Like was the case in the English champions’ 1-0 decision over Milan in Boston on July 24, Duff was only given a 45-minute run against DC United in Landover, Maryland, but made the most of it by canceling out Bobby Boswell’s surprise opener.
Four minutes after the defender had ghosted in to head in a corner, the left-footed wing wizard volleyed in Shaun Wright-Phillips’ cross from an acute angle (35th).
He’d taken a bow after half time when Argentine ace Hernan Crespo netted the winner (54th).
At the Meadowlands last Sunday, Duff went the distance against Milan, engaging Cafu, Brazil’s 2002 World Cup-winning skipper, in several battles on the left in what many an Irish fan in the 35,444-strong crowd might probably have been hoping was a sneak preview to Germany ’06.
Chelsea’s powerful Ivorian striker Didier Drogba broke the deadlock in what was otherwise a drab affair with a sterling goal (65th) that earned him Man of the Match honors.
However, Portuguese midfielder Rui Costa equalized with a curving shot that ricocheted off the far post and into the net (80th) after defender Robert Huth missed a header.
Although outstanding on the pitch, Duff, arguably Ireland’s best player last season, showed that public relations is not his forte.
He blew off reporters waiting to interview him after the Milan game, walking through the “mixed zone” interview area outside the Chelsea locker room without breaking his stride.
“He doesn’t do much press,” explained Helen Wood, Chelsea’s chief press officer whose overtures to talk to the Echo and Irish Examiner he rejected.