After two weeks spent welcoming fresh faces who injected a certain newness into D.C. United’s locker room, MLS' worst club lost for the third time in four matches in a humbling 4-1 defeat to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on Saturday night.
Luis Silva, acquired earlier this month from Toronto FC, scored his first goal in a D.C. kit, but that was about the only positive for United.
Midfielder Nick DeLeon and center back Dejan Jakovic both returned to action after being sidelined with injuries (Jakovic missed eight matches, DeLeon, three) but were unable to help United above 10 points this season as they fell to 2-14-4.
“The only positive I see is that I hope we remember what this feels like and I hope it never happens again,” said United midfielder John Thorrington, who wore the captain’s armband Saturday. “Didn’t carry out our game plan, not enough guys ready to do what it takes to win a game.
“It’s not just coincidence that we won two games this year. It hurts. It sucks. It hurts the coaches, it hurts the players, but it’s no good for us to hurt now, the game is done. We lost 4-1. I guess you could say there were some moments where we played well, but when you give up four goals, you just have to play like Barcelona and we didn’t.”
Any renewed optimism that might have developed during the team’s bye week – during which the club brought in Silva, along with three other young American players – quickly faded when a sharp Chicago squad scored in the second and 11th minutes to open a 2-0 lead. The Fire led 3-0 at the break and eventually took a 4-0 lead before Silva scored D.C.’s second road goal of the season, and their first goal from the run of play since May 19, in the 58th minute.
“[The goal] is a bright spot, I suppose,” Olsen said. “It was a good goal. It’s good to get [Silva] off the mark. It was just a day where no one on our team had a good day.”
Contrary to losses after which Olsen has been displeased with his side’s play, on Saturday he gave all of the credit to a strong Chicago side that showed it will be a difficult opponent in the upcoming US Open Cup semifinal battle between these two clubs next month.
“I think some of our young guys learned a lot tonight, so maybe that’s a positive,” Olsen said. “Chicago was very good tonight. I don’t want to make this about us too much because that would take away from the performance of Chicago.”
Thorrington, a seasoned soccer veteran, was left – as so many of United’s players have been this season – searching to find the right words following another nightmarish loss.
“I’ve been on a lot of teams in the league,” said the midfielder. “I know this isn’t a bad group of players, I know it’s not a bad coaching staff, I know there is something here but for whatever reason it hasn’t been working.
“We’ve showed signs in the last month, so maybe we can start a bit of a turnaround. Tonight it’s hard to see a silver lining.”