First Impressions - LA Galaxy 2 : 2 D.C. United
Can I see an entire season in one game? Maybe.
This entire off-season, I have been confused. I had no grasp as to the big picture of United's team building. Gomez back, but how can he handle the entire season? A 3-5-2 with a defense of backs that will likely take 10 games to even figure out how to play with each other. We let Ivan Guerrero go, and did we get anything in return?
This game seems to provide a blueprint on all that United offers this season. There's good stuff, as the second half of this match saw long stretches of United looking very dangerous, as young players Rodney Wallace and Chris Pontius threw themselves forward. It saw a first half where United barely threatened other than a Luciano Emilio shot low and wide of the far post... until Gomez earned a penalty and put it away.
Defensively, my entire expectations for the first half of the season were neatly encapsulatedin the collision of Devon McTavish and Greg Janicki. It would have been slapstick and comical if not for the fact that both players looked like Mick Foley taking an insane bump. It was sad, but at the same time, it was inspirational. We can take it as a given that this defense will not be great, but if I have a choice between confused and pathetic, and confused but fearless, give me the latter every time. If I have to see United give up two goals, then at least let one of the goals be on a piss-poor call from the center ref. This season may not offer much hope in terms of silverware, but it offers great hope in terms of watching players give their all. And if that is the best I can hope for, that is plenty.
I don't have high hopes for this season in terms of results. But the players on the field gave me a compelling reason to watch. If nothing else, the willingness of Chris Pontius to look like an idiot by shooting three balls over the crossbar shows me that he's willing to shoot, and I will gladly take his three misses for each goal like the one he scored today. I mean, for goddsakes, we want players to shoot more, right? And he did, so let's hope he never learns to dribble it into the net.
If nothing else, let this be a season where even when this team loses, or gives away a lead to a draw, it is a team that I can none-the-less love and cheer and cry for. Let this game be a good encapsulation of all that is to come.