Debriefing for Match 11.01: New York Red Bulls
DC UNITED 2 : 2 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?"
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.
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.