Sunday, August 20, 2006

United Tread Water With Rapids

D.C. United had the perfect opportunity to get revenge on one of the two teams in MLS that defeated them this year, the Colorado Rapids. Instead of unleashing a beating in a statement game at home (the first league game at RFK since beating Columbus back in mid-July), the Black-and-Red came out cold and uninspired and managed just a 1 - 1 draw with the 3rd place team the Western Division. The tie gave the season series to Colorado and left United supporters with the feeling that this team is not nearly as good as they seemed in July.

View from Section 137, Row 7, Seat 1

The team played very well in the second half. Christian Gomez scored on a cross in the 56th minute to tie the game before being subbed out with a hamstring pull. Despite outplaying the Rapids for the last 45 minutes, the team couldn't push ahead in the mid-afternoon heat.

Coming into this game, United's home record in the league was 8-0-1. The Rapid's road record in league was 1-6-1. This was a gimmie game and the team blew it. Was the ref bad? Yes. That was definitely a Penalty Kick for Freddy Adu, who was getting fouled all game. Was it hot as hell down on that field? Yes, and the team dealt with that to get the equalizer in the 2nd half. But these are issues that great teams will overcome to win.

The Black-and-Red are winless in their last four MLS games (0-1-3) against mediocre teams like Red Bull New York, Real Salt Lake, Chicago Fire and the Colorado Rapids. Back in July when they won 7 in a row and had a 14-game unbeaten streak going, I was sure that this team was not only the best league team but also the best MLS team ever. Now, um, not so much.

This team needs to start dominating. In the next month, they play eight games of the utmost importance. I am proclaiming this stretch to be Remove All Doubt Month. United need to use these games to run away from the league, clinch the Supporter's Shield, and put themselves in position to claim their 5th MLS Cup. Unless they start playing they way they're capable, D.C. United will keep floating towards dissapointment in November.

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