First Impressions - DC United 1 : 0 LA Galaxy
Okay, so let's say that of the 45,000 people that went to see the game, 20,000 were there for Beckham. I think it's safe to assume that at least 25,000 were casual United fans to begin with who also came out for this one. Fair? Good. Let's talk about those 20,000 fans that came first and foremost for Sir Becks-a-lot.
They saw a pretty good game, even in the rain. More importantly, they saw a good United game. I missed most of the first half because of work related obligations, but it was there on the TiVo, and United had a good first half. They had a good second half. They created some great chances (and if Fred and Moreno hadn't decided to reenact the forward styling of Chris Albright and kept the shots lower, they would have had more goals.) But the moment that convinced me we minted some new fans was around the 55th minute when Fred took the ball at midfield and neatly spun around two markers to get free. There was a roar. The entire stadium saw a bit of midfield play, saw some real skill, and it went right to the limbic system. I'd say that moment alone might have minted a hundred or so new fans to United. That's a good thing.
And while the Beckham circus can be a tedious thing, let's remember that he did bring those people to this game, and in a few years they could well be die hard supporters who feel only mildly embarrassed about why they came to their first game. That's a good thing. United came out, won the game, won with some nice flair, and earned some respect. And you may not like to say it, but Beckham helped.
I should also point out a few things about ESPN. Kudos to Tommy Smythe for acknowledging the longtime support of the fans we've had when Eric and DOB were insisting that the place was raucous only for Beckham. And Kudos to David Beckham for saying more nice things about United in his post-game interview than Eric and DOB managed the entire telecast.
And most of all, kudos to United. Sure, I am mildly annoyed at the missed chances, but two clean sheets in a row is nothing to sneeze at. The defense, especially in the first half, deserves a lot of credit. Boswell marked Donovan the way we'd been hoping Boswell would play all year. Namoff and Burch looked good, and Josh Gros was just as much of a menace as Fred, and I mean that in a good way. For me, the Man of the Match is Troy Perkins, who stood tall when he had to, and slid in clean when he had to. I also liked seeing him get angry during one of the few defensive lapses (and while he may look like an 8 year old complaining about his sister tagging along to the neighborhood sand lot game, I wouldn't have wanted to be the one he was yelling at.)
Now just tell me that Ben Olsen is okay after what looked like a hamstring strain, and tell me will finish more of those nice chances, and I will be a truly happy man.
God I love this team some days.