First Impressions - Chicago Fire 1 : 0 D.C. United
In the middle of the country, where I am, it is a cold and dreary looking night. I felt alone in the bar where I sat. Around me people played Buzztime trivia and gazed half-heartedly at the Red Sox-Rockies game. They were kind enough to put the game on the TV closest to my table, and for a moment I was glad. Until I saw that we had no Emilio, and no Moreno. Kpene can not be held responsible for 40 minutes of few chances... our midfield simply didn't know how to play the ball in. A cross? A play up the middle? Denied the comfortable views of Moreno and Emilio, they were confounded. It wasn't that Chicago stopped the United attack, but that the United attack never found a way to coalesce. We needed them in the game just to have a way to figure out what to do.
As for the goal, I believe a certain blog pointed out that one thing we get from Bobby Boswell is a good defensive presence in the air. Tonight feels like we payed for not having that presence, as Vanney was flat out beat on the header that put Rolfe in alone on goal. If this game is frustrating, it is because we saw all of the things that we've seen all season in one game. Vanney slow and out-played in the middle. Burch getting the ball taken from him while hesitating over the ball. McTavish a shade too loose in his marking. Gomez vanishing at the start (although he did find a way to assert himself later). Carroll meandering around the field. All the things that annoyed us at one point or another were there tonight, but the real problem was that I never felt like we were trying to come out with a lead. Maybe Tom Soehn had a good tactical plan he felt he could execute, but when you bench the best attacker in the league this season, and the all-time greatest goal scorer, you have to wonder if that doesn't send some sort of message. To me, it certainly spelled doom, but I knew I was tending toward the overly dramatic. Still, when the rain came, it seemed like a test of mojo. We win in the rain, but we lose to Chicago, which mojo is stronger? Sadly, we know now.