11 March 2008

Match Briefing for 13.A.01: At Harbor View


Six Word Novel Preview:
They built the team for this.

Harbor View FC
2006-2007 Premier League Champions (Jamaica)

TV: 12 March 2008, Fox Soccer Channel, 8PM

Radio: WFED 1050AM

Previous Meeting:
2005 CONCACAF Champions Cup, Quarter Finals, DC United 4 : 2 Harbour View (Aggregate)
[9 MAR 2005] D.C. United 2 (Eskandarian, Gros) : 1 Harbour View FC (Shelton)
[16 MAR 2005] Harbour View FC 1 (Stewart): 2 D.C. United (Walker, Moreno)

The Stakes:

Let me give some belated credit to Shatz, who did hypothesize early that many of the offseason moves were to make United more competitive in international play. So it is appropriate that United is instantly facing international competition in its first match. Last year's squad did what had to be done, and the stakes are the same for this year's team. United must win in its first round match-up, and failure would be even more disappointing than a failure would have been last year. This should be the start of a Champions' Cup run, not the mid-point.

For Harbour View FC, the season has seen a few troubling fixtures for them recently. They are 12 points back of Portmore after some disappointing results, and a win here could build on the recent success of their two last league games. To some degree, I think they feel that the 2005 contest was closer than the final scoreline would indicate, especially after drawing level in the second leg three years ago. They will be up for this game, both for revenge and for their season.

Previews from the DCUniverse:


United should look like the more likely of the two sides to go through after tonight's game. If it's a win, so much the better. A draw but good form to build on is also a potential likely, and acceptable outcome. A United loss, even away, would be troubling, and a multiple-goal loss would be distressing. Last year was about demonstrating that MLS teams have no excuse to go out this early, least of all United. Unless we all suffer collective amnesia and are running around in animal skins yelling "Miramani!" then we must keep that in mind judging this match. We hold this team to an elevated standard.

What to look for?
  • The big question: How will Gallardo run the offense? We've heard that United is still a possession team, but if that possession results with silly plays up the middle, how much has changed? Will Gallardo use the wings better than Gomez, and with that implied width find ways to take on defenders and beat them? That's one thing to look at.
  • Who starts on the wing? Some of Moose's few minutes last year came in Champions' Cup play, but with Olsen out, the indications from camp seem to be that Tino and Fred are your wingers. Watch for this.
  • How well in the center of defense organized? With a completely revamped center back set and keeper, watch to see how good the communication among those three players (I'm assuming a 4-4-2, which may be faulty) is set up. This is probably not the easiest environment to get this right in, which means it is a good test. On set pieces from the corner and around the box, I am especially interested to see how this works.
  • Who starts up top? Emilio is a given. Does Moreno start, or Niell? My guess is Jamie, but let's also check his minutes.

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At 11 March, 2008 14:10, Blogger A.T. said...

I'm with you on Jaime starting up top w/ Emilio, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Niell come on around the hour. Also wouldn't be surprised to see McTavish come on late to give Namoff or one of the Gonzalos a rest.

Here's hoping for a good showing and a lead coming home.

At 11 March, 2008 14:54, Blogger Justin W said...

I'm simply happy, no, make that deliriously happy that I'm reading a Match Briefing today after a seemingly endless offseason. Let's get it going!

At 11 March, 2008 15:38, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope Quaranta starts and we see some of Niell in the 2nd half. There is so much I want to focus on this game it's hard to keep straight. There's Gallardo, the new defense, Wells, and of course Quaranta. It's a lotta new subplots.

Thank God the offseason is over.

At 11 March, 2008 18:51, Blogger Shatz... said...

Never before have I been so excited about the opening game. After such a dynamic offseason, it will be really compelling to see how the team performs. Especially (like everyone else is mentioning) Gallardo and los Gonzalos.

At 11 March, 2008 23:08, Blogger Russ said...

I love how you've got an analysis on the how the Jamaican club teams are doing and how it correlates to this match.

On a side note...
try this soccer manager game.

At 12 March, 2008 00:07, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(old Misfits nod)
Goals for dinner, Goals for lunch, Goals for breakfast, Goals for brunch, Goals at every single match, Its time to win some cups! Goals are we ever get, In in this RFK'in place, Goals are we ever get, Why did your team show its face? Goals for dinner, Goals for lunch, Goals for breakfast, Goals for brunch, Goals at every single match, Come on DC get some cups!

Bring on the season. Please Glod, bring on the season.

At 12 March, 2008 00:14, Anonymous I-66 said...

I am so ready, I've already begun thinking about what to make for Tuesday's tailgate. Holy shit it's been a long offseason. Simply put, it's time.

At 12 March, 2008 18:14, Anonymous DCUinCT said...

Match Day is BACK! Wo Hoo!
I expect a team of those who have been with DC longer, and bring in the bright legs as subs to work them over in the second. Can't wait for tonight.

At 12 March, 2008 19:00, Blogger A.Noel said...

I can't wait for this match, and I'm getting even more geared up for next Tuesday when we have our first match of the year at RFK. My question is though, who's going to start at keeper? My guess is Soehn will play one per half, but I'm interested to see how they both play out.

I'm also really excited to see Gallardo in his first start. Let's hope that he lives up to the hype.


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