Saturday, June 10, 2017

[D.C. Untied 2.10] D.C. United vs LA Galaxy, June 3, 2017

Writing these game day posts has been difficult for the last six weeks or so because I honestly don’t really need to re-live this string of scoreless games. As Jason from the Filibuster podcast says, it’s best to just adopt a striker’s mindset. Forget the misses and keep focused on the next chance.

If we don’t count the Neagle penalty kick from the Vancouver game, D.C. United has been utterly scoreless since pummeling Atlanta 1-3 back in April. Yes, that April. Six or so weeks ago.

But I think I’d rather count it.

And think that maybe we’ve finally hit the turning point on this season. It’s a chance to erase the bad karma we got from Marcelo’s penalty miss in the first 20 minutes of the first game of the season.

After D.C. United crumbled in on itself and formed a massive pile of shit over those three May home games that I would really prefer never to think about again they picked up and flew across the country and pulled out a win. And then flew back across the country and put on about 70 minutes of good soccer against against a strong Orlando side. AND then flew back to D.C. for their third game in a week and managed to break the Galaxy’s streak of road wins, denying them a fourth victory.

Of course the Galaxy denied us our first home victory since April but it didn’t stick in my heart as much as it should.

Maybe it was the good company and the boxed wine I’d been drinking at the tailgate but unlike those grim May games I’d actually had fun... at the game.

What a novel concept.

D.C. United didn’t look anything like the paper tiger they had a few weeks earlier. Maybe it was the return of Patrick Nyarko or maybe it was Ian Harkes and Jared Jeffrey in the midfield feeling more confident but there was some bite to their attack--not enough to get the ball in the net but god damn it we really tried this week! Rebounds were picked up and guys tried to put it in again. And again. You could feel the collective excitement of the crowd as United drove forward, pouncing on the Galaxy’s defensive mistakes or--even better--Acosta picking their pockets.

But we could not get the ball into the net.

In the final seconds of overtime Ian Harkes shot off a rocket that’s just blocked by a toe by one of the Galaxy defenders. Harkes crumples in disbelief, his back towards us.

But the ball had gone out for a corner.

And… Kofi Opare gets a head on it only to send it sailing past the outside of the net.

The whistle blows.

Final score 0-0.

I was sweaty and tired and my ears were ringing just a bit from the drumming.

Kofi comes over towards us and I beckon him over to the Ultras for a high five.

“Come play our drums!” I said.

“I’m not allowed up there,” says Kofi with an indulgent smile.

But somebody has brought the drum down to the front and Kofi gamely bangs out a couple of chants for us.

I don’t know where this season is heading and what pain and heartbreak is in store but at that moment I was willing to forgive the shitty three game home stand and now, a week later, after some time to process the draw, at this moment, I’m willing to hope again.

(Just, Ian, please practice taking shots this week, I’m begging you. And, Kofi, practice aiming those headers and your spot in the starting line up will be written in ink.)

Next week we play the darling of the 2017 US Open Cup, the amateur side from Baltimore, Christos FC before another tough stretch of away games. Will we be the heels who squash the Cinderella story or chumps beaten by a bunch of beer league players? It’s a surprisingly nerve wracking matchup and I cannot wait to get out to the Soccerplex.

Let’s burn those beer leaguers so bad it looks like they had Washington Generals written on their jerseys.

(Video of the stands, courtesy Ashley P.)

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