Tampa Bay Sports Day

Sloppy United gives away 2-2 tie

DC United scored twice, for them in the unlikeliest of fashion, but in what has become the painful story of this season, couldn’t close the game out, squandering a two goal lead to settle for a 2-2 draw with Chivas USA at cool but soggy RFK Stadium Wednesday night.

Juan Pablo Angel continued to haunt United regardless of the shirt he wears, scoring twice in the second half to bring the game to level terms after United extended a first half lead just a few minutes into the second half.

“There is a mentality to this game right now that some of our guys don’t have. You have to have it for 90-minutes and you have to have it game-in-and-game-out and we don’t have it. Part of it is youth and part of it is complacency.

“It’s the way we fade in and out of games as a group, the way we take breaks; it’s the reason why we haven’t won two games in a row in three years. It’s a mentality that after you do well then it’s okay now and we can afford to let down.”

United have not won consecutive league matches since early June of 2009, a span of over 70-matches, and those also represent the last successive home wins as well.

United (8-8-11, 35 points) not only frittered away this game but an opportunity to leapfrog New York (7-7-15, 36 points) in the tightly contested Eastern Conference playoff race, as the Red Bulls were dumped at home by Real Salt Lake.

“I don’t know if we should have been up 2-0 but we were and to tie that game is absolutely ridiculous,” Olsen continued.

Chivas had lost four in a row coming into the match and are now winless in their last seven games. United pounded Chivas 3-0 in at Home Depot Center just 11 days earlier but this was not the same team that United faced that night.

Dwayne De Rosario scored his 10th goal of the season with a rare header to give United the lead in the 39th minute with Ethan White adding another in a seemingly rarer fashion, off a corner, to give United a two goal cushion shortly after halftime.

De Rosario was awarded a less than deserved penalty kick to possibly win the game in the 93rd minute but in what could be deemed poetic justice or just plain fair, the kick was saved by goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.

As De Rosario was aiming to get onto a weakly floated ball into the penalty area, Angel barely got his hand on the back of the Canadian international. When De Rosario flopped to the turf, Referee Chris Penso bit, and pointed to the spot for the late game gift.

In the first half, De Rosario had snuck through a crowd of players to nod home Andy Najar’s free kick after Jorge Flores carelessly handled the ball just outside the top right corner of the penalty to give United the lead.

Other than an early deflected shot by Marcos Mondaini that challenged United keeper Bill Hamid, the goal was the most compelling moment in an otherwise listless first half where neither team looked ambitious enough to take hold of the match or worthy of a playoff spot.

Chivas had been very diligent in quickly double teaming any United player that received the ball in a dangerous position.

“We played like boys and not just the second half; I thought in the first half we played soft,” said Olsen. “We are up 2-0 and we think the game is easy; we think we don’t have to tackle, we don’t have to win second balls, let’s just roll the dice and hope we get lucky. It’s absolutely gonna stop, it has to stop or we will not be going to make the playoffs it’s that simple.”

On United’s second goal, De Rosario got into another good spot, flicking a short range shot that Kennedy did well to get flare out his right hand and knock away. But no one bothered to mark Ethan White on the follow up and he knocked it home with authority to make the score 2-0.

Charlie Davies had a good chance to tack on another one and possibly put the game out of reach in the 53rd minute with a left footer from a step right of the penalty spot but Kennedy was well positioned to deflect it away to safety.

“When it’s 2-0 in the second half you have to take those opportunities to kill off the game whether it’s getting that third goal or shoring up things around the field and we lost that urgency on the defensive end after we got that two goal lead and thinking it was going to be a little easier to close out the game,” said Josh Wolff.

“We have to do the little bit of extra work that closes the game down and makes it difficult for the other team. There is a lot that goes into that but at that point, our general makeup has to play with a little more bite, a little more urgency and not give anything away.”

United were duly punished for sloppy coverage in the 58th minute by one of the great finishers in MLS history. Angel easily beat Perry Kitchen to a simple, and uncontested, cross from Nick LaBrocca at the right edge of the penalty area to draw one back for Chivas.

Brandon McDonald had slipped on the wet turf, giving LaBrocca plenty of time of time and space to deliver the fruitful ball across the face of the goal.

Angel corralled Ante Jazic’s bouncing ball from the left side, took a step inside and blasted home a relatively easy finish from 8-yards for a player of his caliber to bring the game to level terms in the 69th minute.

Laurent Courtois nearly stole a win for the visitors but Hamid neatly blocked the Frenchman’s left footed shot from 13-yards after the Frenchmen inexcusably got behind Kitchen for a semi-break away in the 85th minute.

“I haven’t seen consistent, game after game, high level performances. It’s there – the talent is there, but talent is not enough. I have been on terrible teams that have won games because we had guys that would do anything – anything – to win a game,” said Olsen.

“And that means if they are tired, if they lose the ball, they don’t stop. If you have to run 40 yards as hard as you can to tackle or to help a teammate, you do it. And that part is missing, and it has got to stop.

“I don’t know necessarily how to instill it right now but certainly I am going to do my best to try and instill it.”