02 July 2008

Debriefing for Match 13.C.01: Rochester Rhinos

D.C. United 2 : 0 Rochester Rhinos

Six Word Novel Recap

Dewar! What's it good for? CONCACAF.

Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Times, Harlan Goode: "It took a while for Marc Burch to get going Tuesday night, but once the D.C. United defender did, he was hard to stop. Burch scored goals on two late free kicks, lifting United to a 2-0 win over the USL first-division Rochester Rhinos in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup before 2,752 at the Maryland Soccerplex."
The Washington Post, Steven Goff: "...for 78 minutes last night, United found itself in a familiar and discouraging situation: locked in a scoreless round-of-16 match with the last-place team from the second division."
UnitedMania, Chris Webb: "Head Coach Tom Soehn made seven changes from the starting XI who beat the Los Angeles Galaxy 4-1 just two days ago at RFK. Goalkeeper Zach Wells got his second shutout of the season (none in MLS so far) and United's defense was rarely tested though physically pushed by the visitors. Wells was only required to make one save all night long and it was routine at best. Rochester did however have a few close calls early in the second half but they came to nothing in the end."
DCSportsBox, Abram Fox: "As the game wore on a distinct atmosphere settled on the SoccerPlex, not of panic but perhaps unease. Rochester played D.C. tight through the first half, jamming up the middle and stifling Emilio. Dyachenko managed several quality scoring chances, including a header inside the first minute, but for the majority of the half United succeeded only in Rhinos goalkeeper Scott Vallow look good."
MLSNet, Charles Boehm: "United ran out a young first XI, albeit one sprinkled with experience. Luciano Emilio captained the side, leading the line alongside Francis Doe, backed by an entirely new midfield of Rod Dyachenko, Dan Stratford, Ryan Cordeiro and Quavas Kirk. Zach Wells remained between the pipes for D.C., but he was fronted by a reshuffled back line as Devon McTavish and Marc Burch manned the central spots together for the first time, flanked by Gonzalo Martinez and rookie Pat Carroll."
MLSNet, Charles Boehm: "Fatigue even haunted a striker who hasn't worn his United uniform for weeks. Francis Doe finally returned from African World Cup qualifying duty over the weekend, but was less than fresh in his first-ever 90-minute match for D.C. 'I'm still tired because of the flight, because it was like a 14-hour flight,' admitted the Liberian international."
Behind the Badge, Doug Hicks: "Why didn't Burch take the free kick at the end of the game?...'I was joking with Burchy that I was going to take the kick. I was going to run over the ball, though. As I went up to it, though, I saw a hole in the wall and, all of the sudden, I kicked it. It was instinct and I had no idea what I was doing. I'm sorry coach.' Cue more laughter. Winning games is fun."
BLCKDGRD, BDR: "Kirk and Doe flunked too. Kirk had one chance for brilliance, mid-2nd half, a breakaway, tough but doable with a deft touch and burst of speed, and he botched the touch as he was hesitating. Could have earned himself some minutes there. Doe? Besides triggering a stupid-ass song from Sound of Music in my head every time I hear or see his name, I'd rather have Kpene not scoring." [Note: This excerpt makes BDR sound more negative than he is in his summary, but I thought this was an interesting note that deserved wider view]
The Fullback Files, Fullback: "Why not have a defender win the Open Cup Golden Boot with that cannon he's got strapped to his left leg? ... USL put in another good showing for itself last night, claiming three MLS scalps out of a possible eight. And the new kids on the block at Crystal Palace Baltimore flew the USL-2 flag high with their shorthanded sinking the Swamp Things."
DCUMD, Shatz: "I'm not sure that this clean sheet for Zach Wells was enough for me to release the ban on all defenders from the top shelf category, since Wellsy only had to make 1 save." [Note: Wellsy? Um... Let's monitor that one. A bit too much of a John Harkesism for my taste, but we'll see.]

The Good

Note: I had intermittent access to the radio transmission of this game, via both the internet and the AM radio signal, so this is going to be unfortunately light. My apologies.

  1. Marc Burch: He's been coming so close, I am happy that he finally gets rewarded. Good for him.
  2. Defensive Solidarity: Between the 45th and 55th minutes, it sounded like Rochester was starting to build momentum and get closer. The defense and midfield tightened up, and shut things down.
  3. Pat Carrol: One of my concerns has been "What if something happens to Brian Namoff?" Now, I don't think Pat is a long-term answer there, but I think he did well enough that if he needs to fill in if Brian gets a knock in a game, I'm not immediately going to panic. Plus he executed what sounded to be like a long-throw. Nice.

The Bad

  1. Run of Play: I know it wasn't the starters, but controlling a game's tempo is never enough if you don't start generating offense. To only score on set pieces means that at some level, you yield your fate to decisions of linesman or referees. That's worrying.

Officiating Watch


Likert Scale Grade: Not Rated

Man of the Match

It would be Marc Burch, but there is no Man of the Match for non-league games. Merit awards to Pat Carrol and Devon McTavish. No goat.

Final Thoughts

Evolving payoffs.

If you want international play, the U.S. Open cup is probably the most difficult route to take from a sheer probability perspective. Just going from the odds, you have a one in thirteen chance of being the Supporter's Shield Winner (assuming all teams are equal), if you make the playoffs, you have a one in eight shot at the MLS Cup, and the odds for the US Open Cup for United were one in sixteen. To start with, at least, but pot odds change constantly, and now that the odds are one in eight it justifies a bit more investment. The more we win, the more important each successive win becomes. It's a strange situation.

Although, to be frank, I'm not convinced this is the best shot at international play yet, another win would certainly change my mind. Against Chicago. That's not a particularly nice confluence of events. Chicago tends to win US Open Cups. United tends to lose to Chicago in elimination matches. It's John McClane vs. Death Star ("The Death Star: Tends to explode. John McClane: Tends to cause things to explode.") So I'm not really going to prioritize this tournament at the expense of Superliga... yet.

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At 02 July, 2008 13:16, Anonymous Bootsy said...

I can understand not prioritizing it compared to league play, or CCL (if there had been a conflict). But not prioritizing it compared to SuperLiga?

SuperLiga exists for three reasons: to make money for SUM; to give the Mexican teams some warm-up prior to their season; and to give Mexican teams a chance to play for their diaspora in the U.S. That's it. That's all. It exists for no other purpose. And none of those purposes particularly benefits DCU.

It may be very unlikely for us to hit the pot-o-gold in the USOC (the tickets to next year's CCL); but at least there's a pot-o-gold to try for. SuperLiga? They're meaningless exhibitions which benefit us not at all. Why prioritize them?

At 02 July, 2008 14:42, Anonymous Jeremy said...

Strong showings in international competitions (even if the inter is only with Mexico) gain international respect and attention for both the team and for the league.

Like the signing of Beckham, that attention helps to draw better international talent and some small amount of international viewership.

This improves the quality of play in the league, which draws more international attention...

There is no immediate benefit for DCU, but this league is not large enough that we can think only about ourselves. DCU must put a strong effort into ANY intenational competitionto help the league succeed. That, in the end, is good for DCU.

At 02 July, 2008 14:43, Anonymous I-66 said...

Yeah, I don't care about the SuperLiga either. Yeah, the atmosphere is different when it's someone like Chivas at RFK, but other than that I really couldn't care less. For me it's more matches on an already-crowded schedule, and with no real pot of gold at the end of the SuperLiga rainbow, I can't put much stock in it.

At 03 July, 2008 07:49, Anonymous Bill Urban said...

Not so certain the resto del mundo is impressed by SuperLiga; think it's regarded as the CONCACAF equivalent of the Zenith Data Systems Cup...

Apparently, it's done a good job marketing itself to certain portions of the US viewership, though...

At 05 July, 2008 13:00, Blogger Shatz... said...

We fans might not care as much about Superliga, but certainly the players and coaches do, because I hear there are certain significant monetary incentives to do well in this tournament. It will certainly be interesting to see what lineups Soehn rolls out against Chicago and then against Chivas.


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