No antidote: Ben Olsen pleased with DC United's effort, but same lapses sinking the ship

For as much as D.C. United’s performance in a 2-1 loss against Dallas on Saturday night brought with it some positives – Dwayne De Rosario’s first goal of the season, dogged defensive play thanks to some lineup changes and the club’s first road goal of the year – the same problems that have plagued 2013’s worst team sent United to a franchise record seventh-straight loss.

United once again gave up an early goal, and once again were unable to defend set pieces for the full 90. They’re now 1-8-1, dead last in the standings.

“We lost the game but I was proud about the overall commitment and the way they went about things tonight,” said United coach Ben Olsen. “The spirit was good. They looked like a team that cared and wanted to dig themselves out of the situation they we’re in. That’s important. But it’s also important to make teams earn goals. We’re still slipping at the key moments. We’re still giving up set pieces. These have to stop.”

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League-leading Dallas’ game-winner came in the 77thh minute when Michel’s corner kick landed in the box and was chested into the net by Je-Vaughn Watson. It’s the eighth goal United have allowed on set pieces this season.

Asked after the match if another veteran presence was needed on the team, Olsen stood by his group.

“It doesn’t take an old guy to mark on a corner kick. It doesn’t take an old guy not to slip, last time I checked,” he said. “I’ve got enough age out there to win games. It will help when Nick DeLeon can play 90 minutes. It will help when Chris Pontius gets back. It will help when Johnny Thorrington gets on the field again soon.”

Prior to Jackson’s 11th-minute goal, United forward Casey Townsend (making his first start of the year) nearly put D.C. on top with a right-footed blast off the near post. Townsend has been impressive in training for D.C., and on loan for USL Pro side Richmond. He, along with defenders Ethan White and James Riley, goalkeeper Joe Willis and DeLeon were part of five new starters in Olsen’s XI compared to the match prior, a 4-0 loss against Houston.

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And it helped – the team’s form was better. But the result was the same.

“We will still evaluate our group to get better, but overall I’m pleased with the spirit they went about the game with and that was what I was looking for and obviously a result," Olsen explained. "But, we cost ourselves a result with, again, a set piece.”