Disney Pro Soccer Classic: United fall 2-0 to Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City scored twice late in the second half and that was the difference in their 2-0 win over D.C. United tonight at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. Former United midfielder Bobby Convey scored on a wonderful goal in 74th minute to give SKC the lead and then Soony Saad got the second in the 81st minute after a terrible midfield giveaway from United.

The scoreline was a bit flattering for Sporting Kansas City as this match was even right down the middle and was bereft of any real opportunities until the late goals from SKC.

Convey put Sporting into the lead when he picked up a ball on the left flank at the corner of the penalty area. United were lax in defending and allowed Convey to drift towards the top of the penalty area. When Convey received no pressure he unleashed a right footed shot that curled into the far side netting past reserve goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra.

As United were trying to recover from the shock goal, it was a lack of composure that gifted Sporting their second goal. Trialist Joseph Nane was easily stripped of the ball in midfield and the resulting through ball easily split United’s substitute back line of trialists Henry Kalungi and Shavar Thomas. Sporting forward Soony Saad darted in and slipped the ball underneath the onrushing Dykstra to seal United’s fate.

United gave a first look to young Designated Player Rafael midway through the second half and his one lasting contribution was his breaking of the fence with a powerful shot wide of goal from 18 yards out late in the match. Also making their United preseason debuts were the aforementioned Thomas as well as Panamanian midfielder Marcos Sanchez and Honduran winger Walter Martinez.

United started the match with what many would consider the starting lineup of this team with Bill Hamid in goal accompanied by defenders from right to left, Chris Korb, Brandon McDonald, Dejan Jakovic and Daniel Woolard. The midfield consisted of Nick DeLeon, Perry Kitchen, Marcelo Saragosa and Chris Pontius. Team captain Dwayne De Rosario was joined up top by Lionard Pajoy.

United didn’t take long though to make changes to the squad as head coach Ben Olsen brought off the entire team except for Hamid, Jakovic, McDonald and Saragosa in the 32nd minute.

With the loss, United drops into a tie for second place with Sporting Kansas City after two matches of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. Montreal leads the group with a pair of wins (over SKC 2-1 this past Saturday and a 4-1 win over Tampa Bay earlier today) and can clinch a spot in the final with a draw in their final match with United on Saturday afternoon at 1pm EST

If United can manage to win that match, they might be able to pip both Montreal and Sporting Kansas City for an appearance in the final but a lot would have to happen for that scenario to present itself.


Disney Pro Soccer Classic: United too much for Tampa Bay in 4-0 win

Lionard Pajoy and Taylor Kemp both scored a pair of goals in D.C. United’s 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies tonight in the first game of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic for both squads.

Both teams came out slowly but it was United who ended up carrying most of the play in a scoreless first half. Trialist Kyle Porter, inserted into left midfield, should have given United an early lead but his header in front of goal was way off target. Pajoy and Dwayne De Rosario both had good looks on goal as well but they were well saved by the Tampa goalkeeper.

The second half saw United’s domination continue over the second-division side and the Black-and-Red deservedly took the lead in the 55th minute. Chris Korb sent in a picture perfect cross that met the head of Pajoy who easily guided it to the back post for the 1-0 lead. Just two minutes later Pajoy doubled the advantage after being sent in by a lovely chip from Porter. Pajoy’s cutback between two Rowdie defenders got him the open space needed to execute a textbook chip over the goalkeeper and give United a 2-0 lead.

After the goal, head coach Ben Olsen subbed out all eleven field players but even that didn’t slow down United. Another trialist Ryan Richter, the last player cut from United last preseason, was instrumental in setting up the third goal. His one-two down the right wing with Lewis Neal carved out enough space for him to center a pass towards the goal. Sixteen year-old Academy signing Michael Seaton was charging the goal and the resulted collision with the Tampa Bay goalkeeper left a juicy rebound for United 1st-Round draft pick Taylor Kemp to easily sweep into the empty goal.

Both Richter and Kemp were not finished however and they combined for the last goal in fine counterattacking fashion. Once again Lewis Neal and Richter played a one-two triangle around the Tampa Bay defense and Richter was off down the right sideline. His cross into the penalty area fell perfectly behind Seaton and into the path of Kemp who slammed his second goal into the net.

United saw out the remainder of the match with no trouble at all and will now face a much more stern test on Wednesday afternoon when they take on Easter Conference rivals Sporting Kansas City at 6pm EST.