D.C. United went 90 minutes without scoring in their 2-0 loss to Toronto FC on Saturday, which means the Black-and-Red have now played 600 minutes of soccer without scoring in the run of play.
“We are not making any difference in the moments that matter,” Coach Ben Olsen told NewsChannel 8 after the game.
Though they entered the match against MLS-leading Toronto with little-to-no expectation of dominating, United was still able to hold the Canadian team scoreless for 60 minutes.
United’s defense “weathered the storm” in the first half, Olsen said, due to solid plays from Steven Birnbaum, Kofi Opare and goalkeeper Bill Hamid. But they could not find ways to convert those plays into goals.
“We are finding ways to lose games right now,” Olsen said. “[The opportunities] are out there, but we need more.”
United struggled to keep the ball off their own side of the field for the first 45 minutes of play, yet they persistently kept the dangerous Toronto trio of Michael Bradley, Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore away from the goal. Unfortunately for United, that solid defense did not last into the second half.
On a sloppy turnover by United’s Luciano Acosta in the 60th minute, Bradley switched the direction of action and found the feet of his playmaker, Giovinco, who finished the 2016 season with 17 goals and 15 assists.
The Italian midfielder quickly looked upfield to find a sprinting Altidore. Altidore took a masterfully-controlled first touch past Birnbaum and defender Chris Korb. The US national team member only needed two touches to put a ball by Hamid and into the back of the net.
For a sense of security, Toronto added another goal in the 85th minute when United failed to defend a set piece. Forward Jordan Hamilton blocked Birnbaum and headed Giovinco’s corner kick into the goal.
United could not follow through with offensive plays in the final third despite desperate changes to the frontline, including substituting in forward José Ortiz, midfielder Julian Buescher and midfielder Sébastien Le Toux. The last time United made an impact in the attacking third was on April 30, when Le Toux scored United’s third goal against Atlanta United.
D.C. United (4-8-3) face Atlanta United again on Wednesday, June 21 at 7:30 p.m. at RFK Stadium.
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