Friday, April 17, 2009

DC United tie vs NE Revolution, 1-1

I'm having a real hard time figuring out how to feel about this tie. The ending kind of makes it feel like a win. I can tell you with certainty that that was the loudest I've yelled at my tv this year with Benny scoring a goal in extra time. But apparently the recurring theme of the season to date is earning ties against teams that we are better than.

In the first 45 minutes, we had an absurd amount of possession in New England's half of the field. And unless you're Kenny Cooper, it's pretty hard to score when you can't even get the ball across the halfway line. United was better than the Revolution in every aspect of the field. Except for coaching, and except for goalkeeping. We'll get into each of those more in the player ratings.


1. Our domination in the first half was due mostly to our midfield, led by Clyde Simms and Ben Olsen. It's no coincidence that we ceased to dominate midfield in the second half when Simms came out. Olsen's fire and heart earned us a point in this match. I would pay good money to have heard exactly what Olsen said to Thompson after the goal. Whatever it was, it better have ended with either "boy" or "son".

2. This looked like Jaime Moreno's best match of the season. Even when playing the final 20 minutes with an injury, Moreno became the first player in league history to score 100 goals and 100 assists, and will probably be the only player to do that in the next 20 years.


1. Chris Pontius continues to find himself in excellent scoring position multiple times per match. But he needs to spend all of the next week practicing his finishing. Harkes is right - low to the far post.

2. I'm still unsure on where I stand on Christian Gomez. The team did a much better job at getting him the ball in this match, but his passes were just a step behind too often. Despite this, he created many good opportunities. Christian is good, but he could be better.

3. Contrasting with the first game of the season, Rodney Wallace had a good first half, and a poor second half. And there was a good reason for that. Wallace played on the left wing in the first, and at left back in the second. Even though he played left back in college at Maryland, he seems better in the midfield where his attacking skills can be utilized without exposing his inexperience in defense.


1. Kenny Mansally was Wallace's man, and Shalrie Joseph was Andrew Jacobson's man on New England's goal. Both were open. Jacobson didn't do much after entering for Simms in the second half.

2. I wrote the same thing about Zach Wells last season. Louis Crayton isn't usually at fault specifically on the goals that are scored on him, but that doesn't mean that he shouldn't occassionally save some of them. The Revs only had one good scoring opportunity all game, and they converted on it. Meanwhile, the other side had a keeper who's only started 2 games previously in the MLS, went undrafted two years go, and he came up with several difficult stops.

3. I'm not anywhere close to jumping on the "Fire Soehn" bandwagon yet this season, but I think Tom Soehn cost us two points tonight. The substitution of Jacobson for Simms was unfortunate, but may have been necessary due to Clyde's illness. But subbing out Marc Burch for Santino Quaranta at half time is inexcusable for a lot of reasons. First, it forced Wallace to play a position (left back) that he has never played as a pro. The 3-5-2 can only be effective when the back 3 act as a cohesive unit. That doesn't typically happen when one of them is playing out of position. Secondly, it left us with only one substitute remaining for the final 45 minutes with Gomez, Moreno, and Olsen all still in the match. And thirdly, after dominating the midfield in the second half, why change 40% of your midfield? Hindsight is 20/20, but I would also argue that Devon McTavish would have been a better addition than Jacobson. Lastly, Francis Doe singlehandedly won our last match against the Revs, and he wasn't even on the bench. When the team is struggling to score, Doe would make for a great second half sub.

While writing this post, I almost wrote "win" twice by mistake. So I guess it felt like a win. And after their first five games, DC United is sitting in the middle of the Eastern Conference, on the outskirts of playoff position. Not a terrible place to be, and pretty much just what we expected, but I can't help but think we could do so much better. Next week, we'll take a look back and introduce a new feature to the blog to put the season to date in a different perspective.

3 comments:

Shatz... said...

I just thought of something really interesting... If Soehn doesn't make two substitutions at halftime, then Moreno probably gets taken out in the 75th minute or so. If Moreno isn't in the match, then there's a pretty good chance that we DON'T score the last minute goal, because Fred or Quaranta taking that free kick instead of Moreno probably wouldn't have found Olsen at the back post so perfectly. So in a way, by making two substitutes at halftime and forcing Moreno to play 90, Tom Soehn is actually a genius???

jaywag86 said...

Genius? More like Lucky SOB. Maybe some of that karma that has been alluding us finally came our way.

Your sentiments toward the TV were magnified at RFK. At that moment, you would have thought that was the winning goal. I think everyone had resigned to the fact the we were going home losers.

Shatz... said...

Olsen's goal actually felt like the kind of magical moment that could cause a total shift in momentum and turn a season around. I wonder if it would have felt the same way if it were Pontius or Jacobson or someone else other than Olsen scoring.