First Impressions - DC United 4 : 2 New England Revolution
What an odd game.
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad we won. Especially since I felt like United did enough to win. But the game had all the hallmarks of a match that could go anywhere, and probably bad places. It was a feeling I had the moment I saw Abbey Okulaja was the center ref. And the game was transparently called against us. I mean, look, United are no angels, but neither is New England. We're talking about a team with Pat Noonan, Jay Heaps, and Shalrie Joseph after all. How did Abbey see a 20-5 foul margin against United?
Well, the fact is New England played Abbey like a fiddle. Every time a Revolution player was on the ball near a DC United marker, a strange hyper-local seismic event sent the Revolution player dutifully to the grass, and Abbey would puff on his whistle and call for the free kick. Not every time, but frequently enough that the Revolution seemed stunned when even the slightest foul didn't go their way.
And it was damn frustrating, and damn hot, and it had all the hallmarks of a game where United could easily have said "you know, to hell with it, nothing is going right, let's pack it in." Down 2-1, the best I was hoping for was a draw. That United rallied to win was a testament that their belief in themselves was stronger than my belief in them. I am duly ashamed of that fact. But United did control most of this game. There were moments (oh, how disinterested did DC seem minutes 46-50?) that United seemed to be on the verge of fading neatly into the background, but instead they would rally and regroup and suddenly be laying siege to Matt Reis. And that was beautiful, and lovely to watch. Three of those goals were quality events. And yes, Revolution faithful, one of them may have been off-side. That being said, I'm still not sure that New England actually got the whole ball over the line, but I have to defer to the AR in that situation. Replays for me still are inconclusive. So New England got some luck, some crappy officiating, and at least one doubtful goal. How many breaks did they need? Apparently several more...
It was a one of those games that DC United normally lose. You know, the outplay the other team but lose when all the breaks go to the opposition type of game? The "let's all belly-ache about Abbey" type of game. But United won. That's a lot more fun. And, dare I say it, a lot more surprising.But let's face it, Abbey sucks. Is there anyone who will speak up for him? Please do so, because no official has been as routinely disappointing to fans of all teams as Abbey. It makes me so mad I haven't even talked about what I liked about United's play (and there was lots to like, and some to dislike). So I'm just going to vent about it now, even in the first blush of victory, and devote the debrief to analysis.