These are the games that try you, the games that test your mettle, your devotion as a fan. I count myself among the truly faithful. This game was nothing less than a valiant loss. DC were fighting poor odds at the half and put in extraordinary effort to recoup. If the game could have been won by dint of whichever team wanted it more, if the winners could have advanced by the sheer magnitude of their hunger, I am positive DC would be the victors. I am so proud of my team.
It's so bittersweet, the taste in my mouth right now. Could be blood because I screamed myself hoarse at the local college bar, the only D.C. fan in a several-hundred-mile radius (Chicago has none up here, haha!), or it could be because I saw my guys come so close and walk away empty-handed.
Fullback says the same, but better.
- The first half was bust. Blanco was effectively kept in check, which freed Carr, Rolfe, and Barrett to shine like the budding young stars they are. It never occurred to me until the moment Addlery stepped onto the pitch for Emilio that Chicago's front line might actually be deeper than ours. Now that I think about it, our front line is fairly shallow and the disparity between the starters, all two of them, and the subs is enormous. Tonight the disparity was insurmountable.
- Who can blame McTavish for blowing a reflex shot with his weaker foot? Remember, it was coming to him off Addlery's shin.
- Carr's poor touch and dive should have been a penalty. Perkins got lucky, both with a free kick and a yellow. I don't know how CJ Brown got a better look than the ref, but he did, or he thought he did, and he would have been correct. It's a shame the non-calls didn't go both ways.
- It's a little buried in all the despair emanating from RFK right now, but Clyde Simms put in the performance of a lifetime. Even without having the sickest volley since Olsen's hat trick, Simms played awesome defense and always had the quickest touch out of DC's defensive third. Clyde Simms is my favorite defender in DC right now. Burch would be second and Namoff third.
- Fred must be feeling weary. I wonder how he feels about the prospect of an offseason after nearly 12 months of constant pressure and effort. He deserves every bit of rest he gets.
- Olsen, you hero, you tried damned hard. I never have and I never will fail to believe in you.
- Moreno and Gomez, you are the fire behind the flag. You're each worth more than all the money in Qatar. I know both of you know exactly how much the two of you mean to DC.
- Tom Soehn, you've made it through with a few bruises, cuts and scrapes. DC has high expectations next season. I'm confident you will fulfill them. I'll get back to you in a second.
- Boswell, McTavish, Burch: there's work to be done. Take some time, let things settle, think it over. You're still three of the most promising young defenders in the league. Don't forget that.
- Namoff: so dependable. Same as Olsen, you have my utter faith.
- Addlery: I won't easily forget all the chances you've missed this season. I hope you have the willpower to find motivation where it won't easily be found.
- Dyachenko, you get a lot of stick about not a whole lot. I like what I see and I hope to see more. You definitely made a difference out there and stepped up when we needed you to. It might be asking a lot, but if you pick up a finishing touch during the offseason, there is a bigger role for you here in the future. I know you know you didn't deserve that red.
- Perkins: you are a rock. You and Namoff and Olsen and Jaime and Gomez: you are the foundation of D.C. United. Never doubt that.
- Pickens reminded me of Perkins except Perkins wouldn't have punched half those crosses and would have saved Gomez' goal.
- Bakary Soumare reminded me of Simms except bigger and less scrappy.
- Forget The Cheat, Calen Carr is one of Chicago's best assets. A lot of energy was spent on Blanco (and it worked), but that gave Carr all the more room to work with and in my opinion Carr ranks as one of the most dangerous lone strikers in the league. Barret and Rolfe are decent, but I think they benefit very much from Blanco's attention-getting. They weren't this good when he wasn't around and they don't scare the shit out of me like Carr does all on his own. What's more, that pass which led to Barret's goal was sublime and well beyond his years. I think I saw Frank Lampard do something similar over the weekend.
- Soehn, a few words: your front line is dangerously thin. Recruit help.
See you in the spring, guys. I'll check in from time to time, but expect updates to center around United gossip, MNT gossip, or something phenomenal concerning Chelsea, 'Gers, Adu or Bradley.