16 March 2007

First Impressions - DC United 1 : 1 Chivas Guadalajara

Chivas proved two things over the course of the game I just saw. First, they were the better team over ninety minutes. Second, they have no class.

On the first point, Chivas was clearly the more dangerous team, although the United defense did well to contain them for the first sixty minutes. Namoff especially made several vital interventions before his effort was spoiled when he deflected Bravo's shot past Troy Perkins. The main problem for United was that they couldn't seem to generate chances when they had possession, and never really put Chivas on their heels. A significant problem was that United was consistently beat to 50-50 balls, and were never confident when making moves on Chivas players. That could be preseason form, or it could just have been nerves. Or perhaps Chivas really is that better in the marginal situations. However, certain players did play their heart out, and in addition to Namoff I should credit Ben Olsen, Christian Gomez, and Clyde Simms.

On the second point, Chivas were a bunch of divas and thugs throughout the night, blatantly mugging the United midfield and then pouting on the slightest call. Pathetic. Special call-out to Gonzalo Pineda (#7), who was in a give-and-take with Ben Olsen all night. At the end of the match, Ben did the honorable thing and went to shake hands. Pineda took the outstretched arm, and with his left hand delivered a shove to Olsen's face. Pineda is a useless wretch of a human being. He wouldn't know class if you spotted him the C and the L. Fuck him.

All in all, the Chivas fans were decent and loud, and probably outnumbered the United faithful three to one. I respect the fans, but honestly, your team did not earn your love with their deportment tonight. The United supporters, well, we did our best, and I have no voice left to show for it. I am proud of all who stood through the game.

Again, this was what I expected as a result, and while the odds are against us, it can still happen. This isn't over.

Labels: , , ,


At 16 March, 2007 00:19, Blogger Brian said...

jncufI guess someone has to ask the question - "Can Mexican teams draw/lose and remain composed?"

Are all Mexican atheletes raised to not have class or integrity?

Oh well, at least Houston beat Pachuca 2-0.

At 16 March, 2007 01:10, Blogger tucksider said...

Divas de Guadalajara...

At 16 March, 2007 01:15, Blogger tucksider said...

here's a real question, also:

should DC change tactics for the second leg? our 3-5-2, possession, etc. works great against overmatched MLS teams, but if Chivas is going to dominate possession and successfully neutralize Gomez, shouldn't Soehn look at some other ideas for the attack?

even when DC were able to build a successful attack it seems like Chivas had the quickness and awareness to snuff out that final pass that is United's usual trademark. United doesn't have to counterattack in MLS, but it might serve them nicely next week down south.

At 16 March, 2007 01:48, Blogger boudewijnzenden said...

What’s changed? DC United draws 1-1 with Chivas in leg one of the CONCACAF Champions Cup semifinals
by Joseph Schoenbauer 3/15/07 www.dcsoccer.com

Washington DC – What’s changed? That’s what I asked DC United head coach Tommy Soehn and center midfielder Ben Olsen in the press conference following DC United’s 1-1 draw with Chivas de Guadalajara in the CONCACAF Champions Cup semifinal first leg at RFK, more specifically: What’s changed between DC's current team and DC's team that played 2 years ago against Pumas UNAM in the same competition?

The truth, nothing at all really - a 1-1 draw at home in the first leg followed by... we shall see. But what can you expect? DC is in preseason and Chivas is 10 games into their league season. The same time frame as 2 years ago, when Pumas UNAM soundly defeated DC United 5-0 in the second leg in Mexico to win the series 6-1 on aggregate.

And while DC United may have new players, a new coach, and new jerseys, nothing much has changed from now and 2 years ago, or even further back for that matter.

Certainly it would seem DC has better overall players this year, with Christian Gomez coming into his own after an MVP season last year and Emilio (being judged on a mere three games for DC…) having the ability to make the difference. However, DC United fans were saying the same things about Alecko Eskandarian following his 2004 MLS Cup Final MVP performance. But 2 injury plagued and below average years on and he and his salary have been shipped to the expansion Toronto FC.

The fact is, DC United, like every other MLS team, is reliant on drafting players out of college to make up their roster and to provide quality and depth in a number of positions because of the strict salary cap structure of MLS that does not allow any one team to ever significantly improve from one year to the next. And try as some might to convince us, college has not changed one bit since what can be classified as the stone ages in American soccer years. In fact there has not been much change in quality coming out of MLS drafts since MLS's inaugural year in 1996, 11 strong years ago. Why? Because as I said, college soccer is still exactly the same. Colleges are still recruiting the same youth players, who are produced by the same US youth club teams, whose structure only allows the wealthy and middle class the ability to afford to play. College then recruits them to play a 3-month season out of a 12-month year, with a hefty dose of weight lifting, running and partying making up the other 9 months at virtually every college in the nation. Last Paul Gardner checked this was not how Brazil was producing its world-class players.

But to strengthen my argument, check the MLS “Superdraft” stats from this year. While watching there must have been an 80% chance that a 6'0" or taller 175 lb. player with "great physical attributes and strong heading ability" would be drafted. Which should come as no surprise, as this is essentially what a college level of play is going to produce.

So back to the original question: "What's the difference between this years team and the team from 2 years ago that played Pumas?" Ben Olsen took a back seat to this one and remained quiet, though his facial gestures suggested he had something going on his mind. Tommy Soehn had this to say, (my batteries died on the way home, so I will get new batteries and get the actual quote soon but essentially it was short winded and went along the lines of “We are 3 years more experienced and we are going to do everything to prepare for the return leg"

Basically he said nothing.

Though his response about "doing everything to prepare" begs the question, if the actual MLS teams are prepared to go the extra effort to try to compete in this "prestigious" tournament whose winner goes on to compete in FIFA's World Club Cup Championship in December, will MLS actually ever follow along and do the same? I think not, as treating this tournament seriously would mean a change in MLS's schedule to allow teams such as DC United a level playing field, i.e. a field where they are in the same time frame as their rivals. But there has not even been a suggestion of changing the MLS schedule to one that mirrors most other leagues around the world, be it a typical South American model of apertura's and clausura's, or a typical European model of a season beginning in August and ending in May.

We've all seen what it means to be in preseason. Give an MLS All-Star team a team in preseason from Europe, such as Fulham or Chelsea, and they will defeat them. Even an MLS team, such as DC United, will romp a Celtic, and give solid games to Bayer Leverkusen, Chelsea and Boca Juniors. Don’t tell MLS this yet though, they would cry if they realized DC United 1-1 draw with Real Madrid barely even made the papers the following day in Marca and AS back in Spain’s capitol.

Therefore, MLS teams in this competition never really stand a chance, and if say, DC United or the Houston Dynamo, who defeated Pachuca 2-0 tonight in the first leg in Houston, does pull off a remarkable aggregate victory, it will be a one off that will give no real justification for perceptions of MLS fans and fans around the world to believe that this will become a regular result in years to come.

The changes are not yet in place to make this happen and given the lack of ability, or should we call it desire (which is how I can only assume the colleges and youth soccer organizations would want it to be) to change anything that would provide for said justified perception, it is hard to see anything changing in the foreseeable future.

And though the creation of MLS youth teams is a good start, the fact that the “Beckham rule” has been used so far to attract David Beckham and Claudio Reyna, with rumors claiming more over the hill European’s Robbie Fowler, Patrik Berger and Edgar Davids have been contacted for possible moves suggest only bad news for the future of MLS in terms of quality, viewed perception around the world, and costs.

So for now, I will stand with Barra Brava cheering on my DC United, because if Christian Gomez delivers a perfect free kick for Emilio to head home in the 91st minute of a game to tie 1-1 with Mexican power Chivas, and that’s good enough for MLS, than that is good enough for me. For now…

At 16 March, 2007 10:36, Blogger Paul said...

Nice post, b.


Post a Comment

<< Return to The DCenters Main Page (HOME)