This one hurts. Hurts more than any other match this year. Losing 1 point here because of a faux penalty call hurts worse than losing 2 points to LA Galaxy earlier in the year because of a faux penalty call. Maybe that's because it was to one of our fierce rivals who look to be making a push up the table now that Twellman is back, or maybe it's because we deserved much better here.
I don't agree with the conspiracy theorists that this match, along with the Chivas-Chicago match on Thursday, is a result of the league encouraging fewer ties. I just think that MLS referees suck in general. But I can tell you for sure that I had no idea I was writing a premonition about United in Fullback's blog earlier today when I wrote "It was a shame to see such a great match between probably the two best teams decided by a terrible penalty call." That was written about Chivas-Chicago, but the same applies here. This was a really exciting and entertaining match. But matches like that need to be settled on the field. Not from the penalty spot after a little bump.
1. I felt like I'd just stepped into a time machine and traveled back to 2008 watching the chemistry between Fred and Luciano Emilio. They set each other up multiple times throughout the night, including Emilio's assist on Fred's goal. And if the crossbar was set just two inches higher, we would have won 3-2 because each of these guys hit the post in the first half.
2. That was probably Rodney Wallace's best match as a pro. He had one diving header just barely kept out by Matt Reis, and turned in easily his best performance defensively. Hopefully Wallace has hit the turning point and will actually emerge as DC's "best two-way player" as he was referred to by Rongen.
1. Josh Wicks had another productive start, making some key saves, despite giving up two goals. This was another positive step towards earning a permanent spot in the starting lineup.
1. I didn't see much of the usual sizzle from Chris Pontius in this one, despite consistently good service from Burch. And where was he on Shalrie Joseph's goal? Was he sprinting to keep up with Kenny Mansally so he wouldn't be able to get a quality cross off? No. He was jogging, and then stopped once he got to Ralston (who was already marked well by Jakovic) instead of running with Mansally.
2. Andrew Jacobson had a pretty good first half, but I would expect that from a defensive midfielder with the lineup that Nicol put out. He made it way too easy for Shalrie Joseph to score though on the first goal. Not only did Jacobson fail to mark up when Joseph should have been his man, but he actually knocked Wicks out of the way in the process.
3. I actually liked the starting lineup from Tom Soehn. It was nice for him to give Fred a chance at CAM again for the first time in around a year. But he was probably too late to make adjustments once New England brought in Kenny Mansally. We were getting beat nonstop by Mansally and Nyassi. I was thinking it would be good timing to switch to a 4-4-2 and bring in Janicki or McTavish as another central defender. Or how about Khumalo for Pontius to add a bit more speed on the wing? Soehn was right to make a change when he did, but a straight swap of McTavish for Jacobson and N'Silu for Emilio wasn't enough.
We can blame the referees all we want, but we need to look in the mirror a little bit as well here. A recurring theme this season seems to be a failure to punish our opponents by scoring more than just one goal when we're clearly the better team. It happened against Chicago, and now it's happened twice against New England.
Late breaking news! I just saw a replay again of the penalty call on FSC and Bretos seemed to think it was called a handball, not a foul. Rewinding and sure enough, the ball may have hit Jakovic's arm. I still feel like it's a crap call to hand the game to New England on a silver platter with a PK in the 90th minute on an unintentional handling, but it doesn't hurt quite as bad anymore.