On a night when DC United mourned one of their greatest fans (Javier “Chico” Solares, left), and easily one of the greatest fans in MLS history, the Black and Red came back to tie the Montreal Impact in the second half to extend their unbeaten streak to 5 games. After Montreal’s Bernardo Corradi scored to break the duck of a desultory game, DC United responded minutes later to with a Maicon Santos laser to tie the match 1-1.
Of course the 5 game unbeaten streak is the most important line in terms of the team, but just as the focus on the team’s results is absolute, the focus on the greater MLS community has its place as well, and Javier Solares, who died last night unexpectedly, deserves as good as it gets. He would be the first one to say that a point is the difference between making the playoffs and not. Well, DC didn’t lose on the field tonight, but soccer in general lost an incredible force in the stands, a force that perhaps will never be replaced.
My friend “Chico” Solares was easily the most passionate and honest fan in the game of soccer, so he would have no problem saying the first half of soccer played by DC United was an abomination. They allowed an expansion team, winless and pointless on the road, to come into RFK and dictate play with their desire and determination while United flailed away impotently and seemingly uninterestedly.
United was lucky to escape to halftime with a 0-0 draw, as Chico would point out, if not for a sadly underweighted pass by Montreal’s Sanna Nyassi to United killer Davy Arnaud that caused him to push his open shot over the bar, DC would have been behind.
However, DC coach Ben Olsen clearly lit a fire under the ass that was his team and they did respond in the second half. The first half could perhaps be excused as DC was facing an expansion team, had arch rival NY coming up on the weekend, needed to blood some players returning from this or that,…..ya da, ya da, ya da. However the reality was DC did not act like this was a golden chance to end a hideous 87 game streak of not being able to win 2 games in a row.
Thankfully, DC came out roaring in the second half in a way that would have made Chico proud.
In the 49th minute, Boskovic and DeLeon sprung De Ro in on a breakaway, but the defending league MVP hesitates and Ricketts comes out studs flying to poke it away. The Jamaican Ricketts clearly having voo doo more powerful at that moment than Chico could counter at that moment.
But, United easily began to gain control of the ball and the match, unfortunately they gave up a high school counter attack that would have made Chico cringe and cover his crotch. A clever Montreal pass down the right behind DC’s Daniel Woolard was collected by Montreal substitute Denney Neagle and expertly whipped into the 6 yard box where Willis had no chance, and unfortunately Chris Korb misjudged it allowing Corradi to nod it in easily for the 1-0 lead.
However Chico’s ghost could not allow such a travesty to decide the match and 10 minutes later, DC substitute Maicon Santos hit an improbable shot from 30 yards that somehow scrambled its way into goal under the uncharacteristically alligator arms of former MLS goal keeper of the year and defending MLS Cup Champion , Donovan Ricketts.
Maicon Santos also scored an apparent winner in the 90th minute, but it was correctly ruled offside. Even Chico couldn’t persuade that linesman from above to thumb the scales and just desserts were served.
While 1-1 is a draw is justice in this mortal coil of MLS, Chico deserved better. He always slept better after a DC win, and it’s a shame the soccer gods refused to allow him, on his death bed , the relief of a two game win streak he has so desperately wanted since 2009. But he is sleeping peacefully, and I miss him already. But he will always be there any time anyone cheers for DC as that was his passion and he won’t dessert that even in death.
DC returns to play as they host NY Red Bull next Sunday at RFK. And Chico absolutely haunted NY in life…..:)