WASHINGTON – Up two goals in the second half, at home, against a Chivas USA team they beat 3-0 only 11 earlier, D.C. United were poised to continue to make a push towards the playoffs.
But in what has been an all too familiar refrain at RFK Stadium, DC squandered a lead, couldn’t close out a game, and dropped two points thanks to a pair of Juan Pablo Ángel goals in the second half.
Head coach Ben Olsen didn’t take kindly to the 2-2 result.
“We played like boys,” he said. “And not just the second half. I thought the first half we played soft. We played naïve. There’s a mentality to this game that right now some of our guys don’t have.”
Consistent home results have proved elusive for nearly the entire season for United, who had a lead thanks to goals off set pieces from Dwayne De Rosario and Ethan White on either side of halftime.
But with the lead, DC let complacency creep into their performance on the field.
“We’re up 2-0, we still need to play with the same sense of urgency and still put pressure on them, still do all the things we did to get to that point,” midfielder Stephen King said. “I feel like we took the foot off the gas a little bit and they started to build some momentum.”
Added forward Josh Wolff: “It has to be all over the field – the forwards, the midfielders, the backs, everybody, doing the little bit of extra work that closes it down and makes it difficult for the other team.”
Closing out games has been the Achilles heel for DC on numerous occasions this year. Earlier in the season, the team lost leads late in the game to Eastern Conference foes Philadelphia and Houston, conceding goals that turned three points into one on both occasions.
And even after conceding twice to squander another lead against Chivas, DC were handed a lifeline: De Rosario drew a penalty three minutes into stoppage time for the chance to win.
But Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy saved De Rosario’s penalty kick, and the result stood, leaving DC searching for answers after dropping two points yet again.
That didn’t matter much to Olsen, who was more concerned about losing the lead than the penalty miss.
“It’s inexcusable,” he said. “I don’t know if we should have been up 2-0, but we were. And to tie that game’s absolutely ridiculous. … It’s absolutely going to stop. It has to stop, or we will not make playoffs.”