23 August 2007

Debriefing for Match 12.20: New York Red Bulls

D.C. United 3 : 1 New York Red Bulls

JAMIE MORENO BECOMES MLS CAREER GOALS LEADER WITH 109

Six Word Novel Recap

Record is a comma, not period.

Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Post, Steve Goff: "Moreno's historic strike came on a night when United (11-6-3) scored twice in the first eight minutes, endured New York's intense pressure and Juan Pablo Angel's goal midway through the half, then secured its fourth consecutive MLS victory to move within three points of first-place New England in the Eastern Conference."
The Washington Times, John Haydon: "Moreno's moment came after United striker Luciano Emilio was tripped in the box by Red Bulls defender Hunter Freeman. Referee Ricardo Salazar awarded a penalty kick, and immediately the crowd roared. Moreno said he initially asked Emilio whether he wanted to take the spot kick, but Olsen pressured him to take the shot. 'I didn't want to score on a penalty to be honest with you, but Benny told me to take it and get it over with,' Moreno said."
The Examiner, Craig Stouffer: "With less than six minutes played, New York goalkeeper Ronald Waterreus spilled United midfielder Fred’s shot, the loose ball promptly cleaned up by Ben Olsen to put the home team ahead, 1-0. Barely two minutes later Olsen worked a combination with Moreno on the right side of the box, his cross at from the end line deflecting off the foot of New York defender Chris Leitch and falling perfectly for Christian Gomez to nod in at the far post and double D.C.’s lead."
The Herald News, Ives Galarcep: "There are no skeletons or ghosts or witches visible at RFK Stadium but that hasn't stopped it from being a house of horrors for the Red Bulls..."
MLSNet, Charles Boehm: "Moreno's historic achievement would have been almost inconceivable to most observers just a few short seasons ago, when the Bolivian star was debilitated by a series of injuries that placed his career in serious jeopardy."
MLSNet, Charles Boehm: "The result stretches D.C.'s league winning streak to four games, vaults the Black-and-Red ahead of New York for sole possession of second place, and ensures that the Atlantic Cup trophy will remain in the nation's capital for yet another season."
MLSNet, Chris Snear: " The Red Bulls certainly missed Claudio Reyna's ability to hold the ball and control the tempo of the match in the midfield."
United Mania, Mike Martin: "Olsen beat everyone to the lose ball for the finish to give United the lead in the sixth minute...DC extended their lead a mere two minutes later as Olsen turned provider this time. The Red Bulls Chris Leitch took a poor touch and Olsen stripped him of the ball to burst down to the endline and launch a cross in front of the goal where United’s Christian Gomez hurled himself into the bouncing ball to nod it into the net for a 2-0 lead before ten minutes had been played. New York pulled one back midway through the first half as Marc Burch slipped while attempting to cut back on Juan Pablo Angel. Angel was able to slip the ball forward to Dane Richards in the area. Perkins rashly came out and took a swipe at the ball, but only succeeded in bringing down Richards for a penalty kick."
An American's View, Brian Garrison: "Now that was a pretty good match to watch. We had drama, scoring, a record and a trophy. Not a bad night out at the ol' ball park."
BlackDogRed, BDR: "Simms has earned holding, and with Gomez up top and Fred and Olsen on wings, that's United's best midfield. Fred is going to tear this league up - defenders are already giving him to much space in deference already, yards of space in fear."
Sideline Views, Luis Bueno: "It's a somewhat memorable accomplishment but it will be broken sooner rather than later. Taylor Twellman has 85 career goals right now...I'm not trying to take anything away from Moreno. His accomplishment is grand. I just think there needs to be some perspective about what this record means."
Soccer by Ives, Ives Galarcep: "
This hasn't been a good day for the Red Bulls' fullbacks. Freeman and Leitch have been at fault in all three goals. Shouldn't be too much of a surprise with Fred and Olsen on the wings for DC.

The Good

  1. 109: It does feel good to see Jaime finally reach the mark. The importance isn't just the record, but the fact that Jaime hasn't really ever received his due from people that haven't been biased towards him (like me) or haven't played with him. Man was a legitimate MLS MVP candidate in 2004, but didn't even win comeback player of the year. If you look at the MLS Awards page, you only see Jaime Moreno's name once -- his 1997 golden boot performance. Something that wasn't voted on, or conferred upon him, it was something he took through performance alone. That's what Luis misses in his quote below: Sure, Moreno's record, whatever he finally puts it at, will fall. And probably within a few years. But once again, simply because of his performance on the field, he has earned the right to stand above and alone. That's the true significance: It is a legitimizing moment for a career that has far too often not gotten its due from people who never wore black and red.
  2. Balance, Metaphorically: You can get goals from hard work. You can get goals from clever skill. United got goals using both, stretching up some beautiful passing, but finishing through sheer doggedness. The first goal was Troy Perkins connecting on a long pass (which will probably only encourage him...) and Fred using some great skills to get in on the keeper, but the finish was simply determination with Olsen crashing the net. The second goal isn't so much about Olsen's assist, but the high pressure and tackle he applied previously to take the ball away in New York's defensive third. The third goal's penalty was earned thanks to the mythical back-heel, and it was a pretty little move to spring Emilio free. Nice to see all of that.
  3. Clyde Simms: The starting midfielder job is his.
  4. Troy Perkins: First, kudos to Clint Mathis for his opportunism in sending in a free kick when Troy was well out of position still trying to organize the defense. But bigger Kudos to Troy to flying back and extinguishing the last gasp from New York to dream of salvaging a point.
  5. Fred: The goatee looks silly. The skills do not.

The Bad

  1. Dane Richards: There was a moment when Richards sent a knee in a hard challenge into Moreno, and then acted indignant when whistled for the foul, repeatedly making the "get up, quit diving" motion with his hand. There is no question it was a foul, and while it may not have been as hard as Moreno reacted to it, it was still very clear. Dane, you fouled the dude. It's okay, but don't act like Ricardo Salazar was sold a bill of goods. That's just a young punk move to refuse to accept responsibility. Moreno is a legend, you not so much yet. Yes, you have world-class speed, but I'd hate to think you only had medium-sized village attitude.
  2. Balance, Literally: Both Burch and Namoff had awkward moments keeping their footing, and in both cases DC had to react fast to maintain any sort of defensive shape (and gave up a penalty in the first.) I've saw enough falling down in the first home game of the season, I don't want to see more. Yes, I know it's always over the infield, but perhaps we need to change spikes at the half or something.

Man of the Match

Ben Olsen. One goal, one assist, and one stern command to tell Jaime to go up and take the damn spot kick. Good night. Merit awards to Vanney (other than the back header), Simms, Moreno, Fred, and Gomez. Demerit to Burch for that one sequence (otherwise a decent game, and kind of fun to watch our left back attempt a neat one-two and break into the box).

Karma Bank

Here's how I figure it. +3 entering the game, but there's a -1 for the fortunate deflection off of Olsen's cross to Moreno's head. Both penalties were legit, so no movement there. I'm almost tempted to add -1 for not having to deal with either Kovalenko or Reyna, but I think not. So let's say -1 for the match, leaving us at +2 for the year.

Final Thoughts

These things are frickin' long to write. I almost forget what I want to talk about when I reach here. Okay, but here's what I have to say.

Let's talk about the rebuilding year thing. I have maintained that this was a rebuilding year, that this team still had holes they had to plug on defense if they wanted to really be elite. I maintain that I was right, since I always maintained one could rebuild but still be competitive. That being said, I have to wonder if I was also wrong. Not entirely, but perhaps the rebuilding just wasn't a year long period, perhaps it was only a 2/3rds of the season period. The emergence of Burch and McTavish make the backline situation much better, almost even a positive. With options of Namoff, McTavish, Boswell, Vanney, Burch... that's at least stable, if not particularly deep. Then again, in MLS, who is?

For the Boswell thing, I still don't quite get it. Again, as I thought after the Columbus game, there were times in this game when I would have liked to have seen his influence on the back. That being said, Moreno and Emilio have both been sat for a bit as part of Soehn's plans, and Boswell certainly doesn't deserve special treatment in that area. I just don't see what he has done to lose his job, especially after that encouraging performance against LA in league play. I also haven't seen enough from Vanney or McTavish to make me think that either had done enough to displace him. But I don't see practices, so I'm more than willing to entertain the idea that I am missing something.

Tonight, I got a result I really wanted. It feels good. Now I can dispense with the parochialism of irrational grudges, and return to wondering if this team can somehow defend the Supporter's Shield. Given the tightness of the table, it's still easy to fall away, but only now do I feel comfortable saying they can challenge. Let's hope that isn't the kiss of death. But if they play against teams the way the played last night, especially (and doubtfully) on the road, then this team has a lot to say for it.

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5 Comments:

At 23 August, 2007 11:06, Blogger Reid said...

given the lack of recent posts on head.com's website after the reportage of post-Beckham party activities and the correlating benching of head.com, perhaps one mr. soehn is reminding bobby that his job is to play soccer and not being a media or party mogul.

 
At 23 August, 2007 12:34, Blogger JWVariant said...

Damnation but ain't it grand that on a night that at the start of the season most would have pegged as a dreary dog-says affair, we faithful get rewarded with a multi-dimensional victory! A special night, a really fun game to watch, and an evening that gives hope for the remainder of the season.

 
At 23 August, 2007 12:43, Anonymous Bill Urban said...

D-Mo:

In the karma bank, didn't the deflected cross end up on Gomez's head rather than Jaime's?

As for Bobby and the bench, needs to dig in and convince Soehn he belongs back on the pitch. In another post you referenced how well Boswell seems to do in a sort of "sweeper" role.

Perhaps this is the problem rather than the solution. Maybe Soehn wants him to play more as a central defender, to mark more tightly and accept the responsibilities of playing in a zonal system.

Angel did give both McTavish and Vanney awful problems in the air last night, Boswell could have helped in that regard for certain...

 
At 23 August, 2007 13:17, Blogger The Manly Ferry said...

For what it's worth, I think y'all are rolling. Seriously. I don't think any team in MLS is playing as well. (Enjoy the weird thoughts in that link, by the way; especially the stuff about DC replicants.)

And, with regard to Moreno, the goal-scoring record is what it is - nice but, in all likelihood, short-lived - but the man is more than that single accomplishment. I count him the best all-time player in MLS history. He's fading now (hate to say it) but, year in and out, I can't think of a player who has contributed more consistently to his side's offense (well...in DC anyway).

 
At 23 August, 2007 13:44, Blogger Charles said...

Don't look now... but in the race for the supporter's shield, I believe United has the most points per game of any MLS team at 1.8.

 

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