D.C. United rolls to win as Davies scores twice in first match in 17 months

Charlie Davies DC2 (ISIPhotos.com) 

Photo by Jose L. Argueta/ISIPhotos.com

By THOMAS FLOYD

WASHINGTON – After 17 months of anticipation, Charlie Davies' return to top-flight action was, in one way, anti-climactic.

Having not played a first-team minute since suffering life-threatening injuries in a horrific October 2009 car accident near Washington, Davies pulled off his warm-ups and prepared to enter D.C. United's MLS season opener against the Columbus Crew early in the second half Saturday.

But before too much of a buzz could build, United forward Josh Wolff slipped through the Columbus back line and tucked home a low shot to break the scoreless deadlock. Amid the frenzied celebration, Davies quietly snuck onto the field, replacing Joseph Ngwenya in the 52nd minute.

What he did on the pitch after that, however, more than made up for that understated entrance.

Davies came off the bench to score two goals for United, pacing his new side to a 3-1 win. In doing so, the 24-year-old on loan from French club Sochaux took his comeback full circle, thriving at RFK Stadium, the very venue he was supposed to play at for a U.S. World Cup qualifier the day after his accident.

"I've been waiting such a long time for this exact moment," Davies said. "I just wanted to go out there and succeed — not just go out there and work hard. I wanted to play well, to make an impact. And I was able to do it."

When Columbus right back Sebastian Miranda took down United midfielder Chris Pontius in the penalty area and referee Mark Geiger pointed to the spot, Davies stepped up in the 63rd minute, slotted his finish to goalkeeper Will Hesmer's left, and took to the corner flag for a rendition of his famed "stanky leg" celebration.

"There was no discussion - I was taking that ball," Davies said. "I told [Wolff] right away, 'I'm taking this.' And [United captain Dax McCarty] came over with the ball and handed it to me and said, 'We trust you. We believe in you.' And that says it all. The confidence was already flowing out of me, but when you hear that, I'm going to do what I need to do to have this team succeed. I walked up to the ball confidently and I put that ball in the back of the net."

Added McCarty: "I saw it in his eyes. I knew there was no way he was going to miss that penalty kick. I'll defer to a guy with that much confidence any day of the week."

Fourteen minutes later, the memorable evening for Davies became all the more so when he completed his brace with a strike from the run of play that showcased a glimpse of the elusiveness that made him such a compelling talent before the accident.

The sequence began when Columbus captain Chad Marshall, an otherwise authoritative presence at centerback throughout the contest, lost his footing in the penalty area and allowed Davies to run onto a long ball from left back Marc Burch.

Davies subsequently took a touch around the charging Hesmer and calmly drove a shot past Columbus defender Julius James, who had retreated to protect the goal line.

"He’s done a lot of work to get back here," said United coach Ben Olsen, who picked up his first win as D.C.'s full-time boss after operating under an interim tag last season. "It is emotional for myself and anybody that is close to him right now to see him come back in this way."

The night's proceedings took place two days after the driver in Davies' accident was sentenced to two years in jail, adding another poetic subplot to an already enthralling narrative.

"When someone survives an accident like I did, where basically your body is in shambles, the car is split in half, you're just lucky to survive such an incident," Davies said. "But to play soccer again, that's a miracle in itself. Since day one, it was, 'I'm going to get back, and I'm going to do whatever it takes to get on that field, and I'm not taking no for an answer.'"

The three combined goals from Wolff and Davies suggest United will receive a more substantial output from its strikers in 2011 after the entire unit found net just nine times last season during the team's miserable 6-20-4 campaign.

Wolff facilitated attacks from his withdrawn forward position throughout the match, although Ngwenya, his strike partner to start, wasn't in such fine form, pushing multiple shots well over the crossbar from dangerous positions.

Columbus pulled a goal back two minutes after Davies' second tally when United's Dejan Jakovic handled the ball in the penalty area and midfielder Robbie Rogers converted the ensuing penalty.

But it was too little, too late for the Crew, which struggled in the final third during its first MLS game following the departure of playmaker Guillermo Barros Schelotto. United held strong the rest of the way as it became clear the night would belong to Davies and his D.C. teammates.

"He's an emotional guy and he’s been through a lot," Olsen said. "To get two goals, you couldn't have wrote the story any better."

Here are the match highlights:

 

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS- Columbus Crew, MLS- D.C. United. Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to D.C. United rolls to win as Davies scores twice in first match in 17 months

  1. KP says:

    theres no crying in soccer

  2. JD says:

    Evidently, neither is grammar.

  3. JD says:

    Such a great story! He’s the kind of game changer who’s going to bring DC United from worst to first.

  4. t says:

    Unrelated ? Do Referees need to be drug tested too? Ricardo Salazar seems to be getting more jacked, and Im sure hes on that sylvester stallone ghg diet. The guy needs to lay off the curls

  5. MicahK says:

    Good job Davies we believe in you!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  6. CrispyST3 says:

    Davies has his thundery thighs again!!! haha LA Galaxy fan but don’t mind seeing Charlie rip other teams apart.

  7. DanO says:

    Where’s the post from the clown who overanalyzed Charlie’s running style and arbitrarily tagged him at being 75% a few weeks ago?
    From my eyes, the hyperpronation in his Stanky Leg celebration seemed more than well compensated by his hip abduction and external rotation strength. I’d say based on that performance he has to be at least 93%, possibly 94% recovered, no?

  8. Chris says:

    As a USMNT fan and RBNY fan, I’m kind of conflicted. Hope CD scores every game, but DCU gets shut out, too. Is there any way to score a negative goal?

  9. Bryan says:

    So who has more goals for their club in the last 17 months now CD or Jozy?

  10. Brett says:

    I expected him to hit the ground running and he did. He will again prove himself too good for MLS in short order.

  11. JoeW says:

    One of the things that’s critical for a successful striker is confidence–the KNOWLEDGE that you’re going to score goals. You can’t convince yourself you can, you can’t base it on last season or your great year in youth ball. Physically, Davies is fit. In terms of competition fitness, he’s almost sharp. But taking basically 2 years off–with any striker that messes with your decision-making, your confidence, you tend to think things through rather than just react and do stuff instinctively or automatically.

    I won’t argue that these two goals were awe-inspiring, brilliant displays that are contenders for GOTY. The first was a PK. But in the scheme of things, they’re very important goals for Davies and the USNT b/c they very quickly get him feeling like a predator who does score goals, not a guy who wants to score them or used to score them and scored them in the past.

  12. Goose says:

    To be fair, McCarty said Davies was at 75% right now in his post-game interview. If this is 75%, I’ll take it. :D

    “He’s gonna be an absolute force in MLS. He’s about 75% right now. He will be one of the best forwards in the league … I saw it in his eyes.”

  13. pancholama says:

    Charlie,

    You believe in yourself. You BELIEVE!
    You respect yourself, and BE – LI – EVE!

    Good job, strong work, outstanding.
    Don’t look back.

    FGI

  14. DanO says:

    Valid point. Considering McCarty is around Davies every day and sees him in all aspects of his training, his assessment has some validity. My issue is not with how recovered Davies is, it is with someone arbitrarily assigning a value after watching a 15 second clip of video. Perhaps we should leave the assessments of Charlie’s recovery to the professionals who are actually taking care of him, and let his performances speak for themselves.

  15. Rob says:

    Freddy Adu from the run of play, what’s your point

  16. MiamiAl says:

    All Hail the King! He has returned to the promise land! Charlie Davies will be our leading scorer in Brasil, and he will be DC United’s leading scorer this season! God blessed Charlie Davies by sparing his life! And now God has blessed DC United once again!

  17. JS says:

    +1…can’t we be happy for one of our players without bashing another one for a change?

  18. DC Josh says:

    Just woke up, was at RFK last night. It feels like a dream. Not only did we win, but we did it in fantastic fashion, while Charlie Davies made an unbelievable return to professional soccer. A couple thoughts:

    -Can’t believe Boskovic didn’t play. Shows how serious Olsen is about putting the most in form players on the pitch.

    -Perry Kitchen looked good, but Chad Marshall was the best player on the field for both teams. He won every ball he contested, except the slip on Davies’ second goal. He also looked a little chunky.

    -Dax is a machine, the kid was everywhere. I don’t know where he gets all his energy from, Ben’s Chili Bowl?

    -Andy Najar was amazing as usual. Physical, dangerous, despite being double teamed most of the match.

    Last night felt like a dream. So excited for DC United’s season.

  19. chris says:

    cool song, cant you just leave a comment about being happy for CD9 instead of trying to make a ridiculous poem.

  20. Judging Amy says:

    Truth. Nothing better than supposed US Nats fans bashing one of their own. Especially when their own is a 21 year old owned by Villareal. The need to be right on a blog trumps the desire to see an American soccer player do well.

    Haters gonna hate.

  21. Judging Amy says:

    +1.

  22. Set says:

    hahahahaha…Awesome response!!!!

  23. ga-gone says:

    Dax has also played with him at the youth national team level a lot, so he’s comparing to something. He has a hands-on before and after comparision. I trust he’s pretty close to the mark with the 75% thing.

    If Charlie can be like…. 85% by seasons’ end… that would be great. Slow and steady.

  24. So starved for my football here in Thailand. Literally tears of joy running down my face as I type. This is not the end of the journey, and there will be many ups and downs along the way, but right now let’s all just be happy as hell for a night. Bravo Charlie Davies!

  25. kfly says:

    Your response didn’t make grammatical sense in the context either. You both lose.

  26. DS says:

    Haha right on DanO. I believe the clown you refer to even tried to back his analysis by citing his ‘experience playing Division 1 athletics’, thereby making him highly qualified to make arbitrary judgements based on grainy 15-second preseason clips.

    Charlie still has a ways to go, no doubt about that, but boy has he come a long way. Really an incredible story.

  27. Rob says:

    That is too funny. People on these boards must have nothing better to do with their lives then critique others posts, not for content, but simply to make themselves feel slightly superior. Sad lives these people must have. I pity all of you.

  28. Rob says:

    And I posted a typo in my response…. Please feel free to pick yourself up and fix it. I will pay attention to the content of other posts.

  29. PSPTim says:

    Don’t think it will be too many games before Wolff and Davies are starting up top, and Ngwenya heads for pine. He’s not a bad player, but CD9 is going to make that his spot.

    DC is going to be better than people thought – Columbus, at least for now, is going to be as inconsistent as their fans feared.

  30. nam says:

    ‘THAN’ NOT ‘THEN’, AND YOU HAD A MISPLACED MODIFIER

  31. GW says:

    Columbus really miss Schellotto. United played well but Columbus lacked leadership and direction.

  32. rph says:

    And “critique” is a noun, not a verb.

  33. GSScasual says:

    Im an NYRB fan, but McCarty couldnt hold Davies jockstrap, let alone judge his fitness… a 75% davies is better than 125% McCarty….

    (it was a weird feeling cheering for a goal produced by DC…… only under the circumstances… thats it)

  34. Eurosnob says:

    I was at the game and Charlie Davis looked very good. He actually scored 3 goals in less than 45 minutes, but one of them was disallowed due to an offside (a good call by the ref). He also had some good sequences that did not make the highlights like beating two defenders with a sequence that included a flip flop move, scissors, scissors. He held up the ball well to kill of time and frustrated Columbus defenders. It was just one game, but I liked what I saw.

  35. Rob says:

    May want to look that up….. Better luck next time.

  36. Rob says:

    I’m sorry rph, I forgot how pathetically fragil you lot are. If you try harder, next time you will get it. Please have a great day.

  37. wichin says:

    See his goals here

    link to sportsgrid.com

  38. Eurosnob says:

    Josh, not to bash Chad Marshall, but I would not award the “best player” title to a CB whose team surrendered 3 goals, particularly when he was directly at fault on one of them. I would agree that he was the best player for Columbus.

  39. Brad says:

    Could not be happier for Charlie. Show us what you are capable of CD9.

  40. dk says:

    This made me laugh out loud (although I checked and it appears critique can in fact be used as a verb also). Still, +1

  41. ThaDeuce says:

    HILARIOUS