Captain Jaime Moreno leads the victory celebration after the win over Chelsea.
A year ago a similar squad of the top players in MLS was ambushed 5-0 by Real Madrid. This year MLS defeated EPL champ Chelsea 1-0. This particular squad had less stars than the team that was humiliated last year but had far more role players willing to work together and hold their shape against a relentless Chelsea attack. The result was a historic shutout victory for the league.
Troy Perkins 6
Steady. Wasn’t really tested.
Joe Cannon 8
Superb work including game saving save on Arjen Robben’s late strike, and then John Terry’s stoppage time effort.
Jimmy Conrad 6
Went toe to toe with Drogba early. Showed fire and determination. Conrad’s physical play surprised Chelsea though as the first half wore on Drogba seemed to get the better of him.
Eddie Robinson 7
Saved the game with a last second clearance on Erpen’s tackle. Good to see Robinson whose career has been hijacked by injuries playing at a high level again.
Joshua Gros 7
Another classy performace from a DC player. Gros pushed the ball early down the flanks while DeRossario and Chrisitian Gomez were having issues with their first touches in the middle of the field. Gros really gave Arjen Robben fits and did a decent job on Shaun Wright Phillips. Gros’ crosses were lacking in quality but he more than made up for it with his other play.
Bobby Boswell 9 MAN OF THE MATCH
Great positioning and composure. Kept the MLS defense organized and never was out hustled. Boswell played an exceptional match against Chelsea for the second straight year. Clearly Boswell has a savvy lacking in so many American players and whomever the new national team coach is needs to give him a long hard look before qualifying for the 2010 World Cup begins. Boswell’s first touch never let the team down and he is for my money the easy choice as man of the match.
Facundo Erepen 7
Bad pass back almost cost MLS a goal but otherwise was spectacular. Really shut down Robben and Shevchenko. The Argentine took the ball away from both of his better known opponents countless times including a very important 75th minute takeway from Robben when Chelsea had the run of play. Another one of DC United’s great international finds.
Chris Albright 8
Peter Nowak’s decision to play Albright, a US World Cup team defender in a withdrawn midfield role took Chelsea by surprise. Albright was outstanding and single handidly created 3 superb first half scoring chances for MLS.
Ricardo Clark 8
Clark’s dangerous runs and good first touches helped to stimulate several counter attacking opportunities for MLS in the second half.
Dwayne DeRossario 7
Scored a spectacular goal and exhibited leadership. Nonetheless as the best player in MLS, I expected DeRossario to hold the ball more and attempt to dominate the midfield which he did not do. Sent very few quality balls forward.
Freddy Adu 5
Was dangerous at times but also showed a lack of seasoning and maturity. Often held the ball too long and was very selfish, and had several bad giveaways. In addition, he didn’t seem to have any imagination in some of his runs. Nonetheless, after MLS took the lead, Adu was outstanding on the counter attack.
Richard Mulrooney 3
Seemed totally outclassed at this level. His FC Dallas teammate Ronnie O’Brien did much better in the 2nd half.
Ronnie O’Brien 7
O’Brien, who played in England earlier in his career was able to adopt to the pace of the game easily and settle the MLS midfield. An outstanding classy international player for the league to showcase.
Christian Gomez 4
Never really got going. As the perhaps the best attacking midfielder in MLS, Gomez has the pace and skill to keep up with the likes of Michael Essien and Frank Lampard. Alas, his first touch seemed to escape him and was lacking in quality balls forward as well.
Brian Ching 3
Made a mess of an early Albright cross and didn’t seem to have the pace to play against a defense as fit as Chelsea’s. Really got schooled by John Terry. Clearly Ching was a wasted World Cup selection by Bruce Arena.
Jaime Moreno 5
The MLS captain began the game at forward and was easily handled by Wayne Bridge but then pushed back into the midfield and created some nice attacking opportunities for the side.
Alecko Eskandarian 6
Never really settled into the attack but tracked back on defense nicely and held the ball well.
Nate Jaqua 7
Very impressive effort from the Chicago Fire Forward. Jaqua held the ball with his back to the goal a number of times which is something most American forwards just do not know how to do. In addition, Jaqua’s hustle thwarted a late Chelsea’s scoring chance.