Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Short-handed D.C. United downs Guadalajara
by Ridge Mahoney, September 27th, 2007 7AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls

MOST COMMENTED

Losing Marc Burch near the end of the first half probably cost D.C. United a goal, but will his absence in the second leg end up costing his team the series? In front of 21,022 fans at RFK Stadium, United pulled out 2-1 win Wednesday night in the first leg of its Copa Sudamericana showdown with Guadalajara, which peppered the D.C. goal before and after Burch's ejection in the 44th minute. Guadalajara ended up with a 21-5 edge in shots, but just one goal by Sergio Santana, as compared with one each for midfielders Ben Olsen and Clyde Simms.

Burch is suspended for the second leg of the round of 16 series in Guadalajara on Tuesday, and D.C.'s inability - whether playing with 11 or 10 to suppress the Guadalajara attackers along with his absence makes Coach Tom Soehn's selection of players and tactical decisions even more crucial.

Burch's emergence at left back put the final piece in Soehn's switch to a 4-4-2 formation

Both Olsen and Simms scored from distance after Guadalajara had failed to clear balls out of its defensive third, but it the Mexicans should have punished some very shaky D.C. defending much more harshly than they did.

Keeper Troy Perkins saved five shots and watched at least a half-dozen others zoom over the crossbar. Bryan Namoff and Olsen blocked goal-bound shots; any one of them could have been deflected past Perkins but on this night some luck did bounce United's way.

Olsen scored from 25 yards midway through the first half by trapping a poor clearance and teeing off a shot that skipped off the recently sodded RFK infield and bounced past Guadalajara keeper Luis Michel. D.C. had rarely crossed midfield at that point in the match and Burch received his first caution for a reckless foul.

Perkins dropped a cross but Namoff cleared as D.C. invented ways to survive roiling goalmouth scrambles.

Luciano Emilio nearly stole a second United goal five minutes before halftime when he snuck in behind the Guadalajara defense only for his shot to be blocked bravely by Michel.

Just before halftime, Burch arrived a moment late as Omar Esparza hit a cross and appeared to stop as Esparza followed through and their legs clashed. Esparza hit the ground in some pain and Argentine referee Hector Baldaffi brought out the yellow card and then the red.

D.C. had the halftime interval to reorganize but started the second half in complete disarray, with Devon McTavish, Greg Vanney and Namoff ostensibly playing a three-man back line that occasionally Olsen supplemented as right back.

Perkins saved from Alberto Medina as United tried to sort things out and the first time it managed to keep possession in the opponent's defensive third, 10 minutes into the second half, it scored.

Christian Gomez, who labored through a quiet game, bravely battled long enough against three opponents to win a free kick. He crashed his shot against the defensive wall and it rolled into a yawning gap Simms quickly filled to belt a low shot the screened Michel couldn't reach.

Up two goals, still United couldn't sort out its formation, nor hold the lead for longer than six minutes. Josh Gros came on for Jaime Moreno to play right back, but McTavish couldn't fill Burch's spot on the opposite side.

Xavier Ivan Beaz glided down that flank to hit a low cross to the near post for Santana to slam past Perkins in the 61st minute.

After a dozen more minutes of heroic if chaotic defending, Brian Carroll replaced Gomez, who had cramped up twice in the second half. Carroll joined the legion of the desperate: scraping away 50-50 balls, blocking shots and crosses, hoofing high-altitude clearances.

In the final minutes, Perkins slapped away a cross, Olsen repelled a shot from Omar Bravo, and then Gonzalo Pineda wound up his potent left leg to drill a low shot directly at the D.C. keeper. As he gathered it he fell to his knees, as if in gratitude.

United hosts Toronto Saturday in a league match before heading to Mexico.

Soehn can revert to the 3-5-2 favored by his predecessor, Peter Nowak, or insert a left back in place of Burch and hope for the best.

When it played Guadalajara in the CONCACAF Champions Cup' six months ago, it tied, 1-1, at RFK but played better in Estadio Jalisco despite losing, 2-1, and falling 3-2 on aggregate.

This time, D.C. heads to Mexico with a slim one-goal edge, but several defensive and tactical issues to resolve.

Copa Sudamericana
Round of 16, first leg

D.C. United 2 Guadalajara 1.
Goals:
Olsen 23, Simms 1 55; Santana 1 (Baez ) 61.

D.C. United -- Perkins, Namoff (Boswell, 88), McTavish, Vanney, Burch, Olsen, Gomez (Carroll, 73), Simms, Fred, Emilio, Moreno (Gros 56).

Guadalajara -- Michelle, Magallon, Rodriguez, Esparza (Baez 46), Mejia, Araujo (Padilla, 75), Morales (Arellano 56), Pineda, Bravo, Medina, Santana.

Yellow cards: D.C. United - Burch 23, Burch 44, Carroll 78; Mejia 79.
Red card: D.C. United - Burch 44.

Referee:Hector Baldaffi
Att.: 21,022

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Jurgen Klinsmann    
"Every day you learn. You learn about every individual, about your group, about the chemistry, about ...
MLS Week 16: Results & standings    
Chad Barrett scored in the 90th minute to give the San Jose Earthquakes a 1-1 tie ...
Euro 2016: Portugal saves it until late    
Portugal, which tied all three games in the group stage, was minutes away from heading to ...
What They're Saying: Sunil Gulati    
"Our base-line [for average attendance] was 30,000; 35,000 would've been great, and 40,000 beyond our wildest ...
What They're Saying: Investment banker Keith Harris    
"It was a shock result. There are four players that we can reflect on and the ...
What They're Saying: Megan Rapinoe    
"Gay bars are so important for me and my community. That could have been me. That ...
What They're Saying: Gudmundur Benediktsson    
"It's been quite strange and actually hectic because the phone hasn't stopped ringing. But I'm really ...
MLS: Top fives in Fan XI voting remain steady    
The MLS All-Star Game will be played July 28 in San Jose and every few days ...
MLS Countdown: Rivals wrap up season series early    
The MLS campaign has yet to reach its midpoint yet already teams are facing each other ...
USA-Colombia: Lots at stake in third-place game    
The USA must quickly get back in the saddle after its disastrous semifinal against Argentina when ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives