Despite Dwayne DeRosario's go ahead goal from the spot, United lost once again. Photo: Martin Fernandez

United vs Toronto FC: United officially hit rock bottom in 2-1 loss to TFC

D.C. United’s horrific season continues to spiral downhill as they lost this evening to visiting Toronto FC 2-1 at RFK Stadium. The loss extends United’s club-record winless streak to 13 games. Even worse, the loss came to a TFC team that itself was on a double-digit winless streak of their own.

In a matchup of non-titans, United came out on the front foot and actually took the lead in the 19th minute on Dwayne De Rosario’s converted penalty kick to give the Black-and-Red their first lead in a league match in over three months of play. The penalty was set up by an amazing 50-yard run by Nick DeLeon through the TFC defense that ended up with him being tripped just as he entered the penalty area.

United nearly doubled the lead when a give-and-go from De Rosario and Lionard Pajoy resulted in a half-chance by Pajoy but he ran out or room along the endline with an open goal at his mercy.

This is where it started to fall apart. TFC had done precious little offensively and United were on cruise control. Then the dreaded set piece rears it’s ugly head. United has given up over a dozen goals this season on set pieces and tonight was no exception.

In the 30th minute, 5-foot-7 inch Robert Earnshaw managed to beat 6-foot-1 United defender Brandon McDonald to a seemingly harmless floated 60-yard ball and headed the ball off the post and past Bill Hamid to level the match.

Just ten minutes later the frustration of a season-long epidemic of shooting themselves in the foot came to fruition when Daniel Woolard headed a ball into his own goal. It was the fourth own-goal given up by United this season.

United could not regain any momentum and things may have just gotten worse for United when De Rosario was forced off with an injury that seemed to drain whatever life was left in United. Chris Pontius, Kyle Porter (injured) and Carlos Ruiz (away on international duty) already were not availabe tonight adding to head coach Ben Olsen’s woes.

United now must turn their attention to next Saturday’s matchup at RFK against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Disney Pro Soccer Classic: United and Montreal play to 1-1 draw

D.C. United and the Montreal Impact played to a 1-1 draw this afternoon in the final match of group play in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. Trialist Kyle Porter improved his chances of making United’s squad with a well taken goal in the 85th minute to level the match after a wonder bicycle kick goal from Montreal’s Andrea Pisanu in the 16th minute.

With the draw, Montreal moves on to the Championship match next weekend of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic to face most likely the Columbus Crew who have been runaway leaders of their group so far this week.

The draw for United will put them in either the 3rd Place or 5th Place match next weekend depending on the result of the Sporting Kansas City/Tampa Bay Rowdies match later this evening. A draw or a loss by Sporting will put United in the 3rd place match.

Montreal took the lead in the 16th minute on a breathtaking finish from Italian import Andrea Pisanu. Pisanu, on loan to Montreal from Serie A squad Bologna, took advantage of a deflected cross off the back of United defender Daniel Woolard and biked his shot over Bill Hamid for the lead.

United, starting the same squad from Wednesday night’s 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City, pressed on and created a few half-chances but the teams went to the locker room with Montreal leading 1-0.

After the break United started piling on the pressure yet very few chances came of their good possession play. Chris Pontius had a shot blister over the bar from 18-yards out just past the hour mark right before Ben Olsen made a complete changeover with his squad in the 76th minute.

Even with a mostly entire new team on the field, it didn’t take long for the Black-and-Red to equalize. In the 85th minute, the Impact were lax in an easy defensive clearance and United too full advantage. Porter beat the unsuspecting Montreal Impact to the bouncing ball from the failed clearance and it found it’s way to fellow trialist Marcos Sanchez. The Panamanian scuffed a pass into the path of United young Designated Player Rafael and his toe-poke fell into the path of Porter. The Canadian unleashed a rocket just inside the penalty area with his weaker right foot and the ball flew past former United goalkeeper Troy Perkins to level the match at 1-1.

The remainder of the match was played out without any real chances from both sides.

United will have to wait and see whom their opponent will be next Saturday afternoon. In the meantime, United will play a match against the Philadelphia Union midweek before wrapping up their preseason journey in Orlando next Saturday.

United will then return to the DC area for a few days before heading off to Houston to play their MLS regular season opener on March 2nd.

United vs Houston: United fights hard but falls short in 1-0 loss in new stadium

Brad Davis’ 67th-minute goal was enough to help the Houston Dynamo to their first win in their inaugural game at BBVA Compass Stadium over D.C. United this afternoon in Houston, Texas. The loss was the second in three road matches for United over the course of 10 days. United (5-4-3 18 pts) remains in third place in the Eastern Conference and Houston (3-3-2 11 points) moved up one spot to 6th place in the standings.

In the 67th-minute, Davis picked up a pass thirty yards from goal and was surprised to see himself unmarked and unleashed a bomb that United goalkeeper Bill Hamid did well to get a hand on but not enough to keep it out of the net. Normally defensive midfielder Perry Kitchen would have been in that area of the field but was forced to leave the match midway through the first half with a suspect ACL injury to his right knee that may keep him out for the rest of the season. Nothing has been confirmed by United officials as of yet but Ben Olsen told the NBC SportsNetwork television crew at halfitme that ” it didn’t look good”.

United could muster very little offensively throughout the day with only a chance from Maicon Santos early in the second half and a 93rd-minute desperation header from Daniel Woolard on a free kick being the only dangerous chances all day for the Black-and-Red. United’s misery in Houston is now at a depressing 0-6-1 all-time.

United now has a chance to redeem themselves when they host Colorado on Wednesday evening at RFK Stadium, the beginning of three home matches in 10 days.

United vs San Jose: United defense crumbles in 5-3 loss to the Quakes

Chris Wondolowski and Steven Lenhart both scored a pair of goals to lead the red-hot San Jose Earthquakes to a 5-3 mauling of D.C. United last night in San Jose, California. The loss snapped United’s seven match unbeaten run and vaulted the Quakes to the top spot in MLS, a point above idle Sporting Kansas City.

United went into the matchup knowing it was missing it’s top two central defenders in Emiliano Dudar and Dejan Jakovic through injury and it showed as head coach Ben Olsen was forced to shuffle the lineup by inserting Perry Kitchen into central defense and moving Marcelo Saragosa into Kitchen’s usual defensive midfield position.

For the first twenty minutes it seemed everything was going well for United as they took the lead on a fantastic strike from Dwayne De Rosario in the 8th minute. The next 15 minutes told a different story as the Quakes scored three times to wrestle control of the match. Lenhart and Wondolowski scored two minutes apart and then ten minutes later rookie defender Justin Morrow scored to seemingly put the match out of reach.

United came to life early in the second half and gave themselves an opportunity to complete a wonderful comeback with Daniel Woolard’s diving header goal in the 64th minute to cut the deficit to 3-2 but the Quakes responded twice in five minutes when Wondolowski (header) and Lenhart (deflection) scored again to put the match to rest. Hamdi Salihi did finally break his duck with a well taken goal in the 88th minute but it was too little too late at that point.

United had not yielded five goals in a road match since a 5-2 defeat against the Los Angeles Galaxy in September of 2008.

United now turns it’s attention to winless Toronto FC on Saturday afternoon at 4pm in Toronto

United’s playoff prospects dealt severe blow with 2-1 loss in Columbus

The Columbus Crew scored two second-half goals to overcome a 1-0 halftime deficit to send D.C. United to a second loss in four days and severely damaging their playoff hopes. The 2-1 loss leaves United at least 2 points out of the final playoff spot with only four matches left on the season. United will now have a chance to rest and hope to get some players back to full fitness for the final 4 games in 13 days to end the season.

Daniel Woolard surprisingly gave United a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute when he volleyed in Dwayne De Rosario’s free kick from 35 yards out. Woolard got behind the Crew defense and redirected the whipped in cross past a helpless William Hesmer. After the interval however United’s young defense would get exposed for the equalizer and the game-winner just 13 minutes apart. Columbus leveled the game after United continually failed to clear repeated Crew thrusts at goal. Finally, the ball landed on the foot of Peruvian striker Andres Mendoza who turned Perry Kitchen the wrong way and his awkward attempt at goal was pushed into the corner of the net when Woolard shanked the clearance.

Columbus got the game-winner on some really poor individual defending from both Santino Quaranta and Marc Burch along Columbus’ right flank. Defender Sebastian Miranda easily split the United duo and took off unmolested towards the goal. The Crew defender spotted Eddie Gaven making a run towards the penalty spot and his pinpoint cross met the diving forehead of Gaven who gave Bill Hamid no chance to save it.

United pushed forward frantically in the final half hour looking for the equalizer and nearly got it in the 94th minute when Andy Najar’s left-footed half volley easily beat Hesmer but did not beat the crossbar as it bounded out into the field of play and was easily cleared away.

United now has four games remaining and realistically will have to win at least 3 of them to give themselves a chance to move up the very close and crowded Eastern Conference table. United’s last road game will be on Wednesday, October 12th in Vancouver, British Columbia. United’s final three matches will be at RFK and they will definitely know what they need to secure a playoff position at that time.