While the effort and the conviction was improved, the result was unfortunately the same as D.C. United lost 1-0 to Real Salt Lake last night in front of 20,344 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium. The loss for United (12-10-5, 41 points) drops them into a tie for the fifth and final playoff spot with Chicago who has two games in hand on the Black-and-Red. Columbus’ second straight stoppage time win in a row vaulted them into fourth place and past both United and Chicago.
United’s playoff destiny is out of their hands now after being in control for most of the season. United has now lost six straight matches and seven of eight overall away from RFK Stadium and will be the focal point to perhaps yet another season without a playoff berth. Will Johnson’s 50th minute header was all Real Salt Lake needed to move into 3rd place in the Western Conference playoff chase.
Dwayne De Rosario’s 28th minute missile off the goal post and his one-v-one against former United goalkeeper Nick Rimando midway through the second half were all the dangerous chances United could muster in hopes of ending a critical road match losing streak. United’s overall game was much improved over some of their recent hapless road performances but yet again they failed to convert and have damaged their postseason hopes with this critical loss.
United has only seven matches remaining, four of which come on the road. The only saving grace for United right now is that they do play five straight matches upcoming against teams not currently in playoff position and also not likely to make the playoffs. If United can’t manage to win some of these games and break their losing skid on the road then they only have themselves to blame for missing the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.
United will now take a much needed two-week break and will host the New England Revolution in their next match on Saturday, September 15th at RFK Stadium. Needless to say, anything less than three points on that evening will seriously damper United’s hopes for a playoff bid.
– Andy Najar (abscessed tooth), Branko Boskovic (virus) and Hamdi Salihi (hamstring) were all out of the lineup for United
– Maicon Santos played made a substitute appearance and played for the first time since July