Sunday, May 18, 2008

Outplayed and outcoached

I'm slowly starting to calm down enough to admit that that was a pretty exciting and fast-paced game. But for United it was again a tale of two very different halves. Or maybe I should say a tale of the first 30 minutes and the last 60 minutes. Preki made tactical changes at halftime that clearly worked. Tom Soehn made the tactical change of deciding to sit back and try to preserve a 1-0 victory for 60 minutes against a team with some good attacking players. He decided that it would be best to play a possession game, even though his possessing midfielder wasn't 100%.

1. I considered leaving this space blank again, but Marcelo Gallardo does deserve some recognition for his goal. He's still learning to play with the 'Merricons around him. Which is hard to do when you're on the ground most of the match. Although Blanco doesn't seem to have the same problem.

1. At the end of the first half, I thought that Gonzalo Martinez was having his best game of the season. The 4-4-2 formation was really allowing him to use his speed to get forward into the midfield. He was aggressive as hell and held his own against Harris for most of the match. But he missed a crucial stop on Chivas's second goal, which could have cost the team the match, and I'm not sure that he crossed the center line once in the second half.

2. After being specifically called out by management and the coaching staff last week, I thought Santino Quaranta put out a much stronger and more energetic performance tonight.

1. Domenic Mediate looked like... well... he looked like a right midfielder who was forced to play center back. I guess we shouldn't have expected much better? I was really disappointed to see Mediate standing around with his hand up calling for offsides on the third goal instead of marking his man. I hate that! Does a player calling for offsides ever actually influence a referee?

2. I really think that we might need to put to rest the idea of bringing in Rod Dyachenko as the first substitute in midfield every match. All year he has looked to be one second too slow every time he has to make a decision. This leads to a lot of fouls and a lot of giveaways. I understand that Gallardo isn't fit enough yet to go 90 minutes, but I'm at the point where I'd rather see Stratford than Dyachenko.

3. I was all ready to come on here and give Tom Soehn props for putting together a good starting lineup that played really pretty well for 30 minutes. But that's about as far as it went. Because the tactical decision to sit back and defend a single goal lead has NEVER WORKED in this league.

So we might as well start the countdown. If this persists, and there's no reason to believe that anything will change over the next few days, it will be exactly one week from today that Tom Soehn will be out of a job. That's Sunday May 25. And that will already be too late.

One more thing... All of the fouling on Gallardo isn't going to stop anytime soon. And that's because the opposing teams know that they can get away with it. That would NEVER happen with Ben Olsen on the field! Atiba Harris's second foul on Gallardo wouldn't have happened, because Olsen would have already shoved him to the ground after the first foul. We need a player to step up and fill that enforcer role. Early in the year it looked like that would be Peralta, and sometimes I think that it might be Burch, but he draws yellow cards too easily.

Ugh. It's hard to lay your heart on the line for a team that doesn't have one.

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