Soccer Outsider: D.C. United-Red Bulls match diary, player ratings

socceroutsider

Let’s talk about Chris Pontius: Does he have John O’Brien’s disease? John O’Brien, of course, was the outstanding American midfielder who had a series of nagging injuries that derailed and eventually ended his career. The weird thing was that there was never any one catastrophic injury; no blown ankle, no concussion, no Joe Theismann-leg-bending-the-wrong-way-type thing. It was just a series of pulls, tweaks, toe stubs and ice cream headaches that ended things. Is Pontius in that zone? I don’t even know what his specific injury is any more; I think it’s a hamstring but he could have his head caught in a bannister for all I know. I just know he’s not playing and I hope that doesn’t last forever.

United’s lineup for Saturday’s match at New York: Hamid | Riley, Woolard, Jakovic, Korb | Neal, Jeffrey, Kitchen, DeLeon | Silva, De Rosario. Coach Ben Olsen has ended open auditions for the back line; he’s kept the same four for a couple games in a row. Even though Jakovic has been shaky lately, I think that’s the right move; pick your best guys and give them a chance to jell.

Almost kickoff at Red Bull Arena. The national anthem tonight was sung by Tim Cahill’s 10- year-old son. I would never criticize the sincere efforts of a child.

7’ – Goal New York! Ugh. Here’s the only good news: it should have been a penalty kick called on Jakovic anyway. The Lloyd Sam cross-that-floated-in-for-a-goal only happened because the universe will not let United have any good breaks this year.

12’ – Jeffrey is down and he might have to come off. This night has been nothing but sour notes so far.

14’ – Keeping with MLS’s tradition of employing the less-distinguished brothers of famous players, New York has Bradley Wright-Phillips in the midfield. I have advocated scouring the globe for a Billy Lampard or a Dave Ibrahimovic, but we ended up with Sainey Nyassi, the poor man’s Sanna Nyassi.

19’ – Does NYRB offer a short-sleeved goalkeeper jersey, or has Luis Robles gone Mac-from-It’s-Always-Sunny-in-Philadelphia on his jersey sleeves?

26’ – Great move between Silva and Thorrington leads to a shot dragged wide by Lewis Neal. Careful, Lewis: You’re one of the only players on the roster not covered with loser stink from this season. A few more plays like that and that will no longer be the case.

29’ – De Ro with a 60-yard shot to try to catch Robles off his line. Or maybe he was just trying to make sure United registers a shot on goal.

35’ – Nick DeLeon is alive! GOAL D.C. UNITED! DeLeon has been nonexistant so far, but that was a well-taken goal. You know how Jason Bourne is always discovering skills he forgot that he had? Hopefully this was that kind of moment for DeLeon.

37’ – Goal New York! Cahill with a pitch-perfect header, and it’s 2-1. Congratulations, Daniel Woolard: you are the one millionth person to be out-jumped by Tim Cahill.

41’ – Thorrington sends a header just wide! At least at this point in the season United might score. Earlier in the year after giving up two goals I would be organizing my sock drawer.

Halftime: 2-1 New York. Our central defenders have been bad, and Maryland’s own Oguchi Onyewu is still looking for a job. How much does it cost to bribe our way to the top of the allocation order these days?

46’ – Let’s take a minute to appreciate that these days MLS matches look, sound and feel like real soccer. Ten years ago this match would have been played on a dirt bike track in front of the ghosts of 70,000 New York Cosmos fans.

51’ – De Ro’s hard shot is almost spilled by Robles, then Silva puts a header off the bar. Looks like United is angling for a frustrating loss instead of a disheartening loss.

58’ – Neal forces a save off of a searing half-volley! The bad news is that United now has a corner, and United hasn’t t scored off a corner since Miley Cyrus was a Mouseketeer.

59’ – Henry (oh yeah: New York has Thierry Henry) drives into the box and surprises everyone by shooting wide. Dejan Jakovic is an absolute road cone.

64’ – Henry wants a penalty but it’s not given in accordance with the “reputation preceding you” rule.

72’ – We have a breakthrough – red card and a penalty kick! New York’s Ibrahim Sekagya grabbed ahold of De Ro in the box, and you know what: good call. You can’t do that. Finally a break.

73’ – De Ro will take the spot kick. If he misses this I’m going to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge. He steps up and … sickening. I’m not going to follow through on that Brooklyn Bridge promise because my body might wash up in Red Hook and I don’t want some hipster making a found-art coffee table out of my corpse.

81’ – I just want a tie. A tie at least messes things up for New York. I’m in the mind-set of pre-money Manchester City: The only joy available to us comes through spiting our rivals.

87’ – De Ro with a wide-open header and he puts it into the stands! United is snake-bitten.

Full time: 2-1 New York. And New York wins the Atlantic Cup. Well guess what, New York: The Atlantic Cup is worthless. It won’t even get you through the tolls in Delaware.

Player ratings:

Hamid: 4.5. He maybe could have done a bit better on each goal but then again maybe not.

Riley: 4. Had his hands full with Sam Lloyd or Lloyd Sam or whoever that was on the wing for New York.

Woolard: 4. On the one hand, Woolard was basically wearing Tim Cahill as a backpack on the second goal. On the other hand, that happens all the time and you just have to deal with it.

Jakovic: 3.5. Forget what I said about needing time to jell: Jakovic is a liability. The good news is he’s on national team duty next week, so United can try another mix without having to bench him.

Korb: 5. If “overlapping runs” was a stat, Korb might be the league leader.

Neal: 4. Not the best game from Neal. Was it bad enough for me to want to see Nyassi next week? No, not close.

Jeffrey’s ankle: 0. Get better soon, Jared. You might have a future on this team.

Kitchen: 5.5. There are two ways to get a 5.5: be steady but not outstanding, like Kitchen. Or…

Thorrington: 5.5. Be hot and cold like Thorrington. Thorrington/Kitchen would be a good midfield tandem if the wings were more productive.

DeLeon: 5. Very well-taken goal. Unfortunately, he was mostly invisible otherwise.

Silva: 7. At the end of the year, there will surely be stats that will prove that this offense was better post-Silva than pre-Silva. In the meantime, you can see it with your eyes.

De Rosario: 4. A missed PK, a blown header and generally his worst match of the season. Yes: De Rosario is in Canadian national team form.

Doyle: 4. I wanted to see him make more aggressive runs in the box, make himself more available for headers.

Martin: 5. Olsen could have brought on Porter, but he brought on Martin instead. Telling.

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 · September 3, 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.