Thursday, June 18, 2009

DC United tie at Seattle Sounders, 3-3

"What an advertisement this has been for Major League Soccer here tonight". I heard Glenn Davis speak that line twice during the broadcast, once in the 68th minute on ESPN2, and once before the game was being shown on television (thanks At first I was thinking that that was a terribly hypocritical thing to say. That if ESPN really wanted to advertise MLS, they might think about broadcasting the entire game. But then I realized that ESPN was just thinking of that literally. They treated this match as if it were nothing but "an advertisement". It was 11:55pm ET when ESPN2 joined this game in progress. That's when cable stations are usually showing Paid Programming right? But then later from Allen Hopkins I heard "This is exactly what MLS was hoping for." Really? MLS was hoping ESPN2 would only show 30 minutes of this match?

And that's really a shame. A high scoring match between the two most exciting teams in MLS, playing in undoubtedly the stadium with the best atmosphere in MLS, is the type of match that should be shown in HD in primetime on national television. It's a shame that ESPN doesn't agree. With hockey and basketball done for the year, and the NFL still a couple months away, sports fans are dying for something exciting to watch. The College World Series doesn't qualify. It would really be in ESPN's best interest to treat soccer as if it were a major sport, but I don't see this country's perception of soccer changing until the media's coverage of soccer changes.

OK let's actually talk about the match some. I'll be honest, I actually went into this one expecting a loss. After an emotional victory over the supposed best team in the league Chicago last week, I figured it would be hard to keep up that momentum. And I was right for most of this match. But then... In the match that concludes the first half of United's 2009 campaign, as we've seen so many times already this season, we stormed back. Thanks to some continuous pressure up top, Sigi's decision to take his foot off the pedal, and a little bit of luck.

1. Right now Christian Gomez is playing the best he's played in two years. Here's hoping that he is healthy enough to start on Saturday. He sure looked like he will be.

2. Chris Pontius was our only attacker who looked dangerous for all 90 minutes.

3. What a perfect cross by Santino Quaranta to set up Pontius's goal. That would be his 6th assist of the season, putting him in second place in the league, and just 1 behind Brad Davis.

1. I think it might be time to start counting the number of points that we owe to Josh Wicks. I count 1 in the tie against RSL, 2 in the win against Chicago, and now 1 tonight. Wicks could have done better on the second goal, but didn't have much of a chance on the other two. He had several great saves to keep us in it.

1. Dejan Jakovic and Marc Burch seemed to feed off each other's mistakes. This was the worst performance by the DC defense this season, by far. These two need to wash their memories of this match quickly, because I'm expecting much better this weekend.

2. The link between the defense and midfield was missing tonight. That would be Clyde Simms and Andrew Jacobson. After this match, I'm officially moving Devon McTavish up above Jacobson on my depth chart.

3. I didn't like Tom Soehn's lineup from the start. I figured that if Ben Olsen is healthy enough to play only one out of the two games this week, it should be this one. And we definitely missed his leadership out there tonight. But my bigger issue with Soehn was bringing in N'Silu when Fred had to come off, instead of just making a straight swap with Gomez. I understand occassionally resting Gomez, but if the plan was to bring him on at some point in the second half, why not just move that up instead of wasting a sub?

4. And speaking of that wasted sub, Ange N'Silu was rarely involved in this match, and when he was, he was usually giving the ball away. United has a recent history of cutting its reserve forwards after each season (Addlery, Kpene, Doe), and I doubt 2009 will be any different with N'Silu.

So that's twice as many Rail as Top Shelf players in a road draw? Seems sort of odd, but then again, this point was a bit of a gift. And this is an important stretch of the season where we've got 3 matches in 8 days, and Chicago has none. With the chance to increase our lead in the East, what was the most points we could expect from this two game road trip? 4? 3? Well we're on our way towards that.


Jeremy said...

Don't be quite so harsh on ESPN. The lateness of the broadcast was due to the game being on the west coast. Also, the baseball game SHOULD have been over by 10:30 (they were in the bottom of the ninth at 10).

I wish that they would have moved the match to ESPN... The match WAS in HD as well. Although I agree, then the match finally came on and he said that about an advertisement, I was thinking "What use is an advertisement that no one sees?"

It also seems to me that your recap is being colored by your frustration over the broadcast. I thought that this was an excellent match. Seattle was playing some of the best soccer that they have played since week 1 and United were giving it right back. Even only watching the final 20, this truly was one of the most entertaining matches of the year.

Jakovic did an excellent job of tackling balls away from Zakuani late in the match, even though he had to be tired by then. Not sure what happenned earlier.

Dr Dave said...

Baseball is extremely boring (I watched a replay of the NCAA women's rugby final, switching over to the baseball game after it ended), but that CWS game last night was orders of magnitude more exciting than any soccer game ever played. MLS should never be shown on ESPN. I'd rather them bring back Celebrity Skeet Shooting.

sitruc said...

Yet you visited a DC United website, Dr Dave...

Anonymous said...

Ben Olsen on turf? I don't think so.

Shatz... said...

Jeremy- You're probably right that my frustration/disappointment in ESPN may have clouded my review. Along with tiredness/crankiness attributed to the timestamp of my post. So maybe I was a bit too harsh on Simms and Jacobson. But from when I found the game online (around minute 30) through the 50th minute, that was the worst performance I've seen from Jakovic yet. Our defense was TERRIBLE in the first half.

I don't blame ESPN for the baseball game running late. Worst case scenario, the game should have been over by 10:30. But when it was clear that the game was not going to be over in time, switching the MLS match over onto ESPN Classic would have been a simple solution.

Dr. Dave- I might not follow celebrity skeet shooting as much as I should, but I can tell you what I would watch - Skeet shooting celebrities!

Soccer Uniforms said...

Base ball is really a boring game and it bored more when have to wait. I think it was start late because of west cost.but your recap is really a nice effort.