DCU’s woes continue in loss to Columbus

DCU’s woes continue in loss to Columbus
March 23, 2013, 8:30 pm
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DC United-Crew highlights

Despite working on ball possession and offense all week, United’s troubles continued into their fourth match of the season. 

For the second week in a row, the Black-and-Red attack mounted just single digit attempts on net, generating just five shots on target in today's bought with the Columbus Crew.  

“We haven’t been good with the ball at all,” said DCU midfielder Chris Pontius. “I think we’re too easy to defend right now.” 

United opened the match quietly on offense while weathering an early onslaught from the Crew that eventually yielded an early deficit off a Columbus set piece that Josh Williams headed home. 

“I just think the energy wasn’t there in general. I think it took for us to get scored on to kind of wake up,” said midfielder Brandon McDonald.

United’s offense came to life just seven minutes later as Rafael, in his first MLS appearance, drilled home a long-range shot for the equalizer. 

As DCU’s offense attempted to build momentum off the strike, however, their newly-formed attacking line found itself offside all too often. United was whistled offside eight times in the match, including on a goal scored in the first half by Kyle Porter that was quickly waived off. 

“It was embarrassing,” said Dwayne De Rosario. “I don’t know how many offsides we had, but that’s obviously difficult when every ball we play over top is offside. It kills the flow of the game, it kills momentum. It’s hard to build the attack that way.”

Compounding the issues on offense, Bill Hamid was left once again to fend off too many dangerous strikes. For the second week in a row, Hamid faced double-digit attempts. Nicked with two goals to D.C. United’s one, the Black-and-Red let Columbus make 17 attempts on net, including 12 from close range and nine shots on target.

“He’s been doing a hell of a job,” said Pontius. “He pulls a couple balls out, I just don’t know how he did it today. We gotta take some pressure off him. Once again I don’t put that on the defense necessarily, I put that on the offense because we’re not holding the ball enough. We need to give our defense more of a break to defend and I think we do that with possession of the ball and we just haven’t done that.”  

Energy. Possession. Offense. Defense. Though the lineup hasn’t changed much, everyone can see that D.C. United doesn’t look like the team that fell one match shy of the MLS Cup championship just five months ago. 

“Right now the team doesn’t have a lot of the good things that we had at the end of last year and I’ve gotta get that in them very quickly,” said head coach Ben Olsen.

“If you look over the past four games we’ve had it’s the same story. We’ve gotta get better in our possession,” said McDonald. “We had a meeting today and I think a lot of us gotta look at ourselves in the mirror and say we can do better collectively and bring more energy to the game. We’re at home and our fans deserve better but we’ll get better next week.”

“It’s better we start noticing the problems now before it’s too late,” said De Rosario. “We know what we have to fix.”

DCU will have two weeks to try to fix things before welcoming Sporting KC to RFK stadium on April 5. 

Note: Nick DeLeon left the match in the 27th minute with a hamstring injury. The midfielder will have an MRI on Monday.