In addition to the untimely injuries to key components of D.C. United’s midfield, one of the club’s biggest problems through eight matches this season has been the inability to play as a cohesive unit.
The defense has a good game, the attack struggles to generate chances. Goalkeeper Bill Hamid makes several impressive saves, the forwards can’t finish. The offense finds its stride, the defense collapses.
Such was the case again in United’s most recent loss against Columbus, when the defense broke down. And though United didn’t score, it was a second consecutive effort where the attack showed far more life than it had in the club’s previous six matches. Against Philadelphia at RFK Stadium the match before United lost to the Crew, D.C. equaled their season total in goals in one game, scoring twice. At Crew Stadium, United hit two posts and both Marcos Sanchez and Lionard Pajoy had marvelous opportunities to score, relatively alone against the ’keeper inside the box, but couldn’t convert.
“Yeah, definitely, [we’re creating more] but we didn’t score,” said United captain Dwayne De Rosario. “We did score and the ref called it back for what reason, I don’t know. That was that. Again, we’re still not scoring. Like I always say, sometimes the hardest part is creating. So we did create. Now we’ve got to start scoring, just getting that ball in the back of the net.”
In the previous three games, while United have only scored twice, their attack has generated far more opportunities than through the opening five contests. Granted, a large part of that is because the score dictates the need to push forward, but it’s still a positive sign for a scuffling club.
In United’s first five matches, they generated 35 attempts on goal, 14 shots on target and 15 corners. In their following three matches, they’ve generated 58 attempts on goal, 14 shots on target and 15 corners.
“Watching the game again, I wasn’t displeased with a lot of what went on,” United coach Ben Olsen said of the 3-0 loss against Columbus. “We got zero help from the guy in the middle. We were unlucky not to get a goal.”
United will have the weekend off before their next match on Wednesday against Houston – the first of three home matches in May.
“With the right mentality and the right intensity, we can build off of that [performance],” De Rosario said.