July 26th, 2007

Frustration Mounts for United After Superliga Draw

Thanks to a packed Summer travel schedule, a number of other personal commitments, an extended road trip and the All-Star break, it had been almost a month since I’d been out to RFK to watch D.C. United.

Since my last trip to the stadium, the team had shipped struggling defender Facundo Erpen to Colorado in exchange for Greg Vanney in an attempt to bring some stability to the back line, and gone 1-3-1 in the interim. That stretch included a shocking 1-0 loss to Harrisburg City in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup, as well as a 3-3 draw at home against FC Dallas in which United couldn’t hold on for a win after taking a 3-0 lead.

For most of last night’s game, it seemed as if United’s recent struggles were coming to an end as they thoroughly dominated Monarcas Morelia in both teams’ opening match of the Superliga, a new challenge series pitting the top team in MLS against their counterparts from Mexico.

In the first half at least, United sliced through the Monarcas defense with ease, taking a 1-0 lead on a Christian Gomez free kick in just the seventh minute. United should have very well gone into the break up a second goal in the 34th minute when a Rod Dyachenko pass found Luciano Emilio alone in the box with an open net, but the ball hit a seam in the RFK infield grass, took a bad hop before caroming off Emilio’s shin and over the crossbar.

That missed opportunity, like so many others this season, would later come back to haunt the team as Monarcas, forced into some chippy play that led to Luis Angel Landin being ejected just ten minutes into the second half, hung on long enough to tie the score in the 79th minute.

It was then that Diego Martinez collected a cross from Adrian Aldrete at the top right corner of the penalty area and struck a wicked volley past United keeper Troy Perkins and into the far corner of the net.

Though United had a number of chances the rest of the way, they failed to convert. After the game, head coach Tommy Soehn was clearly disappointed that the team had let another victory get away on their home field:

Tommy Soehn Postgame, July 25, 2007
Uploaded by emcerlain

Next up for United: A Sunday night Superliga match against Club America, where a win at home is pretty much a must if the team wants to move on to the tournament’s semifinals.

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