One game, 100 words (or less): Ew. Yucky soccer. Yucky. A sloppy mess graced Buck Shaw Stadium, and in the end only Bill Hamid came out of it with a gold star, but DC United came away with three points.
Gobs of midfield giveaways, poor defending, and missed chances ruled king, and only an early surge put DC United through. San Jose has a lot of work to do if they wish to get off the bottom.
Three moments that mattered:
12′ – Johnson buries a penalty – Pretty simple one here. A long ball fell to Chris Rolfe on the left edge of the box, and he ripped a shot on net from a tight angle. Brandon Barklage was out of position, and in his attempt to get back and defend, Rolfe’s shot crashed into his outstretched arm while the defender was midair. It was a clear penalty decision and it was given, and Eddie Johnson buried the chance for a 1-0 DC United lead.
25′ – Hello, San Jose defense, please wake up – Lackadaisical defense leads to goals. A Busch mistake led to Rolfe with the ball again on the left and Atiba Harris barely even attempted to keep up, and the DC attacker had all kinds of space to send in a low cross. Luis Silva beat Clarence Goodson to the near post with a run, and he connected with Rolfe’s open cross to touch past Jon Busch for a 2-0 lead. It was some terribly shoddy defending, but also another good attack for DC down the left.
39′ – Wondo’s back! With his team trailing 2-0 and looking listless, their first good attack saw some luck. A left-footed shot from Chris Wondolowski took a healthy deflection which planted Bill Hamid on the ground and the ball splashed into the back of the net. It’s goal #85 of his MLS career, and gave his team some life. It’s also the team’s first goal in four games. Yes, four.
Three lessons going forward:
1. DC United is for real – If you weren’t already convinced, you should be. They’ve challenged the top teams and beaten the ones they should. This team has a solid back line, a hard-working midfield, and in-form strikers. It’s hard to get much better than that.
2. The Earthquakes need to wake up – The second DC goal was a face-palm moment. There were way too many players not plugged in, and they were beat. If this team is going to get back on their feet, they need to avoid moments like this, at both the front and back.
3. When a team is struggling, a goalkeeper’s even more important – Bill Hamid. Wow. DC United was on their heels all second half, and he came up with no less than three miraculous saves and nine overall, each better than the one before. The biggest came in stoppage time when Alan Gordon had the net gaping but his header was pounced on by Hamid as it looked like San Jose would level. Hamid was clearly Man of the Match.
Where this leaves them:
- DC United extends its surprising lead on the Eastern Conference, surging to 31 points, five clear of Sporting KC with 18 games played.
- The Western Conference bottom spot remains with San Jose, 16 points which is four below Chivas USA on 15 games.