09 August 2007

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.

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At 09 August, 2007 22:46, Anonymous Red State-Blues City said...

In giving props to the D, let's not leave out the emerging excellence of Marc Burch, who's impression of Tony Sanneh circa the 2002 World Cup is a wonderful thing.
And Amen on hoping Benny's all right. As soon as I saw him limp, I started chanting my favorite DC chorus,"Not the ankles, not the ankles, anything but that ankles"

At 09 August, 2007 23:29, Blogger Kinney said...

Great game atmosphere. I was in 327 trying to start cheers all night. A bunch of other people were doing the same across the lower loud side. I didn't go anywhere else so I can't comment. Sometimes we had the ENTIRE lower loud side singing together. It was a great time.

At 10 August, 2007 00:07, Blogger Max said...

Ha, great comment on Troy. It really is true, he needs a new haircut or something, poor guy.

The sound didn't really translate on TV, it was kind of disappointing in volume terms though it sounded great.

What a way to come back, FINALLY, to watching United.

At 10 August, 2007 00:33, Blogger Bibliotheker said...

What a fun night.
1. Full house, thanks Becks!
2.We played very well, nice follow up to Sunday.
3. Burch is real
4. 3 points to us!
5. The rain felt great
Good night out!!!

At 10 August, 2007 08:10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be a truly happy man!

Goff says Ben's OK, jsut spasms.

At 10 August, 2007 09:55, Anonymous Joanna said...

I was ambivalent about the Beckham circus until the game. Then I looked around the stadium and thought, "If the circus fills RFK, then bring on the circus!"

I think you're being awfully harsh on Troy. He does not look like an eight year old under any circumstances, because he has a very nice posterior, something that is ordinarily not said to be true of eight year olds.

I'm just saying.

At 10 August, 2007 10:03, Anonymous I-66 said...

I spent time in the 500's above the Barra and the fans there were picking up on most of the chants, though given the surrounding demographic I had to trail off at "los que no saltan son hijos de..."

At least they could sing the Oh's, and clap six times before shouting "DC United!"

At 10 August, 2007 10:12, Blogger Landru said...

There was some serious karma drawdown in that game. Just saying. Perkins' play on Donovan was clean, but sure didn't look it, especially on first impression, and the ref letting that go in the face of the awful first impression and Donovan rolling around the box howling and rubbing his vagina surely took something out of the bank. There were howlers in the box from Burch, Boswell, and MacTavish (at least two serious ones from him that could easily have been goals).

I also thought about Perkins as man of the match when the skanks on BSPN were talking about it, and there's no doubt he played well. But there's also no doubt that LAG kept very sweetly playing the ball into his arms, or missing wide.

I'm a little too used to bitching. Damn, it was nice to beat LAG at RFK for once. And it was nice for it to happen after what happened the last time those tawdry wankers came to town.

Finally: I beg of all of you to join me in doing everything that we as a community can do to keep Wilbon from mentioning soccer ever again. I know, he's a name columnist and people pay attention. But the stupid, it burns.

At 10 August, 2007 11:02, Blogger I-66 said...

If I had to choose a Post columnist to read when it comes to soccer (who doesn't regularly write soccer), I'd rather Wilbon than a douchebag like Fisher or a dissenter like Kornheiser.

At 10 August, 2007 11:21, Anonymous ouij said...

I'm still euphoric. This was the first match I'd gone to where really, there WAS no quiet side. A cheer would go up, be picked up, and wash over the whole capacity crowd.

Really, though, DC was the best place for this circus to happen. In almost any other city in the league, the regular fans would have been utterly overwhelmed by the Beckham-mania. Here--and ONLY here--Beckham served to magnify what was already the best crowd response in MLS.

At 10 August, 2007 12:21, Blogger Max said...

The atmosphere was amazing. Sure there were some people there just for the celebrity. But what genuinely shocked me was how into the game and how generally knowledgeable the crowd was. The crowd would even react to nice touches and good passes in the midfield and they rooted intensely for DC. I even got the sense that if he didn't play everyone would have still been pretty happy.

I sat next to two guys in their early 20s, they played some soccer as kids, never been to an MLS game before, and didn't follow the EPL. In other words - these are people that get hyped for the world cup then fade away for four years. If Beckham can get these latent soccer fans to follow the MLS a little more closely, he will have done his job.

Oh, and those guys both said they were definitely coming back.

At 10 August, 2007 13:03, Anonymous diego r. said...

when I saw the Kyle Martino challenge I had flashbacks to last year when Ugo recklessly broek Mediate's leg. But fortunately the DCU player (I think it was Fred) was all right.

Great game and great atmosphere. Honestly, there were a lot more DC United fans than I thought there would be. A lot of people had DC jerseys on and even a lot of the fans cheering for Beckham also cheered on DC.

My only problem is a tactical one and one that I still think needs some addressing. I don't like the substitution of Moreno for Kpene at halftime. The team was playing great together and there is no real reason to make that change and without the substitution DC just might have scored in the second half to put the game away a lot earlier.

At 10 August, 2007 13:45, Blogger The Manly Ferry said...

"Only mildly embarrassed" about seeing their first game because of Beckham...good jab.

Well, since I wrote something on this, thought I'd pass it on. And I say nice things about DC...even if it's buried beneath a metric ton of BS about Beckham. But isn't that somehow appropriate in 2007?


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