While the offense has been the major culprit for D.C. United’s record setting futility this season in MLS, on occasion United’s defense is just as ineffective. The Chicago Fire scored twice in the first eleven minutes of the match and rolled to an easy 4-1 win over United tonight at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois
Chris Rolfe scored twice and bona fide United killer Joel Lindpere added a goal and two assists as the home side easily pushed aside an uninterested United team. United leads MLS, not surprisingly, in goals allowed in the first fifteen minutes of matches. They now have conceded eight times in that time span this season and with the team struggling just to put shots near the oppositions net, the task of scoring goals to get back into matches seems a mere impossibility.
Luis Silva’s 58th minute goal for United in his debut with the Black-and-Red was the lone bright spot on an otherwise forgetful evening. United, coming off a two-week break from league play, was not in the right frame of mind defensively and fell behind after just 90 seconds had elapsed. Lindpere was allowed a lot of time on the left flank and his pinpoint cross sailed over the head of Daniel Woolard and onto the foot of Rolfe. The striker saw United goalkeeper Joe Willis inexplicably vacating his net and his one-time touch fell neatly into the open goal.
Chicago doubled United’s misery in the 11th minute when Woolard was out run to a ball by Jeff Larentowicz deep in United territory. That is not a misprint, yes, Jeff Larentowicz. The midfielder sent a ball back through the penalty area where Lindpere took one touch past Chris Korb and ripped a left-footed blast past Willis.
United continued to misfire offensively as the team had no cohesion or confidence. The game was put to rest in stoppage time in the first half when Ethan White was caught playing too high a line at midfield and Rolfe ghosted in behind him and beat Willis to send United to the locker room down 3-0.
While United has struggled all season long to score goals, they have been mostly competitive defensively but tonight was just one of those nights. In the 56th minute Woolard was the guilty party once again as he was easily beaten for pace by Quincy Amerikwa. The pacy forward seemed to go down rather easily and after a few moments of indecision, a penalty was awarded to the Fire. Mike Magee converted easily to put the home side up 4-0.
United’s lone peace of mind came just two minutes later when debutant Luis Silva found himself with acres of space 22-yards from goal. The lanky forward curled a beautiful shot past the Chicago goalkeeper for the final tally of the match.
United will now have to turn their attention to their home matchup next weekend against the New England Revolution. The Revs scored twice in stoppage time to earn a big 2-0 road win in Columbus this evening. Game time is 7pm next Saturday night at RFK Stadium.
- Chris Pontius was scratched from the lineup with a hamstring twinge.
- Dwayne De Rosario and Lionard Pajoy both stayed home in D.C. and did not make the trip to Chicago