Portsmouth FC played DC United yesterday, but had to wear United's white away kit because their kits got lost in transit. It was a bad day for Pompey, as if they don't have enough problems already.
As for DC United, they finally won...unfortunately it doesn't count for much. Their MLS season is sucking bad.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Portsmouth FC has suffered through ownership turmoil, financial meltdown, relegation from the English Premier League and a massive exodus of star players over the past year. Now it seems that luck has even deserted them on their preseason tour of North America, as they were run ragged by D.C. United on Saturday night in a 4-0 shellacking keyed by Danny Allsopp’s hat trick.
Having already endured a spate of injuries and a grueling, cross-continental travel itinerary, Pompey were stranded in Chicago by weather delays on Friday night as they flew from Edmonton, Canada to Washington. And their kits were lost in transit as well, forcing them to wear United road uniforms as they sweltered in a D.C. summer heat wave that kept the heat index at or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit well into the evening at RFK Stadium.
The star-crossed English side committed foul after foul as they chased a D.C. side in midseason form, resulting in five cautions and three ejections from referee Jorge Gonzalez as both teams were left irritated and fatigued by the end of the affair.
United drew first blood in the 21st minute after a delightful turn by winger Boyzzz Khumalo left Portsmouth defender Matthew Ritchie clutching at the South African’s shorts as he motored by, resulting in a booking from referee Jorge Gonzalez and a free kick that D.C. used to maximum effect.
Argentinean striker Pablo Hernandez curled in an excellent left-footed delivery that was met by Allsopp’s glancing header at the far post, stranding Portsmouth goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown and giving United an early advantage.
Pompey should have leveled eight minutes later when former England international David Nugent met a left-wing cross at the near post, only to somehow skew his shot beyond the opposite side of Troy Perkins’ goal.
United doubled their lead on the half-hour mark on a quick counterattack keyed by Branko Boskovic’s deep, searching ball to Quaranta, who centered for Allsopp at the top of the box. Despite a poor first touch, the Australian powered through the challenge of Marc Wilson and flicked the ball past Ashdown with the outside of his right boot to run the score to 2-0.
Nugent’s difficulties deepened in the 37th minute when he slipped past the D.C. defense only to see his close-range shot blocked by Perkins and when Julius James beat him to the rebound and poked it away, Nugent kicked the nearby advertising hoardings in frustration.
Whether it was pride, the personalities involved or simply the scorching heat, the ‘friendly’ soon took on a surprisingly chippy tone. Portsmouth captain Michael Brown was cautioned by referee Jorge Gonzalez for persistent infringement at the end of the first half and his teammates grew equally foul-prone as the night wore on.
Less than ten minutes into the second stanza, Quaranta quarreled with Hayden Mullin over an off-the-ball challenge and the row grew so heated that they apparently spat at one another, prompting an aggrieved Gonzalez to show the red card to both players.
But that ill-tempered exchange was quickly followed by a beautiful passing sequence from the home side for the third goal of the night.
Hernandez bewitched three Pompey defenders with some magnificent footwork some 25 yards out from Ashdown’s goal, then fed Jordan Graye on an overlapping run down the left. The rookie fullback’s cross was skillfully flicked on by guest player Junior Carreiro – brother of Philadelphia Union midfielder Fred – to Boskovic at the far post, who centered to a late-arriving Hernandez for a simple tap-in in the 54th minute.
Allsopp was one member of the Black-and-Red who seemed to thrive on the English tourists’ physical approach and after missing several chances in the early part of the second half, he notched his hat trick with a breakaway goal in the 65th minute. The big striker kept his cool as Ashdown advanced and three Pompey defenders closed in, slotting his finish underneath the Portsmouth netminder to run the tally to 4-0.
That scoreline stood up as the final as Gonzalez blew his final whistle after nary a second of injury time, allowing both sides to retreat to the sanctuary of their air-conditioned locker rooms and cap a surreal evening at RFK.