WASHINGTON — D.C. United returned to the training pitch Tuesday morning, ready to move on from Saturday’s 4-2 defeat against the San Jose Earthquakes.
But for a young team, there was also an awareness of using the loss as a learning experience, a stepping stone to bigger and better things in a long season.
According to head coach Ben Olsen, the showing in training was a good start.
“It was a festive practice today,” he said. “It was pretty high energy and you like to see that response from a group after, physically, I thought we got a little beat up on the weekend.”
After being put through the paces in cooler than usual temperatures for a DC summer, there was a sense of eagerness to head back out and play again sooner rather than later in hopes of erasing memories of the loss.
“You kind of wish it was a shorter week, wish we had a game tomorrow just because mentally you think about the loss and it’s not an easy one to swallow at home,” midfielder Chris Pontius said.
As far as Saturday was concerned, a second viewing reinforced Olsen’s sentiment that a strong offensive effort should have led to three points.
“Offensively, it was a very good day for us,” he said. “I thought we created plenty of chances. Our offensive moment, combinations were pretty good. Still can be better with the final ball, but we scored two goals.”
However, the mistakes made by a young back line served as a reminder that this team still has a long way to go. Tied 2-2 at the break, it was a chance for DC to come out and attack in the second half.
But San Jose forward Steven Lenhart punished two more breakdowns, setting up a goal and scoring his third on the day to seal the road win.
It marked the fourth occasion this season that DC conceded four goals on the year and while Olsen was far from pleased, he wasn’t about to overreact.
“I don’t want to blow this game out of proportion,” he said. “It’s a loss and we don’t like giving up four goals. It’s not acceptable, but we’ll look at the tape, we’ll learn from it, teach from it and move on to the weekend.”
Said Pontius, “It’s about accountability, and holding yourself responsible and fixing it for the next game. You’re going to run into problems when mistakes keep happening, so if you can fix those mistakes, then you’re going to get better.”
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @travismclark