United out blustered in Chicago: The wind wasn’t the only thing that blew in Chicago last night. Perhaps the gale blowing through the Windy City was the wind out of D.C. United’s sails. It appears that the Fire is establishing itself pretty solidly as D.C.’s bogey team as they have now outscored them in the postseason 11-0 and have not dropped a game to United.
The malaise that saw United limp into the postseason seems to be still affecting them. United looked feeble in almost all aspects of the game. And that’s being nice. It was only on the back of another impressive display by netminder Troy Perkins that the score line at Toyota Park stayed at 1-0.
Head coach Tom Soehn started the match with a fairly defensive posture, having Guy-Roland Kpene man the guns up front by himself. Understandable, really, as his two best strikers were warming the bench best they could while nursing those slight ankle sprains.
Soehn must have been looking for a spark at all costs when he threw on a not-quite-100-[percent Jaime Moreno in the 46th minute. And it was truly the old “kitchen sink” play when he asked the other injured striker — Emilio — to add something to a lackluster offensive effort in the 78th minute. But really all that got was Moreno a yellow in what looked like a frustration challenge, and a couple of 30-yard attempts.
The Fire has to be commended for a performance that saw them come out with more desire. They came right after what on paper was the stronger team and showed them whose house they were in.
I hope that Tom Soehn knows what he is about when he says coming to RFK will be a different story for the Fire on Nov. 1. Having watched the Oct. 13 game, Chicago was the better team going forward, and Troy Perkins’ season-high-tying nine saves (eight of which came in the first half) was the only reason the Fire didn’t take all the spoils.
It is an uphill battle on the downward side of history for United next week, a history whose irony cannot possibly be lost on Soehn. But the great thing about history is that it tells of things in the past. Next Thursday could be the beginning of a future that will see the Fire in the past.