MLS Game #27: DCU 0 - Chivas USA 3

Where to start.  A devastating mistake, a compounded injury situation, a crippling loss and United teeters on the verge of missing the playoffs for just the fourth time in team history.  The gory details may be found here.

Want a silver lining?  If Houston holds on tonight, as they should given their 3-1 halftime lead, League results were pretty favorable to United's cause.  Currently, the Black-and-Red ( 10-14-3, 33 points) are two points back of New York (9-10-8, 35 points) for the fourth slot in the Eastern Conference.  Kansas City (8-10-8, 32 points) lurks just a point behind United, however, and has a game in hand tomorrow, when they host Chicago.  Let's pull for the Fire.

For those looking ahead, United finishes in Houston next Sunday, at home to New England (Oct. 16) and at Columbus (Oct. 26).  New York is at Real Salt Lake on Thursday, hosts Columbus (Oct. 18) and travels to Chicago (Oct. 23).  Kansas City hosts New England next Saturday and San Jose (Oct. 18) before finishing at the Revolution (Oct. 25).  Toronto FC shouldn't be counted out either, given their win in New York tonight.  Confused yet?

Not to mention that the possibility remains that five Western Conference clubs advance to postseason play and only three Eastern Conference sides are invited to the dance.  As our minds try to process all of this, it is obvious to me that the season is nowhere near over.  We'll lick our wounds this week and have a go in Houston next weekend.  The possibilities are endless.

Post game quotes below.

On the game
Both teams came out with a lot of urgency. You could tell the importance of the game. We made a huge mistake, which cost us dearly, nothing against them – they fought hard. We had our opportunities but didn’t finish, even when they had a two-goal lead. We had a breakaway and still some more chances. We somehow found a way to make a tough season even more difficult.
On the first goal
It was a tough ball from Peralta, I thought [Crayton] could have played it a little bit earlier. But when you see pressure come on there’s one way to play that, you play the ball up the field and you push the line up.
On Marcelo Gallardo
We needed him tonight. He probably pushed himself further than he had to. I know he’s got an injury along with it now. He gave us what he could. He’s been out for ten weeks. It’s tough to get back not only him getting used to the guys but the guys getting used to him.
On moving forward
Thankfully New York lost. Like I said, it’s been a tough year but we just have to keep grinding it out and finding a way now to get a win. We need that first one to turn one win into two wins. We just have to keep fighting. We’ll come back to work, keep our heads high and look for some other guys now to help us again.
On looking ahead
Fred was hurt today and Marcelo [Gallardo] possibly out [for next game], we’re absolutely going to be forced to make some moves. We’re going to have to rely on some guys to come in and give us energy. And no point are we hanging our heads and saying it can’t be done because it can be done. We’re disappointed today that we had a stadium full of people and we let them down and they didn’t stop cheering until the end. But at no point is this team going to quit.
On looking ahead
It’s not over, we still have a few games left, we [have] to make sure we keep our heads up. It’s a pretty devastating loss, especially at home but like I said, we still got a few games left and we still got a chance. We got the quality in this locker room to make it, it’s just a bad run [with] bad luck is what it is right now.
On the lineup changes
We had a few new guys in there, Marcelo [Gallardo], myself, the two guys up top [Thabiso Khumalo and Santino Quaranta] but, I mean, it’s no excuse – we’ve all played together long enough. Defensively we were solid, we just didn’t create enough going forward and we were a little bit stagnant so it’s something we got to work on obviously.
On the losing streak
I have no answer really for what’s going on. We began the game well, I thought. The first goal was a collective error and I think once they scored that goal it gave them a lot more confidence. We weren’t able to rebound from that.
On Louis Crayton
Yes, I think when you take risks sometimes you lose. In that particular case obviously he risked that and it cost us a goal. But I think as a whole, we have to stand behind all of our teammates, we have to stick together as a team. We have to get behind [Louis] and give him some confidence to not let him down because obviously he was down after that. Overall, we have to keep working as a group and not let this get us down.
On the game
We came into this game prepared mentally, morally [and] physically. We had a chance to redeem ourselves and I feel wholly and solely responsible for what went wrong today and I do apologize to my teammates, to the entire D.C. United family for this defeat. I hold myself wholly and solely responsible.
On Chivas’ first goal
Up to the moment the goal was scored we had a lot of positions, we kept on to the system that we were told to play. I think the goal was kind of psychological on the part of everyone and it was a terrible mistake. I blame myself for this particular defeat today and I apologize to the team for what went wrong.
On the game
I thought the effort in the first half was not bad. We came out [and] the guys were working. It was unfortunate – the first goal. It kind of knocks the wind out of you but we back [Louis Crayton], we’re all human, we all make mistakes. It was just one of them games where it seemed like everything was against us. Every time they went down the field, it was a problem. I guess we just go from here and stick together you know, nobody is going to turn, everybody’s got to come together and realize that we’re laying for the badge now. It’s not about playoffs or anything else; you’re playing for your families and your team and D.C. United. We [have] to show some passion here because it’s not good enough.
On the injury to his left knee during the game
[I’ll know more] tomorrow when I have a MRI. The preliminary diagnosis from the doctor is that I have a strained ligament but we won’t know more until tomorrow morning.
On coming back into the starting line-up
At the beginning of the match I felt very good physically, I didn’t feel any pain from my previous injury. Overall I thought we played a very good first half but after we let that first goal go in, [our] morale went down. That was a confidence booster for them.
On the rest of the season
We’re going to fight it out until the end. We have to have a winning mentality whoever is in the game for us as a team, regardless of injury. We have to fight it out and give it our all because this could be the end of the season.
On the game
We [didn’t] really want to defend, we wanted to attack them. But first of all, we knew that the [first] 15 minutes were going to be a battle, we just [had] to dominate the field. Obviously they’re the home team, they got to push the tempo forward and we were smart enough, quick enough and everyone knew how to play and we didn’t give too many things away.
On looking ahead
We’ll take one game at a time – we don’t want to get too high and overconfident. We just got to make sure that everybody has their feet on the ground and keep working on things that we are working on and hopefully good things will happen.
On the game
You know it’s always the first priority to win; second one is to shut out. To be able to keep that, I thought the team played exceptionally well. I think it was two times I was called upon to make the saves, I was glad I was able to make those saves and make this performance stick in everyone’s mind, that we really dominated when we came to RFK.
On the game
Things get complicated and guys start taking too many touches and running all over the place. Our team doesn’t work when it turns into physical battles – we’re not built for that. We’re built to keep the ball on the ground and play, move for each other, find space, be dangerous, get around the goal and lately, some of the goals are going our way. Obviously the first goal was a bit of a break but I also think we’ve been making our own breaks. It feels good right now.
On personal success against D.C. United
Well, until this year Chivas USA have struggled against D.C. There’s always been something. If you go back to Chicago, there’s always something about playing your old club and obviously a lot things have changed since I was around. But there is still so much history with this club and I respect D.C. United and the organization and what Kevin Payne has done with this organization and how they treat the alumni of the club. So I am always excited to come back here and play, and always excited to play against one of the best teams in the League, which I think they perennially are. And I feel the same way about Chicago you know, I have a real nostalgia about Chicago as well. It’s always good to come here and get a win.