Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
United burned by Fire yet again
by Ridge Mahoney, November 2nd, 2007 7AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls

MOST COMMENTED

In the end, the defensive frailty of D.C. United - not its ouchy attackers - knocked it tumbling out of the playoffs for the third straight season. A pair of preventable goals staked Chicago to a 2-0 lead at RFK Stadium, and a furious D.C. rally tied the game, 2-2, which for the Fire was good enough. A 1-0 win in its home leg Oct. 25 provided a 3-2 aggregate upset of the league's top team during the regular season.

Chris Rolfe and Chad Barrett pounced on balls chipped into the middle of D.C's defense to score two minutes apart in the first half, rendering second-half strikes by Clyde Simms and Christian Gomez as laudable but insufficient. Gomez scored in stoppage time but had controlled the ball with an outstretched arm while wrestling with a Fire defender.

The cruel yet correct handball call deprived a throbbing RFK crowd and national ESPN2 audience another half-hour of physical, passionate play. United had rallied despite inconsistent efforts from Luciano Emilio and Jaime Moreno after the Fire exploited a defensive change that brought Bobby Boswell into central defense alongside Greg Vanney in place of Devon McTavish.

Barrett trapped the ball and slammed his shot into the net after Calen Carr, out on the right flank, dropped a lob into the space between Boswell and Vanney. As United reeled from that initial blow, a cleverly nodded ball by Cuauhtemoc Blanco surprised Boswell and right back Bryan Namoff. Rolfe swooped to hammer it past keeper Troy Perkins.

With four minutes left in the half, Coach Tom Soehn replaced left back Marc Burch with midfielder Rod Dyachenko and played with three defenders. Dyachenko used his touches well, pulling the strings to get Fred and Gomez into the attacking flow and free up Ben Olsen to push the ball forward and run at opponents. Both D.C. goals resulted from Dyachenko passes.

Olsen set up Emilio for his best chance of the night five minutes into the second half but keeper Matt Pickens pushed it side.

Carr broke away a few minutes later and Perkins upended him at the edge of the penalty area or perhaps just inside, yet referee Jair Marrufo pointed for a free kick outside the area and brought out a yellow card instead of a red for Perkins.

United grabbed the lifeline it had been thrown. In the 69th minute Dyachenko laid a ball back to Simms just outside the penalty arc and he whistled a low, right-footed blast that evaded Pickens and nicked the inside of the post a foot off the grass. Spectacular!

Gomez tied it five minutes later by ghosting behind the Fire back line to fire a low shot that Pickens, who had held his ground rather than narrowing the angle, got a glove on. The ball glanced off his hand and rolled towards the goal. The crowd's roar rose in volume into a crescendo as it crossed the line.

But D.C. couldn't muster another goal. McTavish, Olsen, and Gomez all missed the target, as did Fire sub Floyd Franks, who broke in alone as Perkins charged out and drove his shot wide. Moreno headed a ball into the goalmouth during a last-ditch attack and as Gomez tangled with Dasan Robinson for position and possession, his arm knocked the ball to his feet. His shot was true but didn't count.

United did break its goalscoring drought against Chicago in postseason play, having been outscored 11-0 in six previous meetings. It still has yet to prevail against Chicago in any postseason matchup.

MLS is thus deprived of a home team for MLS Cup, and United is left with many questions to ponder. Chicago, the hotter team in the final portion of the regular season, had justified those who believe in momentum - and history -- as precursors of playoff performance.

Nov. 1 in Washington, D.C.
D.C. United 2 Chicago 2
. (Chicago wins 3-2 on aggregate.)
Goals: Simms (Dyachenko, Gomez) 69, Gomez (Dyachenko) 74; Barrett (Carr) 31,?Rolfe (Blanco, Carr) 33.
D.C. United - Perkins, Namoff, Boswell (McTavish, 59), Vanney, Burch (Dyachenko, 41), Olsen, Gomez, Simms, Fred, Emilio (Addlery, 65), Moreno.
Chicago - Pickens, Brown, Segares, Robinson, Rolfe, Armas, Blanco (Franks, 88), Pause, Conde, Barrett (Soumare, 58), Carr (Gutierrez, 78).
Yellow Cards: D.C. United - McTavish 61,?Perkins 63; Chicago - Segares 54, Pickens 93+.
Red Card: D.C. United - Dyachenko 94+.
Referee: Jair Marrufo.
Att.: 19,438.



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: Oli Makin    
"I can't thank [the] police enough. It has saved the club a fortune and the players ...
Soccer America Power Rankings    
[MLS: Week 32] A classic encounter left the LA Galaxy, No. 1 in the Soccer America ...
Guardiola is happy to be back in Rome    
[UCL: Three Games to Watch] Two matches involving former champions, plus Pep Guardiola's return to Roma ...
Klingenberg golazo highlights another easy U.S. win    
[CONCACAF WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP] The USA cruised into the semifinals of the Concacaf Women's Championship with its ...
Concacaf Women's Championship Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Saturday] Trinidad & Tobago beat Guatemala, 2-1, on late goals by Kennya Cordner of the ...
Agudelo trial at Wolves ends    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] Juan Agudelo's search for a club continues as English League Championship club Wolves passed ...
MLS clubs in position to outdo Mexican rivals    
[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] The group stage of the Concacaf Champions League concludes with Week 6 with ...
What They're Saying: India Premier League    
"Heaven has gained a defensive midfielder; apart from the hard tackles and the breaking up of ...
Bielsa sits on cup of coffee    
[VIDEO PICK: Off the Post] Not everything is going right for Marseille's coach Marcelo Bielsa, whose ...
U.S. under-14 girls national team roster    
[CARSON CAMP] Head coach April Kater has called up 35 players (with one more to be ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives