WASHINGTON – Amid the ongoing hoopla surrounding the officiating controversy from Sunday’s 1-1 draw between D.C. United and Philadelphia, the match had more to it than questionable calls and the final five, foul-filled minutes.
While referee Mark Geiger drew the ire of United head coach Ben Olsen and a number of the team’s players following the match, here’s a look at some of the other takeaways from the ever-budding I-95 rivalry.
Lost in the commotion at the end of the draw were the starts by Danny Cruz and Lionard Pajoy against their former sides. Cruz, for one, was noticeably animated during warm-ups – he jogged toward the United supporters before the match, held his hands above his head and clapped. Cruz played 57 minutes and attempted two shots for Philadelphia while Pajoy logged the same amount of time and nearly converted a header for a goal in the first half.
“I thought [Pajoy] was good," Olsen said. "It’s always tough when you throw [someone] into a new team. We need to do a better job of finding him."
HIGHLIGHTS: DC 1, PHI 1
Cruz – who soon will move out of the Alexandria house he shared with Chris Korb, Nick DeLeon and Joe Willis – challenged Korb a handful of times throughout Sunday’s match.
“I thought Danny had a good day, too,” Olsen added.
Freddy Adu and Brian Carroll did not make as popular a return to D.C., however. Adu’s stalling on a second-half substitution irritated a number of the players and he headed a sure strike off the line at the end of the first half that would have tied the match. Carroll scored the lone goal for Philadelphia.
Dominant second half
After a lackluster first half, United’s constant pressure in the final 45 led to a number of scoring chances and two disallowed goals. It also skewed the final stats.
“I thought once we realized that we’re in a playoff race about 20 minutes in, we picked it up,” Olsen said.
United out-possessed Philadelphia, 60.3 percent to 39.7 percent and attempted 20 shots on goal to the Union’s 10. D.C. also won 12 corners to Philadelphia’s one in a match that was statistically dominated by the home side.
“[In] the second half, I thought our adjustments and the way we went about it was very good and we did enough to win that game,” Olsen said.
After midfielder Branko Boskovic was handed a red card in the 89th minute, he was confused by the call.
As Boskovic told it, Philadelphia’s Roger Torres attempted to take the ball from him after Boskovic caught it following the clear from Dwayne De Rosario’s disallowed penalty. Boskovic had his arms wrapped around Torres’ upper body from behind right before he was booked.
“[Torres] tried to take ball," Boskovic said. "I don’t know why. I tried to give to DeRo and [Torres] jumped on me. The referee only saw what I was doing. He didn’t see him jump on me. If it’s red for me, it’s red for him also.”