Saturday, August 26, 2006
1 CONCACAF Champions Cup (1998)
1 Interamerican Cup (1998)
4 MLS Cups (1996, '97, '99, 2004)
2 MLS Supporters' Shields (1997, '99)
1 U.S. Open Cup (1996)
5 Eastern Division Championships (1996, '97, '98, '99, 2004)
1 CONCACAF Champions Cup (2000)
2 MLS Cups (2002, '05)
2 MLS Supporters' Shields (1998, 2002)
2 U.S. Open Cups (2001, '05)
5 Western Division Championships (1996, '99, 2001, '02, '05)
It's worth noting that L.A. has the upper hand in the all-time series, 13-11-3. However, D.C. beat L.A. twice in the MLS Cup final, in the inaugural game in 1996 and then again in 1999. It should also be noted that the Galaxy have never missed the playoffs, while D.C. stayed home from 2000-02. Without question these two teams are the premier franchises of Major League Soccer.
Things to look for tonight include the return of Santino Quaranta, who was traded to the Galaxy recently, and the treatment of Landon Donovan by the Screaming Eagles and Barra Brava. They don't take kindly to the poster child of American soccer.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
This game was definitely a step in the right direction for the team. Most of the usual starters did not play. Troy Perkins, Freddy Adu, and Chrisitian Gomez did not see the field. Ben Olsen and Jaime Moreno were subbed in during the 60th minute and seemed to set the pace for the final two goals scored in the game. The mere fact that D.C.'s second team can beat their biggest rivals by two goals is exciting. Now all we need is for the first team to get out on the pitch and dominate someone. They'll have a shot this Saturday as D.C. United takes on their closest rival in terms of success, the L.A. Galaxy.
Bruce Arena got some boos and a lot of cheers for his return. It's hard not to like the coach, but if he sticks with the Red Bulls for a while I'm sure I'll grow to despise him.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Tomorrow night marks a non-league meeting between D.C. United and Red Bull New York aka New York Red Bulls aka MetroStars aka NY/NJ MetroStars or whatever the hell they're called this week. The winner of the match advances to the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup.
These two teams have sparked a bit of a rivalry, as they compete for the Atlantic Cup. United has won three of the four competitions and hold the lead in 2006. This season, the Black-and-Red hold a 1-0-2 record with the Red Bulls. Although this particular match will not count towards the competition, expect tempers to flare regardless.
Earlier this season, D.C. United's Alecko Eskandarian (YouTube highlight vid) celebrated a goal against the Red Bulls by taking a big swig of the Red Bull energy drink . . . and then spiting it out disgustedly on national television. Also, the company that owns the Red Bulls and the Red Bull eneregy drink, Anschutz Energy Group, paid for over 800 fans to travel for free to Washington, D.C. to see the two teams compete. This didn't sit well with D.C. supporters and there were reported incidents after the game in the parking lots.
Finally, this game marks Bruce Arena's first visit back to RFK Stadium as a visiting coach. He led D.C. United to three MLS Cups, winning two and losing one, in his three years as head coach from 1996-1998. After his run with the U.S Men's National Team, he took the job as Red Bull's head coach. It'll be interesting to see how Barra Brava and the Screaming Eagles great him.
I fully expect D.C. to turn things around after their little slide of three straight ties. Since this game is for a knock-out tournament, one team is guaranteed to win, and everything looks to be in D.C.'s favor. A loss to the Red Bulls would be disasterous.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
The team played very well in the second half. Christian Gomez scored on a cross in the 56th minute to tie the game before being subbed out with a hamstring pull. Despite outplaying the Rapids for the last 45 minutes, the team couldn't push ahead in the mid-afternoon heat.
Coming into this game, United's home record in the league was 8-0-1. The Rapid's road record in league was 1-6-1. This was a gimmie game and the team blew it. Was the ref bad? Yes. That was definitely a Penalty Kick for Freddy Adu, who was getting fouled all game. Was it hot as hell down on that field? Yes, and the team dealt with that to get the equalizer in the 2nd half. But these are issues that great teams will overcome to win.
The Black-and-Red are winless in their last four MLS games (0-1-3) against mediocre teams like Red Bull New York, Real Salt Lake, Chicago Fire and the Colorado Rapids. Back in July when they won 7 in a row and had a 14-game unbeaten streak going, I was sure that this team was not only the best league team but also the best MLS team ever. Now, um, not so much.
This team needs to start dominating. In the next month, they play eight games of the utmost importance. I am proclaiming this stretch to be Remove All Doubt Month. United need to use these games to run away from the league, clinch the Supporter's Shield, and put themselves in position to claim their 5th MLS Cup. Unless they start playing they way they're capable, D.C. United will keep floating towards dissapointment in November.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
My first concert ever was seeing the Foo Fighters play a free show at Tower Records in Rockville, MD in 1997. This show couldn't match that in terms of sheer awe, but I did get goosebumps a few times throughout the performance. One of those times was hearing "Marigold" as a lead-in to "My Hero." Hearing two of my favorite Foo tracks played back-to-back was surreal.
Dave was very chatty the whole night. He's always had a great sense of humor and it was awesome to hear him tell stories. The "Hold on! You forgot your jumbos!" story as an intro to the b-side "Skin and Bones" was a great way to add some local flavor to the homecoming show. Dave also told a great story about Kurt and Chris before playing "Friend of a Friend." Very cool.
The setlist was what I expected. They played just about every song off of the acoustic disc of the new album, a lot of their hits ("Everlong," "Times Like These," "Walking After You," "February Stars," "See You," and "Floaty") and only one rarity, the aforementioned "Skin and Bones."
The band played for more than an hour and a half, but the show never dragged. There was a healthy mix of solo stuff mixed in with a full band performance. Dave started a few songs solo and finished them with the band, which worked really well on "Times Like These" and "Everlong." The backing band was incredible, with Taylor Hawkins rocking out the whole time and Pat Smear staying chill as ever. The keyboardist from the Wallflowers and the violinist/singer Petra both stood out, as well.
Long story short, the Foo Fighters still put on a kick-ass show almost ten years after I first saw them. The acoustic tour is still in the beginning stage, so if you get a chance to see them do not pass it up.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Who cares? Who would ever pay to watch a pre-season football game? Is there any reason to watch tonight's "game"? Nothing good can come out of it. Best case scenario is that nobody gets hurt.
Pre-season NFL football should be eliminated. Get rid of all but one or two pre-season games and add two regular season match-ups, preferably with geographical rivals (BAL-WAS, NYG-NYJ, HOU-DAL, etc.) If a team doesn't have a geo-rival, then tough titties. They have to play a home-and-home with the Arizona Cardinals.
Now, with all that being said, the past two soccer exhibitions have been awesome. D.C. United waxed Celtic by four goals and the D.C. United/Real Madrid match-up made my mouth water. During the Red-and-Black's draw with Los Galacticos, there were a handful of really entertaining moments. The best part was Troy Perkins stopping Roberto Carlos' absolute laser of a free kick from just outside the box. That was a world-class save . . . even if it didn't mean anything.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Tonight, D.C. United takes on perennial Spanish power Real Madrid in Seattle, WA of all places. The match can be seen on Comcast SportsNet at 11:00pm. The international friendly will mark D.C.'s first action since their U.S. Open Cup win over the Columbus Crew. That is, if you don't count the MLS All-Stars victory over Chelsea, in which eight players sported the Red-and-Black shield.
In today's Washington Post article, Real Madrid is described as having "the history of the Dallas Cowboys with the recent performance of the Boston Red Sox and the notoriety of the Los Angeles Lakers."
Not too shabby.
They're stacked to the brim with world-class talent, including: David Beckham, Fabio Cannavaro, Raul, Robinho, Roberto Carlos, Ruud van Nistelrooy, etc. Unfortunately, Zinedine Zidane retired after the World Cup and Ronaldo won't make the trip. They truly are one of the world's premiere club teams and it's an honor for D.C. to go up against them, even if it is just an exhibition.
This match is ultimately useless, but it will be nice to see MLS's best franchise square off with a world-class power. In the past year, the Red-and-Black have matched up quite nicely with Celtic (Won, 4 - 0) and Chelsea (Lost, 1-2). It's nice to see these teams playing the best US soccer has to offer instead of MLS clunkers like the Los Angeles Galaxy.
I would have liked to include a YouTube video of Real Madrid to show what they're like, but I couldn't find any video that didn't have horrible Euro-techno as the soundtrack (Exhibit A, Exhibit B).