D.C. United winless streak reaches 10 with loss to Portland Timbers

After its winless streak reached 10 on Saturday night, equaling a club record, D.C. United showed signs of deepening frustration and growing discontent.

Coach Ben Olsen seethed about his team’s lack of toughness and again promised personnel changes. Captain Dwayne De Rosario voiced his anger about being benched and questioned Olsen’s handling of the roster. Others spoke in soft, disappointed tones, gutted by another dreary performance.

Despite five lineup changes, United conceded another early goal, continued to labor in the attack, and fell to the Portland Timbers, 2-0, before 14,131 at RFK Stadium.

United (1-9-2) has not won since March 9 and was shut out for the seventh time.

“It’s embarrassing how soft we are, everywhere around the field,” Olsen said, his voice rising. “We had just a couple individuals really show up and show that this really [expletive] matters. I’ve had it with that part.

“We’re going to get new guys in here because we are not good enough. It seems like we are always a player or two short every time I fill out my starting lineup. You can put that on me, but that is not going to continue.”

Olsen’s decision to drop De Rosario from the lineup didn’t go over well with the veteran attacker. Asked if he was surprised by the move, De Rosario said: “ ‘Surprised’ is not the word. . . . I’m definitely not” happy.

Olsen said it was a coach’s decision and declined to elaborate.

According to De Rosario, Olsen did not want to play both him and Carlos Ruiz at the same time. Ruiz, an accomplished scorer relegated to reserve work this spring, made his first start.

“If you look at our track record as goal scorers, as creators, it’s not a bad problem to try at least once,” said De Rosario, who entered midway through the second half. Later he added, “There is talent in this locker room, but I don’t know if we are using the talent to the best of its ability.”

Could things get any worse? Yes. On Tuesday, United will visit its third-division affiliate, the undefeated Richmond Kickers, in the U.S. Open Cup’s third round.

United’s defense broke down in the 21st minute when Frederic Piquionne collected a throw-in without a serious challenge from Brandon McDonald.

Piquionne cut into space above the box, drawing United’s Chris Korb to the middle, and pushed the ball wide to Rodney Wallace for a searing 12-yarder to the top near corner.

The goal stirred all kinds of unpleasant thoughts for United.

First, there was the perpetrator, a former Bullis School and University of Maryland star, who spent his first two MLS years with United before being traded in November 2010. Wallace’s four goals this year are twice as many as any D.C. player.

Then there was the timing – the 10th goal conceded by United in the first 30 minutes in the past seven games.

The Timbers (5-1-7) scored early in the second half, as well. Darlington Nagbe beat McDonald to Ryan Johnson’s pass over the top of the defense, chesting down the ball and slipping a low shot past Bill Hamid.

Chris Pontius wasted a golden opportunity from 10 yards before yielding to De Rosario. Referee Jose Carlos Rivero should have awarded a penalty kick to United in the 72nd minute but apparently didn’t see Andrew Jean-Baptiste handle the ball with his arm outstretched. Later, Lionard Pajoy missed badly on a clear bid.

“It was just another poor performance,” Hamid said.

Spirit falls at Boston

Lianne Sanderson assisted on every goal as the Boston Breakers routed the Washington Spirit, 3-0, in a National Women’s Soccer League match in Somerville, Mass.

Heather O’Reilly, a U.S. national team veteran, scored in the 38th minute. Katie Schoepfer struck in the 53rd and Kyah Simon in the 66th for Boston (3-1-2), which is 1-0-2 against the Spirit (1-4-3).

Washington goalkeeper Chantel Jones stopped a late penalty kick.

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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