Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Last night DC United put a hurtin' on CD Olimpia. The Black-and-Red curb stomped "Los Leones" by a score of 4 - 1. This puts DC in a great position to advance to the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Champions' Cup.
Luciano Emilio, the former Olimpia player who joined United this off-season, had a brilliant back heel/flick goal in the first half to silence the crowd in the same stadium he used to call home. If Emilio can play like that during the MLS season, DC will be back in the MLS Championship hunt for sure.
As good as Emilio looked in his debut, the man of the match was without question Christian Gomez. Last year's MLS MVP scored two goals, including an absolutely beautiful strike to open scoring in the 29th minute.
In only the first game of 2007, DC already has two strong candidates for Goal of the Year. Facundo Erpen added a goal late in the 2nd half to seal the deal.
Overall, DC United looked amazing for a team in pre-season form. This was the best possible outcome for the match. In all likelihood DC should advance to the second round for a showdown with CD Chivas de Guadalajara. The return match in this series is March 1st at RFK, and a celebration is in store.
I watched the game at Finn macCool's on 8th Street SE in the Barracks Row area of Capitol Hill. There was a nice and boisterous crowd comprised of Barra Brava members. Loud pops for all of DC's goals, and sporadic cheers throughout.
The Irish-themed bar was very nice. It has the restaurant feel of the Dubliner as well as a nice pub atmosphere a la Irish Times. In my opinion it would fit quite nicely located between the two on Mass Ave NW. One of the nicest aspects of the bar was the bar itself. MacCool's has a beautiful mahogany bar spanning almost the entire length of the establishment. It very much reminded me of my time in Ireland, which usually isn't the case with Irish-themed bars.
This was my first venture into Barracks Row and it's quite nice. The area was formally a hotspot in DC before the race riots and white flight. I'll definitely be going back in the future.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Club Deportivo Olimpia is a storied team in the top flight Honduran League. "Los Leones" have won the league 20 times. They won the CONCACAF Champions' Cup in 1972 and 1988.
This match is a great way for DC to continue it's storied (albeit short) tradition. In just 11 years, the Red-and-Black have won 10 national and international trophies, including this CONCACAF Championship back in 1998. They are one of just two American teams to win the competition (Los Angeles Galaxy won it in 2000.) DC is looking to add yet another trophy to their crowded case.
This is DC's 7th time participating in CONCACAF Champions' Cup, more than any other MLS team. United earned the right to play for this competition by winning the MLS Supporters Shield in 2006. Houston Dynamo, the other MLS representative, also gained entry in the tournament by winning MLS Cup 2006.
There are a few aspects to look for in tonight's matchup:
1.) DC United has a new coach, Tom Soehn. He is replacing Peter Nowak who went on to become an assistant coach for the US Men's National Team.
2.)DC will be without past starters Alecko Eskandarian (traded to Toronto) and Freddy Adu (traded to Real Salt Lake).
3.)Brazilian striker Luciano Emilio signed with DC during the offseason. In a very interesting twist, he will play his first game in Black against his old team, CD Olimpia.
The series is home/away aggregate goal and the return leg will be played at RFK Stadium on March 1st. The tournament bracket is set up so that the winner of this series will play the winner of the CD Chivas de Guadalajara (MEXICO)/W Connection (TRINIDAD & TOBAGO) series in mid-March.