Posts Tagged ‘DC United’

Just Happy To Be Here

Matt Mathai (I swear I will get your Argentina and Paraguay match pics up shortly Hansel Adams) passed along this photo today of the traditional starting eleven shot prior to DC United’s match against Toronto FC.

Either write your own caption or just acknowledge that intensity measures ten of these players except one….he’s just happy to be here.

Andy Najar Commits to Honduras

Najar didn't flip for the States...

As expected, Andy Najar today made public what people had long expected.

Najar will play for his native Honduras when it comes to international play.

There had been some murmurs that Najar might seriously consider the United States. However with what could be a five year wait for citizenship, Najar, who possesses skill to play in Europe sometime in the next few years, wouldn’t have a large audience outside of DC United for his talents.

Perhaps a moment to consider that many players don’t have that choice, a great perspective from Neil Blackmon of The Yanks Are Coming.

The Fan In You: Death Valley Days

In this The Fan In You piece, TSG Photog Extraordinaire Matt Mathai fills us in on how he came about his passion

Death Valley Days “Life nowadays as a DC United fan”

There's only one Matt Mathai. One Matt Mathaaaaaiiii. There's only one Matt Mathai.

My first introduction to top-level soccer in America came in 1992 when a friend and I went to see the USA-Ireland match at RFK Stadium.

More so, it was a chance to see Roy Keane, Niall Quinn, Thomas Dooley, and the new elegant US player, Roy Wegerle. It was really cold and rainy for a May day and match, but we stuck it out and were rewarded with a 3-1 win.

I was hooked.

I had played, coached, and reffed soccer at various levels all my life, but this was different somehow.

I’ve now lost count of the number of times I’ve traveled to watch the USMNT in action since then.  The most memorable time was in 2001 when the Screaming Eagles, a DC United supporters group, organized a trip to Mexico City for a WC qualifier.

Estadio Azteca was and is awesome.

110,000 fans in green, and then there was about 130 of us in red, white, and blue.

The tension ramped up when we unfurled a huge US flag right behind goal. A little unwise, perhaps, but we hadn’t come all that way to sit quietly and anonymously in a corner. We were hit by all kinds of things thrown at us….beer, coins, batteries, and other less savory things that I am too much of a gentleman to mention.

I love the red jersey I wore it that day. It now has a burn mark where I was hit with a lit flare.

Yes, you read that correctly, hit…with…a…lit flare.

All of it, though, the atmosphere, the sound, the singing, the armored riot police escorting us through a tunnel of plexiglas riot shields, all of it was awesome.

1992: USA v. Ireland: Notice the Budweiser ‘frame’ they used for ads.  This was an improvement over having to take commercial breaks, which they did during the TV broadcasts of the 1990 World Cup.

In 1994, my friend and I took a lot of time off and spent a lot of money to see 14 World Cup matches.

The most notable were: Ireland vs. Italy (a shock upset), Saudi Arabia vs. Belgium (one of the finest goals ever scored in a World Cup) and Germany vs. Bulgaria (Stoitchkov beating the Germans with a beautiful free kick ). Then Italy vs. Brazil….the final.  I remember sitting in the stands in Pasadena thinking that I’d fulfilled one of my dreams.

Here’s the shot I took of Stoitchkov nailing his free kick.

And here’s a shot of the pre-game ceremony at the final in Pasadena

I joined Sam’s Army early because I liked the idea of promoting American support for the USMNT.  I was tired of watching games in the US where our fans were outnumbered.   In the beginning, it was often just 10 or 20 of us in red behind a goal.

The players noticed, though, and that made it worthwhile.

I was thrilled when MLS started.

Only the finest graphic design from 1996...

The announcement in 1995 that my home of Washington, D.C. would get a team was a great day for me.

I felt committed to helping it succeed in any way I could, so I decided to form a supporters group….which eventually became the noted Screaming Eagles.

I set up a listserve and a web page and started to attract traffic from the people I used to talk to on the newsgroup.

I contacted the DC team (as yet unnamed) in 1995 while they were still in an office in NYC and we agreed to talk once they set up operations in the DC area.  I was lucky enough to establish very good relationships with everyone in the front office, and those relationships persist to this day.

The first sign I had that we had something was when the Name-The-Team contest was conducted via telephone and my web page.  That was pretty cool.  It’s a long story for another time, but I’m glad to say that sanity prevailed and the name ‘DC United’ was selected.

Here's a shot I took in April 1996 at the Meet the Team event. Bob Bradley, John Harkes, Marco Etcheverry.

Where have you gone, Said Fazlagic?

The year began with such promise.

It wasn’t to last.  We were terrible in the early days. Arena fired half the team after the second game, a 0-4 loss at Columbus, I believe.

Continue reading

Catch the last 3 minutes of DC’s game last night?

I happened to glimpse the very ending of the CONCACAF Champions League (isn’t that a little bit of an oxymoron like “jumbo shrimp”) of the DC United – Luis Angel Firpo 1-1 tie this evening–pardon the put-down I’m just at a loss for calling it the Champions League here in North America just yet.

What I was trying to do was watch the beginning of the Pachuca game in order to spend more time observing  Jose Francisco Torres chops. Alas, he never made it on the field in the nightcap for Pachuca.

Though I only witnessed about the last five minutes of the DC United game–so I can’t give you a review–I wanted to comment an extremely great play all around in the final 2 minutes. At TSG, each game we call attention the “Most Unheralded Play of the Game.” This is play that usually blends into the background a bit, but if one of the participants didn’t make such a quality movement, action, kick, etc., it might have led to giving up a goal or not scoring a goal. Well this was the play in the game this evening.

Avery John for DC United got booked about 10 yards shy of his 18 setting up an extremely worrisome free kick just off-center of the goal for Firpo. Now you’ll forgive me if I didn’t know all the players that contributed to this play, but the United wall lined up per usual.

As Firpo’s Christian Alexander Sanchez set himself in motion towards the ball, a Firpo offender–in a clearly premeditated and agreed upon manner–cut low into the left side of the wall and attempted to buckle Luciano Emilio who was on the left edge of the wall. Emilio fought off the disruption working hard to maintain his positi0n and the integrity of the wall.

Emilio’s commitment to his position led to him defending the strike by seeing it knock off his outside right thigh. Had Emilio not been committed or had the buckle been just a half a second earlier and a little harder, the rocket sent on goal might have struck pay dirt.

It was really a picture perfect play to see all around with everyone “doing their job.”

However, I might have missed it, if the replay crew was asleep at the controls, which they were not.

I probably would have even appreciated the commentary too, unfortunately (or maybe fortunately since the replay was very well done) I was watching on Galavision and the Spanish was a little too rapido for my consumption.

Great job by all involved, including Galavision.


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