United’s playoff chances take hit with loss to CrewOctober 3, 2011 • By Franco Panizo
By FRANCO PANIZO
Another opportunity for D.C. United to make up ground in the playoff race. Another loss.
Thee days after dropping a decision to the Philadelphia Union, D.C. United lost again, falling 2-1 to the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium on Saturday.
The decisive goal came in the second half on a beautiful diving header from Eddie Gaven, who made his return for the Crew after being injured for nearly two months. The result ended Columbus' six-game winless streak and allowed the Crew to reclaim second place in the hectic Eastern Conference.
The visitors took the lead in the 37th minute off a goal from defender Daniel Woolard, who was inserted into United's starting lineup after Ethan White was not deemed fit enough. Woolard got on the end of a Dwayne De Rosario free kick and redirected the ball with a nice mid-aired effort with his left foot.
Woolard scored again three minutes after halftime, but he did so on his own net. After Andres Mendoza took a shot at the top of the penalty area, Woolard attempted to clear the ball but it rolled into the corner of the net passed a helpless Bill Hamid to make the score 1-1.
Things got worse for United as the Crew took the lead for good at the hour mark when Sebastian Miranda found Gaven with a cross.
Rather than fold after surrendering the lead, United created a number of chances as it searched for an equalizer. It came closest to pulling level seconds before the final whistle blew when Andy Najar struck a shot off the crossbar.
The 2-1 result brought the Crew within a point of first-place Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference. It also dampened United's hopes of reaching the playoffs, as it currently trails the New York Red Bulls for the final wild card spot by two points with a game in hand.
The Portland Timbers are also two points ahead of United, though the expansion team is currently on the outside of the playoff picture.
What do you think of D.C. United's loss to Columbus? Thinking United will not make the playoffs? Expecting the Crew to go on a roll now that they've ended their winless streak?
Share your thoughts below.