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United Rewind

D.C. United made a lot of money. Real Madrid made a lot of money. The Redskins probably made a few bucks. There were some quality goals and quality goalkeeping. Real got another look at its new crew. United held up well for about 50 minutes before being shredded by Arjen Robben. Cristiano Ronaldo played a half, Kaka 67 minutes. All in all, a pretty productive and entertaining day.

Although the turnout was 72,368, it was not officially the biggest crowd to ever watch a United game. The largest announced attendance was 73,123 on July 4, 1999, against San Jose at Stanford Stadium, which was part of a doubleheader with a USA Women's World Cup match.

Read my full match report.

Read Mike Wise's column.

Read Paul Tenorio's sidebar about Josh Wicks.

Watch the video highlights.

Considering the opponent, the friendly nature and the numerous substitutions, player ratings are a little tricky, but I'll give it a try:

Wicks 7; Jakovic 6, Janicki 4, Burch 4; Pontius 6, Olsen 5, Wallace 5, Gomez 5, Fred 6; Moreno 5, Emilio 4. Subs: Jacobson 4, Simms 5, Szetela 5, Kocic 5, McTavish 5, John 5, Allen 5, DiRaimondo 5.

By Steve Goff  |  August 9, 2009; 11:05 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , Real Madrid  
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Posted by: SportzNut21 | August 9, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

A 5 for Wallace...I cannot imagine what for.

I like that he has some speed, but until he can beat a defender -- any defender -- or successfully cross the ball, he is totally out of position on the wing. A winger who cannot get turn the corner on a defender and cannot get in a cross is not a winger -- he is a waste of space. Like Marc Burch - a defender who cannot defend is not really a defender.

At least Jacobson made the best pass of the day, threading one through to Gomez, who could not get off a shot -- that ought to have been worth more than the 5 you gave Wallace. Seriously. I guess Wallace will continue to play out on the win, but if he did not play there again, it would still be too soon for me. Of course, Wallace also had some dreadful turnovers when he was more central. But, then again, the whole team did.

I enjoyed the game...once I got there. I was trying to find every way around the Beltway I could think of...and managed to get to my seat less than 10 minutes into the game. I knew Robben would shred the defense -- the real disappointment was the inability to create or finish chances. The chances were there, but the passes were not. A game like this is useful to see what the game can look like and see how far we have to go. I hope the profits go to good use.

Posted by: fischy | August 9, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Fedex is terrible (metro accessibilty, parking lots, very scarce water fountains, etc). CSC needs to educated on the ways and rules of the Barra Brava. Fred had one good shot, but was not worthy of a 6 in my opinion. I saw Emilio and Fred as the weakest links on the field today.

Posted by: redskinsux | August 10, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: KeeperPat | August 10, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Has the paper gone to bed yet, Goff? If not, perhaps you can correct Wise's column where he states that Wicks gave up that third goal on the chip.

Posted by: Hokienautic | August 10, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Prior to this season, Wallace had two years (I think) at UMD. That's hardly La Liga. So his usual weaknesses were exposed against Real Madrid, yeah.

But it's easy to forget the beginning of today's game, when a number of the starters looked pretty good, including Wallace.

Fans expect too much of him, I think DCU is more realistic. He's gotten way more minutes than he was expected to or should have physically, but that means he's earning them. Rather than give up on him, I expect DCU to do just the opposite.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | August 10, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

I think Pontius may not deserve a 6, either. His careless pass attempt that was deflected by his defender sent Madrid off on the breakaway that ended in their fist goal. Tommy laced into Pontius, explaining what he should have done -- but, I think Pontius looked a little unfocused and maybe even lazy out there. Hard to criticize the effort in that kind of heat, but still...Yeah, he had a couple of moments of danger, but nothing really came of them. I know he is young and inexperienced. I hope this is a wake-up as to how much more he needs to do.

@Godfather -- Same with Wallace. I am not giving up on him, but I am sick of seeing his crosses which are either knocked right back but the marking defender , or they sail over everybody -- and his shots from distance sail majestically over the goal. He has a lot of work to do, as well. It may come, but right now, He is not up to playing wing at this level. He was a left back in college -- perhaps that is his best fit.

Posted by: fischy | August 10, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Babelfish highlight and lowlight of the article Sportznut21 linked

Unlike squeamish Toronto FC, the DC United was not in favor of the work and put all their persistence in hindering, tightening and to close the spaces.

High: "Squemish Toronto FC"

Low: "the DC United"

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | August 10, 2009 1:10 AM | Report abuse

Haha, Emillio gets a 4..for what...doing nothing..
Fred had some decent moments (Freds nutmeg of Xavi Alonso) compared to Emillio because like always he disappears in international competition.
Wicks deserves better credit for his performance.
The backline was awful as always.
DC was out-shot badly..

Another woe for DC's international profile...

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | August 10, 2009 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who is criticzing DCU right now needs to step back and look at the bigger picture. The DCU starting 11 held the RM starting 11 to 0 goals for over a half in what was essentailly a road atmosphere for DCU. If I had spent close to a half billion dollars on transfer fees, salaries etc I would certainly hope that my team could handle a team that spent less than 1% of what I had- even in a meaningless preseason friendly in 98 degree heat. Considering that, as well as the other results of MLS vs big teams, I would say that DCU could take a run at the MLS Cup if they can survive the fixture congestion, fatigue etc and make the playoffs. I wish though that DCU could also find a way to advance in the CCL, but that is looking like a long shot considering the FO's goals in the recent past and present.

@TheWashDipsSince88- Holding the starters of the world's most expensive football team scoreless for over a half and turning a seven figure profit in one afternoon is hardly a woe for an MLS club's profile. I know we want DCU to be like Barça one day but let's just take it one step at a time...

Posted by: rademaar | August 10, 2009 4:57 AM | Report abuse

Alert the media: our back three doesn't work against Real Madrid any better than it does against MLS opponents--who would have known? I liked the brief glimpse at Ely Allen--he showed some moxie out there against the big boys! Discretion was the better part of valor keeping Tino and Namoff out...

Posted by: dcarmy | August 10, 2009 5:02 AM | Report abuse

My biggest take away a day on is the combative and unhelpful Stadium workers; from the 40 minute wait to get a rude frisking to the usher looking for people to scream at.

And the heat.

Posted by: JkR- | August 10, 2009 6:27 AM | Report abuse

Goff, does Emilio have pictures of you that he threatens to expose? That could be the only explanation for his 4 rating. He was absolutlely worthless, again.

Posted by: rcdwriting | August 10, 2009 6:36 AM | Report abuse

CSC needs to educated on the ways and rules of the Barra Brava.

Posted by: redskinsux | August 10, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

In other words, the Barra Brava wasn't able to get away with the stuff it usually does at RFK, right?

Posted by: stwasm | August 10, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

The number of people who feel passionately about Goff's player ratings - for a exhibition match, no less - amazes me. I guess that's a good thing for the blog. I'm just glad the friendly is done with so the team can get back to some real matches.

Posted by: ashleybone | August 10, 2009 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Goff, what is Emillio's status after the game. Was he merely cramping before he came out, or is is more serious?

Posted by: Jaywag86 | August 10, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

@WashDips... The entire back line was "awful as always"? I thought Jakovic was excellent throughout most of the game. I'm not going to say the same of the other 2 (although I think Burch actually played better than we have seen him in awhile, however that is all relative). However, I don't think I would lump Jakovic with the other 2. In fact, the comment I made at one point was that I thought he was the best acquisition we made this year. Paired with Namoff, if we can get a solid third back there, we could have a very formidable defense.

Posted by: HarkesyRules | August 10, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Janicki has no business playing anywhere in a 3-man backline. DCU is in huge trouble if either Namoff or Jankovic have an extended absence. McTavish must be really in the doghouse given his lack of PT this season. I would rather have seen him at RB to allow Jankovic to stay central. The backline depth is razor thin. Good to see both Gomez and Fred play the entire match.

Posted by: Henchlow | August 10, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Hokienautic, I agree. BIG, GLARING error by Wise. I mean, you're watching the game - and you're a professional writer - and you can't remember that Wicks was taken out after the second goal? Seems a bush league mistake to me.

Posted by: nairbsod | August 10, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

In a lot of ways DCU--and any other better MLS team--is like the UN Nats: the first 11 can play a lot better than a lot of world football watchers think. Sadly, as soon as a sub is required... yikes! They bring on Robben, we bring on... you get the point. I was really happy during that first 45 minutes. Sure Wicks made some Keller-esque saves, but we played the ball on the ground a lot, passed out of trouble, looked pretty damn good (except, of course, in the final third of the field, we just couldn't get support up there the way RM does). Call me plollyanna (just not to my face), but I think stateside soccer of all ilks is doing just fine.

Posted by: comfortstarr | August 10, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

@ fischy

I agree that Wallace cannot cross the ball and he positions himself offensively too much when playing out wide. However he did shut down the attack and put pressure on Real when they had possesion in the first half. He reminds me a bit of Hejduk when he first started. Frankie could not cross the ball until he was 30. Wallace should have a much better cross at this point in his career.

Posted by: no_recess | August 10, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Even being the opportunistic goal poacher that he is, Emilio is just so bad these days that he can't even do what he was brought here to do. He is so slow he can't even beat defenders with the simplest move. I didn't notice he is only 30 from the Wikipedia page, but more like 38 from the way he has been playing. And of the out-and-out strikers we have, N'Silu and Khumalo, they don't have the skill to beat players out wide, just speed. So we only have Quaranta and Pontius who can play the out-and-out role, but Q is usually injured and Pontius is not consistent at this point to be depended on. 5 days left in the transfer window, hello Crespo?

Posted by: Charisma_Man | August 10, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

WashDips...what's your agenda? You haven't had anything positive to say. For example, you just made stuff up yesterday about DCU not making any money from this game. Are you really a Metrostars fan? Or still a Dips fan?

Posted by: Reignking | August 10, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

@fischy - What makes you think Wallace was playing wing yesterday? He was holding MF with Ben. How many chances is he going to get to cross the ball there? What game were you watching, anyway?

Everyone complaining about how they played needs to put it all in perspective. The younger players on DCU side did better than expected and the older players on DCU side seemed to take it easy in the heat. Scoreless at halftime was quite respectable.

The game was fun to watch. Done.

Posted by: spata1 | August 10, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

DiRaimondao a 5? What are you thinking?! He was a 4.97, 4.98 at best!

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 10, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

A couple observations,

For all of the nits on Pontius, when it comes down to speed and ability, he probably showed the most promise out on the field yesterday. He's 22 and in his first year of professional soccer. His mistakes were lack of experience NOT ability. And, I could see some Second Division European teams looking at Pontius in the January window.

Fred--what happened to attacking? He seems to have lost confidence in his ability to attack a defense and he is not an incisive passer to really set up others. Maybe with Quaranta, we would have had better attacking options...

The 3 man line has got to least in the second half of these summer matches where the temps just sap one's speed.

And, FedEx is a pit, with horrible traffic and no atomosphere. For all of its lack of amenities, RFK is still a far superior experience for soccer.

Posted by: jnel | August 10, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

It was a great weekend. I didn't watch one second of soccer. Because I know the flood of real games is coming soon...

Posted by: Reignking | August 10, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

M&T Bank Stadium should definitely get the nod over FedEx for the 2022 World Cup.

Posted by: Pedalada | August 10, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Would Namoff at RB and Jakovic in the middle have made a difference yesterday? Perhaps.

Regardless, how long is Soehn going to stick with his three-back setup? It's not working. There must be good reasons why top clubs -- and most clubs -- around the world play a 4-4-2. It simply works better. Generations of successful managers know this. Soehn seemingly doesn't.

Did Soehn notice a couple of matches back what happened when DCU, in a catchup mode, went 4-4-2? Yes, the attack blossomed. Presto! The players found themselves in a formation they learned as toddlers. The wide MFs, not having the ultra-deep defensive responsibilities of a 3-5-2, suddenly were in better attacking positions when DCU gained possession.

Perhaps Soehn persists with the 3-5-2 because of last year's miserable defensive results with a four-man backline. Those results weren't the result of the formation. It was the fault of the now-departed donkeys playing in the DCU defense.

Did Soehn learn anything yesterday? Real -- like ManU, Chelsea and all other top clubs, and like the minnows in lower divisions around the world -- plays a four-man backline. Did Soehn learn that his three-man backline can be eaten up by through balls. Hopefully he did, because the lesson for other MLS coaches was simple: attack DCU up the gut. It works!

Posted by: runningcloud | August 10, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Your right about Emillio whatever nose he had for the goal is gone. His touch, speed, shot and air game are all sub par. He needs to be gone in the off season.

Posted by: restonhoops | August 10, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

From my position at the front of the BB just to the right of goal (looking at the goal), a few observations:

- It was really hot down there! We all noticed that the players were walking by the 40th minute. So, we were surprised when Tommy didn't make any subs (though, I agree with the depth argument vs RM).

- Pontius made some nice runs, some pretty excellent decisions, but suffered from bad crossing and passes by Fred and Emilio. I'm sorry to say that I want players with two names...we're not having great luck anymore with the one-namers.

- Fred keeps passing the ball at the top of the box instead of shooting the ball...usually resulting in a turnover.

- In the second half, Emilio was so desperate to force a shot that he didn't see a streaking Szetela blasting into the middle of the box with a clear view. His attitude of individual vs. team is clearly showing a dark truth about his priorities. I was surprised that Goff (or Tenorio?) didn't highlight Emilio's apparent argument with Gomez over the PK a couple games back. Ever since the red card incident, Emilio has only been looking after himself. It's time for him to have some extended time either on the bench or out of uniform.

- Wicks was awesome in the first half. He didn't make any major mistakes and made some quality stops. Our defense beats him up sometimes, but he stays composed.

Overall, I'm glad I made the last minute decision to support DCU. Our team showed some good stuff, but RM was just too much. Each goal was quality and we couldn't help but admire the beautiful team and individual play from the RM folks. I hope that this experience will motivate DCU to push through the last third of the season with a trophy or two.

Posted by: figgy_va | August 10, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

how about a 3 for Moreno, i know he has provided so much to DC in the past, but I think it's time for him to go.

my wife and i are United season tix holders, and were at the game against Real. frankly we are both sick of Moreno holding onto the ball too long in the box - ALMOST EVERYTIME HE's in that area. yesterday he had a very good chance on goal and tried to be fancy, held onto the ball and missed a great oppurtunity . . take a crack man . . . hope for a rebound . . . are we the only people that thinks this is true of Moreno???

Posted by: waltrkm | August 10, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

72,000? No way. The stadium workers are lazy. I could not get to my seat because there were people packed in the isle. No worries as I stood in the isle myself but there were several people pissed for the same reason. Getting in was a joke.

I enjoyed the match though. Anyone expecting DCU to get any other result is delusional. Comparing MLS players to La Liga players is like comparing apples and oranges. Real Madrid has quick, acurate passes and superb first touch. DCU, does not.

I was proudly wearing my DCU jersey. My 11 yr old son was wearing his Man Utd #7 and he was is awe to see Real Madrid. Glad we made the trip from north of Baltimore.

Oh yeah, saying is was hot is an understatement.

Posted by: peridigm | August 10, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I hope I am not coming off as negative about the whole thing. I think it was a great event. Yes, FedEx is a traffic nightmare, but you cannot extrapolate that to the SSS that might have been built a the Morgan Blvd. metro. The crowd was 3x the size. Also, a lot of the backups might have been lessened if drivers knew there was a 3rd approach to the stadium by exiting at Central Ave. I drove past the 1st 2 exits and flew into the stadium from Morgan Blvd. For me, the last couple of miles were the quickest, not the slowest part of the trip.

As for the play of the team, there were moments -- the best being the play started by Jacobson, to Gomez, to Emilio. Unfortunately all we got was a weak shot right at Casillas. Jakovic had a very solid, very impressive showing against truly great players. And, Wicks really was fantastic.

My negative comments are really meant more as constructive criticism. I do not love Fred out wide, but he would be better than Wallace. And, I am still trying to figure out where Pontius belongs. If he could figure out how to shoot around instead of a the goalie, he would be a terrific striker. I am still hoping to see that. Right now, I see a team with a bunch of guys who are far more effective in the middle than on the wing. Quaranta may be the lone exception.

In the end, I hope that DCU tkes some positives away. They played Madrid to firs-half draw. For the 1st ten minutes in the second half, United was the better team. Then Pontius makes a bad pass, and we have got one goal. Then, a weak pass from Emilio to Wallace, and another goal against us. And, finally, with United trailing by two, it was easy for Robben to beat the offside trap. Three plays that turned a great effort into a negative result. Still, DCU hung in there against a team that has 24 players that are better than anyone on United. The team deserves some credit.

Posted by: fischy | August 10, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

When the salary cap for all of United ($3.2 million) amounts to pocket change for nearly any player on Real's squad, you get results like we had on Sunday. Let's cut the guys some slack. We know they are not as good as Real, but why beat them up over the obvious.

Posted by: Ruthie1 | August 10, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Had a great time (other than the $30 I had to spend for water). Think the player ratings are reasonable except for Olsen. He was all over the field, stopping both Kaka and Ronaldo and a big part of the fact that it was scoreless at the half. Even my husband who I dragged to this and knows very little about soccer kept talking about how impressed he was with Olsen's play.

Glad everyone made money and it was certainly an event. Good show by the Red and Black.

Posted by: Beckster1 | August 10, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

When do Pontius's rating go down for not scoring goals (or at least testing the keeper) when he gets gilt-edged chances in the box? And why doesn't Wallace get the same rookie mark-up?

Posted by: teo_68 | August 10, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

It's not "the united". It's "united." I'm just sayin...

Posted by: DCPeruano | August 10, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

It's also the "Black and Red", but now we're just gettin' picky. ;-)

@waltrkm -- Jaime brings a calming influence to the game that is intangible and cannot be gotten through any other player at this point. With that being said, I think he has been off the last 2-3 games. Maybe he needs a rest, but hasn't been able to with the injuries the team has picked up... who knows? Hopefully, if that's the case, he will get what he needs in time for the push to the playoffs.

Posted by: HarkesyRules | August 10, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the Red and the Black is Stendhal United.

Posted by: dccal | August 10, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Who knows enough spanish to translate the Spanish stories?

From the Spanish paper of record:

Posted by: jnel | August 10, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

jnel, I translated with Google language tools and found this interesting bit:

"Xabi Alonso no se encontró bien y hasta le hicieron un túnel humillante."

"Xabi Alonso was not found until well and made him a humiliating tunnel."

Seems to me as if the article was saying the game was more even than it was against Toronto, but Alonso wasn't really involved other than being megged. Can anyone verify this very literal translation?

Posted by: carmines757 | August 10, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

how much money did D.C United end up making on the game?

Posted by: ruffplayer8 | August 12, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

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