DC United (5-15-4) played a most unusual match, losing 1-0 against Real Salt Lake (8-12-5) at RFK Stadium this past weekend. The match started Saturday with the possibility of threatening thunderstorms, and broke off abruptly on the heels of an hour-long drenching and lively display of lightning at the stadium. Such a spectacular dumping of water would not be complete without inches-deep waterfalls on the stairways and newly-visible watermarks two feet high in some of the hallways within the restricted access areas of the stadium.
After the rain had stopped, the field could not be drained well enough for a restart of the match, and the referee called for a postponement. Sunday at 7 p.m. found DC United resuming the match in front of a crowd so thin, that management requested people with seats higher up in the stands to move closer to the field.
Play started at 27:52 on the clock with a DC United corner kick. Boot to ball, and it sailed wide. For the next 17 minutes DC United held their own on the pitch. During that time, Deshorn Brown was taken out of the match at minute 37 for concussion evaluation after taking a hit to the head. He was replaced with Patrick Mullens.
Halftime took place at 45 minutes like any other match. The second half found Luis Silva slicing a shot past DC United’s keeper Bill Hamid in the 64th minute. Real went up by one goal to none.
While DC United’s defense was working, and offense was working, nothing was working well enough to prevent Real from scoring. Real’s one goal was the only goal of the match and the first time Real Salt Lake had won a match at RFK stadium.
One of the newest acquisitions by DC United, midfielder Paul Arriola showed a lot of promise with his start of the evening. Arriola was playing for Lloyd Sam who was out of the match serving a one match suspension for a red card.
When asked about his play that evening, Arriola said, “felt good. It’s always difficult coming into a new team, not just for me, but for the team as well. I thought the first 30 minutes yesterday and 15 today, we came out well and had some good chances, especially on set pieces. It’s tough to give up a goal like that, where it’s a bad clearance, maybe a foul. I shouldn’t have given up in the first place and could’ve stood him up, so that’s frustrating. I don’t want to make an excuse that I’m new to the team and chemistry isn’t there, but the fact is that the chemistry isn’t totally there yet. Obviously, we all hope that it would’ve been there right off the bat since we're trying to kick-start ourselves into the playoffs, but I thought there was a lot of room for growth and understanding to be made for both the players on the field and the ones coming off the bench. It was rough, but in the end we can walk away with the optimistic belief that we are going to get better."
DC United’s head coach Ben Olsen let his frustration with the outcome show when he said “We were unable to score the goal. They had very few chances, but made the best out of the one good one that they had. Silva can do that, he’s capable of making the big play. We saw it when he was here. He made the play that mattered tonight, and we didn’t.”
It has not been a favorable season for professional soccer in Washington D.C. as the Red and Black that is DC United sits at the bottom of their league just like their counterparts, the Washington Spirit.
DC United’s next home match will be August 23 at RFK Stadium. Game time is 7:30 p.m.