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Nuevo despertar futbolero en Washington DC

Tonificante despertar se dió en un céntrico hotel del Distrito donde el DC United washingtoniano anunció, en concurrida conferencia de prensa, que Erick Thohir y Jason Levien se unieron a la plana ejecutiva, junto a Will Chang, como co-dueños de los derechos operativos del D.C. United de la Major League Soccer estadounidense.

Es decir, nuevos brios económicos han anclado en las águilas rojinegras con lo que de pronto, entre otros menesteres, se hace realidad el sueño de la casa propia (nuevo estadio) para ir caminando de la mano con la solidificación de la MLS que ya tiene 9 estadios propios, de los 19 equipos que tiene la Liga.

La incorporación de Thohir y Levien como socios administrativos es un sólido avance del club ya que quien ha tenido el peso económico desde el 8 de enero del 2007 ha sido Will Chang, y en solitario, desde hace un buen tiempo desde que Victor Macfarland dejó la sociedad en Mayo del 2009.
“Estoy realmente muy orgulloso y satisfecho con lo logrado por la incorporación de Thohir y Levien” dijo sonriente Chang durante la presentación. “Creo sin duda alguna alguna que son los perfectos socios y compañeros para formar un gran equipo, estoy muy emocionado por lo que representa por el futuro del equipo” remarcó Chang.

“Quisiera parafrasear al Dr. Martin Luther King en su famoso discurso…”Yo tengo un sueño… y en ese sentido ‘Mi’ primer sueño es encontrar una casa permanente para nuestro DC United…El segundo sueño es hacer del DC United un equipo de marca mundial…Erick y Jason son la compañía perfecta para hacer posible esos sueños” manifestó Chang.

Erick Thohir, un empresario basado en Indonesia, y está estrechamente relacionado con el mundo del entrenimiento. Es co-fundador de Mahaka Group, el cual se concentra en propiedades mediáticas, incluyendo televisión, radio, internet, diarios y propiedades deportivas.

En los deportes, Thohir ha liderado los recientes esfuerzos para llevar a Los Angeles Galaxy y AC Milán a competir con la Selección de Indonesia, es el codueño de los Philadelphia 76ers de la NBA, y es el fundador de la Liga de Básquetbol AESEAN, la primera liga profesional regional de su tipo. También es el Vicepresidente del Comité Olímpico de Indonesia y es el Jefe de Misión para los Juegos Olímpicos 2012.

“La oportunidad de asociarme con Will y Jason trae posibilidades emocionantes”, dijo Thohir. “D.C. United es un club con una gran historia y tradición ganadora. Estoy ansioso por ayudar al desarrollo de D.C. United dentro y fuera del campo de juego, como también expandir su alcance como una marca global”.

Por su parte Jason Levien, abogado de profesión, es el presidente y fundador de LSRI, una firma especializada en inversiones en deportes y propiedades mediáticas. Es el codueño de los Philadelphia 76ers. Previamente, Levien fue un exitoso jugador-representante, representando jugadores, entrenadores, equipos, ligas, y ejecutivos de deportes y los medios. También pasó dos temporadas como ejecutivo de los Sacramento Kings de la NBA.

Levien, quien cursó la Universidad de Georgetown, trabajó en la firma de abogados Williams & Connolly en Washington, D.C. y vivió en el área de D.C. por una década. También fue asistente jurídico en Maryland para el Tribunal de Apelación y fue profesor en la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de California Berkeley.

“Al asociarnos con Will, estamos comprometidos en asegurar el crecimiento de D.C. United”, dijo Levien. “Nuestros aficionados se merecen el mejor esfuerzo y eso es exactamente lo que recibirán”, destacó Levien.

Cabe resaltar que las operaciones del día a día continuarán bajo la presidencia ejectiva de Kevin Payne y su equipo de colaboradores. “Esta incorporación es una gran potencialización para nuestro club” nos comentó Payne al final de la conferencia. “Ha sido un gran esfuerzo de para traer a estos dos comprometidos empresarios. Desde que Will (Chang) ha estado navegando solo al frente del equipo no ha sido fácil y estos nuevos recursos traen a la mesa de nuestra casa las ideas para realmente soñar en grande” destacó Kevin.

“Por supuesto que esto no significa que vamos a apresurarnos en la toma de decisiones, ni mucho menos realizar esfuerzos en vano desperdiciando recursos. Vamos a caminar muy seguros y dependiendo de nosotros mismos en la toma de decisiones” y continuó… “Sabemos que podremos lograr mucho con estos nuevos socios del club. El estadio propio es una de nuestras grandes metas así como nuestro crecimiento global en los negocios como club en sí” enfatizó Kevin.

DC United's Andy Najar Controls the ball during his team's U.S. Open Cup match against the Richmond Kickers. Photo: Matt Mathai.

DC Escapes Richmond with 2-1 Win

DC’s Branko Boskovic hit the corner kick to Marcelo Saragosa to score the winner in 107th minute of overtime to give United a 2-1 victory over the Richmond Kickers and a ticket into the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup where they will host the Philadelphia Union at the Soccerplex in Germantown next Tuesday night.

DC scored first in the 24th minute from a lovely cool finish from Hamdi Salihi but Richmond answered back just before halftime from the penalty spot as DC defender Lewis Neal bundled over Richmond’s Chris Agorsor setting up the spot kick that Stanley Nyazamba converted for the 1-1 score that held up until 30 minutes of extra time added to the end of the match.

With tired players and a spot in the quarterfinals on the line, the overtime turned into a lively affair on both ends, but it was a Branko Boskovic corner kick that just missed Dudar, but fell to right to Saragosa standing unmarked near the spot and he thundered a volley into the roof of the net to give United the lead that eventually held up after United survived a few tense moments over the final minutes of the match.

As is usual when playing a lower division opponent with a changed lineup, DC United dominated possession, but failed to really threaten a pretty disciplined Kickers defense. Conversely, the speedy kickers counter attack caused quite a bit of confusion in the United’s makeshift defense, and if not for the stellar play of Emiliano Dudar as well as the abysmally poor finishing by Richmond, the night could have finished with a lot worse for United.

DC did manage the first quality chance of the match when Andy Najar was sent deep down the right side where he pulled a cross back towards the top of the area. A sliding Richmond defender managed to deflect the ball away, but it fell right to Salihi for a shot at the open goal but he smashed the ball well over the bar.

Salihi made no mistake with his next chance however as Maicon Santos pulled off some lovely work in midfield and slotted a diagonal ball to Salihi making a perfect diagonal run across the box behind the ball watching Kicker defense, drawing the keeper slightly, United ‘s Albanian attacker cooly slotted the ball into the far side of the net to put United out front 1-0 midway through the first half.

However, that seemed to fire up the Kicker counter attack and the rest of the half, United’s discombobulated defense was constantly scrambling any time they gave up possession. In the 27th minute, Richmond’s Ryan Heins collected a loose pass and scampered behind Ethan White to zip a ball far post where Chris Agorsor had slipped inside Neal, but the Richmond forward whiffed the bouncing ball with an open net yawning in front of him.

On a similar play 10 minutes later, Richmond’s Gerson Dos Santos was sent down the left in the seam between White and right back Chris Korb where he crosses far post again to Agorsor inside Neal, but this time he is nudged just as he shoots and the ball sails well wide.

Richmond got third time lucky though as they went to that well again just before haltime and when the ball was worked across to Agorsor this time, he and Neal fumbled over each other as Saragosa clattered into the pile too. Predictably, the referee awarded the penalty kick that Nyazamba thundered into the net after sending United’s Joe Willis the wrong way to tie that match 1-1 at the stroke of halftime.

DC coach Ben Olsen brought in rookie Nick DeLeon to play the left side at halftime for Salihi which caused a shuffle sending starting left wing Josh Wolff to forward. The move didn’t work so well at first as Wolff lost a ball and was skinned going back the other way leading to another dangerous counter that ended with a low shot that skipped barely wide from Dos Santos in the 55th minute.

However, Wolff and DC started to click after that. In the 56th minute, DeLeon pegged a perfect cross to Wolff bursting in at the six, but his volley was slammed right at Richmond keeper Ronnie Pascale. Pascale again saved the day a few minutes later. This time it was a Wolff cross to DeLeon that Pascale managed to block first, but the ball fell to DeLeon. He too shot right at Pascale, but incredibly got another chance as the rebound fell right to him was an open net yawning above the prone Pascale, but his hurried shot went well wide from 6 yards.

In the 75th minute, DC made the decisive change as Olsen brought on Boskovic for Stephen King and United’s attack immediately flourished. In the 78th Najar ghosted past two defenders and ripped a shot, but Pascale went horizontal for a spectacular save. Then it was Boskovic moving up the center easily before smashing a shot that Pascale did well to smother with Santos hovering for a rebound. Josh Wolff also ripped a low shot to the near post that Pascale had to smother as well.

United’s defense still struggled to contain attackers whenever Richmond got the ball, but Dudar was gigantic in snuffing out trouble before it got to the point of a shot on goal. Still, Richmond began to look a lot more threatening as well once they brought on their leading scorers, Matthew Delicate and David Bulow midway through the second half.

In the first 15 minute OT, Deleon maneuvered through three Richmond defenders to smack a clever shot to the far post, but Pascale again palmed it and the ball rolled achingly just past the post. DeLeon earned the CK in the 107th minute that Boskovic clipped into the area for Saragosa to finally hit the shot that would ultimately decide the match.

Still United had to survive a lively scramble over the final few minutes. A Richmond CK to Delicate was headed barely wide. In the 199th minute, Agorsor turned Ethan White and burst into the area, where he leaned into White and shoved over. However, the ref didn’t fall for the ploy and refused to call the PK. Then just before the end, DUdar with his only poor touch of the match hit a poor clearance that fell right to a Richmond attacker in the box, but his shot was drilled right at Willis to end the match.

DC has now faced Richmond five times in the Open Cup and beaten them four times. The only loss was in 2004. United also extends their record against lower division teams in the Open Cup to 18-3-0.

DC now faces the Philadelphia Union, who beat the Rochester Rhinos, in the quarterfinals at the Soccerplex in Germantown Maryland next Tuesday night at 7:30 Tickets are $20, or $15 bought in advance.

DC Looks to Keep Rolling Over Revs

DC United will look to catapult themselves into the Eastern Conference lead as well as keep their four match home winning streak going with the full three points over long time arch enemy, the New England Revolution when they visit RFK tomorrow night.

A win would also cement United at the top of the Eastern Conference well into June which would be the first time United has held the Conference lead this late in the season since 2007 when they won the Supporter’s Shield. Unfortunately, United is still nursing quite a few injuries and hasn’t beaten NE in RFK since the last game of the 2008 season when Francis Doe scored a brace.

With regular starters, Robbie Russell, Nick DeLeon, Chris Pontius, and Danny Cruz all out with hamstring strains or in the case of Pontius, a sore butt, it’s obvious DC coach Ben Olsen will have to juggle his lineup yet again. However, with Canadian central defender Dejan Jakovic back from injury the defense should be in good shape, and the offense has suddenly found some decent depth with the emergence of DC’s designated player duo of Branko Boskovic and Hamdi Salihi. In addition, the surprising wing play of Englishman Lewis Neal as well as the resurrection of Honduran Andy Najar has eased the loss of DeLeon and now Cruz.

The only move of interest will be if Olsen tries another experiment with Boskovic on the wing and starting Josh Wolff again alongside Salihi or if he will finally allow all his highest paid players to play their best positions by giving the keys to the midfield to Boskovic and pushing DeRo up to forward. Olsen has been loathe to do that so far this year, but if he does pull the trigger on that move and it works as it did against Colorado and in the second half against Toronto, DC will become a ridiculously explosive offensive team that should be able to score on anyone.

If he does make that move, DC’s lineup should look like this: DeRo and Salihi at forward; Neal, Bosko, Perry Kitchen, and Najar in midfield from left to right; and Daniel Woolard, Brandon McDonald, Jakovic, and Chris Korb along the backline from left to right in front of Bill Hamid.

NE, on the other hand is pretty much healthy with only former DC midfielder Clyde Simms out with tendinitis and attacker Lee Nguyen listed as probable with a sore shoulder. The Revs have been pretty explosive themselves of late with 9 goals in their last 4 games after only 5 goals in their first 7 games now that they’ve worked themselves into Jay Heaps’ refreshingly attacking posture. However, their defense is still their Achilles heel as it was when DC beat them 2-1in NE in April.

I think Nguyen plays and therefore it’s almost certain Heaps will go with the same lineup that tied Houston 2-2 a week ago. Frenchman Saer Sene, who has 3 goals in NE’s last two games, and former DC striker, Blake Brettschneider at forward. In midfield, Heaps will send out Nguyen, Shalrie Joseph, Ryan Guy, Benny Feilhaber from left to right. Across the backline should be Chris Tierney, Stephen McCarthy, A.J. Soares, and Kevin Alston in front of Uncle Fester in the nets.

So, looking at the matchups, DC should be in fine shape. Offensively, DeRo and Salihi will easily befuddle the stork McCarthy and the capable, but unspectacular Soares. Neal against Alston is probably a net loss, but as long as he pins Alston back, DC is in good shape and assuming Najar has gotten it drilled into his brain to stay wide and get deep, the under-rated Tierney will be in deep trouble on the right side, especially as Najar will be itching to show he wants to reclaim his starting spot he lost to Cruz.

The wild card will be Boskovic in the center. Guy was less than convincing playing defensive midfield and arguably cost NE two points against Houston, so if Boskovic outplays him so thoroughly that Joseph is forced to stay back to help, then NE is in very deep trouble. Plus, Boskovic’s free kicks have been the best since Christian Gomez was swinging ball into the area. If NE gives up a lot of fouls deep, Bosko will punish them.

Defensively, things are not quite so rosy, but still well enough in DC’s favor. Obviously, Sene is a handful, but Brettschneider should not be too much trouble for his former team mates. So as long as Woolard plays his usual solid game and keeps Feilhaber under control that might be enough to sway the advantage Nguyen has over Korb. I expect NE to get a goal or two, but DC should get a lot more than that.

All of which is good for DC because the karma has been against United when the Revs come to town lately. DC was shutout the last two years by NE in RFK, and it took a stoppage time goal from Ben Olsen to avoid being shutout and pull off a draw with NE in 2009. DC was even knocked from the Open Cup by the Revs last year at home in the game that cost Boskovic his season with a knee injury. So, while DC holds a comfortable edge over NE overall in RFK at 16-8-4, none of that success has been seen lately.

Current trends are much more promising, though. DC has only lost twice in the past 12 games and has currently won 3 out of the last 4 including the last two in a row. DC is also a very healthy 5-1-2 at home and unbeaten in RFK since the opener when it took a stoppage time goal for KC to squeak past United. Plus, DC has been just crushing teams here with 12 goals in their last 4 homes games, all wins. NE on the other hand, is 1-5 on the road including 0-3 with only one goal in their last three road matches since their shocking (then) win in LA.

So there you have it. The book shows DC a comfortable winner. Fate has been fickle of late, but then again this is the year DC seems to have decided to restore the order of the universe. DC is finding its way back to the top of the East and seems like it might be able to stay there. United has a couple two game win streaks in the past month after not getting back to back wins in almost 3 years. In fact, beating NE would give them their first 3 game winning streak since June 2008 when Gallardo was patrolling DC’s midfield and they won 4 in a row that magical June before the bottom fell out on that poor season.

But more importantly, DC has taken back RFK and is winning in front of their long suffering fans who have witnessed a mere 7 wins combined in RFK the past two seasons. Beating NE would see them almost equal that total in the first half of this season.

DC Hopes to Avoid Toronto Trap

As Ray Hudson would say, this is a classic banana peel match. TFC is 0-8, gave up a heartbreaking tie in Vancouver midweek and is verging on wallowing through the worst season in MLS history. United on the other hand handled TFC easily a few weeks ago, has lost only once since March working its way to a point away from the top of the East and is coming off a resounding win over Colorado. Obviously, United holds the cards and should win easily, but that’s right when a team slips on the proverbial banana peel.

United can’t afford to lose focus for this match either as this match is the second of three very winnable home games that could set United up well heading into the summer. It would be easy to for a team playing as well as United is lately to overlook a TFC team that is almost a shambles at this point in the season. But, TFC will win sometime and in fact are undefeated the last three times they have visited RFK, so United should be wary.

Ironically, United’s injuries might actually help them in the Toronto match as it is almost certain that Olsen will reward the reserve players who beat Colorado with more playing time tomorrow night and those guys can’t afford to take anything lightly if they want to remain in the discussion for starting spots.

With designated player Hamdi Salihi scoring his third goal in four games, there’s no reason for Olsen to rush either Chris Pontius or Maicon Santos back onto the field. Also, with a brilliant game from DC’s other designated player, Branko Boskovic, he surely deserves another start in central midfield which would allow United to keep Dwayne De Rosario at forward alongside Salihi. A move that should have TFC’s league worst defense very concerned, especially given DeRo’s penchant for punishing his former teams.

Left wing Lewis Neal also deserves another start after the very influential game he had against Colorado as well. Olsen will have to decide between Danny Cruz and Andy Najar for the right sided role, but given Najar’s puzzling lack of coordination with the team and his resistance to play wide, I suspect Cruz gets the nod even though Najar is the greater threat offensively and wing play is crucial to breaking down TFC who plays a system designed to be strong down the center. And Perry Kitchen with his indestructible knee is a no brainer to start at defensive midfield.

In defense, it seems likely Olsen keeps the same four that got the shutout against Colorado, Robbie Russell, Brandon McDonald, Daniel Woolard, and Chris Korb, who had a great game in Toronto the last time these two teams met in front of Bill Hamid, who got his first shutout of the year in that TFC match as well. The only possibility is if veteran centerback, Dejan Jakovic, who was in the 18 against Colorado is ready to start, but again why push it when Woolard has been playing exceptionally well in the center and Korb has earned the time on the field as well.

As for TFC, it’s very possible they make some big changes to their starting XI given their schedule congestion due to the Canadian championships and the long travel that entails; however, they are actually getting healthier in a lot of areas even though their field general Torsten Frings remains out with a shoulder injury he got in the DC game a couple weeks ago. So, predicting their lineup is a bit of a crap shoot, but here goes.

I do not believe Dutch forwards Danny Koevermans or Nick Soolsma are ready to start and with Jamaican Ryan Johnson being their most consistent scoring threat there’s no need to rush either player back to the field either. Also the tricky Ecuadoran Joao Plata and speedy Bermudan Reggie Lambe are playing as well as anyone for a team that is 0-8 and shouldn’t need rest either, so I suspect that is the forward line DC will face.

In midfield, it’s almost certain to be Eric Avila who caused DC some problems the first time these teams met, Julian De Guzman and Canadian veteran Terry Dunfield as TFC does not have any other good options in those roles. The same holds for the defense which is finally becoming a consistent four players, Ashtone Morgan, Adrian Cann, Doneil Henry, and Jeremy Hall or maybe Richard Ekersley finds his way out of the doghouse in front of former DC goalkeeper Milos Kocic.

So, looking at the matchups and tactical styles, DC has an enormous edge pretty much all over the field. On offense, Cruz and Neal will stretch their three man midfield and open space in the center for Salihi and DeRo to brutalize TFC’s weak central pairing of Cann and the youngster Henry. After vanquishing Jeff Larentowicz handily midweek, Boskovic should have no trouble with De Guzman who has struggled mightily to earn his money since joining MLS, especially if Cruz or Neal pulls the tough Dunfield wide. If United’s wingers don’t do that, Boskovic will have tough sledding against both Dunfield and De Guzman, but even then if he occupies two players, DC wins somewhere else on the field.

Defensively, the rugged Johnson is always a concern, but he should be concerned about the Chicken Hawk DC has roaming their central defense. Brandon McDonald can mix it up with anyone in MLS and he will almost certainly be inside Johnson’s pocket all night long. Woolard’s intelligence and reasonable speed will help Russell and Korb contain TFC’s extra forward too. Kitchen will have to throttle Avila and keep an eye that DeGuzman or Dunfield don’t pop up unexpectedly in the attack, but Kitchen legend is growing as we watch, so there’s no reason to fear a slip up here, even though tactically he will have a tough job identifying the right threats given the way TFC tries to flood the attack.

Even the trends seem to favor DC. United holds an 8-3-2 record over the Canadians all time, and are 3-1-2 all time against them in RFK although all three wins came in the first three matches played here. United hasn’t beaten TFC in RFK since 2008, and interestingly United’s only loss to them here came in the final game of 2010 which was also the last time Boskovic played a full 90 minutes for DC (In fact, DC has never won a game when Boskovic has played a full 90, but we won’t speak of that!). But all the games have been lively. The teams have combined for 5 or 6 goals in every match played here between them. DeRo had a hat trick against them last year as the teams tied 3-3, Jaime Moreno scored a stoppage time goal to tie in 2009, Gallardo scored a cracker in 2008, odd players like Gonzalo Peralta and Guy Roland Kpene have gotten goals against TFC too.

So expect some goals tomorrow night the teams have never failed to combine for at least 5 here in RFK no matter how abysmal either team is playing, they fill the net. I suspect this time it will be DC hanging a 4-1 win over the Canadians, but stranger things have happened in MLS. Hopefully, United avoids the trap and gets there second win streak going, maybe even stretching it to 3 when NE comes to town next. But, the win over TFC is imperative. Stick a stake in them early and they should be done. Let them hang around and it could be trouble.

Fiesta futbolera en Casa Blanca, Galaxy fue recibido por el Presidente Obama

Fue una agradable fiesta de gala futbolera la que se vivió en la Casa Blanca, en predios washingtonianos,  el pasado martes por la tarde teniendoo como tradicional anfitrión al Presidente de los Estados Unidos, Barack Obama.

El presidente estadounidense sorprendió con su afabilidad en su tradicional ceremonia de recibir a los campeones anuales de las diferentes ramas deportivas, lo que consideramos el perfecto aliciente que todo altleta se merece por sus denodados esfuerzos para coronar logros y laureles deportivos y si esos reconocimientos vienen del personaje que conduce el país se hacen doblemente valiosos en su reflejo de sus esfuerzos deportivos hacia su comunidad y en especial hacia sus juventudes deportistas.

El presidente Obama hizo derroche de conocimiento en la materia futbolera. ¿Tiene buenos asesores que le preparon el libreto?..No lo creemos por su espontánea fluidéz, además de un muy fino sentido del humor. La muestra la dejó plasmada cuando rememoró con claridad los esfuerzos de Los Angeles Galaxy para lograr el título emelesero del 2011, matizando este recorrido con bromas sutiles al inglés David Beckham.

El histórico Palm Room de la Casa Blanca presidencial en el corazón de Washington DC, estaba a tope de invitados, dirigentes y funcionarios que tienen las rienda del fútbol en los Estados Unidos pero nos llamó a atención de numerosos chiquilies futbolistas y entre ellos destacaban muchas….muchísimas caras hiapanas que no habíamos visto en otras ceremonias similares.

Cabe mencionar que los niños fueron recibidos inmediatamente después de este reconocimiento por la primera dama de la nación, Michelle Obama, en lo que llamaron “Soccer Clinic and Health”. Positiva la iniciativa de la primera dama fomentando las práctica del soccer entre la niñez ya que sus dos hijas son practicantes de este deporte en su escuela y tienen la la familia presidencial de arriba abajo para no perder ningún partido escolar. Imaginanos no solo a la familia presidencial en este familiar correteo del balón sino todo lo que conlleva para mantener la privacidad familiar.

En lo que respecta al Galaxy el presidente Obama fue prolijo en destacar el recorrido triunfal del equipo campeón mencionando las cualidades de cada uno de los jugadores en sus respectivas posiciones destacando en especial a las estrellas Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan y en especial bromeando con el inglés David Beckham. Destacó igualmente a los hispanos del equipo Omar González y AJ DeLaGarza, con pronunciamento muy americano de sus apellidos, pero se la pasamos…entendible.

“Debo sinceramente felicitar muy personalmente a cada uno de Uds. Su brillante esfuerzo de conjunto que los hizo salir campeones. Teniendo tantas estrellas individuales fueron capaces de poder agruparse como un solo ente y salir campeones entregando su valla invicta sin goles en 17 oportunidades. Eso es lo meritorio” subrayó el mandamás estadounidense.

“Colmaron todas las expectativas” continuó el presidente…” Hicieron un trabajo perfecto para combinar individualidades y hacer un equipo sólido. Fue un trabajo muy duro pero que valió la pena” destacó.

Al presidente Obama se despachó a sus anchas, con trato amable y muy familiar para con los campeones. Mostró fluido conocimientos del fútbol y todo el acontecer de la MLS, sorprendiendo a propios y extraños.

Por lo dicho por el presidente lo catalogamos como un buen hincha del fútbol con características especiales y refleja lo que sin duda el fútbol significa en cada persona, no importando el estatus donde se mueva. A Obama el fútbol lo mueve con la misma intencidad que a cualquier ciudadano común. Eso es lo mágico del rey de los deportes.

Lo que puso la nota de algarabía total fueros las bromas que se gastó el presidente Obama con el astro inglés David Beckham con sus 37 años, como “un jóven en el equipo”…”David es un gran ejemplo para nuestras familias, y atletas en especial, de buen deportista y buen padre de familia” destacó para finalizar con bromas sobre su linea de ropa interior.

Beckham, al igual que el resto de los presentes, no pudo aguantar las risas ante las bromas de Obama…“Fue gracioso. Embarazoso, pero gracioso”, dijo Beckham con una sonrisa a los miembros de prensa después de la presentación del Presidente. “[Obama] hizo algunos comentarios sobre mi hoy: la ropa interior, ser papa de unos chicos y mi barba”.

“Él es muy carismático, es un gran personaje y es un honor para nosotros reunirnos con él”.

“Es increíble. Es un gran honor para cada uno de los jugadores, el club, la franquicia, el ser invitado aquí después del torneo”, dijo el astro inglés. “Pienso que es una gran tradición que los equipos vengan aquí porque uno sale de conocer al Presidente y es una motivación; motiva a querer regresar el próximo año. Espero que lo hagamos porque fue un gran día, un día de orgullo para todos nosotros”. Le tomamos la palabra.

Maicon Santos. Photo Martin Fernandez

DC Looks to Rebound in Toronto

No rest for the wretched as DC United must put the debacle in San Jose behind them and look to get back to their winning ways playing the winless Toronto FC at BMO field tomorrow night.

TFC has tied the league mark for consecutive losses to start the season (7, Kansas City in 1999), but TFC has been playing much better than its results of late. RSL only managed to beat them with a stoppage time goal playing at home, and at Montreal in the Canadian Championships in midweek, they held Montreal to a scoreless draw. TFC is perhaps due for some good fortune, but let’s just hope it comes next week rather than tomorrow night.

There’s no sugar coating it, United’s patchwork defense was shredded by the Earthquakes and will have to play much better to avoid what could be a demoralizing defeat if they allow Toronto their first win of the season.

OK, so plan A for the defense missing 3 of its best 4 central defenders did not work in San Jose largely due to the clever play of Wondolowski and Lenhart, but Perry Kitchen did not look good on the backline, and moving him back into midfield was crucial to United getting back into the match after giving up three straight goals by halftime. To be fair, Robbie Russell, Brandon McDonald, and for the first time in a long while, Daniel Woolard all played terrible, so there’s plenty of blame to go around, but clearly neither Kitchen in the back, nor his midfield replacement, Marcelo Saragosa were an improvement in either area of the field.

Unfortunately, DC has no choice but to stick with Russell, McD, and Woolard on the backline as there isn’t anyone else healthy. Still, plan B has to be keeping Kitchen in midfield and either bringing in Chris Korb or reprise Andy Najar in that right back role as he did in the second half against SJ.

Considering TFC’s system and players, I’d rather see Najar back there as TFC plays a 4-3-3 with plenty of pace in their wingers whether it be Reggie Lambe or Joao Plata. Danny Cruz would do a good job as right back too, and Najar is the better attacker so it would seem to be a better solution for them to switch. But it’s crucial United wings stay wide against TFC’s three man midfield and Najar hasn’t shown the discipline to do that as much as Cruz has.

Olsen also has to sit down his best player, Dwayne De Rosario who kept DC respectable in SJ as he needs some rest, but considering the situation bringing in Branko Boskovic for this match would be a good chance for him to make an impact with his ball control and possession game against a stacked central midfield of Torsten Frings and Julian De Guzman for Toronto. If he can just hold his own in there and keep the ball moving through, United will be in good shape.

Also, either Maicon Santos or Chris Pontius deserves some rest too, but there’s a bright side to that too as DC’s other designated player, Hamdi Salihi, finally got off the schneid with a lovely late goal in San Jose. That goal showed the kind of deft touch in front of goal that DC brought him in for, so he deserves a start to keep that momentum going. I believe he’d play better with Pontius than Santos, plus Santos has taken by far the most beating given the way he plays forward, so I would think Pontius gets the nod to start along with Salihi.

Which just leaves Nick DeLeon holding the short straw and being forced to start on the left side although he deserves some rest too. It’s possible Olsen taps English winger Lewis Neal to get his first start, but I don’ think so. I think Olsen would really rather his team make as few changes as possible to get back some flow after the SJ loss, then adjust on the fly as people tire out. So, I think DeLeon starts and plays the first 60 before Neal comes in relief.

On the other side of the ball, TFC may well have settled on a starting lineup finally after getting some results using some surprise players and sending some bigger names to the bench. Tough to read TFC coach Aron Winter’s mind, but TFC have looked better without Danny Koevermans in the lineup and with Joao Plata coming off the bench, as well as with Academy player Doneil Henry in the back line.

So, my best guess is that Winter stays the current course which means a front three of Lambe, Ryan Johnson, and former Dallas attacker Eric Avila. Then Frings and De Guzman in support of Terry Dunfield in midfield, and a backline of Ashtone Morgan, Miguel Aceval, Adrian Cann, and probably Doneil Henry over Richard Ekersley going left to right across the backline in front of former DC backup keeper Milos Kocic who is starting due to Stefan Frei nurses a lower leg injury.

So, looking at the matchups, TFC’s system may well help DC. Instead of two threats occupying the center backs, TFC really only plays one, Johnson, so the central defense job just got easier and I like either Russell or specially McDonald banging bodies with Johnson. However, Kitchen and probably Russell’s job got a lot harder as they will have more bodies to track and step up to with Avila and Lambe buzzing around as well as Dunfield and De Guzman pushing up. Boskovic will have to help some and so will Woolard and Najar or Korb pinch in or track runners more. Still, TFC has only 6 goals in 7 games, only Chivas and Philly have scored less, so while DC’s defense is banged up, TFC’s offense might not punish enough to win.

Especially as the real problem for TFC is giving up goals, 16 in 7 games to date. They have given up the most goals in MLS, yes even after DC’s recent debacle still has only given up 15, so TFC should be rightly worried about containing United’s potent attack. Salihi and Pontius or Santos will shred Cann and Aceval, DeLeon and Cruz will put Henry and Morgan on their heels, so even if Boskovic or DeRo get slowed by TFC’s stacked central midfield, DC will find width and decimate TFC’s central defense.

So, expect some goals in this one. DC might hang 5 on TFC, but is almost certain to give up a few as well. Could be another barnburner like SJ only in reverse this time. We’ll see. Sometimes when two teams have obvious defensive flaws, they both hunker down and defend with bodies and the game turns into a 0-0 yawn fest, but it would be stupid of TFC to risk this type of game as DC will surely get one, but unless TFC attacks en masse, they will not be able to score and will lose 1-0.

As for the trends, well DC has pretty much owned TFC. United is 7-3-2 all time against the Reds, and 4-2-0 in Toronto including winning the last two on the trot. DeRo, in particular seems to enjoy sticking it to Toronto maybe even more than any of his other former teams. That is ominous for TFC given the way DeRo is playing lately even if he only comes off the bench. Also recent trends favor DC as well, United has only one loss in their last six games, while TFC has lost 7 straight. Also, United is 1-2-1 on the road, but before the SJ debacle they had a quality in NE and a valiant tie in Vancouver. TFC is obviously winless at home so far this year.

So, there you go. DC wins a barnburner or squeezes out a tough one goal grinder. At least as long as the soccer gods keep their meddling paws to themselves.

DC Hopes for Third Time Lucky in SJ

DC United, riding their first winning streak since 2009 thanks to Maicon Santos, will likely need some luck to stretch that streak into a third win in a row against the Earthquakes Tomorrow night in San Jose. SJ has always been barren in terms of points for DC, and this year’s Earthquakes are riding a five game unbeaten streak of their own having won four of their last five matches.

To make matters worse, DC will be without three of their top four central defenders as Emiliano Dudar became the latest casualty being forced out of the Houston win with a hamstring injury to join Dejan Jakovic (ankle) and Ethan White (knee surgery) on the trainer’s table. Which is bad in its own right, but facing SJ’s Chris Wondolowski and Steven Lenhart, who battered DC with a hat trick against them last year, will really have United’s backs against the wall.

It will also be interesting to see how DC coach Ben Olsen handles his starters considering this match will be the second of three in seven days. The first time he faced a similar stretch, Olsen made six changes to the starting lineup and nearly fumbled away all the points to Montreal. This time Olsen has to be thinking the team needs to keep the continuity going but the long flight to San Jose followed by a long flight back to their next match in Toronto followed by another long flight to Houston to be the sacrificial lamb in the Dynamo’s stadium opening game seems to indicate to need for managing minutes.

There’s no question Olsen will be juggling his defense, though. Almost certainly Olsen will be moving veteran right back, Robbie Russell into the center to replace Dudar alongside former San Jose defender, Brandon McDonald and left back Daniel Woolard, but how Olsen handles the vacant right back slot could be interesting. Second year player Chris Korb seems the natural replacement, but has been pretty woeful in his outings this season to date. So, another option might be to play Perry Kitchen in that right back slot and bring in Marcelo Saragosa to play Kitchen’s midfield slot. Unfortunately, Kitchen hasn’t been too convincing as a right back and Saragosa is nowhere near as good as Kitchen in cleaning up things in front of what will be a patchwork central defense for this match.

However, if Olsen seeks to avoid either of those two evils, an interesting option might be to play Danny Cruz or even Andy Najar at right back for this match. Cruz has played right back before and certainly has the tenacity for the position. Andy Najar is no slouch as a defender either, but the beauty of this idea is that it could turn a potential weakening of one or two positions on the field into an attacking strength that would force San Jose to deal with a lot more attacking play out United’s right side.

Olsen also has to decide which game to rest his attackers, Dwayne De Rosario, Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius, and rookie Nick DeLeon. He could easily drop them all from this match and replace them with his tarnished designated players, Hamdi Salihi and Branko Boskovic as well as Najar and Josh Wolff. But given the disaster large scale changes wrought in the Montreal match, that idea seems a bit suspect.

A better idea would be to rest two at a time. Give Santos and DeRo the night off in San Jose unless they are needed off the bench. That way DeLeon who seems to have a decent connection with Salihi gives him a familiar person to run off of while he gets to partner with Pontius who is equally as good at setting his partners up for shots as he is at creating his own. Boskovic too gets the benefit of a largely intact midfield to fit himself and he’s not going against a particularly stiff central midfield defense, especially if Sam Cronin as rested by SJ coach Frank Yallop.

Interestingly, San Jose will have similar fatigue issues to deal with as they are coming off a flight from Philly to get ready for this match and will be heading out to Vancouver right afterwards for a Saturday match against the ‘Caps. So while they will be sleeping in their own beds before this game, former DC assistant, Frank Yallop, might have to manage minutes with San Jose’s starters as well.

Obviously this is speculation, but I suspect Yallop will make some changes for this match as well, in order to be fresher for the more important match with Vancouver. With that in mind, I do not believe he will run 33 year old Colombian playmaker, Tressor Moreno, into the ground, especially as there’s no way he’s used to the long travel in this country, so I’d bet he sits this one out. Same with Simon Dawkins, who is younger, but ran like a dog all day in Philly. Yallop also likes to give guys like Brad Ring the odd start to keep them in tune, so I suspect Cronin gets rested too.

Unfortunately for United, there’s no chance Yallop rests either of his main scorers. Chris Wondolowski almost never sits out a game and Lenhart has only recently got back into the lineup, so he doesn’t need rest, not to mention sending him up against a makeshift central defense is like launching a rhino through a cornfield. Also, aside from captain Ramiro Corrales returning to the lineup from injury, the defense is likely to remain fairly intact as well. Corrales, Justin Morrow, Ike Opara, and Steven Beitashour going left to right in front of Jon Busch.

So looking at the matchups is a bit of a crapshoot, but let’s give it a go. Obviously the big concern is Lenhart and Wondolowski, and interestingly enough DC does have some good reasons for hope there if Benny leaves Kitchen in the middle. Lenhart is a handful for sure, but so is Brandon McDonald. The Chicken Hawk is well aware of what Lenhart tries to do and is easily just as physical, so if McDonald plays smart, Lenhart could largely be neutralized and maybe even frustrated into making mistakes the way he frustrates others. Wondo is a lot more tricky as he is sneakier and loves to find seams to take open shots from. Well, Russell is nearly as mobile and has good experience to not let Wondo wander too far, but also Kitchen is very smart and can help out at the top of the D as well.

In the midfield, Khari Stephenson is a load to control and has a bomb of a shot, but I like Kitchen on him a lot better than Saragosa. Assuming Marvin Chavez plays the right side with Beitashour behind him, I have no problem with DeLeon and Woolard keeping that side in check, and quite possibly getting the better of them in the attack. Same with Najar and Cruz keeping Rafael Baca and Ramiro Corrales contained fairly well, while almost certainly causing them huge problems when United is attacking.

Which leaves Boskovic, Salihi and Pontius going at Cronin (or Ring), Morrow and Opara and that is frankly a tossup. I’m a big fan of Salihi and think he will break his duck sooner rather than later. Pontius too is playing with so much confidence right now, that he could catch Opara too far upfield and punish that mistake. Even better if the game stays tight as I suspect, you’ve got Santos or DeRo coming off the bench for some late minutes to go for the win.

Also, while SJ is leading the West, their record is a bit suspect. Their only quality win was in catching Seattle on a down swing and stealing a 1-0 win there. Other than that, they’ve beaten poor teams like Philly, NE, TFC, and Vancouver, needed stoppage time heroics to not drop two points versus 9 man RSL, tied a dreadful defensive team in NY, and lost to Houston at home early on. So, they haven’t really hit the hard part of their schedule to say the least.

Of course, the soccer gods have never been kind to DC in San Jose, starting right from that loss in the Inaugural MLS match back in 1996. Since then United has a grand total of 3 wins in SJ, but they have tied 6 more to go with their 7 losses. Of course two of those wins in SJ came in ’97 and ’98, so that means United has only one win there since the Golden Age of DC soccer, but that lone win in the past 13 years was last season, a 2-0 victory courtesy of DeRo, so maybe the worm has turned.

It’s a case of the two longest unbeaten streaks in MLS meeting in a midweek matchup that likely will see a good sprinkling of bench players starting on both sides, so who knows how it will turn out, but DC does have some reason for hope that they come out of this with a tie at least.

However, a few good bounces and a little luck and maybe United has a three game win streak for the first time since that glorious June in 2008 when another disappointing DC DP, Marcelo Gallardo was at the height of his success with DC, leading United up from the bottom of the table with four wins in a row. Interestingly, United’s second win in that streak was a 4-1 drubbing of NY and the third win was a comfortable 3-1 cruise over SJ. Perhaps this is a time for Boskovic and Salihi to shine like Gallardo and Emilio did during that run.

DC Wary of Dangerous Dynamo

Riding a six game unbeaten streak, second in the East DC United (and leading scorer, Chris Pontius, left) hosts the fifth place Houston Dynamo who are winless in their last three, but the disciplined Dynamo have had DC’s number for years, so United should not take the Dynamo lightly if they are to have any chance of breaking their incredible string of league matches where they have failed to win two games in a row.

Incredibly, it’s been almost 3 years and exactly 88 games since United had a winning streak, and coming off a rousing win over NY last week, United has to feel the time is right against a Dynamo team reeling from its fifth straight away match to start the season while they wait to open their new stadium in Houston (a match where they will host DC, btw). So, a win breaks that hideous string at 89 games, unfortunately DC has rarely racked up all the points when facing the Dynamo, with only one win in the past 8 games over the last 4 years, and DC would be wise to be wary of one of the biggest and toughest teams in MLS.

Especially as Houston’s record is nowhere near as bad as their ranking in the East suggests. While United is second in East at 12 points (3-2-3), Houston is fifth at 8 points (2-1-2), but with three games in hand, as well as a winning record after their fifth of seven straight road matches to start the season. The Dynamo’s only loss on the season so far was a respectable defeat in Seattle, after having beaten SJ and Chivas to start the season, and subsequently have tied Chicago and Columbus respectively in the past two weeks.

As always, Houston relies on set plays to score, stout defense to grind their few goals into wins, and utter discipline to keep games close so that either side of the ball has a chance to garner at least a point making them very tough to beat in general.

Still, on the bright side, Houston’s Brad Davis, who should have been league MVP last year (no disrespect to Dwayne De Rosario, but Davis got his pedestrian side into the MLS Cup final, DeRo was merely a spectacular scorer for a pitiful team that couldn’t figure out how to win any game of consequence), has been out for weeks with an calf problem and while rumors have him as available, he should be a second half sub at best.

DC, on the other hand has the actual defending MVP in fine fettle and he seems to rounding into his game after a slow start, with 4 assists in United’s last 5 games. DeRo still hasn’t scored yet, but it should be ominous for Houston that DeRo torched his former teams last season with 6 goals in 3 games against NY, SJ, and Toronto.

It’s especially lucky considering DeRo was traded to DC literally days after United had completed their season series with the Dynamo, and one game before he went on his tear. So, this will be the first time he has faced the team where he won two of his four MLS Cups as a member of the Black and Red. In fact, the rest of his former teams should be wary as DeRo is in the 2nd of 6 matches against his former clubs of this 7 game stretch for DC.

United also appears to have settled upon a lineup of choice at least for the time being. Sadly, for United’s designated players, that lineup doesn’t appear to include them, but at least it is successful and the hope being that when or if Hamdi Salihi, or less likely Branko Boskovic, do break into the lineup, they will make the team that much stronger, but that is an article for another day.

Considering Pontius is coming off a hat trick and a game winner two weeks ago, he’s a lock to stay in the lineup at forward. Obviously, Maicon Santos who has four goals and an assist in the last four games, and who salvaged the tie with Montreal 10 days ago, will be his partner. De Ro is surely set for attacking midfield as is rookie left wing Nick DeLeon (3 goals 3 assists), and midfield defensive anchor Perry Kitchen. The only question is whether Danny Cruz’s ankle is healthy enough for him to start against his former team. If so, he starts, if not former rookie of the year, Andy Najar gets another shot to see if he can play within the team concept.

In the defense, considering Dejan Jakovic is still hobbling, it will surely be Emiliano Dudar and Brandon McDonald in central defense with Robbie Russell and Daniel Woolard on the right and left respectively in front of Joe Willis, who has done nothing to see any bench time any time soon.

Houston will just as surely start Brian Ching and Will Bruin at forward as both scored in the 2-2 tie with the Crew last week, as well as the fact that both had a hand in keeping United from any wins against Houston last season. Bruin had a hat trick in the 4-1 battering DC took in Houston, and Ching scored a late goal to tie DC 2-2 in RFK. Their midfield and defense is also set unless Davis makes a surprise start. It should be Corey Ashe, Luiz Camargo, Adam Moffat, and Je-Vaughn Watson going left to right across midfield, and Jermaine Taylor, Geoff Cameron, former DC defender Bobby Boswell, and Canadian Andrew Hainault going left to right across the defense in front of Talley Hall in goal.

So, looking at the matchups, United has a huge advantage in speed and talent, Houston a huge advantage in discipline, size, and experience so it’s probably a matter of who makes a mistake and given their history against each other and United’s now historic lack of consistency overall, that probably means a draw. But, on paper DC has some serious advantages that could translate to a win, if you know, they actually wanted to win two in a row. That remains to be seen.

Offensively, I especially like the matchup of the sleek DeLeon against the more clunky Watson on DC’s left, especially as Hainault is a good defender, but prone to dive in and the tricky DeLeon, who seriously could be on the way to a rookie of the year himself, could blow right by those types of challenges. Also, Pontius could be another key to the match if he carries on with his confident form. Santos’ more physical style will go nowhere against Houston’s central defense, but if Pontius can be a dynamic wild card to score himself or open room for Santos to unleash his cannon left foot, Houston could be in trouble, even if DeRo is somewhat negated as I expect Houston coach Dominic Kinnear to be able to do.

Defensively for DC, it’s even better. Dudar wasn’t the slightest ruffled by Thierry Henry, Kenny Cooper, Blas Perez, Eric Hassli, or Sebastien LeToux, so I don’t see an aging Ching or a bum rush by Bruin bothering him in the slightest, and Brandon McDonald can mix it up physically with anyone in the league. Davis will be a huge problem should he come in late, but hopefully he is only entering the game because DC is up by then so all they need to do is not foul and hang on for the win.

Bottom line, DC has the tools to win, unfortunately trends and history go solidly against them. As mentioned Houston is every bit as good as DC so far this year considering they haven’t yet had the chance for any 4-1 wins at home yet. Also, DC has a paltry 3-7-2 record against the Dynamo, and while all 3 wins did come in RFK, there’s only been one since 2007 and that was in 2009. DC did manage the draw here last year for their first point in 2 years against the Dynamo , but a draw will not be what they are looking for this year.

Smart money says 2-2 draw, but just maybe the monkey comes off DC’s back tomorrow night and the record goes in the books as 89 games without a winning streak. A win would cement DC firmly into second in the East, while a loss would not necessarily affect Houston at all considering their situation waiting for their stadium to open, with an almost certain win over DC then, and also considering their games in hand.

Fingers crossed DC fans.

Chris Pontius fue el verdugo de los Red Bulls Newyorquinos. Foto/Martín Fernandez

DC United goleó, 4-1, a los Red Bulls de New York para levantar la Copa Atlántica en el RFK

Washington DC (Abril 22, 2012).– En medio de una torrencial lluvia en el coloso de Anacostia, el RFK Stadium, el DC United washingtoniano le propinó una goleada, 4–1, a su clásico rival norteño los Reds Bull y una vez más levantando la Copa Atlántica, dicho sea de paso, el DC United le quitó la racha de partidos sin perder a los Red Bulls.

El verdugo de las Aguilas Rojinegras fue Chris Ponthius que en inspirado domingo, facturó tres de los cuatro goles capitalinos. En cuarto lo hizo el ‘Rookie’ Nick DeLeon. El de honor para los Bulls lo hizo Thierry Henry.

DC United puso mejor fútbol y, como reza el refrán, ‘en mi casa mando yo’… Lo hizo con goles y con fútbol agresivo…de marca ajustada.

Esta vez DC United fue mortalmente diferente. Diametralmente opuesto como los vimos en el desabrido partido del miércoles pasado cuando enfrentó a Montreal Impact dejando escapar puntos que valen oro cuando se juega en casa.

Fue a buscar al rival, le quitó iniciativas e impuso un mejor ritmo de juego en su medio sector donde destacó DeRo(Dwayne DeRosario) convertido en un jugador más de creación y proyección, haciendo jugar a su equipo desde el medio sector con mejor visión para hacer daño con el pase a profundidad.

Igualmente, en la linea de cuatro defensiva rojinegra se nota un progreso para la marca donde la presencia del argentino, el central Emiliano “La Torre” Dudar pone tranquilidad por el centro, tiene don de mando y comunicación fluida con sus compañeros de marca. Ordena, pone calma y, con severidad, va a la marca del rival.

El cuarto gol en la factura final estuvo a cargo del “Rookie” Nick DeLeon (con diferente ‘Look’ en el pelo…Corn Rows…le dicen!!!) que se acrecienta en cada partido, no sólo de media puntada para el ataque sino es veloz para el desmarque, toca buscando la pared sin pausa y cuando encara el arco enemigo no titubea para disparar.

De la misma forma, la ofensiva washingtoniana va de menos a más. El brasileño Maicon Santos pone la fuerza y la presencia de gol metido en las 18 yardas del enemigo. Tiene ubicuidad para buscar y disputar pelotas con veneno y no duda para el pase o remate hacia la carpa contraria.

Otra contratación que está dando resultados es Danny Cruz. En reemplazo de su estatura pone la cuota de marca segura en el medio sector y tiene claridad en la proyección desde atrás.

Va a busar pelotas tapando las salidas del rival. No tiene contemplaciones cuando va a la marca del jugador clave del oponente. Hablandó a Thierry Henry, el experimentado francés de los Red Bulls, marcándolo a presión y en zona. Realmente lo sacó de ritmo a monsieur ‘Titi’ Henry.

Al que no lo vimos metido ni mucho menos fue la libanés # 9, Salihi Hamdi cuando entró en reemplazo de Maicon. Sinceramente no le vemos nada de su cartel de goleador con que llegó al equipo.

Por lo demostrado en este punto del torneo es un ‘bluff‘ para la escuadra capitalina. Para perdido en la zona roja del enemigo. Pierde goles desastrozamente, y que tanta falta hacen a su escuadra. No le vimos UNA!!!!

Y aquí un muy amical comentario para el DT capitalino Ben “Benny” Olsen. Sus cambios en la banca, o en la plantilla del inicio del partido, son un tanto débiles y su criterio no está en estos momentos para las improvisaciones.

Olsen tiene que visualizar su oncena titular ya con siete fechas metidas. Con lógica y cambios con sentido.

Fue, si bien es cierto, un claro 4–1 ante un Red Bulls desconocido porque hizo AGUA por todos lados en todas sus lineas especialmente la defensiva. Cabe mencionar que los Red Bulls llegaron diezmados por lesión de sus jugadores claves pero creemos naufragó en su defensa debido a la sanción de Rafael Márquez por mala conducta por cuatro fechas.

Olsen tiene que definir ya su once titular con las variantes del caso, justamente en estos partidos positivos donde sus lineas le funcionan bien sincronizadas. Es su desición, y por supuesto muy respetable, pero igual…Un consejo hasta de un conejo!!!

Una perla. ¿Entendible el cambio? Para nada. Entró Stephen King por DeRo quitándole ensamble a su medio sector. Hasta a DeRo no entendió el cambio -por sus movimientos de manos-, como diciendo ¿yo salgo?…Sorprendió a más de uno el cambio.

Bien por el triunfo que los puntos en casa ayudan, pero mucho mejor por la goleada ya que son los goles los que avivan el alma y la fiesta del rey de los deportes…su majestad el Fútbol.

Veremos qué pasa el próximo fin de semana en que el DC United recibirá a Dynamo de Houston que viene con sed de victoria tras empatar de vista frente al Columbis Crew. Por su lado, los Red Bulls que se quedan en el tercer lugar con 10 puntos, recibirán al New England.

Por lo pronto, con la vistoria el DC United se coloca en un sólido segundo lugar en la Conferencia Este con 12 puntos y está a la cacería del Sporting Kansas City que camina muy cómodo en el primer lugar con 21 puntos acumulados y ya con menos presión porque perdió su partido -y el invicto-, frente al equipo Santo los ‘Quakes’ de San José.

ESTADÍSTICAS DEL PARTIDO

Estadio: RFK Stadium Washington DC

Fecha: Domingo 22 de Abril. 2012

ALINEACIONES:

DC United.- Willis, Russell, McDonald, Dudar, Woolard, Cruz, Kitchen De Rosario, DeLeon, Santos, Pontius

Red Bulls.- Meara, Solli, Keel (Ruthvan 46′), Holgersson, Lade, Richards, McCarty, Palsson, Ballouchy (Lindpere 46′), Cooper, Henry

Goles:

Pontius (DC) 9′, 32′, 69′

DeLeon (DC) 36′

Henry  72′

Juez Central: Mark Geiger

Asistencia: 13,262 espectadores

RESUMEN DE LA JORNADA 7

TORONTO FC – 2 CHICAGO FIRE – 3

Fecha: Sábado, 21 de abril
Estadio: BMO Field
Goles: TOR – Lambe (36′) (40′); CHI – Oduro (1′), Segares (41′), Nyarko (58′)

EL PARTIDO – Chicago Fire conquistó su segundo triunfo de la temporada en un electrizante encuentro ante Toronto FC. Los visitantes se llevaron un luchado triunfo por 3-2 donde después de verse arriba en el marcador tempranamente, tuvieron que remontar un marcador adverso.

Solamente tomó 25 segundos para el Fire abriera el marcador por medio de Dominic Oduro, quien luego de que Torsten Frings cometiera un error, quedara frente al arco para definir fácilmente. Toronto despertaría con un zapatazo imparable por parte de Reggie Lambe, quien también puso a ganar a los de casa cuatro minutos después. No obstante, el Fire empataría en el siguiente minuto luego de que Gonzalo Segares pusiera dentro de la red un balón centrado por Sebastián Grazzini.

A pesar de que fue TFC el equipo que salió a proponer en el segundo tiempo, fueron los visitantes quienes se llevaron un triunfo gracias a la velocidad de Patrick Nyarko, quien anotaría el único gol en la segunda mitad.

COLUMBUS CREW – 2 HOUSTON DYNAMO – 2

Fecha: Sábado, 21 de abril
Estadio: Columbus Crew
Goles: CLB – Gaven (63′, 79′); HOU – Bruin (59′), Ching (80′)
Asistencia: 10.479

EL PARTIDO – El Crew de Columbus y el Dynamo de Houston negociaron un empate de 2-2 en el Estadio Crew en un emotivo choque que a final de cuentas deja a ambos equipos con un punto que de nada les sirve en su lucha por meterse en las primeras posiciones de la Conferencia del Este.

Tras varias oportunidades falladas, en un  tiro de esquina cobrado al minuto 59’, el delantero  Will Bruin abrió el marcador al cabecear el balón dentro del área chica para así poner el 1-0 a favor de los visitantes.

Sin embargo, cuatro minutos más tarde, Columbus Crew se aprovechó de un error garrafal de la defensa texana y finalmente de la mala salida del arquero Tally Hall, jugada que terminó en un tiro desde la media luna de parte de Eddie Gaven quien se encargó de emparejó las cosas.

A quince minutos de tiempo completo, el Crew se adelantó en el marcador, por intermedio de Gaven nuevamente quien prendió un riflazo de volea desde afuera del área, balón que le dobló las manos a Hall, solo para que Brian Ching emparejara el marcador al minuto 80’ con un zurdazo dentro del corazón del área que clavó pegado al primer palo Andy Gruenebaum.

COLORADO RAPIDS – 1 LA GALAXY – 2

Fecha: Sábado, 21 de abril
Estadio: Dick’s Sporitng Goods Park
Goles: COL – Cummings (63′); LA – Wynne (Autogol-21′), Donovan (39′)
Asistencia: 19.152

EL PARTIDO – El LA Galaxy logró una nueva victoria, esta vez como visitante ante los Colorado Rapids con un 2-1 inspirado por las grandes estrellas del club angelino.

Primero, seria un centro de Beckham el que forzaría un autogol por parte de Marvell Wynne al minuto 21 luego de que Mike Magee cabeceara hacia el arco vinotinto. Al 39’, Landon Donovan anotaría el que se convertiría en el gol del triunfo con un disparo cruzado.

A pesar del dominio de los Rapids en términos de posesión, el Galaxy se mantuvo fuerte en defensa por la mayoría del juego. Fue solamente en el minuto 63’ que descuidarían al siempre peligroso Omar Cummings. El jamaiquino marcaría uno de los mejores goles del fin de semana con un tremendo riflazo desde fuera del área tras llevarse en velocidad y fuerza a la zaga galáctica.

Sin embargo, Cummings pasaría de ser héroe a villano luego de errar un penalti en el minuto 90 del partido tras una dudosa falta sobre Andre Akpan.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS – 1 FC DALLAS – 0

Fecha: Sábado, 21 de abril
Estadio: BC Place
Goles: VAN – Camilo (11′)
Asistencia: 18.027

EL PARTIDO – Tras cuatro fechas sin conocer la victoria, los Vancouver Whitecaps derrotaron por la mínima diferencia de 1-0 al FC Dallas, apenas su segunda victoria en casa y su tercera en lo que va la temporada 2012.

Apenas iniciando el encuentro, los canadienses impusieron condiciones causándole problemas a la defensa texana con varios tiros a puerta del brasileño Camilo Sanvezzo, quien al minuto 11’ puso el único gol del encuentro tras un tiro desde afuera del área, incrustando el esférico pegado al primer palo de Chris Seitz que nada pudo hacer para evitar la anotación.

Dallas por su parte, poco daño pudo causarle a la defensa canadiense que a pesar de los constates desbordes de Brek Shea, siempre mantuvo el orden.

Con el triunfo, los Whitecaps llegan a 11 puntos y poco a poco se alejan de las últimas posiciones de la Conferencia del Oeste, mientras que Dallas se mantiene con 10 unidades en la misma tabla.

PORTLAND TIMBERS – 1 SPORTING KC – 0

Fecha: Sábado, 21 de abril
Estadio: JELD-WEN Field
Goles: POR – Myers (Autogol-41′)
Asistencia: 20.438

EL PARTIDO – Un increíble autogol acabó el último invicto de la temporada regular 2012.

Portland Timbers derrotó a Sporting Kansas City por la mínima diferencia gracias a un error defensivo por parte de Chance Myers al minuto 41, cuando cabeceó el balón en su propia portería luego de un centro de Kris Boyd.

Los líderes de la Conferencia del Este jugaron su típico estilo de presión, pero los de casa no se dejaron intimidar y salieron a buscar el partido en su casa desde el primer minuto de juego, logrando contrarrestar al mejor equipo de la MLS en la actualidad y ganando tres necesitados puntos en la competitiva Conferencia del Oeste.

Sporting Kansas City se queda con 21 puntos y aun tiene una ventaja enorme en la cima del Este, mientras que los Timbers siguen en la parte baja de su tabla.

CHIVAS USA – 0 PHILADELPHIA UNION – 1

Fecha: Sábado, 21 de abril
Estadio: The Home Depot Center
Goles: PHI – Adu (40′)
Asistencia: 14.127

¿Cómo explicar lo de Chivas USA?

El Rebaño angelino tiene marca perfecta como visitante – tres triunfos en igual número de encuentros – pero aún no gana en casa esta temporada luego de cuatro encuentros como local. Su última derrota en el Home Depot Center llegó frente al Philadelphia Union, que se impuso 1-0 para sumar apenas su segunda victoria del 2012.

Freddy Adu le dio los tres puntos al Union con una definición de taco dentro del área, tras gran jugada personal y centro de Gabriel Farfán. Sin embargo, el mismo Farfán sería expulsado sobre el final, poco después de que su compañero Keon Daniel viera la roja directa por parte del árbitro Juan Guzmán.

Aún con la desventaja numérica en la cancha, los visitantes pudieron defender su ventaja en el marcador.

Además, Chivas USA perdonó algunas ocasiones de gol que pudieron cambiar el destino del partido. Una de las más claras fue para el colombiano Juan Pablo Ángel, quien ingresó como suplente e hizo su primera presentación con los rojiblancos desde que sufrió una conmoción cerebral el pasado 7 de abril. Pero ni el regreso de Ángel pudo evitar una nueva derrota en casa para el Rebaño.

PARTIDOS DE LA JORNADA 7 JUGADOS A MITAD DE SEMANA

D.C. UNITED – 1 MONTREAL IMPACT -1

Fecha: Miércoles, 18 de abril
Hora: 7:30 p.m. ET
Goles: D.C.: Maicon (72′); MON: Corradi (68′)
Asistencia: 10,135

EL PARTIDO – Un entretenido partido disputaron D.C. United y Montreal Impact en el RFK Stadium de la capital del país. El cuadro local se vio sorprendido por un Montral Impact bien planteado, que al final se llevó un punto con el 1-1 final.

Después de un primer tiempo de estudio, con un Montreal atrevido y cauteloso a la vez, las acciones tomaron un ritmo más frenético en el segundo tiempo. La cuenta la abrió la visita al minuto 68 gracias a un cabezazo de Bernado Corradi tras una buena tocata entre Lamar Neagle y Justin Mapp. Cuatro minutos después, el recién ingresado Maicon Santos marcó el empate con un fuerte remate de media distancia.

D.C. United tuvo para ganar a un minuto final pero Maicon Santos estaba en fuera de lugar en el momento de marcar. Montreal se llevó un justo punto, el primero que consigue como visitante.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS – 1 SPORTING KANSAS CITY – 3

Fecha: Miércoles, 18 de abril
Estadio: BC Place
Goles: VAN – Le Toux (’79); SKC – Collin (’24), Bonjour (autogol ’51), Kamara (’65)
Asistencia: 15,382

EL PARTIDO – Definitivamente no hay quien pare a Sporting Kansas City y continúan con récord perfecto.

En el duelo ante Vancouver Whitecaps jugado en el BC Place, los actuales líderes de la Conferencia del Este impusieron su juego arrollador para arrancarle tres puntos a los canadienses con la victoria 3-1 en un partido ampliamente dominado por los azules, aunque sobre los últimos minutos del segundo tiempo dejaron de presionar para provocar el despertar del local.

Con goles del defensa Aurélien Collin –aprovechando un balón llovido en el área al minuto 24-, un autogol del defensor de los Whitecaps Martín Bonjour –ante un mal despeje cerca de su arco al minuto 51-, y un tanto del delantero Kei Kamara –definiendo con un ligero toque un servicio de Chance Meyers al minuto 65-, Sporting Kansas City aumentó a siete los partidos ganados desde el inicio de la temporada, manteniendo su marca perfecta y siendo líder de la Conferencia del Este con 21 puntos.

Vancouver tuvo su consuelo cuando al minuto 79 llegó el tanto del descuento de los pies del francés Sebastien LeToux, pero no le alcanzó para la igualada.  Los Whitecaps se quedan en la 7ma casilla del Oeste con 8 unidades.

– El resumen de la jornada 7 con notas de la MLS

DC Draws First Tie with Montreal

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…..:)