Soehn unsatisfied by effort in Seattle
WASHINGTON -- Soccer fans across the country might have enjoyed the late-night attacking spectacle put forth by D.C. United and Seattle Sounders FC at Qwest Field on Wednesday, but at least one spectator with a front-row seat was somewhat less entertained by the pulsating 3-3 draw.A former MLS defender, United head coach Tom Soehn was incensed by the slapdash display his back line produced in the Emerald City, though his censure was hardly limited to fullbacks Bryan Namoff, Dejan Jakovic and Marc Burch."It wasn't our best day -- by no means," said the third-year boss on Thursday. "You know it's going to be a tough environment to play in and to have success on the road, you have to have at least 10 out of 11 guys play well. And I thought we had quite a few that performed way under their level."Mystifying United with their movement and creativity, the home side poured forward at will, creating myriad scoring chances and forcing D.C. goalkeeper Josh Wicks to make eight saves, most of which were pivotal blocks. Sounders FC stars Freddie Ljungberg and Fredy Montero looked untouchable for long stretches as they probed and exploited gaps in the D.C. back three, and Soehn's entire squad found themselves rattled by Qwest's deafening crowd."Yes, it was creating a lot of problems for us," acknowledged Jakovic, who found himself isolated and out of position time and time again. "A lot of the times they were doing the one-two and you didn't really know who to pick up. There were players floating around in the area, all over the place -- checking in, going in behind."Yet his team scratched out yet another second-half rally to haul themselves back from a 3-1 deficit and pilfer a point thanks to Tyrone Marshall's own goal in the dying minutes, adding to their growing reputation as comeback kings."I still have to give credit to this team that just doesn't quit on anything," said Soehn. "To come out with a result is still very impressive as far as the character of the team."That result propels D.C. into Saturday's meeting with the Colorado Rapids with arguably more momentum than they deserve. But the memories of Wednesday's defensive nightmare will linger for some time to come and the Black-and-Red are fully aware that several issues must be addressed, especially given the ominous circumstances around their annual journey to Dick's Sporting Goods Park.United lost 2-1 to the Rapids in the stadium's inaugural match two years ago and were soundly beaten in last season's visit as the "Mile High Club" used their spacious field and high-altitude setting to good effect. But D.C.'s track record of Rocky Mountain futility predates the Rapids' soccer-specific facility by some margin. United are winless in their last nine trips to the Centennial State and must harken back to May 6, 2000 to recall their last victory in Colorado.This year's squad has made a habit out of the unexpected, however, and that resourcefulness seems to be working its way into United's collective DNA."I think we're a different team than we've been," said Santino Quaranta. "Our mentality is, anyplace we go into, we know we have a chance now. Looking at the youth we have and the game-changing players that we have on this team, I think we always have a chance everywhere we go. We're just going to go into it with a positive attitude. It hasn't been the best place for us and it's a difficult place to play, it's a big field. But we'll figure it out."Christian Gomez fulfilled a crucial role in Seattle, coming off the bench to inspire the D.C. midfield and score a goal, and he will surely hope to play the protagonist again on Saturday.Given Fred's adductor injury, the Argentinean seems likely to handle United's playmaking duties and Soehn believes that he'll have something to prove against his former club. Colorado traded a designated player spot to acquire Gomez from D.C. before the 2008 campaign, but he was relegated to the bench after a midseason coaching change brought in a more direct style of play under Gary Smith."I've been part of situations where you leave a team and you always really enjoy playing against them for one reason or another. It's always special and I'm sure it'll be like that for him as well," said Soehn. "Let's call it a statement game for him."But the United boss also hinted that his team -- playing their third game in eight days -- will have to moderate their attacking instincts against a pacey, aggressive Rapids side fresh off a bye week."We have to be cautious as to the amount of work we put in," he said. "We have to be much more disciplined and hopefully take some of the gas out of the game. That's just the nature of the beast when they're rested and we're off a three-game stretch here, including all the travel we've had. So we're going to assess it and make sure we have a good game plan and hope to go out there and perform better than we did in Seattle."Charles Boehm is a contributor to MLSnet.com.