This 1-0 win reminded me a bit of another 1-0 win less than a week ago against the Wizards. United was clearly the better team, and our defense did well in shutting down some opportunities, but a big part of the victory can also be attributed to a weaker team failing to get any quality shots on target. You could say that they fredded away all their chances. Meanwhile, DC went up early on a converted penalty kick but failed to score for the rest of the match.
For only traveling to T&T with 16 players, Soehn apparently decided to take this match seriously because we started the 11 best players we had. But with several guys playing outside their best positions, they were not able to leverage their talents into very much chemistry.
1. He disappeared for long stretches of the match, but Christian Gomez scored our only goal, almost scored another on a header only kept out by a pretty good save from the SJJ keeper, and should have had an assist when he found Shipalane in space late in the match.
2. Clyde Simms was once again the more competent of our two central defenders. So with Wallace filling in at CDM adequately, and Olsen and Jacobson now both healthy enough to share time, what are the chances that Simms will remain in central defense even after Jakovic returns from injury? A Simms/Jakovic combination might have the highest soccer IQ of any other central defense in the league. It's definitely something to consider heading into the final playoff run, and would at least cut down on the mental errors that we've seen from James.
3. Devon McTavish reminds me sometimes of a poor man's Namoff. He made some good defensive plays, sent in some excellent crosses, and pops up in the box every once in a while with a chance on goal. It would have been easy to assume that McTavish was playing RM for how much ground he covered on that side of the field, and he was often more involved in the attack than Szetela.
1. Some tense moments due to the play of Milos Kocic, Julius James, and Avery John. Kocic is a competent shot-stopper, but he struggles with his decision-making. James and John each had too many giveaways, but were very good defensively to help us preserve the clean sheet.
2. It's not his best position, but Chris Pontius filled the left wing role very well. He ran at defenders, and also got back defensively when necessary. I see no reason why Fred should start at LM while Pontius is on the bench ever again.
1. For all the fans who have been calling for Danny Szetela to start, do you still think this guy is our future? I don't want to put too much weight on a single performance since he hasn't played a meaningful game in several weeks, but this match certainly did not give me the impression that Soehn was wrong to bench him. The knowledgeable Chest Rockwell suggests that Szetela would have done better in the middle, so I guess I'm willing to give him one more chance.
2. In his first DC United appearance, Tiyi Shipalane missed a chance to put us up 2-0 by hitting a weak shot straight at the keeper late in the match. I don't think that playing a forward at the top of a 4-4-1-1 is going to be Shipalane's best position though. I'd like to see him playing out a bit wider next time. But mainly, I'm just extremely disappointed that he chose to wear his shorts properly.
So... um... Is it just me or do we actually have a shot at advancing in the CCL this year? If Toluca beats Marathon tomorrow, we'll be only a home victory over Marathon next week away from second place. Is that enough for us to shift our focus away from league play to try to advance in the CCL? Not in the least. But we played well against Marathon in Honduras for about 80 minutes until we janicked away our shot at a road tie. After that though, it's back to reality with a must-win home match against the Quakes next weekend.
Check back in tomorrow for a big announcement here at DCUMD. Until then, let me know in the comments section what you think about my proposed Namoff-Simms-Jakovic-Burch back line?