02 March 2006

System Check

Getafe C.F. 3 : 1 D.C. United

What can you take away from the preseason friendly? Feelings, indications, but it is hard to say anything in terms of hard facts. The match itself was an awkward affair, players on both sides seemed to have troubles with the pitch. Getafe's strategy of playing their First XI in the second 45 made this game difficult to evaluate.

It was hard to tell whether Nowak was looking for a win or merely to evaluate players. There were some interesting starting moves. The backline of Wilson - Boswell - Erpen showed me some hope that Erpen might be playing outside come the start of the season. Freddy Adu's start at left wing confirms some earlier speculation in this very blog. It's clear that Nowak probably wants to experiment more in the midfield before the season starts, but isn't that why were doing this?

So, the way I figure it, you can break things down into three categories...

Encouraging Signs:

The Offensive Third: Moreno, Gomez, and Filomeno were effective in the opening minutes, and even after DCU leveled off were still playing the ball with some panache. Gomez's vision and execution to find Gros's run on the right side, setting up the only DCU goal, was a breathtakingly elegant ball. Filomeno's goal was nice, but I was more impressed by the way he could apply pressure without the ball. Facundo Erpen: His play at Right Back was well executed, and he kept his athleticism controlled for most of the game.
Freddy Adu Weeble Wobble: In the 17th minute was a telling moment, when Freddy took the ball and instantly had a defender on his back. In the past, we've seen him flop and lose posession, but here he kept his composure and sent a back pass to Boswell moving the point of attack.
Comcast: Gets all the credit in the world for setting this up, and Johnson/Harkes (Jarkes?) was decent in calling the game from the television monitor. It was nice to see such committment this early. Admittedly, perhaps this isn't the right time to consistently confuse Adu and John Wilson (and even later, Adu and Jamil Walker) but I can't imagine that it is easy calling the game from a monitor you can't control. Kudos to the network.

Things that Aren't Worrying

Touches and Passing: First touches were not there for United as you could see balls frequently come a good distance off a foot. The trademark tic-tac passing of a good United team hasn't developed yet. Balls were played too far, or too high, or at the chest instead of at the feet, but it doesn't matter just yet. That sort of efficiency usually isn't present in the preseason, and sometimes doesn't even show up until even a few league matches are played.
Defensive midfield: While Clyde Simms may not have had the greatest game, it's too early to declare the departure of Kuykendall a mistake. Carroll and Olsen are still finding themselves in United system as well.
The three goals: Perkins and Rimando aren't responsible for the three goals. Perkins was strung out when the defense collapsed and Rimando's first was a blister. The second made did seem like Rimando was caught in the wrong spot.

Things that are Worrying

Left Back: Prideaux did himself no favors in this match, showing that there's a case that both Wilson and Namoff should be ahead of him. Wilson was acceptable, but was twice burned when a Getafe forward suddenly accelerated perpendicular to the goal line. Namoff's injuries are troublesome, especially since he seems like the best option to be out there.
Rimando's Mind Troy Perkins seemed much more assured in the net, and while the goals against Nicky didn't both me, his tendancy to leave his line then change his mind did. Confidential to Matt - You may be right, I might be wrong. Something to watch.
Eskandarian Yes, I know he didn't play. He's missed several preseason games, and I am starting to get worried that he's having difficulty getting his body to accept game-shape. I want to be wrong on that.

Final Thoughts

It's still early, but wasn't it great to see them out again playing? Old uniforms on display, which is fine for me so far. Moose and Dyachenko both got into the game (Mr. Gilmore, you will note that Moose was wearing #8), but it was difficult to evaluate them or anyone that came in after the 60th minute mark. The last thirty minutes were upsetting, but on the upside DCU now has had ample practice defending corners.

Yup, it really feels like things are starting to get underway...


At 03 March, 2006 00:27, Anonymous david gilmore said...

unfortunately i was at work (who WORKS?) during the match but i have actually suspected he would be rocking the Ripken, or the Ovechkin, if you prefer.

thanks, now i focus on computerized soccer until april.

great match report, D.

At 03 March, 2006 01:37, Anonymous Matt said...

Ditto...thanks for the report.

Erpen at right back..cool..let's get our three best defenders on the pitch and let them figure out positioning as the season goes along.

As for Rimando...I fear I'm right..hope I'm wrong.

As a long time GK I can tell you that confidence is EVERYTHING.

Look at Keller...dude acts like he's unbeatable....even when he's clearing the ball off the back of a striker's head.

Rimando was playing real well...blew a knee..came back and had some immediate success (MLS title)...made some huge mistakes last year...and doesn't seem to trust himself right now.

Who's the GK coach? They should be doing a better job. Unless Rimando's knee is still hurt then he should be fine physically and the coach should be working on the mental part.

Rimando was a total stud a couple of years ago....and you can't tell me that he was a mental midget then....especially being that short. He probably had doubters at every level.

One comparision that I don't like to bring up..but may prove to be true......

Jorge Campos never recovered from his knee injury...quickness and jumping ability were a huge part of his game also...

At 06 March, 2006 13:37, Anonymous Joe said...

Boz and Erpen looked strong, especially Erp at right back. Erpen may or may not be a better center back than Boz, but he is almost certainly a better right back because of his range.

Filomeno, eh, still not impressed. Credit for finishing, but Gros did a nice job setting that up. I think the notion that Gros can't cross is another Bigsoccer fallacy.

The biggest disappointment for me was Wilson. He got burned by going up too far. What's the point in overlapping Freddy Adu? Better to hang back and use that Wilsonian speed to catch up with Getafe attackers.


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