The Black-and-Red have a week to get things together after their nightmarish outing in Philadelphia. The Union won 3-0 thanks in part to converting two penalty kicks and controlling the game from start to finish didn’t hurt either.
D.C. United struggled to gain and maintain possession for extended stretches, their failure to do so only gave fuel to the Union attack. Ilsinho and former Black-and-Red member Chris Pontius were a handful for the visitors. Pontius looked to be in good form, he had a clever backheel on a ball into the box to which Bill Hamid made a tremendous save. Bill was leaning to the far post and miraculously shifted his balance in time to get a paw on it.
Then the fouls in the box occurred, even for a top level keeper penalty kicks are uncertain. Both Rolan Alberg and Ilsinho were able to beat Hamid in those penalty situations.
Whether those calls were made or not, Philadelphia dominated possession and their attack was much sharper than D.C. United. In the entire game, the visiting team would take just 6 shots, 3 of them were on frame. As or the Union, they had no issues putting things together in the final third. 15 shots were taken total, 7 of which were on frame. They definitely could have had more than three goals if it weren’t for Hamid. Their pressure on D.C. United led to 5 corner kicks as well.
Obviously the two pk’s played a big factor in the match, but the inability to maintain possession drastically minimized their chances of winning the match. Alhaji Kamara got the start (First of his career) up top in place of Alvaro Saborio. The youngster doesn’t bring the same skill set to the table, but his pace and physicality haven’t been taken full advantage of. To this point, the only player on the team that has connected with him well on the field has been Luciano Acosta.
Saturday’s loss puts D.C. United under the red line for the first time this season. There’s still time left, but the Black-and-Red must figure out how to get the most out of their attacking players. A lot of it has to do with putting the right combination together, last week’s trade for Red Bulls winger Lloyd Sam leads many to believe that the team would like to add more pace to their play. Especially with the injuries to Chris Rolfe and Patrick Nyarko, Sam is needed. A midfield with him, Neagle and Acosta could definitely boost a struggling attack. Of course no one knows what the 11 will look like next week, but the Black-and-Red will be looking forward to him joining that group.