11 June 2007

Debriefing for Match 12.09: New York Red Bulls

DC United 4 : 2 New York Red Bulls

Six Word Novel Recap

Olsen's triplets destroy New York's minutes.

Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Post, Steve Goff: "With a lunging header early, a clever finish in the middle of the second half and a breathtaking half-volley late, D.C. United's veteran midfielder recorded his first career hat trick and led his club to a 4-2 victory over the MLS-leading New York Red Bulls before 18,066 at RFK Stadium yesterday."
The Washington Times, John Haydon: "Amazingly, two of Olsen's goals came when United was a man down after defender Bobby Boswell was red-carded in the 60th minute."
The HeraldNews, Ives Galarcep: "The loss was the latest for the Red Bulls at RFK Stadium, which has been a house of horrors for the club since its inception as the MetroStars. They are now 1-4-1 in their past six regular season matches at RFK Stadium."
MLSNet, Charles Boehm: "While Olsen's achievement made him the center of attention in an upbeat United locker room, one of the biggest smiles belonged to Fred, who sparked D.C.'s second-half dominance with a series of aggressive runs that discomfited the Red Bulls defense and set up Luciano Emilio for the 49th-minute goal that gave the home side a lead they would not relinquish."
MLSNet, Jordan Brown: "To a man, though, the Red Bulls weren't making excuses for the loss. They were outplayed by a streaking United squad, and look forward to going home, recovering from their extensive traveling over the past eight days, and exacting a little revenge next week as the Kansas City Wizards visit Giants Stadium for a rematch of last week's 3-2 loss."
Ben Olsen's Beard: "Boz's sending-off was a bit of a catalyst for the domination that ensued in the closing minutes, despite of course the J.P.A. goal that happened while everyone was trying to get their heads around 'Ben Olsen just scored a hat trick.' Well, not us. Ben Olsen scores routine hat tricks on FIFA 07 for us, so it's not a big shock."
The Edgell Supporters: "The most notable statistic of the game is that every one of the four goals were double assisted. That's teamwork. That's an organized attack. " [Note: I disagree here, but it's an interesting argument. I'd say the fact that all goals came in the run of play was more important.]
Poplar Point Perspective: "Giving up the quick goal was unfortunate and when paired with the goal they gave up after saving the penalty a few games ago, leads me to think that they need to keep their concentration immediately after big events during the game."
An American's View...: "Our defense stepped up and contained one of the most dangerous strikers in the league and only allowed him to score once the result was no longer in doubt. Troy had another stellar match in goal. Gomez and Moreno played great, especially when we were down to 10 men."
QuarterVolley, I-66: "Brian Hall turned in one of the worst refereeing performances I’ve ever seen, and that was before he sent off Bobby Boswell before the hour mark with his 2nd yellow card."
BlackDogRed: "...that's why I dress in black and scream myself hoarse every opportunity I get (and wear Benny's shirt!!!)"
Soccer Insider, Steve Goff: "United played with width, found an attacking rhythm and maintained its intensity. Fred overcame a weak first half and inspired the second-half uprising. Emilio was a consistent threat and Erpen did a solid job on Angel, who missed an early sitter and was never really a factor."
Soccer By Ives, Ives Galarcep: "The game was ugly, at least for the Red Bulls, most of which looked like they were wearing lead uniforms considering how sluggish they looked..."
NOTE: The Kin of Fish gets a pass on what I'm going to say next (because Mr. Fish has a lot on his plate, like a full family, which I understand), but most RBNY fan blogs (see over there on the right) that I know are silent as of 10:30 AM. C'mon kids, you think I like writing posts after losing to Columbus? No, I don't, but you're team is good enough this year to deserve your support even after a loss like this.
DCist, "In previous years, this would not be any more than standard procedure for the boys in black, who had compiled a 24-15-5 record against their Atlantic Cup rivals."
SE Podcast: "Olsen was in the middle of his injury problems and nobody was sure if he was going to be ever play again, no less return to who he was before the injuries..."

UPDATE!!! ALSO: DCist, SE Podcast, Photos from Information Leafblower (Sorry DCist, you keep getting filtered where I am. Thanks to Kyle for sending in the link to their article.)

The Good

  1. Fred: We've been talking about Fred's slow emergence over the last few weeks, and yesterday it seems like it moved to the next level. From playing balls in from the wing, taking defenders on and making space, and even tracking back to snuff out attacks and start a counter, Fred was excellent. I'm in the minority on the issue of his jersey, since I wanted him to have to "earn" Fred, but this game would have been the first one to put down on that application.
  2. Team Efforts: The workrate was there in LA, as we noted last week, but it truly paid off today. Moreno was not dangerous on the attack, but he was excellent at the transition from defense to counter, and worked like hell even tracking back to his own defensive corner. Gomez also deserves credit for seeing the field probably the best he has this year and involving players.
  3. Moose: Quick update here. Justin Moose was excellent as a late sub to stretch the field on the counter. He used his speed excellently, and would penetrate far into the Red Bull defense before pulling the ball back and getting numbers, allowing United to chew up time with possession. He knew when to take the ball to the net, and when to pull back. Smart tactics that made handling the red card to Boswell easier, and he deserves notice for it.
  4. Defensive Adjustment: Since the Toronto match, Erpen had changed. We noted it in that game, gave him a certificate of merit against LA, but yesterday was one of his toughest matches to date. What I liked about him in this game was how he adjusted to Boswell's ejection. He played smart, stayed at home, marked his man and was content to let New York collect the ball if he could remain between the ball and the goal rather than make a risky play in stepping up to cut out a pass. It was not just his athletically best game, but his smartest game to date. Gros and Namoff (who helped open up the right wing for United to exploit) were also good.
  5. Supporters, Near and Far: United's support was in good voice for this match, and it helped that the ESC remnants and other RBNY supporters had a good turnout. They do deserve some credit for staying with the match as long and as loud as they could. Good atmosphere from where I was standing in the Nest.
  6. Luciano Emilio: Again, we noted that he had stepped up a bit against LA, but this match provided a lot to enjoy. He gets the goal, but he did so much more in terms of making runs to open space and dummying attacks to freeze defenders. Hmm.... Is there anything else we should be talking about?
  7. Ben Olsen is a F'in God: Here's what Olsen did. Not only did he figure out quickly how to shred Seth Stammler to pieces, but rather than run around doing jumping jacks when the ball didn't come his way, he went back and communicated in a constructive matter. Sure, he yapped at the ref a bit (and reading RBNY fans complaining that Ben didn't get carded for dissent is hilarious... as if Brian Hall didn't give you enough...). The thing is, Ben has figured out pretty much where the line is, and how to yap at the ref. He walks that line. Sometimes I wish he wouldn't, but if that's how he needs to maintain his intensity, then go right ahead. Good god. Scaryice, please update the hattrick statistics, thanks. Oh, and to update here, best moment on Olsen's third goal was on Telefutura, as their color commentator corrected the play by play guy's inaccuracies... "Gol? No... Goalzo!" That seemed right.

The Bad

  1. Boswell Cautionary Tales: I've reviewed the tape on this, and Boswell got in trouble with that first yellow, which he easily earned. There were ways of taking that foul and not picking up the early caution. The second was debatable, but after watching the replay it seems like a call that could have gone either way, and Hall's decision wasn't as bad as it may have seemed. Still...
  2. Brian Hall: After rewatching the match, some of the fouls that I thought were questionable were correct. Far more were just bad calls. Hall's performance wasn't as atrocious as I thought yesterday, but it was pretty far down on the putrid list. It seemed to me that there were different standards being applied, and that's not what you want to see.
  3. Troy Perkins Fielding: Is Troy not quite catching things as cleanly as he usually does when he patrols the box? Too often the ball seems to bounce down from his hands, and he needs to catch it on the rebound. We didn't get burned in this game, but it's something I'm starting to notice.
  4. Overreading the importance of this win: Sure, I want to as well, but my satisfaction is tempered slightly by knowing that New York was on their third game in eight days. Still, being down a man should have been enough to equalize that fact, and United outscoring New York 2-1 shorthanded makes me feel like you can't write this all off to New York being tired.

Man of the Match

Really? Is there a question? No. Ben Olsen is your man of the Match, with certificates of Merit to Erpen, Namoff, Fred, Emilio, and Moreno.

Karma Bank

Nice play, team effort earns United one karma, and Brian Hall's attempts to job the team get us another. We're up two for this game, and +2 on the season as a whole now.

Final Thoughts

I never understood the idea that beating one opponent was more important than winning a season. Made no sense. Intellectually I might understand Celtic-Rangers, Spurs-Arsenal, or NC-NC State, but I never felt it in my bones. However, the resurgence of New York this season may have changed it a bit. I wanted this game, and if having this game meant the three early losses to start the season then so be it. Would I prefer beating New York to having a championship? No. But goddamn that Atlantic Cup actually feels like something other than a spare paperweight to be passed around the DC United front office. I wanted to see a win this game, and a convincing win. And United came through. They came through in a way that delighted, that inspired, that sent me home in a cloud of euphoria. I know that this wasn't New York at its best this season, but while the game was on I didn't care. This was the best I've felt at a United game this year. I long for this feeling again, it is addictive. And the idea that it might not happen does not bode well. We are junkies now, you and I, and my hands will tremble until I get my next fix. Please let it come soon.

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At 11 June, 2007 11:13, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Need to update that Olsen total on the right sidebar!!!

At 11 June, 2007 11:17, Blogger D said...

Oh, I'm gonna get to it. Be assured.

At 11 June, 2007 11:26, Blogger edgell supporter said...

agreed on the goals coming in the run of play being an important statistic. in my defense, assists only come from goals in the run of play, right?

At 11 June, 2007 14:34, Blogger D said...

Edgell: No, you're right (except on corners, which don't count as "in the run of play" but could have assists)... I'm leery of the secondary assist as a measure of teamwork, but I admit that the idea was interesting enough to quote. I like reading things that I don't agree with, but still intrigue me. You could be right, and I could be wrong.

At 11 June, 2007 14:42, Blogger Sean said...

Didn't see you at the tailgate, D, but good to know you were in the stands. I was with a five year-old at the game, which meant no Nest for me, and that was a shame since I could see the place going nuts from the quiet side.

One interesting non-game note: Will Chang was at the tailgate for a good while and stood around talking to people. I'm told people asked some straight questions and got some straight answers. It'd be interesting to try to collect what everyone asked and what they were told.

Also cool to see the owner (excuse me, lead investor) out with the supporters.


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