If DC United’s 4-0 loss at Kansas City to start the 2010 season is any indication, it’s going to be a long, long season.
Yes, United was without Bryan Namoff, Devon McTavish, Marc Burch and Juan Pena – and later Clyde Simms to injury – but still, to give up four goals to a less-than-stellar Kansas City showed some glaring weaknesses in defense and midfield. The jury’s still out on the goalkeeping – as Troy Perkins was hung out to dry – and on the forwards, because they didn’t see the ball enough to be properly adjudicated.
DC United marked poorly, made careless fouls that led to bookings, and turned the ball over in midfield. Santino Quaranta, in game one as an attacking midfielder, was invisible. Jaime Moreno touched the ball little, Chris Pontius and, later, Danny Allsopp, touched the ball less.
Distribution and defending were not there. I have to say I didn’t notice a lot of Cristian Castillo either and teen starter Andy Najar had mixed results – a nice strike on goal but some defensive lapses.
If United is counting on set pieces, it should look for something else. You have to have a semblance of an attack to create set piece opportunities in the first place.
It didn’t help that Clyde Simms, already coming off an injury, injured himself again in the first half. A porous defense got weaker with his absence.
Kansas City didn’t do anything overwhelming. The Wizards just executed, though again, they didn’t have to strain hard – especially defensively – to do it.
Perkins held up his end of things as best he could, but he can’t be counted on to be a defensive bailout policy. A good goalkeeper with a bad defense is still going to give up goals – maybe not as many goals, but enough to lose.
I had a great game once where I had about 20 legit saves – full stretch saves, one-on-one saves, etc. I still gave up 12 goals in a 12-2 loss. What I’m saying is that Perkins at his best is still going to give up goals in the situation United is in now.
As for the coaching, I’m not sure what Curt Onalfo could have done here. I’m not sure I start Najar and leave Allsopp on the bench, though Najar did nearly score. And there was little he could do but sub for Simms when he got hurt.
Thinking about the midfield, I’m not sure that Onalfo has another option on the roster now but to have Quaranta as the playmaking midfielder. I think he’s talented enough to grow into the role, but it doesn’t appear to be a natural role for him.
It’s one game, and I’ll reserve overall judgment on the team, but United gets low marks on its first exam, and even without its full complement, it shouldn’t have been a hard one to pass, or at least break even on. It’s going to have tougher tests soon enough.
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