If United has any dignity left at all, they should have slunk off the field like a thief in the night instead of feeling proud of that pitiful effort against a KC side that clearly deserved to win if not for their woefully inept finishing ability. But Lucky Luciano’s 39th minute strike was the difference in the match as DC fell into a valuable three points.
Now I’ve never been one to mince words so I will not start now. Frankly, if DC were to win any more games in the way they dispatched KC, I would stop being a fan of the team. Seriously, the quotes about grinding out a win, making your own luck, taking advantage of your chances, etc. make me want to vomit. United should have bolted out of RFK like they stole something after that painful performance.
DC flat out tried to lose the game, and only KC’s shocking futility in front of goal allowed DC the shut out win. Wicks gets his third shutout in four games, but if not for the shots hit directly at him that he saves almost in self defense, I’m not sure DC is even within three goals of KC at the final whistle. But hey, better lucky than good eh?
Didn’t take long for United’s game plan to spring into effect either. Barely two minutes into the game, Bryan Namoff went walkabout to give KC’s Claudio Lopez an acre of space down the left to pick out Davy Arnaud wide open eight yards out from goal, but inexplicably, he hammered a shot right at the dumbfounded Wicks.
KC was to continue spurning United’s largesse as KC and the unfortunate Arnaud in particular was to pepper open shots into the various banners behind the South goal throughout the opening 20 minutes of the match.
Jaime Moreno did manage to assert a token effort for the home side as he headed a Rodney Wallace cross off the crossbar in the 23rd minute to prove that DC would not completely roll over paws up if nothing else.
Still, KC continued to pound DC’s goal only to have woeful shooting or flat our dumb luck keep them off the score-sheet to United’s frustration one has to wonder. KC’s right back Jonathan Leathers was given an open look at goal only to be denied by Wicks barely getting his hands up in time to save himself from another painful shot to his torso. Of course, he spilled the rebound, but as the ball fell tantalizingly to Jewsbury, Namoff poked it away to keep KC’s rugged central midfielder from taking another crack at the shell-shocked Wicks or the fragile signage behind the goal.
In the 33rd minute Namoff, perhaps disgusted by the whole affair by this point simply passed the ball to KC’s Herculez Gomez for a wicked shot over Wicks and tagged for the far corner, but feeling conflicted and obviously some remorse, Namoff sprung into the breach to nod the shot away off the line.
The ensuing KC corner kick was even more comedic as United struggled to clear a rather innocent kick allowing KC’s Conrad to spank a shot off the crossbar and Josh Wolff to crank a bicycle kick that took two desperate lunges to clear off the line.
Finally, Gomez hooked up with Emilio on a short corner kick no doubt intended to waste time, but Gomez cracked the ball to Namoff and his flick on header found Pontius on the back post. Clearly United’s rookie winger did not get the memo about tanking this match as he dove to rocket a header off the post and right into the path of Emilio who had no choice but to knock it in for the go ahead goal.
Sensing his plans for an early summer rapidly going awry, Soehn went all out defensive in the second half in order to help cede possession back to KC. DC had utterly fumbled the game plan and put themselves completely behind the eight-ball with that first half goal. Clearly, DC would need to give the snakebit Wizards a lot more help if they were to be expected to score the requisite two goals for the win.
Sure enough, in the 65th minute, Lopez was again left alone to measure a lovely diagonal ball to Wolff to knock down into the path of Arnaud for a wide open shot barely 12 yards out. Incredibly, Arnaud shanked yet another shot wide and KC was done for. Barely able to collect any more loose balls from United with any enthusiasm whatsoever.
Amazingly, as much as DC tried to lose the match, they nearly ended up winning by two or three goals as Emilio was set up twice in the final minutes only to have his chip over Hartman cleared off the line by Conrad, and minutes later have his open shot off a clever feed by Moreno smothered by Hartman.
So with the win, United tortures their loyal supporters with yet another gem unearthed from a pile of dung. The win staves off their inevitable playoff elimination for at least another few weeks as they now have improbably compiled 36 points, a scant four points off Houston for the league lead, and merely three points behind the Crew in the East. But all those teams have games in hand, so no doubt United’s weekend thrashing by Seattle should calm any heady thoughts about the post season.
On another bright note, DC should be mathematically out of the CONCACAF Champions League in less than a week with their upcoming loss in Trinidad to Jabloteh, so United’s masochistic fans have at least that to look forward to.