WASHINGTON, D.C. -- After Los Angeles could only manage a draw against Chicago this afternoon, Columbus had a golden opportunity to draw level atop the MLS table. In front of them stood the heralded D.C. United side -- with just 15 losses in 22 league games this season.
Columbus took full advantage of that opportunity, securing a 1-0 victory over the league's worst side, thanks to a Guillermo Barros Schelotto goal after a horrendous error by United keeper Bill Hamid.
It wasn't really a game for the eyes. The teams combined for two shots on target over 90 minutes -- one in each half by Columbus. That said, Columbus took full advantage of the opportunity given to them, as Schelotto pounced on Hamid's mistake in the 23rd minute.
Despite the fact that Columbus managed just the two shots on goal, manager Robert Warzycha was satisfied with the way his side managed the match.
"It doesn't matter," said Warzycha about the fact that his side only put two shots on frame. "We had two shots, but most importantly, we have a goal. We were much smarter, and had more composure."
The added bonus of winning the match is the fact that now, like LA, Columbus has 44 points through 23 league matches in the race for the Supporters' Shield. Columbus are the two-time defending Supporters' Shield winners, but Warzycha isn't placing much emphasis on retaining the trophy.
Instead, he's much more concerned about the results of the games themselves.
"You take it one game at a time and try to win," Warzycha told Goal.com after the game. "That [Winning the Supporters Shield] comes with [winning games]. If, at the end of the season, we are in first place, great. But one game at a time."
Opposite Warzchya was the dejected Ben Olsen, interim manager of D.C. United. In his five games at the helm of the club from the nation's capital, United have lost four, scoring just three goals.
An obvious problem of his side is the lack of the ability to create in front of goal -- highlighted in the match against Columbus by the fact that United managed zero shots on goal in 90 minutes.
"It's better when [shots] are on goal, isn't it?" Olsen asked in the post game press conference. "It's a bit of a broken record at this point, right? You can sit here and ask me questions, but unfortunately, we are not making big plays."
As seen throughout the season, United follows a problematic pattern in most of their matches. They do a good job of retaining the ball and keeping possession, even if most of that is in midfield.
But when it matters the most, D.C. can't make the plays that count -- on either end of the field. All the possession in the game against Columbus resulted in zero shots on goal, and a mistake in front of their own goal cost them the match.
"Part of us is growing," stated Olsen. "And there is part of us that is staying the same. And that part that is staying the same is costing us games."
Follow Steven Streff as he chronicles D.C. United's fall from grace in MLS on Twitter http://twitter.com/streffsoccer
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