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United Rewind

Let's start with Ben Olsen's return to the starting lineup:

"On the ball, I felt things were pretty good. I felt like I was coming back. I felt like my old self out there. I still have a long way to go, but it was a good start for me. Now we'll see how I do this week, rebounding physically for the next one."

In need of Olsen's grit and leadership, United placed him in defensive midfield with Clyde Simms (he doesn't have the wheels for the flanks) and received 72 quality minutes.

As for the first-round draft picks in the lineup, Rodney Wallace brought speed and energy. Chris Pontius was confident on the ball and offered a sensational finish against the Galaxy's retreating defense. They didn't play like rookies making their pro debuts.

Wallace, though, might find his bank account a bit lighter.

Keep reading.....

Asked about referee Jair Marrufo's handball call against him, Wallace said: "He wanted to call a PK. I feel like he wanted to call something [for] L.A. He had his mind set already and he gave it to them."

Zing!

Devon McTavish, on the head-to-head collision with Greg Janicki: "I feel alright other than the lump on the back of my head and the blood running down my face, but I don't seem to have any effects right now."

McTavish showed reporters the seven staples in the top of his head. Janicki received eight stitches to his forehead.

Coach Tom Soehn was upset that Marrufo didn't stop the game after such a nasty incident. However, his opening comment in the news conference was confusing: "We had a freak play where two guys hit heads and it cost us obviously a PK come out of it. The referee has to use a little bit better judgment when it's head injuries. You've got two guys with open head injuries and he didn't stop the game."

The PK wasn't called until a few minutes later.

Which brings us to the topic of substitutions for badly injured players. While Janicki and McTavish received treatment on the sideline, United played with nine players for a few minutes. Soehn's hope was to get both players -- critical to the defensive effort -- back into the game. Did the decision to play two men down lead to the penalty kick? No. But it did leave more space for the Galaxy to attack. After the PK, with Marc Burch on for McTavish and Janicki back in the game with a bandage wrapped around his head, the Galaxy kept coming and got the equalizer when no one bothered to mark the league's most lethal scorer.

Read the full match report here.

Next up: Chicago on Saturday night at RFK Stadium.

By Steve Goff  |  March 22, 2009; 10:29 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Matchday #1: United at Galaxy
Next: Americans Abroad

Comments

Horrible PK call in the end. Almost as bad as the one Gooch got against Ghana in the WC 2006.

Posted by: doctortechie | March 22, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

We did well considering the bloody heads and a really bad call by the ref. The young guys held up okay, Ben was solid and Gomez was good. Emilio was a ghost however and Burch was a mess when he came in. Will be interesting to see how we stand up to Chicago.

Posted by: LostinPotomac | March 22, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Not making at *least* one substitution with two defenders getting sewed up in a game with a 2-0 lead with 15 to go in the game is simply inexcusable . . . regardless of the rationale. And when the reason you don't sub because you want to get a FORWARD in the game, well that's a total bonehead move.

Let's hope those 2 lost points don't come back to bite us like they did last year.

Posted by: benonthehill | March 22, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

At least Emilio can say that he is so fast that he once passed the ball to himself on a breakaway.

Posted by: StewartDC8 | March 22, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately the game was "blacked out" here at Fort Benning. It sure sounds like our young guns played their hearts out and give us reason to hope for future glory. Maybe Soehn should have been quicker to get defensive subs into the game after the collision (but again I'm the "blind" Monday morning QB). Did we even have another defender on the bench besides Burch?

Posted by: dcarmy | March 22, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Being a Plastic Surgeon.

i was disappointed and have always have been with soccer franchises having all these orthopods on the sidelines but no plastic surgeon or general surgeon. someone who specializes in soft tissue wound closures. a little betadine, lidocaine and a few sutures in the forehead is all that is needed. they should not have missed any time. what are those doctors/whatever they have doing on the sidelines. are they performing cosmetic closures on these things. a little lidocaine and a few stitches. 12 stitches????. you can always make it pretty after the game.

you can use endermil too (medical super glue.) works great. may just be able to use that alone depending on depth of cut. but that does take a little time to dry.

point is that football clubs need surgeons who specialize in soft tissue injuries (skin).

plus they should have stopped the game. i thought jair had a great game up till that point.

Posted by: castroviejo | March 22, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

@benonthehill: trying to bring Jaime in wasn't to get more offense. It was to hold the ball (which Jaime does better than anyone else in the game) and take pressure off the defense.

Posted by: mmathai1 | March 22, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

So... um... any quotes from Soehn that didn't make the match report?

Posted by: sitruc | March 22, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Wallace said the wrong thing. What he SHOULD have said is: "The referee made the wrong call, period. My hand never touched the ball." And off-the-record could have made it known that the video evidence would prove him right.

Posted by: Juan-John | March 22, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

doctortechie:

Actually, those two calls weren't even close. Gooch made contact with the Ghanaian forward. It was a very harsh call, but there was contact; when there's contact, there's always an outside chance that a penalty could get called.

The ball hit Wallace on the back of the thigh. The call was a handball. This call, though obviously not as costly, was actually much, much worse in terms of the ref screwing up.

dcarmy:

We had Peters as well as Burch available.

***

I did find myself wondering why the sub for McTavish wasn't made faster. I'm not a trainer, nor do I have any knowledge of head injuries other than they hurt and they bleed a lot, but the amount of blood coming off McTavish told me right away that he wasn't staying in. I'm sure the trainers knew this as well.

The only reasonable thing I can think of for the delay on the sub would be that Burch was completely cold and needed a warm up. I'm not saying that's what happened; I just have to note that it could be the case.

I wish I had recorded the game, so I could see exactly how long it was from the moment of the injury to when we got on a sub. In the heat of the moment, I don't recall an occasion to get a sub in, other than the ball going out about 10 seconds after the collision. That's not much time to get a sub up, get his shinguards on, get warm, get the warm up top off, get your pass, inform the 4th official, and enter the game. I hope people don't come in here going nuts because they're under the impression that subbing in is as quick and simple as subbing into their amateur league.

Ultimately, to me, the problem is a lot less about 9 or 10 men and more about the call. While McTavish and Janicki were off and before Burch had come on, we had quickly reverted to the following formation:

-------------- Emilio
Pontius - Simms - Gomez - Khumalo
---- Wallace - Jakovic - Namoff
-------------- Wicks

Not exactly as good as what we had on before the collision, but we still had 3 defenders in the back and 4 midfielders ahead of them. It wasn't like Soehn didn't reorganize the squad out there. The fact remains that it took Marrufo calling a penalty on a ball hitting Wallace in the thigh as a penalty for this game to turn.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | March 22, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Don't think Goff's gonna go there, sitruc.

I already dished about the unholy bad luck.

Besides that, I think the best thing about our play was that itwas scrappy, and we had players back to defend. Last year, we were just frail, frail and lopsided. I think it is smart for DC to defend first. Despite some roughness, I think the back line will sort out a few issues during the season. Did we look like the best team in the league? No.

but at least we're not LA! (Donovan saves his team my ass).

Posted by: UnitedDemon | March 22, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

if the ref didnt see a hand ball nor the side ref why call it? that is just my question..he did look like he wanted to just call something in favor of the Gaylaxy..

where is El Pibe Valderrama when you need him..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_hB8V_a1Qw

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | March 23, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Jaime was going to go on before the head collision. When the two had to come off, Soehn had to switch it up and get Burch ready.

Posted by: StewartDC8 | March 23, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Neither Marrufo or the linesman on that end could honestly say they saw a handball...it just wasn't there. An official has to be certain of what they saw before making that kind of game-changing call. The league should suspend them both based solely on the video evidence.

Posted by: soccerman | March 23, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse

LD was in no way offside on goal 2. Replay is as conclusive as you can get, really.

Anyone ask Emilio how he blew the best chance of the game? What'd he trip on his laces?

Posted by: delantero | March 23, 2009 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Being a Plastic Surgeon.
i was disappointed and have always have been with soccer franchises having all these orthopods on the sidelines but no plastic surgeon or general surgeon. someone who specializes in soft tissue wound closures.
Posted by: castroviejo | March 22, 2009 11:30 PM
You must be new to DC United. I’m pretty sure DC not only does not have a plastic surgeon they don’t have a single medical professional.

Over the past few years the single biggest problem for DC United has been their complete inability to keep a healthy team on the field.

I think you have to go back almost 4 years to find the last game where our top 11 players actually started on the field at the same time.

Posted by: Southeasterner | March 23, 2009 1:19 AM | Report abuse

The referee and the linesman will have to pay for their mistakes just like anybody else. They blew the call and they will certainly hear about from the league office. These things happen during a long season.
Given everything that went wrong towards the end, United were fortunate to walk out of there with a result.

Posted by: croftonpost | March 23, 2009 1:19 AM | Report abuse

"You must be new to DC United. I’m pretty sure DC not only does not have a plastic surgeon they don’t have a single medical professional."

Don't forget-- they also don't have any physical trainers who know how to do their job.

"They blew the call and they will certainly hear about from the league office."

They better. I hope Payne makes a statement. I'm not too sure though. I did a little research into who this Jair Marrufo guy is.

Here is the part of his bio that shocked me:

"(Marrufo) is one of four officials hired full-time in early 2007 as part of U.S. Soccer’s new program designed to enhance high-level performance, training and development opportunities for the sport’s elite officials in the United States."

If he's supposed to be part of an elite group of referees, that is pretty bad and sad. And, enhance high-level performance??
What a joke.

But, everyone has their off days. Maybe this is one of them. I just do not understand how an 'elite' referee can make decisions like he did today. (PK & Injuries no whistle)

Posted by: redskinsux | March 23, 2009 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Anyone ask Emilio how he blew the best chance of the game? What'd he trip on his laces?

Posted by: delantero | March 23, 2009 1:02 AM

Can we stop ignoring the obvioualy moronic call by the referee and admit to ourselves that in this sport those calls happen? LETS FOCUS ON EMILIO FAILING TO DISH THE FREAKING BALL TO GOMEZ FOR THE 100 PERCENT CHANCE OF A 3RD GOAL. We would be complaining about the call if we had scored the 3rd goal but we would have walked out of there with a win. Absolutely greedy and unneccessary.

Posted by: jdickinson187 | March 23, 2009 1:53 AM | Report abuse

That's not much time to get a sub up, get his shinguards on, get warm, get the warm up top off, get your pass, inform the 4th official, and enter the game. I hope people don't come in here going nuts because they're under the impression that subbing in is as quick and simple as subbing into their amateur league.
-----------------------
good point, but that late in the game folks should be warming up anyway, precisely to prepare for the worst case scenario. but it still requires reporting in and waiting for the break in play.

Posted by: troy6 | March 23, 2009 6:54 AM | Report abuse

How about fines for all the Gals calling for a hand ball when none existed.

Posted by: MitchTooMuch | March 23, 2009 7:14 AM | Report abuse

I felt really good about thte team that was fieldd. Ben looked good. Gomez looked good. Those two provided a sound veteran backbone.

Pontius and Wallace were just what our offense needed...fight and speed. If they can remain healthy, we can expect a lot of good things.

Defense was solid even with the backup goalie (who did very well except for one missed challenge and telegraphing the PK).

The only weak link was Emilio, who now has Pontius to light a fire in his pants. I did like to see how Emilo and Gomez were linking up well.

Posted by: Wiggan | March 23, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Usually a tie on the road is a good result. But this game just felt like both sides were robbed. The United PK was questionable and the non-PK for LA was also questionable. The PK for LA ought to be looked at by MLS. That was a clear non-hand ball. But the ref, I think, was feeling the pressure of all the politicking by the LA side and the crowd. DC gave him a way out and he promptly took it.

Still I am more optimistic about this year after watching this game. DC played well and the back line seems to be steadier than last year's.

Posted by: tundey | March 23, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

BTW, the rookies were great. Wallace had real control of that left wing and Pontius' goal was just superb. Just enough power and the exact placement required.

Posted by: tundey | March 23, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I watch a lot of futball from Europe and international competitions. Marufo's imagined handball is the worst call in my memory bank. The first rule of whistle-blowing is that you can't call it if you don't see it -- especially in the penalty area. Marufo couldn't see what didn't occur. He deserves a long suspension. The call cost a team two points. And perhaps more by season's end. As for not stopping play quickly after the head injuries, his performance was not far out of line with those of better refs in Europe. A ref doesn't always have immediate awareness of a head injury.

When slamming forwards for missing the net, it's good to keep in mind that the best of them miss sitters. All the time. And Emilio's miss wasn't a sitter. How 'bout Donovan hitting his chip shot wide of an empty net in the first half?

DCU showed flashes of past excellence yesterday. Perhaps last year's lethargy is gone. Wallace was outstanding, particularly for a rookie making his first start. Like Wallace, McTavish constantly checked back to aid the three-man defensive line. When Fred heals and supplants one of these wingers, DCU will lack the defensive help on his side of the pitch. This will probably force Soehn into a four-defender setup -- with one of them playing outside his natural position. Hmm? Wasn't that a major problem last year? The 3-2-3-2 looked good yesterday. Hopefully, it can get a longer look.

Posted by: runningcloud | March 23, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

They were in LA -- if they needed a plastic surgeon, just make a PA announcement.

I would like to think that he didn't make a defensive sub because Burch wasn't ready to go in. With the way the D was playing, I'm not sure I would've made any changes, either.

I was surprised to see Burch not start...Wallace looked good, and imagine this -- we might have some depth at D now.

Posted by: Reignking | March 23, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I thought the first penalty call was a poor one, but the "hand ball" call, unbelievable.

Fact of the matter is that it takes at least three goals to have a lead that a team can protect from refs.

Liked Pontius, good player.

Posted by: Mastodon_Juan | March 23, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I just saw the highlights on the MLS website, and although I don't understand spanish, my eyes still work. I diagree with tundey's assesments above.

What my eyes saw was a defender holding Gomez' arm while he was going forward inside the box. Did Gomez exaggerate it? Maybe. But it was PK worthy. If not for the hold, Gomez would have clearly scored a goal.

The non-PK for LA was the correct call, if he was talking about the bump on Donovan at the top of the box. It clearly was initiated at the top of the box, just outside the box.

Where I do agree with tundey, is the PK for LA was horrible. You really need to be 100% sure when making that call in that situation and I can't see how the ref could be 100% sure. On instant replay it was obvious that it hit his leg. Tough break for United.

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | March 23, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I agree Marufo needs to be held accountable for the imagined handball. I don't think we will get to the use of instant replay any time soon but the league should not be above using technology to hold its referees accountable for their actions. This is unacceptable for a full time referee and former referee of the year. This call changed the outcome of the match.

Yes, you can argue that Emilio, Soehn and others are to blame for the loss of the two points but they are held accountable at some point. When is USSF or MLS going to step up and hold its referees accountable?

Posted by: SocArbitro | March 23, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

""Can we stop ignoring the obvioualy moronic call by the referee and admit to ourselves that in this sport those calls happen?
by: jdickinson187 | March 23, 2009 1:53 AM ""

Uh, are you blind? Seems like every other post here and in the previous thread are about this call that cost us 2 points.

Just pointing out that when you have a team on the ropes, you finish them. Emilio had the best chance of the match and choked.

Posted by: delantero | March 23, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Ah the ref made a bad call. Can't work on that this week in practice.

Can work on shutting down wings so they're not whipping in uncontested crosses. Thank goodness Beckham wasn't there, we couldn't shut down Klein or the scrub off the bench who plopped one on Donovan's head.

Can work on finishing, Emilio's failure to feel Gomez on his right - - that's brutal.

I like that new Serbian guy. When delagarza or however goff says you spell it was making a run with his nice stepovers and such, and semi-Vidic stripped him and sat him on his a*s for good measure. reminded me of Harrison Ford shooting the guy with the sword in Raiders 1.

Posted by: OWNTF | March 23, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

The really frustrating thing about the phantom handball is that the people who matter aren't saying anything. In the good old EPL, when there is a call like this, there are biting comments from players and coaches all over the news and any website that has anything to say about football. And the refs get suspended or fined or sent to Coca-Cola. Around here, no one whose job it is to talk about football talks about it or raises concerns and these shocking blunders go unchecked.

The biggest challenge this league faces (especially after the Beckham fiasco) is credibility. The refereeing decisions last night were damning. He let the game play on when there were two badly injured players on the field. He awarded a PK to a phantom handball (even if this was a handball, it should have been an indirect spot kick, as it did not obstruct an attempt on goal - look it up). He let both teams beat up on each other pretty badly (there were some brutal battles for headers and almost every time any player on the pitch passed a ball, there was someone knocking him down from behind the second the ball left his foot). Bottom line: MLS is hard to watch. It is not a good product.

Oh, and Landon Donovan's goal celebrations, incessant and sometimes comical boo-hooing to the ref and whomever else will pay attention, his spectacular flops and "better-than-you-cause-I-was-on-loan-at-Bayern attitude are an embarrassment to the American game. Somebody needs to put a leash on that boy.

Its all about credibility. Remember that kids. With refs like the ones in LA yesterday and players representing our country in the international arena like this boy Landon, we are taking steps backwards, not forwards.

Posted by: moses8 | March 23, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

When Pontius' playing days are over, he should have a nice second career as a Pilates franchisee.

Posted by: universityandpark | March 23, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

While we're on Marufo...I though the pk call agains the Gals was correct, but how do you not give a straight red to Dema for DOGSO?

Posted by: teo_68 | March 23, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

incessant and comical boo-hooing? Dude, scroll through the 100+ posts on this game if you want to read incessant and comical boo-hooing, all about a bad call, as if it were the 1st one.

Donovan kicked our a*s, almost single-handedly. You don't want him celebrating? Fine, MARK HIM. The only reason he didn't have a hat trick was that he missed a chip he will make the next 19 times he takes the shot.

DCU looked pretty good on the whole, except Wicks, and they'll adjust and they'll get Fred and Quaranta back (though sadly not Guerrero).

C'mon fans, man up and move on.

@ univandpark -- gut one

Posted by: OWNTF | March 23, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Let's pass the hat around and pay Wallace's impending fine for him!

Posted by: Kev29 | March 23, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

You know what though? I agree with Wallace. Marrufo called a terrible penalty and brought life back to LA -- and that's how it looked to an observer. Landon should have gotten a penalty for his dive outside the box (attempt to draw a penalty) -- but where was that card?

Marrufo needs to be smarter when he calls games, and not so affected by the crowd. That said though, the worst ref this weekend was Kevin Stott who let so many rash challenges go unpunished in the Colorado-Chivas USA game that eventually Kljestan almost broke Kosuke Kimura's leg... and STILL didn't get a card!

Posted by: Eugene7 | March 23, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

They were in LA -- if they needed a plastic surgeon, just make a PA announcement.

Posted by: Reignking | March 23, 2009 9:19 AM
====================
:-)

Maybe if they had bumped their noses or chests.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 23, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Neither Marrufo or the linesman on that end could honestly say they saw a handball...it just wasn't there. An official has to be certain of what they saw before making that kind of game-changing call. The league should suspend them both based solely on the video evidence.

Posted by: soccerman | March 23, 2009 12:59 AM


I agree 100%. The league is quick to fine any player or coach that openly criticizes the officials but what does the league to to hold referees accountable for clear incompetance? The evidence is indisputable and the referee and assistant should be reprimanded.

Posted by: afadgsafhgd | March 23, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Wow, that Marrufo call is frightening -- he needs to either be suspended or fined for that. He blew his whistle immediately and it's CRYSTAL clear that the ball went off Wallace's leg.

Posted by: Eugene7 | March 23, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Being a Plastic Surgeon.

i was disappointed and have always have been with soccer franchises having all these orthopods on the sidelines but no plastic surgeon or general surgeon. someone who specializes in soft tissue wound closures. a little betadine, lidocaine and a few sutures in the forehead is all that is needed. they should not have missed any time. what are those doctors/whatever they have doing on the sidelines. are they performing cosmetic closures on these things. a little lidocaine and a few stitches. 12 stitches????. you can always make it pretty after the game.

you can use endermil too (medical super glue.) works great. may just be able to use that alone depending on depth of cut. but that does take a little time to dry.

point is that football clubs need surgeons who specialize in soft tissue injuries (skin).

plus they should have stopped the game. i thought jair had a great game up till that point.

Posted by: castroviejo | March 22, 2009 11:30 PM

castroviejo, GREAT post. I couldn't agree more and I think all teams in MLS and the league should take note. With so many soft tissue injuries, it makes sense to have someone who can deal with soft tissue wound closures, not just the orthopods. The orthopods are necessary for the bone injuries, but this isn't American football, there are much fewer bone and spinal injuries in soccer than there are soft tissue injuries.

Posted by: Eugene7 | March 23, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Marrufo made the right call outside United's box. The contact on Donovan clearly occurred prior to the line. It doesn't matter if he lands in the box. I think everyone is being way too hard on him as to the injury situation. The players wounds were not visible. I don't think he did anything wrong in that situation. The call on Wallace.....that was indefensible. He and the linesman need to be held accountable for it. No excuses, he can see what isn't there pure and simple.

Posted by: croftonpost | March 23, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Should be can't see......

Posted by: croftonpost | March 23, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

MLS needs surgeons? Please. The women use a staple gun and get on with it. Guess that's low budget for you.

Posted by: OWNTF | March 23, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

To elaborate -- in 2007 WWC Wambach had a head gash against North Korea that eventually needed like 10 or 12 stitches. She was off too long and it changed the game. So they bought a staple gun. Later in the tourney, Lopez got kicked in the head, resulting in a gash that took 5 staples to close. She was off for 80 seconds.

Posted by: OWNTF | March 23, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I thought the first penalty call was a poor one, but the "hand ball" call, unbelievable.

Fact of the matter is that it takes at least three goals to have a lead that a team can protect from refs.

Liked Pontius, good player.

Posted by: Mastodon_Juan | March 23, 2009 9:28 AM
The first penalty call was not, in fact, a "poor one." Kovalenko had a firm grasp of Gomez's right arm and pulled him down in the penalty area. That's a penalty in any league. The only thing that made it difficult was that the referee had to get this information from his AR then make the call. However, it was the correct decision.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | March 23, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Wallace's comments actually make me like him even more. Congrats to the front office on finally having what is looking to be a really good draft class.

I agree with jdickinson187. We're spending so much time crucifying Marrufo, and letting Luci Emilio off too easy for his selfishness. Christian Gomez would have walked that ball into the net had Emilio made a simple little square pass to the right. No way LA would have been able to recover from a 3-0 deficit.

Still, I'll take the point, which is more than I expected from this match going in. The bigger test will be Chicago. Will be interesting to see what kind of lineup we use if Fred and/or Quaranta is able to come back.

Posted by: DCUMD | March 23, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

@ Kev

I'll add another 40 to send Jair to a basic referee's class. The ones I attend make very clear that if you're not certain about the call, don't guess.

Posted by: carnack | March 23, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

@castroviejo

Does MLS really need an MD with five-plus years of residence to sew up wounds? I'm not suggesting that the equipment manager use his sartorial skills on the injured, but an FACS/FRCS to sew them up? If the injury is more serious than that, the player should go to the ER, no?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 23, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

runningcloud:

I'm not sure what you mean when you say a switch to 442 would leave a defender playing outside their natural position. Namoff, Janicki, Jakovic, and Burch are all good fits at right back, center back, center back, and left back respectively. If what you mean is that McTavish and Wallace must maintain their starting spots, I would tend to disagree. The skill sets required in a 442 are different at literally every position (save the forwards, who have more or less the same tasks).

MJ:

I'm not sure how Kovalenko grabbing Gomez as he's about to shoot and holding him for a full second isn't a penalty. If it was us against the Red Bulls and Simms did the same thing to Rojas, I'd have no arguments. If you hold an opposing player in that situation for that long, you're preventing him from shooting.

OWNTF:

The fact that we let LA have so many crosses is why I'm hesitant to praise Wallace too much. He looked very good when we were the aggressor, but in the first 20 and last 10 minutes, when LA had the momentum, he was a liability. Most of the comments here seem to be focusing only on what he did right, when he did a lot wrong. Up until we took control of the game, he was drifting towards needing to be pulled at halftime. I don't think we kept a ball on the left side for those first 20 minutes, not to mention the number of crosses Klein sent in.

***

I'm surprised that so many people are in disbelief about Emilio not passing to Gomez. He's Emilio! Have you not been watching for the past 2 seasons? In the box, in a scoring position, he shoots. Period. He wouldn't pass to Pele, Maradona, or anyone else.

Of course it was the right decision there to pass off to Gomez for a certain goal. However, I was not at all surprised at the fact that Emilio went for goal. He is who we thought he is.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | March 23, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I dont know if this was asked in the previous thread, but did Marrufo actually signal that it was a handball? I know the commentators jumped to that conclusion, and when I saw the play live I thought "crap, handball", but when watching the replay, there appeared to be a rather harsh slide tackle seconds before the call that resulted in the ball being knocked out to the wide Galaxy player, who then crossed the ball which was blocked by Wallace. So after seeing the replay, I figured it had to be that Marrufo allowed advantage for the first challenge, and then called the PK once the cross was blocked. That might be giving him far too much credit though, as the guy is one of the worst in CONCACAF.

Posted by: VTUnited | March 23, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

hey, Emilio's job is to score goals, he had two closing defenders, a ball, and a goalie to track...you all seem to think it should have been simple for him to see a closing Gomez who was largely blocked by the defender on his right.

Posted by: teo_68 | March 23, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

""He's Emilio! Have you not been watching for the past 2 seasons? In the box, in a
scoring position, he shoots.""

Yeah, but that shot was horrible. That's my biggest gripe.

I know strikers need to have a nose for goal and that not passing is typical for him, but geez when he is quickly covered by guys with faster pace and has a man SO WIDE OPEN, you have to be a better soccer player, less of a striker and a selfless player.

It's not the first time that he's left open teammates exasperated.

Posted by: delantero | March 23, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I mis-wrote this:

Landon should have gotten a CARD for his dive outside the box (attempt to draw a penalty) -- but where was that card?

Obviously I don't believe a player should have gotten a penalty for a dive OUTSIDE the box.


Posted by: Eugene7 | March 23, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Wiggan I felt good about what I saw too. These rookies were impresive especially for a debut game that is the season opener and away.

My biggest worry is Crayton...did I hear correctly that he is "home"? DC home or home home?

Posted by: mbetka23 | March 23, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Um.. why is no one talking about the fact that Landy adn 3 other Galaxy players were off on Landy's second goal? I was at the Home Depot Center and had a clear view. He was WELL OFF-SIDES, even the Galaxy fans around me agreed that he was off, including those that were refs.

Posted by: Shanoni | March 23, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, I do not know how much longer I will be able to stand watching ANY team, let alone DC United, getting raped the way we did yesterday. That "handball" PK call was horrible.

Though, yes, it's not like it was the first blatently bad call against DC that I've seen.

However, I am impressed with Wallace's play and with Pontius's play. That goal was an awesome goal.

As frustrating as that game was, with the horrible calls, I thought DC played well, considering the many new players in the d. They played with cohesiveness and played rather well.

Wicks did have some issues, it seemed, at getting the D to listen to him. But it will get better. Especially when Crayton gets back.

And for Donovan's second goal, I was very suspect on whether or not he was offsides. Though, I didn't see the play develop...

Horrible officiating anyways, another game down the drain because of the poor calling on the ref.

Posted by: dogboy | March 23, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Um.. why is no one talking about the fact that Landy adn 3 other Galaxy players were off on Landy's second goal?

Posted by: Shanoni | March 23, 2009 12:29 PM

They never showed a wide angle replay on TV, so the home audience didn't get a look at it, and I don't recall the commentators addressing it. I'm not sure how he was able to make the run, and then camp out for the easy header, all after the ball was kicked.

MLS really needs to get the officials in line. Last year was bad (remember Burch getting ejected for "shoving" Becks on the touchline? or Marrufo throwing out McTavish in the CCL game for "kicking" a Mexican player), so lets hope this start doesn't indicate another awful year of officiating.

Posted by: VTUnited | March 23, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

@ Chest - I agree with your criticism of Wallace. He was outmatched in the first half, and I put the odds at around 50/50 that he would get yanked at halftime. But he looked like a different player in the second half. Hopefully the second half Wallace is what we'll see for the rest of the year.

Posted by: DCUMD | March 23, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Yea, soooo what MLS team is supposed to be able to afford a surgeon to hang out on the sidelines just waiting to suture someone up? Open wounds probably account for what, 15% of injuries during a game? If that? It's not like there's a bloody gash every game. Their expertise would be wasted considering the certified athletic trainer would take care of every other injury. And I'm pretty sure it would cost quite a bit to get them to the games, unless they chose to donate their time of course.

Either way, while I wish that certified athletic trainers were qualified to suture or staple someone up (some are by the way), until that changes, the fans should be happy with the orthopedists and/or EMTs that can assist the ATC with many more types of injuries and are possibly donating their time to come to the game.

p.s. superglue does help in some cases, but considering how much blood there was, probably wasn't going to help in this situation.

Posted by: Jmay18 | March 23, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Tons of positives out of this game. Olsen and Gomez were great influences. The rookies had some rough spots but should terrific promise. I think that collision, the blood and the worry, were just shocking. I was shocked and worried and I wasn't there. Hard to imagine going out and playing an organized game after that. Emilio played ok considering he often had to track back past midfield if he wanted to see the ball; and while a pass to Gomez would have been nice, I'm not sure he had a much better angle for the pass than for the shot. And bad calls happen, not just in MLS: everywhere. Relax guys, its the first game. Its a tie on the road. The future holds promise. That's more than I thought likely yesterday morning.

I wondered at the time how Donovan could have been onside for the second goal and guessed that it happened so fast that both the linesman and the camera crews just missed it; I was surprised that the commentators didn't discuss it but perhaps they were covering for lack of adequate replay.

Posted by: regularfan | March 23, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Check out the MLS.net highlights - Clearly, no handling on the PK call and Landy was onside on the second goal.

Marufo gives Wicks a card for dissent...the league fines players and coaches for criticizing officials...who holds the referees accountable when they err and play a role in determining the outcome of the match?!

Posted by: SocArbitro | March 23, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

No player ratings, Goff?

Posted by: KireDCU | March 23, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Wallace made a terrific play to block that cross. It was so good that Marrufo must have assumed it was a handball -- especially when he saw the all the Gals' arms go up asking for a penalty.

Marrufo called a good game in Seattle -- which surprised me. He's infamous for missing the big calls. Ask Dominic Mediate...Marrufo should never ref a DCU-LA match again. Just bad karma and a bad ref.

Posted by: fischy | March 23, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Obviously the handball miss was an egregious miss, but i thought the Ref had been doing well. There several non calls for PK that demonstrated full control of the game. I was quite pleased about his ability to NOT reward a penalty shout, just because he had one on the books already for the opposition.

Qnd then, bang, he went and did it...

Posted by: JkR- | March 23, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

OK - I've watched the MLS highlights, per SocArbitro's post. It was somewhat enlightening.

Like others here, watching live, I thought Gomez drew an iffy penalty kick. Watching the replay, it's clear to me that Dema(?) grabbed Gomez' arm. Not the incidental clutch and grab that goes on in a game. He grabbed, pulled and wouldn't let go -- I think he even pulled back on Gomez a 2nd time.

This makes the handball supposed make-up call look even worse. Jair got the first penalty call right. There was no reason to look for a make-up call. And, as everyone in the world except maybe Marrufo, the Galaxy and the MLS has already declared, there was no handball. The ball didn't even come close to Wallace's arms or hands. After he knocks it down, and behind him, with his thigh, he puts his arms to avoid even an accidental touch. A phantom handball, if there ever was one.

However, anyone who watched those replays and declares that Donovan was offsides on the tying goal is talking out their fat behind. There's no way you can watch that an know. Sure, Donovan starts his run a second or two before the ball is played, but he has a long way to go before he's behind the defense. The fact that he has a moment to set himself behind the defense, before he heads the ball, proves nothing. The dude is fast. He could easily have made that play without being offsides, and those replays show nothing either way.

Having said that, once again, United was screwed over by Marrufo. Should they have been playing 2 men down? Of course not. Tommy choked. He should have sent in 2 guys cold, rather than waiting to figure out which if either of the 2 injured players could return. We had a 2-0 lead, and only 15 minutes to kill off. Burch and Wallace could have manned the back line, along with Jakovic and Namoff. You can't send out 9 men and hope for the best. Still, Marrufo blew it even worse.

Posted by: fischy | March 23, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey fischy, someone above said they were there and it was obvious to everyone there that Donovan was offside. I was reacting to that, and trying to say I was disappointed at the time by the lack of any discussion by the commentators whether he was off, since it looked like he could be. So stop talking about my fat behind. I'm sensitive.

Posted by: regularfan | March 23, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

@regularfan -- cute. I wasn't referring to you or your post. You have to be sitting near that endline to have any idea on that play, or you have to have a replay that gives you a clue. The replays I've seen do not help, either way.

Posted by: fischy | March 23, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I was there and yes, he was offside... I had a clear view as did the other people around me. We were on the side at that end of the pitch.

Posted by: Shanoni | March 23, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Two points I haven't seen made:
1) Wasn't Dema the last man when he took Gomez down for the PK? By the book, isn't that a red card? Beyond the phantom hand ball, isn't that another boner by the ref?

2) For the first time under Soehn, we aren't going to lose the first three games of the season. Look out MLS!

Posted by: gilligab | March 23, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Look at the highlights on MLS net. Donovan onside, great run, nice ball. Should've been marked, but the run, the ball and call were great.

He was onside. No idea why Comcast didn't have a replay. The MLS highlights were from Telefutura.

Posted by: JkR- | March 23, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm still not clear on one thing... Is it offsides, or offside?...

Posted by: DadRyan | March 23, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

What replay shows Donovan was onsides?! You never see the served ball & Donovan in the same frame!!!

Posted by: the_lizard1000 | March 24, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

What replay shows Donovan was onsides?! You never see the ball being served & Donovan's position in the same frame!!!

Posted by: the_lizard1000 | March 24, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the replays -- Anybody notice that, on DCU's goal, Wallace and Pontius executed what any red-blooded American should recognize as the "pick-and-roll"? At RFK, they might try to set up a screen shot...Or, run the old "picket fence"?

Posted by: fischy | March 24, 2009 2:35 AM | Report abuse

Typical, endless extraordinary excuses, eh?
Po' Me! Po' Me! It's All About Po' DCU!!!

Posted by: Lehoi | March 24, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

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