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Early mistake sets tone in heavy defeat in Los Angeles

The euphoria from D.C. United’s 3-0 win at Sporting Kansas City lasted exactly 103 hours and 9 seconds.

Bobby Boswell’s awful turnover just 69 seconds into the match fueled a 4-1 victory for the Los Angeles Galaxy last night at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California.

With three points already banked last Saturday night, head coach Ben Olsen made numerous changes to his lineup with a view to their Eastern Conference matchup at home against New York Red Bull on Sunday afternoon.

The changes in the lineup underscored United’s depth issues as they were no match from the jump. United certainly could have played a much cleaner match but the team was plagued with bad unforced errors all night long which was no more evident than Boswell’s gaffe just over a minute from the start.

United also gave up another corner kick score when Omar Gonzales scored midway through the first half and then to add to their misery the Black-and-Red gave up a 26-pass sequence at the end of the half that resulted in a Baggio Husidic goal just before halftime.

United did manage to get on the scoreboard however in the 58th minute when Alex Caskey’s cross was sent into the box and Eddie Johnson’s run proved distracting enough that the ball ended up getting past goalkeeper Jaime Penedo. Although it appeared on replay that Johnson didn’t touch the ball, he was credited with his fifth goal of the season.

Sensing an opportunity to make a miracle comeback, Olsen brought Fabian Espindola and Nick DeLeon on but the Galaxy extended their lead in the 75th minute on what appeared to be a very soft penalty on Steve Birnbaum. Landon Donovan stepped up and put away the spot kick to reestablish their three-goal lead.

With the lopsided scoreline, the Galaxy easily saw out the remainder of the match with no issues. United now will turn their attention to a key home match on Sunday afternoon against bitter rivals New York Red Bulls.

 

Episode 142 – The Talent is Back

Join the guys on this special edition of the UnitedMania.com podcast. The boys talk about DC United’s past three matches, including the draw vs Montreal, the win against Houston, and the road loss to the New England Revolution. The guys also touch base on the US Men’s National Team and the noted omissions from the 23 man roster.

Defensive blunder leads to United collapse in 2-1 loss to Galaxy

For the second consecutive year, DC United has gone into their match with the Los Angeles Galaxy into the 81st minute with a lead. For the second consecutive year, United sits and watches the Galaxy score twice to turn a sure win into a loss.

Although United did manage a 2-2 draw in the season opener last season, tonight’s 2-1 loss was especially painful considering the trials and tribulations of the team all season long. United midfielder Clyde Simms hesitated on a seemingly easy defensive clearance in the 82nd minute and watched Landon Donovan swoop in and go around Troy Perkins with ease for the first of his two goals in 6 minutes as Los Angeles defeated D.C. United 2-1 last night at the Home Depot Center.

Donovan, who scored both goals in last years season opener, got the game-winner in the 87th minute when Tristan Bowen’s cross bounded through the goal mouth and Donovan redirected his header to the far post giving Troy Perkins no chance and the Galaxy leapt past Real Salt Lake to the top of the table with the win. With the win, United is now officially eliminated from the playoff race, though everyone knew this months ago with United getting off to such a poor start to the season.

While most of the season has been about United’s inefficiency in front of goal, and trust me it did play a small part in the loss, tonight’s loss was on the defense. United had played just about their most complete match of the season until the defensive blunder in the 82nd minute by Simms. United were on their way to their first back-to-back wins of the season.

Andy Najar put United in the lead in the 60th minute on a scramble inside the Galaxy penalty area. The play started when Pablo Hernandez flicked on a ball to Danny Allsopp. Allsopp then let Najar jet in and take the ball towards goal. Najar put a diagonal pass onto the foot of Santino Quaranta who cut the ball back into the path of Branko Boskovic. Boskovic did well to slide and get a shot into the gut of the onrushing Donovan Ricketts. The ball spun out towards the top of the box where Najar calmly slotted a left-footed shot into the empty net.

Pablo Hernandez had an opportunity in the 79th minute to double the lead but his left-footed curling shot was telegraphed and easily palmed away by Ricketts. Even with the dagger equalizer by Donovan, United again had a chance to go back into the lead when Quaranta’s pass sent Boskovic in on goal. Again, the left-footed shot from the Montenegran seemed telegraphed and it ended up being a routine save for the big Jamaican goalkeeper. Seconds later though the Galaxy got the game-winner and put a final hammer blow to United and put the Black-and-Red officially out of their misery.

United’s miserable season continues with 2-1 loss at home to Los Angeles

Frustration.

This was the key emotion at the final whistle, at the post-game press conference and in the locker room after tonight’s 2-1 victory by the Los Angeles Galaxy over D.C. United. A season long trend of inopportune defensive blunders, missed goal-scoring chances and just plain bad luck have come to summarize the 2010 season for the Black-and-Red. With the home loss, United’s sixth of the season, United now has dropped even further away from playoff contention at 3-11-3 (12 pts). The Galaxy improved to a league best 12-2-3 (39 pts) and virtually would have to lose all 13 remaining matches to lose out on another chance to go to MLS Cup.

This match started off pretty even between the teams despite the 24 point gap in the standings at kickoff. Both teams rarely threatened goal but in the 38th minute the visitors got on the board first with the help of some good fortune. United midfielder Stephen King was in the process of clearing a semi-dangerous cross out of the penalty area when it hit Edson Buddle in stride heading towards goal. Buddle’s shot was thwarted by an excellent sliding save from defender Devon McTavish. Buddle however regrouped quickly and stepped around the meek challenge of King and sent a wormburner right at United goalkeeper Troy Perkins who somehow managed to let the ball go through both his hands and his legs for a 1-0 lead.

United nearly drew the match level just two minutes later when Donovan Ricketts made a leaping save from Pablo Hernandez’ free kick. United almost equalized again in the 45th minute when Santino Quaranta sent a missle straight at Rickett’s who made the save. Just two minutes later Quaranta sent another shot at the Jamaican keeper who was positioned well to save that attempt and send the visitors into the locker room with the narrow 1-0 lead.

Andy Najar

Andy Najar continues to be DC United's shining star in an otherwise dismal season. United's youngster scored his third goal of the season, but it wasn't enough to keep the visiting Galaxy at bay. Photo: Chris Bannon

At the half United head coach Curt Onalfo was forced to make a change when Chris Pontius could not go on due to a suspected broken foot that happened inside the first 30 seconds of the match when referee Jason Ano let a rough challenge by the Galaxy on Pontius go unpunished. Pontius made it to the half despite him looking obviously injured. Jaime Moreno came on for Pontius and United then managed to draw the match level in the 54th minute. Pablo Hernandez drew a foul on the right sideline and then whipped in his free kick to the far post where Andy Najar rocketed a header past Rickett’s to tie the match a 1-1. Najar’s goal was his team leading 3rd goal of the season. Perhaps the fact that the 17-year old United Academy player is the leading scorer more than halfway through the season is a major reason why United is rooted to the bottom of the MLS standings.

That fact bore itself out just four minutes later when fellow rookie Jordan Graye pulled a deja vu and yet again coughed up the ball deep in United territory that set forth a series of events that lead to the game-winning goal from Landon Donovan. Graye was stripped of the ball by Galaxy defender Sean Franklin who proceeded to drive ahead into the penalty area. His well-struck shot was handled by a sliding Julius James and a penalty was awarded. James was rather fortunate to only see yellow on the play but it hardly mattered as the US’ all-time leading goal scorer and World Cup hero Landon Donovan easily dispatched past Troy Perkins to give the Galaxy the 2-1 lead and the win.

United attempted in vain to try and find the equalizer but a series of close offside calls and near misses on passes only added up to more frustration for the Black-and-Red as they see their season slowly circling the drain. United will now regroup and prepare for their next league match away to MLS Cup champions Real Salt Lake on Saturday, July 31st. In the interim, United will play their US Open Cup quarterfinal match this upcoming Wednesday evening at the Maryland Soccerplex in Boyds, MD against the Harrisburg City Islanders. If United wins, they will move on to host the Columbus Crew at RFK Stadium on September 1st. United will also host their third international friendly of the year when they entertain English Championship side Portsmouth on Saturday, July 24th at RFK Stadium

United Notes

  • The hits just keep on coming for United as both Chris Pontius (foot) and Dejan Jakovic (hamstring) had to leave the match with injuries. Pontius’ seems much more serious as a broken foot is suspected. Jakovic walked off under his own power and seemed less serious
  • Eddie Pope was inducted into the United Wall of Tradition at halftime of the match. The United defender was clearly moved by the gesture, belying his usual stoic nature
  • Designated Player Branko Boskovic made a second consecutive substitutes appearance as he continues to get into match shape. United’s other transfer window signing Pablo Hernandez started and played the full 90 minutes. Hernandez has been training with the team for nearly three weeks while Boskovic has made only a handful of training sessions since signing last Thursday

Match Gallery

A few choice images from before and during the game; All Photos Martin Fernandez.

Dramatic 91st minute goal send US to round of 16

Hardly much more can be said about last night’s match against Algeria in the 2010 FiFA World cup, but to summarize,  It was Donovan, the USA’s all-time leading scorer, who provided the dramatic goal with hardly any time left on the clock.

The US failed time after time to secure the win, but when all was thought to be lost, Donovan came through again and sent the US to the round of 16 where they will face Ghana on Saturday June 26th for a chance for further glory.

Below are some images from our special envoy to South Africa, Rafael Crisostomo…