For those detractors of the MLS and international friendlies, if you didn’t give any attention to what was happening in the DC/Maryland area this past weekend, you’ve missed a lot of live local football.
Like others have mentioned, I too was at the Liverpool v Tottenham game. Although it was a quiet game in comparison to others I have seen, it was still a fun experience – especially being seated in a section of supporters for both sides.
Next up was DC United vs. Paris Saint-Germain. Originally scheduled was Juventus, but they withdrew from this fixture, whose start time was moved from 6 to 7:30 PM. Thank the football gods for the change because the added hour and a half allowed me enough time to get home, eat a proper meal, and get to the game with time to spare.
Some may question the attendance of around 14,000 that showed up for the game. If you take into account the weather and the fact that this fixture changed in competitors, venues, and time slots a number of times, it stands to believe that more would have attended if things had been more static. I did note that, sadly, anyone hoping to get any PSG swag had to settle for the game shirts from the New York venue. There were no commemorative game scarves made, nor were there any PSG kits sold on site due to the circumstances of the scheduling.
While a passing thunderstorm prior to the game helped cool the temperatures, the match opened up hot. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, one of the newest signings for PSG, opened up the game with a goal even before the game made it to the 3rd minute. As the 1st half went on, it was clear to see that DC United wasn’t going to roll over and die as they fought on. And then the rain came. It was kind of funny how it happened, there was a shot taken by PSG which went wide, and then there was a loud BOOM of thunder and then we were told to head inside for shelter.
Walking around the perimeter, there was a nice mix of supporters for both sides in attendance, with La Barra Brava and the Screaming Eagles the loudest of the bunch leading the way. During my walkthrough, I also met many people who also attended the earlier match in Baltimore. We had shared the same brilliant idea: if there are 2 games in the region, why not enjoy them both? And of course, 2 fans who thought they could run onto the field and try to drink beers were immediately chased off by the police.
45 minutes after the weather stoppage, the game resumed and DC United slowly picked up the pace. Before the half ended, many were disappointed to see Ibrahimovic leave the pitch, but PSG needs to protect their investment for the regular season. Everything that the crowd needed to see happened way back in the opening minutes anyway.
The rest of the game itself was exciting and fast paced and with the rain cooling down the temperature even more. The tempo for both sides picked up. The highlight of course for DC United was the PK scored by Dewayne Rosario right before the half ended.
In the second half of the game, DC United brought their game and although they were unable to finish most of their crossed and opportunities, they retained a huge portion of their possession and foiled many of PSG’s shots on goal. Most impressive was Joe Willis’ ability in extra time to stop nearly 3 shots from PSG as the game wound down into a 1 – 1 draw.
All in all, this was a good effort from DC United which looked much better than they did when they faced Everton last year. Hopefully this will translate into a win over the Columbus Crew next week. Here are a few more pictures from a great evening at RFK Stadium. Enjoy!