First Impressions -- New York Red Bulls 2 : 3 D.C. United
You're here? Quick, inside. Shut the door. Quick! Now down the stairs. Turn on the light. It's just us here, right? Did you bring it? Good, good. Let's see it then, open the bag.
Ahhhh, and it is ours now. What do you mean, what do we say to people? We'll say we earned it. If we all back each other up, no one will give us away.
Yes, I know it's stolen, but if we all agree to ourselves that it isn't stolen, then people will just assume we earned it. And, to some degree, we did. Theft takes work. It may not be the kind of work that others respect, but it is still work.
Tino, we needed your quick reflexes on the passes to gain entry to the area. Boyzzz and Rodney, we needed your speed to race through the guards. Luci, we needed your strength to break down the door. And Chris, we needed you at the last moment to unlock the safe and take the prize. Three points, stolen? Yes, but ours unless others catch wise...
Since it's just us United fans here, we can admit that this was a game that United stole, that through 89 minutes New York had certainly done enough to win the match, let alone draw it. But it was also a very sloppy game on both sides, and when a game is as sloppy as that one is it lends itself to moments. And these were moments where individual talent could, and did, play the critical role. If there is one thing to take from this match for me, it is that this United team, even without Moreno and Gomez, does have attacking talent that can win a match. And they did. That doesn't mean that the talent was successful for the entire match. Consider that of United's three goals, only one (the second) was the result of any sort of sustained possession. The rest were opportunistic play combined with players not surrendering on a moment. At the end, as Boyzzz Khumalo raced in on John Conway to feed the ball to Chris Pontius, there had to be a feeling that Chris was going to put the ball over the crossbar again. And yet he didn't, and United comes back with two goals in the final five minutes to rescue a match that they arguable deserved to get nothing from.
The point, though, is that New York and DC had a sloppy match the entire time. Part of this may have been the turf, which exaggerates the spin on the ball at contact as though Phil Mickelson were playing most shots. But part of it was the willingness of both team to play long passes that would occasionally be brilliant but far more often would fall to a defender stepping up at the right time. This game was made to provide the unpredictable chance, and United simply capitalized on two very late. To that extent, as much as New York felt cheated, they also contributed to a match that allowed this to happen.
Your man of the match, for me, is Santino Quaranta, who played two excellent balls on assists. We'll hit in the debrief about Chris Pontius's skill that isn't his shot, Rodney Wallace hacking people on the sidelines and what it may mean, and we'll have to analyze this match in terms of the flow on the field. To me, without Gomez in the middle, United relied far too heavily on the flanks at the midfield stripe, which constrained their forward options. We'll also talk about Louis Crayton, who did not look good, and discuss how we feel about, yes, Tom Soehn.
A strange match, one that requires me to sleep on it and think about some more. Drop off your comments as well, we'll hit things in debrief.