Match Briefing - Semi Final vs Chicago Fire, Home Leg
You would think that the United blogs wouldn't go collectively silent just before the biggest game of the season. Part of it is a hectic work schedule for many of us, here and elsewhere. After the tentative, timid formation and play in Chicago, many of us would rather bury that game deep in our memory, and any thought of tomorrow's game chances that fate/luck/whatever will not look favorably on us.
What's going on? I'm lucky to work with a fellow United fan and friend, we sit next to each other and the rest of the office calls our space the "DC United Corner". This has been pretty much the sum total conversation about Thursday's game.
"You gonna come in on Friday?"Moreno is fired up about the game, its playoff time, do-or-die, and now I'm looking forward to bouncing in the stadium tomorrow night. At RFK, we can make a difference, we've done so before.
"Yeah, I got a client meeting in the morning."
"Moreno looked ok in practice."
"Read that earlier too."
On to the game preview. The Goffster sends word that Moreno is looking healthy and Emilio should be starting. There inclusion in the starting lineup will make a huge difference, and Soehn will have to formulate a game plan that is 180 degrees away from the previous game. I won't say that scoring the first goal is key, because that's a cliche and we all know it already. I want to see the team come out guns blazing, pinning Chicago in their half, and peppering their goal with shot after shot. In midfield, Carroll should sit, Clyde Simms has been more consistent and effective. The back line is still a big question, which is perplexing at this point in the season. Rolfe and Barret are speedy front runners, and I'm not confident about a Vanney-Mctavish pairing after last week. Should Boswell play, if so who sits? I have no idea.
What to Look For
- Who start in Central Defense, will it be Vanney-Boswell, Boswell-McTavish, or McTavish-Vanney? Either Vanney or Boswell will have to do a better job organizing the defense, and make sure players cover for each other.
- Blanco should relish playing the villain, trying to draw free kicks and fouls. If DC could get him booked earlier, life would be easier.
- Quick, and accurate one touch passes can break down Chicago. We called out Fred last week, but everyone from the Midfield forward needs to pass accurately and not give the ball away.
- Shots and more shots on goal, none of this walk-it-into-the-goalmouth business.
Other Previews (more added as we see them)
- The Offside: "As for tactics, the situation is equally obvious: attack or die."
- Center Holds It: "Dang me, I wish I could take back/modify my call on this one."
- Soccer By Ives: "I really like Chicago's chances but the more I hear about what's going on in DC's camp the more I get the sense that they are ready to come out blazing"
- Washington Post, Steven Goff: " United, MLS's top goal producer during the regular season, needs all the offensive options it can muster."
- Washington Post, Steven Goff: "'We are a seasoned team, we had the best record for a reason and I think our guys are eager to show that again in front of our home crowd,' Coach Tom Soehn said."
- dcsundevil: "Forget the past. All United needs to do is play it's own game."
- ESPN Soccernet, Ives: "D.C. coach Tom Soehn doesn't read too much into the playoff history between the teams."