And the countdown begins; T-180 minutes to kickoff: Ah, the dog days of summer. American football training camps are in full swing, the CFL up north is doing its thing (go Roughriders) the European teams are doing their tours,and MLS is going through their season while the SuperLiga is getting a head start on the CONCACAF Champions' League.
Now the mid-to-late July sun has finally appeared, and even though most people hate it, I love it. This type of weather reminds me of my days when I was in the Philippines as a youth, savoring the ins and outs of Makati City while getting mosquito bites along the way.
T-170: At the nation's capital, the temperature will hit a scorching 94 degrees Fahrenheit as El Scorcho runs amok down at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, the pit where the league laggards D.C. United are set to do battle against Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy.
T-160: The Galaxy have dropped three straight road contests, and are on a two-game losing streak (this includes the U.S. Open Cup). The urgency to turn the ship around could not be any more pronounced.
T-150: As for Curt Onalfo's club, the question is brought up: When will Onalfo be sacked? It's an interesting proposition brought up to the prognosticators among the Barra Brava, Screaming Eagles and La Norte factions of supporters, who discuss it amid singing the woes of their team this year.
T-140: New faces have arrived to the fold: Nery Castillo to the Chicago Fire, and the world-famous Thierry Henry to the New York Red Bulls.
T-130: In other action around the league—Kansas City Wizards fell to Chivas USA 2-0 before bouncing back against the Columbus Crew 1-0, and the Seattle Sounders defeated D.C. United 1-0.
Philadelphia Union dismissed Toronto FC 2-1, New England continues to get on the winning track with a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire in SuperLiga play, the Columbus Crew defeated the New York Red Bulls 2-0 to rise to first in the MLS Eastern Conference, F.C. Dallas crushed Real Salt Lake 2-0, and the Colorado Rapids drew 1-1 with Kansas City.
T-120: Two hours to kickoff. In other SuperLiga action—the Revs defeated Pumas UNAM, Monarcas Morelia annihilated Chicago 5-1, Houston dropped Pachuca 2-1, Puebla FC defeated Chivas USA 2-1 and Morelia drew 2-2 with Pumas UNAM.
T-110: Some international friendlies were also in order. The Philadelphia Union shut out Celtic 1-0 and the San Jose Earthquakes played to a scoreless draw with Tottenham Hotspur.
T-100: Other matches going on today involved a friendly between the Sounders and Celtic, as well as SuperLiga action between Houston vs. Chivas USA and Puebla vs. Pachuca. Tomorrow, the Union faces Manchester United and SuperLiga play continues with New England vs. Morelia and Chicago vs. Pumas.
T-90: 90 minutes to kickoff. Line-ups.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
Manager: Bruce Arena
Formation: 4-4-2 Diamond
Colors: White tops with blue and gold accents, white shorts, white socks
1 Donovan Ricketts
20 A.J. De LA Garza ---- 4 Omar Gonzalez ---- 16 Gregg Berhalter ---- 2 Todd Dunivant
11 Chris Birchall
28 Sean Franklin ---- 10 Landon Donovan (C)
14 Edson Buddle ---- 21 Alan Gordon
12 Josh Saunders GK
22 Leonardo DEF
88 Alex Cazumba DEF
6 Eddie Lewis MID
8 Dema Kovalenko MID
9 Jovan Kirovski MID
26 Michael Stephens MID
Manager: Curt Onalfo
Colors: Black tops with red and white accents, black shorts, black socks
23 Troy Perkins
18 Devon McTavish ---- 5 Dejan Jakovic ---- 2 Julius James ---- 16 Jordan Graye
14 Andy Najar (C) ---- 19 Clyde Simms ---- 20 Stephen King ---- 13 Chris Pontius
25 Santino Quaranta ---- 21 Pablo Hernandez
28 Bill Hamid GK
8 Carey Talley DEF
6 Kurt Morsink MID
27 Branko Boskovic MID
9 Danny Allsopp FWD
17 Thabiso Khumalo FWD
99 Jaime Moreno FWD
T-80: It has been quite a drag that Danny Allsopp has not found his championship-winning form with the Melbourne Victory at D.C. United. Perhaps they need to replace Onalfo with Ernie Merrick?
T-70: D.C.'s next three matches include a U.S. Open Cup third round match with the Harrisburg City Islanders on July 21 at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Maryland, a July 31 match against Real Salt Lake at Sandy, Utah and an August 7 contest with the New England Revolution at Gilette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
T-60: Some home cooking will be on the house for the G's.
Los Angeles's next three contests include a July 22 match with the San Jose Earthquakes at the Home Depot Center, a July 27 home contest with the Puerto Rico Islanders in Carson in the preliminary round of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions' League and an August 1 contest with the Chicago Fire, also at Victoria Street.
FIRST HALF START: 4:36 P.M. PT
1' - Battle stations, battle stations. We're off a running . Can the Galaxy get back on track? Landon Donovan with a speculative looping volley. Goal kick, Troy Perkins.
2' - No here's the Big Cat from Montego Bay, Donovan Ricketts. Can he rebound from that awful display last Saturday?
3' - Devon McTavish with excellent defending on Todd Dunivant. Foul by Omar Gonzalez. Edson Buddle double-marked.
4' - Now here's Sean Franklin, looking to reset the distribution for their next sequence. Julius James with the clearance for D.C. United.
5' - Argentina's Pablo Hernandez will be a key component to D.C. chances today. Screaming Eagles and Barra Brava bounce devotively.
6' - Donovan with the throw, and here is Gonzales. Juninho is fouled by Hernandez. Free kick for Donovan and a good save by Troy Perkins.
7' - Our match official, Jason Anno, will be wise to not be such a homer, as he give D.C. United a free kick. Missed wide right. Sportsmanlike move by Ricketts.
8' - It's a hot day today in the nation's capital. The quick transition needs to be there. And these guys need to be hydrated.
9' - D.C. United's RFK Stadium has a large wall on one of its goal ends that features some of the greatest players and people to have made an impact in the D.C. area. Combined with the rust, it seems as players are playing an industrial variant of the game in a football factory.
10' - 10 minutes in, and we're scoreless.
11' - Aln Gordon and Gregg Berhalter were off on the communication. Back come United. They have had some good touches so far.
12' - Clyde Simms fouls Landon Donovan by tackling him American style. American, as in the code.
13' - 30-39-25 record for Onalfo, 102-64-28 record for Arena. A tale of two coaches. Ay, ay, ay.
14' - Edson Buddle was off on the delivery from Dunivant. Goal kick, Perkins.
15' - A possession battle ensues. And the divets on the field are beginning to take place.
16' - And the Galaxy were nearly caught off guard and Omar Ganzalez clears a golden opportunity for D.C. United. Oh man, have they missed him!
17' - Another shot for Donovan sails into the hands of Perkins.
18' - This is great ball movement from the home side. 18 in, and we got ourselves some heavy action and chances. Still scoreless.
19' - Here Jordan Graye, looking to set something up. Gonzalez sweeps it up. Whoops. Santino Quaranta almost took advantage of the gift, but Clyde Simms couldn't. Goal kick, Ricketts.
20' - Gordon is kept at bay by James. Goal kick, Perkins.
21' - Here's A.J. De La Garza with the throw-in.
22' - Oh my goodness. How do you screw up a blown assignment by Troy Perkins? Unacceptable. What a bullet dodged. Malediction's delight!
23' - Can D.C. United adjust to the hot and humid conditions? Stay tuned.
24' - Offsides, Chris Pontius. He seems to be feeling a bit hurt right now. Thabise Kumalo could be coming in early for the D.C.
25' - 25 minutes into the contest, and it still socreless. Gregg Berhalter and Omar Gonzales put Devon McTavish on lockdown.
26' - Ricketts with the grab, but here comes D.C. again. You know, the Galaxy have had issues holding on to the football on the road, and it's showing again today.
27' - Here's Santino Quaranta, and there is no foul. Not going to fall for the simulation trick. A little bit better from him. In other action, Celtic defeated Seattle in the international club friendly 2-1.
28' - Some exciting football here at RFK Stadium, nothing too spectacular. But the passing leaves much to be desired.
29' - Goal kick, Troy Perkins. Already he has been bailed out early by Julius James.
30' - Back come the Galaxy. Devon McTavish with the clearance. The lack of finishing touch has been rearing its ugly head for the past few games on the road, and here it is again.
31' - Pontius is walking with a noticeable limp.
32' - Goal kick, Perkins. And Santino Quaranto got knocked. Back come D.C. and a shot by Simms is high and wide, and will go for a goal kick to Donovan Ricketts.
33' - The Washington banners wave in the stands as play resumes. Gordon with the armball. The Galaxy already have seven fouls to D.C.'s three,
34' - Ricketts really got upended making that save on Simms. He's all right, though.
35' - 35 in, and it's still scoreless. Goal kick for Perkins. The heat might make this a low-scoring affair, if not a scoreless draw, but there is plenty of football to be played.
36' - Ricketts with the save, but Julius James gets the ball as Juninho is shaken up. Stretch it out, young man.
37' - Bruce Arena may have to make some second half adjustments...again. Here's hoping they don't collapse...again. And back come D.C United...again.
38' - Sean Franklin with the ball, and here is Edson!
GOAL! Los Angeles Galaxy 14 Edson Buddle
And would you believe it; we are back on it again. Back save by PErkins, and perseverance give LA the lead in spite of a similarly brave effort by Dejan Jakovic, even it was all in vain.
39' - Handball by Gonzalez. Here comes a free kick to D.C.
40' - A solid save by Donovan Ricketts. Best of the night so far. A leaping grab.
41' - Goal number 11 for No. 14 of the G's. And they will need that goal, because Real Salt Lake won earlier this week, so a victory will do nothing but keep pace between the two sides. This could be a two-team race for the shield.
42' - No dice for Pontius. Goal kick, Ricketts. Gordon almost made it 2-0, but Perkins is there.
43' - We are 43 in, and it's 1-0 LA. They seems to be back online with Landon in the lineup. Still don't understand why Don Garber has to meddle around with the transfer rule. I'm Sepp Blatter has something to say about that.
44' - And that was a feed that should have made it 2-0, but Sean Franklin butchered that chance. Ugh.
45' - Foul on Chris Birchall. Free kick for D.C. That was a saveable chance for Ricketts. It will go for a corner. Foul in the box by D.C. And let's see how many minutes of stoppage time we get here.
45" + 1' - I'll just stick to this formula for stoppage time minutes. One minute for this half.
And we go into the break after a few opportunities wasted by D.C. to equalize. 1-0 to the Galaxy to the chorus of boos by the crowd.
Los Angeles Galaxy 1
Edson Buddle 38'
D.C. United 0
SECOND HALF START: 5:38 P.M. PT
Substitution D.C. United
IN 99 Jaime Moreno
OUT 13 Chris Pontius
So it won't be Thabiso Khumalo coming in; instead it's a D.C. mainstay in Jaime Moreno.
46' - The second half is underway. Consolidation or equalization, that is the question.
47' - Julius James is getting hounded, and is playing on his heels.
48' - Alan Gordon was off on the receiving end. Slid a little too early. Keystone Kops quality.
49' - Upping the tempo will be the agenda of the half for the Galaxy.
50' - 50 in and it's 1-0 G's.
51' - Devon McTavish with the throw-in. Out of bounds, Dunivant.
52' - D.C. United looks to squeeze the issue. Donovan with the foul and here is a free kick for the home side, Hernandez to take.
53' - Cleared, but here come United again. Eddie Pope got inducted into the D.C. United Hall of Tradition today. Congratulations to him. Dunivant with the throw.
54' - Hernandez with another chance.
GOAL! D.C. United 14 Andy Najar
And where was the defending on this? Atrocious! Enough said!
55' - Now the Galaxy need to be creative and actually show up. I called for this match to be draw. So far it is looking that way right now. This is a club that has been searching for answers the past few days, and they are still searching for answer.
56' - Edson Buddle's shot goes wide right. Speculative. Goal kick, Perkins.
57' - Nobody covered Santino Quaranta on the left wing, but he didn't help himself.
58' - Penalty!
Yellow card 2 Julius James
Now it's time for Landon Donovan to convert on the James handball.
59' - GOAL! Los Angeles Galaxy 10 Landon Donovan (pen)
This probably will be a goal festival tonight in the nation's capital with the way things are going now.
60' - We are 60 minutes into the contest and it's 2-1 Los Angeles, with James playing the role of the goat for the time being. Throw-in, Dunivant. A pass too far for Edson Buddle.
61' - That was only the second goal for Landon Donovan this season. He has played the role of the facilitator in Bruce Arena's system.
62' - Substitution Los Angeles Galaxy
IN 26 Michael Stephens
OUT 19 Juninho
63' - Two goals in five minutes. After D.C. United supporters were rejoicing at the Najar goal, they are ruining the handball by James. That Donovan pass was too high for Alan Gordon.
64' - Wide shot for Jordan Graye. Goes wide right, Ricketts was clearly beat off the ball.
65' - James butchers the header, and it's a goal kick for the Big Cat from Montego Bay. 65 in, 2-1 LA, fun times at RFK. (I made a rhyme, hey hey hey!)
66' - Ricketts and Perkins exchange goal kicks. The new seasons are set to start in Europe. Who do you like to win their league? Voice your opinions on b/r and the view.
67' - Buddleban connection offline, James offsides, back come the G's.
68' - Dejan Jakovic is bit beat-up, and hello hello hello, we could have another substitution on the way.
69' - Jakovic is back on his feet, and here comes the sub.
Substitution D.C. United
IN 8 Carey Talley
OUT 5 Dejan Jakovic
70' - We are now 70 minutes in. It's 2-1 Los Angeles. Gonzales marks McTavish well, and it's a goal kick for Donovan Ricketts.
71' - The Galaxy will be wise to add one more for their own sake. Wide shot of left of the mark for Franklin. GOal kick, Perkins.
72' - D.C. United is doing all the can to equalize here.
73' - Back come the Galaxy. Here is Ricketts...and another sub for D.C.
Substitution D.C. United
IN 27 Branko Boskovic
OUT 20 Stephen King
74' - Boskovic, the Montenegrin from Rapid Vienna, will look to energize the faithful at RFK.
75' - You are reading this Play-By-Play (and other miscellany) on b/r and the View, and the View. Birchall gets that set for Ricketts.
76' - Omalfo is not liking this. His club is down 2-1 to the Galaxy.
77' - LA will need to get some new blood in at this point in the game. Dunivant is held up, and we have a sub on the way
Substitution Los Angeles Galaxy
IN 6 Eddie Lewis
OUT 14 Edson Buddle
Eddie Lewis was recently highlighted in my "This is The Los Angeles Galaxy" series. Go check the primer on this veteran out if you can.
78' - Offsides, Boskovic. One of the D.C. fans has the shirt name of "Captain Hooligan, No. 52." Hello from the View, Captain Hooligan.
79' - Dunivant should have done it better. Hey, I made a tongue twister.
80' - It's crunch time here at RFK Stadium, and it's 2-1 Los Angeles. They will need to do all they can to hold on now, or better yet, add to their lead.
81' - Currently, in SuperLiga action, Houston is leading Chivas USA 1-0.
82' - D.C. moving the ball around, biding their time. The Galaxy need to go for the jugular here. They can't sit on a 2-1 lead.
83' - Back come D.C. United on the attack. Berhalter with the sweep on the Najar delivery. Jamie Moreno now with the ball. Corner for United.
84' - Boskovic to take. Cleared.
Yellow Card 8 Carey Talley
Studs-up tackle. Well deserved yellow.
85' - Free kick for Gonzalez. And Alan Gordon got knocked. Perkins with the goal kick. D.C wins possession.
86' - United on the counterattack, and its Ricketts who wins the ball. Goal kick for the Big Cat from Montego Bay.
87' - Santino Quaranta's through ball for Pablo Hernandez was all for naught. Goal kick Ricketts.
88' - Time is of the essence now for D.C. Meanwhile, the G's are looking to shut down the ordeal. This is some great possession work from the home side.
89' - Free kick D.C. This is where LA's defense need to show that they are back.
90' - Every on the Galaxy backline got beat on the rebound, as well as Ricketts. HErnandez had perhaps the best chance of the game—save stoppage time—to make it 2-2. Wow. That just epitomized the night so far for D.C.
Substitution Los Angeles Galaxy
IN 9 Jovan Kirovski
OUT 21 Alan Gordon
90' + 1' - Generally, those are the type of chances where the match is won or lost. Here. D.C. just ruined a chance to equalize. Ricketts lets that go. We have Three minutes of stoppage time.
90' + 2' - These last several minutes was what football is all about. Offsides, D.C. And Curt Onalfo, I pity you. And I kid.
90' + 3' - That blown coverage in the 90th minute will need to be talked about as they head back to Victoria Street. If I was Arena, I would do it.
That's a wrap.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY 2
Edson Buddle 38'
Landon Donovan 59' (pen)
D.C. UNITED 1
Andy Najar 54'
Stay tuned for my take on this match on The View from Victoria Street and Bleacher Report.