First Impressions: DC UNITED 2 : 1 COLUMBUS CREW
Once again, I'm being deluged with non-important things (as in, work-life). But while slaving over various spreadsheets last night, I was able to catch the radio call of the US Open Cup game. So I'll share a few views of what I heard (hmmm.. a bit synesthetic, that.)
First, let us celenbrate one force that DC United managed to resist in this game: The Law of Narrative Compulsion. When we entered extra time with DC outshooting Columbus by a factor of 4 to 1 (It was 24 to 6 at one point) you felt like you knew what was coming. Yes, I was certain it was only a matter of time before Columbus scored a fluke goal against the run of play, or a ball deflected off the referee and past Nick Rimando, or some such. It seemed inevitable: When one team dominates the run of play, but fails to gain the lead, then the other team has to win.
Only it didn't happen in this game. Count me as impressed, as narrative is a hell of a force to overcome in order to secure a victory.
Now, let's talk about the subbing: I don't get it. Adu seemed to be having a decent game (at least, from what I heard) having manufactured at least three chances. As I recall, he also netted his Penalty in the 2004 ECC, so why sub him out? He's good for offense, he can make penalties, and you're replacing him? Ditto Ben Olsen. I can understand keeping Jamie in for 120 minutes just for his PK ability, but why not take out Christian Gomez (who, to be fair, was having a fairly decent game.) Why take out the stabilizing force of Brian Carroll? No, it made little sense to me, but I'm glad we won. Yet... yet part of me feels like we can't keep making these subs. The last three games, I feel as though Piotr has started to enter a late game tactical rut, where our substitutions are predictable and our tactics blase. To be fair, it seems like even he isn't satisfied with the play in the last thirty minutes, but part of it seems to be a natural outgrowth of what he has taken out compared to what he has put in. Generally, we tend to see less creativity added and more routine dependability. Olsen, for a CDM, is incredibly creative. Wilson, as a LB/LWB, is decent on the ball but I wouldn't refer to him as someone who sees the game differently. So we lose something in the name of defense, and then wonder about all the, as Piotr says it, negative play.
Anyways, I am deluged here, but I don't want to go all Tony Kornheiser on you and just give you one paragraph. I write that, even while I realize that I'm on vacation next week. Oh, and look for my new sitcom on ABC "From the Spot!" featuring Ricky Gervais playing the role of "E", a soccer blogger and man of wacky hijinx.