Though statistics never tell the whole story of a match, they can often provide an idea of why a contest played out the way it did. Riding that train of thought, here are a few key numbers from Sunday's 3-1 defeat to Los Angeles.
The percentage of possession owned by United. From the opening minute, when the entire left-side of D.C.'s formation combined to keep the ball instead of thump it down field, the Black-and-Red looked far more committed to keeping possession than they did against Kansas City. To be fair, L.A. probably wasn't chasing possession as much once they took the lead, but the stat is still a marked improvement over opening night when Sporting out-possessed D.C. 57% to 42%.
The number of shots United managed to put on target against the Galaxy. Unlike a week ago, D.C.'s lone shot - a brilliant strike from rookie Nick DeLeon - did end in a goal, but the lack of attempts on net is a concern. With some of the goalie gaffes that we've seen through the first two weeks of the MLS season, testing the keeper has become a must across the league.
After completing a league-low 64 percent of their passes in the opener, United rebounded in this all-important category against L.A. Though this number can be misleading - Chivas USA completed 87% of its passes in an ugly 1-0 loss to Vancouver - it does show that D.C. was much better on the ball than they had been a week prior.
The number of crosses the Galaxy whipped in from the run of play. Compared to just ten for United, this stat reflects the momentum L.A. built early in the game as they laid siege to Joe Willis' net. The Galaxy's flank players had too much time and space as they offered up service to Robbie Keane and Chad Barrett. On Keane's back-breaking 45th minute tally, Mike Magee was allowed four touches before picking out Todd Dunivant on the far post.
Lineups and boxscore (MLSsoccer.com)
Opta Chalkboard (MLSsoccer.com)