22 May 2006

Debriefing for Match 11.08: At Columbus Crew


Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Post, Steve Goff: "Despite having to settle for a tie, United (4-1-3) could take comfort from the fact that the club has just one blemish at the quarter mark of the season and continues to generate a dangerous attack."
MLSNet, Ryan D. Kuhn: "...the Columbus Crew were thankful to come away with a single point after allowing just their second goal in their last five games."
Mid-Atlantic Soccer Report, Jimmy LaRoue: "Nowak, in these last two matches, has given Carroll too much ground to cover defensively in the center of the field."
The Columbus Dispatch, Shawn Mitchell: "The overhauled and previously defensive-minded Crew — which added 23 new players in the past six months — revved its engine and roared out of the gates in its fastest-paced half of the season."
DC Sun Devil, Brian Garrison: "The thing that got me was that as United hammered the Crew in the second half, they were unable to get the winning goal, when it looked as if they should."
Soccer Capital News, Walter Wheeler: "When the whistle blew, the Crew had to feel somewhat fortunate to get a point. It was a hard point, but a point earned nonetheless."
A Little Less Conversation: "Watching the Columbus game I couldn't help but think that DC sometimes plays like they are the varsity team v. the freshmen."

The Good

  1. Pressure - DC United was able to create a period of sustained attack unlike any other this year, a period that led to the Gomez goal. Full credit to Moreno, Eskandarian, Adu, Gros, Filomeno, and Gomez who made strong, clever plays to keep tightening the vice.
  2. Piotr Nowak, Mad Scientist - I know, you saw Filomeno in the midfield and you shook your head. What's going on here? Personally, I loved it. Don't get me wrong, I don't think the experiment woked out. United was a better side once Clyde Simms came in for Filomeno. But experimenting with your options this early in the year is exactly what I want my head coach to do. Piotr doesn't want one winning formula, he wants several, and that means trying the occasional odd move. It didn't work, but I'm glad we know that now and not in September.
  3. Christiam Gomez- His best game to date in my mind. His passing was sharper in this game than most in recent memory.

The Bad

  1. Caught in the Counter- Again. There's blame galore on this one: Filomeno, Boswell, Perkins, Gros...
  2. Smoke Break- Picking a man of the match was difficult for this game, as every single player on the pitch had at least one poorly executed decision or move. Fortunately, most of these happened at different times and not all at once, but at least twice multiple errors led to clear Columbus chances.

Man of the Match

Tough choice. Freddy Adu was up for it as he had a series of classy plays. So was Christian Gomez, and not just for his goal. Ultimately, the award goes to the overworked Brian Carroll.

Moreno Watch

Jamie did not look as good as last week, but it was an acceptable performance even if I yell at him for getting too cute. Jason Kreis went the full 90, but I don't know how he looked. Still, no change in the goal scoring totals: Kreis - 102; Moreno - 97

Final Thoughts

Want to enter a world of imagination and illusion? Look at the shot totals and imagine DC's domination... Only it doesn't really reflect what happened. At least four of those shots on goal were: a) From distance; and b) Right at Mr. Busch. That being said, DC did have the run of the play for most of the game, but it wasn't the Black and Red Hegemony. This wasn't last year's game against the Metros.

United has now reached the quarter-season mark with one loss. More importantly, United has chalked up four wins. That's not that bad folks. United is clearly playing as one of the best teams in the league. That we can find problems with the team is a reason to hope, not despair. This is a team that, I think, is playing better now than at the start of the season, and still has room to improve. Draws against FC Dallas and Columbus may have felt bad, but they're acceptable. We're only one point off of the Supporter's Shield pace (and FC Dallas through as many games was in the same boat) and clearly United has set itself up to make a bid for the Suppoter's Shield and the top seed in the East. That's good. Some provisional congratulations are in order. Accept them graciously, and then prepare for Kansas City next week.