First Impressions - Real Salt Lake 4: 0 D.C. United
Remember what we said last week? The job of a manager is to put his team in the best position to win. And in that job, Tom Soehn failed this week. Against Pachuca, down two goals, he had to press to get goals. Playing three in the back made sense as a tactical change.
Against RSL, Tom Soehn makes a perfectly legitimate decision to give Gallardo and Martinez and Wells a break. However, given the work Gallardo has done on both sides on the ball, and the presence Martinez has been in the back line, and starting a keeper in his first game, the 3-4-3 formation made little sense. You simply didn't have the right personnel to execute the defensive responsibilities that formation required. Especially against a team that beat you over the top a year ago.
The first two goals, the goals that really put this game in RSL's win column, were both directly influenced by the tactical formation chosen by Tom Soehn. On the first goal, Dema Kovalenko takes advantage of the space afforded him and put a ball in to Kyle Beckerman. The line plays off Beckerman, worried about other runners getting behind them, so Beckerman does the job himself. In the second, a long ball over the top beats the defense. Forseeable? I think so. But Jason Kreis --and I know some RSL fans may not believe this, but I think it is true -- Jason Kreis outmanaged Tom Soehn in this game. Once he saw the situation on the field, he shifted his players to take advantage of it.
So yeah, this game was pretty awful. Especially when you consider that center official Richard Heron, if anything, shaded his calls towards United. I get the sense I'm just yelling at my computer screen now, so I better end this post. What a mess. What a complete mess.