Sunday, May 17, 2009

DC United tie at Chivas USA, 2-2

Before this match, Bretos and Sullivan were discussing that this might be a potential MLS Cup matchup. And this game didn't really disappoint. You just hate to see such a good match decided by some poor officiating. How come we don't ever see poor officiating in our favor anyway?

DC United showed some heart once again here to be able to come back in the final minutes. Chivas looked like the better team for much of the match, but they really only deserved one of their goals, so 2-2 is a fair result. No one should be surprised that DC United scored more goals on Chivas than any other team has this season. But how come DC continues to allow so many goals to less than stellar offensive opponents?


1. After a really poor first half with a lot of giveaways, it was great to see Santino Quaranta take over in the second, including an assist to Emilio, a goal from 25 yards out, and a salute to his new baby boy.

2. Ah the return of the predator Luciano Emilio. Both of my top shelf guys here were penciled in my rail category after the first half, but scoring goals against the best defensive team in the league is a good way to get yourself out of the cellar.


1. Not a good starting lineup by Tom Soehn, but he redeemed himself because the Fred and Gomez substitutes both paid off. I was not a fan of the 3-2-2-2-1 formation, and the decision to start Olsen when he must have clearly been injured left us short a sub.

2. The more I watch Dejan Jakovic, the more he looks like a top level MLS center back. Yet we give up two or more goals in virtually every match. It sure feels like our back line is better than what we had last year, but that isn't showing in our goal's against column.


1. The rookie of the year candidate Chris Pontius looked terrible in the first half, and was rightfully replaced by Fred at the break.

2. Our biggest problem in the first half was a lack of linkage between the backline and the attacking midfielders. For that, I partially blame our holding midfielders Clyde Simms and Andrew Jacobson. This changed in the second half once Fred and Gomez entered the match.

But the bigger problem overall is our defense. As my comments on Jakovic above indicate, something needs to change on our backline. Even though so many goals given up seem to be from a lucky bounce or poor officiating, we can't keep making excuses, and someone needs to step up.

I'm still not sold on the 3-5-2 being our best formation. It makes sense for this team if only because we have so many good offensive players that you don't want to take another one off the field to make room for a defender. But at the same time, Janicki and McTavish don't deserve to sit on the bench the whole season. Either one of them would match up real well next to Jakovic in a back four. Soehn's excuse to implement the back three before the season was that we'd had a lot of changes, so less players actually improves communication. At this point in the season, communication and chemistry should no longer be an issue. I think it's time to give a traditional 4-4-2 lineup a try, even if only for just a week.

2 comments:

Fullback said...

I think part of the reason the midfield looked better in the second half was that Chivas were ceding us time and space in order to protect what they had, and we just generally seemed fresher (part and parcel of having a deeper team that's able to rotate in quality bodies?).

Also, you know I agree completely about having Janicki paired with Jakovic in the center of a back four, but McTavish? Really? Didn't we see enough of his inadequacy in the center of defense last year? At right back if Namoff can't go or needs a rest? Yes, absolutely. Not so sure about the center.

Shatz... said...

I'll grant you that Namoff-Janicki-Jakovic-Burch would be our best back four, but with what we've seen from Soehn so far this year, it seems like he doesn't like just using one guy at very many positions. So if we switched to a back four, I could definitely see McTavish in the rotation at center back.