WASHINGTON – Very little has gone right for D.C. United in the month of October.
Including Saturday’s last-minute defeat at the hands of the Chicago Fire, United have lost all three games this month and four straight overall. The slump has them firmly on the outside looking in on the MLS Cup playoff picture.
Despite all that, D.C. remain alive and upbeat. They are quickly putting the Chicago game out of sight and out of mind as they prepare for a must-win match on Wednesday against Portland (8:00 PM ET, Comcast SportsNet).
“We had to get over [the Chicago loss] pretty quickly because we have an important game,” midfielder Clyde Simms told MLSsoccer.com. “There’s nothing you can do about that now. It’s in the past. We’re just looking forward to tomorrow night, taking care of business against Portland.”Added head coach Ben Olsen: “We’re fine. [The players] have short memories.”
During the recent stretch, D.C. have kept games close and haven’t been shut out. And while they haven’t had too much trouble hitting the back of the net, there wasn’t one particular issue causing losses.
“I think we’ve had different problems in different games,” Simms said. “In Philadelphia it was the ball over the top. In Vancouver it wasn’t getting pressure out wide to crosses. It’s been various things and we’ve had a little bit of bad luck.”
“We’ve just got to look forward,” he said. “We feel like we’ve done a pretty good job of learning from mistakes this season. We’ve just got to keep pushing.”
Regardless of the performances in October up to this point, D.C. remain confident. They would still qualify for the playoffs with two wins this week combined with a New York loss to Philadelphia on Thursday, provided Portland cooperates by losing one of their two games or drawing both.
And for the time being, looking forward to that is what fuels United. That's more productive than dwelling on the struggles of the recent past.
“We have some very experienced players on this team and guys that have gotten a lot of time this season,” Simms said. “We’re definitely confident as a team and we know we can do it.”
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com.