After Wednesday's defeat, the players said they still felt they had a shot to make the postseason. Hackworth does also, but playoff talk can be a distraction, and the Union have other matters to worry about - such as finishing off scoring chances.
Either way, there has been a loud cry for the Union to go with younger players, beginning with Saturday's game at Gillette Stadium against the New England Revolution.
We have one rebuttal to that theory.
What do you think the team has been doing to this point other than playing young players?
Let's look at the lineup against Columbus, with the players and their ages.
Goalie Zac MacMath (21); defenders Sheanon Williams (22), Carlos Valdes (27), Gabe Farfan (24), and Amobi Okugo (21); midfielders Michael Lahoud (26 on Sept. 15), Michael Farfan (24), Gabriel Gomez (28), and Brian Carroll (31); and forwards Danny Cruz (22) and Jack McInerney (20).
Plus the Union brought off the bench Freddy Adu (23), Ray Gaddis (22), and Antoine Hoppenot (22 in November).
Does this look like an old team? How much younger can the team get?
There are some that would like to see players such as Zach Pfeffer (17) and Jimmy McLaughlin (19) get a chance.
It may not hurt, but getting a look at many players who have competed on the reserve team at the expense of the current varsity participants doesn't make sense at this point.
There's no question that the team's top priority is a finisher. (By the way, former Union forward Sebastien Le Toux will be a free agent after this season; he should be on their radar.)
One of the problems is that a player such as McInerney, a solid complementary piece, is being looked on as the main offensive weapon up top. This is the time for McInerney, a truly hard worker, to prove this theory wrong. So many of the current rotation players have much to prove.
The Union have to see if these young players can work well together and 34 games is a much better gauge than 24.
And with the team still a ways from being mathematically eliminated, these final 10 games are still meaningful. If some of the even younger players are good enough to warrant playing time, that's fine, but the Union's first priority is to judge if players currently on the field are ones worth moving forward with for next year.
U.S. women add two. The U.S. women's soccer team is going to savor its gold medal from the London Olympics a little longer, adding two friendlies against Germany in October as part of a post-Olympic "victory tour."
The first game will be Oct. 20 in Bridgeview, Ill., with the second game in East Hartford, Conn., on Oct. 23. The Americans begin their tour Saturday against Costa Rica in Rochester, N.Y., then host Australia twice - on Sept. 16 in Carson, Calif., and Sept. 19 in Commerce City, Colo.
Corner kicks. Former D.C. United defender Bryan Namoff has filed a $12 million lawsuit against the team and former coach Thomas Soehn, saying they rushed him back onto the field after the concussion that ultimately ended his career in 2009. . . . Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta won the UEFA Best Player in Europe award for the 2011-12 season, beating out Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. . . . Liverpool sent Andy Carroll on a season-long loan to English Premier League rival West Ham, just 19 months after signing the England striker for a club-record fee of $56 million.
Contact Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @sjnard.
This article contains information from the Associated Press.