24 September 2007

Debriefing for Match 12.26: At Chicago Fire

Chicago Fire 1 : 1 D.C. United

Six Word Novel Recap

Moreno scores even when he's passing.

Media, Traditional and Otherwise

SE Podcast (via Booked for Dissent), David Lifton:"This was about the 6th or 7th time this year that United has been on the good side of some goalkeeping reminiscent of U-17 girls teams. "
The Washington Post, Steve Yanda: "The goal that saved an afternoon of largely sluggish play for D.C. United wasn't supposed to be a goal. The ball that left the foot of forward Jaime Moreno in the 84th minute wasn't even supposed to be a shot. It was meant as a cross and ended up earning United a point in the MLS standings."
The Chicago Tribune, Luis Arroyave: "The Fire dominated play for the most part, but one of its best performances of the season was spoiled by a late Jaime Moreno goal... This marked the second straight game in which the Fire had given up a tying goal in the last 10 minutes."
MLSNet, Tim Hilton: "'I faked it a couple of times to cross it and when I crossed it, it went straight into the goal. It was too bad for the 'keeper,' Moreno said...Chicago took an early 1-0 lead when Chad Barrett was able to put away a shot from the heart of the penalty area, which was set up by a 35-yard pass from Blanco in the 18th minute."
QuarterVolley, I-66: "So yeah, terrible decision by Matt Pickens, but as I said on Friday 'given the circumstances, I’d not be terribly disappointed to see a draw.'"
The Fullback Files: "The lack of creativity in midfield was a real hindrance to the United offense, though we did hit some testers from distance, McTavish proved how valuable his positional adaptability is, and Mediate proved that he deserved getting his roster spot back. I actually thought that not having Wanchope in the lineup hurt us more than Chicago, as Boswell-Vanney is not the speediest combo at the back and probably would have dealt with his physical threat better than the pace of Barrett and Carr"
An American's View, Brian Garrison: "Once Cylde Simms was brought on the field in for Namoff, United's composure looked completely different. Yes we were still without Gomez or Fred making moves in the middle, but defensively, United looked much more solid."
Fifty-Fifty Ball: "Once again Troy Perkins came up with a huge save in the fifth minute of stoppage with a game saving save.

The Good

  1. Making Due: Sometimes you hope to get by without one player, but missing three with Olsen, Fred, and Gomez all out meant that there was no way to hide a replacement out there. Instead, Tom Soehn adopted a different mentality, and the midfield was not so much an engine to drive the attack as an attempt to slow down the Fire's attack and to join the defense. It did alright, although it certainly wasn't the best. Plus, we pay our debts to society in one game, and have Fred, and Olsen, and Gomez all ready to go for the remaining games of the season with three cards each to give. Works for me.
  2. Troy Perkins: Needed to give United something, and he certainly did, playing a good enough game to keep the black and red in it long enough to make something happen.
  3. Clyde Simms: This marks about the fourth game we've seen him earn the everyday start with his performance.
  4. Tom Soehn: A more dogmatic coach would have looked at three missing players and somehow still tried to play his system with three replacements. Soehn instead adjusted his system to fit his players. I am a fan of this.
  5. Alex Prus: I ragged on him earlier in the year, but I have to say that he officiated this game fairly well. Yes, he was somewhat credulous on Blanco's consistently hitting the turf, but he was skeptical enough as well. They can't all be dives, can they? Okay, they can, but I thought Prus dealt with it fairly well. United did foul Chicago much more often than Chicago fouled DC, which surprised me given how physical the Fire were playing DC. To Chicago's credit, they played DC fairly clean.

The Bad

  1. Vanney and Boswell Together:It's a working hypothesis of this blog that Vanney is acceptable at Center Back, and Boswell is acceptable, but both is somewhat problematic. We saw that yesterday, as United struggled to deal with through balls played down the sides of the box. Theoretically, that's where a center back can provide support, but Boswell wasn't there in time to help Namoff and Carroll on the goal, and Vanney was abused repeatedly (although, to his credit, at one point he did recover enough to shut down one cross. However, to his detriment, I only noticed it once, and noticed him beaten two or three other times)
  2. Namoff Gimping: Just as Marc Burch could have been the hidden catalyst to the United run of results, Brian Namoff picking up a knock could be threatening. Right now we have two reasonable options at Left Back, but I'm not sure where you go at right back after Namoff. Gros, potentially, or MacTavish. Not Simms. Hope that isn't much.

Man of the Match

Jaime Moreno for saving the points. Merit awards to Simms, Perkins, and, yes, Mediate.

Karma Bank

+2 for the season entering the game. We burn two karma for the ridiculous nature of Moreno's goal, which is pretty much a once in a season event you see something like that (-2). We earn one karma for some good attacking soccer despite a second string midfield (+1). We should all earn karma for having to listen to people sing Fire, Fire, Fire fire fire... without even the courtesy of a Jimi Hendrix riff behind them. -1 for the game, +1 for the season.

Final Thoughts

United had two games in a row where wins were not of paramount importance, and picked up four of six points in them. That probably ends now in terms of the Supporter's Shield run. Combined with the Copa Sudamericana ties, we are now faced with a completely legitimate question of trying to maintain the rotation in order to keep rested for the playoffs or really pushing all-out for the Supporter's Shield. Chivas is not making this easy on us, and that's to their credit. Personally, I would maintain the rotation in the Sudamericana, and push to polish off the Supporter's Shield. Looking at the remaining games for Chivas, I think their schedule is decent to them. I think you can give them at least six points in the bag, and the games against Chicago, At Dallas, and Houston are the places they may lose points. I think Chivas easily gets four points, and as many as six from those matches. Give them 12 more points for the season, and United needs to take home a certain birth in next season's CONCACAF Champions Cup. Doable, but not easy.

I also want to draw your attention to this article at Goal.Com. It makes a point that I was going to make, until I really thought about one fact: I don't want to see Chicago in the playoffs. Yes, I know they'd be lower seeded than New York or Kansas City, but right now I really don't want to play Chicago. They are getting better, and just learned the lessons that United were taught earlier in the season about closing out games. So, yes, the playoff system is theoretically unfair to United, but it may turn out to be a saving grace.

Labels: , , , ,


At 24 September, 2007 19:04, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd sure like to see Jaime practice and perfect that "cross" of his. Looked like a beautiful squeeker to me. ;)


Post a Comment

<< Return to The DCenters Main Page (HOME)