomez (RDA II redux) and now this year's roster of cast-offs and never weres. I won't get into the PG county stadium fiasco.

Chang must hold these guys accountable. If you think things will be better next year with a different coach but the same FO, you're betting against a 3 year track record of failure.

Posted by: griffin1108 | September 5, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

re: "Possession wasn't a problem, but without anyone other than Andy Najar, 17, to crack open the composed and content Columbus defense, United was kept at the periphery."

THAT, in a nutshell, is DCU's problem in the attack.

If I had my choice between Chang, Payne, or Kasper getting canned, I'd pick Will "Dan Snyder" Chang in a heartbeat. Of the three, he is the biggest part of the problem. The fish rots from the head down.

Posted by: Ron16 | September 5, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Any word on the injury to Morsink? It looked like he was grabbing his knee in a lot of pain after going down on a seemingly innocuous play.

Posted by: HarkesyRules | September 5, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

"Earlier this season, Chang was offered the possibility of taking over RFK on an interim basis. He wasn't interested, because he said he needs naming rights and he can't have that for RFK. This is the same greedy reaction that, coupled with Fenty's own faults, cost us the chance to have a soccer specific stadium elsewhere. DCU management has nobody to blame but itself for the fix we're in.

Posted by: DCUSince96"

What does interim basis mean? I don't know anything about the deal, but there is no incentive at all to take over managing a stadium on an interim basis. If I invested my money to improve the stadium, I would lose that money when the city decided to regain custody of the stadium. In the meantime the city does not have the headache of running a stadium. The city wins in this one. If there was a way to make money out of the deal, like naming rights, then it might make sense for Chang to take on this on. Think of it this way, if he makes money he can pay big money to a designated player. I would like him to make money.

Posted by: dndlee | September 5, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Expect rookie mistakes from rookie keepers. Hamid made a fine save against Gaven late in the match.

Give Simms an assist on the goal. To his credit, he acknowledged on FSC postgame that he never should have made that passback.

Posted by: runningcloud | September 5, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Expect rookie mistakes from rookie keepers. Hamid made a fine save against Gaven late in the match.

Give Simms an assist on the goal. To his credit, he acknowledged on FSC postgame that he never should have made that passback.

Posted by: runningcloud | September 5, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

2. Earlier this season, Chang was offered the possibility of taking over RFK on an interim basis. He wasn't interested, because he said he needs naming rights and he can't have that for RFK. This is the same greedy reaction that, coupled with Fenty's own faults, cost us the chance to have a soccer specific stadium elsewhere. DCU management has nobody to blame but itself for the fix we're in.

Posted by: DCUSince96 | September 5, 2010 8:56 AM

*************************

DCU, I'm unfamiliar with this. What's the source? Is there anywhere we can look it up?

Like some others have noted, I thought DC was OK on offense in the early going as Quaranta sent in a couple of accurate crosses and Allsopp missed getting onto Najar's cross/shot. But once GBS took advantage of Hamid's jitters to poach that goal the game seemed over.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | September 5, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Now I get what the rest of the season is about: giving Jaime a proper send-off. I guess that means he will be playing more. OK. He's a legend, and we don't really have anything else to do this season.

We were moving the ball around pretty well in the first half last night. Missing Boskovic (and Jakovic), but still, a lot of motion and running off the ball, After Jaime came on at 60', the game became all but unwatchable: molasses slow. Great when you're up a goal, but down one? How exactly were we planning to equalize with Allsopp out? Najar crosses to the back of a Columbus defender for an own goal?

Runningcloud is totally right on the Simms passback, and Simms as usual is total class for admitting his mistake. Hamid screwed up, but he is not a screw-up, and a competent attack ought to be able to get on the scoreboard to compensate for a mistake.

Posted by: dccal | September 5, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

2. Earlier this season, Chang was offered the possibility of taking over RFK on an interim basis. He wasn't interested, because he said he needs naming rights and he can't have that for RFK. This is the same greedy reaction that, coupled with Fenty's own faults, cost us the chance to have a soccer specific stadium elsewhere. DCU management has nobody to blame but itself for the fix we're in.

Posted by: DCUSince96 | September 5, 2010 8:56 AM
-----------------------------------------

I was talking with some DCU business staff a few weeks ago. They recalled that about a year and a half ago, the front office had the same group that consulted on the Boston Garden to give them an assessment of what could be done with RFK. The answer was nothing could be done with the current structure besides demolition.

Kevin Payne's earlier quote says it all: "The stadium act is pretty specific: It's for a single stadium, and we don't want anything to do with knocking this one down. It would be really expensive."

Bottom line: unless someone pays to knock down RFK, then it is time to go somewhere else. How far is the question.

Posted by: tcbannon | September 5, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Gawd help me, but I LOVE THIS TEAM!

Posted by: the_lizard1000 | September 5, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

The ownership and management of this team needs to drastically change. Their missteps on the stadium issues mirror the poor decisions on personnel.

Any team that has to play Simms (out of position), Morsink and King at the same time and expect to have dynamic midfield and attack is delusional. Ben has no legit playmakers in the midfield. His quote at the end of the Post article said it all and had to be pointed at King and Morsink. They were dreadful last night.

Posted by: jnel | September 5, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps we can all come together and purchase the team and put Chest in charge of the FO.

Posted by: CYork1 | September 5, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet anything that with months to acquire a new coach, DC will pick up a recycled MLS coach. I really wish the owner understood that Payne and his GM are terrible!

I don't need to see a great team next year, but damn they need a good season in 2011.

Posted by: ericruenes | September 5, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

2. Earlier this season, Chang was offered the possibility of taking over RFK on an interim basis. He wasn't interested, because he said he needs naming rights and he can't have that for RFK. This is the same greedy reaction that, coupled with Fenty's own faults, cost us the chance to have a soccer specific stadium elsewhere. DCU management has nobody to blame but itself for the fix we're in.

Posted by: DCUSince96 | September 5, 2010 8:56 AM |

I call BS. This is at best an internet rumor, and even if it were true, managing RFK does not in any way solve DCU's problems, nor does it turn RFK in to a "SSS". Its too big, too old, and would cost too much to fix-up for long term usage.

Posted by: VTUnited | September 5, 2010 11:52 PM | Report abuse

this team is god awful. i can barely stand to stomach watching them play.

moving the ball around somebody says is a good thing.

youve gotta be crazy.

i could care less if they can connect 5 complete passes without pressure. once pressure is applied they crumble.

najar has got as many weaknesses as he has strengths as well.

hamid is no sean johnston.

this team needs to be cleaned out entirely.
maybe keep ben olsen just to hold the new coaches clipboard.

but thats about it.

Posted by: castroviejo | September 6, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

The interim stadium idea is not a myth. I personally discussed it with Fenty and Chang.

I saw Fenty campaigning on street corners two times within a week and took the opportunity to discuss the idea with him at some length -- DC gets a 20 to 30 year no-cost lease on the stadium, with no right to sell but the exclusive right to use so long as it is being used for DC United. (The long term means that if Snyder decides to move to DCU has something to trade; and DCU can also profit by renting out the stadium for other uses that don't conflict with the DCU schedule, like concerts and El Salvador friendlies). Fenty expressed interest in the concept but asked whether the team was interested.

So I spoke to Chang at a tailgate (took about a month to get to him). His response was as described.

Is this proposal a perfect solution? No. Are naming rights valuable? Yes. The ability to control the stadium revenues is at least something. This does present an interim solution that gives the team control over RFK while the team is trying to make other arrangements. My view is that he let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Posted by: DCUSince96 | September 6, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Theory: Chang and company are letting the team be the worst team in MLS so that when they move the team we will not care. I'm not renewing my tickets.

Posted by: mpd1 | September 7, 2010 2:30 AM | Report abuse

Well with the season going as bad as it is, perhaps it is time for the DCU drinking game.

-drink 1 every time Simms back passes
-drink 1 every time Burch crosses the ball 10yds behind his target
-drink 1 every time our forwards chest trap down a ball 25 yds back to midfield, and it goes to the other team
-drink 1 every time Tino sails one over the crossbar
-drink 1 every time Najar gets thuggishly tackled, and drink another to celebrate his continued lack of injury when he gets back up
-drink 1 every time the words "district" and "stadium" are mentioned in the same sentence

Posted by: Wiggan | September 7, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Well with the season going as bad as it is, perhaps it is time for the DCU drinking game.

-drink 1 every time Simms back passes
-drink 1 every time Burch crosses the ball 10yds behind his target
.
.
.
_____________________________________________________

How about drink 5 if Burch ever uses his right foot?

Posted by: HarkesyRules | September 7, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I went to the game and was disappointed all around. Poor play, poor field conditions, low turn out, no shots on goal, not much generated by the Crew either, and the only goal was on an embarrassing keeper error.

I brought my friend to his first professional soccer match, and I was embarrassed to say this is something I'm really in to.

Posted by: WorldCup | September 7, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

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