First Impressions - D.C. United 5 : 0 Harbour View FC
D.C. United 6 : 1 Harbour View FC [Aggregate]
D.C. United Advances to the CONCACAF Champion's Cup Semifinal
There are many ways to enjoy a game. The best is to witness it in person, in good seats, surrounded by those who share the love. The second best is on TV, intensely, scrutinizing each detail, rewinding the TiVo to examine the a back heel as though it were the Zapruder film. A distant third is on MLSLive.TV, where the screen size affects the ability to examine the shape of the game in a general sense, but still allows you to evaluate, to judge, and enjoy. Not really workable is listening on radio. And listening to the radio webcast while in Detroit (where it is cold, a dampy awful cold) and your team starts to put on the clinic? Worst of all.
The problem with radio is the single method of input you get. You are dependent on the evaluations of others entirely. Was it a nifty move, or poor defending? There is no reason to doubt Mr. Limarzi's descriptions, but there's no way to really verify that things are as they are. I may well be relying on each of you to help with the debriefing to set me straight.
That being said, I get the sense that things were very different tonight. And I could tell they were different sometime in the tenth minute onward. Yes, when the first words I heard were "and it's a long ball out of the back from United" I did curse. What, again? We had returned to RFK just to play the same type of game I swore I wouldn't see again? Would I have to find a crowbar and meet Tom Soehn in a back alley? But over the next minutes, it became clearer that United was mixing things up. Long, short, medium. That United was using its possession to generate chances. That Emilio and Gallardo were finding each other easier. That Harbour View could still counter, but wasn't finding the going on the wings nearly as easy as the last match. And then the one goal before half time, Gallardo to McTavish, and things were promising. Still, it was that kind of promising that felt like United might have managed to make things go right, but could still find some fluke way to lose. It wasn't comfortable. But at 2-0, when Emilio put one in, it felt like things were destined. At 3-0 it was time to dare fate. At 4-0, thanks to D.C. United's current leading goalscorer Devon McTavish (50% of the United offense), things were ridiculous. Then 5-0. And it felt like, well, yes, this is what I want. Not what I expect. I expect, given pre-season form and the other caveats, a win, but only just a win. A blowout, and one that while the score may flatter United, it flatters United only in the same a nicely tailored dress flatters an otherwise beautiful woman: It's just that much more. It is a nice feeling.
United's last loss of the 2007 campaign happened when I was in Buffalo. It was raining then, as I recall. And as I look out into the night from my hotel window, I can see the rain has stopped. Maybe for the first time in many months. And the game is back on.
(Debrief tomorrow, but I may need your help given that I couldn't really see it with my own eyes. But my sense is that everyone I put in the "Bad" column last week makes the good column this week.)