Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Dejected

I couldn't find the official box score online anywhere, so I'm just gonna estimate my own based on what I saw...

Shots on target: Pachuca - 42. United - 0.

Fouls committed: Pachuca - 2. United - 6323.

All things considered, a 2-0 final is maybe better than we deserved. We did have a lot of things working against us, so the team should not be completely dejected (like I am). It's hard to figure out how much of this loss was to blame on the altitude. And come to think of it, why is it only hard for a team from low-altitude to play in a locale with high-altitude? Shouldn't it also be difficult for a high-altitude team to play in low-altitude? Either way, next time around it will be Pachuca who has to play over the weekend and then fly across the country to play in an unfamiliar and unfriendly environment. And I bet THEIR team president won't foot the bill for a charter flight like ours did!


1. Gonzalo Martinez - I thought he played very well in the sweeper role. He's not the best passer, but he broke up a lot of plays, and was a lot of the reason why the score was only 2-0 and not 3 or 4-0.


1. Gonzalo Peralta - Ok he played well in defense. But I was really unhappy with his clearances, or were those passes? There were 3 or 4 times when we were trying to maintain possession, wound up passing the ball back to Burch or Martinez, he would pass it to the side to Peralta, and Peralta would just boot the ball forward. That's not the style of soccer I want the team to play.

2. Zach Wells - After the first half, I had Wells slotted in the "top shelf" category, or even as MOTM. But the first goal was a bit troubling. I don't like that the crowd was able to influence the referee into giving Wells a yellow card.


1. Franco Niell - Once again totally ineffective. Still holding out hope that he might be able to wreak havoc on MLS defenses coming on in the 75th minute, but he has yet to transition to perform well at this level.

2. Devon McTavish - After two of the best games of his life in the C-Cup, Devon laid a dud. I appreciate his newfound goal scoring touch. But what happened to that guy who made all those stand-up tackles in central defense that we all fell in love with last year?

3. Tom Soehn - I can't argue with any of the roster moves. He started the correct eleven players. Maybe he could have brought Dyachenko and Mediate in a couple minutes sooner, but I don't want to split hairs. My real complaint is the tactical decision to have Wells boot the ball out of the back every time he touched the ball. We were only maintaining possession of about 20% of those punts. Why not throw the ball out occasionally and let the midfield do their work?

How can consecutive 2-0 losses feel so completely different? Altogether, this isn't an entirely insurmountable lead. But it feels to me a lot like our 2-0 loss at Chicago in the playoffs last year. And I have a bad feeling that the home leg will be similar too, with a much-improved DC squad that will score a goal or two, but ultimately still come up short.

Ok to put this all in a different perspective. I still insist that the sky is NOT falling. DC United will still have a fine season in MLS play, in route to another high seed in the playoffs. BUT… That wasn't really the goal this year was it? And Soehn knows it, he's said it. The goal this year was to do well in international tournaments. I've said it before, but Ownership did not bring in Gallardo to win the Supporters' Shield. That's something we could have done with Gomez again. They brought in Gallardo with the intention of winning the Champions Cup and representing the continent in the World Club Championship. The rosy expectations about this season are fine, and I don't disagree with them. But is the whole season a disappointment if we don't advance?

This is depressing.

1 comment:

Catherine-Lucia said...

I didn't watch, so I can't make any really insightful comments. But I must say that I'm really not too dejected. To be honest, I've never been about the silverware, I've been about watching the beautiful game. United keeps it beautiful. That's all I care about. It sounds to me like they didn't pull it off in the first leg. Okay. We kick Toronto's butt this weekend and go on with a fresh attitude.