So, that happened.
Look, there are no out-and-out positives to take from being beaten 4-0 on your home patch, even if the beating is inflicted by a team as obviously talented as New York. On the other hand, as Ben Olsen put it in a very subdued manner Thursday night, "I'm not as alarmed as I thought I'd be at a 4-0 loss."
Look, the defense feel asleep twice, gave Thierry Henry too much space, and he made them pay with two goals. That's hardly the first time that's happened (the man DID score 232 goals in Ligue 1, Serie A, the Premiership, and La Liga before touching down in MLS). The third goal, by Lindpere, was a classic case of a team being down a couple goals, pushing forward, and being caught on the break. The fourth goal, by Agudelo ... well, that was just cruel. But still, these things happen to a young team. They happened last year, and they're going to happen this year. The fans just have to hold tight and pray it doesn't happen too often.
On to the ratings.Please bear in mind that these are given based on my assessment of overall performance on the night, and do not reflect my opinion of their overall ability as players.
D.C. United Player Ratings-Starters
Bill Hamid: 4/5. Was let down badly by his defense tonight, but saved them more trouble in the first half, first by throwing himself at the feet of Luke Rodgers to collect a through ball, then rushing way off his line to clear a ball over the top that was looking for Henry.
Marc Burch: 1/5. Just a bad night for him overall. Was sucked too far inside and left acres of space for Jan Gunnar Solli to cross for New York's first goal, then allowed Solli to beat him to the ball in the buildup to the second goal.
Dejan Jakovic: 2/5. Was caught ball-watching on both of the first two goals, then couldn't get a handle on Agudelo in the box as he scored New York's fourth. A bad night at the office.
Perry Kitchen: 2/5. See above. I'll have more in a bit about Kitchen and the young defense of D.C. United. More than any other unit, this is the one that needs some time to gel.
Chris Korb: 3/5. Was adventurous going forward, as usual, but couldn't compensate for the mistakes of his comrades in defense.
Fred: 4/5. The best player on the field for D.C. United in the first half. Did the dirty work in tracking back to break up New York attacks, and was often the focal point of United's own sojourns upfield.
Dax McCarty: 2/5. Was not nearly as quick or as decisive on the ball as the circumstances demanded, and was subbed out at halftime because, to quote Olsen, United "needed a spark."
Chris Pontius: 2/5. Disappointing performance after his two-goal game against Toronto. Struggled against Teemu Taino in midfield for most of the night.
Clyde Simms: 3/5. Got caught out of place on the first New York goal, though he wasn't the only one. Was generally solid as a defensive midfielder and deserves credit for trying to halt Lindpere on New York's third.
Josh Wolff: 2/5. Huffed and puffed, but had little to show for it.
Charlie Davies: 2/5. See above, though he did appear to be the victim of a wrong offside call with the score still 1-0. All in all, though, his first real dud outing in MLS.
Branko Boskovic (on for McCarty at halftime). 4/5. If we could give Man of the Match awards on teams that lost 4-0, Boskovic would be mine. Hit the post and the bar and caused something very close to terror in the Red Bulls penalty area with his dead ball strikes.
Joseph Ngwenya (on for Davies--60th minute): 3/5. Saw almost as much of the ball as Davies did in half the time. Still needs to work on creating that extra half-yard of space to get really golden chances.
Santino Quaranta (on for Chris Korb--70th minute: 2/5. Same old, same old. Lots of running, poor deliveries. Might be worth seeing what he could do in central midfield.