In front of over 35,000 fans at RFK Stadium an ABC national broadcast audience, Luciano Emilio and DC United crushed the LA Galaxy 4-1. The scoreline was if anything flattering to the Galaxy who benefited from the individual brilliance of the sometimes maligned Steve Cronin to keep United from pilling in goals. Emilio who scored twice actually had eight attempts at goal in the match. The match also marked the surprising return of Ben Olsen whose injury plagued career appeared to be over just a month or two ago.
Despite the scorching summer heat, United controlled the tempo and played at a rapid pace and quite frankly gave us more entertainment if not technical skill and drama than the Euro 2008 final afterwards.
Some other thoughts:
I am thrilled that Andy Gray won’t be seen on these shores until World Cup 2010 at the earliest. For all the accolades given him by a generally Premier League affected oriented soccer blogger community, I feel he was exceedingly biased, poorly prepared for matches that did not involve many players in the Premier League and condescending to boot. ESPN has plenty of good soccer commentators in its midst to not have to pull Gray from Sky Sports. Perhaps Shaka Hislop or Robbie Mustoe would have been better suited to cover the event if it was British accents the powers that be at ESPN were looking for as the New York Times Jack Bell feels in this piece. In fact Mustoe and Hislop both meet my litmus test for foreign commentators: they understand the American game and the American soccer audience. Hislop went to college in the US, and Mustoe now coaches college and runs coaching clinics in the U.S. Moreover, neither player has the obvious biases that Gray demonstrates.
Rece Davis was outstanding in the studio today on ABC as he always is on ESPN for Soccer and College Sports. I’d love to see him on more MLS telecasts, but that seems to be the exclusive domain of Rob Stone.
David Beckham looked totally gassed after 60 minutes today. I’m sure despite the heat, Ruud Gullit is going to have a few things to say to Becks about his conditioning.
Landon Donovan should have been sent off for shouting expletives at the official.
Marcello Gallardo showed his class today. He’s matched up with Beckham a few times in internationals, and twice in the Champions League. To my knowledge the only time Gallardo had previously beaten Beckham was in the 1998 World Cup. In that match Beckham was sent off, and Gallardo converted a pk in the shootout.
MLS Rumors is reporting that Jorge “Zurdo” Rojas has signed with the Red Bulls. This is the kind of signing MLS needs, and if RBNY has indeed signed Rojas without using a DP spot, that’s even better. For those that don’t know Rojas he is arguably the best Venezuelan footballer of the last fifteen years. At 31, he still has a few years left and can essentially do for the Red Bulls what Claudio Reyna seems incapable or unwilling to do for the club.