The playoff hopes of the club with the most MLS titles in history are on shaky ground.WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Most MLS teams go into RFK Stadium, looking to control the potent D.C. United attack. Teams will defend, defend, defend, and look to catch United on the counter attack.
Chivas USA managed to take all three points at RFK against United with a totally different approach to the match.
With a crucial three points on the line, the Goats managed the game well, controlling possession, limiting United in their chances, which left United visibly frustrated in their third consecutive home defeat in the league.
"We tried to pressure them [United] from the first moment," Chivas manager Preki told Goal.com after the match. "We had time and space on the ball, and the commitment from the group was good. We had the discipline of a team that is good."
One of the better individual performances on the night was that of US international Sacha Kljestan. Before he assisted on the opening goal, Kljestan created several other glorious scoring opportunities for Justin Braun. After the match, Preki was clearly pleased with the performance of his midfielder.
"Sacha was good tonight," Preki stated. "I was disappointed for him that he didn't score a goal, but he did a lot of good things, and that's the Sacha we need."
With their win, Chivas are sitting pretty in the playoff picture. With four games remaining, the Los Angeles side have 41 points, and their last opponents include Kansas City, San Jose, Chicago, and Houston.
On the flip side, with another home loss, United have seen their own playoff ambitions disappear even more. Still sitting in ninth place, United will most likely need help from other sides if they have any chance of making the MLS playoffs.
What was most disappointing for United was their energy and commitment throughout the match. In a game that was absolutely necessary to win, the side came out flat, and never looked like winning the game anyways, despite what Chivas managed.
"Obviously, we are disappointed," said United manager Tom Soehn in a press conference after the match. "I'm flustered how we could come out, and not have real energy in the first half. We have been saying the right things all week, and then to come out flat is very disappointing."
Cohesion seemed to be missing the most from the United side. Players who have been playing together for some time failed to connect on the field, and the team seemed incapable of clicking as a unit throughout the entire match. This boiled over to frustration amongst the United players, which culminated in Ben Olsen being sent off in the second half.
United players did not use that as an excuse after the match though.
"We have been together for a while as a team," said United midfielder Clyde Simms after the match. "So we are very familiar with one another, so I don't want to use that as an excuse. I am used to playing with them, so I don't think that is a problem."
Also noticeable throughout the match was the malcontent that the United fans displayed throughout the match. Several times the team was booed, and chants of "Fire Soehn" were also heard at various points.
When asked about whether Soehn's job was on the line, Simms said, "I feel like all of our jobs are on the line. We are not getting the job done on the field, so we feel like we let the fans down."
Steven Streff, Goal.com
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