Remembering the one truly great game of Branko Boskovic's MLS career
One year ago today, a magical thing happened. And it may never happen again.
April 26, 2011 was the date of the infamous U.S. Open Cup play-in match in which the New England Revolution defeated D.C. United 3-2. Both D.C. goals were scored by designated player Branko Boskovic. He also hit the post once and forced an incredible save from the New England goalkeeper, and probably would have scored the tying and winning goals had he not suffered an injury at the hands of the goonish Alan Koger.
That match will go down in history as the one and only truly great performance from Boskovic while playing in MLS. From now on, we'll call it Brankostock.
Chest Rockwell was one of the fortunate few who attended Brankostock, and he described Boskovic's standout multi-goal performance here at B&RU.
The United fightback would begin just four minutes later. Morsink showed admirable patience to turn down a chance at an awkward volley, instead smartly playing the ball to Charlie Davies, who had come on as a sub. Davies showed his class with a one-touch pass back to Boskovic, who despite being off-balance lashed the ball past Shuttleworth after taking a touch.
Boskovic would strike again in the 83rd minute, again showing tremendous skill. There didn't appear to be much danger as Boskovic received a pass from Andy Najar, but the Montenegro captain took advantage of some slack Revolution defending to hammer a low shot from 30 yards out into the lower corner. Shuttleworth appeared to get a hand on the ball, but Boskovic had hit the ball with such power that it made no difference.
But did Chest really attend that match? Did he take some brown acid on the way into the stadium and hallucinate the whole thing?
That seems like the likeliest scenario at this point. Because the Boskovic that played in that match couldn't possibly have been the same Boskovic that started for D.C. last Wednesday. Could it?
"Do you remember Brankostock?" a United fan asked me during halftime of the Montreal Impact game last week. "Boskovic scored a hat trick in the first 15 minutes, but then got injured while saving a penalty kick from the Revs. And I was there to see it!"
Over the years, the tales will grow even taller, and more and more people will claim they attended that Open Cup match. Far more than the 5,200 people that the Maryland Soccerplex holds. Just like Woodstock was for an entire generation of rock-n-roll fans in the late 1960s, Brankostock will be for the current generation of United fans.
Sixty years from now, B&RU editor Maicon F. Shatzer Jr. will write "My grandpa was at Brankostock! I think it was one of the last matches ever played at RFK Stadium before it collapsed, and the place was packed. But the entire D.C. United team contracted smallpox. Boskovic was the only guy who was able to play, and he single-handedly defeated the Dixie Wanderers. The half-Montenegrin half-Marsian Boskovic then inexplicably retired on the spot and was never heard from again. But United would go on to win three of the next five MLS Cups."
None of that will actually be true of course. Well, maybe the last sentence will be true. But maybe the actual stories that you've heard from actual fans who actually attended the match aren't true either. How could the player who created those chances and goals all on his own also be the player who so timidly failed to make any hint of an impact in his latest start? How could that Boskovic be poised to return to Europe this summer without a single goal or assist to his name in three partial seasons of MLS regular season action.
Even this highlight package could have been forged.
Brankostock sounds like it was amazing. Its a shame so few were there to see it. Its even more of a shame that we'll never see it again.