April 18, 2021

D.C. United Game 29 Recap: United loses 20th match of season; fall 2-1 at Revs

Bad defense, a bad call or two, and one bad moment from a substitute all conspired to send D.C. United crashing to its 20th league loss of the season tonight, 2-1 at the New England Revolution. Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen, and Scott Caldwell all scored for the Revs, the latter being an 11th-minute own goal that put United in front, 1-0.

United couldn’t hold on, however, and tonight’s defeat dropped United to 3-20-6 (15 points) on the season. New England, fighting for one of the five playoff spots in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference, improved to 11-11-7 (40 points). As of this writing, the win lifted the Revs into fifth in the East, one point ahead of the Chicago Fire, who were beaten tonight by the Columbus Crew, 3-0.

Caldwell’s own goal came as the result of a cross from United’s left attacking side by Luis Silva, who was the most visible contributor to United’s offense in the early going. Silva played a low ball across the New England penalty area. Goalkeeper Matt Reis came off his line to deal with it, but Caldwell met it first, putting into his own net as a helpless Reis couldn’t react in time.

United took that 1-0 lead into halftime, looking for their first league road win of the season. But those hopes were dashed in a weird second half that first saw New England’s Lee Nguyen saved from the penalty spot by Bill Hamid after United defender Dejan Jakovic was deemed to have fouled Nguyen in the area by referee Carlos Rivera. Replays showed that Jakovic touched the ball away before Nguyen fell over him.

Moments later, however, the Revolution equalized anyway, when Diego Fagundez got on the business end of a Saer Sene lead pass and beat Hamid. Faugndez started his run past the United defense well before Sene played the ball toward him, and appeared offside in that Fagundez was leaning toward goal, while the closest defender, Chris Korb, is pushing up, away from the United goal. As Sene strikes the pass, Korb’s back foot and Fagundez’s feet are level, but usually, such an upper-body lean ahead of the last defender is flagged for offside.

Not helping United’s cause in this case is that the AR in question was 1 to 1 1/2 yards behind the United defense himself. It doesn’t appear from the video that he could have been looking straight down the United defensive line when the ball from Sene was played.

Fagundez offside on goal?

Note position of Fagundez (#14 in blue), Korb (#22 in white), and the AR (far touch line in yellow).
Photo credit: Ed Morgans, from MLS official highlight video.

No flag was lifted, however, and Fagundez’s goal counted. The goal was Fagundez’s 11th of the season. You can judge the play for yourself via the league highlight video.

The Jakovic tackle that led to the first penalty also happened in front of the same AR, but there appeared to be no consultation between he and Rivera after the latter whistled for that penalty.

New England bossed play for much of the second half, after United had created some chances in the early part of the game, particularly through Silva working on the left side of the United attack. But in the 73rd minute, Silva was replaced by midfielder Lewis Neal. Moments later, Kyle Porter came on for Chris Pontius, leaving Conor Doyle as the most significant attacking threat for the final 10 minutes of the match. Doyle himself was a sub, coming on for Dwayne De Rosario in the 67th minute.

Doyle, however, almost made Olsen look like a genius, when he broke in on the Revs’ defense in the 81st minute. Reis charged out to try and cut off the shooting angle, but Doyle managed to lob a chip over him toward goal. Reis, however, unlike the earlier Caldwell own goal, was this time able to scramble back and deflect the ball away before it crossed the line. A follow-up shot was saved easily by Reis.

Before United could really collect its thoughts and re-focus on shutting things down defensively and countering when possible, it all went horribly wrong just a minute later, when Neal fouled Nguyen in the area (much more legitimately than the earlier call on Jakovic), and Nguyen again stepped to the penalty spot to try and give the Revolution the lead.

On his first attempt, he had struck the ball to Hamid’s right, but not very hard and not at a good height, and Hamid got down to not only save it easily, but collect it and not allow a rebound. On the second PK, Hamid dove the same way, but Nguyen chipped the ball almost down the middle for an easy goal.

United will feel hard done by from the officials, as Fagundez appeared a tad offside on his goal, and the penalty assessed to Jakovic was dodgy, at best. That said, Jakovic struggled much of the night, and skated on thin ice from the 6th minute on when he was cautioned. A yellow to Korb in the 33rd minute meant that half of United’s starting defense was sitting on a yellow card barely a third of the way into the match.

Jakovic was on multiple occasions tangled up with New England attackers – often Dimitry Imbongo – in and around the penalty area, and may have been fortunate not to have been whistled for a penalty before he eventually was. But in the end, Hamid stopped that penalty. The non-call for offside on the Fagundez goal was far more damaging to United, as was the very legitimate penalty to Neal that ultimately led to the deciding goal.

But, in many ways, that’s just how the 2013 MLS season has gone for United. That season will continue next Saturday, when United is at Toronto FC in a 1 p.m. Eastern kickoff. That will be the club’s last tune-up match before the U.S. Open Cup final at Real Salt Lake on October 1. Combined, United and Toronto are 7-35-17 this season.


NE – Caldwell, own goal, 11′
NE – Fagundez 11 (Sene 5), 58′
NE – Nguyen 3 (PK), 83′

DC – Jakovic, yellow, 6′
NE – Gonçalves, yellow, 28′
DC – Korb, yellow, 33′
DC – DeLeon, yellow, 88′
NE – Barrett, yellow, 89′

Shots:  NE 22-8 DC
Shots on Goal:  NE 7-2 DC
Corners:  NE 12-1 DC
Fouls:  NE 13-16 DC
Offside:  NE 2-2 DC
Possession:  NE 53.8%-46.2% DC

UNITED (3-19-6):  Hamid; White, Korb, Riley, Jakovic; DeLeon, Pontius (Porter 81′), Thorrington, Kitchen; Silva (Neal 73′), De Rosario (Doyle 67′).

REVS (10-11-7):  Reis; Gonçalves, Farrell, Soares, Tierney; Caldwell, Rowe, Nguyen, Sene (Barrett 87′), Fagundez (Dorman 90′); Imbongo (Bengston 80′).

Ed Morgans is the D.C. United Page Editor for District Sports Page. For in-game analysis and story notifications, follow him on Twitter @writered21.

About Ed Morgans

Ed Morgans is DC United Page Editor for District Sports Page. Ed worked for The Journal Newspapers (now The Examiner) and covered DC United from 1997-2002. He spent the 2003 season writing for the club’s website. Ed has covered All-Star Games, MLS Cups, CONCACAF Champions Cup, World Cup qualifiers, and international friendlies. He also worked as a blogger at www.bigsoccer.com, the country’s leading soccer message board website. You can follow Ed on Twitter @writerEd21.

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