D.C. United scored the equalizer in the 70th minute, but before the next snowflake fell Sunday at Commerce City, the Colorado Rapids went back ahead. The final count was 4-1, but that 66-second stretch decided the match.
Dax McCarty: “To give up something that quickly, it’s a complete backbreaker. It’s tough to come back twice on the road. It’s unacceptable.”
Santino Quaranta: “It’s deflating.”
Ben Olsen: “You’ve got to make sure, if you get that tie, you lock it down and make sure for the next couple minutes you are being pretty safe.”
Pat Onstad: “It was an absolute full kick in the nards.”
My match report is here.
The video package is here.
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This wasn’t going to be an easy match for United, even under perfect circumstances. Without five regulars, the task was enormous. But D.C. was pretty good at the start, and even though it didn’t score and yielded a goal late in the first half, United showed promise.
Rookie forward Blake Brettschneider had some quality moments, serving a nice cross and later testing Matt Pickens. Rookie right back Chris Korb won several one-on-one challenges and assisted on Quaranta’s goal. Quaranta played with purpose on the right flank in the first half and on the left much of the second half.
Andy Najar, lackluster in preseason and the first two league matches, began the day on the bench and didn’t show much in 36 minutes. Asked why Najar didn’t start, Olsen said: “We’ve got a deep midfield.” He didn’t elaborate.
Najar’s only 18, and while he has immense potential, he is still growing as a professional. One has to wonder, though, whether he belongs at withdrawn forward, not on the right flank. United does lack imagination in the second forward slot, and perhaps the clever, unpredictable Najar is the answer.
Meantime, Brettschneider showed comfort in his first official pro game. Said Olsen: “Blake had a good day. He still has some moments where he needs to be cleaner and help us with possession, but his work rate was great. He battled very hard and overall for his first start, he gets a good grade.”
Charlie Davies, out with a strained groin, probably won’t play Wednesday against Philadelphia in a U.S. Open Cup qualifier at Maryland SoccerPlex – expect Olsen to choose many reserves – and instead prepare for Saturday’s league match against Donovan, Beckham and the Galaxy at RFK Stadium.
Looking at the big picture, Quaranta said: “You’ve got to learn from it. We’ll move forward and learn. We have a positive coach and positive guys in here, but it’s disappointing.”