01 May 2006

Debriefing for Match 11.05: FC Dallas


Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Post, Steve Goff: "Although it outplayed Dallas in the second half, United was unable to take the lead because of Sala..."
The Washington Times, John Haydon: "United clearly had the biggest share of chances in the game, outshooting Dallas 15-9, but 6-foot-3 Dallas goalie Dario Sala had one of his best games with nine saves...'I really enjoyed kicking their [behind]' said Sala"
MLSNet, Charles Boehm: "Nowak was more impressed with his side's response after the break, but lamented their inability to deliver the knockout blow."
3rd Degree [Matchnight], DJ Walker: "Well, no last second heroics this week. That's okay; we need to save some of those for later in the season when we might really need them. It's about as fair a draw as you're going to see. Very entertaining game by the two best teams in MLS this year so far"
Mid-Atlantic Soccer Report, Jimmy LaRoue: "Though FC Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala almost single-handedly preserved a 1-1 tie against DC United, it was Ben Olsen's night, as the United midfielder scored once and left RFK Stadium with something more precious than his Best XI honor--a deserved callup to the US men's national team for this summer's World Cup."
DC Sun Devil: "United looked very strong in defense as well as controlling the midfield. Dallas' defense is what kept them in the match"

The Good

  1. Ben Olsen - Or, if MASR is correct, make that US International Ben Olsen. Covered the field well, made strong runs, and scored a goal.
  2. Alecko Eskandarian - I know he didn't score a goal. That doesn't take away from the fact that he was consistently dangerous, even right before his eventual subbing out. This isn't a case of early 2005 where Alecko would have open nets and miss. The chances he got were earned, and they were not easy conversions. The good here is watching his workrate in earning open looks at the frame.
  3. Freddy Adu - I just signed Greg Vanney for my team in Championship Manager. After watching Freddy take him on, I wanted to load a previously saved version and not make that signing. Kid played a great game. And for all the complaints by John Harkes about Freddy not running at people, remember that recently people criticized him for always running at people at falling down. This game showed Freddy choosing his moments and balancing the method of his attack well. Remember, Olsen's goal started with Freddy laying a ball out to Alecko, and if he had run directly at the defense it is unlikely United would have gotten the goal they did.

The Bad

  1. Casual Day - There seems to be a disease afflicting backlines across MLS. DC didn't get burned by their casual passing on the back-line, but they did make their share of ugly turnovers. Facundo Erpen and Josh Gros seemed to be the most common offenders in this matter. Looking at the Real Salt Lake - LA game, and the end of last week's Kansas City - FCD match, there is enough cautionary tale text out there that this sort of thing shouldn't be happening.
  2. Plateau - United played well, but contrary to much of the wisdom I don't feel like they dominated the second half. They were the stronger side, of that I have no doubt, but they weren't dominant. In this game, a draw seemed like a justifiable reflection of the play on the field. United's play seemed to be improving week to week, this game represented a small downtick in the performance we felt. Ah well, it can't all be one great crescendo.
  3. Christian Gomez + Heel + Jamie Moreno - You ever notice how much Christian Gomez likes to get the ball at the top of the area with his back to goal, then quickly use his back heel to send an unexpected ball to Jamie Moreno's feet? So did FC Dallas, specifically Drew Moor, who refused to bite on that move any of the two occasions where I noticed Gomez try to use it. Someone did some good scouting for Dallas.
  4. First Half possession - After going up by one, United never started to lock down possession, and had difficulty playing even short balls. Part of this can be attributed to FC Dallas being the first team to pressure United on both sides of the mid-field stripe. But I would have liked more consistency earlier.

Man of the Match

Ben Olsen

Moreno Watch

Jason Kreis scored a goal, moving his lead back to six, the number of goals he had on Jaime at the start of the season. Jason also picked up an ejection (undeserved, I agree with Eric on that) which means Jamie may have a free game to pick up ground next week.

Currently: Kreis - 102; Moreno - 96

Final Thoughts

Saturday morning I managed to bang up my knee. So I've had a brace on it for most of the weekend, and that's been fun. Could barely walk on Saturday, so to some degree I've pieced this game together while lying horizontal on a sofa. Sunday it was better, but not great, so I missed the reserve match. Blah.

While I was not disappointed with the game I saw played, I wasn't thrilled. United never took that additional step forward to continue to elevate their game. However, FC Dallas also played a better game than probably any other team has at RFK this season, and United did not at any point seem outclassed.

For some time, the DCenters has been saying to watch the number of minutes Moreno is playing (see Final Thoughts from the Chivas Game). I am wondering if perhaps he doesn't need a bit of a breather now and again. Just keep him fresh all season, and things will be fine. But if you run him too much, I'm afraid he'll grind down and disappear, or get an injury. Moreno now has 450 minutes played, which means the same amount as Ben Olsen, Brian Carroll, Josh Gros, and Facundo Erpen. That's a lot of wear and tear for a forward who is over 30. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think Nowak has to at least consider subbing him out after 60 minutes in an upcoming game, or even giving him a chance to sit out a match. There's no shame in that. Ask Henry, who didn't even start against Tottenham. Let Jamie stay energized. Just a thought.


At 01 May, 2006 10:32, Blogger I-66 said...

"I really enjoyed kicking their [behind]"? Right. In a draw.

And seriously, Dario Sala didn't almost single-handedly preserve the tie. He absolutely single-handedly preserved it.

Resting Jaime is fine with me, as long as Filomeno and Esky are the 2 forwards, but I don't know about using Arsenal/Tottenhm as an example of Henry not starting. Arsenal and Tottenham split the points that game.

At 01 May, 2006 10:41, Blogger D said...

I66: Yeah, I thought Sala's comments were kinda humorous when you consider the fact that the points were shared, thus the quote here.

As for Henry in Gunners-Spurs, the point is that Henry came on in about the 60th minute, and was fresh enough to play effectively (getting the goal for Arsenal to pull out the draw). If he was playing the full 90 every game, I wonder if he could have done that... And, as a Spurs fan, I wish he hadn't.

At 01 May, 2006 17:16, Anonymous Nick said...

Jaime rests alot on the field. Because he plays the 11, and not the 9 or the 10, he doesn't do nearly as much running and doesn't have as much contact or touches on the ball as the other forwards/attacking mids. At this point in his career, he is the smartest player on the field and he knows how to conserve himself. If he were consistently running at defenders and getting fouled like in 97, 98,99, then I might be concerned...leave the best on the field.


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