06 October 2005

Depth with Charge

(Above: Dema Kovalenko shows Cleetus [off camera] how to annoy the other team yet still have mad skills [AP/Wire Image])

Real Salt Lake 1 : 3 DC United

Dear New England Revoultion: Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear...

Some people have, from time to time, wondered about Piotr Nowak's lineup choices. Yet last night, no one would have objected if the typical Starting XI were put forward. Instead, Nowak puts in Boswell and Wilson at defense, Perkins in the net, Freddy goes the full 90 and Simms gets a rare start. Moreno gets subbed off at the half, and Christian when things started to get chippy. It was exactly the kind of tactical "Let's get some rest for the regulars during the 3 games in 8 days" lineup you rarely see from Nowak (I think the last time he pulled this move was after Pumas against Columbus). DCU again had a sloppy opening 45 minutes (although it was great for Boz to get credit for a goal) but rather than a merely acceptable second half, I think they played excellent soccer. Against a team that wasn't mailing it in. Jamie Watson is young and hotheaded and immature when he slapped away Olsen's hand of reconciliation after a hard tackle. He is also a born competitor who played his heart out when he came in during the second half. That kid could be good someday, and it might be real soon. Still, DCU outclassed the opposition, rather than letting their opponents merely fall apart against them. It was an excellent win from a team full of non-typical starters.

One week ago, New England was sitting on an eight point lead in the east. Now it is two. A loss in either of their two last games opens the door for DCU to take the #1 seed. Fortunately, Kansas City takes on New England next, and they may still be playing for their playoff lives (as opposed if KC played the Revs a week from Saturday, by which point a DCU win over the MEtros will have allowed KC to back in to the playoffs). So a loss is possible. Two Rev draws and DCU also can make it into top seed position by winning out.

The race is on, and our best just got a bit of time. Jamil Walker has shown a world of improvement this season, and he's proving that he's an excellent late sub, or even sub at the half. Freddy Adu's game-winning goal was one of those "Oh no he didn't... oh yes he did" moments, a beathless display of skill and cunning combined with the audacity of youth. Freddy's "spinning guns into the holster" celebration was a tad cheesy, but with that trademark Freddy smile you forgave it. It was exactly what the biggest Freddy promoters had promised, and why its absence was seized by every Freddy detractor. For me, it was just a classy goal. I don't expect it every week, but it sure was nice to see every once in a awhile.

This feels pretty good.

[UPDATE] Freddy's goal is up over at MLS with the title "Adu Burns... Everyone!" Go see it.


At 06 October, 2005 12:04, Anonymous Joe said...

I've been amazed at how having Jamil Walker in there just opens the game up. The space he creates with pure speed is impressive, and it's like everyone else on the team gets faster when he's on the pitch. Plus, he's become a very savvy passer (his ball to Benny's head against the Metros was pinpoint). Very exciting.

At 06 October, 2005 14:11, Blogger maradawga said...

I was really impressed by how fast Freddy seemed on that goal. He just was moving at a different clip than everyone else.

At 06 October, 2005 17:35, Blogger Kali said...

DCU was amazing in the second half.

I wasn't even really all *that* irate about the goals just because they were so well-executed.

At 07 October, 2005 10:43, Blogger I-66 said...

Jamil's been great on the attack, but I'm still just in awe of his assist to Ben Olsen at Metros last week. I never knew he had it in him!


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