01 October 2007

Debriefing for Match 12.27: Toronto FC

D.C. United 4 : 1 Toronto FC

Six Word Novel Recap

Five quality goals; only four enjoyable.

Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Post, The Bog Man: "After being greeted with enthusiastic ovations from an announced crowd of 25,174 [coming on as subs in 2nd half], Moreno and Olsen immediately created a dangerous chance, with Olsen heading Moreno's cross back in front of the goal to Christian Gomez. The latter's bicycle kick fizzled, but it was a sign of things to come... United received some bad news in the closing moments when Fred limped off the field with a groin strain. He will accompany the team to Mexico but said he was not sure whether he would be able to play."
The Examiner, Criag Stouffer: "Luciano Emilio became the league's first 20-goal scorer in five years and D.C. United extended its unbeaten streak to 11 matches with a 4-1 victory over Toronto FC on Saturday night."
UnitedMania, Mike Martin: "United was just warming up to their dismantling of the hideously poor Toronto defense however. In the 67th minute, Clyde Simms slid a perfect through ball to Jaime Moreno sneaking in behind Tyrone Marshall, and heading dead on goal with only the keeper to beat, no one makes it look easier than La Bomba who easily notched his 112th goal slipping the shot almost carelessly under the Toronto keeper..."
MLSNet.com, Charles Boehm:"United finally responded with a set of chances around the half-hour mark. First holding midfielder Clyde Simms -- apparently still wearing his shooting boots after hitting the game-winning goal on Wednesday -- cracked a long-distance effort that beat Stamatopoulos but skimmed off the top of the crossbar. Then Marc Burch lifted one of his trademark left-footed crosses to the far post, where Guy-Roland Kpene got his head to the delivery but drove it straight down into the turf instead of on goal."
BlackDogRed, BDR: "As exhilirating as that 2nd half was, it shouldn't have been necessary. Maybe those 45 minutes won't negatively affect Olsen and Moreno this Tuesday night in Guadalajara, but the plan was clearly to give them both the night off, and when the starting eleven farted the first half away, Soehn had no choice: dropping points against an expansion team at home is beyond inexcusable. But beautiful goals, three of them, Burch's and Fred's and Emilio's (Moreno 's was nice, but not stunningly beautiful), and the proper response, in the 2nd half, by a superior team with championship ambitions against an undermanned and overwhelmed expansion team."
DCist.com, Matt Bourque: "After five minutes revving their engines, D.C. United poured on four goals in 19 minutes. Twenty subsequent minutes of possession soccer sealed the win. It was as if Toronto's ragtag band of rebels mounted an attack upon the imposing imperial fortress before United's fully armed and operational battle station systematically obliterated its invaders."
Mistake By The Lake
The first twenty minutes of the game at RFK showed TFC in rare form. Yes, in recent games, Toronto has had stretches of good play, (1st half against the Crew, many moments in Dallas) but this seemed to be a level above recent top gear. The passes were crisp from the back, the midfielders were moving forward with confidence, there just seemed to be opportunities in the air. And sure enough...... Carl Robinson hit a beautiful free kick and scored his second goal of the season."

The Good
  1. Section 471: Arriving at the RFK box office at 6:45pm to purchase 3 tickets doesn't usually put you in the 400 sections. It has taken me until now and some reading around to the other DC United blogs to figure out why this was. I guess the crowd was a bit larger on Saturday evening because the game was only being shown on HDNet. (And maybe Summer's was only showing UFC - who knows.) Section 471 started good and got great. Not only were all 4 goals (all 5 actually) scored in our end, but we had an outcrop of The Screaming Eagles in our section and more attractive women than my single friend could shake his $7 beer at. People were singing and clapping and the mood was energetic. Especially after Fred's goal when I fell up the stairs twice doing some crazy celebration sprinting thing.
  2. The Goals: Let's face it, those were some quality finishes. BDR doesn't think so, but Moreno's goal, for me, was classic Moreno: beat the trap, settle the ball and don't rush anything. Wait for the keeper to commit in some way and then confidently finish it. mistake by the lake thinks Jaime was "way" offsides and I can't tell by looking at the highlights package, but it may be that the lowest defender kept Jaime on. But I think that "way" offsides is too harsh. Emilio's goal was especially sweet because those are the type of balls that can easily be sent into section 471 (see: Jaqua, Nate).
  3. Marc Burch: He says, "All the guys have been telling me to shoot, and it felt good to finally get up there and hit one." He really cracked it, and that was great to see. But he played well the whole game and was dangerous from the left side with that left foot of his. I called him out last week after Chicago, so he must have read my post and taken my advice to heart. I'll take full credit, thanks.
  4. TFC fans: The expansion club's supporters are the gem of the league and to see (we actually heard them first; we were in the ramp to the 400 level and they were marching into the stadium from lot 8) such a large contingent traveling with them was impressive. They eventually settled in somewhere near section 430 with a huge Canadian flag. They certainly enjoyed Carl Robinson's goal. It seemed that everyone of them had a scarf and a jersey. Full credit to you people and to the TFC blogger in the comments section of the First Impressions entry for this match, who seems like a very nice person. Oh look, it is stillkicking. He's all over this recap today!
  5. Predictions: Looking over the DCU blogs, a lot of people were predicting stuff. And there were a lot of good predictions.
    1. JCM @ Poplar Point Perspective says, “Predictions: DC United 3:0 Toronto FC [correct goal differential], Chivas USA 2:2 Chicago Fire [correct], New England Revolution 2:1 Colorado Rapids [correct goal differential]"
    2. edgell supporter @ The Edgell Supporters says, "1. We are the better team and we show it [check], 2. Fred and Emilio get back into the swing of things [check], 3. The new, non-infield grass is down [the pitch did not seem to be a factor] and 4. Burch from distance [check]

The Bad

  1. The First Half: Moreno, Olsen, Carroll and Namoff (injury) were all on the bench to start the game and it showed, even though Emilio, Fred, and Gomez are three of our biggest threats and playmakers. It seemed like United was trying to force things through the middle too much and doing it sloppily. TFC's midfield was able to bunch up in the middle third and intercept passes or accept giveaways leading to many promising counterattacks.
  2. Set piece goal: Coach Soehn says, "You can't get beat keeper side and Troy [Perkins] knows that and we addressed that and we have to make sure that doesn't happen again, because that has been twice now. I guarantee that won't happen a third time." Even I'm a little scared now. I love Perkins as a keeper and he had a great match overall, but I think giving up this goal, especially to a sluggish Toronto side is not good. The distance from goal of that free kick was such that there should have been enough time to react to it, but at the same time, there was a lot of movement on that ball, so I tend to think that Perkins did about as well as he could.
  3. Guy-Roland Kpene: I like this kid. He seems like a hard worker and he has speed. (One of) His first assist(s) came early in the season when United was still struggling and ever since then I've held a special place for him, rooted for him and wanted to see him get minutes and play well. Maybe part of it is just my bias towards anyone in a black and red kit. But against Toronto he seemed to be either a cause of or a symptom of the poor first half for DC and when he was subbed for Jaime at half time, all I could muster was a "meh". It will be interesting to see if he gets any more minutes this season outside of the reserves as the games become more important. I'd love to see him stay with United but he's gonna need to improve in order to earn more minutes.

Man of the Match

Clyde Simms again, I think. Merit Awards to Olsen and Moreno for the 2nd half spark, Burch for the tally and Perkins for some big stops.

Karma Bank

+1 for the season entering the game. I can't see any karma points accrued or burned in this one. Leave your thoughts on this in the comments.

Final Thoughts

Giving three points to a visiting Toronto squad would have been bad. It certainly wouldn't have killed us in the SS or playoff race, but it would have been one of those losses that a quality team like United just doesn't give. At halftime, I was nervous. Usually I feel confident that we can at least equalize if not pull out three points, but in this one I saw little in the first half that would give me my usual confidence. If we hadn't gone down 1-0 with poor 1st half play, Moreno and Olsen may have rested the entire night; who knows. Maybe Gomez would have woken up in the second half; who knows. But when you have veterans like them, it nice to see them do exactly what you need them to do: provide a spark and score a goal. This was one of the most exciting and enjoyable matches I have been to and I was so proud of my team. Vamos.

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At 01 October, 2007 20:37, Blogger Unknown said...

Burch used to be a striker. Against TFC, he reminded us of that, I guess.

(And on my Soccer Manager 2007 team, he's a striker and has been in the race for the golden boot the last few seasons. So it must be so in real life, too).

At 02 October, 2007 05:33, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is where offside gets fuzzy. Jaime's right foot is definitely on side, the rest of his body is off. We can forgive the TFC blogger for his 'way offside comment', that was a very cruel game.

I've uploaded the goal to youtube here:


At 02 October, 2007 05:36, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking at it some more the right center back definitely keeps him on side, but Jim Brennan who was out of frame looks like he's keeping Jaime WAY on side.


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