09 April 2006

Debriefing for Match 11.02: CD Chivas USA


Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Post, Steve Goff: "United received several favorable bounces on the cold, rainy day..."
The Washting Times, John Haydon: "The drab play matched the weather..."
Mid-Atlantic Soccer Report, Jimmy LaRoue: "DC United, after another sluggish first half, then closed out the match in the waning stages..."
A Little Less Conversation: "The defense...seems like organized chaos"
Liveblog by Upper90.

The Good

  1. The theory of the four man backline: Around the 50th minute, Chivas plays a dangerous ball forward to Juan Palencia. Dangerous until Facundo Erpen neatly steps in on the ball and removes the threat. Five minutes later, Erpen again steps in front of a Chivas pass, disrupting their attack, but the ball fall quickly to Ante Razov. Bobby Boswell quickly shuts him down while Erpen is running back to a defensive position. This was always the hope of those that argues for the four man back line: Take advantage of Erpen's athleticism and compensate for his risk taking by letting Boswell be there to mop-up. John Wilson was also excellent when called upon to shut down an attacker with the ball. In today's game, we saw how this could work.
  2. Ben Olsen- Ben had one of the strongest games out there, and was in the running for Man of the Match for both his defensive work and his ability to gain posession for United at midfield. Great game.
  3. Flexibility - Piotr Nowak showed some ability to adjust to game conditions in his planning. His substitution of Simms for Filomeno would have worked better if Simms had played better starting off. As for his other substition...
  4. Freddy Adu - Had one of his strongest games as either a starter or sub that I have ever seen. Deserved his assist for a calm and cool play with players bearing down upon him at midfield. Was willing to track back fight for the ball in the defensive section of the central midfield, and his strength has reached the point where he's taking fouls for fighting through players to try and gain attacking posessions.

The Bad

  1. The execution of the four man backline: Distribution from the backs to the midfield in the defensive end was a consistent problem. Gros, Boswell, Erpen and Wilson all made ridiculous errant passes (Wilson primarily in the first ten minutes, the other three throughout the rest of the game.) How much of this is because they have one fewer forward passing option isn't clear to me. This is clearly a liability at this point, one that may correct but should be watched.
  2. Set Piece Defending - Yes, I'm convinced Chivas was robbed of a goal. I'm also convinced that the problem is deeper than just free kicks from inside of thirty yards. United struggled to clear balls off corner kicks with their first touch. This led to multiple difficulties and nervous moments. It seems like they're having difficulty figuring out how to judge and place themselves to meet the ball. Not sure what the remedy for that is.

Man of the Match

After 45 minutes, I was thinking Ben Olsen. After 55, John Wilson had put himself in the running. Two goals later, the only choice was Jaime Moreno. Sure, one of those goals was a bit fluky, but he had enough space to close down the distance between himself and Guzan to force the deflection. Which is just crazy.

Final Thoughts

Jaime Moreno has now had two straight games playing the full 90 minutes, and one wonders if he can maintain his form all year. Something to think about.

I'm not sure if Freddy Adu earned back his starting position, but the problems of one week ago were not present. Lucio Filomeno, who I believe has the ability to be successful, is under pressure from Alecko Eskandarian for time much faster than I expected (I think the forward projection said he'd challenge for starting roles in July. It's already happened.)

I bring this up, because in some ways the first four games are an extension of the preseason, a chance to see what works when play begins under real conditions. To some degree, auditions are not done with. Doing well so far are Eskandarian, Erpen, Wilson, Moreno, and Olsen. Showing promise are Adu and Carroll. Needing to do better are Filomeno, Perkins, and Simms. Just how I see it so far...


At 10 April, 2006 00:52, Anonymous Paul said...

The Bad #3: Troy "Butterfingers" Perkins. He either needs to hold on to shots/crosses or parry them well out of the play. Rimando: get well soon.

At 10 April, 2006 01:14, Anonymous Jason S said...

On the "goal that should have been." the replays were really inconclusive... because the angle of the camera would produce a little green between the line and the ball before the ball had come across entirely and it was as close as I've ever seen a ball on any field boundry come to being fully across, or not... Also, the ball crossing the line is only one of two criteria for a goal to occur, the second is one of 4 officials seeing the ball cross the line.

I doubt any referee would have been able to call it a goal unless they were AR and standing on the endline looking at the goal post and happened to see it perfectly, even then they'd probably second guess it.

I'd note that there was very good communication between the two referees there as well, the center referee checked the AR to see if he was sure it was in. (and I don't know == no goal every time)

At 10 April, 2006 03:30, Anonymous Matt said...

OK...so THAT free kick was unsaveable....

Moreno's goal was more than just a fluke. How the ball bounced after he blocked the clearance was a bit fluky...but if you watch what he did in chasing the ball down..he slid to the side that he thought Guzan would be clearing the ball and set himself up to block the clearance.

Something only a veteran would do.

Defense is organized chaos...I totally agree with that analogy.

Hope it gets more organized....

At 10 April, 2006 08:38, Blogger D said...

Paul: It's hard for me to fault him on the Chivas goal that wasn't. While he didn't have a great day, how can I term a keeper who had a clean sheet as bad?

Jason S: It was a tough case. The referee went with his instant reaction, and I think I had the same reaction he did. That the ball had hit the cross bar and must not have crossed the line. I think you're analysis is pretty much spot on.

Matt: Great point. Moreno not only closed the distance, but, as you point out, played Guzan so as to create maximum advantage.

At 10 April, 2006 10:33, Blogger rwhgeek said...

Did you check out the game vs. Maryland? I would be interested to hear your thoughts. My overall feeling is we should have scored more but you can't score if you don't shoot. Moose did not impress, Adu was pretty good and big thumbs up to Dyachenko.

At 10 April, 2006 10:53, Anonymous jason t said...

rwhgeek, I agree on all those points. For all the talk on Moose's speed, he was flat-out burned on several balls. Dyachenko's cut on the goal was a beauty, and he certainly wasn't afraid to go in hard on tackles.

At 10 April, 2006 10:58, Blogger D said...

Geek/Jason: Sadly, I did not catch the DCU reserves game against MD. Wish I had. I imagine I should be catching the reserve games a few times this season, but even though it was on FSC, I didn't grab it. If either of you want to write-up a report, I'll be happy to link to it, (or even post it later tonight if you don't have a blog).


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