20 June 2009

First Impressions -- Colorado Rapids 3 : 0 D.C. United

I suppose the major debate is whether United lost this match or Colorado won it, and the easy answer is both. Fatigue was a factor, altitude was a factor. It showed up in obvious ways like tired legs and players running out of gas. It showed more poignantly mentally: United could not execute this match at all. Colorado's second and third goals resulted from some lapses, from Avery John's back pass/through ball to Cummings, and to Jakovic missed trap that forced him the wrong way. That being said, Colorado's first goal was well executed by Cummings, as he makes a strong run, stays on his feet over Janicki's tackle, and fires far post by Wicks. And once Colorado had that edge, all else was preordained.

There are bright things to consider. It was nice to Olsen on the field in something other than a token role. Boyzzz again showed life and energy in exactly the way N'Silu did not. But the match itself was like watching a tax audit -- it was tedious and you felt at some point United would pay through the nose, and sure enough Cummings would pop up with the ball at his feet saying "now, about this receipt here..."

The shift to start the match in a 4-4-2 was interesting, but it felt like a line-up that may have been more suited to the previous match against Seattle. Throwing Olsen on the right in his first match back seemed to ask a great deal, and Simms and Gomez found linking up difficult. We can complain about Janicki if you desire, but I can't imagine that any other back four performs better in this match.

Write it off, pay the bill, and cross out the footnote that said "United has yet to lose after conceding the first goal."

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At 21 June, 2009 09:36, Anonymous Anonymous said...

there were some positives-- Pontius had some great chances and great footwork. Wallace not so great but always have to remember these guys are rookies. Guy I was disappointed in was Gomez. Wanted to see him take over the game imbued with fire for revenge. Janicki really hurt himself this game. DC has suffered from lack of speed in the defense and last night's game was a setback. Liked what I saw from Tino. Hard to believe, he's only 2 yrs older than Wallace.

At 21 June, 2009 11:08, Blogger Kevin said...

What this match shows is that we're kind of screwed when Yak is with the Canadian Nats for the Gold Cup. Janicki's fine, but he is, as Dave and Thomas pointed out a few times, not athletic and fast like the Yak. Avery John was just not smart last night, and he shouldn't be starting, but presumably T+T will call him up for the GC and we'll have even less depth in the back line.

At 21 June, 2009 15:09, Blogger deenaanddavid said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 22 June, 2009 10:38, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree that we'll be screwed without Yak in the back... but what a great place to be! Huge upgrade from last year. Nice to actually have a defender (besides Namoff) we'll miss.
PS-- is the above comment spam?

At 22 June, 2009 11:57, Blogger rke said...

Maybe I was just in a bad mood, but I don't have so many kind or forgiving words for that match. I thought it flat out stank. Anyone count how many times we passed the ball straight to the other side? Brutal!

The upside is that it was an anomaly. We haven't seen a debacle like that this season (and hopefully won't again).

I am troubled by depth in the back though. Janicki wasn't cutting it, and John looked like a clumsy brute. I really don't like John, from what I've seen of him -- doesn't seem to fit United's style or attitude. That hack that earned him a yellow was very ugly.

I like this "Yak in the back" rhyme. There's something banner-worthy in that...

Good to have a break now. The team needs the rest, and my family will be happy to have me back for a while...

At 22 June, 2009 17:17, Blogger J said...

We Canadian NT fans haven't seen a lot of Jakovic (1 cap). What can you tell us about his play for DC this season?

At 23 June, 2009 13:18, Anonymous Grunthos said...

Jakovic is a moderately pacey marking back, not a powerful physical presence or an aerially dominant player, but a very smooth mover. His first few games for DCU were rather shaky, but he settled in soon enough and has shown excellent composure and pretty solid decision-making for his age and level. He does make 1 or 2 mistakes per match, but they are usually not devastating errors and he recovers very well.

So far, his highlight plays have been situations where he shielded the ball as it ran out of bounds - he's very good at doing this over extended distances, but as we saw in the Colorado game, he needs to learn a little humility when dealing with a truly fast forward like Cummings.

He is very sensible with the ball at his feet, and can make a decent outlet pass; if he gets control of the ball with room to run, he'll dribble it upfield and then move the ball somewhere safe but useful.

Jakovic has quickly become the glue that holds our defense together, although our defense has been poor in recent years, so that's almost damning with faint praise.

It will be interesting to see how quickly he adapts to the CMNT... my bet is that he will need a game to settle, but will be fine after that.


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