30 October 2006

Debriefing for Match 11.33.2: New York Red Bulls


DC United Advances on Aggregate Goals 2-1 to Eastern Conference Final

Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Times, Jon Siegel: "The Red Bulls, despite playing without injured star Youri Djorkaeff, were aggressors from the beginning but didn't even the series until the 70th minute on Amado Guevara's free kick from just outside the penalty box on the right side. The Red Bulls captain made a perfect feed to Josmer Altidore in front of the goal, and the forward spun a header past goalie Troy Perkins (four saves) and into the lower left corner. "
The Washington Post, Steve Goff: "Instead, after playing poorly and then falling behind, United had to rely on Christian Gomez's goal in the 86th minute to salvage a 1-1 tie before a relieved audience of 21,455."
The Washington Post, Mike Wise: "But that was before the worst team in the MLS playoffs -- New York was 9-12-12 coming in -- made United look pedestrian in its efforts to get to the next round. That was before Nowak's club came up woefully short in a match they badly needed at home. That was before Nowak was incredibly fortunate to have Gomez's sure right foot send his limping-to-the-backstretch club to the next round...The force of Nowak's gruff personality has pried everything he can possibly wring from United in three years. If his players find a way to pull another championship out of their physically shot legs, he will have accomplished a minor miracle. Either way, it is time to go another direction next season." (Did Wise just pen a "Nowak Out!" article? Wow... We'll need to talk about that.)
The Star-Ledger, Frank Giase: "Despite playing their best game of the season and dominating play against the league's best team, the Red Bulls failed to capitalize on a number of scoring opportunities, especially in the first half, and one mistake at the end proved fatal. "
The Herald News, Ives Garlarcep: "The Red Bulls control did not result in goals as D.C. goalkeeper and recently named MLS goalkeeper of the year Troy Perkins put together a commanding performance, making three key saves in the first 25 minutes, including the deflection of a goal-bound header from Schopp. Altidore also came close in the 61st minute, but had his shot hit the left post."
MLSNet, Dylan Butler: "'We showed we are the better team at home and we were the better team here,' Kovalenko said. 'But it doesn't mean anything because they're going on; they're going to the conference finals and we're going home.'" (Dema, you were the better team in the second leg, but I still think we outplayed you up in Jersey. Let's not get too rose tinted now.)
MLSNet, Charles Boehm: "D.C. will play host to New England next Sunday in a reprise of the dramatic 2004 Eastern Conference final that is widely considered one of the most thrilling matches in MLS history, with a berth in the MLS Cup Final on the line. But given tonight's disappointing outing, even Peter Nowak admitted that his squad hardly deserves to be favored against the Revolution."
Mid-Atlantic Soccer Report, Ian Penderleith: "...despite its mediocre showing on the night, DC is just two wins away from a fifth MLS championship. Nowak paid tribute to the "fantastic" home support, which noisily urged his team on despite its severe shortcomings."
An American's View..., Brian Garrison: "I will tell you one thing, if we play like that on Sunday, the Revolution will knock us on our ass. They will destroy us worse that the beating we took from PUMAS last year. "
BlackDogRed: "...without Perkins in the air and Boswell in the middle and Gomez making something out of seemingly nothing, that would have been one embarassingly craptacular crash."
The Fisch Fry: "The immediate future of American soccer, though, is Jozy Altidore."

The Good

  1. Troy Perkins and the Outer Limits: When it comes to patrolling his box, Troy Perkins shows that he controls vertical, and he controls the horizontal. His disciplined regulation of his territory once again proves critical to stabilizing a shaky United defense. Special mention to Olsen and Boswell for also being decent in winning (or holding) the ball for united.
  2. Donnet and a Difference: Mattias Donnet has not shown that he can start for the team. But for the first time I felt that he made a palpable difference when entering the game.
  3. The MVP: Yes, he deserves it, considering the amount of energy that NYRB put into marking him out of the game. The thing is, while he didn't get the ball, he didn't give up despite having two or three bodies on him at all time. Good perserverence. Sadly, we must wait until November 9 to see if he gets it. At least he won one award already (and UNANIMOUSLY!)
  4. J. Altidore: Let me give some credit to the Red Bulls. In the 2006 BASAs, Jozy Altidore only got on one ballot for Young Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. In both cases, it was the ballot from this blog, and I think that, despite the limited number of games, you can see why I felt like he deserved a mention. Kid is flat out dangerous, and he proved it tonight.

The Bad

  1. When did we flip on the "Suck" switch?: Apparently (and I haven't watched the game broadcast yet) Eric Wynalda was calling out Facundo Erpen. Sadly (or fortunately), from my seats I couldn't see much of the problem, but I can say that what I saw wasn't particulary encouraging. Ditto for Josh Gros. Moreno was having problems with his touch as well. Freddy's passing must have put onrunning attackers at angles reminiscent of an HP Lovecraft expository sequence. God we looked bad. There is some complaint about the offsides, but I'm inclined to let that pass, since DC was clearly offside two or three times, but far more often when I was looking down the line with the AR, I thought we were within one step of being on.
  2. Mean what you say: While DC's players intellectual understand the mindset they need to be in, and they can mouth the words perfectly, you get the sense that it doesn't show up in our play. They didn't look tired tonight, they looked careless. Tired I could maybe understand (and use as a club against Nowak) but careless? There's no excuse for that. If I could find a way to drop some F-bombs in context here, I would be. I just want to yell at them everytime I hear a Crash Davis interview from someone on the team. Play like it, don't just say it. Maybe this town is getting to you.

Man of the Match

Your co-men Men of the Match, including both legs, are Christian Gomez and Troy Perkins.

Final Thoughts

This was no way to soothe anyone's nerves heading into New England. You hear people promising a "Battle" or a "War" next weekend... Let's not forget that Little Big Horn was a battle, it just wasn't a particularly two-sided one. I don't want a battle. I don't want a war. I want my team to go out and play 90 minutes of soccer that tells me they are trying to win, trying to execute, and have their heads in the game. Good god.


At 30 October, 2006 12:18, Anonymous Joanna said...

The interviews the players and coaches give is yet another thing about soccer that reminds me of politics. You have to say what you have to say to the press. And there are certain things you can't say - for example, "We're probably going to lose." This is why the stuff that players, coaches, and campaigns say can be so hilariously stupid. So anyway, the point is I guess that while you can glean certain information from these statements, I never take them at face value. It's fun to decide who has the nicest sounding voice, though.

At 30 October, 2006 12:40, Blogger I-66 said...

Not only was Wynalda all over Erpen, but Rob Stone showed some Tony Limzarzi-esque pro-DCism with his "YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!" call after Gomez scored. If I didn't know any better, I'd think I was watching EPL Fan Zone.

At 30 October, 2006 12:40, Blogger I-66 said...

PS: watch the mlsnet.com highlights of the match, or just the Gomez goal. Stone is off the charts excited about the DC goal.


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