DC United had no answer for Steven Lenhart. The tall curly headed Lenhart scored the first hat trick against DC United at RFK stadium since 2004, and tacked on an assist to Simon Dawkins to lead the San Jose Earthquakes past United 4-2.
San Jose began the match all over DC United creating many chances that luckily did not go through. It took DC a few minutes to wake up until Josh Wolff put a low ball through the box that skipped past three San Jose defenders to Andy Najar, who calmly slotted it past keeper Jon Busch’s near post. There was nothing that Busch could do, as it was absolutely dreadful defending on San Jose’s part. Just two minutes later, Lenhart beat the DC defense and scored to level it 1-1. Lenhart again scored when a long range blast from Khari Stephenson rebounded off Bill Hamid and landed at Lenhart’s feet where he put it in the open net. In the 34th minute another DC United player notched his first goal of the season. Blake Brettschneider, the young energetic rookie from South Carolina, scored his first ever league goal when he made a turn on Bobby Burling and fired a low shot past Busch to level it 2-2 going into halftime.
The second half didn’t fare very well for United. Dawkins and Lenhart played a give-and-go pass putting themselves behind the young DC defense, where Dawkins finished to make it 3-2 in the 48th minute. Just 12 minutes later, Hamid came off his line to try and clear a ball in the box but got there late as Lenhart headed it over the DC keeper into the open net to give San Jose a 4-2 lead. Coach Ben Olsen tried to level it back with subbing offense in for defence and bringing Charlie Davies into the game, but San Jose’s defense made sure that nothing more would cross Busch’s line.
“San Jose came in here and did exactly what we did in LA and Portland,” said DC coach Ben Olsen after the match. “They got the message and we didn’t. That is unacceptable.”
DC entered the match with a 4-4-2 formation but had a diamond midfield with Fred in the attacking midfield role and Clyde Simms as a defensive midfielder, which was different than the flat midfield that they usually play with. United has been looking for a creative attacking player to control the midfield and experimented with Fred. Overall, Fred didn’t seem to be very effective with most of his shots being blocked or deflected by the San Jose defense. He also did not have a part in any of DC’s goals. This may be due to lack of playing time that Fred has gotten during the course of the season. Whatever the reason, hopefully he’ll have a better outing next time.
With the loss, DC falls to 4-5-4 and San Jose is 5-4-4 in league play. DC’s next match will be June 18th against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. It should be viewable on MLS MatchDay Live.
(image courtesy of Tony Quinn/dcunited.com)