There were a million different reasons – excuses even – toexplain away D.C. United’s 4-0 loss at the hands of the Houston Dynamo onSunday night, but not a single one was good enough for Head Coach Ben Olsen.
“I thought we could have been meaner, I thought we couldhave been angrier,” Olsen said when asked about his team’s response to themountain of adversity they faced at BBVA Compass Stadium. “I thought our shape could have beenbetter and you keep the game 1-0 as long as you can. We got a little stretched, and we got impatient.”
After an opening quarter hour that saw the Black-and-Rednearly take the lead on a pair of Chris Pontius opportunities, things cameunhinged in the 16th minute. Houston forward Macoumba Kandji raced behind the United defense andbroke in alone on goalkeeper Bill Hamid. Hamid made an aggressive play on the ball and missed, earning himself ared card and giving the Dynamo a chance to take the lead from the penalty spot.
While Joe Willis replaced Hamid, Olsen sacrificed midfielderBranko Boskovic as D.C. dropped to ten men. Just after Houston added a second tally in the 37th minute,United’s coach was again forced to use his bench earlier than anticipated. Robbie Russell re-aggravated a foot injury and was replacedby Chris Korb in the 40th minute. With fifty minutesstill to play, D.C. had just one substitution left and dwindling hope of a comeback.
But afterwards, United’s players – like their coach –weren’t about to try and justify the lopsided scoreline.
“Sure things don’t go your way, but good teams find a way totry and sneak out a point or not let it get too out of hand,” said PerryKitchen. “A lot of things didn’tgo our way, but saying that, we can’t make excuses.”
Often this season, Olsen has praised his players’ ability tobounce back from bad results. But,after the club’s worst defeat of 2012, United’s coach made clear what will beexpected when D.C. takes the field next weekend.
“I expect a response just like we have [had] after some toughlosses,” Olsen added. “We have aroad game in Columbus, hopefully we can fix some things there.”