February 24, 2020

D.C. United GAME 9 RECAP: United powerless to stop Dynamo

In a season that had started with a 1-6-1 record and only four goals scored in eight games, things actually got worse Wednesday night. United lost to the Houston Dynamo, 4-0, before a sparse crowd at RFK Stadium in Washington. The loss was United’s heaviest of the season, and came courtesy of two goals and an assists by Houston’s Will Bruin, as well as goals by Giles Barnes and Andrew Driver.

United remains last in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference. Houston improved to 6-2-2, 20 points. The Dynamo have now beaten United twice this season, by a combined score of 6-0.

United (1-7-1, 4 points) had a possible goal disallowed (as usual, almost) in the second half, when Houston defender Kofi Sarkodie saved two close shots on the goal line, both by Dwayne De Rosario. On the first, the ball appeared to perhaps cross, while the second, closer to the post at Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall’s left, may not have crossed, though replays on both plays were inconclusive.

It was 2-0 Houston at that point, and maybe the goal would have sparked a rally that could have gotten United a point. But to tell the truth, United simply weren’t good enough in any phase of the match, and in the end, the 4-0 score was a deserved demolition.

Yes, United had 15 corner kicks to Houston’s three, a rather obscene number considering United got nothing from them. But the Dynamo put six shots on goal while United only had three (all by De Rosario), despite spending much of the second half on Houston’s side of the field.

But like in the 3-0 loss at Columbus in United’s last match, the second-half pressure and increased offense proved nothing more than mild sabre rattling, given D.C.’s poor first half performance that left United trailing by multiple goals at the break. It was 3-0 at Columbus, tonight it was 2-0.

Bruin gave Houston the lead in the 16th minute, running in the middle of the United half to meet a ball, contested by United defender Dejan Jakovic. Jakovic went for the ball and missed completely, allowing Bruin an open path to United’s goal. Goalkeeper Bill Hamid charged out to try and cut down the angle, but Bruin chipped the ball over the diving Hamid to make it 1-0. It was Bruin’s third goal of the season, tying Giles Barnes for the team lead.

Twelve minutes later, Houston doubled its lead when Hamid fielded a back pass from Jakovic deep near his own goal line. Hamid tried to clear the ball forward, but sent it right to Bruin in the penalty area. Bruin passed left to an open Barnes, who regained the team lead for goals scored with four by burying a shot to make it 2-0.

After De Rosario’s chances were ruled not to have crossed the line in the second half, the Dynamo set out to finish off the rout. In the 78th minute, Brad Davis sent in a free kick from outside the penalty area to Hamid’s left. Brian Ching met it with a header, sending the ball behind him into the path of Bruin. Bruin had worked himself free from the hands-on marking of Jakovic to reach the ball and right-foot it past Hamid, giving Houston a 3-0 lead and himself his fourth goal of the season.

Driver added the final nail in the 88th minute, taking possession well away from goal in the United half, and passing left to Bruin. Bruin ran past the United back line, crossed into the area, and Driver finished for his third goal of the season and the last of the night.

United were overwhelmed all over the pitch, with only the all-around play of midfielder Kyle Porter being a highlight. United head coach Ben Olsen tried to shake things up by benching forward Lionard Pajoy for the first time this season, starting Rafael at forward in a 4-5-1. He got two shots off, neither on goal, and Pajoy entered the match for midfielder Marcos Sanchez after 59 minutes but had more offside calls (1) than shots (0).

Perhaps the lone bit of good news was the appearance of midfielder Nick DeLeon for the final 20 minutes. DeLeon, who had missed several matches due to injury, sent in one quality cross in the late going that his United teammates failed to meet for a chance at goal.

After going unbeaten for 19 straight league matches at home, United have now lost four straight games at RFK Stadium.United have been outscored in those matches, 11-3. The club will hit the road Saturday for a match at FC Dallas at 8:30 p.m.

Ed Morgans is a Contributor to District Sports Page, covering D.C. United. 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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