Sporting Kansas City 1, D.C. United 0

D.C. United has scored two goals in 450 minutes this season: a header off a rebound and a opportunistic shot from distance with the goalkeeper scrambling back into position. That’s it. In three away matches, United has not scored while placing a grand total of three shots on target. The last time someone other than Nick DeLeon scored on the road was October 27 — six away games ago, when Lionard Pajoy equalized at Chicago.

Pajoy continues to frustrate and befuddle. He works hard. He provides moments of promise, like tonight just before the half when he beat two defenders in the box. He does occasionally score. But he also doesn’t seize on opportunities — like the two in the first half tonight. On a punch-less team that can’t afford to let chances pass by, those misses are magnified.

Ben Olsen was pleased with the effort and the commitment and the return to basics after a pair of messy performances.

“We talk about earning the right to play soccer. If you put the work in, if you battle and win second balls, you ultimately are going to have more possession. We are not good enough to start from [goalkeeper] Bill [Hamid] and build-up out of the back and play like some of the best teams in the world. We’ve got to earn that right, and today we earned it. There was some good stuff.”

The defense was pretty good, too. Reunited after Dejan Jakovic‘s Canadian commitment in Qatar, Brandon McDonald and Jakovic were sound in central defense. Afterward, McDonald was upset that Claudio Bieler wasn’t red-carded for what he says was a punch to the throat. [You can read his comments, and other details, in my match report.]

McDonald’s sour mood spread to other topics. Asked about the team’s improved performance since the 2-1 home loss to Columbus two weeks ago, he said: “The difference is, you look at our field and you look at [Kansas City’s] field. RFK is a mess. It’s dry, it’s bumpy, there are holes everywhere. This is a real field. You can see the difference. We can play on a real field.”

Play, United did. In the first half, anyway. D.C. held possession as well as it has all season. Just no goals. Again. Next up: the New York Red Bulls next Saturday night in Washington. Yes, the Red Bulls shut out United in the first meeting this season. Oh, there’s no standard TV available either.

Match video:

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.

sports

soccer-insider

Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Comments
Show Comments
Next Story
Steven Goff · April 5, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.