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Chris Snear

I am one of the few journalists covering soccer, or any sport for that matter, that actually played the game at a high level. And though I no longer play, I love the sport and I love to write. My goal is to make you go 'hmmmm..interesting' or be so furious with me that you write back to disagree...but if you do, be careful because I will write back!!! I started covering DC United and the National Teams in 1997-98, took a hiatus for a few years and then back into it in 2002 and have been sharing my thoughts ever since.


TANGENTS

De Rosario Doesn’t Start, United Have No Answers for Timbers 2-0

Written by on May 25, 2013 | 6 Comments »
Posted in Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, DC United, FC Dallas, General, Houston Dynamo, Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS, Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, New York RB, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps

A visibly upset Dwayne De Rosario was one of the first players to exit a completely frustrated DC United locker room after their 2-0 loss to the Portland Timbers Saturday night at RFK Stadium, an absolute rarity for those who have covered him at all during his MLS career.

United (1-9-2, 5 points) are now winless in their last ten games and have not had a lead in a match since scoring the 60th minute of a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake in their home opener in March.

De Rosario was a healthy scratch from the starting XI for the first time this season for a reason other than strictly rest.

“It’s a coach’s decision,” said a terse Ben Olsen after the game.

Olsen made several changes to his starting squad, some due to injury, including starting Carlos Ruiz for the first time this season. Ruiz was basically the last forward on the roster that had yet to start so at some point, with this team’s inability to keep possession and score goals, he was going to get his opportunity.

“Everybody else has gotten a shot on this team; he deserved it and I thought he did well. I thought for 45, 50 minutes he brought some real soccer up there,” said Olsen. “I thought he had a real positive match. I am happy that he got on the field. He has knocked down my door numerous times saying give me a chance. It certainly wasn’t on him tonight.”

But with their pedigree in this league, why not start them together?

Asked if he was surprised that he didn’t start, “Surprised is not the word,” said a frustrated De Rosario. “He didn’t think that Carlos and I could play on the same field together so that’s the way it is.”

De Rosario came on in the 65th minute while for Chris Pontius and the two played 6-minutes together before Ruiz came off for Lionard Pajoy.

Both players are at their best facing the goal and taking players on and creating opportunities from the dribble but with the current roster, there are certainly no better choices available.

“I think if you look at our track record as goal scorers and creators, that is not a bad problem to try at least once,” said De Rosario. “Defensive lapses, defensive mindset, it’s frustrating. There is talent in this locker room but not sure we are using this talent to the best of its ability.”

Ruiz has privately and publicly lobbied for more playing time and Olsen finally acquiesced and was rewarded with a good performance from the Guatemalan international.

“Every time I say something to the media, I talk first to the coach. That is the way I am. I spoke with Ben, we have a friendship from many years ago, and he understood my point of view,” said Ruiz. “I really want to help this team be better and the only way I can do that is to play more minutes. He decided to play me this game. We will see if he decides to play me the next game. It’s not going to be a problem if I am playing 70-minutes, or 45-minutes, I am a player that wants the opportunity to play.”

“I play 100% every game and try and help my teammates,” Ruiz continued. “I didn’t score a goal but the situation right now is a little bit complicated but I understand the question. I asked for more minutes and I played 70-minutes and nothing happened but my work on the field from my point of view was okay.”

United’s primary issue in the match however, was allowing two incredibly easy goals to Portland, who are unbeaten in their last 11 matches. United were also on the short end of a referee decision in the 72nd minute when Jose Carlos Rivero did not award a penalty for a fairly obvious hand ball by Pa-Modou Kah in the box.

“It’s a missed call. But it’s a missed call in the box. The foul on Ruiz is a missed call leading up to the goal. But that doesn’t excuse us for giving up goals the way we do. It’s embarrassing how soft we are everywhere around the field. The lack of anger a few of our guys play with, the lack of a chip on some of our guys’ shoulders is mindboggling to me,” said a distraught Olsen.

“I’ll tell you what, we got a long way to go,” Olsen continued. “I would say we had just a couple individuals really show up and show that this (expletive) matters and I’ve had it. I’ve had it with that part. Those two forwards, they were men, and we couldn’t counter it.”

Ruiz was taken down outside the penalty area for a less obvious foul than the hand ball but the ensuing goal was off an innocuous throw in that should have been sorted out without a problem in the 22nd minute.

Brandon McDonald took a bad angle and let Frederic Piquionne turn far too easily off a throw in from the right touch line. The decision by McDonald did not give Ethan White ample time to close the space gap and forced Chris Korb to tuck in from his wide back position. Piquionne in turn, was uncontested when he delivered an easy and simple ball wide to Rodney Wallace (Bullis School, U of Maryland, ex-D.C. United) who beat Bill Hamid to the short side from 15-yards out.

McDonald was also beaten on the second Timbers goal, after Darlington Nagabe bumped him off a bouncing ball before potting his fourth goal of the season.

On the other end United actually generated enough quality chances but could not find either the skill or wherewithal to break to finish.

“In the end we didn’t do well with the few opportunities we had. I will say we did have good opportunities,” Olsen said. “I count the hand ball as an opportunity, Pontius has one that should be in the net, Pajoy has one-there are chances there and that part has to get better but defensively, I mean we can’t do that, we can’t give up goals that soft.”

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6 responses to “De Rosario Doesn’t Start, United Have No Answers for Timbers 2-0”

  1. John Bladen says:

    De Rosario was pretty disgusted/frustrated during his time at TFC, Chris.

    He’s helped DCU a lot (as he did in San Jose and Houston as well) during his time there. It hasn’t always been that way with him though… there are other stops in his career where he isn’t as highly thought of.

    Great MLS player… but sometimes he has chosen to make it all about himself.

  2. Chris Snear says:

    Well that is fair commentary and may be true but I have not seen that so far here in DC. When I was with MLSNet.com, I covered the away team and covered MLS Cup when Houston was here in Washington and had no issue with him or anyone else on that team…other than him always being the last one to get out of the shower and Brian Ching being a lousy quote:-)

    I get all sides of this actually because he and Ruiz are at their best when attacking off the dribble and putting teams under pressure so if you don’t feel their styles and skills are complimentary and will clash, then I can see that…I don’t agree with it in this case however. They are two of your three dynamic offensive players along with Pontius so why not figure it out, or let them figure it out, and give it a go.

    However, if DeRo honestly believes there is sufficient talent in that locker room, I disagree with that as well (it may just be “players speak” tho???). This team has too many players on the roster, some of which are starting, that are marginal to even be in this league.

    Thanks for reading my stuff and taking the time to send me a note!!!

  3. Chris Snear says:

    Well that is fair commentary and may be true but I have not seen that so far here in DC. When I was with MLSNet.com, I covered the away team and covered MLS Cup when Houston was here in Washington and had no issue with him or anyone else on that team…other than him always being the last one to get out of the shower and Brian Ching being a lousy quote:-)

    I get all sides of this actually because he and Ruiz are at their best when attacking off the dribble and putting teams under pressure so if you don’t feel their styles and skills are complimentary and will clash, then I can see that…I don’t agree with it in this case however. They are two of your three dynamic offensive players along with Pontius so why not figure it out, or let them figure it out, and give it a go.

    However, if DeRo honestly believes there is sufficient talent in that locker room, I disagree with that as well (it may just be “players speak” tho???). This team has too many players on the roster, some of which are starting, that are marginal to even be in this league.

    Thanks for reading my stuff and taking the time to send me a note!!!

  4. John Bladen says:

    I think most MLS clubs have players like that (marginal MLS talent) on the roster. I don’t watch DCU regularly, so I’m not sure if they have a greater number of them than most other clubs?? However, in a salary cap league (especially one in which the cap is so artificially low), one of the penalties fans pay for competitiveness and parity is that even the good/rich teams are required to fill out their roster with a large number of minimum wage earners.

    Hard to build great teams when for every $150k player you bring in you have to replace two $100k starting 11 players with guys making the league minimum (or close).

  5. Chris Snear says:

    I don’t disagree but most teams don’t have them starting and in United’s case, they are clearly the teams best options in each spot. This is not going to get any better for them any time soon unless they upgrade the talent. I liked Houston’s approach and it worked for years-get very good to excellent players in every spot, and even some of the reserves, and pay good rates across the board. They stayed away from DPs but if I recall, had more players between 90-150k on the roster than any other team in the league; DeRo, Ching, Davis, Onstad,, Mulrooney, Robinson, Holden, Jaqua. I believe all of those guys fit into that salary group and I am probably missing a few in there. Wondolowski was a reserve on that 2007 team btw. That method may be harder to emulate now however.

  6. John Bladen says:

    That’s exactly the method Houston chose, Chris.

    It might be harder to attract fans with a ‘balanced pay scale’ MLS club, but winning generally takes care of a lack of curb appeal.

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