But on nights like Saturday, the on-field future — much like Buzzard Point — still seems a long way off. The second halftime lead of the year evaporated in no time, another goal followed and United continued its season-long slide with a 2-1 loss to the New England Revolution before an announced 14,122 at RFK Stadium.
For the second consecutive week, a distant smash by Luis Silva was wasted as United (2-15-4) ran its winless streak to five. Dimitry Imbongo and Diego Fagundez scored nine minutes apart early in the second half for the Revolution (8-7-6).
“Overall, it was a step in the right direction coming from last week,” Coach Ben Olsen said, referring to a 4-1 fiasco at Chicago. “But it’s still a loss, and it still hurts.”
Dwayne De Rosario was troubled by the effort put forth by some of his younger teammates.
“I look around and I see the old guys really digging down deep and scrapping and fighting,” said De Rosario, 35, who returned from a three-game injury absence by entering in the second half. “I want to see some of that from the young guys. Don’t get me wrong: We have it in some, but [in] others, it’s missing — that hunger, that fight.
“We have to realize we’re in dead last. Nothing to lose — might as well give it your all, walk away from the game feeling like, even if you lost, you could walk away with your head up and say, ‘You know, I gave everything.’ I don’t think everyone could do that, and it’s a shame.”
United’s rotating lineup took another turn with the insertion of midfielder Jared Jeffrey and forward Conor Doyle, graduates of the same Dallas youth club who arrived in Washington this month from unfulfilled European careers.
However, midfielders Chris Pontius (hamstring) and Perry Kitchen (hip pointer) and goalkeeper Bill Hamid (U.S. national team duty) were not available.
United set the terms right away, and Silva forged the lead with another long-range strike. A week after scoring from 30 yards at Chicago, he tagged a low effort with pace to beat goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth from 25.
The advantage did not last long.
With pressure mounting on United, Imbongo beat rookie Taylor Kemp to Chris Tierney’s cross and one-timed into a gaping net in the 54th minute. Willis had anticipated a near-post header and was astray as Imbongo bore down on the back side.
“I tried to make myself as big as possible and just got cemented to the ground,” Willis said. “It goes back to that old story: Oh, God, here we go again.”
It went again nine minutes later. Saer Sene’s rocket hit the crossbar and post before Fagundez, 18, nodded it in for his team-best seventh goal.
Shortly after entering, De Rosario set up Silva with a back heel in the box, but Jose Goncalves’s challenge was assertive and fair. Later, Shuttleworth rushed out to disrupt substitute Lionard Pajoy’s touch.
●BREAKERS 5, SPIRIT 2: Lianne Sanderson broke a tie late in the first half as visiting Boston extended Washington’s NWSL winless streak to 11.
Diana Matheson scored in the second minute for the Spirit (1-12-4), its first goal in the run of play in more than 10 matches.
●TORONTO FC 2, CREW 1: Andrew Wiedeman scored in the third minute of stoppage time to give Toronto FC its first home win in more than a year. Toronto also snapped a 16-match winless streak.
●RED BULLS 4, REAL SALT LAKE 3: Dax McCarty scored on a header four minutes into extra time to lift host New York. Fabian Espindola scored two goals for New York, both on penalty kicks.
●RAPIDS 2, GALAXY 0: Colorado continued to turn around its season with a win over visiting Los Angeles after Hendry Thomas scored in the 41st minute.