Defensive miscues in the first half and the continued lack of ability to score away from RFK Stadium led to yet another loss by D.C. United, this time by a 3-0 score to the Columbus Crew in front of 14,090 at Crew Stadium. United fell to 1-6-1 (4 points) with the loss, and haven’t won now in six matches. The Crew improved to 3-2-3 (12 points). United remain last in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference.
Dominic Oduro (his fourth of the season), Josh Williams (third), and Federico Higuain (his second, scored from the penalty spot) provided the goals for Columbus, all in the first half. A first half which was delayed nearly an hour by a fire that broke out in the top of the Crew Stadium scoreboard. In a statement, Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers said there were no injuries in the fire, which did not spread beyond the scoreboard.
Once the game started, however, it was a familiar story for United, who saw various defensive errors lead to Crew goals, a goal that United scored waived off for an apparent offside that on video review doesn’t exist, and an attack that while it created several opportunities, couldn’t break through and find a goal. United have only scored four goals in eight matches this season, none of which have come away from home. By contrast, the Crew have now scored 12 goals this season and Oduro has four by himself.
By the end of the first half, the Crew had three shots on goal and had scored on all of them. The first damage (other than that to the scoreboard) came in the 15th minute when Oduro opened the scoring. Jairo Arrieta crossed into the box from deep to United goalkeeper Bill Hamid’s right. Oduro met it with a solid shot to make it 1-0. Arrieta had started the play when he got on the ball behind the United defense shortly after a Crew goal kick.
United equalized in the 23rd minute through Perry Kitchen, but the goal was waived off either due to offside or a foul on Kitchen. Trouble was, Kitchen wasn’t one of the United players in offside position on the play. United had what appeared to be a legitimate goal waived off for offside in a 2-1 loss vs. Columbus at RFK Stadium earlier in the season. United head coach Ben Olsen appeared to be staring in disbelief at the referee’s assistant following the call, and the video of the play on the MLS website (as of this writing) was titled, “DC has a goal disallowed for offside.”
As this season has gone, it was no surprise then that three minutes later, Williams scored to make it 2-0. Higuain took a corner kick from Hamid’s left side. Williams hit a right-footed, one-hopper that eluded Hamid to his left. Hamid got a hand on it, but not enough to keep it out.
It appeared United would be able to go into halftime with a 2-0 deficit, but that changed in stoppage time when Arrieta was fouled in the penalty area by Brandon McDonald, giving the Crew a penalty kick. Higuain buried the chance from the spot to make it 3-0 just before intermission.
United forced Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum to make several saves in the second half, but he handled them all cleanly, not allowing any dangerous rebounds and not allowing United to break its scoring drought on the road this season. Lionard Pajoy hit the crossbar with a free kick in the third minute of second-half stoppage time. D.C. outshot Columbus, 21-7, including 6-3 in shots on goal, but it wasn’t good enough on this night. One on which United played without midfielders Nick DeLeon and Chris Pontius due to injury.
United is off next weekend. The club returns to action on Wednesday, May 8, at home against the Houston Dynamo. United lost the 2013 season opener at Houston, 2-0.