Thursday, May 5, 2011

DC United Rebounds

Last night DC United produced a victory over the Seattle Sounders in MLS play at RFK stadium, in what was virtually a must-win situation for the team.  Following on the heels of three consecutive debacles against the Houston Dynamo, the New York Red Bulls, and their ignominious ouster from the US Open Cup, DC United desperately needed a win to put their young season back on track, and last night they got it. 

United opened the scoring in the 31st minute, when Andy Najar sent a beautiful ball down the line to Charlie Davies, who crossed into the box to connect with the streaking Josh Wolff, who delivered a pretty one-touch strike from seven yards past Sounders Keepere Kasey Keller to open the scoring.  Then, shortly after the re-start, the Najar-Davies-Wolff combination worked its magic again.  Once more the scoring sequence was initiated by Najar, but it was Wolff who delivered the cross this time for Charlie Davies, who collected the ball from three yards out between two defenders, punching in the second score of the night, and his sixth goal of the young MLS season.  With this goal, Davies is now officially leading scorer in the MLS, for the moment.

Seattle gamely fought back, delivering their only goal of the night just three minutes after the goal by Charlie Davies.  United defender Dejan Jakovic brought down Seattle striker Freddy Montero, leading to a Penatly Kick and a goal to bring Seattle back to a one goal deficit.  Encouraged by this goal, Seattle mounted a powerful attack which was ultimately turned away by some very fine goalkeeping by Bill Hamid, who delivered spectacular saves in the 73rd and 76th minutes.  Eventually time ran out for Seattle, allowing DC United to end its three game losing streak and pocket its first victory in about three weeks.

As an interesting postscript from this match, Elias Sports Bureau reports that the goalkeeper matchup between United's Bill Hamid and Seattle's Kasey Keller, was the first in MLS history featuring a keeper in his forties, against a keeper who is under age 21.  It is a well known fact of soccer that goalkeepers typically enjoy longer careers than other players, and Keller's long and storied career is yet more proof of this.  This match was also the first time that Keller has ever lost a match at RFK stadium, where until last night he was 8 - 0 - 2 over his career.

After the game, United striker Charlie Davies commendted on the match.  "Today I would say was our best overall team performance so far this season. It’s coming off two not so good games, so it was really important that we come out and set the tone and set the tempo. I think we set the tone, Seattle’s a great team and they showed they are capable of playing, and we had to show we are a good team – tonight we played well."