Thursday, September 27, 2007

Match Recap: DC United 2 - 1 CD Guadalajara

This is turning out to be one very long season for DC United. They started it off a month before the most of MLS started play with the CONCACAF Champions Cup in late February. They would ultimately be knocked out of the tournament in the Semi-Finals by CD Guadalajara. They then marched right into the MLS regular season along with the rest of the league. In July, DC United ventured into the USOC, getting knocked out by the Harrisburg City Islanders (all be it while using a second string team). United followed that performance up with the inaugural North American SuperLiga, in which they advanced all the way to the Semi-Finals, losing to FC David Beckham.

Now as the MLS regular season is winding down and the playoffs are looming overhead, DC United once again makes an other trip outside of the league for more competition, the Copa Nissan Sudamericana. Not only is this tournament a chance to face off against outside opponents, but as United were matched up against the very club that knocked them out of the CONCACAF Champions Cup, CD Guadalajara, revenge was definitely an item on the agenda.

Last night United hosted CD Guadalajara in the first match of the two match, home/away series, picking up a 2-1 victory in a very difficult situation. United was vastly outplayed for the first 25 minutes of the match, but was able to steal a 23rd minute goal. Both sides settled down after the Ben Olsen goal and the match looked pretty even handed until the 44th minute when defender Marc Burch picked up his second yellow card of the half and was sent packing to the showers. Considering the situation: playing an in season CD Guadalajara and just going down a man, being up 1-0 at halftime was pretty good.

The second half I expected to see Bobby Boswell come on to fill in for Bursch (as well as Boswell can do on the side) and either have Moreno or Fred be taken off for the extra defender. The way that Boswell was warming up during the break made me think he was infact coming in. Instead, Tom Soehn sent out the same 10 guys who finished the first half and ten minutes into the second half, United was able to pounce on a defensive lapse in the Chivas defense. Gomez sent a free kick right into the Chivas wall, but none of the Goats were able to clear it. Clyde Simms jumped on it and sent the ball into the bottom far corner through traffic. United, down a man, was now up 2-0.

United then weathered one helluva storm for the next 35 minutes. Chivas had about 4 shots in the first half, but they finished the match with 21, you do the math. Yes, Troy Perkins was beat on the 61st minute goal, but I honestly think it was more of total defensive lapse that allowed the cross to come through the box, rather than Troy getting caught on the wrong side of the goal mouth.

Troy looked like he was having a bad game. He was making some really great saves and came off his line when he needed to, but his goal kicks were awful. When I say he looked like he was having a bad game, his facial expressions made me think that he wasn't there last night. Ironically, he actually looked stronger after Chivas scored, hopefully he doesn't require that type of motivation next week in Mexico.

All in all, this is a great result. DC United only requires a draw in Mexico to advance and take on Arsenal of Argentina. If United were to advance, they would play their Quarter Final home/away series over mid to late October, which is right in the middle of the MLS Cup playoffs. Not trying to get ahead of ourselves, but even though advancing through this international tournament would be a huge thing for the club; is this the point where we start making the hard choices and decide which competition to put all of our eggs into? What's more important; MLS Supporters Shield....the MLS Cup....or the Copa Nissan Sudamericana? I for one think that the level of importance is in the exact order I put them in, as the Supporters Shield is the one title that United has the most control over, as in, they currently control their own destiny with that title.

Next up for United is the Saturday home match against Toronto FC, who recently broke out of their 15 year goal drought. See you all at RFK Saturday night.

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Blogger Christopher said...

I didn't realize DC were eligible for Copa Sudamericana; I haven't been paying enough attention this year.

I believe that you placed the competition prizes in the right order as well, though my "test" of how to decide which is important is a lot simpler: If you were Boca Juniors which competition would you put the most focus on?

Because of that, I think it's likely DC will send a "B" squad to South America, it's even likely that they may withdraw, though I'd be disappointed if they did.

10:35 AM  

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