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DC United vs. LA Galaxy game diary and player rankings

By Jeff Maurer

It was first place vs. last place in MLS last Saturday night. Ben Olsen took on his mentor, Bruce Arena. David Beckham continued his return from injury. Bloggers searched for angles on what threatened to be a pretty boring match.

[Now switching to commentary that I wrote as the game unfolded Saturday night]

DC with the same starting 11 as the last match. I’ve never been a fan of the “don’t mess with what worked last time” logic; I prefer “go with the lineup most likely to work this time.” Our designated player starts the game on the bench.

Jovan Kirovski starting at striker for LA; Bruce decides to go with the veteran presence up top. And when I say “veteran”, I mean Korean War. The dude is old.

6’ - Not much going on so far…Donovan looks lively. It’s weird to cheer for a guy when he’s with the national team and but then flip the switch back to “sports hate” when he’s playing for his club. Maybe Landon could grow a goatee when he’s with the Galaxy so that we know which one is Bad Donovan.

8’ – Kirovski is sporting the exact type of goatee I was just recommending for Donovan. He looks like his own evil twin.

15’ – Bad giveaway from Julius James, but United aren’t punished. James’ defending has really progressed this year, but his passing is still a bit spotty.

16’ – Graye with a nice run but a poor cross. The “Hejduk”, if you will.

20’ – This match has the feel of the scene in The Princess Bride where both guys are sword fighting left-handed in order to have the element of surprise later in the contest. Except that I’m not sure that DC are actually holding anything back.

25’ – Since not much is happening, let’s play a game. Match the player (or ref) in this match with his look-alike.

Player: Dema Kovalenko Baldomero Toledo Julius James Jovan Kirovski

Look-alike: Paul Giamatti Theo Huxtable (aka Malcolm Jamal Warner) Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Dracula

Answers revealed later in the post.

32’ – Nice cross sent in by Graye, but Hernandez puts it well wide. Pablo had an almost identical chance last week against Toronto and did the exact same thing. I’m starting to think we should nickname him “Jigsaw”, because he falls apart in the box (not my joke).

35’ – Look-alike answer #1: Julius James = Theo Huxtable

38’ – Nice run from Hernandez earns a free kick, but Tino puts the shot into the wall. Maybe we should nickname Tino “Jigsaw”, because he falls apart…wait. Bad idea. We can’t have five guys on the team nicknamed “Jigsaw”.

42’ – Deflected shot from Hernandez almost forces a Robert Green moment from Rickets. Which is all the excuse I need to link to this.

HALFTIME – Not a lot of distance between first and last in MLS, is there? Pretty even play, no great chances for either side. By comparison, there is virtually no chance that Chelsea vs. Blackpool tomorrow will be half as competitive (HINDSIGHT UPDATE: yes, it was a bloodbath).

46’ – Boskovic in for King. I still can’t tell if Boskovic’s minutes are being limited because of fatigue or because Ben isn’t happy with his play.

50’ – Look-alike answer #2: Jovan Kirovski = Paul Giamatti

52’ – Beckham enters the game. Looks like his jersey was washed on the “cold” cycle this week – it fits properly.

59’ – GOAL UNITED! A Hernandez header puts Najar into space, Najar carries the ball and sets up Tino who does his best to waste the chance, but the ball squirts free to Andy “Only Guy On The Team Who Can Finish” Najar, who puts it home. Much like the goal last week: not an aesthetic masterpiece, but I’ll take it!

65’ – Look-alike answer #3: Dema Kovalenko = Wildcard Charlie

76’ – Decent chance for Hernandez, but – stop me if you’ve heard this one – he can’t finish.

77’ – Simms in for Allsopp. Who knew that Simms was available? The word was that a sports hernia was causing serious discomfort in what the British would call his “gentleman’s area”, which is cause enough for a day off of work in my book. Also: who knew Allsopp was in the game?

79’ – Look-alike answer #4: Baldomero Toledo = Dracula

80’ – GOAL LA. Ugh. Remember Facundo Erpen? Decent defender, young, skilled, good for one horrendous mistake every game? Dejan Jakovic is Facundo Erpen.

84’ – Tino plays Boskovic through, but Branko’s effort is like Weezer’s new album: predictable and weak. He opened his hips VERY early and rolled the ball across goal. That shot was about as difficult to read as a Hardy Boys novel.

85’ – GOAL LA. Of course. Just…of course. That’s how we roll this season: miss a chance at one end, IMMEDIATELY give up a goal at the other.

86’ – Graye completely lost Donovan at the far post on the goal. He actually went so far as to do a Jackie Gleason-esque double take when he saw Donovan behind him. I like my comedy not so broad and not in my back line.

FULL TIME: LA wins 2-1. Donovan shows again why he’s the best player in the league, and United give the Barra Brava an excuse to drink that they didn’t need.

Player ratings:

Perkins – 6. Good in the air, controlled the box well. Didn't give up any rebounds. Nothing he could do about either goal.

Graye – 4. Things were going well until the mistake that led to the second goal. So, he was good until he wasn't.

Jakovic – 4. Blame Canada. For the first goal, at least.

James – 5.5. Is Julius James getting better, or does he just look better because the team around him is getting worse?

Nondescript League Minimum Guys (Zayner, Morsink, and King) – 5. No need to rate them separately since I’m not sure which one’s which, anyway.

Quaranta – 3. Wasted possession, wasted chances, wasted my evening watching this horrible team.

Najar – 6. They should put Najar on the stadium search committee, since he’s obviously the only person who can do anything for this team.

Hernandez – 5. I’m completely serious about this: should we consider dropping him into the #10 role, since he seems to be able to create but not finish? Put Boskovic on the left and Najar up top.

Allsopp – 3.5. Playing his way onto the Central Coast Mariners at an astonishing speed.

Boskovic – 4. Starting to wonder why management thought this guy was worth DP money. Was it maybe a mistake caused by the exchange rate?

Simms – 5. "Sometimes [the pain] goes down into the testicle. It's almost like you've gotten hit there, that feeling afterward." Clyde Simms describing his hernia, or a United fan describing the sensation caused by watching this team?

By Box Seats blogger  | September 22, 2010; 10:07 AM ET
Categories:  Jeff Maurer, United  | Tags:  United-Galaxy  
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Next: Caps players whose jerseys your kids should wear - Part 1


Fun read, Jeff. Incidentally, you can tell King from the other two -- he's the one whose passes will occasionally go to his teammates.

Posted by: HowdyDCU | September 22, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

yep, that's pretty much how I remember it

Posted by: dcufan | September 22, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Great stuff. I found myself holding my healthy testi...

oops, oversharing...

Posted by: Late2Bass | September 22, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Great blog - not much out there that is both (actually) funny and insightful. But why is it so hard to find? WaPo, help us soccer fans out and include a link on the main soccer page!

Posted by: prots21 | September 22, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Dude, this blog is already in my favs. Nice post and spot on. But you need to post more. Why do the caps have like 5 bloggers and DCU only you?

I guess what you lack in quantity, you make up for in quality, no?

Posted by: Matte | September 22, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

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