19 May 2006

Match 11.08 Preview: At Columbus Crew

Match #: 11.08

Opponent: Columbus Crew

DC United, 4-1-2, 14 pts, 1st in East Conference , 2nd in MLS
Columbus Crew, 3-3-1, 10 pts, 3rd (tie - New England) in East Conference, 5th (tie) in MLS

TV: CSN / MLSLive.TV - 7:30PM

Previous Meeting: DC United 2 : 2 Columbus Crew, October 15, 2005 (DCenters remembers...)

Suggested Pregame Music: Ohio - Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young

The Stakes: For whatever reason, Columbus has decided to make a statement on this game, one way or another. With Sigi Schmid calling the game a "measuring stick" and with the comments from Mark McCullers, Columbus has built this game up in the minds of their players.

And I don't understand why. Not at all. For DC United, this is another road game. A road game where they should take the mentality of "Aim for three, settle for one." They were stung by Colorado, so I can't imagine that they will look beyond this game to the return match at Kansas City. I can get some dander up for games against the Red Bulls, the Revolution, the Fire, and the Galaxy. I expect quality games against FC Dallas and Houston when we play them. But the Crew... I feel nothing special there. No hatred. No pity. Nothing. Truth be told, I kinda like the Crew and the city of Columbus. I have great respect for their coach. I like their draft pick Jason Garey. Why they are trying to turn this game into a personal alamo is something I just don't understand. Especially considering what happened at the Alamo.

Tactically, I have no idea what line-ups we will see on either side. Sigi has kept the crew line-up in flux as they've gone from week to week. Brian at DC Sun Devil wants Nowak to stop the experiments:

Start the winning formula. Coach Peter Nowak needs to continue to use the same type of formation and starting line up that has picked up 4 wins in 7 matches. I realize that Olsen is away at National Team duty, so he is obviously not available. However, tinkering with your line up and changing the formation when the earlier formation worked so well, isn't the bright thing to do.

I disagree. Nowak hasn't really played the same line-up twice in a row yet, and he shouldn't start now. I do expect we will see the 3-5-2 on Saturday, but it won't be the one we had against Kansas City (I would imagine Simms, if healthy, will go and Adu won't be in the middle with Gomez). And what's more, I don't want us to abandon the 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 experiments we've seen. If Piotr becomes trapped in a system, other teams will plan for it and problems will start. Keep them on their toes.

Previews from the DCUniverse: Quarter Volley, DC Sun Devil, Screaming Eagles Podcast, MLSNet/DCUnited.Com, DCist... (Really, I shouldn't even bother at this point.)

Expected Yield: 2.0 points. (Current Expectations to Reality Level: 104% - I have overestimated DCU's performance to date.)

D's Location: TBA

Last Word: Assisted Living (Is it bad that this is the first listing in a google search for "The Crew"? No.)


At 20 May, 2006 00:47, Blogger Brian said...

I agree that keeping your opponent guessing is always a very sound tactic and can usually yeild very good results, when it comes to football, especially Peter Nowak, it hasn't been the best of results.

Starting Jamil Walker against Colorado was a mistake. Everyone in the club has a certain role that they fill, and Jamil serves the club best when he comes off the bench, much like Preki did for the USMNT in 1998 and such.

In the Champions League Final, Barca was unable to truely threaten Arsenal when Eto'o and Ronaldinho were "out of position." It was only when Ronnie was free to roam about and Eto'o ran at the center of Arsenal's defense did the attack open up. The same can be said for United's attack.


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