Philadelphia Union 3, D.C. United 2

The poorest seven-game starts in United history:

1996: 1-6-0 (won MLS Cup)

2000: 1-5-1 (missed playoffs)

2002: 2-5-0 (missed playoffs)

2003: 0-3-4 (made playoffs)

2008: 2-5-0 (missed playoffs)

2010: 1-6-0 (missed playoffs)

2011: 2-4-1 (missed playoffs)

2013: 1-5-1 (???)

What are your thoughts, DeRo?

“I think there would be a lot of bleeps if I gave my thoughts.”

*United scored twice for the first time this season and just the second time in 17 games since late September. But typical of a group that can’t put a balanced performance together, the club also conceded three for the first time this season.

My match report with quotes, including DeRo’s, is available here.

*It was a rough day for center backs Dejan Jakovic and Brandon McDonald, but “those guys have been pretty good for us this year, so for me to sit here and cane them is not fair,” Ben Olsen said.

*Last year United was 12-1-4 at RFK Stadium. This year: 1-3-0.

*United hoarded possession at a 66.5 to 33.5 percent advantage. But when you’ve conceded two early goals at home, you’ve got to take the initiative.

*On a nice Sunday afternoon, United attracted 12,349 to East Capitol Street. Any predictions about the next home game on May 8 — which is a Wednesday?

Speaking of crowds, the Portland Thorns had a good one for their National Women’s Soccer League home debut at Jeld-Wen Field on Sunday with 16,479. It proves once again that almost anything associated with Portland soccer will draw a crowd (Timbers, Timbers reserves and now Thorns).

Of the nine MLS matches this weekend, only the Red Bulls (18,029) and Galaxy (25,908) drew bigger audiences. Like MLS’s Seattle Sounders, the Thorns are the outliers in their league. Nonetheless, 16,000-plus is a positive sign for the women’s league. Rochester will also fare well this year. Chicago and New Jersey face greater challenges, while Washington, Kansas City, Boston and Seattle will need to fill their small venues consistently.

*Back to United. So what’s the next step?

“I don’t know,” Olsen said in response to the first question of his news conference. “Got any suggestions?”

In fairness, he did proceed to elaborate on several issues.

*Olsen reiterated what General Manager Dave Kasper told the Insider early in the week: United is seeking immediate midfield help to offset long-term injuries to Nick DeLeon, John Thorrington and Lewis Neal. However, even shorthanded, “I trust in that team,” Olsen said. “We have enough talent, even with six or seven guys out. You look at that team that played out there – we have four, five guys out, good players that might start for us and we still overall put up a pretty good performance. But the moments that count, three big moments in the game, they capitalized on it and that’s unacceptable.”

*Casey Townsend was preparing to enter late when Olsen decided to insert Robbie Russell instead. Trailing by a goal, why turn to a defender instead of a forward?

“Robbie is a big body, in particular for throwing balls in the box and corner kicks, and he has a way of getting his head on things, as does Casey. We hesitated because we saw [right back Chris] Korb cramping, so we changed it up there at the last minute. I know [Townsend] was very disappointed. I felt bad for him.”

*Olsen came to the defense of Pajoy, whose header three minutes after the break cut the margin to one and lifted him into the team scoring lead with two goals. “I thought Pajoy had a good game in a week where [the media] was not, maybe, on his side.”

*Ex-DCU midfielder Danny Cruz drew immense satisfaction from the victory: “If any cameras got a hold of my reaction at the whistle, you would’ve been able to tell it meant a lot to me.”

*United will go on the road to play the Columbus Crew (2-2-3) on Saturday night. DCU is winless in the past five visits to central Ohio. No standard TV is available in the Washington area.

Given United’s state, perhaps that is a good thing.

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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Steven Goff · April 21, 2013