D.C. United 1, Columbus 2
U.S. Open Cup semifinal
Sept. 1, 2010
The Crew played their usual starters aside from Andy Gruenebaum in goal in place of William Hesmer. Gruenebaum had two early blunders — an adventure outside his area that left a gaping goal, then a poor clearance in his box that led to a United PK. Pablo Hernandez did the honors for a 1-0 lead.
The controversy came in the 59th minute. From several viewings of the replay in an angry United locker room, here’s what happened:
– Crew toughman Danny O’Rourke ran over Hernandez.
– Hernandez’s leg comes up, possibly making contact with O’Rourke. Whether that was intentional or incidental is a judgment call. I’d lean incidental.
– O’Rourke scuttles back over and taunts Hernandez, who’s still down. He pushes a hand down toward the United forward.
– Hernandez raises an arm as if to shoo O’Rourke away.
Referee Chris Penso, unknown to most of us in the pressbox, consulted with the sideline officials (AR and 4th official both in position to see) before producing yellow for O’Rourke, red for Hernandez.
United continued to create chances, but the Crew eventually threw the kitchen sink forward. Defender Andy Iro equalized in traffic in the 89th (they’re crediting it for now as an own goal to Marc Burch, but that’s cruel). United nearly took the lead right back with a great feed to Andy Najar in the center, but the phenom put his shot just wide.
Seven minutes into extra time, Carey Talley was beaten in the box and brought down Steven Lenhart at the corner of the 6-yard box. If Penso had held on to his whistle for two seconds, the Crew would’ve been ahead 2-1 right away, drilling the ball into the net. As it happened, Guillermo Barros Schelotto converted the PK, anyway.
Columbus moves on, though the red card and some extraneous Crew gamesmanship may leave a mildly bitter taste. United fans can only hope their season of woe is salvaged by some miraculous news on the stadium front.
Matchup of straight 4-4-2s, no playmakers. After United dropped to 10 men, the Crew countered with more offense, inserting Jason Garey up front and dropping Guillermo Barros Schelotto into midfield with Dilly Duka alongside him in a sort of 3-3-2-2 or 3-4-1-2. Edgar Renteria (Venezuela national team) wasn’t available.
5 Andy Gruenebaum, GK – Big blunder early, coming out to shepherd ball to end line and not getting it. Bailed out when defense blocked cross toward wide-open net. Second blunder led to PK, as Iro fouled Hernandez after poor clearance and gaping goal. Big saves on Najar.
5 Frankie Hejduk, RB – Maybe not as active as we expect from the hyperactive one, but solid.
7 Chad Marshall, CB – Header across face of goal from Schelotto free kick. Dominant in air.
6 Andy Iro, CB – Gave away PK with foul on Hernandez, but he was in a difficult spot. Played as de facto forward in desperation time and held off defenders to score goal.
6 Gino Padula, LB – Effective. Subbed out in second half.
5 Adam Moffat, RM – Quiet. Subbed out in 77th.
4 Danny O’Rourke, CM – Could’ve been sent off in 59th, either along with or instead of Hernandez. Subbed out soon afterward.
5 Brian Carroll, CM – Crew didn’t do much centrally.
8 Eddie Gaven, LM – Endless supply of crosses as he had his way on the flank.
6 Guillermo Barros Schelotto, F – Forced to play defense on counter after free kick, tripped Quaranta. Converted PK. Set pieces not his usual standard.
5 Steven Lenhart, F – Squandered a couple of chances. Too many clumsy collisions with Hamid. Won PK.
6 Dilly Duka, RM – Lively and creative sub.
5 Jason Garey, F – Some impact off bench.
5 Kevin Burns, M – Subbed for Moffat and appeared a couple of times in attack.
Started in 4-4-2 with empty bucket, relying on wings for creativity. After losing Pablo Hernandez, inserted Jordan Graye at back, removing Danny Allsopp and leaving Andy Najar as a front-runner. Branko Boskovic (Montenegro national team) wasn’t available.
6 Bill Hamid, GK – Huge stop 1-on-1 with Gaven was the best of several saves. Not at fault on goals.
5 Devon McTavish, RB – Struggled with Gaven in first half; better in second.
6 Dejan Jakovic, CB – Solid at back. Moved to forward after United fell behind in extra time and missed wide-open net.
5 Julius James, CB – Solid at back.
4 Marc Burch, LB – Unlucky to deflect Iro shot into his net. Long balls a bit off.
8 Andy Najar, RM – Powerful shots. Very effective on counterattacks after United was reduced to 10, but touch started to desert him late, especially on golden chance in 89th. Set up terrific chance for Jakovic in extra time.
6 Stephen King, CM – Helped United limit Crew in center.
6 Clyde Simms, CM – See King.
7 Santino Quaranta, LM – Helped Najar on the counter and was productive throughout.
6 Pablo Hernandez, F – Actively buzzed around Crew box to cause problems, winning and converting PK. Red card obviously costly.
5 Danny Allsopp, F – Dangerous in spots.
5 Jordan Graye, D – Speed helped at back.
3 Carey Talley, D – At fault on the goal in extra time.
4 Jaime Moreno, F – Tried a little too hard to draw a PK in the second extra session.