Questions: DC Plays It ‘Cute’

DC United coach Ben Olsen was critical of his team following their Open Cup exit to Philadelphia.  Credit: Andrew Katsampes -

In Thursday’s column, Tony looks at DC United’s play in the US Open Cup, studies MLS attendance from different angles, and updates the Galaxy’s injury situation.

What was DC United Coach Ben Olsen’s verdict after Tuesday night’s loss to Philadelphia in the US Open Cup?

“Maybe it’s a good thing because this really does show us we’re not as good as we think we are,” Olsen said.

To say the former US National Team Player was not pleased by his performance…well, let’s let him explain.  “We’ve been asking for this loss,” he said. “We’ve got to realize that’s not a good enough performance. Too many guys were on their own page. We were cute all over the field.”

How was this latest round of the US Open Cup attended in games hosted by MLS teams?

3800  for the Sounders – Cal FC game at Starfire Sports Stadium. 3,200 in Maryland for DC United. 1500 at Stanford’s Cagan Stadium for San Jose.  Then we have our overachievers, an impressive 14,800 at Livestrong Sporting Park for the Kansas City – Colorado game.

Does any team need the rapidly closing international break more than the Galaxy?

Fortunately, central defender Leonardo escaped injury after being taken off the field on a stretcher during a reserve league game last weekend.  Leonardo suffered no structural damage, and is listed as “questionable” by the Galaxy.  However, Edson Buddle is out for three-to-six weeks after having knee surgery this week. The Galaxy don’t play again until Sunday June 17th, but have three League games between the 17th and the 23rd (against Portland, at Salt Lake, against Vancouver).

How are the Rapids adjusting to a new style of play at the one-third mark of the season?

As has been noted, when Colorado hired Oscar Pareja to replace Gary Smith, they consciously wanted to move towards a possession-oriented game, as compared with Smith’s more direct play.

Statistically, the Rapids’ average time of possession, passing accuracy (overall), and passing accuracy (going forward) have all improved from last season, but the Rapids have given up 11 of their 18 goals in the first half (five of those in the first 15 minutes).  Colorado has scored 0 goals in the first 15 minutes of games. They have scored an amazing 16 goals in the second half, with 7 of those coming in the last 15 minutes of a game.

Yes, Colorado’s suffered a number of injuries, including Pablo Mastroeni, but it doesn’t take Pep Guardiola to realize the injuries are forcing the Rapids to adjust during games and it’s taking them a while to find their footing.

San Jose, a team ahead of the Rapids in the standings, have given up 6 goals in the first 15 minutes of games to lead the League. The Earthquakes have scored 17 goals in the second half, with 16 of them coming after the 60th minute.

How is MLS attendance holding up after this last round of Wednesday games?

According to the League’s statistics, average attendance this season is 18,546. Five teams (Seattle, Montreal, Portland, Los Angeles, and Houston) are averaging over 20,000. Kansas City and Vancouver are averaging more than 19,000.

Yet, the number most mentioned in average attendance is 13,000. Chivas USA, Columbus, DC, Dallas, and Chicago are all averaging under 14,000. San Jose is averaging over capacity at Buck Shaw, thanks to a game in San Francisco at ATT Park.  While 18,546 is an encouraging number, the League needs to look at itself for reasons the number isn’t higher by market.  It’s fine to promote an average, but that makes it easy to overlook real problems in what should be established markets.

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