Let's be up front about the fact that anything that comes out of a friendly needs to be taken with a grain of salt. That said, D.C. United may not have been the better team over the course of the game, but they weren't blatantly out-played, led for about 17 minutes, and a draw is not an entirely unfair outcome.
Early on, I feared that the game was going to be a rout because Chivas seemed to be able to play through balls to streaking attackers at will. Thankfully, Chivas finishing was not good, and United goalkeeper Joe Willis was not too busy. The two teams went into halftime level at 0-0.
The Black and Red shuffled their lineup at the break.
Shanosky, Jakovic and Riley replaced Daniel Woolard, Ethan White and Chris Korb. Silva slid from withdrawn forward to left midfield as Chris Pontius departed and John Thorrington left in exchange for Brandon McDonald (?!).
The best chance to score for either side came in the 54th minute, when Shanosky whiffed and fell on a ball in his own area, which led to a shot that hit Joe Willis' crossbar and bounced clear. Shortly thereafter, Lionard Pajoy replaced Casey Townsend and Andrew Dykstra replaced Joe Willis, and later Collin Martin replaced Sainey Nyassi, who seemingly spent more time on the ground than on his feet. In the 73rd minute, Michael Seaton replaced Silva, and Syamsir Alam came on for Jeffrey. Seaton made an instant impact, getting to the end line and centering the ball to Carlos Ruiz, who calmly slid it into the net.
United made their final sub in minute 83, with Perry Kitchen entering for Taylor Kemp, which forced McDonald out of central midfield and to right back, with Riley going to left back. The home team looked like holding on for the win until Chivas equalized through a headed goal by Abraham Coronado, who found space deep in the United area between two defenders to nod home a cross from the defensive right. The match ended after three minutes of stoppage.
Grading the Newcomers
Five DCU players made their first team debuts tonight, graded in reverse order of success below:
5. Collin Martin
Did not touch the ball much, and didn't give much upon which to judge him.
4. Syamsir Alam
Displayed a willingness to take players on down the flank, but with little success and little results.
3. Luis Silva
Floated in and out of the game, and to me was less involved when on the wing than when he was playing in the hole.
2. Michael Seaton
Made a difference immediately after entering the match by setting up Ruiz to score. Showed speed, at least off the ball, and also made a silly challenge late in the game, far from goal, that resulted in a foul and a caution.
1. Jared Jeffrey
Reasonably impressive in his central midfield role. He made a few long passes that we haven't seen other United players successfully complete this year (are you listening, Brandon McDonald?), most notably the long diagonal ball to Pontius that Pontius tracked down in the corner, though there were a couple of times that he was caught in possession, dawdling on the ball. That could be a speed of play issue that would be calibrated fairly quickly.
All told, there were a few bright spots that can be seen in an otherwise dark season, strictly in the context that it could mean better things next season and the season after that. Seaton and Jeffrey showed promise, Pontius looked a little more Pontiusy than he has for much of the year, and Taylor Kemp somehow managed to find Sainey Nyassi with a cross for a header. Still, old problems reared their ugly heads in the back to remind us that it's still 2013.