First Impressions - D.C. United 1 : 3 Houston Dynamo
D.C. United eliminated from Superliga 2008
I suppose that there should be some feeling of grief, but really there isn't. Tom Soehn did the right thing and sacrificed this match, and I imagine most of us had already gritted out teeth and pulled the bandage off that hairy bit of the arm. It hurts, but not as bad as you might think. We lost Superliga against Atlante, or Chivas, and had already coped by the time this match came around.
The question for me was whether a substitute United side could even look credible. And the reserves did reasonably well. It is an accepted truism that ten good players can carry one not so good player, but here was a situation where very few of our starters were out there, so the reserves would sink or swim on their own. They surrendered two set piece goals, which is upsetting but I'd rather see that than two goals where we get shredded in the run of play. The third goal may get blamed on Burch, but I'm pretty sure McTavish was stranded in the middle of nowhere on that play. And they even managed to score a goal, as Doe proved with a goal that may not have made the match entirely meaningless. Given that United must use whatever semblance of depth we have in the post-all-star break period, this was a good run-out. The result is bad, but not, strangely, depressing. We'd come to terms with this already, and so the true test is Tuesday. A game that even if the reserves are called on to rest an injured starter, I feel more confident about their ability to step in. Hope, not fear.
Debriefing later today or tomorrow. My apologies for the lateness of this post, I had drafted it in my head Saturday night, wrote most of it yesterday, then forgot to post it.