12 games. That’s reality for the Black-and-Red as they train this week leading up to their match against the Timbers. They managed to salvage one point at home over the weekend with a 2-2 draw with the visiting Philadelphia Union. It’s evident that the team knows they could be running out of time if they can’t start earning better results. Patrick Nyarko said it perfectly during our post game interview, D.C. United has to start getting results, specifically the three point variety.
“It’s not good enough, simple as that” – Patrick Nyarko, D.C. United midfielder
The mood or theme in the locker room was one of disappointment. After talking with several players, there is frustration over the failed attempts to leave a contest with three points.
D.C. United has shown some improvement in their play with the additions to the roster, the infusion of pace has really helped their attack. As a counter attacking team, the speed in which a team can transition from defense to attacking is key. Prior to some of roster moves, it would take the Black-and-Red 5-7 passes to get going on a counter attack. That time wasted typically allowed opposing teams to get back and defend, keeping the ball in front of them.
Now, it’s just a few passes or depending on who dispossess the opposing player, runs can be made that give D.C. United a number advantage. An effective counter attack swings the numbers in a teams favor and catches a team with most of their players going forward, stuck in a position in which they are trailing the play.
Against the Union, Patrick Nyarko and Lloyd Sam did a good job of putting pressure on Philadelphia in those situations. Flying up the flanks and loosening things up in the middle for Patrick Mullins. The team has created a ton of chances in the last two games, but they’ve struggled to put them away.
The biggest issue now is the lack of a sense of urgency. For a team that may be running out of time in regards to making the postseason, D.C. United played as if they had the lead while trailing. It wasn’t until the last 8 minutes of the game or so in which they looked to be playing desperate.
That’s the key going forward, is playing with that from the start of the game. Talking with Nyarko after the game, he agreed with the sentiment that the team must play with a greater sense of urgency. He also talked about the “mistakes” the team has made this season and how they affect the result.
Neagle did not find any solace in the fact that the team created so many chances when asked. The Black-and-Red don’t have to win out the rest of the way, but they do have to get a couple of streaks started.
At this time, D.C. United sits 8th in the Eastern Conference. The East has been rather tight for most of the season, so it’s very possible for them to climb the tables by stacking a few wins together. That’s easier said than done though, they host the Portland Timbers this Saturday at RFK.
If the Black-and-Red wish to get on track, it starts this weekend with a strong sense of urgency for the full 90 minutes. Again, there’s only 12 games left in the regular season.