What a wild ride. How is it possible that after all the injuries, all the mistakes, all the questionable decisions, and all the unlucky breaks, I can still go to mlsnet.com right now and see United currently in the playoffs? Pretty strange turn of events. It just seemed so fitting for this season to officially end on a stupid individual mistake that cost us a goal to a team that didn't deserve one. But no! DC came fighting back! And if this game is at all analogous to our season (and there's really no reason to believe that it is), then there's still hope for us yet.
1. Francis Doe scores big goals in big games. He impressed me tonight though even before his first goal. At the end of the first half, I was ready to say that we may have found our long term replacement for Jaime Moreno.
2. The decision by Tom Soehn to start Doe ahead of Moreno, and then bring Jaime on in the second half, turned out to be perfect. If Moreno, Doe, and Emilio all remain on the team next year, and are all healthy, I think this might be the dynamic we see more often going forward.
3. Devon McTavish and Marc Burch both had great games in defense. McTavish had his best game in a while and didn't miss a beat when having to switch from right back to center. Burch was solid in the back also, and had some pretty good free kick service.
4. I've been ragging on him and Vide too much lately, but Clyde Simms had a noticeably good game while wearing the captain's armband for the second week in a row.
1. Thabiso Khumalo and Luciano Emilio were a force for about 25 minutes in the first half, but disappeared most of the rest of the time. Khumalo definitely got the best of Khano Smith, which I always like to see, but his crosses still need some work before I'll be happy with him on the wing. Emilio created some good chances, but needs to get back into finishing mode. This is going to be way too boldly optimistic, but I think I could maybe see Emilio going on a scoring spree in the playoffs.
1. A bit of lazy marking by Gonzalo Martinez came pretty close to costing us the season. Not only did he keep Twellman onside on the goal, but he also hesitated before trying to catch up, allowing TT to be free on goal.
2. I certainly appreciate the effort, but Santino Quaranta had a poor match when it came to shooting. Pretty sure he didn't get one thing on target all night.
So where does that leave us in the playoff race? One point ahead of NY and KC, but with one less game to play. Let's hope that Columbus puts such a beating on the Red Bulls and their reserve goalkeeper this Saturday that the Crew have nothing left when they face us next week. I have a little bit less faith in the Earthquakes going against the Wizards, but we really only need one of those two teams to lose as long as we do get another win in our final match.
Oh yeah one more thing. I'll be in the bleachers for the Reserve match tomorrow, rain or shine, cheering our boys on. Anyone with me?