16 July 2008

Debriefing for Match 13.B.02: Atlante

D.C. United 2 : 3 Atlante

Superliga, Match Day 2

Six Word Novel Recap

Superliga is done. Play the reserves

Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Post, Steve Goff: "Luis Gabriel Rey scored twice in the first half and Christian Bermúdez added a second-half strike from beyond the penalty area for Atlante. Francis Doe had United's first-half goal in front of 12,122 at RFK Stadium...Luciano Emilio halved the deficit in the 79th minute, but Atlante goalkeeper Federico Vilar stopped reserve Rod Dyachenko's blast late in added time to hand United its second consecutive loss after entering the eight-team tournament on an eight-game unbeaten run in all competitions."
The Washington Times, John Haydon: "United suffered its second consecutive home loss to a Mexican team Tuesday night, falling 3-2 to Atlante FC in the SuperLiga tournament. United, with no points after two games, barely remains alive in the competition."
UnitedMania, Chris Webb: "United's much maligned defense was on the back foot on many occasions often letting the quicker Mexican side get behind the makeshift central pairing of Devon McTavish and Marc Burch. Playing thier fourth consecutive match together both players looked tired and often drifted out of position and left gaping holes for Atlante striker Luis Gabriel Rey to exploit."
MLSNet, Charles Boehm: "Wracked by injuries and drained by a busy schedule, D.C. United needed to dig deep for their SuperLiga group match against Atlante FC on Tuesday night, where a win was crucial for safeguarding their prospects of a berth in the tournament's semifinal round. But all United managed to dig was an even deeper hole for themselves..."
MLSNet, Charles Boehm: "United made one change from the same first XI as Saturday's loss to Chivas, demoting Rod Dyachenko to the bench in favor of Francis Doe. The home side lined up in what the lineup sheet described as a 4-3-3 formation but in reality performed much like the team's standard 4-4-2, with Jaime Moreno manning the playmaking role vacated by Marcelo Gallardo, who continues to battle a groin injury."
DCUMD, Shatz: "Sometimes Doe has a tendency to try to outdo himself. He needs to learn that the cheeky backpass or the underside-of-the-foot-flick is not always necessary; that sometimes the better option is a simple trap and pass or a through ball. Doe has good vision, but his talent lets him down sometimes, and he isn't always on the same page as the rest of the team. Um... nice goal though."
BLCKDGRD, BDR: "I don't pretend to understand MLS rules regarding salary caps and team rosters, but whatever they are, this team's depth sucks, and that's on Kasper. Soehn doesn't have options beyond the eleven he started last night if Gallardo is crippled (and the silence surrounding Gallardo's cripple-ness is ominous), if Peralta's not much better than a useless Marc Burch at center-back, if Quaranta is one hop away from missing another three weeks with his perma-hamstring pull. People who need the night off on Saturday aren't going to get it because there's no one to replace them."
The Offside: DC United, jon: "Fred. You looked like you did not want to be out there tonight, and it was plain to everyone watching. You weren’t connecting with the midfield, you couldn’t cross the ball, and your attempts to get in the attack never materialized. Tonight, and for the last few weeks, you sir, have sucked. Get it together, or get gone."
Fullback Files, Fullback: "What's with the dicking around with the ball at the back and the Latin-style molasses attack? Does the increase in Spanish vocabulary being lobbed about the pitch like so many errant grenadoes bring this out in us?"

The Good

  1. Moreno in the Center: Yes, it was that much better than Rod Dyachenko. He was tired, you could see it on some poorly played balls into the box, but he at least held the ball as well as he ever does.
  2. Emilio's Goal: A highlight in a game that didn't really have many. A nice turn, but even nicer considering he turned without the ball to take the shot first touch.

The Bad

  1. Tom Soehn as Piotr Nowak: I understand that sometimes there's stick, and sometimes there's carrot. From Behind the Badge: "Our performance, particularly in the first half, was atrocious; we had no commitment, no passion, and we played flat. It is unacceptable, especially in a tournament like this. Every time a player wears the D.C. United uniform, they should be proud. This team is well known for its pride, and that’s something we did not show today. We didn’t appear in the first half. Thus, we couldn’t contain any team. We tried in the second half, but that was too late. We cannot do that in this competition. Whether you are tired or not, you have to put in an effort. And that sweat wasn’t out there today. "

    This is fan service at its worst. I gave Tom Soehn a pass on the line-up, because he was going for the win and he had few options once that choice was made. But we have been running the players hard since the poor start, a poor start that was at least partially Tom Soehn's fault. As a result, it has caught up with us. The worst thing he can do now is try and play the starters out Saturday. They're tired, they've given a lot to the league and US Open cup runs, now let them rest. Go ahead and be disappointed, but what did ripping the team in public accomplish? Will that make them less fatigued? I doubt it.
  2. Marc Burch: Sometimes you give the goat in outrage, other times in sadness. Marc Burch was responsible for two goals, but I can't really castigate him. He's played at left wing, left back, and now three games as a center back. His instincts would have been correct for those other positions, but not for a center back as the last man back. He's simply not used to that role, and it victimized us.
  3. Fred: Gassed.
  4. Clyde Simms: Gassed.
  5. The Fans: Gassed.
  6. Bryan Namoff: He seems to be getting a pass for allowing so much space on the third goal, with most of the blame going to Wells, but I can't agree. Namoff should have shut down the play as much. Yes, Wells was off his line, but he should have been because the ball coming out of there was more likely to be a cross than a carefully measured shot.

Officiating Watch


Likert Scale Grade: Not Rated

Man of the Match

N/A, your goat is Burch, censure to Fred and Dyachenko, merit to Moreno and Emilio

Final Thoughts

I wrote yesterday that Superliga is no longer viable, even if there is a mathematical chance. I still feel that way, even though a three goal victory against Houston would see United through. It's just not worth the effort from a cost/reward point of view. The league game on the 22nd against Houston is far more important to United, even if it is only one league game, than the game on the 19th. Run out the reserves on the 19th, concede the match, and fight to regain momentum just before the all-star break. Hell, rest Wells even. The loss hurts, it feels bad, but sometimes knowing when you're beat is important.

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At 16 July, 2008 11:50, Anonymous bdr said...

Namoff is the gassed of the gassed, which is why I suppose I give him a bigger pass than I should.

In light of the success of your Gallardo debate, may I suggest a Fred symposium. Fred: What the Hell Happened and Why? Is he no longer what he was or was he never what we thought? If the former, why?

At 16 July, 2008 13:58, Anonymous DCUinCT said...

I hate to be an MLS homer, but I'd rather they conceed and conceed big this Saturday. Let Houston represent MLS in the semis. They have a much better chance of beating Pachuca. Plus let them use their better players and get them tired before the league game. Maybe Kevin can do a little back door planning ahead of time. Houston gets an easy game on Sat and we get one on Tuesday. Stranger things have happened in bigger leagues.

At 16 July, 2008 14:12, Blogger Bob said...

So is the All-Star roster set yet with no United representative? This may be a good thing, with all the talk of tired players. Although Russ Thaler used the word "Travishamockery" on Washington Post Live last night when talking about the lack of All-Star love for Emilio...

At 16 July, 2008 15:33, Blogger The Northern Virginia Conservative said...

Yup. Play the reserves against Houston. It'll even give us a chance to see what our Peruvian friend has in goal. Come back and whip Houston in the league game and get ready to whip the Revs in the Open Cup game.

At 16 July, 2008 15:53, Blogger The Bird said...

BDR, I have a suggestion for the Fred symposium: The guy just has a new baby. He probably hasn't slept in weeks, and probably is finding it hard to concentrate on the field. Just at though, but he looks tired and lacks focus.

At 16 July, 2008 21:47, Anonymous Jeremy said...

I can bring my completely emotional, uneducated, and poorly expressed opinions to a Fred debate.

I love Fred. He is top 5 in my book. He has been taking some games off. I didn't see this game though, so I can't comment.

At 17 July, 2008 00:18, Anonymous Skippy said...

Yeah, smart money says to rest them. I mean, Goff sort of reminded us that this tournament is kinda BS anyway. I tended to agree with those who said earlier not to write the Superliga off just because of the CONCACAF CL, now I think would be the time for a much better reason.
But I also hesitate for two reasons, the first, more concrete reason, being that Houston is the opponent for both games. If all the subs are on, Houston doesn't have to play all first stringers either and if the game isn't close, they can pull even more off half way through. The second is that this team seems to be a creature of habit and fairly streaky - I'd hate to seem them start getting used to losing games again.
So, I'd rest a bunch, but can't quite go along with the possible hyperbole of resting players like Wells who aren't as fatigued as the rest. Let the guys who feel fine play - maybe they won't get the three goals, but a small margin win would be better for moral than a loss or at least keeping it close enough to keep Houston's starting 11 on the pitch.
But I'm just guessing here.

At 18 July, 2008 06:46, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why was there nothing said about how much better Wells is playing?

At 18 July, 2008 10:28, Blogger D said...

Anon: We have talked about Wells getting better. It was certainly a point of emphasis in the Chivas match, and we mentioned it in the First Impressions Post.

At 18 July, 2008 20:17, Anonymous Publius said...

Soehn's comments echoed exactly what I felt watching the first half: DC phoned it in.

The Atlante player had so much space on the third goal that I had remembered the play as a free kick until I watched the replay.


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