I missed this match in favor of a family function, so the notes below are purely based on highlight clips, news articles, blog posts, and fan comments. What's worse, my DVR inexplicably failed to record the USA WCQ match too.
When I opened up the laptop this morning and saw that the result was a 1-1 tie, I was satisfied. Missing 5 starters against the team that's the favorite to win the MLS Cup this year, a point is a decent result. But then after seeing that we dominated possession for most of the match, and had a great number of opportunities, a tie feels like it could have been so much more.
1. Even though he may have disappeared for a good part of the second half, Luciano Emilio's early strike was well taken and fantastically placed.
2. When so many fans on Goff's blog are calling for United to get the ball to Chris Pontius more often, and Tom Soehn is saying "I don't think we used him as much as we could have", I'm thinking this kid has a real bright future.
1. Josh Wicks definitely could have done better at stopping Nyarko's goal, and his fumbling of a long range shot in the final minutes almost cost us the match. Other than that though, he seemed fairly competent. But I'm ready for Crayton to return hopefully next week.
2. The highlight of the match may have been Ben Olsen knocking over Chicago's fragile DP shortly after he entered the match, and then yelling at the referee to watch Blanco's diving. Now that's leadership!
1. Dejan Jakovic was our biggest liability in this match. He failed to knock Nyarko off the ball on the goal, had too many giveaways, and was involved in some other defensive breakdowns.
2. Was Christian Gomez actually in uniform for this match? I saw his name listed in the lineup, but didn't see him in any of the highlights.
In general though, this actually looks like a pretty good team. Am I right? For some reason, I'm feeling much better about our chances this year than I felt for most of the previous season. The returns of Fred, Quaranta, Janicki, and McTavish will be a huge help, and Soehn is going to have some real tough decisions to make when he's got all of our regulars available. How do you bench Pontius after the opening he's had? I'm also thinking that we may see Jakovic fall behind Janicki, McTavish, and Burch on the defensive depth chart in no time.