Davy Arnaud struggles to maintain posetion

United’s struggles continue as they drop 2-0 decision at home to San Jose

Washington, D.C., August 22, 2015 – D.C. United continued their trend of giving up early goals at home and this time there was no miracle comeback to save them in their 2-0 loss tonight to the San Jose Earthquakes before a season-high 20,043 fans at RFK Stadium.

The loss for United (13-9-5, 44 points) is their second straight in league play but they will remain at least five points clear of New York Red Bull who are idle this weekend. Red Bull are United’s next league match a week from this Sunday and the Black-and-Red are in danger of letting their lead in the East and the Supporters Shield race slip away Even with a five point cushion, Red Bull have four matches in hand and are currently on a 7-1-1 run through MLS over the past two months.

For the fourth consecutive match at RFK, United gave up a goal within the first four minutes of the match. This time it was Chris Wondolowski who nabbed the early tally after United failed to clear out the area and somehow managed to lose MLS’ most potent goal-scorer over the past six seasons. Wondolowski was initially denied by Bobby Boswell at the top of the six-yard box but the failed clearance bounced back to Wondo who’s angled shot when through two United defenders and past Andrew Dykstra for the 1-0 lead.

United put forth plenty of energy and effort on the evening but lacked the final finishing touch and forward Alvaro Saborio had a night to forget in the finishing category. Saborio had a golden chance to level the match midway through the first half when his redirection of a Boswell flick in the penalty area somehow got deflected over the crossbar from just four yards away.

The frustration continued to mount for United as they had plenty of free kick and corner kick opportunities to grab the equalizer. However, as the night lingered on, you could just sense that United could not pull off the miracles they had been performing over the past month to turn deficit’s into victories.

After the break the visitors struck again within minutes of the restart. This time it was bona fide United killer Quincy Amarikwa who did the bulk of the damage in putting San Jose up 2-0. A very lax layoff pass from Sean Franklin (his first league start at right back in over two months) to Conor Doyle deep in San Jose territory was the genesis of the second goal. Wondo pounced on the errant pass and took off in the opposite direction. He spotted Amarikwa who torched Kofi Opare (starting for Steve Birnbaum who was carrying a knock from their CCL match in Panama on Wednesday) before laying a pass of to Shea Salinas streaking down the left flank. Salinas cut back deep in the box and sent a shot towards the far post that Dykstra simply did not get a good read on and it was 2-0 for San Jose.

That goal pretty much sealed the deal but United thought they had a goal in the 81st minute only to see Saborio’s wide-open header at the far post somehow miss the goal completely. The miss en-capsulized United’s evening and that was confirmed after the match when a clearly agitated Ben Olsen was in no mood to discuss his team’s shortcomings on the evening with the media.

Up next for United will be their second match in Group H play in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday night at RFK Stadium when Montego Bay from Jamaica come to visit. Olsen will most likely roll out a lineup very similar to the group of players who defeated Arabe Unido 1-0 this past Wedensday in Panama City, Panama.

United’s next league match will be at Red Bull Stadium on Sunday, August 30th and will most likely be the match that will determine who will win the Eastern Conference. Red Bull has won (2-0) and drawn (2-2 at RFK) it’s two matches this season with United.

United add Espindola, Attakora in Stage 2 of Re-Entry Draft

D.C. United continued their frenetic off season roster building by adding forward Fabian Espindola and defender Nana Attakora in today’s Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft. Both players are currently out of contract and will begin negotiations with the club immediately. United is under no obligation to pay either player their 2013 salary. United will have to offer some incentive however to keep both players as they both will most likely be depth players for United ahead of a busy 2014.

Espindola, the 28-year old Argentine native,  spent 2013 with New York Red Bull (9 goals and 2 assists in 28 games) after a six-year career with Real Salt Lake (35 goals and 17 assists in 105 games) and will add more depth and attacking verve to United’s striker corp that snared U.S. International Eddie Johnson via a trade with Seattle Sounders just yesterday.

Attakora, a 24-year old Canadian, began his career with hometown Toronto FC in 2007 as a Reserve Team player before finally cracking the first team lineup in 2008. Attakora spent four years with the club before being traded to San Jose ahead of the 2011 MLS Season. Playing time was tough to find out West as Attakora only made 14 appearances with the Quakes in his two years.

United has re-made the club in what seemingly has been the blink of an eye. Head coach Ben Olsen told everyone willing to listen after the season ended in November that the team had many avenues to explore to improve the depth and talent of his club. Inside of a week United had taken great strides to improve their bottom-of-the-barrel standing from last season. United still has the #1 pick in the MLS SuperDraft next month as well as the opening of the International Transfer window on January 1st. While United hasn’t fared so well on the International market in recent years, their ability to obtain solid domestic and league players continues to bear fruit.


Chris Pontius

United vs. San Jose: Winless streak comes to an end with 1-0 win over Earthquakes

So that’s what it feels like to win a Major League Soccer match.

Chris Pontius led by example this evening by pushing the tempo and going at the Quakes. Photo: Martin Fernandez

Chris Pontius led by example this evening by pushing the tempo and going at the Quakes. Photo: Martin Fernandez

Chris Pontius’ eleventh-minute penalty kick conversion held up for the remainder of the match as D.C. United defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 at RFK Stadium this evening. The victory snaps a winless streak that began on March 16th and continued for three-and-a-half months. Pontius did the easy part in converting the spot kick, but he led by example this evening by pushing the tempo and going at the Quakes in easily his most effective performance of the season.

United took the lead in the 11th minute thanks in part to a pair of fortunate bounces, the kind that just haven’t gone United’s way so far this season. A slick combination of passes along the left sideline saw Pontius emerge from the crowded area as he spotted captain John Thorrington at the top of the penalty area. Thorrington immediately one-touched his pass to a wide open Chris Korb flying into the area. Korb’s first touch was very rough ( unintentional first bounce of fortune) and put the San Jose defense on alert. Korb recovered just in time to push the ball past the defender before being hauled down. Referee Jair Marrufo initially waved play on but upon further consultation with referee’s assistant Eric Boria, Marrufo spun and pointed to the spot (second bounce).

Pontius easily sent Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch the wrong way to give United the lead for the second consecutive week. Unlike last week in their 2-1 loss to Toronto FC, United managed to keep the defensive miscues to minimum and managed out the remainder of the match under relatively heavy second-half pressure from the Quakes.

Bill Hamid was called upon to make a sensational reaction save on Shea Salinas’s bid in the 61st minute and then a much less threatening bid from Salinas again just three minutes later. Hamid seemed to have command of his box all night long as the Quakes were sending crosses into their pair of 6’4″ strikers in Alan Gordon and Adam Jahn. Gordon had the Quakes best opportunity to draw the match level in the 86th minute when his volleyed bid from six yards was struck too hard as it flew over the top of United’s goal. One could only wonder if regular striker Chris Wondolowski had been available, would he have converted such a chance.

As it happened, United garnered their much-needed second win of the season and now will turn their attention to their U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal match up this Wednesday evening at the SoccerPlex against the New England Revolution. Game time will be at 7:00 pm

United’s next league match will be at RFK Stadium next Saturday evening when they welcome in the Vancouver Whitecaps in their only meeting of the season.

United Notes

  • Dwayne De Rosario and Carlos Ruiz were on the 18-man roster but did not feature in the match as they were both limited in training this week due to slight injuries. Ben Olsen did mention that he had one eye on the Open Cup match up in regards to DeRo not featuring tonight. Olsen also intimated that the tempo of the match and the fact that United for once were in the lead and not chasing the match also factored into his decision.
  • Ethan White came out of the match early in the first half with a head injury after a nasty collision with Alan Gordon (below). Olsen was furious with referee Jair Marrufo and his lack of attention to the head injury that White suffered. Conor Shanosky came on for White as he was the only central defender available as healthy Brandon McDonald didn’t even make the game-day roster.
Ben Olsen was furious with referee Jair Marrufo and his lack of attention to the head injury that White suffered during this collision with Alan Gordon. Photo: Martin Fernandez.

Ben Olsen was furious with referee Jair Marrufo and his lack of attention to the head injury that White suffered during this collision with Alan Gordon. Photo: Martin Fernandez.

Episode 103 – Fireside Chat

Join Chris, Randy and Martin as they look back at h United’s last handful of matches, beginning with the loss at San Jose and the most recent win against win less Toronto FC. The guys also look ahead to New England and the Black-and-Red’s Open Cup participation

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

DC Hopes for Third Time Lucky in SJ

DC United, riding their first winning streak since 2009 thanks to Maicon Santos, will likely need some luck to stretch that streak into a third win in a row against the Earthquakes Tomorrow night in San Jose. SJ has always been barren in terms of points for DC, and this year’s Earthquakes are riding a five game unbeaten streak of their own having won four of their last five matches.

To make matters worse, DC will be without three of their top four central defenders as Emiliano Dudar became the latest casualty being forced out of the Houston win with a hamstring injury to join Dejan Jakovic (ankle) and Ethan White (knee surgery) on the trainer’s table. Which is bad in its own right, but facing SJ’s Chris Wondolowski and Steven Lenhart, who battered DC with a hat trick against them last year, will really have United’s backs against the wall.

It will also be interesting to see how DC coach Ben Olsen handles his starters considering this match will be the second of three in seven days. The first time he faced a similar stretch, Olsen made six changes to the starting lineup and nearly fumbled away all the points to Montreal. This time Olsen has to be thinking the team needs to keep the continuity going but the long flight to San Jose followed by a long flight back to their next match in Toronto followed by another long flight to Houston to be the sacrificial lamb in the Dynamo’s stadium opening game seems to indicate to need for managing minutes.

There’s no question Olsen will be juggling his defense, though. Almost certainly Olsen will be moving veteran right back, Robbie Russell into the center to replace Dudar alongside former San Jose defender, Brandon McDonald and left back Daniel Woolard, but how Olsen handles the vacant right back slot could be interesting. Second year player Chris Korb seems the natural replacement, but has been pretty woeful in his outings this season to date. So, another option might be to play Perry Kitchen in that right back slot and bring in Marcelo Saragosa to play Kitchen’s midfield slot. Unfortunately, Kitchen hasn’t been too convincing as a right back and Saragosa is nowhere near as good as Kitchen in cleaning up things in front of what will be a patchwork central defense for this match.

However, if Olsen seeks to avoid either of those two evils, an interesting option might be to play Danny Cruz or even Andy Najar at right back for this match. Cruz has played right back before and certainly has the tenacity for the position. Andy Najar is no slouch as a defender either, but the beauty of this idea is that it could turn a potential weakening of one or two positions on the field into an attacking strength that would force San Jose to deal with a lot more attacking play out United’s right side.

Olsen also has to decide which game to rest his attackers, Dwayne De Rosario, Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius, and rookie Nick DeLeon. He could easily drop them all from this match and replace them with his tarnished designated players, Hamdi Salihi and Branko Boskovic as well as Najar and Josh Wolff. But given the disaster large scale changes wrought in the Montreal match, that idea seems a bit suspect.

A better idea would be to rest two at a time. Give Santos and DeRo the night off in San Jose unless they are needed off the bench. That way DeLeon who seems to have a decent connection with Salihi gives him a familiar person to run off of while he gets to partner with Pontius who is equally as good at setting his partners up for shots as he is at creating his own. Boskovic too gets the benefit of a largely intact midfield to fit himself and he’s not going against a particularly stiff central midfield defense, especially if Sam Cronin as rested by SJ coach Frank Yallop.

Interestingly, San Jose will have similar fatigue issues to deal with as they are coming off a flight from Philly to get ready for this match and will be heading out to Vancouver right afterwards for a Saturday match against the ‘Caps. So while they will be sleeping in their own beds before this game, former DC assistant, Frank Yallop, might have to manage minutes with San Jose’s starters as well.

Obviously this is speculation, but I suspect Yallop will make some changes for this match as well, in order to be fresher for the more important match with Vancouver. With that in mind, I do not believe he will run 33 year old Colombian playmaker, Tressor Moreno, into the ground, especially as there’s no way he’s used to the long travel in this country, so I’d bet he sits this one out. Same with Simon Dawkins, who is younger, but ran like a dog all day in Philly. Yallop also likes to give guys like Brad Ring the odd start to keep them in tune, so I suspect Cronin gets rested too.

Unfortunately for United, there’s no chance Yallop rests either of his main scorers. Chris Wondolowski almost never sits out a game and Lenhart has only recently got back into the lineup, so he doesn’t need rest, not to mention sending him up against a makeshift central defense is like launching a rhino through a cornfield. Also, aside from captain Ramiro Corrales returning to the lineup from injury, the defense is likely to remain fairly intact as well. Corrales, Justin Morrow, Ike Opara, and Steven Beitashour going left to right in front of Jon Busch.

So looking at the matchups is a bit of a crapshoot, but let’s give it a go. Obviously the big concern is Lenhart and Wondolowski, and interestingly enough DC does have some good reasons for hope there if Benny leaves Kitchen in the middle. Lenhart is a handful for sure, but so is Brandon McDonald. The Chicken Hawk is well aware of what Lenhart tries to do and is easily just as physical, so if McDonald plays smart, Lenhart could largely be neutralized and maybe even frustrated into making mistakes the way he frustrates others. Wondo is a lot more tricky as he is sneakier and loves to find seams to take open shots from. Well, Russell is nearly as mobile and has good experience to not let Wondo wander too far, but also Kitchen is very smart and can help out at the top of the D as well.

In the midfield, Khari Stephenson is a load to control and has a bomb of a shot, but I like Kitchen on him a lot better than Saragosa. Assuming Marvin Chavez plays the right side with Beitashour behind him, I have no problem with DeLeon and Woolard keeping that side in check, and quite possibly getting the better of them in the attack. Same with Najar and Cruz keeping Rafael Baca and Ramiro Corrales contained fairly well, while almost certainly causing them huge problems when United is attacking.

Which leaves Boskovic, Salihi and Pontius going at Cronin (or Ring), Morrow and Opara and that is frankly a tossup. I’m a big fan of Salihi and think he will break his duck sooner rather than later. Pontius too is playing with so much confidence right now, that he could catch Opara too far upfield and punish that mistake. Even better if the game stays tight as I suspect, you’ve got Santos or DeRo coming off the bench for some late minutes to go for the win.

Also, while SJ is leading the West, their record is a bit suspect. Their only quality win was in catching Seattle on a down swing and stealing a 1-0 win there. Other than that, they’ve beaten poor teams like Philly, NE, TFC, and Vancouver, needed stoppage time heroics to not drop two points versus 9 man RSL, tied a dreadful defensive team in NY, and lost to Houston at home early on. So, they haven’t really hit the hard part of their schedule to say the least.

Of course, the soccer gods have never been kind to DC in San Jose, starting right from that loss in the Inaugural MLS match back in 1996. Since then United has a grand total of 3 wins in SJ, but they have tied 6 more to go with their 7 losses. Of course two of those wins in SJ came in ’97 and ’98, so that means United has only one win there since the Golden Age of DC soccer, but that lone win in the past 13 years was last season, a 2-0 victory courtesy of DeRo, so maybe the worm has turned.

It’s a case of the two longest unbeaten streaks in MLS meeting in a midweek matchup that likely will see a good sprinkling of bench players starting on both sides, so who knows how it will turn out, but DC does have some reason for hope that they come out of this with a tie at least.

However, a few good bounces and a little luck and maybe United has a three game win streak for the first time since that glorious June in 2008 when another disappointing DC DP, Marcelo Gallardo was at the height of his success with DC, leading United up from the bottom of the table with four wins in a row. Interestingly, United’s second win in that streak was a 4-1 drubbing of NY and the third win was a comfortable 3-1 cruise over SJ. Perhaps this is a time for Boskovic and Salihi to shine like Gallardo and Emilio did during that run.

De Rosario double helps United to 2-0 win in San Jose

Two second-half goals from captain Dwayne De Rosario helped visiting D.C. United to a 2-0 win over the punch less San Jose Earthquakes last night at Buck Shaw Stadium on the campus of Santa Clara University. The win was the first for United in the greater San Jose area since a 4-0 win in 1998 when current United coach Ben Olsen was a rookie. United exacted a bit of revenge on the Quakes for their 4-2 hammering of United at RFK Stadium last month. It certainly helped that the man who single handily destroyed United on that night, Steven Lenhart, was not in the lineup due to personal reasons. His three goal and one assist performance that night was the last time the Quakes won an MLS match, now going 8 games without a win (0-4-4).

United were the more dangerous side through the first 45 minutes narrowly missing out on two golden chances from Blake Brettshcneider and De Rosario a few minutes apart but it was the home side that had the only shot on goal courtesy of an Alan Gordon weak header attempt in the 41st minute.

Hardly a minute into the second half, United finally registered their first attempt on goal through De Rosario’s left-footed blast from 22 yards. That was a harbinger of things to come as the Canadian finally put United ahead in the 57th minute. Andy Najar, United’s most effective player for United up until the goal, sent a ball over the top for De Rosario. The former Earthquake benefited from a slip by Quakes defender Nana Attakora and he was alone in on goal. With defensive help closing him down, De Rosario let loose a shot from the 22 yards that hit the underside of the crossbar and settled into the goal for a well deserved 1-0 lead for the visitors.

United has struggled all season long in building on their advantages but tonight was different when De Rosario scored again in the 67th minute thanks to his teamwork with Chris Pontius. Pontius and De Rosario worked a well-crafted give-and-go along the left flank with Pontius racing along the end line towards the penalty area. Pontius’ pin point pass met De Rosario in stride and his right-footed missile found the upper 90 to Jon Busch’s left and gave United a rare two-goal lead.

United were in firm control but potential disaster struck in the 70th minute when Najar was sent off for denying a goal scoring opportunity. San Jose sub Joey Gjertens got behind United’s defense with no one in sight for the Black-and-Red. Najar raced back to attempt to tackle the ball away but his clumsy challenge left the referee with no choice to send Najar off. Najar will now miss their home match versus struggling Toronto FC next weekend at RFK Stadium.

With 20 minutes still left to play, United were forced to bunker in and keep the clean sheet to escape with a valuable road win. Goalkeeper Bill Hamid helped his own cause with a fantastic one-v-one save on Chris Wondolowski in the 80th minute which all but deflated the already suffering home side. Hamid marshaled his goal area the rest of the way and got his 6th shutout of the season. United now has a 4-3-3 record on the road this season, including two West Coast wins. United now has a golden opportunity to garner their first tw0-game winning streak in over two years when they host Toronto FC next weekend.


United Notes

– Dejan Jakovic made his much welcomed return to the starting lineup tonight. Ethan White made way for Jakovic who hadn’t played since United’s 3-2 win in Portland on May 29th

– Brettschneider and De Rosario were the unlikely forward duo last night due to the continuing injuries to Josh Wolff and Charlie Davies. Joseph Ngwenya also was ruled out due to injury, though Davies did make the 18-man roster

United acquires Brandon McDonald from San Jose

D.C. United acquired rugged defender/midfielder Brandon McDonald from the San Jose Earthquakes today in exchange for allocation money. The 25-year old was originally drafted in 2008 by the Los Angeles Galaxy and played 16 games for them before getting picked up by the Quakes in 2009. McDonald spent his career with the Quakes alternating between defensive midfield and central defense before finally settling into the center half role.

McDonald had only started 8 of the Quakes 15 matches this season before falling out of favor behind center halves Bobby Burling and Jason Hernandez. With big things still expected of former Wake Forest central defender Ike Opara, McDonald’s future seemed limited in the Bay Area. McDonald can be classified as a tough physical defender very much in the mold of former United central defender Julius James who was given his release in the preseason.

With the hamstring injury to starter Dejan Jakovic, United has been reliant on the rookie tandem of Ethan White and Perry Kitchen to help hold the fort until Jakovic’ return in a few weeks. While White and Kitchen have performed well for the most part, sporadic lapses of concentration from both players have cost United goals, wins and points in the standings. Having a more physical presence is also something United is looking for as they have been victimized twice this season by big physical strikers in Will Bruin of Houston and Steven Lenhart of San Jose, both of whom registered hat tricks against United this season. McDonald easily fits the bill in combating some of MLS’ more physical players.

With the addition of McDonald and the return of Jakovic in the near future, United will once again have to reshuffle their lineup to avail themselves of the talents of White and Kitchen. While White seems to be a central defender for the future, Kitchen has shown his versatility in playing right back as well as his preferred and most effective role as a defensive midfielder. With the continual poor play of Clyde Simms, is it time to see the young Akron phenom in the middle of the park?

I believe the time is now for that move.

Andy Najar celebrates his goal against the San Jose Earthquakes

Episode 86 – Bad Fajitas

Andy Najar celebrates his goal against the San Jose Earthquakes

DC United's Andy Najar celebrates his goal against the San Jose Earthquakes. Photo Matt Mathai.

Join the guys after an extend break as they look back at United’s unbeaten streak and the dreadful loss to the San Jose Earthquakes in RFK Stadium, Th boys also look at the rest of the MLS and briefly talk about the US Mens national team disappointing performance in the 2011 Gold Cup. Photo: Matt Mathai.

Young defense crumbles as United get hammered in 4-2 loss to San Jose

Steven Lenhart was a one-man wrecking crew tonight as he scored 3 goals and had the assist on the other goal in San Jose’s surprisingly easy 4-2 tonight over D.C. United at RFK Stadium in front of 14, 105 frustrated fans. Andy Najar and Blake Brettschneider both scored their first goals of the season for United in the losing cause.

One should have known it would be a long night for the Black-and-Red when San Jose nearly scored inside the first minute. Lenhart, a physical match up nightmare for any MLS defender, was allowed to carry the ball to the top of the area and unleash a dipping shot that United goalkeeper Bill Hamid did well to touch over the bar. The ensuing two minutes were frantic in front of United’s goal but they home side came out of it unscathed.

United regained it’s composure and took the lead in the 13th minute. Josh Wolff’s pass made it through 3 San Jose defenders, all seemingly allowing the ball to pass through the area thinking someone would clear it, hitting Najar in stride for an easy finish and a 1-0 lead. The lead was short-lived as Lenhart finally made United’s young defense pay. Midfielder Khari Stephenson was allowed plenty of time and space through midfield when he pushed a ball through the back line for Lenhart. The burly striker easily slipped around Hamid and leveled the match at 1-1 just two minutes after United had taken the lead.

Seven minutes later and the visitors were up 2-1 thanks to some standing around by the United defensive corps. Lenhart out muscled Perry Kitchen to a high ball and laid the ball at Stephenson’s feet and his 22-yard drive was stopped by Hamid. However the rebound came straight back out and only Lenhart was aware enough to pounce and his rebound shot gave San Jose it’s first lead of the night. Even in spite of United’s admittedly poor defensive effort so far, they did well to level the match in the 34th minute.

Rookie defender Chris Korb threaded a ball to Brettschneider at the top of the area. With one touch Brettschneider reversed his course and sent a low left-footed blast past San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch to draw United even at 2-2, a score that held up until halftime.

After the break things really didn’t change much for United as another defensive mistake led to the Quakes taking the game over for good. Substitute Simon Dawkins, who literally had stepped onto the field 30 seconds earlier, put San Jose up 3-2 thanks to his give-and-go with Lenhart, despite the fact that they were outnumbered 6-2 by United defenders. Chris Korb was lax in his pressure on Lenhart who slipped a ball past two United defenders who failed to track the schoolboy move provide by Dawkins who easily beat Hamid.

United’s frustration finally came to fruition in the 60th minute when Lenhart completed his hat trick thanks in part to impatience from United’s young goalkeeper.  A soft free kick was awarded along the left sideline and United made the initial clearance. The ball was put back into the box by defender Steven Beitashour but was done so with an accidental high blooping ball. Hamid figured with his teams soft defending so far in this game that he would take matters into his hands and intercept the high pass into the box. Unfortunately for Hamid he was slow to react and his attempt to punch the ball out seemed comical at best and Lenhart simply put his head on the ball and it trickled into the empty goal for the final score of 4-2 for San Jose. Had Hamid stayed on his line it would have been an easy ball to play with his feet, much less pick up with his hands but that was sort of the icing on the cake for this young United defense as they gave up 4 goals for the fourth time this young season.

United, coming off a fantastic 4-point West Coast trip in Portland and Los Angeles, failed to avail themselves the opportunity to bounce back into third place in the Eastern Conference. United now faces the daunting task of traveling West again, this time to the home of Real Salt Lake, a house of horrors in recent years for United.