Monday, May 23, 2011

Ajax Over DC United 2 - 1

On Saturday Eredivisie giants Ajax defeated our beloved DC United 2 - 1 in an international 'friendly' at RFK Stadium, the first of several intenational matches being played this year here in the United States.  Despite the loss, DC United looked fairly good against an Ajax side that played 10 of the 11 players who defeated FC Twente 3 - 1 barely a week ago.  United head coach Ben Olsen used the chance to give the whole bench a workout, and no less than 18 United players managed to get on the pitch during the course of the match.

Not surprisingly, Ajax dominated possession in the first half, with their 4-3-3 formation giving United great difficulty.  In the 10th minute Miralem Sulejmani scored for Ajax, giving them a 1 goal lead that lasted until halftime.  The second half was a different story, however, as Olson made no less than five substitutes, and the changes made a difference.  In the 58th minute Blake Brettschneider received a beautiful cross from Joseph Ngwenya which allowed United to tie the score.  For the rest of the half United held Ajax at bay, until Vurnon Anita stipped United playmaker Fred and slid the ball past reserve Keeper Steve Cronin for the deciding goal.

DC United's play in the second half was both encouraging and a validation of the talent on United's bench, and confirmed the substitution decisions of coach Olsen.  It is hard to feel encouraged about a loss but this outcome may be an exception, as Ajax is a world-caliber side and United showed up well against them, particularly in the second half.  United's next MLS match in on Sunday May 29 on the road against the Portland Timbers.

Meanwhile, in other Jedi Soccer action, our Fort Lauderdale Strikers earned a point on the road against the Atalnta Silverbacks with a 0 - 0 outcome in NASL action, and the Charleston Battery dropped to 3-4-2 in the USL-PRO League American division after a 3 - 0 loss to the Wilmington Hammerheads.