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Dave Johnson: D.C. United Stunned At Home

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Dave Johnson: D.C. United Stunned At Home

Saturday, May 15, 2010, 9:37 PM
By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comWashington---A struggle to find goals has turned into a struggle to find words for DC United. The Colorado Rapids left Untied without explanation and without points after a 1-0 win over the Black and Red at RFK Stadium.United was full of commitment but a whole-hearted effort could only produce half-chances and then complete disappointment. In short nearly a third into the season, United is stillstruggling to createin the attacking third of the field.Instead the Rapids pounced on their moment. It came in the 67th minute when Rapids midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy from 12 yards out was able to slip a ball in between the legs of United defender Juan Manuel Pena and beat goalkeeper Bill Hamid near post to give the Rapids their first win at RFK since 1999.I thought it was a very even game, said United head coach Curt Onalfo. I thought it was a hard fought game. A questionable missed call leads to the goal and it puts us on our heels and we are chasing the game. I dont knowwhat else to say right now.The Rapids goal developed out of an unsettled situation at the midfield. United defender Carey Talley ended up on the ground as he tried to win the ball from the Rapids Jeff Larentowicz. Talley still was able to attempt to poke the ball to Rodney Wallace. As Wallace went for the ball, he appeared to be clipped by the Rapids Wells Thompson. There was no call and Conor Casey played the loose ball on the flank to Ballouchy.With Wallace and Talley on the ground at midfield, Ballouchy had nothing but space to work with. He darted into the box at Pena and appeared set to cross the ball but instead fired off a quick shot that ended up being the deciding goal.Yes this is getting frustrating and old, noted United forward Adam Cristman. We are putting in the work. We are trying to stay disciplined and stick with the game plan but all it takes is a play that we think is a foul and people stop and the guy gets a shot off and we are in a hole.After Ballouchys goal, the Rapids had several chances to leave little doubt about the result. With United pressing forward, space opened for the Rapidsand Colin Clark hit the goalpost with a rocket of a shot from 25 yards out. Ballouchy also hit the crossbar on a free kick from 20 yards out.Even the introduction of Jamie Moreno in the 71st could not turn the fortune for United on the attack. While Moreno helped with possession and could find space in between the Rapids midfielders, Uniteds attack still failed at the crucial moment.There were times when United players held the ball too long. There were times when the final pass was a foot or two off. There were times when runs were made but not recognized.We are just missing the sharpness, the final pass, the shot on goal, Cristman added. We have to get better service and keep getting service in general. The guys are putting the work in wide to get forward but we are just not getting the service there.Indeed United struggled to integrate its flank players Christian Castillo and Thabiso Khumalo. In fact at halftime Khumalo was replaced by Brandon Barklage in a quest to get more activity wide.At halftime United had the only three shots on goal in the game. The best opportunity occurred 21 minutes in when Adam Cristman was able to get a shot off from 16 yards after receiving a beautiful through ball from right back Jordan Graye.We need points and we need points at home, Onalfo said. We have another great crowd. I cant even tell you. I am sick. I would never have imagined we would start this way. But we cant sit here and complain.There is hope on the horizon. Both Chris Pontius (hamstring) and Santino Quaranta (infection) should be back in the mix next week. Injuries to key United players may not explain everything, but they can not be ignored.This is when the character of players has to come out. I think a lot of players, including myself, we need to ask more of ourselves, Talley noted Some of the things we are doing, it seems like we are little bit nave too much.

Check out more photos from the Rapids - United game.

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John Carlson agrees to big-money deal to stay with the Capitals

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John Carlson agrees to big-money deal to stay with the Capitals

The Capitals had two major items on their to-do list this offseason: Sign a coach and re-sign defenseman John Carlson. Now all they need is a coach.

Carlson was on the verge of becoming one of the most sought-after free agents of the summer on July 1. Instead, he has agreed to a major deal to stay in Washington, it has been confirmed to NBC Sports Washington. The deal will be for eight years, $64 million carrying a cap hit of $8 million per year.

The contract also reportedly includes protection for the lockout seasons.

The Caps attached Brooks Orpik and his $5.5 million cap hit along with Philipp Grubauer in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, helping free up a significant amount of cap space to help re-sign the star defenseman.

Carlson, 28, had a career year with 15 goals and 68 points in 2017-18. He followed that up with an incredibly strong postseason performance with five goals and 20 points in 24 games.

The Carlson contract was one of the biggest decisions of the offseason because of the trickle-down effect it will have on the team's remaining free agents. Now general manager Brian MacLellan knows exactly how much he has to spend on free agents like Tom Wilson and Devante Smith-Pelly.

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Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

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USA TODAY Sports

Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

Free agency does not start until July 1, but John Carlson's agent is already taking calls from other interested teams.

The interview period began at 12 a.m. on Sunday morning, which means teams are now able to reach out to any potential free agents, but no contracts can be signed until July 1. While Brian MacLellan said Friday that a new deal with Carlson to keep him in Washington was "really close," Carlson's agent, Rick Curran, has made it clear there was no deal in place yet as of Sunday.

So does this mean Carlson now has one foot out the door?

Not necessarily.

At this point in the negotiation, Carlson has a major advantage and that advantage is time. Sunday's interview period is just another way to hold the Caps' feet to the fire. The closer we get to July 1, the more pressure the team is under to get a deal done.

But the Caps still have some leverage too.

“I love it here and all that,” Carlson said during on breakdown day. “I want to stay here, but there's more to it than that.”

By rule, as his current team, the Caps are the only team that can offer Carlson an eight-year deal.

So Carlson may have turned up the heat a few degrees on the Caps, but it's not time for fans to worry just yet.

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