Gaucho defense plays well in 1-0 loss to D.C. United

Charlie Davies of D.C. United moves the ball up field against UCSB defender James Kiffe.

The Killer B’s came off the bench and combined on the game-winner for D.C. United in a soccer exhibition against UCSB on Tuesday night.

Second-half sub Blake Brettschneider finished a cross from Brandon Barklage in the 81st minute to lift the Major League Soccer club to a 1-0 win over the Gauchos before an estimated 1,000 fans at Harder Stadium.

Brettschneider has been the hottest goal-scorer for D.C. United during its Southern California preseason training camp. He scored two goals on Sunday in a win over the Ventura County Fusion at Oxnard College.

“What’s impressive is that he has three goals in 25 minutes,” D.C. United coach Ben Olsen said. “We haven’t been giving him many minutes, and he keeps coming in and scoring. That’s what you want to do when you are trying to make a team.”

UCSB alum Chris Pontius leaps to control the ball in the first half against UCSB.

Asked about the narrow victory, “I guess it’s a result, it was a good exercise for us today,” Olsen said “[UCSB] is very good, they have a lot of good young talent and they were very impressive. I’m looking forward to watching them next year.”

Tuesday’s game was a homecoming for former UCSB All-American Chris Pontius, a midfielder/forward for D.C. United.

Pontius got to play against his younger brother, Tim Pontius, a junior defender for the Gauchos. Tim Pontius led a solid defensive performance by UCSB. He hustled all over the back line to help his teammates cover speedy and technical forwards like Andy Najar, Joseph Ngwenya and Charlie Davies.

“He got the better of me tonight — D.C. needs to sign him up,” Chris Pontius said of his brother “He played well, he knows all of my moves. There’s no way he’s falling for that cutback anymore.”

Chris Pontius, a member of UCSB’s 2006 national championship team, moved well with and without the ball but had few good scoring chances.

The Gauchos, who got in four days of practice before the game, put some pressure on D.C. United’s defense in the first half. Forward Sam Garza beat a defender on the dribble, cut the ball back and got off a clean shot that was saved by 43-year-old goalkeeper Pat Onstad.

Later, Josue Madueno got behind the defense and shot just wide of the far post.

“I thought our first half against their first team was good,” UCSB coach Tim Vom Steeg. “Second half, they bring in 11 fresh guys, and I knew we’d get to  minute 70, then we’d start to run out of gas. Every guy I was bringing on didn’t play last year.”

Early in the second half, David Opoku broke in on goal but was denied by substitute Joe Willis, who was the goalkeeper of the Denver team the Gauchos beat at Harder Stadium in the first round of  the NCAA Tournament last fall.

D.C. United had the better run of play for the majority of the second half, but the Gauchos hung tough against the four-time MLS champs

“For us, what we wanted to do was compete, work hard and obviously keep them in front,” Vom Steeg said. “Certainly we defended more than we normally have. 2nd half we kind of got tired.”

Pontius tries to control a ball forward with his head


  1. Bill Watkins says