It's difficult to crystallize too many thoughts about this match. DC United played much better than on opening day, and, indeed better than on any number of occasions last year. During the first 20 minutes, in particular, United played with speed and industry. They actually looked like they were working together like a team for the first time in a long time.However, it is all too easy to be deluded by this performance in the initial stages of the match, because it was clear that New England was sitting back and letting United come at them. Once New England came out to play, the bitter ending seemed almost preordained.
United's offense continues to be punchless. I'm sorry, but Jaime Moreno is no longer a 90 minute player and, indeed, may be overdue for his appointment at the glue factory. Both Wallace and Barklage made repeated runs into space that were not rewarded. It was almost as if, just like last year, the team was not playing on the same page.
Moreover, the experiment with Quaranta as a central attacking midfielder is not working either. If it were up to me, I would go with a flat midfield and pair Santino with Pontius up front or send him to the wing where he gave some effective performances last year.
Perhaps my favorite new player is Pena, who, although quite probably old and busted, obviously has a good soccer brain to go with his sublime soccer skills. It was a cheering sight to see him directing both the midfield and defense for large portions of the match. Castillo, on the other hand, registers a resounding meh. Ivan Guerrero seemed more effective, but putting yesterdays aside, I still wish Wallace was patrolling the left side of the midfield, where his offensive instincts are more likely to be rewarded and defensive weaknesses more likely to be concealed.
The real test will come this weekend, when United faces the expansion team in Delaware, and then we will have a chance to take the measure of how good or bad this year's edition of DC United really is. After that, I'll give United one more game before proclaiming complete doom.
Cheer up guys. At least the RFK fan experience remains world class.