Ben Olsen has United playing significantly better than the 2010 model, but work certainly remains to push D.C. into the upper echelon of the league.
It's really just too bad that display VW behind the south goal at RFK was locked. My post title would have had something to do with "Honk honk," but instead we have to settle for alliteration. I think we'll live.
To last night: We all know by now that DC United drew the Landon Donovan-less Galaxy 1-1 after an early goal by Mike Magee and a late equalizer from Charlie Davies. United were energetic, but not particularly good with the ball, controlling possession for long stretches but failing to create any real danger for most of the night while also giving up the ball to potentially costly turnovers. Sound familiar? Add to that a goal conceded thanks to shoddy set-piece defending, and the Black-and-Red were staring at 0-1 heading into the 90th minute.
That's when the two most dangerous weapons in Benny Olsen's arsenal combined to salvage the draw: A Branko Boskovic through ball found United's Number 9 at the left corner of the box. Davies took Omar Gonzalez 1v1 and forced the big Maryland grad to make contact. Sure Davies went down easy, but I think even Galaxy fans will have to say that Gonzalez has to know not to give Davies permission to fall by making any kind of contact - least of all with his arm extended. I'm willing to take this as partial karmic make-up for Toledo's missed calls in New England. (What, I said in the predictions post I wasn't still bitter, didn't I?)
In all, I'm ambivalent about the result. United didn't really play well enough to take all three, but neither did L.A. Simms and McCarty did a good job of neutralizing the attacking prowess of the Galaxy's central partnership of Juninho and David Beckham for the most part, but United's midfield engine never got much going the other way, either. The defense stayed focused for the most part - one ball over the top (thankfully misplayed by the Galaxy) and an early corner kick goal notwithstanding, but the boys in black failed to create many real chances at the other end.
The referee certainly wasn't on his best form. Leaving aside the fortuitous, if controversial, penalty call at the end, I'll admit to being a bit livid that Beckham wasn't sent off for his unnecessary and petulant scissor tackle on Josh Wolff in the first half. That was actually the second red-but-for-the-grace-of-God yellow card issued against the Gals in the first half: Chris Korb got absolutely hammered in the knee by a late and very high slide tackle from
a Los Angeles defender - unfortunately, this play didn't make the replay package, and I couldn't hear who it was in the ruckus of the Barra Brava, so I'm not sure which player committed the foul. (Thanks to commenters and folks on Twitter for helping me out by pointing out the foul was committed by Todd Dunivant.) A bit less mercy from the man in the middle on either play, and this game looks a bit different, most likely. But that's soccer, amiright?
Sometime between now and Saturday - depending on whether the day job wants to keep pummeling me like it's been since the season started - I'll hopefully have the time to work up a post on what United can do to create more chances and score more goals from the run of play. Until then, United sit on four points from four games, which is four points more than they had after four games last year. So, there's that.