WASHINGTON – Down two goals and in need of a spark, D.C. United coach Ben Olsen turned to Designated Player Branko Boskovic.
And in Thursday night’s 4-0 loss to the visiting New York Red Bulls, the Designated Player who’s been struggling lately for minutes stated his case for more playing time going forward.
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Once in the game for midfielder Dax McCarty, the 30-year-old’s skills were evident, as he was able to spray the ball around the field in hopes of igniting DC’s struggling attack. And while he couldn’t quite put United on the board, Boskovic did put in a solid shift with a hat trick of dangerous chances.
“I thought Boskovic came in and did pretty well,” Olsen said. “I thought his passing was very effective and his effort was very good.”
In the 73rd minute, with the game still at 2-0, a free kick 35 yards away from the New York goal provided DC’s first genuinely dangerous moment of the match. Boskovic struck his free kick sweetly, curling it up and over the New York wall.
The dipping shot just missed the upper corner of the goal, instead glancing off the top of the crossbar and out for a goal kick.
WATCH: Boskovic blasts crossbar
After the game, Boskovic admitted he thought the free kick was going in.
“When I see the ball go [over the wall], I think it’s a goal,” he said. “But maybe next time.”
Had that gone in, things might have been different. New York’s lead would have been cut to 2-1, and the crowd at RFK Stadium likely would have kicked into a higher gear. As it was, Joel Lindpere put the game out of reach three minutes later with the visitors’ third goal of the night.
The free kick, however, wasn’t Boskovic’s only chance. In the 87th minute, forward Josh Wolff teed up the midfielder outside the box, but Red Bulls goal goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul was alert to keep the shot out and tip it over the bar.
Two minutes later, a failed clearance by defender Tim Ream gave Boskovic his third chance of the night, but his half-volley bounced off the post, capping an unlucky night for the midfielder.
“I don’t remember when I have the same situation in my career like this,” he said. “I know when I have one chance, when the second comes, I score. But [Thursday], it’s very unlucky.”