12 July 2007

Debriefing for 12.B.01: US Open Cup - At Harrisburg City Islanders

Harrisburg City Islanders 1 : 0 D.C. United

Six Word Novel Recap

The US Open and Shut Cup

Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Patriot-News, Michael Bullock: " Fisher's goal in the 44th minute and a terrific collective effort at the defensive end helped the City Islanders claim a 1-0 decision, a victory that popped the surging USL Second Division side and first-time Open Cup entrants into next month's quarterfinal round."
The Washington Post, Steve Goff: "'It was a great opportunity for our reserves to show what they are about,' Soehn said. 'I really felt like they let themselves down tonight. We need to walk away from a game like this today and say those guys really stand out. They should be playing on the weekends [in league games] and I don't get that feeling from a lot of the guys today.'"
UnitedMania, Mike Martin: "Bobby Boswell and Brian Carroll were the only starters to start the match, but they came out at halftime and only Josh Gros and Devon McTavish played in the second half. I'd name the reserves who did play except I think they'd rather forget this night."
Upper 90, Derek Meluzio: "Steve Fisher scores, and an overall great defensive team effort leads to the biggest win in team history."
QuarterVolley, I-66: "When you get your chance to step up and perform, no matter what the scenario, you can’t keep blowing it. Nolly’s 0 for 2 this season."

The Good

  1. Jeff Carroll: It's hard to tell a lot about midfield play from a radio broadcast, where so much depends on movement off the ball which is naturally not called, but Jeff seemed to be active and getting involved.
  2. Prepositions: Tony Limarzi uses them, the Harrsburg play-by-play team does not, which I found out since Tony came on-line only at the tail end of the first half. Tony occasionally gets some flak for his over pronunciation and excitability, but he does a very good job at sketching the action as it occurs. Prepositions are your friend, as is giving the situation and score every five minutes or so. Learn, aspiring US radio soccer callers, from this.
  3. Harrisburg's Strategy: They played precisely the kind of game you would expect. Try for the occasional counter, maximize your set pieces (on which the goal occurred), and the bunker down. This was smart football from them, if perhaps a bit cliched, but it was effective and they deserve congratulations for executing their strategy.
  4. Playing the Reserves: Do I second-guess Tom Soehn's decision? No. This was the right move, and as I-66 noted a Quarter Volley, the reserves still should have stepped up and taken care of the game. They didn't. It also doesn't mean we didn't take this tournament seriously. It was a great choice for the reserves precisely because it would make a test different from the reserve league, and I applaud that.

The Bad

  1. Brad North: From everything I heard, it sounded like he had little to offer. Addlery and Dyanchenko would at least occasionally hook up to create a moment of danger, but North sounded ineffective.
  2. Mira Mupier: This may be a little unfair, since it sounds like he was doing all the hard work except putting the ball in the net. He would find his spaces, look for his opportunities, but the entire point of being a striker is that last 10% of effort to score the goal, and he missed two open chances.
  3. Jay Nolly's Confidence: He misjudges a corner, and gets punished. What is upsetting is that up until that point, he had been much better at controlling the area and seemed like he had learned a great deal from watching Troy Perkins. I don't think this is a major setback, but it seems sad that the one area where I detected improvement in his game is the one area he gets killed in.

Man of the Match


Karma Bank

Applies to the MLS Regular Season. Karma for the US Open Cup has been screwed up for 10 years now.

Final Thoughts

First, full credit to the Islanders who deserved to win this match by playing exactly the kind of game they should have. Second, I still do not think we should have played our starters. This isn't the FA Cup, and I fail to see how playing the reserves is more disrespectful to the "tradition" of the US Open Cup then playing on a field where an orange traffic cone is holding down a corner flag. What I wanted was for the reserves to win, and they didn't. This would have been a nice stepping stone, since these same reserves will still be called on at some point over the league and SuperLiga matches over the next few months. They had an opportunity, and it didn't fly for them as a unit. Now they'll be stuck for catch-as-cat-can chances in other games. This was a challenge, they failed, it is noted, and we move on.

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At 12 July, 2007 10:29, Anonymous bdr said...

Should they at least have started Vanney next to Boswell to give them another game to mesh?

At 12 July, 2007 10:32, Blogger D said...

We were playing a 3-5-2, and I think part of the reason for the 3-5-2 was necessity (coughlackofdepthcough) than choice. Of the two, putting Boswell in the middle made more sense, since Vanney would playing Vanney on the outside would have blocked a chance for a decent look at Burch or the like, and putting Vanney in the middle offered little. I think it was the right choice given the 3-5-2. In a 4-4-2, maybe you're right, but he's a bit old and the field was a bit artificial and a bit crap.

At 12 July, 2007 10:46, Anonymous GUTuna said...

I'm really impressed you found some positives in that one. After a 2 1/2 hour drive, that was just horrendous to watch. That's the type of match that turn people off to soccer.

I'm all for gutsy underdogs playing above themselves and getting an upset, but Harrisburg played like crap too. I think there were only two shots on goal for the entire match, none for United.

When you combine the crap play with the plastic field and the canned music during the run of play, it was all in all a night to forget.

At 12 July, 2007 11:14, Blogger Kinney said...

I don't think playing our reserves is in question. We should have done it and we should have won while doing it. It is a black mark on our reserves that they couldn't get the job done.

At 12 July, 2007 11:17, Anonymous Goose said...

Positive: Watching some soccer mom absolutely lose her shit over some people smoking cigarettes in the United supporter's section.

Also, watching the Barra's Croat jump out of the stands and chase down a punk kid who tried to run off with one of our flags. Serious closing speed.

Negative: Dumbass kid locking my keys in the trunk as we were about to leave. Awesome.

At 12 July, 2007 18:06, Anonymous Nick said...

We need Messi...

At 12 July, 2007 18:42, Blogger Tim Froh said...

Just letting you know that In Limbo is back (under a rebranding - new address: http://usafootie.blogspot.com/). I'm also writing weekly articles for scaryice at Climbing the Ladder.


At 13 July, 2007 01:19, Blogger JCM said...

I have to disagree with the common wisdom on this one. I don't think you need to start all of your top players, but only two is not enough. Rest Moreno if you want, and maybe Olsen. But Fred could have given 45-60 minutes, as could have Emilio, Vanney, and Perkins. The corner you back yourself into is if your plan doesn't work, you have no place to go. Second rate talent can't adjust. I fall into the "why bother if this is who you send" group. And it may be a group of one.


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