While D.C. United players and coaches talk of frustration and bad luck and everything else going sideways, there’s a harsh, creeping truth about it all:
Perhaps this collection of players just isn’t good enough. Not in their present form.
Because Ben Olsen can talk until his Black and Red falls off about focus. And his players can talk all day about preparation. And they can talk about “having the talent” to be much better than a 1-5-1 record, straining to explain away this “alarming” start to 2013, one that has United stranded in last place in the East.
But look at it like this: if we examine D.C. United’s starting lineup, right now, we would be stretched to identify one or two starters that most teams would love to have. Again, this is looking at the performances of these men right now.
Goalkeeper Bill Hamid? Talented, and an excellent young shot-stopper, but still mistake prone. Any of the defenders? Not so much.
Any midfielder beyond Perry Kitchen? Nah. Not even Chris Pontius, although he will presumably settle into his better version sooner or later. Dwayne De Rosario, adjudged Major League Soccer’s Most Valuable Player just two seasons ago? He just can’t shake the funk, either, not even in a new-old position, stationed further up the field as De Rosario was Sunday.
Striker Lionard Pajoy? The Colombian did find his second goal of 2013 on Sunday. But for most teams … nope.
Here’s what United players and coaches are saying, courtesy of CSN Washington.