03 September 2008

First Impression - D.C. United 2 : 1 Charleston Battery

D.C. United Wins the U.S. Open Cup

Well, all along I said the U.S. Open Cup was an important trophy for United to win. Okay, except for that time when I said that I wanted them to start reserves so we could keep a focus on the season. Or the other time when I called it the least important trophy we could win this year. Or...

Okay, I was wrong. The fact is that with any season you get to add a major domestic trophy (even though I admittedly rank it third on the list) to your stash can not be considered a failure of a season. The bonus of international play makes it sweeter, and even worth winning. This may end being the least successful of D.C. United's successful seasons, but it doesn't matter. The fact is the team won something. Not (yet) the international success that this team was supposedly built for. That won't matter when United's website has a graphic saying "Now the winner of 13 major trophies."

But the fact is United came out for the win this game, and earned it. Wholeheartedly. They even dealt with a referee who gave them every reason not to play physically (I personally thought the cards issued to both Simms and Martinez were incorrect, since I thought both were fair challenges.) They played through Charleston's shots with forearms. They kept tackling all night. They did not play perfectly, and Charleston could have gotten a goal or two against the run of play, had not one post been nicely placed. United didn't finish their chances, but they got just enough of them. And that, at the end of the day, is what I wanted to see. United won this game with skill, with passion, with drive, and yes, a bit of luck. And what more can you ask for?

Ah, right. This:

Yes, that will do nicely. You can drink Whisky or Coffee out of it. That's one useful cup.

(Image shamelessly stolen from WashPost)

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At 03 September, 2008 23:09, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very entertaining. But where was everyone else? Even with a full SE/BB section (in masterful voice tonight), we had, what, 6 or 7 thousand fans there? MLS still has a long way to go, baby.

To quote gavinmgraham from Saturday's thread: "Crayton is a maniac. Absolutely insane." True. True. But he's *our* maniac now. Welcome, Louis! Try not to let your theatrical flair cost us too many goals. We already love you - just don't let us down!

Oh, and

At 03 September, 2008 23:36, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tonight, I was finally able to fully appreciate the whole Orange Traffic Cone joke from Big Soccer. Ol' OTC would have been a major upgrade over Dyachenko.

Thank goodness for Fred. I wish he would play like that every game.

At 03 September, 2008 23:50, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally I love the Open Cup. I would like to see people take more seriously. Every season my dream is the CONCACAF Champion's cup, and this win gets us into that. DC United needs to be the first MLS team to the FIFA Champion's Cup. We are the best club in the MLS, but if were not first the world will not see that. We're DC WERE ALWAYS FIRST!

At 03 September, 2008 23:58, Blogger The Northern Virginia Conservative said...

You know, the Open Cup, despite the sparse crowds we got for the semi and the final, just feels more impressive. The MLS Cup, while nifty, for me... just... doesn't... HAVE IT. The Open Cup needs to become our F.A. Cup.

At 04 September, 2008 00:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright. I was expecting more dour reviews, so I'll say it. For about 45 minutes, maybe 60, I was really worried by a USL team. And that's probably not good. For what its worth, did anyone see any glaring errors from Charleston? I didn't really; a couple of balls played out that could have been let roll, but that's it. They came to win and I thought they really had a fantastic showing.
Dyachenko didn't screw up. But the team looked so much better when he wasn't on the pitch.
Ok, no more attempts at analysis. That was incredibly sweet; Guiness (sp? Too much I suppose) from a coffee pitcher is fantastic; I hope there are more chances for trophies this year because that was a great feeling. The promise of international play next year only sweetens the deal.
P.S. Yeah, the "literally dozens in attendance" tonight was a bit disappointing. Props (does anyone say that anymore?) to Charleston for a decent fan showing.

At 04 September, 2008 08:16, Blogger Bill-DC said...

I love it. This win gives the team much needed confidence now for the rest of the regular season and it will carry over into the playoffs.

This is sweet for Tom Soehn, who's had a rough season. He has a championship now.

A double is doable so Vamos United!

At 04 September, 2008 09:41, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"For about 45 minutes, maybe 60, I was really worried by a USL team."

I didn't find it that worrisome. We were making some stupid mistakes, and Charleston certainly played hard and well. But we were still in control almost the entire match. The only time I was concerned was about minute 80, when Charleston's #14 (just subbed on) was getting one-on-one opportunities against Namoff via a major height mismatch. But we corrected, dropping Simms deep to help out, and that was that.

The difference in class was clear, especially once both Fred and Gallardo were on the field.

At 04 September, 2008 10:12, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skippy - I'm with you. Charleston played well - period. If they could manage playing at the level each week (that's a big "If"), then they could hold their own above last place in either conference.

With NE's embarrassing drubbing at the hands of Joe Public, that's now the second time this week that we've been reminded that the quality outside of the MLS is not to be scoffed at. The suits in New York need to stop patting themselves on the back for landing Beck's and Mr. White and heed the fact that other CONCACAF leagues are keeping pace in terms of developing quality teams.

At 05 September, 2008 14:57, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Charleston players have some real speed and moved the ball very well. It seemed that Martinez was getting beat to the corner regularly.

If Charleston was in the West, they would probably be in second place vying for the lead.

I was at the game and even convinced a group of my non-soccer loving co-workers to attend. We started out behind the Barra, so that they could experience the fan environment and then moved up to my usual seats in the Mezzanine.

I was hoping more people would show up for a chamionship. However, seeing how much explanation each co-worker required just to understand what the US Open cup was, I am not surprised. Definitely all hard core fans.


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