D.C. United Open Season with a 3-0 Loss at Home PDF Print E-mail
Written by Drew Garcia   
Sunday, 09 March 2014
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Crew keeper Steve Clark punches the ball away from the goal during a header attempt by D.C. United. Columbus defeated D.C. United 3-0 during home season opener at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, March 8, 2014 Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
WASHINGTON, D.C. - After a cold off-season, the black and red returned to RFK to take on the Columbus Crew.
 
During the offseason, United acquired a few new players and it always takes some time for new players to gel together and to gel with the vision of the coach. With that in mind the fans seemed optimistic about the teams chances this season.

Captain Bobby Boswell led United from the back. What was clear from the onset was Coach Ben Olsen was attempting to use MLS veterans with the likes of Davy Arnaud, Jeff Parke, Fabian Espindola, and former national team standout Eddie Johnson, to cover up his inexperience. If this game is anything to go by, the experiment has backfired. The problem is MLS has changed.  Six years ago, DC would be able to get by with this type of play and strategy but with a league that improves everyday, D.C. United has been left behind.

The game started well for United with the home team pressuring high up forcing the Columbus backline to constantly turnover early on. The early pressure almost payed of when United created mayhem in the box, getting behind the Columbus backline but failing to get a shot on goal. D.C. continued to dominate possession early on and came close in the 3rd minute when Cristian Fernandez's 45-yard shot forced Columbus goalie Steve Clark to push the ball over the goal for a corner kick.

D.C. started out defensively strong but after 10 minutes the team plan began to fall apart. While they maintained a defensive structure for much of the game, they struggled to move the ball as well as Columbus. As the DC defensive structure continued falling apart, Columbus began getting more confident going forward stringing passes together like Barcelona and attacking as a unit. After getting behind the United back line a few times, Jairo Arrieta scored in the 18th minute after Hector Jimenez one touched the ball to Josh Williams who crossed the ball to Jairo Arrieta who one-touched the ball past United keeper Bill Hamid. Though D.C. had dominated the possession up to that point, they had little for show for it after 18 minutes. In the 27th minute Columbus was awarded a controversial penalty due to the referee feeling that Michael Parkhurst was fouled on a corner kick. Federico Higuain stepped up and converted the penalty to stretch the lead to 2-0.

Many would blame the loss on the referee or just write it off as one of those nights, but what caused D.C. to perform so badly was not by chance, it was a structural problem. It was no accident that D.C. managed only one shot on goal throughout the whole night. United cannot move the ball well and its clear in the attack they want to drive everything through Eddie Johnson as if they are not confident in themselves as a team. Opportunities were usually missed due to D.C. United players dribbling too much and attempting to bulldoze through walls of defense like a linebacker. Poor off the ball movement and too much time on the ball muffled any opportunity that was possible for United. By the 60th minute even the most hardcore D.C. fans seemed to be silenced by the lack of creativity on the field.  For much of the second half Columbus dominated with possession and even managed to add to their tally in the closing minutes when Justin Meram crossed to Higuain who tapped it in to make it 3-0.

United’s Coach Ben Olsen could easily sum up the game when he said, "I don't think anyone had a good game, and as a group we weren't great”. In fact the whole team looked out of position, except goalkeeper Bill Hamid. In a league that has improved as much as MLS, I would be surprised if D.C. wins a game, playing the way they did against Columbus. Next up, DC takes on Toronto, a team many are expecting to be the best team.
 
 Photo Gallery - D.C. United vs. Columbus Crew
 
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D.C. United starting line up pose for team photos in a match against Columbus Crew during home season opener at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
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Columbus Crew defeated D.C. United 3-0 during home season opener at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
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Columbus Crew defeated D.C. United 3-0 during home season opener at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
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Columbus Crew defeated D.C. United 3-0 during home season opener at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
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Columbus Crew defeated D.C. United 3-0 during home season opener at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
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Columbus Crew defeated D.C. United 3-0 during home season opener at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
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Columbus Crew defeated D.C. United 3-0 during home season opener at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
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Columbus Crew defeated D.C. United 3-0 during home season opener at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
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Columbus Crew defeated D.C. United 3-0 during home season opener at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
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Columbus Crew defeated D.C. United 3-0 during home season opener at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
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Columbus Crew defeated D.C. United 3-0 during home season opener at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Alan P. Santos/DC Sports Box
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Last Updated ( Sunday, 09 March 2014 )
 
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