07 June 2008

First Impressions - Chicago Fire 1 : 2 D.C. United

The win, make no mistake, is a surprising one. And yet, I don't quite feel like this is the continuation of a corner somehow being turned. Just as Chicago's goal in the first half arguable came against the run of play, so certainly did the goal that put United ahead in the second half.

What's more, to extent that United was playing well, it was when the attacking players had space, time, and could play the equivalent of a high-level pick-up game. At ten men, this certainly became more and more of the situation, as Jaime and Fred and Martinez enjoyed the extra space they were afforded. Which is great, but doesn't really argue that our coaching was good, but rather that our players improvise on the field well.

If you want to be charitable you can say that Tom Soehn allowed the players to play creatively. Yet somehow I'm not even convinced of that. Not yet, at least. What's more, we had the advantage after both Gallardo and Prideaux left the game, but that advantage seemed to slip away as Dyachenko, Cordeiro, and Burch entered the game. I felt like we became less dangerous as we substituted, and not more. To the extent that we won, it was because Emilio discovered one of the moves we thought were left behind in 2007.

So it is, I know, a good win. Against a good team. On the road. All of those things are true, and yet I somehow don't think this means all is well, even if you can say "unbeaten in three games." Now, maybe this is just a point of inflection match, a game where slow progress is made. And that's entirely possible. But right now, this game almost raises more questions than it answers.

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At 07 June, 2008 23:41, Anonymous DCUinCT said...

The team may be learning to win, Despite Tommy, rather than because of him. If other teams lose key players, the have not just depth, but a system that they understand to play into. If we loose Fred, McTavish, or Gallardo or others for a month I don't know how we'll make it. However, it is possible that the heart of the team will now have enough confidence over the next few games such that Disco Rod can come in and it's not an aoutomatic death knell. At least that's what I'm hoping for.

At 08 June, 2008 01:14, Anonymous Skippy said...

I'm still elated. The coaching, I have not collected my thoughts enough to comment upon. I certainly didn't SEE any fantastic moves by Soehn to credit him with this win. But I think the progress is continuing. Actually, at a pretty good clip; compared to the previous games when Gallardo has left the game or not played, the team still mustered a decent attack. Perhaps Chicago was giving the offense too much room, but let's face it, earlier in the season, that wouldn't have stopped the team from losing the ball at midfield and conceding another goal or two. I think I am agreeing with dcuinct when I say that they've progressed to the point where Dyachenko isn't necessarily a coffin nail. Not that I'm warming to him, just that he is no longer the straw that breaks the camel's back.
I expect the progress to slow actually, because I don't think the team has "turned a corner" beyond no longer being the WORST team in the MLS.
They played better than I had expected, the defense still got burned a couple times, I feel like Fred held the ball too long on both his chances (great runs and ball control, but maybe he's missing that killer instinct right now?) and I still find Wells underwhelming. Emilio's first touch has vastly improved, still not what I would like, but at least the ball didn't come rocketing out of his traps every time. And good on Cordiero (sp?) on Emilio's goal - I think that was him - I feel like he made that goal possible by keeping himself in the play and pulling a defender and keeping Busch honest.
Last thought to a lengthy post - Want to test Soehn? He has neither Namoff or Gallardo next game (and did Fred go off with his leg bothering him?), let's see how he handles that.

At 08 June, 2008 02:00, Anonymous Grunthos said...

My impression, when Gallardo and Prideaux were ejected, was that we would probably benefit from the exchange, not because of the players' creativity per se, but because 10-on-10 play would give us room in the middle of the field and thus render our (nonexistent) wide play irrelevant. And this did, in fact, happen. But we can't change the rules to make that occur every match.

Inasmuch as Luci's return to form papered over many problems, I agree that this match may not be indicative of great progress. The defense was improved from a couple of weeks ago but hardly inspired confidence, Wells continued to look overmatched, and the offense... well, that's a complex topic, but it had its problems too.

Nonetheless, I thought this game *was* a step up, even from the NE match. We played pretty well, consistently, for 90 minutes. There was no sign of deflation or discouragement when we went behind. The defense, facing a team well-equipped to exploit its flaws, held up tolerably well.

And we got our Emilio back. :)

We don't have the horses, right now, to make a run for silverware. I've temporarily come to terms with that. But I very much hope they can keep up this level of play and not sink back into chaos. This is the first year I've been able to afford season tickets, and I'd hate for that to go down the drain in a wasted season.

Vamos United.

At 08 June, 2008 02:58, Blogger Bibliotheker said...

I'm thinking y'all are being a bit too negative. No this wasn't a classic but, we deserved this win. We were the better team. Yes, you're right to point out the mistakes however, we overcame our mistakes and made Chicago pay for a gross mistake, the second DCU goal. The battling spirit shown has to be seen as progress, not to mention three away points. C'mon people, just enjoy this unexpected win.

At 08 June, 2008 08:43, Anonymous Jeremy said...

I am leaning further towards optimism than most here. Gallardo REALLY needs to learn to control his temper though.

As long as Fred is still healthy, I think that the offense will be OK against NY. Fred moves into the middle, Burch or Cordeiro on the left wing, and we should have enough to beat a bad NY team at home.

How do we replace Namoff though? I can't even remember the last time we played without Namoff since 2005. The prospect of replacing him is daunting.

At 08 June, 2008 10:08, Anonymous Goose said...

More important than "unbeaten in 3 games" is the fact that they're playing with some passion again.

I think we're gonna have to go to a 3-5-2 against NY with McTavish at right back unless Kirk shows in a hurry that he can play right back in the 4-man line.

At 08 June, 2008 11:00, Blogger Shatz... said...

No 3-5-2! Please! That would not be a good move against Angel and Altidore. I'm thinking McTavish, Peralta, and Martinez all just shift one spot to the right and Burch plays left back again. Or just move McTavish to right back and play Mediate in the middle again.

At 08 June, 2008 14:26, Anonymous Jeremy said...

Altidore is gone, both to injury and transfer, and Angel is playing hurt and looks it.

Without at least one of them at full speed, NY looks like crap. I'm more worried about Dane Richards and the rest of the midfield than any forward.

I still don't want to see any of our backups in a 3-man backline though.

At 08 June, 2008 14:53, Anonymous Tolik said...

DCU's talent is on the level of MLS. Gallardo did not bring that WOW factor that we hoped for, but most of the teams don't have it neither. Blanco is very good, and its an advantage to have this old horse on the team, but the key here is "old" horse. He does bring that WOW factor, but only sometimes.

The early spring play was actually very competitive, and the poor form of DCU later on was a bit surprising. They were clicking together before, then suddenly stopped. Now its coming back somewhat. Talent is the same, adequate for the league, and we do see more passion now. So, maybe they can come out well from this ordeal.

Its very good to see Luci getting back his mojo. It is one of those extras that differentiate one team form another. I wish him all the best to keep it.

Wells is totally below the MLS level though, and must be replaced. Coaches did say (in one form or another) that there is no substitute for him now. So, I hope somebody is looking for goalie to purchase.

One annoying thing I noticed persists in how DC plays. They keep trying to squeeze through congested defence areas. Not ram through, and nor finesse through, but squeeze, predictably unsuccessfully.

The positive side of the game is when they start moving better with and without ball. I think its so basic now, that is banal even to talk about. Does not make it less true though. Any time they start running better, they open up the game. Happened in Toronto (occasionally), and in Chicago with 10:10 and then 10:9.

At 08 June, 2008 15:27, Blogger Landru said...

Can we bitch about MLS referees now, since DCU won? Because that guy was effing awful. Yes, GuyJARdo needs to control his temper after Prideaux disassembles him and the officials manage to belatedly recognize that it was a bookable offense, without recognizing that it occurred in the freaking box. But Mister White has some unusual hold on referees that I do not understand.

At 09 June, 2008 09:17, Anonymous Mickey said...

Amen Landru...

Namoff was sent off by the ref for persistent infractions yet Mr. White was not sent off for the same persistent infractions (i.e., "simulation"). Although I doubt the league will even consdier a "chat" with Mr White about his wobbly balance, his flopping is embarrassing to the game and the league... and the ref's are the ONLY parties in the game that can bring that into balance.

At 09 June, 2008 11:43, Anonymous Jeremy said...

Did anyone else notice that Carvallo didn't even play in the reserve match.

If our "promising" acquisition isn't even good enough to be the primary backup to a bad goaltender, it's time to ship him back south and find someone decent.

At 11 June, 2008 11:19, Anonymous keithw said...

Hey D, although I shudder to think how far behind we are, are you going to do the patented Shield Pace graph this year? Yet another feature of this blog you can't get anywhere else...

At 11 June, 2008 11:55, Anonymous bdr said...

Shudder to Think?


At 12 June, 2008 11:49, Anonymous Skippy said...

Huh. From what I understand, the Eagles sold out of tickets for Saturday's game and are rapidly running out of tickets for San Jose as well. Three games in a row with good attendance (LA being the third and I think I read that tickets sold are at 30k and rising)? String a few non-losses and all the fans come out of the woodwork. Which is shame because I'm not exactly confident about this game, lacking Namoff and Gallardo. I'm sort of hoping for a win, but begging for at least a tie.


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