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D.C. United 2, San Jose 2: A Look Back

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It was a dream start for D.C. United on Saturday. With a hectic schedule looming, a Christian Gomez brace had United out to a 2-0 lead at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Missing midfielder Clyde Simms through injury and Santino Quaranta still on Gold Cup duty, it was a promising first 21 minutes of the match.

You couldn't have drawn it up any better for Tom Soehn. While they benefited from two questionable refereeing decisions — Mike Zaher was adjudged to have hauled down Luciano Emilio in the box resulting in the first goal, then a shot off the boot of Andrew Jacobson deflected off Zaher again to a borderline-offside Gomez for the second — it looked like smooth sailing for D.C.

The early developments were certainly welcome, as D.C. needed three points to leap back towards the top of the Eastern Conference. The workrate and ball movement was there early on, and you couldn't help but feel a bit for Joe Cannon, who was left with no chance on either goal.

However, instead of putting away a third goal and closing out the game early, United seemed to take the foot off the pedal. Bit by bit, the Quakes crept back into the match, coming close on a couple of chances that were snuffed out by keeper Josh Wicks.

Even with central defender Dejan Jakovic back from Gold Cup duty with Canada, the United backline didn't perform up to their standard. A defensive lapse in the 36th minute allowed San Jose to pull one back, as a Cornell Glen flick found Ryan Johnson. Bobby Convey would then go on to miss a glorious chance at an equalizer as he managed to skew a shot wide with the net practically empty right before the half.

It would take a "what was he thinking?" moment in the second half to produce an equalizer. Rodney Wallace, in the middle of an excellent rookie season, appeared to intentionally handle a cross while trying to clear the ball. The handball certainly looked intentional, but the puzzling part of it all was there were no San Jose players waiting behind him to score. It was a moment of madness from Wallace that proved costly.

That being said, San Jose did well to take the game to United in the second half, and they deserved their equalizing goal. While the result does little for their increasingly dim playoff hopes, it can't hurt their confidence level after going down so early.

The good to take away from this for United fans? Not much. The match marked the debut of Danny Szetela, who provides depth in a midfield that is all of a sudden missing two players. Up against such a weak team like San Jose, even on the road, three points is almost a necessity. They couldn't manage that, and with 10 draws already on the season, it's likely going to cost them when it comes to playoff seedings.

Going forward, a very busy August is ahead of them. They don't play a league match at RFK until August 22  — before that, they'll face Real Madrid in a glamor friendly on August 9, and attempt to qualify for the group stages of the CONCACAF Champions League starting Tuesday when they host C.D. Luis Angel Firpo, a club from El Salvador. It's a shot at redemption for United who had such a poor showing in the 2008 CCL.

With a busy stretch of the schedule looming and injuries begin to take their toll, the roster is in flux. Boyzzz Khumalo and Simms both underwent surgery last week, and each will miss a few weeks. Ely Allen, who last played in the MLS for the Galaxy, was recently acquired and takes Brandon Barklage's spot on D.C.'s roster. While not as flashy of a pickup as Szetela, Allen has valuable MLS experience and might get a shot in the Champions League.


  1. meyers, i think most of us understand the offsides rule. don’t know about ‘clearly’ onside–many people thought he was already in an offside position when the shot was taken, regardless of the deflection.

  2. I really don’t understand how people who follow soccer (FSC broadcasters, Ives), and have for so many years, do not understand the offside law.

    When Jacobson took the shot, Gomez was clearly onside. The deflection did not come into play at all.

  3. As a DC supporter, I have to give a lot of credit to San Jose for getting that point out of us. They came out ready to play in the 2nd half. DC did not.
    DC certainly had enough quality to pull out a win, but even our veterans looked like they were off their game. Pair that with rookie mistakes like Wallace reaching for the ball (WTF) and you can easily give up a 2 point lead.
    I also have to say that as a long time fan of Bobby Convey from his days w/ DC and with Reading, I was sad to see that he still hasn’t found his form that helped Reading get promoted to the Prem. He looked absolutely terrible. For a player of his age to lose his mojo is a damn shame. I hope he can get it back, but I’m afraid a struggling San Jose won’t want to give him another half season to try to find his legs.

  4. I’m worried about this stretch of games coming up. Several injuries have set the team back, and depth will be an issue considering there is no all-star break. There are actually more games for the better teams in the MLS. Not much of a reward for teams that aren’t deep.

    Without Szetela, I’d be very worried about losing pace with the top of the Eastern Conference, but I don’t think they will drop many points before returning to RFK to take on the Galaxy, although it won’t be easy.


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