08 August 2005

International Association of Fire Fighters Local #36

Chicago Fire 2 : 3 DCU
Stop me if you've heard this one: Chicago Fire come out, play a fairly good game dictating most of the course of play, and give up three goals in a loss. Seems to be happening quite a bit to those poor fellows.

The game itself was wonderfully entertaining. For about 80 minutes, the play was fairly balanced, with perhaps Chicago seeing a slight edge in play. What has changed from the beginning of the season is the effectiveness of a United counter:

The thing that shows it all was DCU's ability to finish, first on a Carroll's goal, a beautiful set-up which, if Craig Laughlin called soccer, he would have termed a "Tic-Tac-Toe" play. Moreno sent a beautiful ball to Christain Gomez, who then sent a pretty drop to Brian. This is the kind of play where you understand why two people should get an assist for one goal. Gomez serves it up perfectly for Carroll, but he doesn't have the opportunity and space unless Chicago respects Jamie's run down the left side. For only a few moments DCU was dictating the play, but the important thing is how they did it. This is the kind of finish DCU wasn't making earlier this year.
Dema's goal was another example where DCU's counter suddenly seemed to be a fully mature, potent weapon. Tino makes a great run (showing that when his head is in the game, he can be deadly) and sends a perfect ball to Dema, who puts it far post off the left foot. The counter was so successful that even if Dema take too much of an angle and sends it wide, Gros has a chance to knock it in and we'd be talking about what a brilliant ball Dema sent into Gros.

So, what else did we learn?

  • Bobby Boswell is definately for real, and missed when he's gone. The line wasn't nearly as strong as it should have been. The Josh Gros experiment, while necessary, must be viewed as a stopgap measure at best. Yes, Gros was hampered by an early and undeserved Yellow. Still, by trying to play him as a winger you lose one of his greatest skills: the ability to step into an opposing pass and take it the other way at speed. As a defender, he can't take the risk that somehow the ball gets by him. The last 10 minutes where the Fire came close to equalizing were consistently marked by poorly cleared balls or passes made in haste and error.
  • Nicky Rimando has a great foot, and can handle a ball in the open field. That being said, he is not about to beat an attacker one-on-one, nor should he be asked to.
  • Wilson played much better, his defense was not perfect but blessedly free of some of the poor touches seen at FedEx. I also counted at least two attacks that started when he made some great plays to start it up.Ben Olsen is a workhorse. I don't write about him often, because you rarely see him do something extraordinary, but he is quite dependable.
  • DCU can win games against good competition on the road without all of their best players, and even when the required subs aren't playing 100%. That's a very, very good sign.It is not too early to worry about the playoffs, and about seeding. A win against the Metros on Wednesday puts DCU in complete control of making the playoffs, and well into the hunt for getting home field for at lest the first round (or, rather, the second leg of the first round). This game, the first since the all-star break, sets that up. So this win can be viewed as important from that perspective. It's also important since it continues the forward momentum that had been building before the break, and stops Chicago and New England from running away from the field with 1 and 2 in the East.
  • Expect ABC to develop John Harkes, MD for this fall's pilots. The story of a color commentator and former soccer star who diagnoses people based solely on TV images, then fights to make sure they get healthy. Learn the tragic back story of a slide tackle gone wrong forcing another TV doctor on FOX to walk with a cane.


At 08 August, 2005 16:20, Anonymous Joe said...

Nice of you not to mention that part of the reason Boz was missed was that Prideaux was a complete disaster at center back. Complete disaster.

Love the four stars...

At 08 August, 2005 16:23, Blogger D said...

Well, I thought about calling out Prideaux, but I'd also have to call out Carroll for not really helping out as much. And he got a goal, so that made it problematic. Instead, I wanted to strongly imply what a disaster the game was with Prideaux. But I do agree with you. Oh yes. Apparently it wasn't much better against Richmond.


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