September 21, 2019

D.C. United Game 16 Recap: Team sputters in 1-0 loss to Seattle

On Saturday night at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. United showed an attack replete with excellent ideas but confounded with how to execute them. Excellent runs were unrewarded, crosses were wayward, shots either hit the frame or sailed high or wide into warm Washington night. It all added up to a 1-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders before 16,922. The defeat drops United to 7-5-4 (25 points) on the season and a first-place tie with Sporting Kansas City in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference.

The only goal of the game came in the 39th minute, via Seattle forward Chad Barrett. After United cleared a Sounders corner kick, the attack restarted and midfielder Gonzalo Pineda found himself with space on the right flank. He whipped in a left-footed cross that United seemed to be prepared for, in terms of the number of defenders there to deal with it. [Read more…]

Espindola injury a major setback for D.C. United

D.C. United announced on its website Tuesday morning that forward Fabian Espindola, the offensive revelation that has allowed the club to go from worst to first early this Major League Soccer season, will miss approximately six weeks with a knee injury suffered against Montreal on June 11.

The club stated that Espindola suffered a strained MCL from a tackle. Espindola, who had three assists in the 4-2 win at Montreal, led the club with seven goals and eight assists. The eight assists were already a career high, and Espindola was on pace to smash his career high in goals (10), as well.

[Read more…]

D.C. United Game 13 Recap: One brilliant Espindola goal enough for United victory

Fabian Espindola’s campaign for Major League Soccer MVP benefited from another memorable moment Saturday night, as D.C. United’s leading scorer lofted home a ridiculous goal in the first half that stood up in United’s 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City before 18,522 on a beautiful night at RFK Stadium. The win lifted United into second place in the Eastern Conference (6-4-3, 21 points), just two points out of first thanks to New England’s shocking loss to Montreal.

For all Espindola has done in helping to resurrect United on the field so far this season, his goal Saturday night was the masterpiece of his highlight video. Taking a layoff from right back Chris Korb, Espindola appeared to pose little threat, as SKC defender Seth Sinovic tracked him, but didn’t close him down. This can be forgiven, since Espindola was moving the ball back to his left, away from goal. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 13 Preview: Defending MLS Cup champs visit RFK tonight

D.C. United looks to make up ground in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference tonight when Sporting Kansas City comes to RFK for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The game will be broadcast locally on CSN. Given the combination of United forward Eddie Johnson having his red card from last week rescinded, and the lack of availability for a couple key Sporting Kansas City players, United are presented with a decent chance to get all three points and move to 6-4-3 on the season.

United comes into tonight’s match off a 2-1 loss at Eastern leaders New England last week. D.C. sit five points behind the Revolution in the race for first place, and one point back of SKC for second. United are 4-0-2 in the last six home matches following a season-opening loss to the Columbus Crew. Sporting Kansas City is 2-3 away from home in 2014. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 12 Recap: United loses game, Eddie Johnson at New England

Any worries about how D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen was going to handle playing the trio of Eddie Johnson, Fabian Espindola, and Chris Rolfe were answered in emphatic and distasteful fashion Saturday night, as United lost at the New England Revolution, 2-1. Johnson started up front, with Espindola on the bench and Rolfe unavailable, but was sent off late in the game after he shoved Kelyn Rowe from behind than perhaps thought about kicking out at the fallen Revs player.

That was enough for head referee Juan Guzman to give Johnson a straight red, even though the United forward appeared to think better of his action before actually making any contact (see the incident here). United had tied the game earlier in the second half, as a nice cross from the left by Cristian Fernandez was met by leading scorer Espindola for his sixth goal of the year. But Diego Fagundez scored 4 minutes later to decide the match. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 11 Recap: United wins and looks good doing it, 2-0 over Houston

The D.C. United squad on the field at RFK Stadium Wednesday night bore no resemblance to that which struggled through the 2013 season. That was partially due to a much changed roster, but on Wednesday, it was also due to a night of solid play, entertaining attacks, two wonderful goals, and a 2-0 victory for United over the Houston Dynamo before 8,224 in Washington.

Chris Rolfe opened the scoring in the 28th minute, as he and forward partner Fabian Espindola worked a nice 2-on-2 vs. the Houston defense. After a Lewis Neal throw-in, Espindola worked into the Dynamo defensive third, then passed the ball off to his left for Rolfe, who worked man to man against Houston defender David Horst. Rolfe made some space, moved the ball left, at which time Horst lost his balance. Rolfe then fired a low shot to the left of Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall to make it 1-0. [Read more…]

D.C. United Analysis: United face tough five-game run prior to World Cup break

For a team that, through 10 matches, has only played Western Conference opponents twice, separating a five-game part of the schedule and highlighting it as not only difficult, but key to D.C. United’s season, might seem a little much given how it compares to the schedule D.C. has already played.

But after failing to beat Major League Soccer’s worst team in Saturday night’s 1-1 home draw to the Montreal Impact, United now faces a five-game run of Eastern opponents that ends on June 10 in Montreal, United’s final match before a two-and-a-half-week World Cup break. The stretch starts at home Wednesday night, when United takes on the Houston Dynamo. [Read more…]

D.C. United Game 10 Recap: United only manage draw vs. struggling Montreal

On the day of the Preakness Stakes, Eddie Johnson found his finishing touch just before the wire, but it was only good enough to allow D.C. United a dead heat with the Montreal Impact as the clubs shared the points in a 1-1 draw before 14,106 at RFK Stadium. United is now 4-3-3 (15 points) on the 2014 Major League Soccer season. Montreal is 1-5-4 (7 points) and in last place in the Eastern Conference.

United drew level in the 84th minute as the season-long scoreless streak for Johnson finally came to an end with a decisive header into the bottom corner of the net from a Fabian Espindola cross. Johnson’s goal was a decent end to what had been a bad week, as Johnson was left off the 30-man preliminary U.S. roster for the upcoming World Cup. [Read more…]

D.C. United Analysis: First-quarter evaluation, part 5 – Management

It raised a few eyebrows around Washington when it was announced in the offseason that both D.C. United General Manager Dave Kasper and head coach Ben Olsen were going to remain in their jobs after the club went an atrocious 3-24-7 in 2013, one of the worst Major League Soccer seasons ever recorded.

After an offseason filled with almost as many transactions as United scored goals in the league last year (22), the roster was remade through a variety of means. It’s far too early to judge Kasper and Olsen’s success in changing the team. When a club only wins three of 34 games one season, it’s not necessarily the biggest feather in anyone’s cap when that club surpasses its win total the next season, even when it does so in nine matches. [Read more…]

D.C. United Analysis: First-quarter evaluation, part 4 – Forwards

Looking at the performance of D.C. United’s forwards is an exercise of examining extremes. On one hand, the one that United fans would rather focus on right now, there’s Fabian Espindola, the offseason acquisition who has four goals and three assists in nine matches. On the other, of course, is Eddie Johnson, the much more notable and expensive offseason acquisition, who has yet to score at all.

The overall performance of the position so far during United’s 4-3-2 start to the 2014 Major League Soccer season is somewhere in the middle. But it should be noted that Espindola already has more league goals this year than any United player had for all of the 2013 season. Espindola’s production (his three assists are tied with Nick DeLeon for the team lead), being involved somehow in seven of the 13 goals United has scored this season (not to mention involvement in scoring plays later counted as own goals), hasn’t necessarily masked Johnson’s struggles, but it has allowed United to succeed somewhat so far despite them. [Read more…]

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