06 May 2009

First Impressions -- Kansas City Wizards 1 : 1 D.C. United

It's funny. When you don't have wins, draws don't feel particularly good, but if you win two in a row, a draw feels okay. To me, at least. It's not that I am particularly overwhelmed by United's performance, but there was good in it. And if you're offering me a draw, on the road, on short rest, without Ben Olsen and starting left back Marc Burch, well, I'll take it. Tom Soehn threw out a starting XI that bought rest for several players, including a second half only showing for Emilio, and that team was still respectable.

My general rule this year is that if the defense surrenders one goal (or less) than I am happy with the job they did, and so it is here. While Kansas City did look dangerous, and had some nice moves on the counter, their goal was on a deep turnover by Rodney Wallace and then a nice tip by Josh Wolff. And Kansas City did manufacture some chances, but not an overwhelming number. Louis Crayton made the saves he needed to make, and on a few he was careful not to spill the ball. Greg Janicki had a very strong game in his first start since he and Devon McTavish attempted a hair and skull transplant. Avery John was capable in his first minutes, but I will say that we missed Marc Burch on some set pieces later in the match.

If there is a complaint, it has to be with the offense. After Rodney Wallace and Moreno combined to bust down the middle of the Kansas City defense, our attack was well kept in check for most of the night. Part of this must be attributed to some strong work by the Kansas City midfield and backline, but part of it just seemed that United couldn't find the right way to manufacture the chance once position was gained.

Still, all-in-all, I will take this result. A 1-1 draw, and while United grew cautious (and indulged in a great deal of time wasting at the end), they never forgot that they could still attack. Good.

I'm leaning towards awarding a Man of the Match to Janicki, Certificates of Merit to Jacobson (who had a decent start for Ben Olsen), Quaranta (who was displaying wonderful vision for the first 60 minutes), Avery John (who at least proved that #5 on the depth chart isn't a gaping maw, and that would be a wonderful thing for this team), and Louis Crayton (he did his job right).

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At 06 May, 2009 23:51, Blogger Kinney said...

Is is wrong that I read "And if you're offering me a draw, on the road, on short rest, without Ben Olsen and starting left back Marc Burch, well, I'll take it" and thought, but we didn't start Marc Burch? Guess you have a better opinion of him than I do.

At 07 May, 2009 09:37, Blogger Bob Z. said...

I am not usually one to make excuses, but that tiny field really seemed to disrupt United's possession oriented attack. There was no room for Moreno or others to hold the ball, create space and build an attack from the flank. I found the whole affair difficult to watch. I will gladly accept the draw and get out of dodge.

At 07 May, 2009 10:06, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thought Jacobson had a nice strike on the set piece, not sure we'd miss Burch that much. Lets remember that Wallace is a rookie as is Pontious, there will be rookie mistakes from them. Just stinks that the mistake led directly to a goal. Of course, he also had the goal on the other end. And man I thought Pontious' strike was going in. We played subs on the road and came away with points. This team is so much better than last year's team, great to see.

At 07 May, 2009 11:28, Blogger Anatoly said...

Wallace did a convincing impersonation of DMB, with diagonal runs, getting on the point of attack, running around like energizer bunny and giving away cheap balls.

About 3 goalkeepers situation. I'd prefer a Keller or at least a Perkins, but it's OK, really. Zack Wells single-handedly lost us some games last year and made me nervous, always. None of 3 now makes me as nervous, and while they can still lose a game for us, they stand a good chance to win a game. I take it.

At 08 May, 2009 09:29, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the rookies could DCU finally have players in the national team pool again?

At 08 May, 2009 11:04, Anonymous Skippy said...

I have to say, inserting Gomez and Emilio seemed to disrupt the offense as much as anything else. Not that I loved Barklage by any means. I just felt like both Gomez and Emilio looked particularly ineffective that night. Its possible that I am entirely wrong on this, but it looked to me like there was a lot more creativity on offense before Emilio and Gomez came on the field. It was particularly glaring for Emilio when he replaced Pontius, but that may be a reflection of the type of player each is (Emilio is the point of the attack and rarely anything else. Pontius, I think, is far more dynamic).
Also, the defense continues to look less lost, generally, even with Avery John jumping in. So that's good.

At 08 May, 2009 12:08, Anonymous jleppig said...

Where's the debrief?!


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