After last week’s home loss to Colorado, their seventh of the season, many D.C. United players tried to put their team’s frustrating situation into words. But the most succinct expression came from the mouth of Jaime Moreno, the club’s incumbent captain and most experienced player, who said, “We’re just not good enough.”
Sadly for the Black-and-Red, that statement continues to apply. D.C. dropped to 1-8-0 on the season with a 2-0 loss to Houston on a sultry night at Robertson Stadium.
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United fought gamely and held their own in a challenging venue where they’ve never won, and had a legitimate opportunity to steal points from their hosts – whose overall performance fell somewhat short of their relentless, punishing norm.
Yet D.C. still surrendered too many chances to the hard-charging Dynamo front line while failing yet again to conjure up enough sharpness at the other end of the field. After Saturday’s match, the capital club’s scoreless streak has reached 326 minutes.
In every single one of their eight losses, D.C. have given up the game’s first goal. And they did so again in Houston, as both Rodney Wallace and Christian Castillo neglected to track Danny Cruz in the ninth minute, giving him ample time to slot his first MLS goal past Troy Perkins.
The visitors rallied gamely and looked dangerous for much of the first half. But head coach Curt Onalfo must have wondered why his side didn’t go to greater lengths to test Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall, who was making his MLS debut with Pat Onstad away on Canadian national team duty. D.C. could only muster two shots on goal all night.
The story changed little in the second half as Houston speed merchant Dominic Oduro continued to torment the Black-and-Red rear guard. The Ghanaian wasted several good chances before floating away from Jordan Graye to hammer Luis Landin’s cross past a totally exposed Perkins for the game-clincher. Despite several promising looks at goal in the final half-hour, there was no way back for United.
On the bright side, D.C. striker Danny Allsopp worked mightily up front and came close on several opportunities, while Luciano Emilio looked lively in his second-half cameo and Chris Pontius played the entire second half, displaying some sharp touches and attacking inventiveness in his first action after a month out with a torn hamstring.
For the club’s loyal but disenchanted fans, those signs of life will have to suffice until United’s increasingly dour 2010 campaign takes a dramatic turn upward.