03 April 2006

Debriefing for Match 11.01: New York Red Bulls



Washington Times (John Haydon): "the team [United] did come away with a number of positives."
Washington Post (Steve Goff): "It wasn't the grand unveiling that United had hoped for..."
New York Times (AP): Er... the Times can't even give you a report of their own? Huh...
North Jersey Herald News (Ives Galarcep): "When coach Mo Johnston addressed his team at halftime of Sunday's match against D.C. United, he warned his players that D.C. would pull out all the stops to erase a two-goal deficit. The Red Bulls apparently didn't heed the warning."
The Star-Ledger (Frank Giase): "The Metrostars by any other name are... well, still the Metrostars."
Mid Atlantic Soccer Report (Jimmy LaRoue): "Overcoming a shaky performance from new starting goalkeeper Troy Perkins, DC United rallied..."
The Metrologist: "DC banner: "Our Love Don't Cost A Thing". Don't you f'ing hate it when the scum are right?"

The Good

Any discussion of the good coming out of this game starts with Alecko Eskandarian finding the net. It is shocking to think that the last time Aleck tallied on one of his shots in an MLS game, it was the 2004 MLS Cup against Kansas City. His goal was breathtaking. To understand some of the love for Esky (especially for any non-DCU fans reading this site), consider what Jamie Moreno would have done with the same cross from Josh Gros. No doubt Moreno would have used his excellent touch to control the ball, then spun around and brought the ball back, delivered a clever back heel pass between two defenders to an onrunning Brian Carroll, whose shot would just miss the upper corner of the net. And that's exactly what's called for sometimes, but Esky takes the same cross and just hammers it.

Overall, United's game was not nearly as bad as the 2-0 half time scoreline indicated. They had possession for the bulk of the game. The problem is the age-old one of turning possession into scoring chances.

The Bad

Troy Perkins did not help himself in the goalkeeper battle that awaits Rimando's return. While commenter Matt yesterday notes that a truly good keeper would have stopped the Djorkaeff free kick, I'm still willing to give him a pass on that one. However, he can be faulted for the second goal, and also for his strange "I'm Johnny Cash, let me walk the line" moment on a high ball in the second half. His positioning on set pieces was not a noticeable improvement on Rimando. The only part of his game that he showed any flair in was a reasonably competent handling of distribution duties.

Ben Olsen is not an attacking midfielder these days. And our new 3 man midfield was upsettingly inconsistent. They couldn't move the ball at their feet, nor execute the quick change in the point of attack necessary to really drive forward movement.

It is also shocking to think that Bobby Boswell (out with an infection...ick... but at least he wasn't suspended for something) may have gone from "nice promising rookie" to "key central defender" as the back line lacked organization, relying frequently on Facundo Erpen's derring-do and, shockingly, Brandon Prideaux to shut down attackers. I should note that Prideaux turned in an acceptable performance, despite the screen on Troy Perkins for the second RBNY tally.

Final Thoughts

I was worried about this opener, and will gladly take the draw after the opening 30 minutes. United was not a complete shambles, but was far from intimidating for the next match (home against the improved Chivas). Still, goals did come in this match, and there's no reason to panic yet. The team is showing promise. In MLS, you have a few weeks to go from promise to delivery.


At 03 April, 2006 16:20, Anonymous Matt said...

Gomez should settle the midfield better...he's a skill guy and should allow Olsen to ball win...and get rid of the ball quickly...which is a def. mid's job.

Esky was fantastic...you can't replace the energy and power that he brings to the pitch.

Great analogy on what Moreno would have done with that cross..I tend to agree.

At 04 April, 2006 15:54, Blogger Doug said...

The last time that Gomez sat out for a suspension, he showed up in the stands, banging on a drum.

I didn't see this week's game and I haven't heard any mention of this -- did he give a repeat performance?

At 04 April, 2006 18:40, Blogger D said...

Sadly, there was no repeat of Christian in the stands that I am aware of.


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