Thursday, October 16, 2008

Back in Black

RFK was rocking tonight. I had forgotten how much fun United matches can be and this evening, this night was a blast.

Where did this come from? When the match started, we surveyed the field and saw a backline of McTavish and Burch moved from the center to fullback positions and Greg Janicki and Gonzalo Peralta -- no Namoff (red card in the Dynamo match)? no problem. A diamond midfield with Clyde Simms and Santino at the south and north and Guerrero and Khumalo at the west and east, with (what's this? two strikers?) Luciano and Francis Doe up front. And everyone in the stands knew that DC United was trying to win the game.

The squad was dynamic, threatened constantly, and kept a frenetic pace. A goal was always in the works, it was just a question of when. By the time I was back at my seat with a phenomenal carne asada plate from the pupusa stand for the start of the second half, my expectations were high even after Janicki had to make way for Gonzalo Martinez after a knock (sliding McTavish back inside).

The goal by Taylor Twellman on what seemed to be a horribly blown offsides call dampened enthusiasm a bit, but a score seemed to be always in the works, and five minutes later Doe knotted things up. But there was true joy in Whoville when Doe popped home the game winner ten minutes from time. Santino Quaranta compensated for an otherwise poor game with a flick on from a nice launch by Crayton allowing Doe to shrug off a Revolution defender, put the ball expertly over Matt Reis, and start the party.

I have all kinds of concerns about how Soehn has handled the team over the last two months, but leaving Doe up top by himself and letting him get battered by two center halves on a routine basis certainly has improved his game. Doe was amazing. He held the ball up well, touched it back well, and, when the opportunity presented itself, gave United's moribund season some hope. That Doe made himself the story of the match is particularly impressive given that the second half saw the introduction of Jaime Moreno and Fred (what season ending injury?) for Gonzalo Peralta and Boyzzzz. But the bottom line is that United now has two legitimate forwards: Emilio and Doe.

It is only a shame that the season is ending, but things are shaping up for a great end of the season match between United and the Crew in Columbus at 5 pm on the 26th.

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