A 1-1 tie would have been a pretty good prediction going in, and isn't a bad result for us. But it feels good to say that this team deserved better. DC United dominated in scoring opportunities, with 11 shots on goal to Columbus's 3. But they were a bit more effective at converting their few opportunities, as we let the Crew off the hook far too often with failed chances and weak shots straight at the keeper. After we missed out on scoring so often early in the second half, I'm sure I'm not the only one who felt a Crew goal was coming soon.
This is a tough part of the schedule, with a lot of multigame weeks coming up, and not the best time to be missing four starters in Moreno, Emilio, Quaranta, and Jakovic. But to be fair, Columbus was also missing their best defender in Chad Marshall and a dynamic midfielder in Robbie Roberts. We were the better side tonight. Which makes me feel good about our chances if we happen to run into the Crew in a home-and-home playoff series. But that doesn't get us any farther in the standings.
1. The central midfield of Clyde Simms and Ben Olsen was supposed to be a part of our starting lineup all year, but unfortunately seeing them together in the middle of the field has been rare. The new aerodynamically cornrowed Simms was able to go forward more with a trusted holding midfielder next to him, and made two important runs that led to our goal: first a headed shot, and then a run that caused some confusion and knocked over a defender just before Gomez's touch. But maybe the most shocking aspect of this match was Ben Olsen going 90 minutes for the first time in close to two years.
2. Really great team work that resulted in Christian Gomez's goal. Simms to N'Silu to Pontius to Gomez.
1. Remember the two things we thought we learned about Boyzzz Khumalo earlier in the week? That he's not a right wing, and that he's not a starter. Well he started at right wing in this match, but I guess we didn't have too many other choices. Khumalo was once again terrible on crosses, but did well in using his speed to track back a couple times, including one last second shot-saving tackle on Ekpo.
2. Rodney Wallace displayed excellent movement off the ball, putting himself in good spaces. But twice this resulted in shots straight at Hesmer. I'm not exactly sure if it was Wallace's fault that Moreno was so open at the back post for the Crew's goal.
3. Pretty solid match from Greg Janicki filling in for Jakovic. The defense did well to keep the Crew off the board on their many set pieces.
1. I'm not sure whether or not it was a coincidence that the Crew's goal came immediately after Fred entered the match for Khumalo. Fred gave the speedy Ekpo too much space to send in an uncontested cross. With Pontius, Wallace, and Quaranta all playing so well, and now Khumalo also making a strong push, I wonder if Fred might be slipping even farther down the depth chart.
So another strong performance by a United team that remains in sole possession of first place, at least until the end of the Chicago/Colorado match. Also, it's so rare that we talk about decent officiating performances, but that was a very well called match by Baldolermo Toledo.