15 July 2008

First Impressions - D.C. United 2 : 3 Atlante


I hate to say it, but some people are right, we're done with Superliga, regardless of the result of the Houston-Chivas match. Yes, I know there might be a mathematical chance, but we don't deserve to advance. Run up the flag, play the subs, we're done like a Five Guys burger. Sometimes you need to know when you're throwing good money after bad, and so it is with Superliga this year.

I'm sure some will work themselves into a righteous indignation about this, but the team I saw was tired. You can tell, the tackles were wild, the passes were received with the heel and not the side of the foot, and the crosses were looping and mysterious. The team is tired, and played a game that made me feel their fatigue. It should be said that this can not be used as an excuse, nor can injuries really (despite the absence of Olsen, Gallardo and Perralta, and Tino making his first appearance in several matches.) It is sad that we've burned through our depth, and burned through our starters. I might want to complain about Wells, only I can't since two goals were the result of a player (Burch) not used to being the last player back. I might want to even attack Tom Soehn's line-up, especially given that Burch made bad decisions on the first two Atlante goals. I might want to say that this is another piece of evidence of Tom Soehn not making a change after something worked once. I might say that I would have put Martinez in the middle, or started with a 3-5-2, or Mediate, or something, but I would be lying. I would have pretty much the exact same line-up (perhaps started Cordeiro in lieu of Thompson, and that probably wouldn't have been smart in retrospect). I would have made similar changes, and it would have amounted to the same.

I'm not even disappointed with the effort. The team went down fighting, giving their all, but there wasn't that much to give.

Players need a rest. It has caught up with them. Moreno, Emilio, Namoff, Simms, Burch, Fred... let them take the Superliga Houston match off. We're done here. The league and open cup are still viable. We play for them.

You goat is Burch, censure to Fred, merit to Emilio, Moreno, and Martinez. I think. Now let them get a good night's sleep.

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At 15 July, 2008 22:39, Anonymous DCUinCT said...

I agree on the thoughts, but I think a fair bit of blame goes to Tommy for not slowing the game down and maintaining the defense behind the ball when the got the goal back. Atlante had players consistently in the box. They played the counter and DC didn't learn when they missed their chances.
Weren't we supposed to be made for these international tournaments? MLS teams can't be without a couple more players to draw on. There's not nearly enough depth.
Oh, and you forgot Champion's League.

At 15 July, 2008 23:09, Anonymous grunthos said...

You may be willing to let Tommy off the hook, but I'm not. And I am no Soehn hater.

His usage of Burch in this match was mystifying. And you know, I *do* disagree with starting in the same 4-4-2 that Chivas ripped to shreds on Saturday. Not that 3-5-2 was going to solve the problem, true... with all the injuries, we're playing a shell game, hoping our opponents don't recognize or can't exploit whichever glaring weakness we have chosen to emphasize. But the whole "Oh gee, Burch might have the capabilities to play center back, so let's throw him out there with no experience or training, watch him fail to coordinate with McTavish, shift formations but keep him in the center of defense, then turn around and shift him to defensive midfield before subbing him off"... I mean, WTF? I could see retraining Marc to be a center back. Start in the offseason, give him a lot of reserve matches, let him work his way into it... in MLS, it could actually work. But this? This was stupid and pointless.

But, yes, the team is obviously overworked, and their professionalism this evening, while commendable, only made that problem worse in the end.

Just don't get me started on marginal, competing-for-playing-time guys like Dyachenko and Doe *not* showing the work rate of our 34-year-old, highly overworked captain. That's why they are marginal, I know. It's still galling.

Playing Jaime in Saturday's match should be a fireable offense. Just sayin'.

Time to sleep this one off.

At 15 July, 2008 23:18, Blogger jason said...

"I might say that I would have put Martinez in the middle, or started with a 3-5-2, or Mediate, or something, but I would be lying."

Martinez in the middle might have worked, but his speed on the outside was a major factor tonight.

Mediate is concussed and out for several more weeks. (After Josh Gros last year, DC United has stopped taking ANY chances with concussed players.)

The sad thing to me is Burch actually had a decent game for being thrown without much support into central defense. I think we look back at both goals, Burch is trying to shut down a passing lane that he got left out to dry in with nobody coming back to cover. The first goal both Namoff and Martinez were pushed high and noone fell back.

At 15 July, 2008 23:37, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you operate under the assumption that Quaranta was nowhere near 90-min fit, then I think there was no combination or formation with which Soehn could engineer this squad of players to a win tonight. It just wasn't possible. There are only so many round pegs you can jam into trapezoidal holes in one match.

At 16 July, 2008 00:09, Anonymous Soehn the Exit said...

Agreed this is a very tired group but the problem with this team hasn't changed in 2 plus years, no speed on the wings to open up the middle. They insist on jamming everything down the middle, so teams wait for them to cough the ball up which leads to a counter attack.

If the front office doesn't pick up a speedy winger that can actually cross the ball and some defensive help during the transfer window then my cynical opinion is to hang your hopes on next season because this one is a wash.

At 16 July, 2008 08:26, Anonymous Jeremy said...

I agree with Gruthos, playing Jaime on Sunday would be idiotic.

Emilio should also get a rest, if we can still field 11 bodies.

Tino and Gallardo (hopefully) should play to help them get back into game fitness.

BTW: I personally find Gallardo's groin strain coinciding with international play just a little too coincidental. Of course, my bias is well known...

At 16 July, 2008 09:47, Anonymous The AMT said...

D, Oscar, everybody else...

Anybody know anything about this Argentine winger we have on trial? Specifically, has he got pace, and can he cross the ball with anything resembling accuracy?

At 16 July, 2008 10:17, Anonymous grunthos said...

Here's the obligatory Football Manager information on Diaz...

Born: 6/22/83 in Naples, Italy
Has been a bit player for several South American teams and Oxford (English 4th tier).
Rated by FM's (famously unreliable) scouting network as a typical lower division winger: good pace, good flair, servicable crosser, no other useful skills. If I were running DCU in that virtual universe, I wouldn't sign him as anything more than a cheap stopgap.

Now, if the real world DCU staff rate him higher than "Crossing 13, Passing 7, Technique 9", things might be different. But I wouldn't get your hopes too high.

At 17 July, 2008 07:37, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same old stuff , you can use the 'they are tired excuse' but it comes down to talent level on the field,,,,,,,,,,,,,Mediate , Quaranta , Dyachenko and others not only look lost , they are,,,,,,,,,,,several players on this team simply do not belong in this league , it is starting to resemble an 'A' league team and it's payroll is much too high for that,,,,,,,,,,,,,,the front office has put together a miserable collection of soccer players , other than Gallardo our midfield is atrocious the periferal play around the five legitimate players is pitiful..........


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