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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.


United on the Short End of Two Calls and Squandered Chances, Fall 1-0 to Whitecaps

Written by on June 29, 2013 | No Comments »
Posted in Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, DC United, General, MLS, Montreal Impact, New England Revolution, New York RB, Philadelphia Union, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC, Vancouver Whitecaps

Whether you think the penalty call that went Vancouver’s way in the 47th minute was a good call or not, or the non-penalty call on the hand ball in the game’s waning moments, the decisions were made and Vancouver capitalized on both. The penalty kick was their first shot on target, and other than two good chances in the 64th minute, they did very little else offensively. But to their credit, they held on to beat DCU United 1-0. Those are the simple facts.  However…

United goalkeeper Bill Hamid was called for taking down Matt Watson in the penalty area in the 47th minute on a questionable call at best. As Hamid slid out, he clearly made contact with the ball before what appeared to be marginal contact with Watson, who toppled to the turf. At that point, a trailing Matthew Foerster pointed to the spot for the penalty, which Camilo Da Silva Sanvezzo hammered straight down the middle for the game’s only tally.   

I definitively don’t think it was a penalty in any way shape or form (and in full disclosure I was a goalkeeper) but my opinion doesn’t matter nor anyone else’s matters in the moment. Now, United can blame the officiating for another loss all they want but what that call keenly emphasizes in many ways was the importance of all their missed opportunities in the first half.

United (2-11-3, 9 points) have scored 8 goals and have been shut out 10 times this season. They need volume chances to score goals and while only a few were of high quality, they got those tonight. In the end however, they are just not good enough to squander those few real high quality chances they had in the first half and expect beat anybody.

“We got to be a lot cleaner in the final third and we can put that game away,” said United midfielder Chris Pontius. “In the first half I thought we controlled the game and it was frustrating coming in here 0-0 when you push for a goal like that. Just our final ball was off today.”

United had close to a 3:2 advantage in possession the entire game and moved the ball quite effectively on both sides and repeatedly got into good and dangerous spots on the field, especially in that first half.

“We had plenty of opportunities and these are things that some nights they are clicking and you are gonna put every chance away and other nights it seems like nothing is falling or bouncing your way and definitely tonight was one of those nights but that’s on us,” he continued.

However, their final ball was repeatedly off target, ill-timed, or in the case of their best chance of the match in the 16th minute, horribly suspect in the actual pass selection and just not professional enough.

Ethan White saw enough of space to send a ball through to Chris Korb from fairly deep in United’s end and timing and weight were sensational. Meanwhile, Dwayne De Rosario made an equally perfect angled run toward the near post, 4-yards clear of any Whitecap defender. As he arrived at the top of the 6-yard line, Korb’s uncontested pass from inside the box was inexplicably 5-yards behind De Rosario but into the path of a covered Pontius near the penalty spot and the brilliant chance was shockingly wasted.

A simple 10-yard square ball was all that was required and that is a play that a professional player has got to make, especially on a team that has trouble scoring goals. Barring a bad bounce off the turf as it got to De Rosario or the keeper being fortunate enough to guess where the shot is going, conservatively, that play should result in a goal 90% of the time. Korb chose not to talk to the media after the match.

After a vigorous 60-second rant about Foerster’s performance, aimed primarily at the penalty call, “Yeah we didn’t score,” said United coach Ben Olsen. “In the final third, we have to be cleaner. But overall I thought there was some good stuff; the way we played, the way we attacked, the way we moved the ball. We fell asleep a little bit on a play but Bill bails us out.”

In that 64th minute, Hamid made two acrobatic saves, first on Jordan Harvey’s right footed blast from the top left side of the penalty area. After Vancouver collected the rebound, Harvey laid a square ball from nearly that same spot across the top of the box to Russel Teibert, whose left footed bender was also denied by a diving Hamid.

The rant continued for another 57 seconds, switching gears to the non-hand ball call against Vancouver in the box during the dramatic final moments of the match.

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