21 August 2006

Debriefing for Match 11.23: Colorado Rapids


Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Times, John Haydon: "United looked sluggish and ineffective in the first half but showed more promise after tough talk from coach Peter Nowak at halftime."
The Washington Post, Steven Goff: "Considering all that went wrong on this steamy afternoon before 18,006 restless spectators -- the poor start, the first-half deficit, more missed opportunities and the hamstring injury to playmaker Christian Gomez -- a tie did not seem like such a bad outcome."
MLSNet, Charled Boehm: "Colorado was happy to take advantage on a 31st-minute corner kick, as Kyle Beckerman rose above Facundo Erpen to head past goalkeeper Troy Perkins. It was only the fourth time all season that D.C. has given up the opening goal."
Mid Atlantic Soccer Report, Jimmy LaRoue: "Alecko Eskandarian described an intense atmosphere in the locker room, not just from Nowak, as Eskandarian said he kicked a few Gatorade bottles."
BlackDogRed: "...United came out in the second half with as much intensity and urgency as I've them display in a league game in what seems an eternity. If Gomez' goal itself was odd and soft, it was deserved as United should have had three or four. "
The Far Post: " Fortunately for United, the game’s biggest travesty was the finishing of United-reject Thiago Matrins. That guy couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. "

The Good

  1. Disgust: The fact that DC United's players aren't happy with their play is reassuring. There is no excuse making or dodging. This teams knows it should be playing better.
  2. The Return of the Touch: DC hadn't shown some of the verve and skill I admired during their 3-2 win over Columbus in the last few games. That was starting to come back, and from all sides. Ben Olsen has added a nifty backheel to his move-set. Gomez/Moreno were able to find each other in the second half. Eskandarian twice managed to break down a defender. Now if only we could finish.

The Bad

  1. It's Think-Play, not Think think think think (oh crap, pressure!) play: The back line was apparently very concerned about making mistakes. Facundo Erpen is, at this point, keenly aware that he's made some (let's be charitable) "odd" plays at times. He, and the rest of the defense, compensated by trying to take a little time and make the smart play. Unfortunately, this may have been an overcorrection, as twice DC hesitated with the ball at the top of the arc, and the search for the correct outlet meant that Colorado was able to apply significant pressure, and at one point force a dangerous change of posession.
  2. Stokes and the Line: The greatest sin from David Stokes wasn't his passing (which was adequate most of the time, and unfortunate on occasion) but his inability to hold a line with Boswell and Erpen. In the first thirty minutes, there were multiple occasions where, from my perspective, Stokes did not move up with Boswell and Erpen, and kept Colorado onside. Now, the blame is either Stokes, for not moving, or Boswell, for not communicating clear enough. Your guess is as good as mine.
  3. Jair Marrufo: Awful. But, part of it may be understood. Go read this article at For The Integrity of Soccer. Then look at the foul/card stats for the game. Now, Robert Evans who write FtIoS is occasionally overly insistent about some things (ie, the idea of stoppage time in blowouts, where I disagree with his interpretation of things), but I think he's got a point on this, and it's a point I see all over the league. Colorado was clearly fouling more often, hacking and grabbing and missing challenges, but Marrufo I think called the game with an eye to balance (as opposed to an eye to what was happening on the field). As a result, Colorado was, in essence, allowed some small amount of cheating to aid in the game. That's wrong. This balance crap needs to stop.
  4. Can you work through tired? I don't know. Piotr seems to think you can. And, some of the players might be able to. Certainly Piotr would when he played, and Gros and Gomez might be able to do it. I'm not sure about Moreno or Olsen or Carroll being able to do the same.

Man of the Match

There was a hell of a debate about this at the DCenters. And by debate, I mean me sending an email saying "I got nothing" to my fellow writers. Still, a draw is a result to which we typically award MotM honors, so tepid congratulations to Bobby Boswell. He didn't lose his mark, and he played as well as anyone.

Final Thoughts

D: I'm going to leave this open for fellow DCenter writers to update, but my final thought is that this game was an improvement over NYRB, and while people might say DC "peaked too soon" perhaps, on the same concept, DC is "Slumping at the right time." That, of course, assumes they pull out of this, and that may be a tall order. But there is no doubt that DC is off of its form. A win in the USOC against Arena and Bulls won't change that. A win over LA won't change that. What would change it is if DC could put up a series of games with more than one goal. That would earn some confidence back.

Oh, and it was damn hot on Saturday, even if the temperature didn't show it. I mean, humid and thick and awful. At 10:30AM, running around in the SE pick-up game, I felt probably the worst I have ever felt in over a year. Just sick and tired. I can't imagine what it was like by 4PM.


At 21 August, 2006 12:17, Anonymous Joanna said...

It did seem like Colorado was fouling a lot to me too... but their 2 cards were for dissent and our two were for fouls.

At 21 August, 2006 12:57, Blogger D said...

Joanna --

Could be a perception thing. I could have sworn I saw tackles that Colorado wasn't whistled on that they should have been, let alone a ton of jersey tugging, et al. Of course, I may have been seeing things, but my sense is that Colorado was fouling more than DC.

At 21 August, 2006 14:06, Anonymous Dale said...

If Moreno takes his second-half shot from one step back, the ball doesn't hit the crossbar and DC earns three points. United played the first half like it had sludge in its blood, but the second half was encouraging. Seemed to me, though, that too often the attack tries for one pass, one touch too many. Load the gun and pull the trigger, lads.

At 21 August, 2006 14:32, Blogger Kinney said...

I think one of the reasons you think Colorado wasn't getting called for fouls as much was the inconsistancy. Remember when right before the Colorado goal when Gomez got taken out with a tackle that got ball but went right through his legs? Then less than a minute later the same thing happens to Colorado and its a foul. Plus Benny takes a Mastro kung-fu kick to the face with no card but Eski's foul in the corner gets a yellow. The inconsistancy, usually with in seconds of each other is what really got to me about the reffing in the match.

At 21 August, 2006 15:40, Anonymous bdr said...

FYI - a Josh Gros article on soccernet's US page here:



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