Many notes, quotes, thoughts and video from one of the nuttiest matches I’ve ever witnessed: a red card to a goalkeeper in the first 10 minutes, two goals from distance, two gifted goals, a coach ejection, a hat trick, a penalty kick in the waning moments, a designated player scoring his first goal in 42 appearances, a substitution without a stoppage, heavy rain at times, eight minutes of added time, all six substitutions inside 69 minutes, numerous players stricken by leg cramps.
*Here’s my match report.
*Dwayne De Rosario can play a bit, can’t he? He has scored D.C. United’s past six goals, including the first hat trick by a United player since Luciano Emilio in 2008. “That was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen here, not just in a D.C. United uniform, but any uniform,” United President Kevin Payne said. DeRo could’ve/should’ve scored a fourth in the 90th minute. The trade to acquire him from New York has worked out pretty well, wouldn’t you say? Besides the six goals, he also assisted on one of the other two scored by D.C. since his arrival.
*United’s rut at RFK Stadium reached seven matches in league play (0-2-5) and nine in all competitions (0-4-5). DCU has secured just one of a possible six points in the last two home matches against teams that arrived winless on the road (New England and Toronto). Next: Vancouver, which is 0-8-4 away.
*With Bill Hamid suspended next weekend, Steve Cronin is the top choice to start against Vancouver — or is he? Tough situation, being thrown into your first league match of the season in the seventh minute. Cronin was fine in the first half but probably didn’t need to punch the cross that led to Toronto’s first goal, admitted he didn’t react well to Julian de Guzman’s distant strike and failed to cover the third goal. United’s other keeper is rookie Joe Willis, who will start the reserve league match vs. Toronto at 10 a.m. Sunday at the RFK training grounds.
*Ben Olsen wasn’t planning to play Santino Quaranta for 90 minutes in his first appearance since returning from a concussion, but Hamid’s early red card changed the plan. Devon McTavish, who hasn’t played since preseason because of a concussion, is slated to start the reserve match.
*Second-smallest weekend crowd of the season: 11,684. United hasn’t drawn more than 16,000 since April, and that includes friendlies against Ajax and Everton.
For the controversy surrounding Toronto’s second goal.....
Here’s the video clip of de Guzman’s goal and the chaotic scene as referee Jasen Anno waves on substitute Ethan White but doesn’t stop the match. It seems as if Anno confused White with Brandon McDonald, the player leaving, and was allowing him to re-enter, which doesn’t require play to stop. White was entering for the first time and Anno should’ve halted the match until White could join his teammates.
Olsen: “I don’t have to explain it. You guys know exactly what happened. Everybody knows what happened. You’ll see [the goal] and you’ll know exactly what happened. I don’t want to talk about the referees because I don’t want them to be the story.”
De Guzman: “Any moment you can get like that, you take advantage of it. Many of the best teams in the world -- how should I put it? -- cheat when they have the chance to do something. It was a good opportunity for myself to find open space.”
Josh Wolff: “It’s your center back. It’s because of an injury. Typically the referee will whistle you on, let the guy get to his position and then let the game continue. It was strange, real strange. It’s a big mistake.”
The written statement from the officiating crew:
“In the 66th minute D.C. United player McDonald left the field of play due to injury and did not return. Play was restarted with a drop ball. After roughly two minutes of play, the fourth official notified the referee for the next available substitution for D.C. United. The next stoppage was a throw-in for Toronto in the 69th minute. Play was stopped and the referee beckoned the substitute, D.C. United player White, onto the field. At that moment, the Senior Assistant Referee and the fourth official told the player to enter the field of play, which he did. Play was restarted with the whistle and the ball was put into play by Toronto.”
Full match highlights:
The officiating controversy, however, overshadows United’s season-long shortcomings at home. On this night, the goalkeepers let them down in different ways.
“We can’t keep doing that to ourselves in terms of putting ourselves in difficult positions,” De Rosario said.
Wolff: “Again, we put ourselves in some bad spots.”
Shorthanded for 83 minutes, United needed a courageous performance just to secure a point at home against a bad opponent.
“Imagine what we would’ve done if it had been 11 against 11 tonight,” Chris Pontius said. “We would’ve taken control of that game and put them away.”