D.C. United kicked off the 2011 MLS Reserve League season with a 3-2 win against the Columbus Crew on Sunday, March 20 at the D.C. United Training Field in Washington, D.C.
The Black-and-Red wasted little time getting on the scoresheet, with defender Rodrigo Brasesco heading home a Brandon Barklage cross in the third minute. Five minutes later, Columbus pulled level as Bernardo Anor slotted a strike into United's net. The match stayed level at 1-1 until the 39th minute, with rookie striker Blake Brettschneider firing home a close-range effort after Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum failed to clear the ball in his own area.
United Assistant Coach Chad Ashton made two changes heading into the second period of play. Goalkeeper Bill Hamid made his return from offseason shoulder surgery, coming into his first competitive match since last September at halftime. Stephen King replaced Brasesco, as the former Univeristy of Maryand player slotted into central midfield alongside Kurt Morsink.
United began the second half in style as Santino Quaranta crossed to Branko Boskovic, with the Montenegrin midfielder finishing cleanly in front of Gruenebaum. Although Cole Grossman got a second Columbus goal in the 63rd minute, United maintained firm control of the contest throughout its duration.
Said Ashton, "Obviously we're pleased to get a win today. Althought it's a different environment from last night, it's still a good opportunity. We are still trying to accomplish the same things - we need to continue developing good habits and learn how to win games."
Today's Reserve victory marks United's second triumph over Columbus in two days, following the Black-and-Red's 3-1 First Kick win last night at RFK Stadium.
ACADEMY PLAYERS CONTRIBUTE
One new wrinkle to the revamped MLS Reserve Division is the inclusion of Academy players following an NCAA bylaw allowing MLS Youth players to participate in Reserve contests. The Black-and-Red are known for developing premier products like Hamid and 2010 MLS Rookie of the Year Andy Najar, and Ashton inserted two fresh faces into the senior lineup today.
Academy forward Iyassu Bekele came into the contest in the 70th minute for Quaranta, and nine minutes later midfielder Cody Albrecht replaced Boskovic. Said Ashton of the inclusion of these two young players, "It's awesome. You can see in these guys the excitment at the opportunity to play with the first team. They are really excited to be here, and we are really happy that we had the opportunity to get them in the game."
He continues, "I think in talking to the Academy coaches they have already seen a difference in regards to their trainig sessions, as the kids know that if they are doing a good job they are going to get an opportunity here."
- D.C. United - Brasesco 3' (Barklage)
- Columbus Crew - Anor 8'
- D.C. United - Brettschneider 39'
- D.C. United - Bosckovic 49' (Quaranta)
- Columbus Crew - Grossman 63'
- Fred - caution 72'
D.C. UNITED: Willis (Hamid 46'); Korb, White, Brasesco (King 46'), Woolard; Barklage, Morsink (Shanosky 59'), Fred, Boskovic (Albrecht Academy player 79'); Quaranta (Bekele Academy player 70'), Brettschneider
Substitutes not used: none
COLUMBUS CREW: Gruenebaum; Veeder, Williams, Iro, Gardner; Rogers (Grossman 46'), Burns (Gehrig 87'), Griffit, Anor; Meram, Heineman (Adlard 54')
Substitutes not used: Riggs, Sippola, Renteria