16 May 2006

Debriefing for Match 11.07: Kansas City Wizards


Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Post, Steve Goff: "More problems surfaced last night against the badly depleted Kansas City Wizards, most notably along the back line, but United found a way to cling to its precarious lead..."
MLSNet, Charles Boehm: "It wasn't always pretty, but with first place on the line, the Black-and-Red were quite content to take the spoils..."
Mid-Atlantic Soccer Report, Jimmy LaRoue: "...entertaining yet sloppy and sometimes disjointed match..."
Kansas City Star, Craig Stouffer: "...the Wizards showed signs of future promise but ultimately came up short against D.C. United."

The Good

  1. Attacking Construction - United's posession may not quite be at the quality one would like, but the decisions made on passes from the back all the way to the front were much smarter than last week, and the long balls were well played at timely moments. The interplay between Gomez, Adu, Moreno, and Eskandarian was probably at its finest in several games, as they worked well together. Once Kansas City was pushing, this meant each created chances for the other, and it was nice to see.
  2. Dominic Mediate's Debut - Dominic lined up in the right midfield, which meant he was in easy view of my seat for the first 45 minutes. His play was decent, not exceptional, moving well off the ball and calling for the ball at the right time. His defense was a bit rough, but that can improve.
  3. Troy Perkins as Nick Rimando - Several key reaction saves kept the win alive for United.
  4. Alecko Eskandarian - That was a quality goal. At an angle, on the volley, into a small amount of space on the near post... Wow.

The Bad

  1. Caught in the Counter- I do not blame Freddy Adu much for the penalty he gave. Kid covered 40 yards on a dead sprint to try and play defense, you expect me to lambast him for that? By the time he reached the box, he looked out of control, and I can't imagine a way he could have gotten there that fast and not. The PK was proper, you can scream it was weak, as I did during the game, but seeing the replay you can tell Adu not only had his arm out, but he stuck a leg across as well. No, the blame for that goes to Namoff (caught upfield, though it wasn't on his side so perhaps a life there), Erpen, Boswell (also upfield as a target), and Brian Carroll for losing the 50-50 ball. That's a lot of folks caught on one play.
  2. Dominic Mediate's Second 45 minutes - His play was still acceptable, but he was giving up too much space when Kansas City focused their attack on the left. Next time, a little more closing down. Not bad, though...
  3. Troy Perkins as Nick Rimando - He didn't get victimized by it, but I counted three times when a sharp cross brought Troy off his line, only for him not to make contact with the ball. If anyone had been on the other end of those crosses, life would have been difficult.
  4. All the Refs - I don't normally complain about the reffing, but it was noticable in this game. Setting aside the PKs (and if you gave one, you had to give both, and that's fine) there were a number of questionable foul calls (sometimes indicated by the ARs), the near side AR only seemed to call a player offside after he had crossed back onside (a legit call) but missed several more traditional situations, and Brian Carroll certainly deserved a professional foul yellow in the 80th minute. Ugly.

Man of the Match

He scores one goal, he earns the PK setting up the second, and Alecko Eskandarian becomes our first two time Man of the Match winner here at DCenters.

Moreno Watch

From the spot, Jamie gets one. Kreis seved his suspension, and didn't take part in the offensive explosion for Real Salt Lake against the Galaxy (Update: No, I'm totally wrong on this. See the comments). Kreis - 102; Moreno - 97

Final Thoughts

When you stare into the abyss, the abyss will sometimes give up a soft penalty. Everyone in RFK was reliving the Colorado match after United earned the lead, only to give it up minutes later on a penalty. What's frusturating is that United was truly building a strong game until they had to start over. Eskandarian's flop (not quite a dive, but not exactly a hard foul) helped United regain confidence and they played the second half the way you should: Conservative, waiting for the other team to open up in order to push for the equalizer. Then hit him hard in the newly created space. Fine.

Looking at some recent comments, let me say that this was Jamie Moreno's best game in a while. He was in the play, made some nice moves in tight spaces with the ball at his feet, picked up a goal from the spot, sent a few good passes -- it was the kind of game I hope to see from Jamie most weeks.

Now, I was talking to this guy I know on the Metro after the game, and we were both confused by Piotr Nowak's subbing strategy. No objection to Walker for Eskandarian in the 88th minute, but it was clear that Gomez was running out of steam by the 75th minute. Why not Wilson or Prideaux for Gomez? Even if Nowak was not trying to disrupt good chemistry he saw out on the field at that point, a defensive oriented substitution was still in order. It reminded me of the first leg of the Chicago playoffs last year, when Nowak's subbing patterns could have been a cryptic challenge designed by Cox and Ravthon. Very curious.

Anyways, as commenter Matt notes, three points is three points. The Crew are next, over in RFK West, so let's enjoy that. No team in Ohio should ever wear black and gold, yinz needs listening on 'at.

Also, more pretty pictures as I update the Pace situation.


At 16 May, 2006 10:14, Anonymous john said...

Is it just me or did Perkins kick every back pass allll the way down the field? It's a minor thing, it just seems we could hold the ball and build an attack better if he would just redirect a back pass to an open defender.

At 16 May, 2006 10:25, Blogger D said...

You are close. There were a few times when he would play the easy ball back, but given the defense last Saturday, I almost don't blame him for wanting the ball as far away as possible.

At 16 May, 2006 11:01, Blogger Kinney said...

Kries served his suspension last week against the Crew. He went the full 90 against LA and got an assist on the last goal.

Also you missed the Washington Times write up. But really who reads the Washington Times?

Good write up, liked the troy perkins as nick rimando. I really am starting to wonder, did simpson play that way back in the day? I know he played indoor before MLS, maybe that is just the way he is teaching those goalkeepers.

At 16 May, 2006 11:31, Blogger D said...

Kinney: You are correct on both counts. I even had the Times article up, but didn't link to it by mistake (I don't read the Times, but I do read Haydon).

Your point on Simpson is a well made, and fascinating to think about. What is he teaching them and how is it influenced by his indoor days?

At 16 May, 2006 16:47, Anonymous Matt said...

I didn't notice Perkins missing that many crosses. I do remember one that to me it appeared that he let it go cause there was no one backside and he would have had to sprawl out to punch away.

I'll have to defer to D though since I only watched the match once.

He's short..as is Rimando so that's some of it.

Man..but the crosses on corners that he got were great...all in a crowd...tough for someone his size.

Perkins is getting better though.

At 16 May, 2006 17:12, Blogger D said...

Matt: You are correct on the corners, and I should have given him kudos for that. The ones I were thinking of (at least one in each half) were during the run of play, and were low (head level) crosses at some good speed.


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