The late winning goal by Columbus Crew's Brad Evans was irrelevant to D.C. United by the time it finally ended the team's tardy but impressive final-day bid for the postseason, writes Steven Goff. "A tie would not have done United any good, and with each agonizing miss during a scoreless game, its hopes faded into the central Ohio dusk," he reports. Those misses included three shots that hit the charmed frame of Crew keeper Will Hesmer's goal.
"I don't know what else we could have done," said United Coach Tom Soehn. "We tried everything," said captain Jaime Moreno, who missed a
couple of good chances himself after entering the game as a second-half substitute. "There are no words to explain the sadness and disappointment." But United President Kevin Payne was more realistic
about the deep-lying reasons for the season's end. "We didn't miss the playoffs because we lost this game," said Payne. "We left plenty of points on the table the last six weeks and early in the
season. I hope we learned some lessons."
Payne said he and GM Dave Kasper already started thinking about changes a month ago, and discussions about roster and coaching moves would continue
into the winter. "For us, for our organization, it is just unacceptable, so we have to fix it," Payne said, but it will not be a revolutionary sweep-out. "I don't think any of us wants to start over
again. We think it's a pretty good group."
"Just an inch or two here or there," mused Soehn, "and it is a different game." Midfielder Santino Quaranta was more stoical. "It's tough, but at
the end of the day, we just weren't good enough."