Debriefing for Match 13.06: At Colorado Rapids
Colorado Rapids 2 : 0 D.C. United
Six Word Novel Recap
Gomez-Gallardo. Clavijo-Soehn. Lost Both.
Media, Traditional and OtherwiseThe Denver Post, Brian Forbes: "By the time Gomez was replaced to a standing ovation in the second half, having outplayed United's No. 10 — and Gomez's replacement — Marcelo Gallardo, the Rapids had sealed their 2-0 victory to give them 10 goals this season from 10 players."
MLSNet, Geoffrey Urland: "Former United midfielder Christian Gomez set up Jacob Peterson for the Rapids' first goal and former D.C. defender Facundo Erpen scored the insurance goal, with Gomez again providing an assist, as United remained winless in Colorado since the 2000 season."
The Washington Post, Steve Goff: " Unimaginative and uninspiring, United rarely challenged the Rapids..."
UnitedMania, Chris Webb: "With United playing cautiously from the jump, they never gave themselves a chance to win this match. "
MLSNet, Geoffrey Urland: "The statistics show a game that was thoroughly dominated by the home team. United were outshot 17-5, gave up 10 corner kicks while earning only half that many, committed 13 fouls and, most importantly, gave up two second-half goals."
Behind the Badge, The Management: " D.C. United Head Coach Tom Soehn: 'The loss is very troubling, we have addressed a lot, especially having a better road mentality. When looking at individual performances in this game we were just bad all over the field, I can’t even think of a player that did well. '"
The Offside: Colorado Rapids, Kyle: "On Sunday, the Rapids outplayed DC United by any measure, and I still think they underperformed. I really think they could have scored three or four if they had just finished on a few of the opportunities they had in the first half."
Fighting Talker, Aaron Stollar: "Garbage. Absolute garbage...This is a team who’s best striker clearly cannot contribute right now and whose manager and technical director are finding their decisions exposed as wrong on a more regular basis...What is the one thing we all learned about Gomez during his tenure here? It’s that if you pressure him in possession incessantly and knock him down repeatedly, he’ll struggle. We didn’t do that one bit...I’ve officially reached the point where Soehn’s job is officially in jeopardy, at least to me."
Booked for Dissent, Dave Lifton: "I don’t know if United can make the necessary adjustments against a team that is playing very well and perennially has our number. It could just be a home-and-away thing, in which case United right now is no better off than it was under Ray Hudson. Again: one step forward, two steps back."
DCUMD, Shatz: "So despite playing with one more midfielder than the opposition, we were still dominated in the middle third. That right there is a really bad sign. But a worse sign is that Soehn continues to roll out the 3-5-2 regardless of the situation. Coaches always talk about how its important to be able to play successfully in more than one formation. I believe we have the team to be able to do that. So why not take advantage of our personnel and tailor the formation to the situation. Playing at home against a team that is weak offensively: that's a good time for the 3-5-2. But playing on the road against a team with a proven (and vengeful) MVP leading the attack, in a game where we would probably have been happy with a nil-nil draw: not a good time for the 3-5-2."
The Fullback Files: "I'm getting the worrying feeling that I'm on a bus, and the driver's got his eyes fixed on his dash-mounted GPS rather than the 30-car pileup a half-mile up the road and approaching fast. 'Hey guys, this setup worked for us at home against a team with no midfield creativity and no width! Let's do the same thing on the road against a team with a proven All-Star midfield dynamo and some decent wide players!' Jumpin' Jeebus on a pogo stick, man!"
BDR, BlckDgRd: "I'm going to wait past Thursday's game regardless of result and past both Toronto games, the back-to-backs, before thumping the chest of this season and declaring the corpse dead. But everything feels wrong this year, from the front office to the coaches to the players to the stadium experience. Everything."
- Bryan Namoff: Even if Mr. Soehn can't name a single good performance, I can. Bryan played his role right, and was one of the few people who knew when to push up to put Colorado attackers into the offside position. Bryan didn't get beat by his marker on a corner kick. Bryan is most of the Good, except in tandem with...
- Defenders, Roll Out: It was nice to see Martinez and Namoff join the attack moving the ball up on the wing. Really, our midfield play only looked functional in those moments.
- The first half of Santino Quaranta: He played both ways, and again our movement up the wings looked better than anything in the middle. Sadly, he got gassed. Let this not be a metaphor for this season.
- We Always Fight the Last War: There's more concern about Soehn. There should be. If our working theory is right, we'll see a different performance against Chicago on Thursday. And, if our theory is right, and we do well against Chicago, we'll see the same ideas for the Chicago game used against Chivas. And that's a recipe for a .500 team...at best.
- Emilio - Financial Market Performance Artist: Either he's hoping for a call every time he's falling down, or he's decided to stage a piece called "The performance of the Dollar against International Currency." It would be better if he covered himself in chocolate first. And said things like "rabbits! rabbits! rabbits!"
- LTJG Zach Wells: Another game, another communication gaff. C'mon, I'm tired of this. We demote Lt. Zach Wells (O-3) to Lt. Junior Grade Zach Wells (O-2). Yes, we're using Navy ranks. No, I don't know why, other than I think that all starking keepers should at least have the rank of Commander (O-5)
- Our game is one of holding the ball...Except when our midfield is dysfunctional. There's a lot of heat at Emilio, but I can't think of a game this season where he got less service. Our midfield was awful. Really awful. Anytime a team manages to simultaneously mark you closely and clog your passing lanes, something is deeply wrong. Gallardo also had one of his worst technical games this season. You could see the ideas in his forward passes, but they were either passes that required a precision that he couldn't execute (between two or three defenders) or they weren't particularly dangerous. No middle ground.
This was not a particularly challenging game for center official Jorge Gonzales and his ARs. If I have one complaint, it's that Ugo Ihmelhu somehow managed to commit half of Colorado's fouls and not get carded for persistent infringement. The ARs missed one off-side call that I saw, on a DC free kick, but otherwise had little to do, and did it well.
Likert Scale Grade: 3 - Average
Man of the Match
N/A. Merit award to Namoff. Your goat could be any number of players, but I will go with Gallardo.
No adjustments, though you might make a case that Colorado deserved another goal to make it 3:0. Still, the result feels about right as is. No change, and for the season D.C. United's adjusted record is 2-3-1 (7pts); 10GF, 13GA, -3GD.
Final ThoughtsWhat worries me is that I get the sense that Coach Soehn puts a team out there, and that is the extent of his management so far. Too frequently it seems he's relying on his players to figure out how to play the game, as routinely, even in games we do well in, the first 10 minutes are a disjointed affair. It's a strategy that could work, given experienced players, but how do you expect Quavas Kirk or Dan Stratford or any of the other new players to fit into a gameplan where the gameplan isn't necessarily known on the sideline. Instead, there seems to be a general theory and formation, based on the best moments of the last game, and the players are told "Go do something."
Case in point, earlier in the CONCACAF Champion's cup we saw that Franco Niell was fairly adept at running down long aerial balls over the top. Given that he's starting, and given the presence that Mastroeni and Ihemelu had in the middle of the field, might it not have made sense to try that in this match? Even with the narrower field? And yet, to my knowledge, I think I saw one attempt to play Niell into the final third in that fashion.
Now, I fully expect to see a different result against Chicago. But until we see two wins in a row, two games where United consistently makes progress even after a good result, then we have every reason to be concerned about the coaching for this season. We can blame the players, sure, and we can blame the lack of speed, sure, but these are the players we have. Either they just aren't sure how to use each other, or the coaching staff isn't telling them.