02 March 2007

Debriefing for Match 12.A.02: CD Olimpia

Leg #2 - DC UNITED 3 : 2 CD Olimpia
Aggregate - DC United 7 : 3 CD Olimpia

Six Word Novel Recap

The rain fell. So did Olimpia.

Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Post, Steve Goff: "United claimed a 3-2 victory before 8,181 spectators to win the series by a 7-3 aggregate score."
The Washington Times, John Haydon: "The D.C. United faithful likely will chant Luciano Emilio's name plenty this season. United's new Brazilian acquisition scored two exquisite goals last night against his old team, CD Olimpia of Honduras..."
UnitedMania, Jimmy LaRoue: "Olimpia threatened United's defense on numerous occasions, especially in the first half, and it was rewarded with a 30th minute penalty from Hendry Thomas after Bryan Namoff's foul in the 18-yard box."
MLSNet, Charles Boehm: "
United's back line were making things even more difficult for themselves with some slipshod passing under high pressure and they finally paid the price in the 29th minute when Namoff scuffed his clearance deep in his own corner and compounded the error by clipping Barahona as he cut back onto his right foot in the penalty area."
MLSNet, Charles Boehm: (yes, a second article, dude earns his paycheck) "With the 7-3 win on aggregate against Olimpia, United advances to take on CD Guadalajara (better known as Chivas) in the tournament's semifinals, with the first leg scheduled for March 15 at RFK. The Mexican giants present a substantially more imposing obstacle for the Black-and-Red, but United's veter
An American's View..., Brian Garrison: "With the exception of the second goal, our [DC's] defense looked very composed and in control. I would have to say that Boswell, Erpen, Namoff and Simms killed off about 10 minutes of the match at the end, simply with their ball control. Erpen still had a few of his "WTF!?!?!" moments, but Boswell showed exactly why he will be a regular part of the USMNT this summer with his ability to cover for his fellow defenders."
BlackDogRed: "One distinct difference I see so far between Nowak's and Soehn's philosophies is Soehn is sending Erpen forward far more regularly, loping a midfielder behind to cover, and I think this signals a far less rigid - and hopefully far more joyful - system."
(NOTE: We may add more recaps to this list as we see them. Or we may not. It depends on how lazy I am.)

The Good

  1. Emiliorgasm: When Luciano Emilio first was announced as coming to DC United, I wondered if he was good enough to help the team more than our beloved Alecko Eskandarian. Now I'm starting to wonder iff the rest of the team is good enough to use Emilio. Seeing him in person is seeing more than just great finishing. He does so many things well, from runs off the ball to little touches to other players into space to glancing headers designed to take advantage of another's well designed run. Simply an amazing home debut.
  2. Tactically Sound: Coach Tom Soehn has already shown he is not Piotr Nowak. Two substitutions at the half was something I don't recall seeing once last year, especially with one of them being for Moreno. He also showed the ability to think differently. When I first hears Olsen's name announced, I had assumed he was coming in for McTavish. That he came in for Carroll showed flexiblity in Soehn's line-ups, adapting to the situation in a way that called for it. These are good changes in my mind, hopeful ones that show that Soehn is showing his own way of doing things. This is his team now.
  3. Clyde Simms: One of his best performances to date. What impressed me was not only his ability to step into passing lanes and take possession, but how quickly his head was up and he was usually able to distribute the ball.
  4. Facundo Erpen: I know, he had his share of bad giveaways, but these weren't nearly as often, or as dangerous, as they were in the past. Most of his risk taking involved poor decisions near the center line, as opposed to out of the box. He also showed real class on several tackles, and given that I rag on him occasionally I wanted to laud his performance last night.
  5. Boswell: Is really, really, really, for real. Part of me keeps thinking that as much as I love the guy, he may suddenly show that he's not as good as we think he is. Instead, he just keeps solidifying his game.
  6. Jamil Walker: How can a guy who took three clear chances and sent two off them off Olimpia's keeper's face get on the Good list? Because of everything that led to those chances. He was more active in all aspects of the game, from making good runs to harassing Olimpia through the midfield. Excellent all-round effort from the second half substitute.
  7. Ben Olsen: He took the Captain's armband from Moreno for the second half, and provided excellent on-field leadership and composure from the defensive midfield position.

The Bad

  1. 20 minute warm-up: Not sure why, but United was quite ragged the opening twenty minutes of the game in all aspects.
  2. Wing Speed: This is still a problem. McTavish was abused in the opening half, although he recovered somewhat in the second half. Gros also found difficulty in both shutting down his side defensively and in beating Olimpia defenders to through balls down his side.
  3. Jaime Moreno: It's tough to say something bad about a legend, but his opening 45 minutes were not inspiring. I can usually understand his decision making when he chooses to pass rather than pull the trigger, but his decision to pass up a shot in the twentieth minute when he was in on the keeper was truly befuddling, as his pass to McTavish was across three Olimpia defenders and put McTavish into a much tighter angle that Jaime was in.
  4. Cohesion: We're still definitely in pre-season form. Or, if you want to be pessimistic, end of last season form. It's showing up in little ways, and can get much better.
  5. The Perkins Injury: Nothing against Jay Nolly, but seeing Troy limp off the field was not a good feeling. I know we want him to come back for the game on the 15th, but I'd even prefer he missed the game rather than come back too soon and make things worse. Get well, Troy. Don't worry about "soon." We'll worry about that. You just get better.

Man of the Match

I want to give this to Clyde Simms, but Emilio deserves it. Welcome to DC, Luciano Emilio. Merit awards to Simms, Boswell, Gomez, and Olsen.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the game, the rain has subsided to a small drizzle. Across came Olsen, Boswell, and Gomez, applauding the supporters for their efforts. Boswell even fist bumped the D.C. United shield on his jersey. "It's nice to see you all again," their applause said. Well, it was nice to see them again as well. We've missed this. Good to have it back.

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At 02 March, 2007 11:05, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite not being able to finish I thought Jamil Walker did pretty well also. What is with that guy? He seems to love non-league matches but is less than impressive in regular season competition. Didn't he score 2 in an LHUSOC match last year?

At 02 March, 2007 12:20, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's maybe unwise to make too big a deal about a pre-season series against a Honduran side, but my expectations for this season are considerably higher than they were a month ago. Kudos to Kasper and company for landing Luciano. We're lucky to have him.

At 02 March, 2007 13:07, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are in serious trouble if Perkins is out or limited. Thankfully the first leg is in RFK in case we need to start Nolly.

The PK looked legit from tv replays...so did ours. In fact I thought they fouled us three times in quick succession with the ref letting play go the first two times and then calling the foul against olsen.

Emilio is WOW...I've never seen a forward make four defenders fall down on the same play even if they were from Olimpia!

At 02 March, 2007 13:23, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughts about the subbing...

I went the other way, was confused at two subs straight after the interval. If Jaime and Carroll had knocks and had to come off, then Soehn did the right thing.

But leaving yourself only one sub available, then having Perkins limp off on that field in that weather was a real risk for Soehn to have taken. Benny got whacked very hard in the second half, several times in fact. What if he had to come off after one of those?

United are at that point playing ten men with a second choice keeper because of two subs after forty-five minutes.

I understand the underlying point that Soehn looks more flexible in his approach to changing the match with subs than Nowak was, and agree. But he took a very real risk by making two early subs, and it almost came back to bite him...

At 02 March, 2007 14:12, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A variation on your six words:

Emilio is good.

Defense is not.

At 02 March, 2007 15:13, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know alot of you are Esky fans, but you can see the huge disparity in class between him and Emilio already. Emilio holds the ball, and almost never turns it over to the other team. He makes great runs, can beat on the dribble, and is a terrific finisher. Our offense, despite being really still in preseason, looks better than midseason form last year. What a huge personnel decision to get Esky out and Emilio in, and I give top marks to the Dave Kasper and the rest for making it happen...

At 03 March, 2007 10:48, Blogger Joel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 03 March, 2007 10:50, Blogger Joel said...

quick thought/question... Could Stephen deRoux possible help out with the speed on the wing? I know he is still somewhat raw/unpolished, but he really brought a lot of energy and hustle to the game when given the chance a couple times last year.

At 05 March, 2007 09:09, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You name Sims, Bos & Erpen as 'good' yet DCU struggled defensively throughout the game, You need to watch a little closer before praising people.


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