Redskins

Johnson: D.C. United Impresses But Settles for Draw

185167.jpg

Johnson: D.C. United Impresses But Settles for Draw

Saturday, June 5, 2010, 10:20pm By Dave Johnson
CSNwashington.comWashington----DC United was able to earn its first shutout of the season and stop Real Salt Lakes five- game winning streak, but failed to earn the full three points in a 0-0 draw before 15,328 fans on a steamy night at RFK Stadium.I am guy who looks at the glass half full, said United head coach Curt Onalfo I am disappointed in not getting the three points. We played well enough and I think everyone in the stadium saw that including their coaching staff who said we should have had three-points.
United had the commitment to match the heat and dictated play from the opening kickoff. Just a little over two minutes in to the match 17-year old midfielder Andy Najar was able to draw three defenders into the middle and play the ball to an open Jordan Graye on the right flank.Graye, who had pushed forward from his right back position, delivered a perfect cross that skimmed across the six-yard boss and was deflected out of play by Real defender Nat Borchers. Grayes cross just needed a United forward to make a run and poke it home. It was a sign of things to come for United. The home team enjoyed the better of the chances and finished with a 5-1 advantage in shots on goal. Midfielder Stephen King delivered two of those United shots on goal and had two others that had potential to settle the match.In the 15th minute King slalomed forward from his holding midfield position and blasted a shot from the top of the box that RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando could only punch away. Najar chest-trapped Rimandos save just out side the box and managed to flick it back up to his chest as he danced forward into the area. Najar then had two RSL defenders on their heels before Borchers finally cleared for a throw-in.Just before half- time Kings work rate paid dividends when he drilled a shot from ten yards out that was saved from Rimando. Kings pressure on RSLs Collen Warner in the defensive third led to a bad pass that set up the opportunity.Warners pass under pressure from King, was intercepted by Chris Pontius at the top of the area. Pontius then poked it to Santino Quaranta who one-touched it to a charging King for the shot.There was every reason to believe United would be able to find a way to win. Uniteds play resembled the friendly win over AC Milan, MLS victory over Chivas USA, and US Open Cup success against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday.King and Clyde Simms continued to form a successful duo in the center of the midfield, while Pontius and Najar showed the flair on the flank. On defense, United reacted to the loss of left back Rodney Wallace to a bone bruise in the first half by bringing on Devon McTavish and then switching Graye to the left.In the second half Kings night of what could have been continued. In the 52nd minute Quaranta back-heeled a pass to King 15 yards from goal. King was a little bit too anxious, and instead of using the time to put the ball on his right foot, blasted a left-footed shot wide.Five minutes later it would be more frustration for King. Najar slipped behind the defense on the right flank and then used two cut-back moves to get space in the box. Najar then crossed a ball that pin-balled to King who put a shot from 12-yards over the crossbar.We had some clear chances we should have put away, Onalfo noted. When we missed that second one in the second half, I thought oh no this is one of those games. But our guys persevered and did not let anything bad happen at the other end.Indeed United did notlet the frustration of failing to score a goal lead to a lapse on defense and the conceding of a goal. That pattern played out all too often in Uniteds eight losses this season, but on this night the resolve was there and at least one point.Jamie Moreno, who was not available for game selection, spent the match chanting and beating a drum with the La Barra Brava supporters' group.

Quick Links

Jay Gruden shown no love in preseason coaches ranking

jay_gruden.jpg
USA Today Sports

Jay Gruden shown no love in preseason coaches ranking

Yahoo! Sports ranked all 32 head coaches in the NFL and Washington Redskins fans may not be too happy with where Jay Gruden ended up.

Entering his fifth year as head coach, Gruden was ranked as the No. 27 head coach in the NFL. Here's Yahoo!'s rationale behind his ranking:

"Four years, one playoff berth, one plus-.500 season, one franchise quarterback run out of town."

All that is ... not false, but the whole franchise quarterback being run out of town thing is at least debatable. And even if the ranking is fair, it's still okay to be upset because it's the middle of July, training camp hasn't started yet and the offseason is the perfect time to get irrationally angry about things like these.

Elsewhere in the NFC, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur checks in at No. 23, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is No. 17 and the Eagles' Doug Pederson is No. 2.

Unsurprisingly, Bill Belichick was ranked No. 1; he may be the greatest of all time when all is said and done, if not already. The top five rounds out with Pederson at No. 2, New Orleans's Sean Payton at No. 3, Minnesota's Mike Zimmer at No. 4 and Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin at No. 5.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

alex-cobb-orioles.jpg
USA Today Sports

Stroman pitches 7 sharp innings as Blue Jays beat Orioles 4-1

TORONTO (AP) -- Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman gave up hits to the first three Baltimore batters Saturday.

The Orioles got just two more hits the rest of the afternoon.

Stroman pitched seven sharp innings for his second win in three starts and Toronto beat Baltimore 4-1 for its sixth straight victory over the struggling Orioles.

"He started working both sides of the plate with his sinker and I think that threw them off a little bit, especially late in counts," Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile said. "Overall it was just kind of vintage Stroman."

Baltimore right-hander Alex Cobb picked up his major league-worst 13th loss. The Orioles dropped to 1-8 against Toronto this season.

"I absolutely hate seeing that win-loss in parentheses next to my name," Cobb said. "It's sickening."

Stroman (3-7) allowed one run and five hits. He threw a season-high 107 pitches, the first time this season he has topped 100.

Stroman is 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA in five starts since returning from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss more than a month. He went 0-5 in seven starts before the injury.

"Since he's come back from the DL he's been really good," manager John Gibbons said. "I just think he's pitching like he's always pitched."

Stroman said he's focused on forgetting his early season struggles.

"I know I didn't have the first half I wanted but I've always been someone who prides myself on the second half and finishing strong," Stroman said. "That's something I'll look to continue to do this year."

Friend and teammate Devon Travis likes what he's seen from Stroman since the right-hander returned from injury.

"He's got that fire back," Travis said. "He's really under control. I think he's locking in on every single pitch."

Seunghwan Oh worked the eighth and Ryan Tepera finished for his seventh save in 12 opportunities.

Baltimore scored one run or fewer for the 27th time, the most in the majors.

The first three Orioles batters all singled, although Jonathan Schoop was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double. After Adam Jones gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead with an RBI hit to right, Mark Trumbo grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Blue Jays answered with a three-run fourth against Cobb, taking advantage of a key Orioles error.

Justin Smoak opened the inning with a walk and, following a video review, was ruled safe at second after Cobb's high throw pulled shortstop Tim Beckham off the base on at attempted force play.

"That's not it in a nutshell but I can understand why that's the focus, a play we haven't been making," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Randal Grichuk followed with an RBI double, a second run scored on Diaz's double play grounder, and Maile capped the rally with an RBI single.

Diaz had four hits Friday, including the game-winning single in the 10th. He went 2 for 3 Saturday with a pair of singles.

The Blue Jays made it 4-1 in the fifth when Teoscar Hernandez doubled, advanced on a fly ball and scored on Cobb's balk.

Cobb (2-13) lost his sixth straight decision, allowing four runs, one earned, and four hits in five innings. Showalter said Cobb was removed to avoid worsening a blister on his pitching hand.

"I was only going to have a few more pitches going into the sixth so he felt like the risk-reward was not really worth it," Cobb said.

Grichuk made the defensive play of the game, a running catch on the warning track in left center to retire Trumbo for the first out of the ninth.

GOING DOWN?

Jones and Chris Davis got stuck in an elevator at the team's downtown hotel following Friday night's defeat. Jones documented much of the saga on Instagram. The players and fellow passengers were eventually rescued by Toronto Fire Services staff. The sound system at Rogers Centre played a few bars of Aerosmith's `Love in an Elevator' before Jones batted in the fourth inning Saturday.

NO HOMERS

Toronto won without hitting a home run for just the third time in 26 games this season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: Baltimore is expected to demote a reliever when RHP Andrew Cashner (neck) is activated off the 10-day disabled list Sunday.

UP NEXT

Cashner (2-9, 4.56) last pitched July 10, when he allowed five runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings against the Yankees. Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (10-6, 4.29) is 0-3 with a 9.75 ERA in three July starts.