D.C. United’s 16-match winless run is over, and while it took a crucial Jose Gonçalves own goal to make it happen, beggars can’t be choosers. For the first time since Aug. 3, 2013, Ben Olsen’s team took three points from a Major League Soccer match, leaving New England the beggars after its 2-0 win at RFK Stadium.
Though the Black and Red deserve credit for limiting the Revolution to one shot on goal, they only managed two shots on target themselves, underscoring the importance of Gonçalves’s 43rd minute own goal. Given how little pressure the 2013 Defender of the Year was under while redirecting Cristian’s shot past Bobby Shuttleworth, New England fans would deb right to embrace a few what ifs. In a match where both teams struggled to create chances, Gonçalves’s mistake could have been the difference between a four-match unbeaten run and a D.C.’s much-needed victory.
On the scoreboard, at least, United did offer a little something else, with their newest acquisition scoring in his first appearance for the club. From one point of view, Chris Rolfe looks like another decent if limited veteran added to a team that spent the offseason acquiring decent if limited veterans: Jeff Parke; Bobby Boswell; Sean Franklin; Davy Arnaud; and Fabian Espindola. In theory, however, Rolfe adds a degree of versatility Olsen doesn’t otherwise have at his disposal – somebody who can help connect those too often isolated levels of D.C.’s formation. In the 93rd minute, his volley beat Shuttleworth to give his new team insurance.
It was part of a welcomed but mixed day for United, though you can forgive fans overlooking the multiple chances Teal Bunbury had extend D.C. United’s winless run. Instead, they may wish to focus on Eddie Johnson’s missed chance in the second half and note the team could have broken through without Gonçalves’s generosity.
In time, nobody’s going to remember that minutiae. For a team that’s been forced to accept an evermore depressing reality, Saturday provided reason for hope. So what if it wasn’t the greatest win in the world? D.C.’s not going to go from zero-to-hero over two hours. For one day, all that matters is the result – a positive one.
Catch up on all of Friday’s EURO qualification action, as two more teams have booked a ticket to France.
Spain 4-0 Luxembourg
Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla hadn’t scored a competitive goal for Spain in more than six years, but he scored twice today to help earn his country a berth in EURO 2016. Cazorla and Paco Alcacer scored all four goals for the Spanish, while Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas became Spain’s all-time leader in assists. However, both David Silva of Manchester City and Alvaro Morata of Juventus were forced off with injuries, with Morata’s looking to be serious.
Switzerland 7-0 San Marino
Switzerland led just 1-0 at halftime, but a six-goal second half which included three penalty kicks means the Swiss have secured qualification from Group E for EURO 2016. As expected, Switzerland dominated every aspect of the match against minnows San Marino, and Vladimir Petkovic’s side had seven different goalscorers.
[ MORE: Thursday’s EURO 2016 roundup — Northern Ireland qualify ]
England 2-0 Estonia
England remained perfect in Group E, taking their ninth win from nine matches today at Wembley. Theo Walcott‘s great scoring form from Arsenal carried over to the national side, opening the scoring just before halftime. In the second half, Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy came on as a substitute and assisted to Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, who made it 2-0. With a few minutes to play, Tottenham teenager Dele Alli got a short run in his England debut.
Elsewhere in EURO qualifying
Macedonia 0-2 Ukraine
Slovakia 0-1 Belarus
Slovenia 1-1 Lithuania
Liechtenstein 0-2 Sweden
Moldova 1-2 Russia
Montenegro 2-3 Austria
After scoring five goals against Newcastle United, Sergio Aguero may have to wait a bit of time to get back to scoring in the Premier League.
The Manchester City striker lasted just 25 minutes in Argentina’s World Cup qualifier on Thursday, as he was stretchered off with a hamstring injury.
Aguero underwent testing in Argentina, and told the local media “I think I’m going to be out for a month.”
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Manchester City and Argentina teammate Nicolas Otamendi said Aguero was in tears in the dressing room, and some reports have penned the injury as a torn hamstring.
If Aguero were to be ruled out for a month, he would miss City’s Champions League clash vs. Sevilla, as well as the massive Manchester derby away at United on October 25.
To make matters worse for City supporters, David Silva was forced off after just ten minutes while playing for Spain today. Silva took a harsh challenge from behind, and hobbled off with what looked to be an ankle injury. If Silva’s injury ends up being more than just a knock, City could be without their two most important players in the attack.