United failed to secure a win at home in the first leg of their playoff matchup against arch-rival New York Red Bulls. Despite having multiple opportunities to come away with the win, United know not all is lost in this scenario. Ben Olsen after the game wasn't downtrodden, but did seem a tad disappointed.
"I'm proud of that group, they could have lost that game tonight.. Also could have won, but the team dug in and did what they had to." Olsen said.
The team didn't fall apart, and seemed to feed off the near sell-out crowd. Chris Pontius after the game was raving about the fans and how they deserved better tonight. However, it was Ben Olsen who had the experience playing in front of an RFK playoff crowd before.
"It was the old days out there. I had chills walking out of the tunnel tonight... I want to thank the fans for tonight." Olsen added.
At the end of the day, both teams scored off own goals, but United couldn't capitalize off of a penalty kick and various other opportunities. Meanwhile, New York seemed to be incapable off getting much going offensively, despite United losing Andy Najar to a red card.
Let's get to the Match Ratings, which will be admittedly higher because United thoroughly dominated this game:
GK Bill Hamid - 7.5
Hamid gets credit for the own goal, unfortunately. However, it looked like he was fouled on the play, and after the game he was still 100% sure he was fouled on the play. Tough for me to argue that point. I also can't argue that he was dominant in the box tonight. He came out and made a one-on-one save that was phenomenal at one point.
DEF Chris Korb - 7.5
Nearly got on the score sheet in the second minute, but his shot was parried away by Robles. He was a steadying influence in the back, and managed to hold his own after Najar went out in a three-man defensive setup.
DEF Dejan Jakovic - 7
He wasn't noticeable tonight, which in the past has been a good thing for him. He didn't have a major slip-up like he has, at times, throughout the season. Was he perfect? No, but he was very good tonight.
DEF Brandon McDonald - 8
Its tough to always tell how much McDonald is actually doing in the game, but he's quarterbacking the defense line and tonight his long ball was on. He made a few fantastic passes tonight, in addition to his steady work rate in the back.
DEF Andy Najar - 5.5
If he didn't get the red card, he might be looking at an eight, rather than the 5.5 he received. The red card was just so dumb, it has to be penalized significantly. Through his translator after the game he apologized and said he had no intention of hitting the referee with the ball.
MID Perry Kitchen - 7.5
He should probably be higher than 7.5, honestly. The defensive work he does is incredible, and considering he doesn't commit fouls doing it is impeccable. He also whipped in the cross that United got their lone goal on through an own-goal.
MID Marcelo Saragosa - 6.5
His defensive work rate is great, don't get me wrong. It's just tough for me to give him near the score Kitchen got despite committing three fouls. His lone shot of the night was a weak grounder that didn't trouble Robles. Overall, played one of his best games of the season.
MID Branko Boskovic - 6
Boskovic wasn't asked to do much in the set piece department tonight, so he was a tad quieter than he normally has been. Again, another game another time being substituted off. It is past frustration at this point.
MID Nick DeLeon - 7
DeLeon made a handful of dangerous runs tonight, and he and Najar were working well on overlapping each other down the right flank. The two thoroughly dominated the right side. Had a cross or two misfire, but still played extremely well for his first playoff game.
MID - Chris Pontius - 8.5 (Man of the Match)
Poor Connor Lade. He just had no shot at stopping Pontius tonight. Originally, Pontius earned a PK by being taken down in the box, although it was later changed to a handball on Lade (odd, given no card attached to it). Pontius looked like he caught Lade putting a hand to the ball twice more throughout the game. Pontius would have been a 10 if he converted the PK or another attempt in front of the goal.
FWD - Lionard Pajoy - 4.5
I appreciate Ben Olsen defending his player and saying his work rate is high. That's a great argument for a defender or defensive midfielder. "He does the little things that help the team." can only go so far, before a lack of production catches up to him. Pajoy was offsides four times on Saturday night. Twice he stopped running on a counter attack to allow New York to get more men behind the ball. Not to mention his failed attempts or the lack of attempts.
MID Lewis Neal - 6
Neal is a steadying presence off the bench, and while he doesn't always score game-winning goals he still adds to the attack and is a solid two-way player.