United finished the reserve season undefeated at home on their way to a league high 8 wins out of 12 games played. Their 8-4-0 record puts them three points clear of any other team, regardless of the other results in the final matches this weekend. No other team will have more than six victories on the year.
United jumped out to the early lead over the Crew in today's match on the strength of a very typical Jamil Walker goal. He used speed to beat the Crew defense to the near post to stuff in a perfect cross from Nick Van Sicklen. Afterward he said 'It's great being able to get the goal and the result, but it's a total team effort. Nick put the ball right there and I was fortunate enough to be there to finish it.'
Jason Thompson put in the insurance goal by finishing a very lovely play in the 58th minute to put United ahead for good. Nana Kuffour began the play by collecting a poor clearance and then launching a stunning crossfield pass to Freddy Adu running free down the left. Adu picked the ball out of the air with a spectacular heel flick right into the path of Tim Merritt going to goal. Merritt's shot was expertly deflected by Thompson past the keeper to assure DC's championship.
DC Reserve Team Coach Tommy Soehn was particularly proud of the team's achievement saying that it 'feels great, we pride ourselves on having 28 guys that can play at any moment. I think it shows through games like today, throughout the whole event, that these guys at any point can take the field and make a difference for us. We're pretty proud of them. We work hard during the week and it shows every weekend when they get a chance to prove it on the field. Guys are ready top to bottom to come out on the weekend and get the job done.'
DC's defense was rarely tested in the match, but United gifted a goal to the Crew with an appalling mistake 20 minutes from the end of the match. Perkins misplayed a back pass that he should have just launched into orbit, allowing the Crew's David Testo to scramble the ball away from the United keeper. Typically, the ball rolled right to the Crew's Knox Cameron and he easily chipped the ball into the back of the net behind the helpless Perkins.
Still, the result was never really in doubt the rest of the game. United survived only one dangerous play from the anemic Crew offense when Wolyniec muscled around John Wilson in the 80th minute only to shoot wide of the post.
Even though United dominated the majority of the match, stunning saves by both keepers kept the game close since both teams had quality chances in the opening 45 minutes.
The Crew nearly tied the game in the 30th minute on a wicked Marcus Storey blast that knuckled and nearly fooled Perkins, but DC's keeper was able to parry it away. Then it was Crew goalie Bill Gaudette who prevented a first half hat trick by Walker with two lovely saves just before the end of the half.
In the 37th minute, Clyde Simms took a quick FK to Freddy bolting down the left and Walker got on the end of his lovely cross, despite a healthy shove in the back by the Crew's lumbering mystery defenders. However Gaudette got a palm on Jamil's header to guide it just wide of the net.
Then on the stroke of the halftime, Freddy earned and took another FK to Walker at the far post, but Gaudette showed Rimando like reflexes to dive back across the goal and smother the shot.
However, in the second half, United took control of the match and was unfortunate not to put up more goals. An early Freddy Adu CK to Merritt at the back post was volleyed dead on target, and only another diving save by their goalie kept the ball out of the net. Then it was the woodwork that saved the Crew, when a few minutes later Freddy slid the ball up to Nana Kuffour barreling towards goal, but his shot pinged off the post.
When Coach Soehn was asked if any players stood out in terms of winning the title, he was quick to point out that it was a total team effort. He said 'Jamil comes up with a lot of goals for us, Clyde Simms, Bobby Boswell, John Wilson, they've all done a great job as far as being the upper echelon, but we're proud of everybody. We're not afraid to put anybody out there. Everybody pulls their weight. We're a team. It's not first team and reserve team, it's a team and whatever the competition is, we're looking to win.'
United enjoyed the trophy ceremony following the match, celebrating with about 500 raucous fans who attended and cheered on the reserves throughout the match. The team also wins $20,000 that Coach Soehn said will be divided up by the reserve match players.