Heartbreak of all heartbreaks
There's no doubt that D.C. United has suffered some difficult results at home this season. In 2011, RFK has seen sure victories against Houston, Philadelphia and Chivas USA all turn to draws in the final minutes.
But no match this season, home or away, took as dramatic a turn as Saturday's 2-1 loss to Chicago. Even on Monday morning, a full 36 hours later, players and coaches alike were still in shock.
"It's the toughest loss I've ever been a part of, I've never felt anything like it," said Santino Quaranta. "It was like a blur type of thing. Look, we made mistakes and we made them at a critical time."
Ben Olsen chose not to speak to the media following Monday's training session, opting instead to let assistant Chad Ashton handle an ample amount of difficult questions following Saturday's collapse.
"I think the last two days was going through the whole gamut of emotions, trying to get yourself back to - OK, we can still do this," said Ashton. "At least we still have a shot. We tried to put a smile on our face today and approach it like, hey, lets take care of business Wednesday."
I don't doubt that Olsen might be frustrated answering the same questions time and again from the DCU press corps. But considering the issues that haunted D.C. in April and May are the same ones that are undoing United's playoff run, Olsen - and his players - have given us little choice but to pose those same questions until solutions are found.
With obvious issues along D.C. United's backline, now would be a great time for the oft-injured Dejan Jakovic to get healthy. While the Canadian International may be listed as probable, Ashton sounded somewhat less than optimistic as he put Jakovic's odds for a mid-week appearance at '50-50' after seeing the 26-year-old practice Monday.
"It's a tough spot for him as a player because you haven't played in so long, so now you are not sure of your fitness, you are not sure of your touch. It makes things very difficult," Ashton said of Jakovic, who hasn't played since August 21 against Kansas City. "To go out there and not play with supreme confidence at this time of year can really put you in a bad spot."
Jakovic's injury history can, at best, be labeled frustrating. According to the latest player salary numbers released by the MLS Players Union, Jakovic was set to earn just over 200,000 this season. That has him making more than every player on D.C.'s roster other than Charlie Davies, Dwayne De Rosario and Branko Boskovic. In United's moment of need, Jakovic - who is recovering from his second hamstring injury of the season - is unlikely to be available.