United Squanders Its Chances
Sunday, October 9, 2005
D.C. United's baffling 2-1 loss to the New York/New Jersey MetroStars last night at RFK Stadium cost the club in so many ways.
An opportunity to extend its winning streak to a season-best five games? Gone.
A chance to all but end its arch rival's MLS playoff prospects? Missed.
The possibility of tying New England for first place in the Eastern Conference with one game remaining? Poof.
"I'm extremely disappointed," Coach Peter Nowak said. "The result is a translation of what's going on on the field. I cannot mention one player who had a good day. If we want to think about the playoffs coming up, right now we have to wake up and make sure this thing never happens again."
United (16-10-5) will play an inconsequential regular season finale Saturday against Columbus, knowing it will have to settle for second place and face the third-seeded Chicago Fire in a two-game first-round playoff series, tentatively set for Oct. 21 at Soldier Field and Oct. 30 at RFK Stadium.
The MetroStars (11-9-11) are tied with Kansas City for the final postseason berth in the East after the Wizards' 2-2 tie with New England allowed the MetroStars to catch the Wizards and the Revolution to pull three points ahead of United (which would lose the tiebreaker with New England if they finish even).
"We didn't come out to play, we didn't come out with any urgency," midfielder Dema Kovalenko said. "We've got to do better because, if we do this in the playoffs, the season is over."
United's sloppy play allowed the MetroStars to take the lead on Sergio Galvan Rey's goal in the 17th minute. Jaime Moreno tied it on the final act of the first half, a 24-yard free kick for his 15th goal of the season, moving him within one of league leader Taylor Twellman of the Revolution.
But the MetroStars restored the lead in the 68th minute on former French World Cup star Youri Djorkaeff's one-time smash from 12 yards before 18,751 disappointed spectators.
The victory was the MetroStars' first over United in their last nine meetings and came a week after D.C. roared to a 4-1 victory at Giants Stadium -- a result that led to coach Bob Bradley's dismissal.
After giving several regulars a rest Wednesday in Salt Lake City, Nowak returned to his full lineup last night. However, United looked nothing like a club that had stormed up the standings the last six weeks.