United lament concentration lapses in draw
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Although D.C. United are undefeated at home this season in MLS play, with five wins and four ties, away from the friendly confines of RFK Stadium they sport a 1-3-6 record, and coach Tom Soehn is not pleased. Saturday night saw United jump out to a 2-0 lead through a pair of Christian Gomez goals in the first half, only to allow the San Jose Earthquakes to rally for a 2-2 tie at Buck Shaw Stadium."We've constantly talked about what I call 'getting over the hump' and making sure we become a better team, and have the killer instinct," Soehn said. "We came out with that mentality early, and we exposed a lot of gaps. We should have put them away. Instead, we not only took our foot off the gas, we got away from doing the things we did early as far as possession, and we let them get back in the game."United got on top through a Christian Gomez penalty kick in the third minute and doubled their advantage when Gomez pounced on a deflected Andrew Jacobson shot and scored from close range in the 21st.But from there, the night belonged to San Jose. The Earthquakes scored through Ryan Johnson in the 36th minute, then capped their comeback when Rodney Wallace was called for a handball in the penalty area, giving Cornell Glen a penalty kick that he converted in the 62nd.Soehn said Wallace's handball was indicative of the mental errors D.C. made throughout the second half."At no point should you have your hand up, because I think it would have just gone out of bounds," Soehn said. "I'll have to watch that one again, but it was a lack of concentration."Soehn called the second half of Saturday's game "the worst half of soccer I've seen us play.""Mental errors ... we just didn't have it," Soehn said. "That's not the sign of a team that wants to become better, and that's something that we still have to work on, to get over that hump."United were fortunate to hold on to the tie, as the Earthquakes controlled the run of play throughout the second half."After 2-0, I think we relaxed too much," Jaime Moreno said. "Unconsciously, you feel too confident, and then we gave up one goal that shouldn't have happened. After their goal, (the Earthquakes) got pumped, and they came right at us. We didn't handle it pretty well, we made mistakes that shouldn't happen. Hopefully next game, we will take care of them."Chris Pontius agreed. "I thought we played really well for the first 30 minutes, but then we settled in too much with that (2-0) lead, and after that we just got too comfortable," he said. "We were content with sitting back, and we let them take the game to us. We shouldn't have done that, we should have kept attacking, put them back on their heels, and maybe get another goal or two."Soehn refused to use United's run in the Open Cup, or their upcoming CONCACAF Champions League matches, as an excuse for his team's performance."Granted, we had a game on Tuesday, but Tuesday's a long time ago," Soehn said. "Even if you're tired, you still have to be smart tactically and organized, and we didn't do that. We gave them all kinds of space, and any time you (play against) fast guys -- if you're organized, it's not a problem. But we were stretched, we gave them passing lanes, and we opened ourselves up to be isolated one on one."D.C. now returns home to face El Salvador's CD Luis Angel Firpo in CONCACAF Champions League play on Tuesday, before going back out on the road to face Houston in MLS action."It's not easy, but we have no choice. We've got to recover as soon as possible and then prepare for Tuesday," Moreno said. "We always take care of tournaments, as we have done in the past. We take it game by game."The mistakes (against San Jose), definitely we don't to have them happen again," Moreno continued. "So, now we have this experience, and I'm sure we don't want to go through this again. We just got to work, keep working, keep believing and just keep going. There's nothing left to do."Pete Ratajczak is a contributor to MLSnet.com.
D.C. United (6-3-10) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (3-10-5)July 25, 2009 -- Buck Shaw Stadium
Scoring Summary:DC -- Christian Gomez 5 (penalty kick) 3DC -- Christian Gomez 6 (unassisted) 21SJ -- Ryan Johnson 7 (Cornell Glen 1, Michael Zaher 2) 36SJ -- Cornell Glen 2 (penalty kick) 62D.C. United -- Josh Wicks, Marc Burch, Dejan Jakovic, Bryan Namoff, Fred, Rodney Wallace, Christian Gomez, Andrew Jacobson (Jaime Moreno 55), Ben Olsen (Danny Szetela 73), Luciano Emilio (Devon McTavish 85), Chris Pontius,Substitutes Not Used: John DiRaimondo, Greg Janicki, Avery John, Milos KocicSan Jose Earthquakes -- Joe Cannon, Chris Leitch, Jason Hernandez, Brandon McDonald, Michael Zaher, Antonio Ribeiro (Shea Salinas 46), Ramon Sanchez, Darren Huckerby, Ryan Johnson (Chris Wondolowski 41), Cornell Glen (Quincy Amarikwa 71), Bobby Convey.Substitutes Not Used: Ryan Cochrane, Simon Elliott, Jamil Roberts, Andrew WeberMisconduct Summary:SJ -- Jason Hernandez (caution; Verbal Distraction) 22DC -- Ben Olsen (caution; Reckless Foul) 60DC -- Rodney Wallace (caution; Handball) 62Referee: Kevin StottReferee's Assistants: Corey Rockwell; Paul Scott4th official: Yader ReyesTime of game: 1:50Attendance: 9,022Weather: Clear -and- 78 degreesAll statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.