Yes, despite a four-game losing streak, D.C. United still has a chance to advance to the MLS playoffs. Seriously, though, does anyone out there believe this club belongs in the playoffs?
With nine spots filled, it comes down to this: United (38 points) must defeat Portland on Wednesday. It then needs the Red Bulls (43) to lose at home to the Philadelphia Union on Thursday. From there, United would have to defeat Sporting Kansas City on Saturday. Chicago (40) and Portland (40) are also in the race, but if United wins twice, it won’t matter what they do in their respective finales next weekend (Fire vs. Crew, Timbers at Real Salt Lake).
If United wins twice and New York draws, the teams would be level on points. The teams split the season series, so goal difference is the next tiebreaker. Advantage: Red Bulls (currently plus-5 to minus-2).
But who are we fooling? United has taken one punch to the gut after another and has shown no capacity to win consecutive matches. In the past three outings, DCU has generated a grand total of four shots on goal. On the bright side, they’ve scored on three of them! (None in the run of play.) Season over? No. Almost.
Saturday’s frantic finish was reminiscent of a 2000 match between these same teams at RFK Stadium. Jesse Marsch scored in the 85th minute for Chicago, but United answered with two goals in added time to win, 3-2. The winning goal was scored by — wait for it — Ben Olsen.
Back to tonight. Read my match report, watch the video package and then proceed to the continuation of this item to read the juicy quotes:
The postgame locker room was not a happy place.
Wondering about his playing time (13+ minutes Wednesday, 11+ minutes Saturday), I asked Charlie Davies whether he’s fit. His response:
“I’m physically fine. I can only do so much with the time I have. I’m a guy that expects to play 90 minutes. I’m fit. I’m healthy. It’s disappointing when you want to get the playing time to help the team win, and you only get 20, 15 minutes. I’ve done all I can do. I come in and bring energy to the game, change the game. I thought I did a good job. But I’m not getting a lot of time to go out there and really help the team.”
I asked Dwayne De Rosario what happened in added time. His response:
“This has been our season in a nutshell, right? Giving up bad goals at bad times. I just would like to have seen someone take [Grazzini’s shot] in the face or the body instead of jumping and turning their back on top of the box, especially 90 minutes we’re up, the momentum, the fans on our side. You take it for your team. … It’s just too easy. We can’t keep doing that to ourselves. We’re too good of a team. We can’t keep depending on scoring and getting scored on and then trying to score again. It just doesn’t work that way. Guys should be learning, but it’s frustrating because every game it’s the same tale.”
“You want to see that commitment, you want to see that passion to win every ball, to do whatever it takes. I just don’t see that. Saying that, we’re in a position still where we can make the playoffs. We have to take one step at a time and play with pride.”
“The game plan was to grind it out. We did it. We got our PK – I thought there were a couple others potentially – and then it just fell apart from there.”
“The crazy thing about this is we’re still not out of it. We’ll move on but – whew – it’s a tough one. I’m not going to sugar-coat it.”
“There’s a lot that goes into that game – the emotion of being up and everyone flying around and then it just crashes at your feet. The fact remains that we could still get in. If there’s a chance, there’s a chance.”