August 20, 2019

D.C. United: Trio shines in peppy MLS All-Star victory over Bayern Munich

In a match that was full of Pep (Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola, that is), the three D.C. United players who were named to the MLS All-Star team played the entire second half. That 45 minutes saw the MLS All-Stars erase a 1-0 deficit to beat the German champions, 2-1, thanks to goals from Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls) and Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy). Defenders Sean Franklin and Bobby Boswell, as well as goalkeeper Bill Hamid (who earned the win), were part of 11 new MLS players who started the second half.

Boswell got the second assist on the All-Stars’ opening goal in the 51st minute. The United defender played a long ball forward up the middle of the field that was flicked on by Erick Torres (Chivas USA). That touch carried it about 25 yards from the Bayern Munich goal, where Wright-Phillips ran on to it, took one touch, then blasted a left-footed shot to the upper far corner past goalkeeper Tom Starke.

Perhaps ironically, United had as many players in this year’s All-Star Game as last year’s United club had wins for the regular season. Though Boswell and Franklin weren’t part of that debacle, and it certainly couldn’t all be blamed on Hamid. The goalkeeper made three saves in his 45 minutes, including two on quality chances from Bayern Munich’s Juan Bernat off a counter in the 78th minute, and an 88th minute shot by Thomas Muller for which Hamid was well positioned.

Bayern Munich, who fell behind to Donovan’s goal in the 70th minute that beat German number-one Manuel Neuer (on as a sub in the 63rd minute), pulled no punches late, adding Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Gotze, Philipp Lahm and Arjen Robben as substitutes in the final minutes. But they couldn’t find an equalizing goal and Schweinsteiger didn’t finish the game despite entering with 10 minutes to play, due to a foul by Portland’s Will Johnson.

That, and a reckless challenge earlier by Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle) had Guardiola fuming on the Bayern Munich sideline, so much so that he refused to shake the hand of MLS and Portland head coach Caleb Porter after the game. That distracted quite a bit from the match itself, which while it was a glorified friendly, did give the league a chance to showcase its top players and try to build further on the momentum created by the recent FIFA World Cup.

Thankfully for United, at a time where injuries seem to be mounting, Hamid, Boswell, and Franklin looked to come out of Wednesday’s match unscathed. D.C. has a tough road assignment Saturday (10 p.m.) at Real Salt Lake, United’s second-place counterparts from the Western Conference. Stalwart defensive midfielder Perry Kitchen will miss that match for United due to suspension for accumulation of yellow cards.

NOTES: According to the club, forwards Conor Doyle will miss the remainder of the season due to knee surgery. In addition, on Thursday, the Washington Post reported that fellow reserve forward Michael Seaton has a quadriceps injury and will be out of action. In response, the club announced today it has acquired midfielder/forward David Estrada from the Seattle Sounders. United will send its third-round pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft to the Sounders in exchange for the 26-year-old from Mexico. All five of Estrada’s MLS career goals came in 2012, when he started 12 matches. In 41 career appearances for Seattle, Estrada made 18 starts. He should be fresh, having played a grand total of 5 minutes this season.

After his match-winning goal last night, Donovan announced today he is retiring from MLS after this season ends. Donovan is the league’s all-time leading goal scorer with 138, having broken Jeff Cunningham’s record of 134 earlier this season. United legend Jaime Moreno is third on that list at 133. With 124 assists, Donovan is 11 short of Steve Ralston for that record. Donovan’s highest-scoring season was 2008, when he notched 20 in 25 appearances (with nine assists). Donovan played four years with the San Jose Earthquakes before joining Los Angeles in 2005. His next start will be the 300th of his MLS career. He is also the leading scorer all-time for the U.S. National Team with 46 goals, despite being passed over for the recent World Cup in Brazil.

MLS action resumes Friday night when Donovan and his Galaxy teammates battle his old team, the Earthquakes, at 10:30 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN.

Ed Morgans is the D.C. United Page Editor for District Sports Page. He covered United for The Journal Newspapers from 1997-2002. For in-game analysis and story notifications, follow him on Twitter @writered21.

About Ed Morgans

Ed Morgans is DC United Page Editor for District Sports Page. Ed worked for The Journal Newspapers (now The Examiner) and covered DC United from 1997-2002. He spent the 2003 season writing for the club’s website. Ed has covered All-Star Games, MLS Cups, CONCACAF Champions Cup, World Cup qualifiers, and international friendlies. He also worked as a blogger at www.bigsoccer.com, the country’s leading soccer message board website. You can follow Ed on Twitter @writerEd21.

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