18 May 2008

First Impressions - Chivas USA 3 : 1 D.C. United

It's late, and I've had 45 minutes driving north from the Home Depot Center to think on things, but I'll say this: Tom Soehn is right - This team lacks toughness. But toughness isn't fouls. It isn't yellow cards. It's mental toughness, the courage and precision to execute a turn and clearance as an attacked barrels down on you. It's the ability to push a cross clear to the other side of the field when the 50-50 ball is played too short. It's the heart to run down a ball that's probably beyond your reach but damned if that defender will beat you to the line. And this team doesn't have it.

This team isn't fast, but you can overcome that with toughness. This team isn't tough, but you can overcome that with smart tactical play and players moving to the right places off the ball. But this team isn't smart, and now we're exactly where we are.

United had gone ahead, and had some decent chances on goal (Namoff's header over the bar springs to mind) in the first half. Yet as the night wore on, they ceded more and more of the field to Chivas, and ultimately paid with three goals.

If nothing else, at least Tino Quaranta was the one who actually showed some fight for the shirt, in perhaps the most literal way he could. I was going to wait until August to forgive all, but given that he was the one willing to step up when the rest of the team held back, I forgive him now. He's fighting on the losing side, and that's impressive.

Tom Soehn is right about this team, but he's responsible for this team. Let's get a good night's sleep and check the highlights (especially as I can't believe Chivas was onside for two of those goals, but admittedly I had an awful angle to judge things in the corner of the HDC). Let's think. But then...

But then...

But then I'll know if how I feel now is something other than the momentary depression of a loss, or the sad realization of the what the future is.

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15 Comments:

At 18 May, 2008 02:49, Blogger kevin said...

2 months ago, if someone had said that in the first 8 games, we would be one loss shy of our total losses last year, I probably would have died laughing.

I wish I had died laughing, so I wouldn't have had to see this.

 
At 18 May, 2008 04:14, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tino? really? Well from where i was sittin (on the couch) i noticed on the replay to the last Chivas goal, Tino TOTALLY gave up on Flores when the freakin play was very much still alive!! If he would have stayed wit El Sueno then maybe it would have been different on that goal but pls pls get a chance and look at the replays on that goal and u'll see Tino totally givin up and then u might right think bout it....im still tryin to rethink of how the hell we got so bad so fast!

 
At 18 May, 2008 08:10, Anonymous bdr said...

But....

Your TV appearance around the 87th minute? You looked fabulous.

The word verification password right now?

blzsuk! Exactly!

 
At 18 May, 2008 08:55, Anonymous el said...

I didn't see anything offside-wise with regards to the first two goals.

Goal #3 was held on by a rather impressive amount of field by Mediate.

 
At 18 May, 2008 08:59, Anonymous Jeremy said...

I got a good night's sleep. Well, I slept anyways and woke up more mad than when I went to bed.

This is the worst team that United has ever put on the field. We should fire EVERYONE and replace them with a USL team. At least then they would play like they wanted to be on the field.

The entire front office should commit hari kiri. Soehn should be sent down to coach pee-wee soccer in Idaho somewhere. I'm not happy with "The Management" either, but that is just because of the name.

MOTM? Don't make me laugh. Goat, possibly Gallardo, since his checking out of the game mid way through the first half started the eventual collapse of the second half.

 
At 18 May, 2008 09:33, Anonymous DCUinCT said...

You know when akid catches a bug and pulls the legs off it to see what happens?
That's how last night's game looked. Beaten handely by the Chivas Reserves.

Or maybe a better analogy is the scarecrow from Wizard of Oz getting his limbs pulled off. That makes sense because the scarecrow didn't have a brain either.
The announcers kept focusing on the tactical changes made by Preki that make him such a good coach. Instead what does Soehn do? He puts in the problem children again. The ones that week after week have shown they aren't capable or willing. Emilio, Niell and Dynachenko. My stomach went south when I saw them enter and you could just feel the team heart drop. And also no tactical adjustements from Soehn either.

What a terrible waste, with the next four games looking completely unwinable as well.
When can we see a new coach that can reach this team?

 
At 18 May, 2008 09:50, Blogger Shatz... said...

dcuinct- That's a great point about the game being lost when the "problem children" entered. I hadn't thought about it that way.

But I don't think that Soehn made no tactical adjustments. I think he made the wrong one. The team looked really pretty good in the first 30 minutes. It was a frenzied pace, but we had good opportunities. Even Martinez was getting forward a lot, which we haven't seen in weeks! But Soehn made the tactical adjustment at around minute 35 to sit back and try to protect a weak 1-0 lead for the rest of the game. And that was absolutely the wrong decision.

 
At 18 May, 2008 12:10, Anonymous Skippy said...

Well, I had decided if DCU was shutout by Chivas reserves that I was going to have to smash something expensive. So Gallardo is personally protecting the glassware in my apartment.
I agree about Tino giving up on Flores on the last goal, and I couldn't really tell, but was he the one who kept the first pass onside too? And I wouldn't go so far as to say they played well for the first 30 minutes - they just connected more than two passes together in the first 30. But you know what? It could have been an ugly win or tie. Except that Martinez was getting beat all night long. After the first half, I was expecting some changes to be made at the back but apparently close off-sides calls and 3 or four near-fouls in the box are the MO for the team?
Nothing about this team was good more than a moment (by the way, I feel like I have to say this about Jaime, the man can hold a ball in traffic but if he can't score, should he maybe be in a different position? Because he's the closest to consistently good, but still a problem). But if I have to give the team a goat, I think its Soehn for not finding a way to deal with or reenforce the Martinez/Harris match up. Yes, I wish Martinez had dealt with it, but it was blindingly obvious that he couldn't and Soehn should have stepped in.
Oh, and things went worse when the "problem children" entered, but I felt like United was already fighting a losing battle at that point.

 
At 18 May, 2008 12:17, Blogger bond said...

Quaranta , give me a break , he does not have the skill to be in this league , doesn't say much for United for him to get all this playing time. ..you can't coach speed and this team is way too slow , I disagree with your comment about overcoming it , it can't be done in key moments of a game or in key positions in the back,,,,,,,,,we do stink pretty bad , but I can't imagine how we could sign so many slow players and give away speed at midfield.........there is not a coach in the world that could do anything with this bunch of slowpokes , by the way , who in the world signed Peralta ?

what a joke......

 
At 18 May, 2008 19:02, Blogger billy said...

This team has no chemistry, besides not being smart or tough. When you put all that together, you get what you get.

I like the play of muñeco Gallardo as much as the next guy, but how smart is the letting go of Cristian Gomez looking like now?

I realize we have time to make the playoffs and play for something, and I wish we do, but realistically I can see us making some significant changes this off season, and I will include TS in this, maybe TS will go sooner than that.

 
At 18 May, 2008 21:47, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to make excuses, but it sure would be nice to see all our starters on the field at once. I'm sick of seeing all the panic-passes and high-school clears. We're supposed to be a possession team (which can make up for lack of speed), but not with our second-stringers on the pitch.

Speaking of which, what the heck is TS thinking, pulling Gallardo for Dyachenko?! The guy simply must play 90 minutes. What little control we have falls apart completely when Gallardo walks off the pitch. We need a different playmaker on the bench; Dyachenko does not cut it. And until then, Gallardo must play 90.

In the preseason, we talked about how our gains and losses were fairly even, player for player. We vastly underestimated the importance of chemistry between those players. Currently, our "whole" is far weaker than our "sum of parts" -- which seems an obvious risk in hindsight.

This is a rebuilding year, not a tournament year. At this point, I'm looking forward to the next trading window.

- rke

 
At 18 May, 2008 22:37, Anonymous Jeremy said...

RKE-

Almost immediately after Gallardo's goal, he entirely checked out of the match. His temper flared up at a Chivas defender for playing a little physical. He took a stupid yellow card while not even on the pitch and never recovered his cool.

After that point, I didn't see him have any measurable impact on the game. As far as I am concerned, what looked like bunker ball for the rest of the first and 15 of the second was the result of our playmaker no longer having his head in the game.

 
At 19 May, 2008 09:04, Blogger bond said...

Dear anonymous , ball control simply can't make up for the lack of team speed especially in the back,,,,,,,,,,,do you see any ball control on this team? They aren't fast enough to create passing lanes or win 50/50 balls or create danger in the front or go to open space anywhere,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,don't even get me started on the lack of team speed in the back,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,like I said before , this team is a joke............

 
At 19 May, 2008 10:22, Anonymous Skippy said...

I was just pondering the complete inability of this team to adapt. Gallardo leaves the pitch or isn't on it and the midfield is a wash. Emilio isn't scoring, then DC doesn't score. I don't think that's all either.
This is pure supposition, but remember when everyone was impressed with Martinez and Peralta. I don't think we (I) were (was) mistaken. They played well at the beginning of the year, give or take some miscues. Now, other teams have seen them play and have devised strategies to beat them. Now they just look slow and have a tendency to foul. And they or the coaching staff have been unable to adapt accordingly.

RKE - Fred and McTavish may add a bit to the attack and more attacking might have changed the game against, what should have been, a defenseless Chivas. But in general, were they really tearing up the pitch so much that this season turns around with them? Yeah, they're a step up - particularly Fred - but they are hardly the key (not that you said they were, you just wanted the starters back. Which I do to, hoping it would mean less Dyachenko). Even with the starting 11 back, I still think that starting 11 will need to change.

 
At 19 May, 2008 11:56, Blogger rke said...

Jeremy:
I wouldn't argue that this was Gallardo's best game (golazo notwithstanding). I hate seeing players spend so much energy on the ref. But the difference between him and Dyachenko is night and day. I'm just saying that we have no viable backup for Gallardo at the moment.

bond:
I do think that ball control can make up for lack of speed -- by preventing the footrace in the first place. 50/50 balls are more about effort than speed, and the backline can function alright if the midfield doesn't allow the breakaways. But I agree that we don't have that kind of control right now -- it's always been our calling card, but we've lost it at the moment.

Skippy:
Yeah, starting 11 still need work. But I think what this team lacks more than anything is cohesion. It's hard to function as a unit with so many unknowns out there.

Mostly though, as a fan, I feel like I don't even know half these guys. It's a nostalgic wish...

--

Btw, I wouldn't blame the game on him, but I thought the ref was an ass out there, pacing off inches on every kick while blithely ignoring that our DP was getting mugged. And what was his beef with Doe?

 

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