17 April 2008

First Impressions - D.C. United 1 : 2 Columbus Crew

It was better than the match against Real Salt Lake. Then again, having my testicles eaten by fire ants would have been better than the game in Salt Lake.

First, let's address the key thing: I have no issues with the formation, the substitutions, or much of the reasoning behind this match. Certain players played very well (Gonzalo Martinez, Gallardo) and others did not (Wells, McTavish, and Emilio). Everyone else was sort of in-between, neither awful nor amazing. But there are things that worry me.

The particular involved Luciano Emilio and his inability to take the ball with his back to goal and not fall down. The general is a feeling that this team has not settled on a coherent theory of attack. Gallardo has amazing vision, but what he sees isn't what people are doing. Gallardo doesn't anticipate Moreno, who doesn't quite get Quaranta, who sends the ball into the Emilio, who falls down. And that's... dis-heartening. It's as if they're playing a pick-up game, which at times can produce great moments, but other times just seems disorganized with everyone taking about one to two seconds two long to figure out where everyone is around them.

So it's a tough game. Not a debacle like Salt Lake, certainly a better match, but hardly a ringing call for hope. It is a game that fits my mood: Dark, Disjointed, Drunk. Perhaps tomorrow I will have a better sense, but right now it's just sad.

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At 17 April, 2008 23:30, Blogger Joemybro said...

I hate to say it, but I am not sold on Simms, mostly his passing. He runs hard, tackles hard, and gets into good spost most of the time. But his touch looked shaky and his passing leave something to the imagination.
I'd almost love to see Benny come back in that role instead of the wing. Then, McT and Tino can scrap it out for pt on the wing.

At 17 April, 2008 23:36, Anonymous Grunthos said...

Yeah, that's the match I saw, too. Gallardo showed us what he can do tonight, but the rest of the team hasn't figured it out yet. Too often, the developing attack would be screwed up before the ball even crossed the midfield stripe, with Gallardo trying to achieve one thing and his teammates going in other directions. Simms' passing (which I agree isn't the best) won't be a problem if he can learn to read what Marcelo wants and execute accordingly.

Emilio is... worrisome. Just out of it, and ineffective.

A very disheartening result. This is the easy part of our schedule; we're supposed to rack up points now so that the late season games against Chivas, Houston, and the Revs aren't must-win.

At 17 April, 2008 23:36, Anonymous Anonymous said...

bad when you lose to the frickin village people... even worse to have been sitting near their fans... Emillio is flopping like Fillomeno, teams have figured out that Fred always cuts inside, agree that Moreno and Gallardo need to go on a retreat together or something... liked what I saw from Q... bad when all the goal opportunities are coming from defensive players. Gallardo needs to step up and take over a la Gomez... Niel needs to do more than fall down-- a better game from him this time but still not enough. Thought the interior defense was strong and continue to think that Martinez is a beast.
Can't believe they lost this one.
Damn. Damn. Damn.

At 17 April, 2008 23:48, Blogger Jason said...

Fred looked awful to me tonight, he held the ball too long every time.

Noone wanted to shoot. Gallardo needs to start shooting from run of play.

I was pissed as hell when the pulled Burch over Fred tonight, Burch was having a very good game tonight imo. I'd almost like to see him and McTavish swap roles.

D: Put Emilio on Freezer Watchlist pls.

At 17 April, 2008 23:54, Anonymous Chris Metzler said...

Please talk to me about Gallardo. I'm not saying you're wrong -- I'm more than willing to believe that you're seeing things I'm not seeing. I have no illusions about my genius (or, more correctly, lack thereof) for interpreting what I'm seeing on the pitch. So please, what am I not seeing about Gallardo's play? What are you seeing that makes him look so good?

At 18 April, 2008 04:57, Blogger jrnail23 said...

joemybro, you gotta be kidding me about Simms... Clyde has been DC's best player this season. He's a rock in defense and winning the ball, and he's played with great composure, making the smart, simple passes. He's definitely not a #10... he's a d-mid all the way, and a damn good one at that

At 18 April, 2008 05:02, Blogger jrnail23 said...

Also, when is Tommy going to figure out that Tino is his most dynamic attacking player right now (with the possible exception of Fred). Tino needs to either start in place of Moreno (hoping that Jaime gets some life back into his legs soon), or he needs to be in place of McTavish on the right wing. Maybe even a christmas tree 4-3-2-1 would work, with Tino & Fred behind Emilio, and Simms, Gallardo, and McTavish behind them in midfield

At 18 April, 2008 09:05, Blogger Jeffrey said...

I'm surprised you gave Peralta and Namoff a pass - I thought they were terrible. Actually, I thought that Namoff, Peralta, Simms, Emilio, and McTavish - i.e., the guys who didn't get a rest - were all terrible. Certainly makes Soen's decision to rest people in Salt Lake seem a little better.

I think we are also too kind to Jaime Moreno. I love the guy, but I feel that there's a growing body of evidence suggesting that he's just about past it. He just doesn't run mcuh anymore, and he never sprints. It was way too easy for Columbus to mark Moreno - with his lack of movement - and Emilio, with his ineffective posting up.

At 18 April, 2008 09:28, Anonymous Jeremy said...

I agree with Chris. How can you praise Gallardo's "vision" when this vision leads to a turnover and the end of any attacking chance. For me vision includes seeing the play developing, anticipating the reactions of your teammates and the defense and moving the play forward. I have not seen that from Gallardo.

At this point, I have to ask myself, "Is Gallardo worth 3 Gomez's?". No. Even more dramatically, "Is Gallardo worth 3 Schelloto's?". Hell No!!

Schelloto took a horrible team and made them competetive. Gallardo took a great team and made them horrible.

Granted, I am overreacting to this loss, since I think the team needed to make a statement after the RSL loss. However, to me, it seems that Payne and Co laid a big, fat egg with almost all of their decisions this year. (The Gonzalos are still great pickups.)

At 18 April, 2008 10:18, Anonymous grunthos said...

Frankly, I'm quite surprised that people couldn't follow what Gallardo brought to the match last night. Chris and Jeremy, what I'm seeing differently from you is this:

1) Gallardo *is* seeing the developing play better than his teammates and trying to direct the flow of the offense. With depressing frequency, his teammates ignore his suggestions or fail to understand them... the turnovers are not occurring because Marcelo made a bad choice, they are occurring because the other guys aren't reading his moves well.

2) His passing touch is at least as good, and perhaps better than, Gomez's. Did you miss his ball up the middle to (I believe) Emilio, who was trying to break past two defenders? When Marcelo released that pass, I thought "WTF is he thinking?"... never imagining that it would arrive on time and on target so that Emilio would get a chance out of it. That was one of many well timed, well placed balls he delivered over the course of the match.

3) The other big positive I noticed was some passion. Marcelo seemed fired up at times and was exhorting his teammates to perform better. We need that every bit as much as we need his skill.

Now, are there negatives? Sure. Gallardo does need to shoot more often, although he may be more willing to do so after last night's howlers from Emilio and Quaranta. He has no aerial game to speak of - I don't know what his heading skill is like, because he can't get more than a few inches off the ground and never contests for a high ball. His defensive efforts, while energetic, are limited to harrassment from the side and behind, and an outright tackle may never be seen.

But can he be Gomez's equal overall? Sure. Can he be better? Maybe. What are we going to see over the grind of the whole season? Beats me. Them's the risks a GM takes when he builds a team.

At 18 April, 2008 11:33, Anonymous Jeremy said...

grunthos- I do admit that Gallardo has a nice touch and passes well in the open field. The one long ball that you are referring to was quite nice.
However, we are seven matches into the season now (combining all games) and the players aren't even beginning to click. There is either really poor communication or really poor leadership at this point. I would put it down to a language barrier, except that Gomez couldn't speak English either and was still able to understand his teammates on the field.

The real point is that when you dole out 1.8M for a player, there should be an immediate, substantial gain in performance. When Gomez joined the team in the middle of 04, he immediately impacted the team, with no pre-season whatsoever.

Other big signings in the league have had major immediate gains, Blanco joined mid-season and had a huge impact. Schelloto and Angel had immediate impact. Gomez had an immediate positive impact in Colorado.

Denilson was the worst signing in any professional league ever and I think we all saw that one failing before he arrived. Gallardo so far is much closer to Denilson than to Angel.

At 18 April, 2008 11:52, Anonymous grunthos said...

Fair points. I'd like to see a faster impact, too, but it doesn't always work that way just because we doled out the big bucks.

I think I'm willing to cut Gallardo some slack here for two reasons. One, this isn't just a quality player joining a new team; it's an engine change in the heart of midfield, and a big one. Two, Gallardo doesn't command in the same way as Gomez, either... I keep seeing Gallardo explicitly telling Simms/McTavish/Fred to move the play in a particular direction, followed by them doing something else. I don't think it's a language issue (Marcelo is making physical gestures a lot), and it's not bad strategy on his part. Puzzling, but not yet damning in my mind.

At 18 April, 2008 12:50, Anonymous Jeremy said...

As I stated before, I am overreacting due to the fact that I was expecting a statement at least close to the cohesion we saw for the Toronto match.

Typically, I am more patient. It just seems like we are taking steps backwards. I am not Gallardo negative yet, it is just the Gallardo praise that is setting me off. One half of some quality connections and a couple of goals scored and I will be right back on the bandwagon.


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