First Impression - RSL 2 : 1 DC UNITED
The natural reaction thing to say is that somehow the ref gave this game to Salt Lake. Or perhaps to think that Real Salt Lake got lucky. While both explanations are comforting, neither is true. The penalties awarded to Real Salt Lake were plausible. The first penalty was completley legitimate, and the second was a borderline call that I can understand why it was made. You can't say that Referee Abbey Okulaja was insane on the second call, as Wilson's tackle, at real speed, looked to have both missed the ball and impeded the attacker while in the box. That's a penalty.
The next natural reaction will be to scapegoat John Wilson. Okay, I can understand that, but it also isn't quite the truth. See, all of this stems from the idea that DC can't be beaten, but can give the game away. You don't want to give credit to another team for playing well. Yet for pretty much the entire game, Real Salt Lake played DC well. Good enough to win? Debatable. Good enough to have earned a draw? Certainly. It wasn't a case of DC playing poorly either. United probably had an average game out there, while RSL played a good one. Sometimes, the other team has just as much right as the team you root for.
Is this how you want to go into the all-star break? Well, why not. Several others have noted how DC was saying the right things before games, but not playing up for them. I think DC Sundevil and BlackDogRed made those points in relation to the Chicago game. Well, tack on this game as well. DC played an average game, but average, even for a team with this talent, won't make the win automatic. A valuable lesson.