Sunday, August 31, 2008

When did the Red Bulls get good?

Who ever said that 0-0 matches aren't exciting? That had to be the most competitive match between these two clubs in a couple years. Usually we dominate these matches, and the last one against the Red Bulls should be thrown out, but I can't think of a time we've ever played them to a scoreless draw. But I was pretty surprised by the score, even after Moreno's uncharacteristic penalty kick miss in the 80th, I still felt that this game was not going to end scoreless. Especially with Gallardo on the field.

1. That was probably the best game in a United uniform for Joe Vide. He is all effort, all the time. And was one of our best attacking options for most of the match.

2. Even when switching to the middle, Bryan Namoff was our best defender in yet another shutout. I'm starting to like him in the middle. As our veteran defender, he should be the one to step up and be the leader in the back, and this is the first season that I'm starting to see that from him.

3. Another good performance by Marc Burch. I think most of us were more scared of Dane Richards than anyone else going in, but Burch kept him at bay for the entire first half.

1. That would be Louis Crayton's third shutout in four matches, but this one gets credited more to the back line than the keeper. Crayton's positioning was excellent and he made 2 key saves, but he was beaten once by Angel on a shot that went just inches wide from a tough angle, and he is likely to give someone in RFK a heart attack by the end of the year the way he dribbles out of the box.

2. Santino Quaranta looked dangerous last night, and controlled the ball well. As our only real attacking midfielder for most of the match though, I'd like to see him distribute more instead of taking sometimes unnecessarily long shots. But I did like how he immediately seemed to take a more defensive approach as soon as Gallardo came on.

1. Clearly he's not fit enough to play 90 minutes, or even 45, but I didn't see enough effort out of Francis Doe in this match. Just before Doe came out, there was one cross from Vide to him in the middle that I'm fairly sure Emilio would have scored on.

2. Not that he played poorly per se, but Ivan Guerrero was not a factor in this match.

Where does this leave us going into the Open Cup final on Wednesday? We might have lost Emilio, but it looks like we've got back Gallardo. If he shows up motivated, Marcelo Gallardo should be able to run all over a USL side. My only worry is who he will pass to without Looch. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that Emilio will be able to give it a go for at least a half. But regardless of who our attackers are, after the last 4 matches, I'm starting to get pretty confident in our defense. This could be another low scoring match, but with Crayton and Namoff around, I'm feeling pretty good about our chances.

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