Soehn chides DC's late complacency
WASHINGTON -- With their propensity for clutch goals and late comebacks, D.C. United have shown themselves to be a resourceful, resilient and entertaining bunch in 2009.They apparently also hold great disdain for one-sided games of any sort, even the ones in their favor. How else to explain what unfolded in Wednesday night's 5-3 victory in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match against New York?Despite fielding a starting XI packed with reserves, United looked ready to run the Red Bulls right into the RFK Stadium sod from the opening whistle, galloping out to a 4-0 lead before half an hour had elapsed as Chris Pontius, Christian Gomez and their mates slashed the visitors' defense to shreds at will."Things were definitely clicking. I think we could've been up 6-0, you know?" Pontius said afterward. "We got four, I know I had two other chances that I decided to pass, but should've been looking to shoot first."But United spurned the luxury of an early lead, allowing their intensity to ebb as New York winger Dane Richards snatched his team's opening goal just before halftime. That breakdown set the tone for a second half that unfolded in jittery fashion for the home fans as Jorge Rojas came off the bench to conduct the Red Bulls attack, scoring two goals and creating a myriad of openings for his teammates only to run out of time with the score reading 5-3 in United's favor."It was exciting," deadpanned D.C. midfielder Brandon Barklage. "I thought we came out with intensity that they couldn't match in the first half, and then it was kind of disappointing to get that first goal at the end of the first half. It kind of led into the second half -- we were on our heels for the whole second half for some reason. But it's just good to get the three points and move on to the next round."Despite his team's season-high scoring outburst, United boss Tom Soehn cut an irritated figure in his postgame remarks, bemoaning his young lineup's naïve reaction to the evening's proceedings."We had a pretty good mentality going into the game and how we wanted to play. Say what you want when we talked about not becoming complacent -- we really got complacent. We could've let up as many goals as we scored," he said."[New York] held a high line and I think we exposed it pretty well with second line runners, we probably could've had more out of the first 28 minutes or so. But then we started to stretch a little bit, and we felt like we needed to attack with a lot of numbers. The way their line was, we didn't have to attack with too many. We should've kept our shape a little bit better."On a night when nearly everyone on the field seemed destined to get a decent look at goal eventually, Pontius proved to be the most adept finisher and in the end, the difference-maker for D.C. After spending most of the season up front or out wide, the rookie was assigned a deep midfield role on Wednesday but still made his presence felt in the New York penalty box. He nodded home a Gomez corner kick to open the scoring, then got his head to Fred's cross for his team's fifth and final tally."We tried him sitting in a little bit deeper and see if he understands that position and making sure he's one guy who looks to push up when we need to keep a little shape," said Soehn. "We've moved him around everywhere and he continues to adapt to wherever he has to play."