Roommates do battle as Korb and Cruz square off
On Thursday, Danny Cruz and Chris Korb were teammates.
On Sunday, they lined up opposite each other in a rivalrythat is quickly turning into Major League Soccer’s most heated regionalconflict.
And after the 1-1 draw between D.C. United and the PhiladelphiaUnion, Cruz and Korb were once again what they’ve been since the beginning of2012: Roommates – at least for the time being.
“I hope I don’t have to ever experience the emotions thatwere running through my mind before the game,” acknowledged Cruz, who says he stillhasn’t moved his belongings out of the Alexandria house he shared with Korb,Joe Willis and Nick DeLeon before being traded to the Union in exchange forLionard Pajoy on Thursday. “Threedays ago I was here ready to train. Now I’m here playing against my buddies, my family and myteammates. It was different.”
With Cruz occupying the right wing position in interimmanager John Hackworth’s 4-3-3 formation and Korb taking over left back dutiesfor the injured Daniel Woolard, the two friends were destined to dobattle. Their first confrontationcame in the 15th minute, when Cruz was whistled for a foul on Korb. Ten minutes later, the former D.C. manbeat soon-to-be ex-roommate DeLeon with a nutmeg at midfield.
Just before halftime, Cruz and Korb crossed paths again.
“He smacked me in the face in the first half when we went upfor a header,” Cruz said with a smile. “He was like ‘Did I get you?’. I told him he did, but it’s alright.”
“I didn’t slap him that hard, he’s being a baby,” Korblaughed. “Yeah, I did get him andI said sorry later.”
A reality for any professional athlete, the trade hasnevertheless made for a difficult few days. Willis says the three left behind have been in a state of‘shock’ since Thursday as they adjust to their new circumstances.
After leaving for Philadelphia Thursday night, Cruz returnedto Washington Saturday for dinner with the friends he’d be battling Sunday.
“The hardest part is dealing with rent and bills,” Korb saidtongue-in-cheek. “The sad part washim leaving. We were at practiceand then he was gone three hours later.”