By Jeff Maurer
Greetings, United fans! I am honored, humbled, and inconvenienced to be sworn in as your DC United fan blogger. The Post wants a fan’s perspective on the local sports teams, so it’s fallen to me to chronicle the Heart of Darkness-style descent into madness that is United’s 2010 season. Goff will still be on hand to provide the investigating, fact-checking, and reporting, and I’ll take it upon myself to supply the uninformed opinionating and snark.
For my inaugural post, I’m doing a game diary for United game against Toronto. Actually, Bill Simmons may have trademarked the phrase “game diary”, so let’s call this a “competition memoir”.
Hamid is out with a shoulder injury. Simms is a late scratch. Namoff is still retired. Pontius and Wallace have diphtheria, and Burch was hit by a spy satellite that fell out of orbit. Juan Manuel Pena retired in 2009.
Boskovic isn’t in the lineup, probably because he played in two Euro qualifiers last week. I was defending Boskovic to a friend last week, saying “the jury’s still out on him.” My friend replied: “Yeah, but right now only Henry Fonda’s voting against the death penalty.”
3’ – Graye and Morsink take turns pointing at Dwayne De Rosario as the latter dribbles through the defense and bangs a shot off the post. Every manager for every bottom-half Premiership club should be called into his boss’ office and be forced to explain why he didn’t buy Dwayne De Rosario when DeRo’s contract was up in 2008.
7’ – I had a job once where they just suddenly decided that I was the web guy. I wasn’t hired to do that, I didn’t claim that I knew how to do it…they just decided that I was the guy. People would ask me questions, and I’d say “No idea…I never claimed to be able to do this.” I think that’s how Stephen King feels whenever a chance falls to him in the box. He probably wants to say “Look, I never claimed to be anything more than a competent holding midfielder. Show me where on my resume it says ‘lethal finisher’.“
9’ – Najar plays a nice cross, but Hernandez heads it wide. Come on, Pablo…make me a believer.
23’ – Do United maybe feel that it just isn’t gentlemanly to play the ball when the defense isn’t set?
25’ – Soccer announcers often yell a player’s name when just before a scoring chance (“Drogbaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”). They do this to create excitement. But when the name yelled is “Morsiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiink!”, my excitement is…let’s say…mild.
27’ – Announcers confirm: Boskovic is being rested because he played twice for Montenegro last week.
37’ – Allsopp with a great chance, but Frei closes well and makes the save. Great chance…should’ve been finished. If history is any indicator, United will surrender a goal within a minute. And then someone will get hurt.
HALFTIME – United look okay, but can’t score. Najar has been the bright spot. Déjà vu.
47’ – NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Najar forces his way through the defense and lays it off for Quaranta, but Tino somehow puts it wide of an empty net. This is why the Post needs a blog: As a journalist, Goff isn’t able to say “plays like that make me want to gouge my eyes out with a tuna can lid so that I never have to watch this horrible team again.”
49’ – Announcers point out that United is about to set the record for longest scoring drought in MLS this season. You mean we don’t already hold that record?
58’ – Nice work from Hernandez creates a chance for Allsopp, but the Australian puts it over the bar. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oy veh, oy veh, oy veh.
71’ – Boskovic in for Hernandez. Ben obviously likes Najar as a striker – he’s used him up top a couple of times.
81’ – GOAL UNITED!!!! Toronto commits a stupid foul in the corner, Boskovic sends in the free kick, and after the ball bounces around for a while, James puts it home. I’ll take it! A deserved goal. This goes in the category of “if you have the ball in your opponent’s third long enough, something good will eventually happen.”
84’ – Toronto fans are singing We’re Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister. Nice. With a 1-0 lead, my recommendation for United fans would be The Talking Heads’ Once in a Lifetime (“how did I get here?”).
89’ – Talley for Najar. Ben is trying to lock this one down. Either that, or he decided there’s too much youth and speed in the lineup.
FULL TIME – 1-0 win for United! Good win, deserved win. We had more of the ball and the better looks at goal. Props to King and Morsink: they did a lot of work and kept the ball well. Najar was excellent. James was solid. United now undefeated since the launch of the fan blog – clearly, I was the missing ingredient.