27 September 2007

Debriefing for Match 12.D.01: CD Guadalajara

D.C. United 2 : 1 CD Guadalajara

DC United leads 2-1 on aggregate after first leg.

Six Word Novel Recap

Down a man, up a goal.

Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Post, The Bog Man: "Despite playing a man down for the second half, United held off an unrelenting Chivas attack to emerge with a 2-1 advantage in front of a split crowd of 21,022."
The Washington Times, John Haydon: "Last night, Ben Olsen and Clyde Simms scored United's goals in a frenzied game that was made all the more difficult following Marc Burch's ejection for a second caution in the 44th minute. Sergio Santana scored for Chivas in the 61st minute, but United was able to hold on."
The Examiner, Criag Stouffer: "The teams play the return leg Tuesday at Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico. The winner will face Argentina’s Arsenal in October."
UnitedMania, Mike Martin: "Unfortunately, United's Devin McTavish gave Baez way too much room and he was able to measure a lovely cross that found Santana perfectly as he beat Greg Vanney to the near post. Santana's shot gave Perkins no chance and the put the series back in reach for Chivas at 2-1."
MLSNet, Charles Boehm: "Chivas had taken a stranglehold on possession and United was dropping quite deep to track runners and keep the ball in front of them. But the man advantage kept showing itself on half-clearances from the D.C. defense that fell invitingly for late-arriving Chivas players at the top of the penalty area -- but Perkins was repeatedly let off the hook by shots that flew high of the target...But set pieces offer one of the few areas where a 10-man side can strike back, and a gritty bit of play by Gomez -- maintaining possession in a crowd of red-and-white jerseys some 25 yards from the Chivas goal -- earned his team one such precious opportunity in the 55th minute."
BlackDogRed, BDR: "United was fortunate to win, and would have been fortunate to win even at full strength the entire game. People who wonder where MLS as a whole ranks against other leagues around the world got a good demonstration last night of where MLS currently rates. Chivas, a mid-table Mexican team, was bigger, stronger, more dexterous and heads-up, and was demonstrably quicker and faster than the most skilled team in MLS. The only position where United was superior was goalie, and Troy Perkins, who recovered from a terrible touch early in the game, dropping a ball aimed right at his chest that many Chivas players should have buried, saved United."
An American's View, Brian Garrison: "Chivas had about 4 shots in the first half, but they finished the match with 21, you do the math. Yes Troy Perkins was beat on teh 61st minute goal, but I honestly think it was more of total defensive lapse that allowed teh cross to come through the box, rather than Troy getting caught on the wrong side of the goal mouth."
Soccer Insider, The Bog Man for the Goffather: "The consensus from talking to several players was that United played far from its best soccer, was dominated in possession early in the first half, created several nice chances at the end of the half, and then held on down the stretch, aided a bit by Chivas failing to put away its chances. From my vantage point, Fred's creativity on the left jumpstarted United's spell of dangerous possession in the first half, and Gomez's two runs (one that set up Olsen's right-place right-time bomb, and one that created the free kick) saved the offense."

The Good

  1. We Don't Go to 11, we still get one more: Given an ejection to the defender who was having the best defensive game of the night, a 2-1 result is a fantastic one. Yes, Chivas gets an away goal, and that is mildly hurting, but as I recall we went down to Chivas drawn last time, and also down to Chile with a draw. At least this time we have a slight edge.
  2. Troy Perkins: While none of the saves may have been utterly acrobatic, there were enough that were difficult, and if any had gone through I'm sure certain people would start playing clips of the previous match in Guadalajara. He shut down everything he could reasonable be expected to get at.
  3. Clyde Simms: This marks about the fifth game we've seen him earn the everyday start with his performance. His play in midfield and dropping in was crucial in holding onto the slim lead, and his goal may well prove crucial.
  4. Ben Olsen: Fred and Gomez both figured out the game as it went on, but Ben came out of the blocks strong. Again, the goal was simply just rewards for the effort he was putting out there.
  5. Emilio as sole striker: Really, I don't much like it when he's up-top alone, and United was playing most of the game in a 3-3-2-1 after the red card to Burch, but he did enough to be a pest, and pulled the ball back. United still gave the ball away too often for a team bunkering in to preserve a lead shorthanded, but Emilio really did a lot alone up there to help buy time.
  6. The play of Chivas: For all the complaining, Chivas played a clean game. Yes, they used too much flair too often. Stepovers are nice, but they were more successful just running at players and changing direction. It made for an exciting game. Of course, I prefer boring United blowout wins.
  7. The Gentlemen of Knowledge, Who You Would Expect to Wear Top Hats, Carry Canes, and wear Evening Dress in the Middle of the Day. They don't, of course, but you might think that: Ran into this guy unexpectedly, whom I had never met before. He's much too kind about it in his words. This guy bought me a beer. It is a favor I publicly knowledge, and pledge to return. Truly, is there greater citizenship and brother/sisterhood in any country, in any army, in any municipality, than that of the fan? I think not. Gentlemen, it is a pleasure, let us do it again some time.

The Bad

  1. Handling Speed: Most MLS Teams attack United by playing long balls over the top. Chivas, especially early, was having tremendous success playing nifty weighted through balls for someone to run onto. Namoff was consistently being run at, and the middle of the defense was not much better. If MLS teams have that ability (and fortunately, even most of the good ones don't) then United would not be where they are. The surrendered goal was partially an effect of this, and partially an effect of a midfield not collapsing back in time.
  2. Namoff Gimping: I wrote this last week, but it is true this week. Not so much for the next Sudamericana game, but he needs to be healthy for the end of the season and the playoffs. This is not a good thing that I've had to write about it two games in a row. Get healthy.
  3. Vision: The biggest problem in the opening half hour was just how slow United was to recognize that plays that were developing for them. Gomez was having an awful start to the game, consistenly making poor passes and late decisions. Fred and Olsen were having success on the wing, but once again too often the ball was being pushed down the middle. Or rather, too often they tried to push it down the middle, and it was not working.
  4. The Fans of Chivas: This was alluded to in the comments, but while hearing a massive cheer of "CHI-VAS (boom,boom) CHI-VAS (boom,boom) repeat" is amazing the first two or three times you hear it, after awhile it gets old and tedious and not that impressive. They came equipped, which I credit them for, but they also were far too impressed by snazzy, yet ineffective play. I thought these wans were supposed to be savvy. And their whistles when Gomez and Namoff went down was just poor sportsmanship. Overall, I am underwhelmed with their supporters.

Man of the Match

Clyde Simms. Merit Awards to Olsen, Emilio, and most especially Perkins.

Karma Bank

Karma is not counted for non-MLS Competitions.

Final Thoughts

Let's get the scenarios out of the way first. For the second leg, here's how it works:

If United Wins: United Advances on aggregate
If the game is a draw: United Advances on aggregate
If Chivas Wins by Two or more goals: Chivas Advances on aggregate
If Chivas Wins 1-0: Chivas Advances on away goals
If Chivas wins 3-2, 4-3, 5-4, etc...: United Advances on away goals
If the final score is Chivas 2 : 1 United: We start to go down the road to penalties.

Got that? Good.

As for me, I enjoyed the game. I think the away goal for Chivas may be a better result for United than a 1-0 win (although certainly not as good as 2-0). If nothing else, United knows that they should look for one more goal in Guadalajara and not simply pack it in the entire game, a strategy with which they have shown dubious competence to date. That first goal in the second leg may well be everything, and United will know that very well now. Cagey, but aggressive, that's how we need to go. In fact, we need to play much like we did the first half last time we were down there.

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2 Comments:

At 27 September, 2007 14:52, Anonymous Nick said...

Good: Heart. It was conforting to see us play so hard despite being a man down and pretty much dominated.

Bad: Speed. I knew we weren't the fastest team, but we looked really slow all over the field. Aren't MLS teams supposed to dominate Mexican teams physically? I want to see us drafting some track stars in next year's draft. Having a Dane Richards out there could have been extremely useful last night.

Hope: With a result in hand and a team we know very well already, we have a good shot at getting a draw down in Mexico. Also, we are in the considerably weaker half of the Sudamericana draw, so I think we can realistically be thinking kinda big here if we get past Chivas. Arsenal is not as good as the goats...

 
At 27 September, 2007 17:34, Blogger Landru said...

I'd just like to point out that no matter what Bobby Boswell tells you, I have never worn a dress.

You say 3-3-2-1, I say 6-2-1. Tomayto, tomahto.

Great to meet you, sir. Thank you for taking the initiative.

 

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