4 Glorious Minutes - 1 DCU : Chelsea FC 2
There's a script for this sort of game in every American sports movie ever filmed. Arrogant, bullying world power humbled by plucky yanks in the final minutes. But real sport is different than movies, and so it was this time. Chelsea wasn't arrogant, but supremely professional. The upstarts didn't pull off the come from behind miracle win, they scored too early for that to happen. Instead, DCU played credibly against the best in the world, but came up just short. Chelsea played well, but not overpoweringly. It was a game of a good team against a better team. The better team won, but you play it ten games in a row, and DCU could win 3 of them.
It was a wonderful night for soccer. The Screaming Eagles, Barra Brava, and La Norte led the crowd in full voice. There was much black and red in the seats. And when Boswell neatly finished a beautiful corner, it seemed like the impossible could have happened. But Duff's beautiful volley four minute later put it deadlocked into the half. A vicious counter attack in the second half sealed DCU's fate, as it took at least 10 minutes for DCU to clear the ringing from their heads. Counters will do that to you, when you give them up, you look much worse than you actually are. Everyone can understand giving up a goal on a set piece, but giving up the counter goal is more demoralizing even though it is worth just the same. They did recover, but by then it was getting late.
So who did themselves good?
- Chelsea: They are arguably the best in the world right now, and they showed it. Even in preseason form, they play with competence and professionalism, and showed that the rest of the EPL could be chasing the entire season.
- Boswell: The fear was that DCU would be dominated by Chelsea's attack. He was steady in the defense, and proved that he really was quite overlooked by everyone in MLS by going undrafted. No fear. The goal was only icing on that cake.
- MLS/DCU/Nowak: DCU didn't turtle, didn't play merely to survive. Nowak put out a team that wanted to go toe-to-toe with the best, and put up enough pressure that with one more connected pass there could have been more chances and perhaps a win. He wanted DCU to play with the same professionalism as Chelsea, and while he was right that DCU was a little too excited after the Boswell header, the team acquitted themselves well. An MLS team didn't look entirely out of place while being on the pitch with the EPL Champs, and that bodes well.
- Freddy Adu / Jamie Moreno: Both played with heart and passion, and tried desperately to get DCU an equalizer. Freddy had some great touch on the ball, moved beautifully with it, and represented DCU passion. Jamie was crafty as normal, and he and Josh Gros must have made the Chelsea back line a little more nervous than they would have liked.
- Dema: No fear.
- DCU fandom: You guys were great. Even after the body blow of the second Chelsea goal, you got back into the game after only a few minutes.
So who was outclassed?
- John Wilson: It kills me to write this, he misplayed about 3 square balls in a row. Any of them could have surrendered the counter attack goal that was later surrendered, and it was just luck that it wasn't Wilson misplaying it.
- Christian Gomez: Again, I hate to write this, but I didn't see him really getting into the attack.
As a man of my word, I have placed the Chelsea link on the right. Congrats to the Blues for a decent match, good luck on the rest of the season. Let's do this again in 10 years. And given the MLS learning curve, you might see a different result.