First Impressions - New England Revolution 2 : 1 D. C. United
File under "The Better Team Over 90 Minutes Won."
It wasn't that United played horrible. This was a decent effort from United, an effort that even improved as the match went on. There were a few defensive and midfield giveaways, but none of those were directly responsible for the two New England Goals. To be fair, New England's goals were both earned through strong play and chances created with smart play over the first two thirds of the match. Yes, the ball came off of Burch(?)'s foot to Twellman for the first goal, but that move was started by some crisp passing at midfield with Twellman checking back for the ball. The second goal was a shark with a laser beam on its forehead. Again, if you want to complain, you might say Tino had given up too much ground to Larentowicz which allowed him the space to tee it up, but it wasn't egregious defending, just subpar.
And, for most of this match, while United played well, New England played better. One goal better. It's fair. If United had been unlucky, they would have been punished for their ridiculous bonehead moves at times, but that didn't happen. If United had been lucky, they would have put away a chance or two they had in the final half hour. Instead, the law of averages prevailed, and New England defends their home with a 2-1 win.
If there is one question to ask, it might be whether Tom Soehn made his move too early when Zaher came off for Thompson, but I'd rather have Soehn move too early as opposed to too late. Yes, we're arguing degrees of wrongness, but the underlying point is that I like the instinct of trying to make something happen faster.
And, one other thing - this was the greatest officiating performance ever turned in by Abby Okulaja. It was a consistently officiated match, he called things fair, he didn't call some fouls that more credulous officials might have. Seeing Abby officiate this match was to see him in a whole new way - enlightened, professional, trustworthy. Admittedly, all in all it was an average officiating performance, but when was the last time you could say that about Abby?
Goats? Not sure, perhaps Namoff for being caught out on the first goal, or Tino. Merit awards to Fred perhaps. Maybe Zaher, Crayton (yes, he was moving the wrong way on the second goal, but it was deflected, right?), and Moreno as well. The big concern - Is Emilio going quiet again? I leave you with that. Is it another scoring slump, or something more?