WASHINGTON—D.C. United contained Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco for 89 minutes.
But for one minute – the opening 57 seconds – the crafty Italian slipped free of D.C.’s back line, finding the perfect pocket of space to make his mark. Giovinco’s opener was all TFC needed Saturday, as the visitors ground out a 1-0 victory at RFK Stadium.
“That’s not the way you want to start a game against a very well organized team,” said D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen. “[They were] prepared to sit back and defend at 0-0 – and now it’s 1-0 – and now you have to chase the game for 90 minutes. On a night where the final ball was a little better, we make better decisions in the final third, get a lucky bounce, you know, maybe we can get away with it.
"But I give them a lot of credit. They were very well organized and committed and held off the storm in the first half.”
Giovinco’s goal added to a maddening trend for United: In 2015, D.C. gave up a goal inside of five minutes on seven different occasions. This year, during CONCACAF Champions League play, D.C. surrendered the opener inside of three minutes and then, Saturday: Giovinco.
Few in a quiet United locker room had much to say about it.
“I’ll take blame for that,” Olsen said. "That’s something we don’t know about – we don’t discuss. We don’t go out and say, ‘Hey we can take the first five minutes off, right?' They’ve heard me yell and scream enough about it. We have to get better in that aspect.
“Again, everything you do all week, now changes because of one minute.”
Added D.C. fullback Sean Franklin: “It's frustrating. We've given up early goals this year and it really puts you in a hole going down in the first minute. That's something that we've got to fix. We can't come out on our home field and let someone score in the first minute – let alone at all. It's just frustrating.”