08 May 2006

Debriefing for Match 11.06: At Colorado Rapids


Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Post, Pat Rooney: "This was supposed to be a match that would have the dynamic United offense salivating"
MLSNet, Tom Buck: "the club [United] appeared to be playing on egg shells"
Mid-Atlantic Soccer Report, Jimmy LaRoue: "'As a team I think we won the game today,' Clavijo said. 'Joe made unbelievable saves and we punished them when we needed to.'"
A Little Less Conversation: "We were beat by our own careless mistakes."

The Good

  1. Brian Carroll - Another solid start for the man looking to steady the defensive midfield in Ben Olsen's absense. That bodes well.
  2. Alecko Eskandarian, Midfielder - From what I saw, Alecko was actually one of the stronger players on the wing, and experiment that worked out for the team. I admit to having been dubious about the line-up when it was announced, but that part worked out fine.

The Bad

  1. The Empty Space - Say hello to 2005, as Colorado took two old recipes for beating United, mixed them together, and found that when you get the peanut butter of constant fouling mixed in with the chocolate of long balls into space on United's defensive wings, good things can happen. Both of these strategies were used to various effectiveness last year, and both combined well for Colorado's game plan on Saturday.
  2. Facundo Erpen, Daredevil - Okay, you can complain about the penalty. I'm not, since I think that if you leave your feet in the box, you roll the dice. But Erpen also seems to be determined to take the place of Dema Kovalenko in both the "Asking for the foul" category as well as the "Let me take shots from ridiculous distances in an attempt to bring down low flying aircraft" category. You get a goal like he got at the Red Bulls a few times a year, not a few times a game.
  3. Trend line - Not to be egocentric, but if you look back at last week's debriefing you will see many of the same problems as we had against Colorado. Mistakes on the backline were complicated this week with a marking scheme that allowed the Rapids too much space. Christian and Jamie are still not hooking up well. The one thing we seem to have corrected is the absolute awful passing that would pop up and victimize the team.

Man of the Match

Not Applicable in this loss.

Moreno Watch

Kreis - 102; Moreno - 96

Final Thoughts

No need, yet, for the panic button. It was the first loss, and it was an ugly one. The comforting myth is that United deserved at least one point for their actual performance on the field, but the truth is that when you play a final 30 minutes with an even score line the way United did... well, a loss can not be entirely unexpected.

This game did feature an odd line-up. Eskandarian was definately playing in the midfield at the start, which made this a 4-4-2 and not a 4-3-3. Giving Walker the start seemed an odd choice, but I can't fault his performance.

United's midfield was strong, but I do worry about the lack of service to the forwards. Adu was marginally more effective than Jamie, but neither was anything to put in your "Save Until I Delete" TiVo setting.

This game must be put in perspective. It was a step back, and clearly the worst game of the season so far, but not an utter disaster. Every team has bad games, and United's collapse in the second half has been atypical of their season-to-date. Indeed, usually DCU has been stronger in the second half than in the first. Write this one off, get it out of your memory, and get ready for Kansas City. Everything that seems gloomy now might seem better after a strong performance next week.