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Heartbroken But Proud

DC United lost a heartbreaker last night (May 18) in Miami, but their effort was fantastic and a joy to watch.

The game was delayed around 30 minutes by lightning, and there was torrential rain at times. In addition, the temperature at kickoff was in the low 90s.

Steve Birnbaum started his first game of the season, and wore the captain's armband. DC started Bono in goal; 5 in defense (from left to right, Santos, Bartlett, Birnbaum, McVey, and Herrera); 3 in midfield (Hopkins, Klich and Stroud) and 2 up top (Ted KDP and Benteke).

Miami started all of their new stars: Luiz Suarez, Jordi Alba, Sergeio Busquets, and the big one, Lionel Messi.

DC played a beautifully disciplined defense. In the first half Miami had one significant chance: Benjamin Cremaschi got free on the right side in the 43rd minute after a defensive mixup, but Bono made a great save. Otherwise, despite having 2/3 of the first half possession, Miami did not have any significant chances. DC did a great job of shutting down Messi, playing team defense and at one point surrounding him with 4 or 5 defenders at the top of the box. DC had 5 shots (1 on goal) in the first half.

The second half was very similar to the first; no significant Miami chances until stoppage time and a disciplined, compact team defense that was beautfiul to watch. Peltola came in for Hopkins in the 56th minute, and Dajome came in for Ted KDP in the 64th minute. There was a triple substitution in the 78th minute: Tubbs for Birnbaum (who needs more time to get match fit), Rodriguez for Santos, and Murrell for Stroud.

Late in the game, DC started to create some serious chances. Dajome took a weak shot that would better have been passed over to Benteke, who was wide open on the left.

In the 89th minute, Rodriguez took a ball full in the face, and was substituted out with the concussion protocol. Both teams had used all three substitution windows by this point. Pirani came on to replace Rodriguez.

In the 93rd minute, DC had a great attack going, and Dajome forced a great save out of Miami goalie Drake Callender. He might have been better served to pass to a wide open Murrell on the right, but it was a good shot and required a very good save.

Right after this, Miami brought on Leonardo Campana as a substitute. Miami had used up all their substitution windows, but the concussion substitution rule also allows the opposing team an extra substitution, so on came Campana. Less than 30 seconds later he used his fresh legs to burn past a DC offside trap and score a goal off the bottom of the crossbar that left Bono no chance. Heartbreak. DC tried for the equalizer but the game ended 1-0.

A tough, tough way to lose, but what a great effort overall. DC was unlucky to have to sub out Rodriguez; I don't think anyone else on Miami would have had the legs to score like Campana. A great defensive effort, against the league's top team (at least for the moment), away, in heat, humidity and rain.

DC ended up with 15 shots, 3 on goal, and 3 corner kicks. Miami only had 2 shots on goal, one the winner, and the other the great first half save from Bono.

The nexxt match is this Saturday (May 25) at home against the Chicago Fire.


The Nest Liner

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