D.C. United will make MLS history this season — and not the kind the club foresaw when a hopeful campaign began.
With a 1-0 defeat at Sporting Kansas City on Friday night, United is ensured of at least a share of the record for fewest victories since the league launched in 1996. D.C. also became the fifth club in league annals to go winless on the road.
At 3-23-7, D.C. will close the season next Sunday against the Houston Dynamo at RFK Stadium with the threat of falling short of four-win seasons by the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 2001 and expansion Chivas USA in 2005. (Tampa played only 27 games, Chivas 32.)
Dom Dwyer pounced on Perry Kitchen‘s poor back pass and scored past Bill Hamid in the seventh minute for Sporting (16-10-7), which overtook the New York Red Bulls for first place in the Eastern Conference and remained in strong position to win the Supporters’ Shield as the points leader.
United, the U.S. Open Cup champion, has not won in league play since Aug. 3 (0-8-3) and finished with an 0-14-3 away record.
The goal was the 22nd conceded in the first 30 minutes of matches. United was blanked for the 16th time, one shy of the MLS record set by D.C. three years ago.
Jared Jeffrey had a golden opportunity to equalize in the first half but, in a one-on-one situation with Jimmy Nielsen, failed to beat the goalkeeper.
Kitchen’s first-half yellow card eclipsed the league limit, sidelining him for the finale.
“For about 15 minutes, we were bullied,” Coach Ben Olsen said. “We warned the guys it would be a fast-paced, physical opening to the game. I didn’t think we had the right bite to us. When we go down a goal, about 20 minutes in, we start getting it. We start understanding this is a man’s game. I thought for the rest of the game we were the better team, but it doesn’t matter, it does not matter. When you don’t play the full game, a good team like Kansas City, they’ll bite you and they’ll bite you early.”
Hamid; Korb, Kitchen, Woolard, Iapichino; DeLeon (Martin 46th), Jeffrey, Neal, Pontius; Silva (De Rosario 63rd), Doyle (Seaton 80th).
Video highlight package is available here.
Video of Dwyer’s goal: