D.C. United’s woes con­tinue with a life­less 1-0 loss at home to Chicago.

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY STEVEN GOFF steven.goff@wash­post.com


D.C. United be­gan a three­game home­s­tand this month glow­ing with op­ti­mism af­ter start­ing to show signs of be­com­ing whole.

Satur­day, how­ever, United com­pleted the once-promis­ing stretch with three de­feats, no goals and a grow­ing, al­most des­per­ate, need for ros­ter up­grades this sum­mer.

Ben Olsen’s gang barely made an im­pres­sion in the 1-0 de­feat to the Chicago Fire be­fore an an­nounced 20,618 at RFK Sta­dium, an out­come that stretched its home score­less streak to 287 min­utes.

“Some guys were say­ing we needed to get at least six points in these three games,” de­fender Bobby Boswell said. “I was say­ing, ‘Why not nine?’ We didn’t get any. It will be a long sea­son if we don’t fig­ure this out quickly.”

United (3-6-2) failed to score for the sev­enth time, dropped to 2-4-1 at home and lost to Chicago (6-3-3) for the first time in 10 meet­ings.

With­out sus­pended play­maker Lu­ciano Acosta, D.C. did not put Chicago un­der pres­sure and placed just two shots on tar­get, nei­ther of which tested goal­keeper Matt Lamp­son.

“They’re good, we’re not — at the mo­ment — and it’s on me to fix it,” Olsen said.

United wasn’t good in any of the three matches, fall­ing to two slow-start­ing teams, Montreal and Philadel­phia, be­fore con­fronting a Chicago side fir­ing on all cylin­ders. David Ac­cam beat an off­side trap early in the sec­ond half in pro­vid­ing the goal.

“I’m not sure what’s go­ing on,” goal­keeper Bill Hamid said in a hushed tone. “Their goal­keeper didn’t have to make a save. A lot of guys in this locker room need to take a look in the mir­ror. Ter­ri­ble.”

If United is go­ing to re­verse course, it will have to do so on the road: seven of the up­com­ing nine matches are away from RFK, be­gin­ning next Satur­day at Van­cou­ver.

Olsen sug­gested help is on the way in the sum­mer trans­fer win­dow, which opens in early July. Team of­fi­cials said they’ve been scout­ing ex­ten­sively and hope to add talent, in­clud­ing a pos­si­ble des­ig­nated player.

Asked why he re­mains op­ti­mistic, Olsen said: “I know this group. I know what they are about. I know what some of the pieces that are go­ing to come back can do for us.

“We’re re­al­is­tic in that we un­der­stand we need to get bet­ter, and we will get bet­ter in the trans­fer win­dow. All of those things com­bined give me the be­lief that this group will be okay.”

For now, Olsen will have to make do with a group that works hard but doesn’t pro­duce.

United was feisty and fo­cused at the start but, with­out Acosta, lacked di­rec­tion. Three times, D.C. dodged threats in the first half-hour.

Shortly be­fore the break, Jared Jef­frey smashed a spec­u­la­tive shot from great dis­tance. Why not? United’s in­ter­play had been com­ing up empty. The half ended with­out United cre­at­ing even a mild chance.

Chicago went ahead in the 52nd minute when Luis Solignac played the ball over the United de­fense to the fleet-footed Ac­cam. At first glance, the Ghana­ian winger seemed well off­side. Olsen went nuts, ges­tur­ing and yelling. The as­sis­tant ref­eree’s flag stayed down.

A video freeze-frame showed Steve Birn­baum keep­ing Ac­cam on­side as Solignac struck the ball.

Ac­cam cre­ated an an­gle as he in­fil­trated the penalty area and curled an eight-yard shot into the far cor­ner for his sixth goal.

United had two qual­ity looks, but in all cases, proven at­tack­ers fal­tered.

In a pocket of space, Se­bastien Le Toux tried to force a pass through traf­fic. Gifted with an er­rant ball at the top of the box, Lloyd Sam failed to get off a shot. Le Toux hooked an 18-yarder over the cross­bar.

Hamid kept the mar­gin close with a sen­sa­tional re­flex save on MLS lead­ing scorer Ne­manja Nikolic surg­ing into free­dom.

The only mo­ment of won­der in the wan­ing mo­ments came when Ger­man icon Bas­tian Sch­we­in­steiger danced past mul­ti­ple de­fend­ers on the end line to set up a scor­ing chance for Chicago.

“I don’t think I’ve ever lost three in a row at home,” Boswell said. “Heck, I’ve been on teams where we haven’t lost three at home all year.”

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