Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave scored seven minutes apart late in the first half to propel New York Red Bull to a 2-0 win last night over D.C. United at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Photo: Martin Fernandez.
United (1-4-1, 4 points) have now lost three consecutive matches and have failed to score in four of their six league matches to date. The loss drops United to the bottom of the Eastern Conference alongside the Chicago Fire, who play at Houston on Sunday afternoon.
United started the same lineup that took the field in last weekend’s 1-0 loss to Kansas City, but this time with the backing of 18,019 fans at RFK, surely United would respond. Unfortunately, the same script that has been seen for most of the season emerged once again. United looked disconnected in the offensive half of the field and once again failed to generate a single shot on goal in the first 45 minutes. United’s continued impotence allowed Red Bull to take the lead in the 29th minute.
Thierry Henry got hold of a ball just outside the penalty area on the left side and his fake shot attempt temporarily froze United defender Chris Korb. The Frenchmen then pushed the ball towards the middle of the field and bent a shot through traffic towards the far post. Bill Hamid seemed to have the shot covered but it took a bounce just in front of United’s keeper and settled into the far side netting. Hamid got up and immediately looked at the chewed up area in front of the goal in exasperation. It was just a week ago that Hamid had commented on how nice the field was in Kansas City and how rocky and hard the surface was at RFK. Ben Olsen wasn’t having any of it after the match. “I expect Bill to make that save.” said a clearly frustrated Olsen.
Olsen and United’s frustration was doubled just seven minutes later when more lax set piece defending gave the visitors the 2-0 lead. Midfielder Juninho sent a ball into a thicket of players in United’s penalty area and former United defender Brandon Barklage redirected a header towards goal. As Hamid was moving to cover that shot, the ball took another deflection off of Red Bull defender Jamison Olave and gave Hamid no hope of stopping the shot. Olave, acquired in the offseason in a trade with Real Salt Lake, now has 3 goals on the season, one more than United has in six matches.
Olsen didn’t mince words in a very tense post-match press conference, “We’re easy to play against.”We’re pretty predictable in the way we go about things”. Olsen continued, “We’ve got to fix something. I don’t know if we have got to look within the league, I don’t know if we have to make a trade.”
United came out of the locker room and essentially dominated possession for the remainder of the match but rarely created any dangerous chances. The best opportunity for United to crawl back into the match came in the 72nd minute after United was awarded a free kick from 22-yards away. Dwayne De Rosario’s free kick got through the wall and was spilled by goalkeeper Luis Robles right into the path of Carlos Ruiz who’s shot was immediately smothered by Robles. That was pretty much it for the offensive output for United save for a feeble attempt by Chris Pontius late in the match that was easily smothered by Robles.
United now will face the Philadelphia Union next weekend at RFK Stadium on Sunday afternoon at 5pm. This match will be televised on ESPN2 to a nationwide audience. If people around the country aren’t aware of United’s current plight, they surely will witness it first hand next weekend.