Debriefing for Match 13.A.01: At Harbour View F.C.
Harbour View F.C. 1 : 1 D.C. United
Six Word Novel Recap
The season's started. Tell the players.
Media, Traditional and OtherwiseThe Washington Post, Steve Goff: "Devon McTavish scored for United just before halftime, but Lovell Palmer volleyed the equalizer past goalkeeper Zach Wells to leave the total-goals series even heading into the final leg Tuesday night at RFK Stadium."
MLSNet, Charles Boehm: "D.C. started out brightly, switching play from side to side and probing the Harbour View back line. But the MLS side was hit by two injury blows in quick succession starting in the 14th minute. First Moreno pulled up clutching his hamstring after chasing after a ball deep in the Harbour View penalty area, immediately signaling the bench for a substitution. Then goalkeeper Zach Wells took a boot to the head as he raced off his line and smothered a through ball at the feet of Richard Edwards, who seemed to leave his foot in a dangerous position as he moved past the prone netminder. After receiving treatment, the dazed Wells was able to continue, but Moreno gave way to another new South American, Argentinos Juniors loanee Franco Niell."
UnitedMania, Chris Webb: "Despite it being United's first match of the season, they had decent control of the flow of play throughout the first half only being halted by a series of rough tackles that resulted in yellow cards to two Harbour View players...The second half was pretty similar to the start of the game in that United was the better team for the first 20 minutes but then Harbour View started to pile on the pressure."
The Fullback Files: "United looked rough, but you pretty much could have predicted that with the crappy pitch on offer and the lack of match sharpness for United coming in. Regardless, I thought we'd show a little better than that."
BlackDogRed, BDR: "No broad generalizations on the fate of the season from a first disorganized 90 minutes of determined refusal to build through the middle, but if Soehn's great brainstorm with all his new talent is to play every ball over the top like some relegation threatened Wearside team, jeebus fuck, he could have done that with last year's talent. You spend the designated player spot on a ball-distributing ten and craft a strategy of running the offense over him?"
DCUMD, Shatz: "All in all, not an unfair result when you consider its our first competitive match with this team and they've been playing together for months. And we were missing our two emotional leaders."
Fighting Talker, Aaron Stollar: "What I didn’t like...No wide play. United left Emilio fairly isolated with a lack of decent crosses. Yes, the goal was a result (indrectly of a cross) but the two wingers Fred and McTavish needed to be more involved and they weren’t" [Note: Word. See below]
QuarterVolley, I-66: "Work in progress. That’s the way to describe this team right now. "
Six Yards North, QJA: "The most important thing I noticed was the slow pace to the game. It seems United is struggling to shake off its preseason mentality. Players were walking at every opportunity and there were far too many lackadaisical balls over the top."
Soccer Insider, Steve Goff: "The first two results were satisfactory for the visiting MLS sides, who will head home for the second legs of the Champions' Cup quarterfinals next week"
- Frank O'Neal: Came into the game ahead of schedule, but I thought did very well. He seems to be two things: Fast and Small. And he was good, it was his hustle that brought us to the goal.
- Clyde Simms: Thought he had a wonderful game at midfield, a disruptive force
- Center Defense: Seemed decent for most of the game, giving up a goal on a set piece but I don't fault any of the new acquisitions for that. Stollar and I are in agreement that Burch and Namoff were most at fault.
- Ef the SC: Reading around the blogs, it seems to have been concluded that Lifton and Fullback posted the definitive critique of Fox Soccer Channel's myriad mispronunciations. I agree with everything they said, and urge you to read their litanies. In response, I propose to now pronounce Caligiuri as Caligula.
- Tom Soehn and the Safety First Kids: Again, I don't think out tactics last night will be the same as our tactics the rest of the year, but last night was not particularly fun to watch. Long balls over the top is ugly football, but I understand the reason for it. More concerning for me was a lack of recognition that Harbour View's late game threat wasn't something that would solved by adding Dan as another holding midfielder. The direct move would have been to take off Fred or McTavish for a better defending wing player (Kirk? Tino if his defense really has improved?) And that's assuming you agree with the idea of just trying to hold the lead, which many of you do not (although here, I differ, feeling that the motivation is sound, it was just the execution that was suspect).
- Marcello Gallardo: A marginal call here. It wasn't so much that he was bad, but that we seemed to be playing a system that reduced his role to Marco Etcheverry 2001 (let me hit a thirty yard pass and see if you can run it down.) I expect more. I expect our tactics to show us more. His first free kick was pretty nondescript. His second was quite nice. I am excited, but I don't think we really saw much last night.
- Devon McTavish: Yes, he got the goal. And he did well after blocking a team mate's shot to get that goal. But for most of the night, he was invisible, even on defense, and that's simply not acceptable. Fred was compartively better, so Fred's off the hook on this one.
- Emilio: If he's going to get the captain's armband, then even when teams are taking him out of the game he's got to assert himself.
- Jaime Moreno: Not his fault that he pulled up lame, but not encouraging either.
- Marc Burch: Got caught twice deep in our end with the ball, and that's simply not acceptable. I want to see a step forward in his game, and it wasn't there last night.
Man of the Match
Not applicable, but it was I'd fine us 1 karma for a generally listless performance.
Final ThoughtsI do enjoy writing these again. I really do. And while I'm disappointed, I'm not furious. As I wrote last night, I can't imagine this is how we'll play the entire year. I have to believe we made a tactical decision last night to play as we did, and that the second leg at RFK will see an entirely different type of game.
Like Stollar, I am concerned about the lack of wing play. I hinted at this last night, but even when we had control at the top of the box, it seemed too often the through balls on the flank were going to Namoff. I love Namoff, but I'd prefer to see crosses or penetration in that area from Fred or Kirk or someone whose job is to get forward. Gallardo played the ball long decently, but I did not see a recognition that our lack of width was an issue last year, or that we've taken any tactical steps to address it.
So... neither bad nor good but thinking makes it so. Preseason form was in evidence, but we can not use that as an excuse. If we allow ourselves to think that way, we are only creating excuses for a loss, and not a reason for a win. I want a win.