08 July 2007

First Impressions - Houston Dynamo 1 : 0 D.C. United

You may not have noticed, but I took last week off from the blog, leaving it in the capable hands of Kinney and Oscar. However, on a night like this, it's unfair of me to ask them to write the First Impressions post. Beyond unfair -- cruel, actually. It wasn't that United was awful, or inept, it was simply that DCU was painfully milquetoast, like mashed potatoes if someone forgot to use any salt or garlic or butter, and simply cooked potatoes, sat on them, and tried to serve them to you.

United was plagued by a few things. First, possession was consistently thwarted in the final third. Fred and Olsen did not seem to have much to offer in terms of an attack, and Gomez was easily swarmed. Second, and this was true of the last match against the Wizards, watch how many times a United player made a pass that rebounded off an opposing player. Not that a Dynamo (or Wizards) player intercepted the pass, but a United player simply banked the pass off of them. While I can't be certain as to the cause of this, I suspect it is that while United is conscious of where their teammates are, and what they want to do with the pass, they are not as aware of the opposition as they should be. United can't simply impose its will on the opposition, they have to adapt and exploit. Sometimes Tom Soehn has shown capability in this area, but in this match it was lacking. Third, the touch for United's players was just awful. Some good passes or plays simply fell apart, or led to Houston counters, because United was unable to take the pass in and settle it down.

As Kinney remarked to Oscar and me, it wasn't that United played badly and rolled over. It wasn't that there wasn't effort. They just didn't look to be threatening even as the match fell away. They looked... bland. And bland does not win games very often.

Debrief tomorrow.

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