After missing the 1-1 draw with Colorado due to a concussion suffered in training, Reis returned between the posts for his third match out of the last four after missing four games with a knee injury.
"It's always disappointing when you lose. You know for us, we haven't been playing well and we needed to play well in order to get three points," Reis said. "The disappointing thing was giving up the goal right after we score, and we battled and I thought we did a good job of battling but in the end we didn't have enough."
It was a third consecutive start for Shalrie Joseph as an out-and-out striker, and he contributed his second goal in that time with the opener.
"We haven't been keeping the ball up front, which normally can get you offense, but it helps the defense get up as well and we haven't had that. So that's why he's been playing up there and he's done a great job," said Nicol. "He wins his fair share of battles -- he holds the ball up and brings other people into the game."
Taylor Twellman could finally be ready to return from the neck injury that had sidelined him for the entirety of the 2009 season thus far. He has participated in full training over the past couple of weeks.
"He's desperate to play," Nicol said. "We'll see what happens this week. He should be cleared for this weekend. But he hasn't played in eight months, so it'll be tough to get 90 minutes out of him."
D.C. United saw their undefeated run reach six games but felt like points were left on the table after playing to a scoreless draw at home with Real Salt Lake on Saturday at RFK Stadium. United have 16 points from 11 matches, sitting in a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference, two points in back of the Chicago Fire entering the week. LAST MATCH
D.C. United were coming off a come-from-behind 2-2 draw at Chivas USA, their third tie in a row that extended their unbeaten streak to eight games in all competitions. Real Salt Lake were unbeaten in four games, with three losses, after a record win against New England.
United struggled to break down the RSL defense over the 90 minutes and Real forced United goalkeeper Josh Wicks into eight saves over the contest, holding a 14-8 edge in total shots and an 8-1 margin in attempts on goal, but neither team could break through.
United head coach Tom Soehn made four changes to the team that came back for a dramatic 2-2 draw at Chivas USA the weekend before. Andrew Jacobson and Fred came into the midfield and Christian Gomez assumed the playmaking role, with Rodney Wallace and Chris Pontius going to the substitutes' bench and Ben Olsen a long-term injury absence. Josh Wicks came in between the posts in place of Louis Crayton.
Here's Soehn's team (3-4-1-2): Josh Wicks - Bryan Namoff, Dejan Jakovic, Marc Burch - Santino Quaranta, Andrew Jacobson, Clyde Simms, Fred (Rodney Wallace 61) - Christian Gomez - Jaime Moreno (Chris Pontius 46), Luciano Emilio (Ange N'Silu 70). Substitutes Not Used: Greg Janicki, Avery John, Milos Kocic, Devon McTavish
"I thought we were flat. The one thing we've done against other teams that have bunkered that we've been able to open up is because our movement off each other has been so good. We addressed that at halftime and we started to move off each other. And at the end of the game we started playing kickball instead of playing our game, which is something that we haven't done in a while," Soehn said.
After making his first start since March 28 in the midweek U.S. Open Cup play-in match, Josh Wicks was given a second consecutive turn between the posts and contributed the club's second clean sheet on the campaign.
"Josh did well. As we tried to get the goal you obviously leave yourself open to a counter and I thought the defenders did well. I think Burch came up with a lot of big plays," said Soehn. "Josh came out of the box real well, made a couple of big saves when we needed it. But we're disappointed in the other side of it -- not creating enough opportunities."
Wicks was forced into a United season-high eight saves. "My defense was there to help me out when I couldn't make the save and I was there to help them out when they slacked off. I think as a whole, the backs and the 'keeper, it's great for us to get another shutout and we're going to look forward and move on from that," he said.
United were shut out for the first time on the season, a welcome change from the end of the 2008 season when they were blanked in four of their five league games (and in seven of their last 10 games in all competitions).
"I don't think we've come across a team that played that defensive, and we didn't know how to break them down. Our ideas weren't that great and it showed," said Quaranta. "I guess you take the point, but it's not good enough at all."
After starting each of the first 10 league games, Rodney Wallace moved to the substitutes' bench for the first time in league play. He has still appeared in every competitive match this season for United. As well, fellow rookie Chris Pontius came off the bench for the second time in three league games.
"Chris [Pontius] put a lot of minutes in Wednesday. Rodney [Wallace] has never sat. We're trying to keep everybody healthy and fresh. When we play a lot of games, you always worry about guys hurting themselves, and muscle strains. We're going to be cautious to make sure everyone stays healthy," Soehn said.
The draw was United's third in their last four league games at RFK Stadium, key as the club now faces four of their next six games away from home, including a three-game swing June 17-July 4.
"At any point you can go from first to fifth. It's just the way it is if you're not winning games. We have to stay on top of the table and definitely take care of the games at home," said Santino Quaranta.