Match Briefing for 13.A.01: At Harbor View
Match #: 13.A.01 -- CONCACAF CHAMPION CUP QUARTERFINALS
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
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)
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.