MLS is Back! 128 days since the win against Inter Miami and despite the delays to the game, it was certainly entertaining. If I hadn’t shaved my hair off, I don’t think I would have had much left of it after this game. A proper game of two halves, rollercoaster of emotions and a game that really had it all. Where do we begin with this one? Let’s go from the beginning.
This game was due to be played on Friday evening, however this was delayed due to Toronto arriving late into Orlando. Roll on Sunday, things are shaping up well, I’m doing an exclusive event, then, shortly before the kick off was supposed to happen, it comes out that the game has been postponed due to a player on either side testing positive for Covid-19. Not exactly great but it’s always best to do this to ensure player safety. Not happy with how it happened I must say though. Match get’s delayed by 24hrs, I’m back at work so I have to make do with whatever I can watch. So here goes, the 1st report, albeit not really full, for 4 months.
That 1st half, it could not have gotten much worse from our perspective. We started very sluggish, defence not really clicking, the attack not firing, just a bit all over the place. I was watching through Bet365 so I was able to hear everyone on the pitch and sidelines. Hamid was yelling away, but to be honest, it didn’t do a huge amount. Two goals from Akinola, the first coming from just outside the box and a thunderstrike into the far corner, the 2nd being a tap in after a Brillant was caught flat footed with a failed rugby tackle allowed Pozuelo to assist. To add insult to injury, Junior Moreno is sent off for two bookable offences, offences he should have easily avoided. I’m sure Ben Olsen will not have been happy with this, especially so after the 2nd booking came deep into 1st half added time. I was able to catch up with all of this as I was on my lunch break from work. The 2nd half I had to make do with what I could.
The 2nd half had an incredible end to it. After not a huge amount happening for the first 25/30mins, it suddenly ruptured into life. Felipe Martins threading a first time ball through to debutant Federico Higuain (for his 50th assist), who, with all the composure and class in the world, cheekily lobs it over the Toronto keeper. It always seemed like it would be a consolation goal. Down to 10 men, surely we couldn’t do the comeback. 90 minutes comes around, 6 minutes of added time on the clock, DCU get a free kick from deep. The ball comes in from Felipe, nodded across goal by Birnbaum and headed in by Brillant, a looping header over the top of the keeper. DCU wrap up a comeback and get a point, a vital point in what seemed to be a game which we could have walked out with an embarrassment.
To me this shows the heart of the team, against all odds they worked their socks off and got something from it. I feel like I have said that a lot previously, and I wish we didn’t have to go through this, but isn’t this what we follow a team for? To go through those highs and lows together. I wish I could have enjoyed it more with you all together, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Other things to take note of, this was Federico Higuains debut for the club, a fantastic way to make your debut. Also, it was youngster Kevin Paredes’ debut after he came on for Julian Gressel. I’ve had messages about how good he looked from fans of other teams. Goes to show how good he looked and we have a hot prospect for the future. Brillant has for the first time scored in back to back matches and DCU are the first side since 2007 to have been 2 goals down and have a man sent off to make a comeback.
Up next is New England Revolution, for us in the UK it’s at 1am this Friday/Saturday, I’ll be up watching this one.
- Kevin Paredes replaced Julian Gressel in the 57th minute to make his debut for D.C. United.
- Federico Higuaín came on for Ulises Segura in the 80th minute to make his debut for the Black-and-Red; Higuaín scored his first goal for United in the 84th minute.
- Felipe Martins recorded his 50th career assist in MLS on Higuaín’s goal in the 84th minute.
- Frédéric Brillant has scored in consecutive MLS matches for the first time in his career.
- D.C. United are 14-10-9 against Toronto FC in club history.
- The Black-and-Red played their first match in 128 days after beating Inter Miami CF 2-1 on March 7.
- D.C. United are now tied for second place in Group C of the MLS is Back Tournament.
- D.C. United are the first team in MLS since 2007 to earn a point after having a player sent off while trailing by two or more goals.
D.C. United lineup: Bill Hamid; Joseph Mora (Chris Odoi-Atsem, 69′), Steven Birnbaum, Frédéric Brillant, Russell Canouse; Felipe Martins, Júnior Moreno; Ulises Segura (Federico Higuaín, 80′), Julian Gressel (Kevin Paredes, 57′), Edison Flores (Yamil Asad, 57′); Ola Kamara (Oniel Fisher, HT)
Unused Substitutes: Earl Edwards Jr., Mohammed Abu, Donovan Pines, Moses Nyeman, Griffin Yow
Toronto FC’s Lineup: Quentin Westberg; Auro, Omar Gonzalez (Erik Zavaleta, 64′), Chris Mavinga (Laurent Ciman, 64′), Justin Morrow (Richie Laryea, HT); Tsubasa Endoh, Marco Delgado, Michael Bradley, Alejandro Pozuelo (Nick DeLeon, 78′); Pablo Piatti (Erickson Gallardo, 73′), Ayo Akinola
Unused Substitutes: Alex Bono, Liam Fraser, Noble Okello, Griffin Dorsey, Jayden Nelson, Jacob Shaffelburg, Patrick Mullins