D.C. United's position in the Eastern Conference playoff race is starting to look a bit shaky. The Black and Red put together a second consecutive poor performance on Saturday, falling to the Columbus Crew 1-0.
Chris Birchall scored the game's only goal just after halftime with a fantastic finish after a set piece that caught United off guard. Jairo Arrieta took a free kick quickly in the 46th minute and DC's defense was caught napping. His through ball was perfect and Birchall got behind the defense, then placed a low left-footed shot past Joe Willis into the back of the net at the near post.
D.C. United managed 18 shots on the night, but very few of them went anywhere as they struggled to break down Columbus. Things got a bit shaky at the back for the home side after the 76th minute, when central defender and captain Chad Marshall was forced off with an injury, but the Crew were able to hold on. This was mostly due to the play of goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, whose decision making and command of his area was fantastic on Saturday. He regularly made the right decisions on when to come out and claim crosses and through balls, preventing the need to make saves at all.