Saturday’s matchup against fierce rival New England Revolution marked the home opener for D.C. United. Unfortunately for United, Kenny Mansally decided to personally rain on the opening parade. Last Saturday’s disastrous opener in Kansas City behind them, United came out of the locker room looking like a new club. In the first half, they managed to keep ahead of the usually potent New England offense with some offensive production of their own. Unlike last Saturday, United was able to keep things moving on offense, putting together some possessions that were respectable.
Last week’s defensive lapses weren’t apparent in the first half, with United’s midfield and backfield playing with some intensity that was totally lacking in Kansas City. The offensive was finally productive as well, coming up with five shots on goal in the first half, to Revolution’s three. Gone also were the discipline lapses that lead to five yellow cards.
The second half was a much more even match, with New England’s sleepy offense awakening to press United and provide for a much more significant challenge than in the first half. Unfortunately, United couldn’t deliver a clear goal, missing chance after chance, including a particularly embarrassing and miscommunication-fraught attempt in the 74th minute, with four clear touches, and no evident plan for getting the ball in the net.
The undoing for United came rapid fire in the 80th and 82nd minute, with Kenny Mansally putting in a pair against keeper Troy Perkins. The first caught Perkins totally off guard and it wasn’t even close, and the second caught Perkins out of position to defend an unexpected back-of-the-box shot. Mansally was too fast and deft-of-foot for United to confound or control, and that was their undoing in Saturday’s loss.
A tough loss for United, and scarier still is the utter absence of anything resembling an offense. While Moreno and Pontius were more effective this week than last, United will need to put the ball in the net if they want to compete this season. Communication and daring were equally lacking from an offense that had plenty of both last season. They’ll start next weekend against the expansion Philadelphia Union, and take on old teammate Fred. D.C. United supporters are busing up together next Saturday to make their presence felt in Philly. Tickets are $60 and include the bus ride, so if you’re not doing anything next weekend, maybe head north to support United.
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