September 21, 2019

D.C. United Game 1 Preview: For United, it has to get better, right?

For D.C. United players, coaches, management, and fans, it’s finally time to realistically hope that the 2013 Major League Soccer season is just a memory. Sure, it’s worth remembering United’s run in the U.S. Open Cup, which culminated in a 1-0 win at Real Salt Lake that saw United win its 13th major trophy since beginning play in MLS’ inaugural season of 1996.

But 2013 also ended with United having won just three of 34 regular-season matches, so far out of a playoff spot supporters would have needed a telescope to find them. Quick bounce-backs to respectability aren’t necessarily rare in MLS, and to some extent, one can’t even imagine United having a season worse than it did last year, even if there were no changes in personnel since a 2-1 loss to Houston on October 27 put the final touches on a 3-24-7 campaign. [Read more…]

D.C. United and Philadelphia Union swap picks; United select Steve Birnbaum at No. 2 in MLS SuperDraft

Roundly questioned and a bit maligned for a trade earlier this week with Philadelphia that saw D.C. United give up the top spot in Major League Soccer’s allocation order and young defender Ethan White, United dealt with the Union again on Thursday.

This time, United and the Union, slated to pick first and second, respectively, in the draft, swapped picks. United got the player it probably wanted all along in University of California central defender Steve Birnbaum. The Union took goalkeeper Andre Blake, which makes the reasoning for swapping picks with United and sending D.C. allocation money (according to the club) rather strange, since there was next to no chance United were going to select any goalkeeper with the first pick in this draft. [Read more…]

D.C. United ANALYSIS: Club trades Ethan White to Philadelphia in odd deal

D.C. United today announced it had traded defender Ethan White and the top spot in Major League Soccer’s allocation order to the Philadelphia Union for veteran defender Jeff Parke and Philly’s sixth position in the allocation order.

White appeared in 14 regular-season matches for United last season, and 38 overall in three years with the club. He turned 23 on New Year’s Day and joined United after being part of the club’s U-18 Academy team and playing two seasons at the University of Maryland. White was one of several homegrown players on the D.C. roster. [Read more…]

D.C. United Analysis: Eight thoughts on the 2013 season

As much as many fans, and maybe even the organization itself, wants to forget large parts of the 2013 Major League Soccer season, the time is upon us to review it and try and figure out just what happened.

It was a weird year that saw United finish as one of the worst clubs in MLS history, going 3-24-7, for just 16 points, dead last in the league by a good bit. But in 2013, United also won the U.S. Open Cup for the third time in its history, earning a bid into the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League in the process. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 34 Recap: United’s MLS season ends in fitting fashion

Mercifully, D.C. United’s 2013 Major League Soccer season is over.

It ended in the same fashion as so many other matches did this year, with a United loss – this one to Houston, 2-1, before 13,731 at RFK Stadium. The win clinched an Eastern Conference playoff spot for the Dynamo. The loss left United 3-24-7 on the season. The three wins are the fewest of any club in MLS’ 18 seasons. The 24 losses are tied for second most with the 1999 Kansas City Wizards – and one behind the 1999 New York/New Jersey MetroStars (25). [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 32 Recap: United throw away win late, settle for draw vs. Philly

For almost 70 minutes, the starting 11 that D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen sent out vs. the Philadelphia Union was working hard, running well off the ball, making sharp passes into space trusting their teammates would get to them, and United had been rewarded with the lead through Nick DeLeon’s long-distance strike before halftime.

Then, the substitutes entered the game, United’s possession disappeared, Philadelphia piled on the pressure, and after surviving a couple United chances, Jack McInerney (a Union substitute) scored in the 90th minute to give Philadelphia a 1-1 draw and a vital point before 11,213 at rainy RFK Stadium Saturday night. [Read more…]

D.C. United Analysis: Victorious Cup run should be new start, not an end

It will be a few days before the great feeling from D.C. United winning the 2013 U.S. Open Cup with a 1-0 victory at Real Salt Lake on Tuesday night wears off. Certainly, those in attendance at RFK Stadium Friday night when United returns to Major League Soccer play against the Chicago Fire will be in the mood to celebrate.

And rightfully so. For whatever struggles United has had in the league (and the world knows they have been many), putting together a five-match Cup run to win a trophy is never easy, no matter how good the team. Picked individually, maybe someone with a cynical mind would say a certain result along the way might have been a fluke. Such a person could even make that argument right at the very beginning, when United played at the Richmond Kickers – a club two levels below them and that helps develop young United players – and D.C. needed penalties to advance after 120 minutes of scoreless soccer. [Read more…]

D.C. United Open Cup Recap: United’s Cup Dream Comes True

Lewis Neal’s goal just before halftime was enough to lift D.C. United to a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake in the U.S. Open Cup final at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, Tuesday night, giving United its third Open Cup championship and 13th major trophy.

John Thorrington started the attack, working the ball out wide before sending in a cross that was deflected. In the penalty area, Neal was the right man in the right place, firing a shot that beat RSL (and former United) goalkeeper Nick Rimando for the only goal United would need. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 30 Recap: Toronto overpowers United in D.C.’s final Open Cup prep

Toronto FC scored two goals in four minutes midway through the second half to break open a 1-1 match and eventually polished off D.C. United, 4-1, before an announced crowd of 15,879 at BMO Field in Toronto. The loss drops United to a record of 3-21-6 (15 points) for the 2013 Major League Soccer season. Toronto improved to 5-15-11 (26 points).

United are now the worst team in MLS by a full 11 points, trailing by that amount both Toronto and Chivas USA in the 19-team league.

The match was a glorified exhibition affair for United, who play at Real Salt Lake on Tuesday night in the U.S. Open Cup final. That match will present United with the opportunity to win its 13th major trophy since the club began play in 1996, and its first Open Cup since 2008.

As such, the lineup for today’s game was something you might see out of D.C. United in a February preseason friendly against Joe’s Dart Shop FC. Chris Pontius, Dwayne De Rosario, Luis Silva, Dejan Jakovic, Ethan White, James Riley, Chris Korb, Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon, and goalkeeper Bill Hamid all sat this match out. Midfielder Sainey Nyassi started in defense, youngsters Jared Jeffrey, Collin Martin, and Kyle Seaton all started, and Conor Doyle and Casey Townsend were among the substitutes.

Early, the result was about 10 minutes of constant Toronto possession to start the match, but TFC did nothing with it. Then, United took the lead in spectacular fashion in the 15th minute, thanks to Jeffrey.

Given plenty of space nearly 30 yards from goal in the middle, Jeffrey smartly took advantage of the opportunity, setting up a left-footed shot that sneaked in under the crossbar and into the corner to Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik’s right. Bendik dove full out to try and save it, but wasn’t able to get a hand on it as Jeffrey hit it at the perfect pace, in the perfect place, and got the perfect result.

The goal was Jeffrey’s second of the 2013 Major League Soccer season in this, his 6th appearance.

United held the lead, however, for just 10 minutes, as has often been the case this season, a D.C. advantage on the scoreboard was quickly wiped away.

This time, it was poor defending off a free kick that doomed United, as it has for much of the season. Nyassi, playing out of position, gave away a free kick deep on Toronto’s left. The free kick bounced across the penalty area, and United failed to clear. The ball eventually found the foot of Toronto midfielder Darel Russell on the right side of the area, and he hit a right-footed laser just off the hand of Joe Willis and inside the far post to tie the match.

It was Russell’s 3rd goal of the season and one that could have been prevented, either from United clearing the free kick in the first place, or if someone had marked Russell, who had plenty of room to Willis’ left to notch the equalizing goal.

For much of the season, United has struggled defensively – having conceded 52 goals in the league this season (2nd most; Chivas USA, 54), so without the normal starters, it was perhaps only a matter of time before the defense fell apart today.

With the match still 1-1 in the 67th minute, the dam broke.

Off a turnover, Toronto played a long and somewhat aimless ball up the right attacking flank. United midfielder Marcelo Saragosa was left on his own to fend off TFC’s Andrew Wiedeman. Saragosa had position, but let Wiedeman get by him, then dragged him to the turf. The assistant referee almost on top of the play waved his flag for a foul, but head referee Ted Unkel played advantage as Mark Bloom ran on to the ball unopposed for a cross.

That cross from Willis’ left was met by an unmarked Bright Dike, who volleyed the ball past Willis to make it 2-1 Toronto.

TFC increased its lead to 3-1 just 4 minutes later, after another United turnover in the attacking half. This time, it led to a 3-on-2 for Toronto in the United defensive third, with Wiedeman laying a ball off to his right for Álvaro Rey. Rey worked deep toward the end line and then tried to cross, but the ball was deflected by United defender Conor Shanosky past Willis for an own goal.

Toronto finished the scoring in the 87th minute when Rey possessed the ball in the penalty area, neatly cut the ball twice past United players (Saragosa and Casey Townsend), and finished for a fine individual goal.

United had but two shots on goal in the match, both in the first half, and never seriously threatened to make a game of it once Toronto FC assumed control in the second half.

All of today’s errors could be forgiven should United emerge victorious on Tuesday night, for what would be D.C.’s 3rd Open Cup title (United also won in 1996). There are but four matches left in the league season now, the next coming Friday night at RFK Stadium against the Chicago Fire (8 p.m. Eastern). United still need a point from its final four matches to not be the worst team in MLS history by points per game average.

TORONTO 4-1 UNITED

Goals:
DC – Jeffrey 2, 15th minute.
TOR – Russell 3, 25th minute.
TOR – Dike 1 (Bloom 1), 67th minute.
DC – Shanosky, own goal, 71st minute.
DC – Rey 1 (Braun 2), 87th minute.

Discipline:
DC – Martin, yellow, 37th minute.
TOR – Dike, yellow, 45th minute.
TOR – Russell, yellow, 62nd minute.
DC – Saragosa, yellow, 68th minute.

Statistics:
Shots:  TOR 12-7 DC
Shots on Goal:  TOR 6-2 DC
Corners:  TOR 4-1 DC
Fouls:  TOR 8-14 DC
Offside:  TOR 0-0 DC
Possession:  TOR 46.3%-53.7% DC

UNITED (3-21-6):  Willis; Kemp, Nyassi, Shanosky, Woolard (Doyle 46′); Jeffrey (Iapichino 70′), Martin, Saragosa, Porter (Townsend 80′); Pajoy, Seaton.

TORONTO (5-15-11):  Bendik; Henry, Morgan, Bloom, Agbossoumonde; Convey (Lambe 85′), Russell, Rey, Hall; Dike (Braun 82′), Wiedeman (Bekker 90′).

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.

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. [Read more…]

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