BY DOMENIC ALLEGRA ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Audi Field for George Mason University Alumni Night.”
This was only the beginning of a showdown of two Major League Soccer powerhouses on its Mason Alumni Night.
To kick off the game, D.C. United welcomed Mason students Wagnus Prioleau, Andrew Velez, Bobby Lacy and Katie Anderson to sing the National Anthem as a group. They sang in front of a crowd of nearly 22,000, who were ready for an exciting game.
There were some notable lineup changes for D.C. United with Wayne Rooney out due to illness. However, even the D.C. United crowd was excited to watch LA Galaxy’s superstar Zlatan Ibrahimović, who was in and healthy.
The first half went back and forth for the first 27 minutes until D.C. United’s Ulises Segura secured a strong touch and set up a perfect ball for teammate Paul Arriola, who scored off the volley past L.A. Galaxy goaltender David Bingham.
Fifteen minutes later on an attempted clear, LA Galaxy’s Ibrahimovic had the ball taken away. This led to an offensive rush for D.C. United led by Paul Arriola who took a strike at the ball, This attempt was saved by Bingham, and then kicked in by D.C. United’s Lucas Rodriguez. While the offside flag stayed down, it was determined that Rodriguez was offside prior to the initial Arriola strike. The score going into halftime stayed 1-0 for D.C United.
Just two minutes after halftime, LA Galaxy put the ball into the box. This gave Ibrahimović time to corral it before passing it to his teammate, Favio Alvarez, who picked the bottom left corner and scored past D.C.’s Bill Hamid.
At the 70 minute mark, LA Galaxy’s Jonathan dos Santos was given a free kick and placed it in the middle of the box. Ibrahimović struck the ball off the volley to the top right corner only to be stopped by a diving Hamid.
Just two minutes later, D.C. United countered on the other end. Segura took a shot from just outside the box, which ricocheted off the Bingham. Arriola then took a shot at the ball, which again ricocheted off Bingham. The ball then ended up in Rodriguez’s lap and he finished with a strike to the bottom right corner.
With three minutes till full-time, LA put the ball in the box from the right edge of the pitch to Ibrahimovic, who headed the ball to Alvarez. In quick succession, Alvarez picked the top left corner, but was stopped by Hamid.
Even with three minutes of extra time added, the Galaxy could not get the equalizer. D.C. United won 2-1 over LA Galaxy.
D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen, commented on the win, saying, “We envisioned the game playing out this way again with some of the changes we needed to make and put the effort and the commitment from that group was terrific … Tonight we always knew there will be moments in transition that we would have to be sharp and efficient and I think we did a good job of putting the knife in when we had those opportunities.”
In his post-game interview, Ibrahimović said, “Today, you can say we were unlucky with the result … we had pretty good chances and the possession and control over the game. They [D.C.] had two, three chances and they scored and there’s the difference, so we should have been more effective and score.”
D.C. United plays its next home game Aug.21 at Audi Field to take on the New York Red Bulls.
The Mason Alumni Association hosts its next sports night with the Washington Nationals on Sept. 27. For those interested in buying tickets, visit the Washington Nationals website.