06 November 2006

Debriefing for Match 11.34: New England Revolution

Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Post, Steve Goff: "There was harsh irony in D.C. United's 1-0 loss to the New England Revolution in the MLS Eastern Conference final yesterday at RFK Stadium: The club that sleep-walked the latter part of its season away played its finest match in months." (Wow, does that lede sound familiar? Okay, no one seriously thinks that Steve Goff would plagarize from me, but I'm sure you all wonder if I might steal from Steve. The answer is "yes, but not in this one case." According to Google News, this was posted around Midnight-1AM, which puts me in the clear. Whew. Just a case of the natural reaction occurring in more than one place.)
The Boston Herald, Andrew Hush: "Taylor Twellman’s early goal was the difference as the Revolution backed up the early output with a stellar defensive display, featuring an eight-save performance from Matt Reis. "
The Washington Times, Jon Siegel: "New England packed it in and played defense after that. Even though United continually peppered the goal area, the defense, particularly Reis (eight saves), was able to protect the early lead. "
The Boston Globe, Frank Dell'Appa: "'It is still our ultimate goal to win the championship,' Franchino said. 'We are healthy this year and you could see it late in this game. We need the early goal from Taylor because of the way [D.C.] moves the ball and opens you up. We defended with heart and passion and worked hard for the guy next to us and just got the job done.'"
The Examiner, Craig Stouffer: "United responded with a gutsy performance at breakneck speed, posting 10 shots and seven corner kicks in the first half alone. D.C. finished with 18 shots. "
The Boston Globe, Ryan Mink: "[Twellman] was asked several times to describe his goal. Each time it sounded more ordinary, which couldn't be farther from the truth. Twellman doesn't rank goals. Each is as important as any other, he said. But his teammates realized how amazing the shot was."
The Washington Post, Mike Wise: "Those game-winning field goals by [UMD Football Dan] Ennis and [Washington Redskin Nick] Nowak were indeed huge. But in a stunning weekend of Maryland men getting it done with their right foot, no kick resounded louder than Taylor Twellman's."
My [Mike H's] Soccer Blog: "In the end, United might have been the better team of the day, but the match went to the better team of the last two months. "
An American's View...: "The thing that sucked the most was that in the 71st minute, I knew we wouldn't score, thus we were going to lose. I knew because I realized that even though our defenders and midfielders were winning the ball and pushing it forward, no one, I mean no one, was making a run off the ball towards the Revolution goal."
The Far-Post: "Acceptance...I Know You Tried — Luna" (Naturally, as a Luna fan, I disagree with this choice. Personally, this game made me want to reach for "Weird and Woozy" off of Romantica. Althought that could just be the booze.)
"A disappointing end, but not bitterly so. United earned international play next year, and if the last two months were dreary the first four months produced some beautiful soccer - the tie vs Madrid, the drubbing of Celtic, that fifteen game streak. This was a good season - do you think any MLS team except Ningland and Houston right now wouldn't trade? Columbus?" (I tend to agree with this view myself. A correct reaction. This season was a good season, no matter that it ended too soon.)

The Good

  1. Play from minute one: I have a feeling that people will see the early goal and assume that United was caught flat footed in the opening minutes before playing with desperation, but it's not true. In minutes one to three, DC had already put together a decent posession that looked threatening. This team came out to play from the first minute, and got beat on a classy finish from Twellman. But that wasn't a wake-up call... United looked alert and hungry even before that moment.
  2. Move it through: The problem with passing was not in the defensive third or the middle third in this game. Aside from one Facundo Erpen misplay, and two or three Boswell headers that went to Shalrie Joseph at midfield, DC was able to move the ball into dangerous areas better than I remember since July. The passing in the final third was occasionally too heavy, and touches weren't perfect, but DC wasn't, for the most part, giving the ball away to counters.
  3. Corner pressure: DC didn't score on any of their corners, but for the first game all season they looked consistently dangerous on corner kicks.
  4. MLS Fandom: A special note that the kids from New England in the Fort had a good representation, with their own sarcastic banners. Well done. I don't know what a travelling Fort would be called. (The Outpost? The Tank? The Beachhead? Meh). And the Barra, Eagles, and la Norte all showed up loud and proud. Actually, it seemed like the entire side of the stadium was standing for the entire game. Good.
  5. Officiating: It seemed fine to me, other than Shalrie Joseph getting away with a few muggings (including a double handed punch to the back of Adu's head). the ARs called the game well, and Stott kept control of the game. Give credit where it is due.

The Bad

  1. Subspicous: Like most people, I am confused by the Adu substitution. Esky went out due to cramping, and I assume Gomez was injured when he came out (For Simms? Huh?) but Adu was having a great game, and even if the game plan was to take him out when Khano came on to the field, you have to adjust and let Adu's threat stay on the field when you're down a goal. That Esky and Gomez came off I can't fault Nowak for, but Adu seems strange, and the fact that DC had no attacking options (No, Dyachenko doesn't count) to come on is a bit troublesome. I guess this means Jamil Walker may need to learn to speak French and put "eh?" at the end of his sentences.
  2. Stadium '09: If you're going to make that announcement at a pregame ceremony of a new stadium (which we have all heard before) don't you think you need to provide a reason why it is different now than every time before? Aside from the potential movement of the land swap bill, why is it more likely now than at any point before?

Man of the Match

Not applicable. But Freddy had a good game, and Facundo rebounded well from last week, and the entire team played all ninety minutes with passion.

Final Thoughts

The offseason is a bit shorter, thanks to the Supporter's Shield. It is still too long. We'll get into all sorts of stuff in the next few weeks (including the "Is Piotr Nowak's time up in DC?" argument) but that's the thing about the off-season... you have time to think about this sort of stuff.

As for me, I'm still bummed about this game. Yes, Mike H. may be right: The Revs may have my soul now. And if they're parading it around like the Stanley Cup, starting with Reis having it for a day, well, they earned it. It certainly felt like it was being ripped from my body as the game went on. But, at the same time, I can still say I am proud of my team, even in defeat. Full credit to the Revs... this is how finals should be played: tight and tense. I guess now all there is left is "Wait until next year." Which, for us, fortunately starts in February and not April.


At 06 November, 2006 13:22, Blogger DCNats said...

I just wanted to say thanks to D and the rest of the crew for all the great coverage provided this season... It was a disapointing end to a promising year. Lets hope we can get things straightened out in the offseason.

At 06 November, 2006 14:22, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 06 November, 2006 14:34, Anonymous Joanna said...

I think the Revs may have made off with a few souls yesterday. We should organize a raiding party to get them back.


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