06 July 2006

Debriefing for Matches 11.14-11.17: Chicago Fire, Kansas City Wizards, and FC Dallas


The Good

  1. Hold On, I'm a Comin': Three games, three one-nil leads, two wins despite opponents getting chances. The DCenters believes that close wins are more indicative of quality than blowouts, and these games were good indications that DC may not dominate teams, but can consistently edge them out. As we know, Pythagorean Expectation ain't for soccer.
  2. Twelve Flippin' Points: So I'm out of things for a week, and DC racks up 12 points. That's amazing. I think we all know that DC is not playing its best ball right now. They've come down a bit since about the middle of the first quarter of the season. But they're still getting points. Stunning.
  3. The New Piotr Nowak: Last year I wrote that DC's system under Nowak was like a finely tuned sports car: When it works, no one can beat us, but any bit out of tune and suddenly DC has a very expensive problem. This year, DC's system is more like hand me down Pontiac Sunbird from the 1970s. We switch parts out, lose bits of the transmission, have some unsightly paint work on the fenders... yet we still keep getting there. Folks, we have started Devon McTavish and Dominic Mediate on the wings recently, we lost Lucio Filomeno to Argentina, Alecko, Jamil, and Brandon have been battling injuries, Christian Gomez still gets gassed at the seventy (sixty?) minute mark, Nick Rimando hasn't played a game all season... and we're the number one team in the league. How many of you thought it would play out like that? Not me, at least, not in that way. Piotr Nowak now has a system that adjusts tactically for teams (the most obvious example is the positioning of Josh Gros, but it isn't the only one). He's been willing to employ a 4-4-2. He'll move players around to see what happense (remember Aleck on the wing?). He'll play untested guys... This is good stuff, and it bodes well.
  4. Freddy Adu, a goal: Only heard it on the radio, but man was that good to finally hear. Here's to many more.

The Bad

  1. The Secret Life of Facundo Erpen: Here's what bothers me about Facundo in these last games. Yes, he has great skill. Yes, he has single handedly killed some attacks with impressive derring-do. But at least once a game, he'll lose concentration on a simply play, and suddenly things are much more interesting than they should be. Against Chicago, all he had to do was either execute a back pass to Perkins or shield a ball out of play at one point. Instead he takes a touch, finds himself under pressure, and turns the ball over. It just seems like a lapse of concentration, and a failure to make the simple, correct play. If he fixes that, he's easily one of the best defenders in the league.
  2. Erratic Offense: For the last several games, it seems like sustained pressure is something that DC has yet to be able to create. Most of the goals are off of counters. That's fine for the time being, but it means you're always playing on a slightly thinner wire.
  3. Fatigue: DC looks a bit tired. Given that we have Alecko, Santino, and Ben Olsen back, and hopefully will get Prideaux in a month, I hope that we start rotating players. Yes, that might mean Brian Carroll missing a game. I'm fine with that.

Moreno Watch

Jamie has racked up a few while I've been gone. So has Jason Kries. It's Kreis 105, Moreno 103.

Man of the Match

Troy Perkins finally gets a nod from me. He was called upon to be very active, and he had to leave his line way too often for comfort. That's not his fault though, that's what the situation called for.

All-Time Win Watch

Need 8 more wins to break the LA Galaxy/DC United record of 24 wins in a season.

Final Thoughts

God it is good to be back. I was able to catch pretty much every game during hell week, but not being able to talk about it killed me.


At 07 July, 2006 11:43, Blogger I-66 said...

When is someone going to youtube a highlight reel of Facundo's best and worst to the tune of Secret Agent Man? I'm not asking. I'm demanding.

At 07 July, 2006 12:36, Blogger D said...

Excellent! Oh, that would be awesome.

At 07 July, 2006 14:02, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So should DCU play a first string team in the friendly with Celtic? On the one hand the team is tired and some first stringers could use a rest. But some MLS wins against top European teams (even in their pre-season) could do a lot to regain US Soccer mojo following the World Cup debacle. At least until the Gold Cup (and hopefully the Copa America!) So should Jaime, Gomez sit? Do we bring on the Moose?


At 07 July, 2006 17:31, Blogger Brian said...

If Peter fields a full first string squad against Celtic, I would hope it would only be for 45 minutes and get some ofthe starters some rest.

At 07 July, 2006 19:41, Anonymous Matt said...

Seeing as how we could forfeit the next four games and still probably be leading the league in pts...I say play a full strength squad vs. Celtic and rest the starters vs. an MLS patsy....

I'm sure Rimando is antsy to get some action so he'd probably enjoy keeping our reserve team in the game vs. some other MLS teams starters.

On another note...DC will keep wacking MLS teams because we have guys that can finish...from the looks of the last few DC games..most of their opponents do not.

So...no matter how many times Erpen screws up...perkins leaves the goal unattended on a wild foray into a crowd....the other team will miss anyway.....

MLS opponents are getting boring...let's wack Celtic's ass then we can pat ourselves on the back....


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