The best teams know how to win. Sometimes those teams aren’t the best that day, but still pull out the W; that is the lesson assistant coach Chad Ashton hopes D.C. United has learned from last night’s tie.
“We had a chance to finish the game off with a chance or two, we don’t put it away, and end up making a mistake or two at the back and giving away the equalizer,” Ashton recalled. “That’s a bit of a bummer. If here is where we have to learn that lesson and figure out how to see out a game, then now is the time.”
Though we didn’t win the Coffee Pot Cup outright this year, we saw opportunities in front of the net, worked through a rough first half and continued to fight for each other on the pitch.
“The first half was choppy,” said Ashton. “We were sloppy, we were slow, we were predictable, and the movement wasn’t great. We talked about it at halftime and we cleaned it up.”
The second half started 0-0, and United only made two substitutions, bringing on Abel “Shadow” Sebele for Jared Jeffrey, Collin Martin for an injured Jalen Robinson and Joe Willis in net for Andrew Dysktra.
“I thought Collin Martin came into the game and facilitated the knocking and moving and it started to be infectious,” Ashton praised. “Victor Munoz started to knock and move. Conor Doyle was doing some great movement off the ball; it just became more dynamic.”
“Dynamic” was the key word last night. Movement with pace and purpose. Pass and move. Get it and give it. Create space for yourself and teammates. As Ashton said last game, this will get better as the guys begin to learn each others habits and tendencies. For now, it was important they fought through the choppiness and turnovers to find their rhythm.
With twenty minutes left, the second group, made up of recent starters, came on to finish the match. Though more opportunities were created, Charleston also capitalized on its chance, tying the game 1-1 in the waning moments.
“The second group brought a lot of dynamic movement,” Ashton stated. “We created a few chances in not a lot of time. Probably should have stuck one, you have to stick those because you never know what is going to happen at the end of the game.”
And in the final seconds, those missed chances came back to haunt us, but again, it’s preseason, and mistakes are expected. Now, we head out to training today to learn from last night’s match.
“Just being dynamic— that will be a big thing we work on.”
D.C. United meets the Seattle Sounders, in the Championship match of the Carolina Challenge Cup, this Saturday, March 1 at 5:00 p.m. The match will be streamed live on dcunited.com/live.