Sunday, February 22, 2009

The preseason to date

With 3 preseason games behind us (the 4-1 loss to Vejle Boldklub, the 2-1 win over Columbus, and the 2-1 win over Puerto Rico) and 3 more to go, let's take a look at what we've learned.

Here's what I care about in the preseason:
1. Who played well
2. Who played where

Here's what I don't care about:
1. Who played when
2. The final score

So with that in mind, here's some observations from the preseason to date.

1. DC United has a wealth of good options at forward, and with the return of Christian Gomez, should be one of the top scoring teams in the league. New signing Ange N'Silu has played at least a half in all three matches, including scoring the only goal in the Vejle loss. With Moreno and Emilio set to start, and N'Silu, Doe, and Pontius coming off the bench, United has a good number of goal scorers.

2. With so many forwards on the roster, it seems likely that Chris Pontius and Thabiso Khumalo will see more time on the wings. Pontius played a half at right mid yesterday, and a full 90 at left mid in the opening match. Khumalo failed to see action yesterday, but played a half at right mid in each of the first two matches. Also, for those of us who used to enjoy seeing Quaranta playing the withdrawn forward role, that won't happen much in 2009 with Tino appearing set to be our starter on the right side of midfield.

3. The backup goalkeeper job is still up for grabs. Most of us thought that Milos Kocic was a lock to wrap up this position, and maybe even supplant Crayton as the starter at some point in the season. But DC is continuing to bring in more trialists to compete, including Nic Platter who played the full match between the pipes, giving up only a PK goal yesterday. Kocic has given up 4 goals this preseason, compared to only 2 by Thorpe, and 1 by Platter.

4. The starting defense is set. Straight from the mouth of Kevin Payne, "Namoff, Burch, McTavish and Janicki have all come into camp in great shape and seem intent on ensuring that no one takes their job!" With the probability that we won't be acquiring any new foreign talent until the summer, this will be our starting lineup, with only the backup positions up for grabs, with Dominic Mediate, Kyle Veris, Mamadou Danso, Anthony Peters, Mike Zaher, and Ryan Miller all competing for roster spots.

5. I'm starting to like our chances of competing this year. I expect Columbus and Chicago to once again be the best teams in the East, but even our mediocre backline is no worse than that of New York, Kansas City, and a Parkhurst-less New England. And our offsense is probably better.

4 comments:

Fullback said...

The difference between our backline-strengthening and the Crimson Cows is that we're interviewing kids from tiny colleges while they're bringing in professionals.

Who knows, maybe you're right--maybe we can get away with a rotating crew of youngsters fighting for the cause, but at the moment, I don't see a legitimate central defender on this roster.

Janicki looked alright in a handful of matches last year, McTavish is good in midfield but worrying in the center of defense, and . . . we've got a crew of physical specimens on trial, only one of which has professional experience.

I don't see much to be hopeful about there.

Jeremy said...

Bah...

Ignore Fullback's pessimism. He's apparently been a life long Redskins fan and thus resist being excited in the preseason because he is expecting the other shoe to fall.

I am excited!!! Dangerously excited! I don't even have a good reason for it, except that the massively over-hyped Argentinian will no longer be screwing up the team chemistry.

If the team can develop a single leader on defense, this team can really go places. Even if we do end up giving up a bunch of goals, the offense this year should be able to make up for it.

Shatz... said...

Oh but I am the one who is the lifelong Redskins fan! And therefore it is in my blood to think we are going to win the super bowl every year, only to be let down around week 2.

Fullback said...

What are these "Redskins" you speak of? ;-)