18 June 2009

First Impressions -- Seattle Sounders FC 3 : 3 D.C. United

Every time I watch Seattle, I'm entertained. Seattle is essentially an ADHD afflicted six year old, dosed with caffeine and sugar, put on the tea cup ride at Disney World. Then you hand him a morning star and tell him to run around in traffic. It's not beautiful soccer, though at times it approximates beauty the way a swarm of wasps approximate ballet. When I watch Seattle, I feel like an arsonist at a bonfire.

So United comes to Seattle, and proceeds to play a match that manages to maximize that feeling. It was chaotic and ridiculous affair. Two own-goals, one from each team, sums up the natural state of this match. United's defense was vulnerable to shot, sharp passing that pushed them away. Rodney Wallace showed he is not a long term solution at holding midfielder. Seattle scored the first goal on a pure shooter's goal, the second with a chance deflection off of Marc Burch, and the third another with smart ball movement springing an attacker who then finished perfectly. United's first goal took advantage of a nice far post run by Pontius combined with poor marking on Seattle's part, the second was a shooter's goal from Gomez, and the third had a dangerous Pontius cross meet a fortunate Tyrone Marshall head for an own goal. This match had everything you love about football, and everything that exasperates.

When United played Chivas, I may have mentioned that I felt comfortable that even down two goals, United could recover. I did not have that feeling this night. Even after Gomez pulls the team to within one goal, it felt that Seattle could have tacked on three more goals and put the match easily out of reach. Namoff and Burch may have had moments, but far too often seemed poorly placed to handle Seattle's attack. Jakovic ran all over the field, a testament to his will but also to how disorganized the back line seemed all night. Fred, and later Tino and Chris both tracked back, but never fit in seamlessly. If United's defense had a shape, it requires higher order mathematical topology to describe it. United looked its best for stretches in the first half, where they played some smart possession football, simply because that meant United was scrambling its defenders all over the field.

I'll admit it, I wondered if the cardiac kids might finally have died on the table. That they didn't... well, it shocks me like a defibrillator to the groin. I'm not sure this was a good game. The more I think about, this game seemed like a bloody, horrible mess. Then again, that's how I like my omlettes. But if we think about this rationally, this game was a barely contained disaster, right? Hooray for saving the point, but does anyone feel comfortable taking this style into a road trip?

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At 18 June, 2009 07:59, Anonymous Skippy said...

I tried to watch this game on ESPN. Instead I ended up with gloating text updates from my Seattlite father. I want to be mad at ESPN, but Virginia should have finished that game four innings earlier. Regardless, I only saw the game 51 minutes in. Having said that, I didn't doubt they could score the two goals, I just thought they were going to concede another goal, and really they probably should have. On the bright side, I thought Simms looked more involved in the match than I have seen him all year. Also, the game looked a little violent. I don't think the ref was biased, but he let a lot of bad or late or challenges from behind go, on both sides. On the own goals, I do have to say that they looked solid, I mean, the second one, Pontius was making them defend facing goal and the cross looked good. I only Burch's on the highlights, but it looked similar in that he was trying to defend in a precarious position.
I guess I am pleased that I got to send my own gloating text messages and agree that apparent non-Euclidian geometric-shape of the defense is worrying.

At 18 June, 2009 08:33, Anonymous Tolik said...

I was too lazy to get up to sit in front of my computer to watch the game on espn360. Besides, as not a baseball fan, I had no idea it's gonna last that long.

So, the first thing I saw, finally, was us losing 3:1. And then i was rewarded for waiting! Thank you, guys. It indeed looked chaotic, but I take this 3:3.

Sometimes, it's better to be lucky than good.

At 18 June, 2009 08:50, Anonymous Wyrm2 said...

I watched it on ESPN360 (which was beautiful by the way). It was a pretty rough game, as the ref was letting a lot of stuff go, but it was probably the most entertaining MLS game I've seen in a long time.

2 attacking teams, a crazy crowd (ignoring the jerk who threw the beer bottle at Wicks), what's not to like.

The most positive thing to me was that we actually finished chances. We didn't have a whole lot of them, but the ones we got we finished (or got lucky on the own goal, but it was a really good cross).

Defensively we were awful. Burch was god-awful, Jakovic had his worst game of the season (or maybe second worst), Namoff was ok, and Wallace was invisible as a D-Mid, and not in a good way.

It was a fun game over, but I think we are going to be exhausted for Colorado on Saturday.

At 18 June, 2009 08:56, Anonymous Wyrm2 said...

Sorry, Wallace was pretty invisible on the wing. Jacobson was the invisible D-Mid

At 18 June, 2009 09:00, Blogger Bob Z. said...

My hopeful side thinks DC doesn't match-up well against Seattle so we are fortunate to get a tie and just move on. Also the game reinforces the point that we need another solid defensive mid-fielder. A positive note that despite giving up three goals, Wicks had one of his best games of the year with three or four great or courageous saves. He really picked up back line last night.

At 18 June, 2009 09:04, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fell asleep during the baseball game and woke up for DC... Seattle could become really good in the next year or two-- remember this is an expansion team. Points on the road are points on the road, no complaints here. Would really love to see Gomez hang a few on Colorado next game...

At 18 June, 2009 09:10, Anonymous jleppig said...

Calling Ivan Guerrero. Please come back.

At 18 June, 2009 12:22, Blogger rke said...

You like horrible bloody omlettes? Remind me not to eat at your place...

This game was a thrill to watch (thanks to Twitter tips pointing me to espn360).

4 out of 6 goals could be GOW contenders. Run of play was chaotic, but littered with high-quality play. And while SFC had the best of it, the momentum shifted enough times that I never doubted that the game was still on.

Just one point on the final goal -- Quaranta got a flick on the ball that threw Marshall's clearance-header off center. Without that flick, there's no goal. Not to say it wasn't an own-goal, but it was produced by solid attack and sharp play from DCU, not just a fluke or a brain-fart by SFC.

Calling Guerrero? Hey, why not B. Carroll, as long as we're making wishes. I'll just be happy to see Olsen back there with Simms.


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