The Black-and-Red had an unexpected change in their lineup right before kickoff, goalkeeper Bill Hamid was scratched and Travis Worra would take his place. Travis has stepped up in similar situations in the past where Hamid was out due to injury, unfortuantely for him things didn’t start well. Montreal’s Ballou Jen-Yves Tabla got the ball at midfield, beat Jared Jeffery and was met with no resistance on his trek into the box. He fired a shot that wasn’t of great quality, but it caught Worra leaning in the wrong direction and dribbled by him to put the Impact on the board in the 13th minute.
The crowd of 14,993 attendance rode an emotional roller coaster for much of the second half. The home side played with a sense of urgency they were sorely missing in the first half, that resulted in them generating several quality chances. The finishing was lacking, Acosta fired a shot that hit the cross bar and Patrick Mullins had an opportunity after trapping a cross into the box and chested it down to his right foot. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t get enough power on the shot with his right foot. Kofi Opare found himself in the box with the keeper and looked to have gathered the service and calmly beat the keeper, but he was called offsides. It was literally by a few inches, but Montreal was able to hold on and win a very chippy game. The Impact set the tone physically from the opening whistle and D.C. United didn’t really meet them in that regard until the second half.
It was a tough loss for the Black-and-Red as it was the first of a three game home stand and a game they certainly shouldn’t have dropped. Coach Ben Olsen was irate to say the least about his team’s lack of urgency in the first half.
“It looked like we thought it was going to be an easy day at the office. We didn’t have enough courage and we didn’t play good enough soccer. If we don’t have both of those, a team can come into this building and do what they did in the first half. It wasn’t that bad, but it was a lost opportunity tonight. In the second half I thought we responded, but it’s easy to respond. I’m looking for guys from the first whistle to understand what it takes to win in this league.” – Ben Olsen, D.C. United Head Coach
Taken for Granted. The lone goal that was surrendered by D.C. United was one that is typically not getting past Bill Hamid. This is no shot to Travis Worra in the least bit, as the game went on Travis got more comfortable and made a few saves when called upon. He’s a btter distributor of the ball than Hamid, but not nearly as explosive in his movements or sure handed. That being said, Worra finished the game with three saves.
Switching Fields. The two young duo in midfield does the one thing that nearly every other member of the Black-and-Red struggle to do, switch fields. There are times when switching the point of attack would give D.C. United a numbers advantage, others when a player is in a very advantageous position, but the ball doesn’t come. Switching the point of attack is what helps good attacking teams get the advantage, it also helps stretch out the opposing back line. Both Acosta and Harkes do a great job of surveying the field, recognizing their teammate in space and playing the ball accordingly.
Urgency. It’s something that D.C. United has had issues with at times over the past few seasons, they start slow and more often than not it’s from a lack of urgency. The team is great at responding, they struggle with throwing that initial punch. Last year they were able to maintain that sense of urgency over the last 9 games or so of the regular season. Some point to the struggling attack, but the chances are there it’s about finishing. That’ll come, the stark differences in the team’s mentality in play from those two halves is far more concerning.
Mullins Returns. Patrick Mullins played a whole half in last night’s game, as the half went on he seemed to get comfortable. The Black-and-Red are a bit more dangerous with him up top as he does a great job in hold-up play. He’s also more of a threat in the air and keeps centre backs occupied, there seemed to be a bit more space for his teammates when he’s in there. Once he gets back to playing a full 90 or close to it, I fully expect them to start putting the ball in the back of the net.