D.C. United received a point. It could’ve taken three. It deserved none.
Except for a bountiful stretch from the late stage of the first half to the early portion of the second, United displayed many of the same troubling tendencies that have tormented Coach Ben Olsen throughout this maddeningly inconsistent season.
Worst of all, a 2-0 lead ... in the second half ... at home ... against an opponent that had lost four straight and was overrun by United just 11 days earlier ... evaporated in a 12-minute stretch and very easily could’ve resulted in defeat.
“I don’t know if we should’ve been up 2-0 but we were, and to tie that game is absolutely ridiculous,” Olsen said after the 2-2 draw with Chivas USA.
Yes, United should’ve won it in added time when Dwayne De Rosario stepped to the penalty spot. But it had been an unjust decision by referee Chris Penso, and when Dan Kennedy made the save, a sense of fairness set in.
Olsen was so disgusted about his club’s performance and effort, he vented at length during his postgame news conference.
For much more.....
Olsen shoulders some of the blame, and admitted so afterward. Clearly, he hasn’t been able to get through to some of his regulars about commitment and concentration, and the decision to replace Josh Wolff and Charlie Davies between the 59th and 68th minutes left the club without its starting forwards when the match later became tied. In need of an attacking boost, the only option on the bench was goal-less Joseph Ngwenya. Meantime, promising rookie Blake Brettschneider watched from the second level after being left off the game-day roster.
Chris Pontius’s fractured leg was a severe blow to the club’s autumn hopes, but injuries impact all teams and shouldn’t be used as an excuse.
Ultimately, it was another missed opportunity — and a huge one at that. United benefited from the results in the other MLS matches as the New York Red Bulls crumbled at home against playoff-bound Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers, in the heat of the wild-card race, settled for a draw against the visiting San Jose Earthquakes. (The updated playoff standings are here.)
But Wednesday’s draw increases the pressure to win Saturday against Real Salt Lake — not an easy task. The fact the match is at RFK Stadium brings little comfort. At 3-3-7, United has secured just 16 of a possible 39 points at home, second worst in the league behind Chivas (4-6-4, 16 of 42). Even bottom-dwelling Vancouver has picked up 17 points from just 12 home games. After Saturday, United will play three straight away (Philadelphia, Columbus and Vancouver).
“We’ve got games still to play, a lot to play for, but it’s frustrating,” captain Josh Wolff said. “It falls on us.”