First Impressions - D.C. United 2 : 1 Chicago Fire (aet)
It is a first impressions post, but the match was a story of second impressions. This was a match of reexamination, reconsideration, and perhaps redemption.
The second impressions of Pat Carroll, stranding himself and Zach Wells and allowing Daniel Woodward to chip the ball into the net. After a strong game against Rochester, Carroll was having a perfectly acceptable, but not stellar match, until the paralysis of indecision created the dreaded Big Oops moment. I imagine that will be what most people will take away from this game, but I will remember instead that Rod Dyachenko seemed lost and unable to move this team forward. After ten minutes of strong play from United, the tide was turning due to Chicago's persistence, and Rod's play never felt like he was taking the time to calm things down, and rather was losing possession too frequently. Fred, to be fair, should also have been working this, but while he faded out of the picture, Dyachenko was the one who was giving things away. Choose your poison. It never changed until the insertion of Jaime Moreno in the 60th, at which point United had ten minutes of strong play with some good chances that never quite clicked.
Strangely, just as it seemed that momentum was subsiding, as Emilio didn't quite link up again, he did stay with a play that, with Frank Thompson's help, forced a ball to Jaime Moreno who sent an easy ball to finish to Francis Doe. And this brings us to the second impressions of Francis Doe, who underwhelmed in his last outing, but finished this chance so as to remove the Kpene Komparisons. But the story was Moreno in for Dyachenko, which had rallied this team to fight back.
And so in a match that demanded a second look at many things, perhaps it required a second match of its own. So on to extra time, where we all know a few things: Chicago will win this, as Chicago wins elimination matches against United. And when a corner is awarded to United in extra time, we don't hold our breath. We know that United doesn't score on corners. And Moreno plays the ball to Namoff, and the ball finds the net, and all of our impressions are thrown askew, everything we know is wrong, and somehow United goes on. Wonderful.