Sunday, July 20, 2008

Still not discouraged

To finish in last place in the tournament that we all had charted as our lowest priority this year isn't exactly a tragedy. It's a little bit disheartening, but not discouraging. Because I think the team played quite well, considering our current injury status and packed schedule. And I also think we showed more and maybe deserved better than the 3-1 loss last night and zero overall points in Superliga.

1. Alright so I'm starting to warm on Francis Doe. Two goals in two matches will do that. I think it took him a bit of time since arriving, but he's now settling in quite well with his new team. And he is quickly earning his spot in the regular starting rotation.

1. This was the game where you all finally got to see a bit of the attacking flare that I've loved about Ryan Cordeiro since I first saw him in the first Reserve match this year. Sadly though, that was overshadowed by his poor marking of Rico Clark on the first Houston goal.

2. He's still got a lot of room for improvement, and needs to be more aggressive, but this was probably the best I've seen out of Quavas Kirk. He missed a goal by about six inches.

3. And another rookie Pat Carroll looked pretty damn good and confident.

4. I like some of the things that Tom Soehn did in this match. It was good to see Cordeiro, Carroll, and Zaher. I was also hoping to see Thorpe and Murphy, but maybe next time. But is it possible that the team has been relying too heavily on some of the non-big-name starters lately like Burch, McTavish, Simms, and Namoff? These are guys who play the full 90 of virtually every outing, and between the Open Cup and Superliga, they've been stringing together a lot of minutes lately.

1. For letting up 8 goals in 3 matches, a bit of general criticism goes out to Zach Wells, Marc Burch, and Devon McTavish. Wells is admittedly improving, and it was mostly the marking to blame for the two set piece goals, but shouldn't a good keeper make one of those saves? It was McTavish's loose defending that allowed ol' Bobby Lightning to score. And where was Burch on either of the two set piece goals? Shouldn't our biggest defender have been marking Boswell?

2. This match also saw Luciano Emilio's hot streak come to a close. He is typically the guy on corner kicks who heads out balls that are struck too low, but failed to clear the first goal, and evidentally left that role absent on the second.

So I'm not taking this match and this tournament as the end of the world, like others would have you believe. The team fought hard, but they know they have to do better. It also gave them a couple of things to work on at practice. We'll see how different Tuesday's match turns out to be.

What I really liked though was the attacking effort of the last 20 minutes or so. Did you notice that all 6 of United's front players at that point are not our normal starters? If this was a Reserve match, you would likely have seen those 6 guys starting. And they dominated possession. That gives me just a little bit of hope for the future. I think that this current crop of reserves is our best in years. But that's a small consolation. Now if only our current starters could be our best in years too...

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