Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve had to write a defeat post, but it happens. Chris Pontius scores one of the fastest goals I’ve ever seen, and then it was all downhill from there as the New York Red Bulls scored three in a row to win 3-2. In front of a record attendance of 25,187 at Red Bull Arena, the ex-United midfielder Brandon Barklage had a once-in-a-lifetime game against his former club to give the Red Bull’s their first win their last four matches.
Alright so my thoughts. Wow, what a match and such a waste of a wonderful opportunity at the beginning. Danny Cruz puts in a great cross and finds Pontius at the near post for a goal just 34 seconds into the match. Every team in the world, and I mean EVERY team, would love to have a start like that. And then...poof. The candle blew out. The wheels stopped turning. For the next 60 minutes, New York controlled the game. Most of the first half took place in United’s defensive half it seemed, and I thought Bill Hamid would suffer from shellshock at halftime given all the shots New York were putting on him.
In all, Hamid faced a whopping 19 shots with nine of them on frame. I thought the early goal would energize United even more and keep the pressure on the Red Bulls to perform at home. Turned out, everything went the opposite. The Red Bulls woke up and took it to United which, in their situation, is exactly what you’re supposed to do. Credit goes to New York for getting it into gear and not stopping.
So let’s fast forward to around the 60th minute. Brandon Barklage has scored his two wonder goals, and DC finds themselves down 3-1. At this point, things started to turn. Branko Boskovic comes into this match and takes control of the midfield seeming to find space everywhere. Maicon Santos feeds Pontius a through ball which results in a nice goal to make it a game again. The fire was re-lit, the wheels began to turn again, and DC United looked like the first-place team they are. Unfortunately only about 25 minutes were left, and DC ran out of time. I feel we would have gotten a third goal if we had ten extra minutes playing the way we were, but sometimes that’s how the dice land.
At the end, our fans were class and the players appreciated it. Dwayne De Rosario tweeted in appreciation of the DC United fans who braved the drive and the New York fan’s insults, and Chris Pontius was optimistic as well. This match was a great indication that the second half of the season will be a challenge not to be taken lightly. Seeing DC United put together a chain of wins was something special, and I look forward to them starting another one this Saturday.
So what happens now? Hopefully this will get United back into the swing of things. The last couple of matches have been mediocre with United scratching out the win (except the Open Cup). Now, the team will come back for a rare mid-season home match against Montreal. I could spend the rest of the article ranting and writing snide remarks about the Red Bulls and their fans (believe me I have a long list of them just from this match) but that’s not exactly the classy way to go about things. We’ll take the defeat, come home, and start anew verse the expansion Montreal team this Saturday. If you’re in the area, come out to watch seeing as this match will be a fun one.
(image courtesy of DC United)