Conditions – Bright day, field in good condition, but soft because of previous night rain. The game was played in two 30-minute halves.
DC United wearing White tops, black shorts, black socks, Metros going with all red. Moving right to left in the first half.
Metros lineup was replete with unknown players, however it included former MLS players David Hayes and Johnny Torres.
DC United lineup:
Namoff – Petke – Nelsen (Capt) – Prideaux
Olsen – Kovalenko – Stewart – Adu
Gros – Cerritos
(Note: Times are estimates only)
1 – Off of kickoff Adu dances down left flank, and flips a ball forward to Josh Gros. Gros takes the ball to the end line and forces a corner kick. The corner is headed out without problems.
3 – Prideaux swings a ball down the near sideline. Olsen, who roamed to the near side, swings in pass to a charging Nelsen, but the header goes high and wide.
5 – A quick counter over the top by Metros splits DC United back line on the seam between Petke and Namoff. Perkins is able to come out and disrupt play before an effective shot is taken. Perkins then scrambles back and smothers before any more attempts are made.
7 – Namoff fires a drive up the far sideline to Olsen. Olsen cuts back on a defender, nut-megging him in the process, spinning the defender to the ground. Effective backup coverage by Metros allows them to shut down the excellent individual play by Olsen.
11 – Metros free kick from about 25 yards out and off set slightly to the near side. NY forward Uche (?) able to hold off Petke and control in the box. Uche spins and gets shot off directly at Perkins. Perkins fumbles attempt and ball rolls out for a corner. Corner easily cleaned out by DC United.
14 – Kovalenko tackles Metros player on far side of field in front of Metros bench. Hard tackle, probably a yellow card, but the Metros player is OK after a minute.
16 – Ara substitutes for Kovalenko
18 – Michael Bradley receives outlet from Metros defense in center circle. A nicely flighted and weighted ball over the top lands at the feet of an onrushing Metros forward in the seam between Petke and Namoff. Perkins comes out and blocks first shot. However, rebound lands at Metros forward’s foot, he touches around Perkins, and slots home an easy goal – GOAL! Metros up 1-0.
20 – Off goal kick Cerritos pops up a header into Metros penalty area. Metros stand around and watch Gros jumps on the ball, fires on goal, but its stopped by GK.
25 – Gros, on the near side, swings a cross into the box. Stewart shrugs off a defender and gets enough space to touch a shot on goal, but right at GK for a save.
28 – Namoff overlaps on the right and crosses into Cerritos who chests the ball onward to Adu in GK box. Adu controls and fires from a tight angle, but GK able to come up with save.
Namoff – Stokes – Nelsen – Prideaux
Carroll – Stewart – Kovalenko – Modeste (?)
Cerritos – Moreno
31 – From the kickoff by Metros, Stokes is able to swing the ball out to Prideaux. Prideaux pushes forward and flips the ball up over the center-line to Moreno. Moreno surges down the sideline with two defenders hanging on to him. Curling into the box Moreno goes over as if shot – No Call! Foul on Moreno for diving – yellow card. Both calls are questionable, but no complaining by Moreno supports ref’s call.
33 – Metros again go over the top to running forward. Nelsen effectively shoulders the attacker, as he takes shot, effectively disrupting the threat.
35 – Stokes is caught forward and NY does an effective give-and-go around him. Stokes uses his speed to recover and create problems on the attack on goal, and eventually clear ball out of danger.
40 – Although Prideaux covers his side, Metros are able to snap off a dangerous cross into the box. Baumstark aggressively goes for the ball and cuts out the threat by grabbing it out of the air.
45 – A fast break out of DC United back by Kovalenko to Moreno at midfield. Moreno dances around NY midfielder and forces defender to commit. A nice lead pass finds a charging Stewart at the top of the penalty area. However, Stewart faces a defender and no support, so the counter is stopped.
47 – Kovalenko again controls in midfield and slots a ball through to Stewart in the box. Stewart’s shot on goal is directly at the GK for and easy save.
48 – Namoff plays a ball from the sideline to Moreno in the middle attacking third. Moreno is forced outside and eventually into the corner. Moreno chips the defenders out of the corner into the box to a rushing Kovalenko in the box. As Kovalenko winds up for a drive on goal a defender pushes him over. No call! The ball is cleared out of danger.
49 – Gros on for Kovalenko. Gros stays in midfield.
50 – Play is decidedly now in favor of DC United. Although some attacks from NY come over the midfield they are quickly shut down. DC United is unable to crack through the Metros’ defense.
55 – Alegria on for Stewart. Gros to front line, Moreno steps back into attacking midfield role.
57 – Moreno able to control play out of midfield and slides a ball out to Modeste. Modeste able to control the ball down to the end line and flips it back into the box. The ball bounces harmlessly through the Metros box and is eventually cleared.
58 – Moreno embarrasses a defender and a midfielder with dribbling then flips to Gros. Gros’ return pass is slightly off and a defender is able to touch ball out for a corner.
60 – Game ends Metros win 1 – 0
In the first half DC United was not particularly effective in any form. During the second half the flow was significantly better, but not good enough for a result. Offensively, DC United is most effective down the sidelines. The midfield didn’t hold any specific positions and roamed to open slots throughout the game. Although they competed in central midfield, DC United was unable to control the action from that area. The few threats in and around the box were effectively shut down by Metros’ defense. It seemed that DC United’s build-ups were predictable. The team was effective on corners and free kicks. Defensively, DC United played well, particularly in central defense. With the exception of the one play, which was simply an outstanding pass combined with an excellently timed run, Metros failed to threaten effectively. There were some problems in transitioning out of the back with poor passing.
Individually, Adu was effective on offense at times, but seemed to disappear when it came to defense. He clearly belongs on the field, but needs to round out his game. Olsen had a particularly good game. By the second half he clearly owned whichever side he played on. If it weren’t for harsh tackling being allowed on Olsen he would have probably made a greater impact. Moreno had flashes of brilliance throughout the second half. He clearly had a calming effect on DC United’s attack using some speed and strength to create problems for the Metros. Nelsen and Petke were solid in the middle of defense. There were clearly some problems of communications between Pickens and the various defenders, which allowed for some threats. Prideaux and Namoff were decent in defense, but failed to add to the attack with overlaps. Stewart and Kovalenko failed to dominate the midfield, but didn’t allow free reign by the Metros. Gros was effective in challenging for the ball up top, but missed some opportunities with passes, failed to follow up on attacks by Cerritos or Stewart. For the most part Carroll didn’t flash, but didn’t make any horrendous mistakes. Stokes had a couple of gaffs, but either covered for himself, or had help.