Due to a limited budget, I haven't made it to too many United games this year, but this was a game that I feel was probably much better to watch in person than on tv. Good atmosphere at RFK as always (and the lights stayed on!), but it seemed like less attendance than usual. All in all, a pretty exciting game, including a frantic final 10 minutes that had my usually quiet section standing throughout.
1. Credit goes as usual to Jaime Moreno and Luciano Emilio for the second goal. Most of the stadium was yelling for Jaime to shoot, but instead he lays the perfect touch to Luchi for the goal.
1. Ok so Francis Doe can score. That's not something we tend to take lightly around here, but I still see where all the Kpene comparisons are coming from. Sometimes Doe has a tendency to try to outdo himself. He needs to learn that the cheeky backpass or the underside-of-the-foot-flick is not always necessary; that sometimes the better option is a simple trap and pass or a through ball. Doe has good vision, but his talent lets him down sometimes, and he isn't always on the same page as the rest of the team. Um... nice goal though.
2. At least I'm not the only one eating his words about Craig Thompson. I'll give in that his positioning and tactical decision making is greater than Moose's. I'd still like to see him lose the ball a bit less though.
3. One month later, I totally get what Fullback meant about seeing Fred play in person. He works a lot harder off the ball than comes across on tv, tracks back well, and is often making a run that isn't always rewarded. Seeing it live, I personally thought Fred played well, yet I'm also not at all surprised to find the rash of comments against him on the Insider. After seeing this game, I totally disagree with those who would suggest that Fred should be our starting CAM whenever Gallardo is injured. With Olsen out and McTavish permanently in central defense, Fred is the only player we've got who is good at making dangerous runs from the outside.
1. A poor game from Marc Burch, clearly not fully comfortable in his role in central defense against a team whose only offensive weapon is the counterattack. I could put Martinez, McTavish, and Namoff down here too for overall poor team defending, but each of these three made a couple of good tackles as well. Burchy didn't.
2. What more is there to say about Rod Dyachenko? I guess just that it's unfortunate that he is having his worst year as a professional in his third season with the club.
As far as gauging where we stack up against the Mexican clubs, I'm still unsure. I think we were better than Chivas and Atlante at creating opportunities, and even though we lost both matches, I think our attack as a whole was better than theirs. But the Mexican clubs are much more organized, and defend better as a team. They are so quick to pressure our players when trying to just maintain possession in the midfield. And at times when DC is content to pass the ball around the opponent's third, waiting for the perfect chance, Atlante was also waiting for the perfect chance - the perfect chance to touch the ball away and quickly counterattack, thereby taking advantage of our slower defenders, which turned out to be our weakness tonight. We failed in the Superliga, but given an entire season to play in the Primera Division, United may fall into the upper half of the table, but would most likely not be championship contenders.
Ah well. I had Superliga below Open Cup on my priority list, given what is at stake. So now Saturday's match against Houston can be treated as if it were a Reserve division match. It will be nice to see James Thorpe get a chance between the posts, and maybe some of our other youngsters like Murphy, Barlow, and Zaher will get a chance with the "first team". I also liked some of the teamwork and chemistry I saw between Cordeiro and Quaranta, and hope to see more of that developing.
And as I write this, I hear Lindsay Czarniak saying that United's Superliga chances are "virtually over". Well if Lindsay says it, then I certianly can't argue.