Chicago looked like a team that was trying to get it’s sixth win of the season and first road result, the home side couldn’t get anything going in regards to an attack. It wasn’t from a lack of effort or urgency, they didn’t have the facilitators needed in the middle of the field to put things in order. The complete opposite from the Fire who were knocking out counter attack after counter attack with precision passing and getting the ball to players in space on time. DAvid Accam has been a thorn in D.C. United’s side for some time now. While he didn’t score in the first half, he played a role in several of Chicago’s quality chances. The Fire held a 61.3% to 38.7% edge in possession after the first half.
The home side’s backline struggled to limit Accam’s touches and primarily his touches in space. There was a great counter attack from the Fire that was started by their keeper after a D.C. United corner kick. MAtt Lampson immediately had his eyes down field upon pulling down the service into the box. He found Accam streaking down field with just one defender on him and like keeper throw from Fifa 17, the throw was perfect and led to quite a chance for Chicago. Taylor Kemp ran down Accam, which is a feat in itself, the diminutive Fire midfielder lofted a ball into the box. It went over the head of DC’s Chris Korb and Michael de Leeuw headed the ball to the near post. Bill Hamid, got back to stop the attempt. The D.C. United keeper’s whole body was inside of the goal, the only thing over the line was his hands that had cradled the header.
David Accam gets behind the backline again, this time makes it count in the 52nd minute. The ball is played to him in space and he puts the pressure on Hamid before curling a gorgeous right footed shot around the D.C. United keeper. The crowd goes nuts as they believe it’s offsides, as does Ben Olsen.
“[The Fire are] good. We’re not at the moment. It’s on me to fix it.” – Ben Olsen, D.C. United
While D.C. United attempted to throw everything into their attack, it was Bill Hamid preventing the 1-0 lead from growing with one tremendous save after another. He had two in 1v1 situations which is all you need to know about how things went for the Chicago attack in the second half. It continued where it left off, finding players in space and making the most of it.
It was definitely a poor showing for D.C. United and definitely worth questioning whether it’s more than a tactical issue. While many of these same pieces were responsible for being one of the hottest teams to close last year’s regular season, they haven’t been able to get to that level of production or at least consistency once this year. The question is whether it’s something the team can just work through or is it a personnel issue?
In the post game presser, Ben Olsen alluded to the latter at least in part. “We’re realistic in that we understand we need to get better, and we will get better in the transfer window.” That summer window is still some time away, in the mean time D.C. United looks to get some key pieces back into their starting 11. This definitely wan’t how they envisioned their three game homestand going, but they’ll have to try and make up some ground on the road starting this week in Vancouver.
Hamid. The keeper lived up to his billing and reminded everyone just how much a difference he makes. In a game where his team couldn’t get anything going on the attacking side of things, the backline and Hamid were under siege at times. The Fire were really finding space in the attacking third, led by the pacey David Accam. While Bill surrendered the lone goal in a 1v1 situation, he snuffed out and stopped the shot on at least two other occasions in similar situations.
Accam. When thinking about what Olsen stated in the post game press conference, about D.C. being active in the transfer window, Accam came to mind. Not literally him in terms of being a target of D.C. United, but they type of player he is and how it would definitely aid the attack for the Black-and-Red. His pace makes him a nightmare for outside backs and centre backs alike, the Fire played through him quite often.
Rook. It was only a brief stretch, but the rookie back out of Maryland has something that’s a bit different than the others on the roster. Most would assume I’m talking about his pace, but it’s his feel of the game when joining the attack. Korb and Kemp look to provide services into the box once they get it out wide, Franklin has shown the ability to connect with others and get into the box at times. Odoi-Atsem is a little different, his pace helps him create separation, but it’s how quickly he makes his decisions when on ball. He’s passing and moving, not waiting. Obviously an extremely small sample size, but I’m looking forward to seeing him in extended minutes.
Facilitator. With Lucho not available due to receiving a red card in the previous match, I was interested in seeing who was going to try and fill that role. No one did and the attack never got into a flow like Chicago’s. His absence was truly missed, but that’s an area that may certainly need to be addressed in that transfer window. That’s a lot of pressure for one player to have and he’s been fine with it, but in moments when that player isn’t available there was on one that was able to step into the void. It may have been different if Patrick Nyarko was available as he’s show the ability to get others involved and facilitate at times.