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United vs Seattle: Depleted United fall to Sounders 2-0

Obafemi Martins scored both goals tonight as the Seattle Sounders took care of business in their 2-0 win over D.C. United at Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington.

Once again United were powerless on offense getting shut out for the 11th time in 18th matches this season and the 7th time in 8 road matches. Chris Pontius seemed to be the only player capable of generating any offense by forcing a pair of saves from Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning late in the second half but the damage was already done for the Black-and-Red. With four starters out of the lineup due to injury, fatigue and International call ups, United were forced to put out a watered down version of their already timid lineup and Seattle wasted no time taking advantage

In the 20th minute, Sounders midfielder Brad Evans collected a ball at midfield and spotted a run straight at goal by Martins. United were playing a very high line defensively and the speedy Designated Player made United pay with his team-leading fifth goal of the season. United seemed to equalize just three minutes later but a very close offside call on Lionard Pajoy negated his classy finish and United were down 1-0 at the half once again.

In the second half United seemed the side more likely to score as they were pushing the attack to the Sounders. However, an endless string of poor decisions from United’s frustrated attackers killed nearly every possible opportunity to equalize. The reasons were many and varied tonight for United’s futility in attack. Numerous offside calls, poor crosses and bad decisions on simple passes out of pressure were once again the death knell for United.

Just when it seemed that United might squeak out a deserved equalizer, that pesky defensive blunder that has been omnipresent all season long cropped up in stoppage time. James Riley did his duty and helped out Ethan White in closing down a pass for Martins heading towards goal. However, instead of clearing the ball out of danger on his first touch, Riley inexplicably tried to push the ball past Martins but only managed to push the ball right into his path and the Nigerian striker easily beat Joe Willis from eight yards out for the final nail in United’s coffin.

A very tired and broken United will now travel to Colorado to play the Rapids on Sunday night ending a stretch of matches that has seen United play 5 matches in 16 days. After that match, United will be off for nearly two weeks before resuming league play in Chicago on July 20th.

United vs Houston: New season, same old story as Houston prevails 2-0

D.C. United fought hard but two goals in the final ten minutes were the difference in the Houston Dynamo’s 2-0 win tonight at BBVA Compass Stadium. United now is win less in nine matches all-time in Houston and has been shut out in six of those games.

For nearly the entire match, United seemed like they would buck their usual trend of losing in Houston when Bill Hamid had a penalty kick save in the first half and then he and Chris Korb made back-to-back saves on the goal line to keep the match scoreless heading to the break in the 43rd minute. Korb was fortunate to still be on the field as he appeared to take down Clark on a breakaway which usually comes with a complimentary red card. Korb stayed on and Hamid easily saved the weak penalty kick attempt from Brad Davis. Chris Pontius was the only United player to generate any offense in the first forty five minutes as his 30th minute drive just went wide of the post and his 44th minute free kick took a coat of paint off the top of the crossbar.

United conceded much of the field in the first half but came out with a bit more purpose after the intermission and nearly took the lead when a Pontius header sailed over the crossbar in the 60th minute. That essentially was the end of United’s offensive contributions as Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall didn’t even officially register a save on the night.

Just as it looked like United might be able to tough out a hard earned point on the road, Riley inadvertently headed into his own goal while trying to fend off Clark inside the six-yard box in the 80th minute. United gave up the second goal in the 89th minute thanks to a bit of luck as Warren Creavale somehow managed to keep a ball in play along the end line and found Clark at the edge of the six-yard box. The former U.S. international took one touch and rifled a shot past Brandon McDonald and Bill Hamid for the final nail in United’s coffin.

United now was the very small comfort of knowing they don’t have to go back to Houston for the remainder of the season. United now will turn their attention to their home opener next weekend against Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening.

 

United Notes

– Riley made his United debut as a halftime substitute for Daniel Woolard. No reason was given for Woolard leaving the match

– Marcos Sanchez and Kyle Porter also made their United debuts as second half subs late in the match