Debriefing for Match 11.33: At Chicago Fire
Chicago 1 - 0 DC United
Six Word Novel Recap
One goal down, need healthy forwards.
Media, Traditional and OtherwiseDCist, Graham Hough-Cornwllt: "Neither team created much in the second half, even as United picked up more and more possession and began to push deeper into Fire territory."
The Washington Post, Steven Goff: "The result was, by no means, crippling to United, but it does mean that the four-time champions will need to win the finale of the two-game, total-goals series next Thursday at RFK Stadium"
The Examiner, Criag Stouffer: "Playing with a steady wind at their backs in the first half, the Fire set the tone from the opening kick, pressuring a United team that appeared nervous and hesitant without Emilio and Moreno."
UnitedMania, Mike Martin: "Playing a ridiculously conservative 4-5-1 line up, DC United left themselves open for the Fire to score a painfully easy goal early in the match. Chicago goalie Matt Pickens launched what should have been an easily controllable ball miles up field. Instead United’s young defenseman Devon McTavish allowed the ball to drop and bounce right in front of DC’s penalty area."
MLSNet.com, Tom Hilton:" Rolfe's goal, his first career postseason tally, gave the fourth-seeded Fire -- the last team to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs -- the advantage over the Supporters' Shield winners heading into next Thursday's second leg at RFK Stadium in the nation's capital. "
SoccerAmerica Daily: " Emilio believes he'll be back to 100 percent fitness for the second leg next Thursday at RFK Stadium. The series will be decided on total goals."
ChicagoSports, Luis Arroyave: " Jeff Carroll earned a yellow card in the 22nd minute for taking Blanco down from behind, but the Mexican striker wouldn't bite."
Soccer By Ives: "Should DC United be worried? Well, if they can't win by a goal at RFK Stadium in a decisive game they shouldn't advance anyway. I find it hard to believe DC's confidence will disappear after a close result."
Center Holds It: "Call ‘keeper Troy Perkins DC’s man of the match. His defense left him for dead on the goal, but he saved two other dead-certain goals at least, most notably his brave challenge when Calen Carr broke through late."
The Offside - DC UNited: "Say what you want about Burch’s ball-watching, or Vanney’s vertical jump issues, but neither of them cost us the game. The death sentence was the 4-5-1, a combination of every possible nightmare for United: no attacking options, unfamiliar roles, conceding the initiative, relying on mistake-free defense."
dcsundevil: "In my opinion, Fred needs to work on his passing accuracy. Four of five times tonight I saw him make a soft, slow pass behind his target. These weren't passes in the air, they were on the ground. Most of United's passes were to the spot that the target player used to be."
- Only one goal down: It'll be hard for me to find much of a silver lining to this result, although given that a tie would have been an acceptable result, I'm fully confident that the team is capable of winning the second game.
- Playing Time for Moreno, Luciano: I'm glad both of our forwards weren't so injured that they had to be held out of the game altogether. Moreno looked a bit hesitant at times, but also had some good moves around Chicago players. Hopefully both used this match to shake of some rust and won't play so tentatively next Thursday..
- Blanco and the Ref: To say Blanco falls down faster than an epileptic during a laser show would be no small exaggeration. The referees didn't buy most of his acting and pouting. I'm not saying overall that the refs did a good or bad job ...
- Tracking back on D: Both Fred and Gomez came back to help defend and try to jump start any offense.
- Defense: "Awkward looking is an overstatement of the display." D wrote that last week and its no less true today. Soehn seems to change the defensive line every single game, which can't help the defenders establish any understanding of how to play together. Contrast this with how well Chicago's line moved to keep Gomez offside.
- Fred: dcsundevil calls him out for his passing, but he was off his game throughout the first half. Without Moreno and Emilio to generate attacks, I'd expected more out of him but he didn't deliver. Either he's make a bad pass or hold on to the ball too much.
- The Starting Formation: th4-5-1 telegraphed exactly how DC expected to play from the outset, and I don't see how it particularly suited any of the players. Kpene isn't strong enough on the ball, or pressured defenders enough, to be the sole forward. Gomez didn't support him enough with runs on or off the ball either.
- Brian Carrol: Had a noticeably awful game, caught ball watching a number of times.
Man of the Match
None assigned. A tip of the hat to Perkins for his two saves, and a wag of my finger to the rest of team.
+1 for the season entering the game. +0.5 for two arguable handballs in the box that didn't go our way. +0.5 for further injuries to Moreno and Emilio on a rainy field. +1 change overall, +2 for the season.