I’ll keep it brief, but I did want to get a few notes out there since I’ve been pretty quiet on the soccer front so far this year.
First of all, H U G E props to all of the fans who braved the searing sun and hot temperatures yesterday at RFK. The stadium looked absolutely fantastic on TV, especially in HD (thanks ABC!). The place was packed, and loud, and boisterous. And as usual, they were funny. Last year they had the AWESOME banner that read “We sing better than your wife“, and this year they had a new one:
It reads “Shouldn’t you be in Austria?” referring to England’s qualification (or lack thereof) to the Euro 2008 Cup. Ironically, the Final for that Euro 2008 Cup was the second game of the double header yesterday on ABC.
Well then, onto the game. DC United won 4-1 on goals by Luciano Emelio (2), Jaime Moreno, and Marcelo Gallardo. Edson Buddle scored the only goal for the Galaxy. There could have been a bunch more goals, especially by DC United. Fred had 2 breakaways in alone against the keeper and didn’t convert either. He had another one where he got behind the defense an easy touch to the center would have resulted in an easy tap-in, but he flubbed it. Emelio had another few chances, Burch pinged one off of the post, Gallardo missed 2 easy goals before netting the third goal of the day for DC United. On the flip side, Donovan had a goal called back for off-side just a few minutes after United’s first goal. He also had a semi breakaway with the score 2-1 and got pushed, pulled in the box with no call and when he finally shot it, Wells made a nice save.
[sidenote: To the referrees and MLS officials. If you want to stop people from diving, you have to reward players like Donovan (in this situation) who didn’t just fall over at a puff of wind, and actually attempted to stay on their feet. The proper call should have been wait to see if advantage played out and if it didn’t, call it back for a PK. Otherwise, there is NO reason to attempt to stand on your feet in the box.]
A little while later at 3-1 Donovan again got a semi-break and managed a shot that Wells *barely* managed to tip up and over the bar. Buddle had a semi-break where he could have passed to Donovan, but totally took too long and flubbed the whole thing.
So you see, there could have been a lot more goals.
- Gallardo had a major influence on this match. From the opening whistle he was throwing balls deep into the corner to set our wingers loose behind the Galaxy defense. He was almost impossible to disposses of the ball, and was a safe outlet to maintain possesion.
- Great job by the wingers (Fred, Quaranta, Burch, Olsen) to actually get BEHIND the defense instead of playing in front of it like we usually do.
- The danger coming into this game is that inevitably, our defenders get caught in 1v1 situations and we tend to give up goals. LA’s strength is getting guys like Donovan and Buddle into 1v1 situations and scoring. I think we did a really good job of defending in groups, and if not for the whiff by Peralta and the slight delay by Wells in coming out, we might have actually shut them out.
- Great win, in front of a great crowd, in front of a great TV audience. I don’t know how far overseas this broadcast went, but it was definitely good exposure for DC United nationally and perhaps internationally. The latter helps with recruiting since MLS can’t pay super-premium salaries to players.
Here’s what others are saying:
The DCenters here.
Dan Steinberg has some, um, interesting photos from the mayhem surrounding the game.
Steven Goff’s “United Roars Past Beckham’s Galaxy“.