For the first 15 minutes of Sunday night’s game at Houston Dynamo, it appeared a 15-day layoff between matches wouldn’t be an issue for D.C. United.
The spacing was crisp and D.C.’s newest All-Star, Chris Pontius, fired two early shots on goal.
HIGHLIGHTS: Houston 4, D.C. United 0
But after goalkeeper Bill Hamid was handed a red card in the 17th minute for a clumsy challenge in the box on Mac Kandji, things tumbled downhill quickly – starting, as United coach Ben Olsen saw it, with his club’s effort.
“I wasn’t that pleased with [our play after the red card],” Olsen explained to reporters. “I thought we could have been meaner, I thought we could have been angrier.”
After Houston’s Brad Davis converted the penalty against backup ‘keeper Joe Willis that made it 1-0, United played with 10 men for 73 minutes. And for the remainder of the game, they were forced to play on their back foot as the Dynamo kept pressing.
United failed to generate much in the attacking zone as their only shot on goal in the second half came off the foot of defender Chris Korb. But more importantly, they consequently failed to keep pace with Sporting Kansas City atop the Eastern Conference in another underwhelming performance in Houston that dropped United to 0-7-1 all-time in Bayou City.
“Not everybody was working as hard as they could, and we’ll address that,” Olsen said. “There were some guys out there that gave it their all and I was proud of them, but it wasn’t every guy out there putting in the effort and that’s very alarming.”
Olsen and his men will have an entire week to think over what went wrong before traveling to Columbus next Saturday.
Meanwhile, Hamid’s red card was D.C.’s first of the season and the second of the 21-year-old’s career. The US international was involved in a similar play last August against Toronto FC when he flipped Eric Avila outside the box in the seventh minute of an eventual 3-3 draw.
“He hesitated,” Olsen said. “That’s a young goalkeeper. You’re still going to have these. He’s going to have a game every now and then where he doesn’t make the right decision.”