Last night DCU quietly finished pre-season with an impressive performance, earning a 2-2 draw with LA Galaxy away from home in front of a crowd of nearly 10,000. The Black and Red have now finished pre-season and are headed back to the District with a (nearly) fully healthy squad. Hallelujah.
A lot of people say that pre-season results don’t matter. But as a fan, I always secretly care about the results of pre-season. To me, that’s one of the things that makes fans… fans. So let’s over-react, let’s over-analyze, and let’s talk about how DCU are about the be an MLS Cup Playoff team in 2022… because that’s what they looked like in Los Angeles.
Last night DCU rolled out what looked to be a possible starting XI squad. The only exception being Griffin Yow. Depending on the status of Kamara and Robertha, Yow will likely drop to the bench.
DCU started the game strong with an effective high press, which had a clear effect on the Galaxy. For the first 15 minutes, LA struggled to get a foothold on the match.. leading to a Birnbaum goal from a Gressel corner. However, after the goal, DCU’s pressure seemed to let off and LA were able to possess the ball with some confidence, ultimately leading to the first half equalizer. Towards the end of the first half DCU re-established their pressure and never really looked back.
Although the match ended 2-2; DCU controlled large spells of the game, and I dare say - dominated(?) – much of the second half.
In the first half, Estrada was noticeable; constantly playing off the shoulder of the last defender… but the timing of his runs were just slightly off. In the second half, Estrada was electric. Taking on defenders in the open and being a nuisance around the box. Ultimately, he was rewarded with his goal; which was well taken off of an absolutely stunning free kick from Julian Gressel.
If this game, and his previous games with Ecuador, are any indication of what Michael Estrada could be… I am VERY VERY excited about this signing.
And I cannot wait to see how Gressel performs this year with a healthy set of target strikers.
While Estrada and Gressel were standouts, the entire team performed as a unit. DCU had multiple chances to score a third; including a shot off the bar in the 65th minute and a miss after beating the keeper 1v1 in the 85th minute.
The only real negative for me was DCU’s vulnerability on the counter. The Galaxy were dangerous on numerous occasions off of defensive set pieces, including the run of play that led to their second goal.
Although we didn’t get the win, this was still a very good performance. And a promising primer for the opener next Saturday.
Meanwhile on the other side of LA....… LOL
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