Friday, May 30, 2008

Scaping the goats once again

Good game. But then again, games between these two rivals usually are.

I think I lost a bit of respect for New England tonight though. It was as if Nicol told a couple chumps like Larentowicz, Cristman, and Smith at half time: "Just throw your bodies around. Hack some dudes! The ref won't call it. Who cares if you injure somebody!" Not a bad strategy considering Okulaja was at the post, but that's not really what I want our little league to be about. And I'm sure the Revs don't want to be considered the Philadelphia Flyers of the MLS.

I'll keep my player reviews brief because I want to get into some deeper issues later on...

1. I haven't mentioned him in a while, but it was the play of Clyde Simms that brought us the early lead and he really did well in the midfield as we dominated possession in the first half.

1. A bit of an up and down game for Fred. He got the well-placed goal early in the second half, but it was his failed clearance that led to Cristman's goal shortly afterward.

1. Santino Quaranta looked like the weak link to me tonight. Watch the replay of Dube's goal if you dare, or just take my word for it that Larentowicz was Quaranta's man and got by him cleanly to earn the assist.

In the end, two things stood out to me tonight. Two striking differences between these teams. They're both similar, and they're related to the two biggest scapegoats who have seen the most criticism this year: Zach Wells and Tom Soehn. The two big things that stood out to me that kept New England in this game were (1) the oustanding play of Matt Reis and (2) the changes made by Steve Nicol. While I don't think that United's failure to earn the win can be called Soehn's fault or Wells's fault, I'm also really tired of saying that things aren't their fault. Both can be deemed adequate, but nothing more. The fact is that I have never seen Zach Wells play well enough where I'd be able to say "Boy, Wells sure kept us in that one" like Revolution fans are all saying about Matt Reis tonight. And I've never seen Tom Soehn make tactical changes during the course of the game that made me say "Boy, Soehn really deserves credit for this victory" like can be said about many other coaches.

Tonight, DC had better forwards than NE, better midfielders, and better defenders. But we did not have a better goalkeeper, and we do not have a better coach. If Wells and Soehn are adequate, then I guess adequacy will occassionally earn you ties on the road against good teams when your field players are up to the task. But it won't earn wins.

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