The first goal allowed was ominous. The second was outright symbolic. The combination of the two, scored in front of an RFK crowd announced at 10,116 but speculated as much less, told us everything we needed to know. D.C. United was about to reach a new low.
After Wendnesday’s 4-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo, it’s difficult to imagine things getting much worse. Six months ago, D.C. United was in the Eastern Conference finals. Now they’re last in the East with four points in 10 games – a team playing so poorly that goals like this (the aforementioned second of the night) are now possible:
It’s almost as is 2012 never happened. This is pre-Ben Olsen United right here. Or maybe they’re worse. How many times did D.C., as bad as they were then, lose 4-0 at home? How many times did D.C. have both the leagues worst attack and worst defense, distinctions they hold after Wednesday’s result?
How can this get any worse?
Houston opened the scoring early through Will Bruin, with terrible D.C. defending allowing the Dynamo number nine to go in alone on goal. Barnes would add his goal 12 minutes later, and in the second half, Bruin and Andrew Driver pushed Houston’s total to four. Houston’s Dancing Bear finished the night with two goals and two assists.
D.C.’s was the type of performance that makes you wonder when the ax is going to fall. It may fall on Ben Olsen. It may fall on some of the players. It may fall on whomever gets blamed for this collection of talent. But 10 games into a season that carried high expectations, it’s clear something is broken in D.C. And after losing 4-0 at home, it appears things are only getting worse.
MSG broadcaster and NASL legend Shep Messing, broadcasting the Red Bull-Impact game when he saw the United score, had this blunt assessment:
That’s an organization in disarray. They’re in a downward spiral. Ben Olsen’s the one on the hot seat, but they’re all culpable.
Pro Soccer Talk examines some of Thursday’s top transfer stories, including a Premier League giant looking to add to its midfield.
[ MORE: Uruguay reaches Round of 16 courtesy of Luis Suarez ]
Chelsea could be set to join Barcelona in the race for Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, according to the Daily Mail.
The Blues and new manager Maurizio Sarri are said to be open to looking to Serie A to solve some of the team’s troubled areas, including in the center of the park to join France international N'Golo Kante.
Sarri is already said to be keen on signing Napoli star Dries Mertens, whom he has coached for several years at the Stadio San Paolo
Meanwhile, Juve has interest in a World Cup star, with Mexico’s Hirving Lozano attracting significant looks from around the world.
Lozano scored for El Tri in their 1-0 victory over Germany to open their 2018 World Cup campaign, and has become an instant star in the Dutch Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven.
PSV would reportedly be willing to complete a deal if the Serie A champions shell out over $40 million.
Sticking with Juve, Emre Can‘s move to the Turin side appears to be close to finalization.
Can is set to have a medical in Italy on Thursday, as the 24-year-old anticipates completing a five-year contract with the Serie A giants.
Finally, West Ham United is looking to add to its attacking options next season, and the club could be nearing a record move.
Lazio winger Felipe Anderson is reportedly set to come to the London Stadium in 2018/19 as the Hammers prepare a $46 million deal.
Anderson tallied four goals in 21 Serie A matches last season for the Biancocelesti.
The 30-year-old has spent two seasons managing Hoffenheim, guiding the club to back-to-back top-four finishes in the Bundesliga.
Leipzig is currently without a manager ahead of the next season, so it remains unclear who will take over until Nagelsmann assumes his role in 2019.
Peru’s loss was France’s gain on Thursday, as Les Bleus reached the Round of 16 with one match remaining in Group C play.
The French knocked off Peru, 1-0, as Didier Deschamps and his side eliminated their South American foe from the 2018 World Cup.
[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]
Both Denmark and Australia — who drew 1-1 earlier on Thursday — are still alive in their efforts of advancing to the knockout rounds.
He looked to be one of the best players on the pitch once again, and Kylian Mbappe rightfully scored a tap in to give France the lead beyond the half-hour mark following a deflected cross from Olivier Giroud.
Paul Pogba was at the center of the goal as well, after nicking the ball away from Peru’s Paolo Guerrero inside the South American side’s half of the field.
Gallese made his first crucial stop in the 16th minute, when a link-up between Giroud and Antoine Griezmann forced a kick save from the Peru goalkeeper.
The Peruvians began to use their pace as the first half wore on, and Guerrero nearly scored his first goal of the tournament in the 31st minute, but Hugo Lloris was positioned well to make a save.
Paul Pogba came right back the other way just two minutes later though, and played a brilliant lofted ball into Mbappe, who couldn’t flick it past Gallese.
The Peruvians didn’t waste any time in the second stanza, and nearly came out to a flying start as Pedro Aquino struck woodwork with a brilliant outside-the-foot technique from distance.
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France closes out Group C play with a meeting against Denmark, while Peru hopes to spoil Australia’s chances of qualifying for the knockout phase.
The match is really opening up now, and France has begun to assert itself with an opener just beyond the half-hour mark.
[ MORE: Denmark, Australia draw, leaving Group C wide open ]
Kylian Mbappe has given Les Bleus a 1-0 lead over Peru after a deflected Olivier Giroud cross found the Monaco attacker just in front of goal for a tap-in finish.
The sequence began after Paul Pogba dispossessed Peru deep in their own half, before dishing the ball off to Giroud.
The goal for Mbappe is his first at a World Cup, as the 19-year-old continues to impress for both club and country.