Just got finished watching the match immediately following my three hour drive home from Virginia Beach. At least I should say I just got finished watching 81 minutes of the match. I missed the rest thanks to the lights at RFK delaying the match past 10:00 pm. What's with that anyway? That's just embarassing. Anyway...
1. Luciano Emilio was once again the best player wearing a United uniform in this match. Trouble was that he was being marked by the best player wearing a Chivas uniform. Emilio still managed to score one goal and create many other scoring chances. I really hope he didn't just play his heart out in this match as a sort of audition for the Mexican league next year.
1. I thought the two young Americans Devon McTavish and Marc Burch played adequately well in central defense. Neither were at fault for either goal, and both were involved in solid scoring opportunities on the other end. Why can't Burchy get the ball on frame when shooting free kicks during games that are actually televised?
2. Zach Wells had another good game, although still not a clean sheet. With Peralta out, this was the first match where Wellsy actually looked like the leader of the defense.
3. I didn't like the starting lineup that Tom Soehn utilized, but I did like the changes. His halftime lineup is probably what we should have started the match with.
1. Rod Dyachenko started out the match by averaging one giveaway every five minutes. That ratio dropped slightly after the first 20 minutes, but only because the team stopped passing him the ball. Don't get me wrong. I like Rod. But I like him only as a roleplayer. I like him coming on in support of Moreno or Gallardo in the 75th minute to provide some aggression and energy in relief of tired legs. I don't like him as a starting CAM.
2. This was my first time seeing Craig Thompson. He gave the ball away too many times too. He seems to be a speedy, hard-working, short right winger. But not quite as speedy, as hard-working or as short as Justin Moose. So if we were looking for that type of player to fill a role on the right wing, why is Thompson here when Moose is gone?
Overall, this was an exciting game, and certainly not one to feel bad about losing. This wasn't like the Pachuca road match earlier in the year when we lost after getting dominated and not generating any opportunities. We certainly had opportunities, with two struck posts, and a penalty kick that was left unconverted only due to a fantastic save. This game served to prove that one of the best teams in MLS in midseason form is basically on par with one of the average teams of the Mexican top division in preseason form. That might be a bit unfair to United, but I'd like to see them win on Tuesday night before I say anything better.
As for the lineup, I think we need to try something slightly different on Tuesday. Praying that Peralta is healthy enough to play, I'd like to see McTavish moved back up to right wing again. He's had some success there in international competitions before! And I liked Doe/Emilio up front with Moreno behind them much more than I liked Dyachenko's tenuousness.