First Impressions - D.C. United 0 : 2 Chicago Fire
...and it wasn't even the worst game we've played this season.
Here's the thing. I'm used to United defenses giving up goals because of bad plays in the back. Facundo Erpen, Bobby Boswell, Brandon Prideaux, Bryan Namoff, Brian Carroll... over the past few seasons, they've all commited some horrible blunders that led to opposing team goals. What I'm not used to is seeing a United defense get carved up repeatedly. That had played positioned wrongly, or not picking up markers, or not figuring out where to go. You can point at Quaranta for missing the marking on the first goal, but he had just run back and did anyone tell him where to pick up a marker? Fortunately, that was the only goal United gave up just to poor defending. The second Chicago goal you might try and hang on Clyde Simms, or you can do what I am going to do and just admit that Mr. White nailed that shot.
The thing is, while there were some performances turned in by players who clearly haven't given up and were still fighting (Namoff, Wells, Quaranta all deserve nods here), there was also a lot of tentative runs toward balls that meant that a 50-50 ball turned into a 75-25 ball for red.
Franco Niell not pulling the trigger inside the box is upsetting. Emilio was better, but not good yet. But the touch was off, the play was off, and while it was better than last week against Colorado, it was hardly a reason to feel like things are turning around.
As I said, there were some good things. Wells made some saves he had to make. Namoff looks like he's the only one fighting for the season at times. Quaranta ran til he had nothing left. Emilio started taking shots. But Simms had an off game, Niell wouldn't take shots first time, and Emilio can't find the net, and everyone, just everyone, had a touch that was two stone too heavy.
Your goat, I'm thinking, is Niell, but I'm listening for your saints and sinners as well. And right now, United needs more than anything to just play a technically sound game. Even if they lose. Away to Chivas, after a long week of practice, that's what I want to see. Not a result, though that would be nice. Just some good, sound soccer. We need to see some basic being executed before we start enjoying beautiful soccer again.
The most troubling sign? It was that D.C. United didn't just look slow, they look frightened. And that's a recursive function that eats its own.