09 July 2008

Debriefing for Match 13.C.02: Chicago Fire

D.C. United 2 : 1 Chicago Fire

D.C. United advances to U.S. Open Cup Semi-Final against New England Revolution.

Six Word Novel Recap

Doe, Namoff score. White meets Red.

Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Times, Harlan Goode: "All D.C. United needed Tuesday night was a little more Jaime Moreno."
The Washington Post, Paul Tenorio: "In the 62nd minute, with D.C. trailing 1-0, Soehn inserted veteran Jaime Moreno, who Soehn had thought would not be able to play because of an abdominal strain. Moreno sparked the United attack, assisting on both goals to lead United to a come-from-behind 2-1 victory in front of 4,118 at Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds."
UnitedMania, Chris Webb: "In a match that saw 38 fouls commited between the two teams and a pair of red card ejections in extra time, it was substitute Jaime Moreno's calm and composure that helped United to an historic victory over the Chicago Fire in the quarterfinal round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup...In the 107th minute, Fred was booked for a challenge in front of the United bench. Just seconds after the whistle blew for the foul, Cuauhtemoc Blanco punched Clyde Simms in the stomach in full view of fourth official Mike Donovan and referee's assistant Adam Wienckowski. United defender Marc Burch was the first player to get to Blanco and he laid a retaliatory shoulder into Blanco who fell to the turf like a sack of wet cement. Both benches got up players on both sides were snapping at each other as the referee's finally got the players seperated. "
Booked for Dissent, Dave Lifton: "On October 20, 1996, Chris Armas scored what should have been the championship-clinching goal for the Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS Cup. But DC United fought back, and in the 4th minute of overtime, Eddie Pope headed in the golden goal, right over the head of the diminuitive midfielder, who was stationed at the near post. As if he had sworn eternal revenge, United’s record against Armas’ teams in knockout games during his playing career after that was atrocious...With Armas retired (albeit on Chicago’s bench as an assistant), I hereby declare the Curse Of Chris Armas to be over after tonight’s win. "
MLSNet, Charles Boehm: "Fire left back Daniel Woolard's 36th-minute goal off a Logan Pause long ball gave the visitors an advantage they looked quite comfortable defending, while United's rust and sluggishness all over the field suggested that they'd just returned from a month off, not a weekend...Moreno's pass to fellow substitute Francis Doe netted the equalizer in the 77th minute, pushing the Fire back onto their heels and prompting 30 minutes of extra time. Then his 99th-minute corner kick gave Namoff a glorious look at goal that the veteran defender did not waste, flicking a header past Jon Busch to send D.C. into the semifinals of the nation's oldest major tournament."
MLSNet, Chris Snear: "The Fire withstood early but marginal pressure from United before settling in and created the better chances to take a well-deserved lead in the first half. Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch might have seen more shots than his counterpart Zach Wells, but Wells saw the better quality chances through much of the night."
Poplar Point Perspective, JCM: "The win might have been costly as Moreno left the game after playing only about thirty minutes and Fred was visibly limping at the end. United will play New England in the semifinals next month at RFK."
The Red Card, Luis Arroyave: "I was kind of surprised Denis Hamlett went with Jon Busch in goal. Maybe he was unhappy with Nick Noble's performance against the Cleveland City Stars. Maybe he was taking the Open Cup more serious now that the Fire was farther along in the tournament. Or maybe it was a combination of both."
Behind the Badge, The Management: "
D.C. United Defender Marc Burch [on] the incident with Cuauhtemoc Blanco...'Blanco came over and swung as hard as he could and hit Clyde [Simms] in the stomach. You know I’m sick of that, throwing elbows at [Gonzalo] Peralta. I bumped shoulders with him and he threw an elbow at me and kicked me so I was just sick of him. He gets away with a lot of stuff because he’s Blanco and he’s from Mexico and he’s a big name. but he can’t do that stuff to any of my teammates...I don’t like him, I don’t think he’s a good person. He’s a good player but when he’s out there he’s doing stuff that he shouldn’t get away with.'"
Fighting Talker, Aaron Stollar: "Anyway, if DC goes on to beat Chicago in the playoffs and rid ourselves entirely of Chris Armas juju, curse, or whatever that Chicago has had over us, I will be curious to see if this match is mentioned as some kind of turning point. Even, not having been there, it kind of feels that way." [Note: Since you ask...]
BlackDogRed, BDR: "I'm sure I'm over-enthused, but beating Chicago in a knock-out in that manner could fuse this team into a product greater than its parts. I'm sure it's the fan speaking, but that's the kind of game that can create an identity that's an attitude. I'm sure I'm a rube, but if United collects silver this year, this might have been the watershed game, not the unbeaten run in MLS, but a vicious and emotional win in Germanfrackingtown Maryland with half the A-squad in a crappy US Cup quarterfinal against the fucking Chicago Fire when this United team claimed its identity."
The Fullback Files, Fullback: "Was it just Limarzi's call, or did Banner sound like he was causing major problems with his speed? This is why I'm harping on about pace on the wing. We don't have it, and it's something that makes MLS defenses deeply uncomfortable. Ergo, it's something I'd like to have on our roster."

And yes... let's at least link to this...

MLSRumors, RumorMill: "According to multiple reports, Chicago Fire midfielder, Cuauhtemoc Blanco may finally have gone off the deep end in what many describe as an assualt on a stadium employee after being red carded in tonight's US Open Cup Quarterfinal match at DC United."

The Good

Note: Radio again, but this time I was able to ask questions of Mr. Lifton thanks to his live blog, who at least would confirm or deny my occasional suspicion about what was really going on. Yesterday was just a personal hell day for me at work. But I think the Good/Bad section should be better this time.
  1. SuperSub Jaime Moreno: Yes, I am planning on giving Man of the Match honors to someone who came in the 60th minute and left before the end of the match. No, I don't have a problem with that. Chicago was in the process of locking down yet another victory before his entrance. He turned it around, he held the ball, he interacted well with Doe, Fred, and Emilio, and he got everything started. Let me admit that he can still start, but if we're going to regulate his minutes by using him as a sub more frequently, games like this show just how powerful that could be.

  2. Marc Burch, Heart and Soul: From our comments yesterday, I-66: "Marc Burch has become a USOC hero, with his two goals last week, his racing to the defense of Jaime Moreno after he was chopped down, and his hip check of Blanco that earned his ejection. Across the field, as Blanco waited at the top of the hill for Burch like some sort of schoolyard bully at the flagpole, and Burch was held at the bottom of the hill until Blanco was moved on, we chanted Burch's name and he acknowledged us with applause. After the game, our chants of 'We want Burch' went unanswered, as Marc was likely not permitted to re-emerge, but on this night, #4 is a hero."

    I agree. Marc Burch showed a great mentality in the way he handled the situation. He stood up for his team, represented the colors, and while he was clearly in violation of the laws and deserved the red card he received, at the same time he handled it in a way that did not overly endanger himself, his team, or his target.

  3. Clyde Simms: He kept doing a lot of small stuff, and all of it accumulated into another solid game is a season's resume full of them.

  4. Luciano Emilio: Ran for all 120 minutes. Yes, I had fitness concerns about him earlier, and I wonder what shape he'll be in for Superliga, but he gave his all for this match.

  5. Doe, a Dear: He scored, he was active, and he helps put aside comparisons to last year's non-scoring substitute forward. This is a good thing, and a huge step up from Rochester.

The Bad

  1. Pat Carroll: It's sad, as he had done a few decent things, but all of that fades when compared to the one big gaffe that leads to a goal. Sorry, that's the merciless nature of the game.

  2. Fred/Dyachenko: What, exactly, was Rod's position last night? Withdrawn forward? Midfielder? Hard to tell, because he never seemed to be playing either as far as I could discern. As a withdrawn forward, he never held the ball successfully. As a playmaker, he never, well, he never made plays. Awful. Now, Fred also deserves some censure here, as before his move out to the wing, he was largely invisible.

  3. LCDR Zach Wells: This is borderline. To oversimplify, a keeper has two major tasks: Save his team when called upon, and not endanger his team unnecessarily. On the first task, Wells had his best match to date, making some key saves and shutting down some free kicks and crosses. On the second task, he was mildly at blame for the first goal in not controlling the play, and once or twice took too many touches. So just barely, he'll end up on the "Bad" Side of the ledger, but not bad enough to merit demotion (indeed, he did save United after an atrocious giveaway by Namoff early in the match.)

  4. The Blanco Circus: I've no idea what happened post game, but I do know this. United is probably not going to publicly comment, nor should they. That's not to say they should do nothing. File the appropriate reports, and let whatever systems work their way through things. That's smart, and the right thing to do. What's more, let's not forget that most observers are not unbiased. We tend to see things with Mr. White especially through the worst possible lens, probably because he's given us cause to so many times. But still, the full circumstances are not known by most observers, and we don't know what happened just before the alleged acts by Blanco. We know what happens when team officials irresponsibly mouth off about things they know nothing about, and that's not pretty. While I understand the skepticism about the MLS system in this matter, you still need to let it work. Later, if necessary, is the time for a public comment, not now.

Officiating Watch


Likert Scale Grade: Not Rated

Man of the Match

It would be Jaime Moreno, but there is no Man of the Match for non-league games. Super merit award to Jaime Moreno, Merit awards to Emilio, Doe, Simms, and Burch.

Final Thoughts

One in four. But while we're celebrating a win over Chicago, who killed us so many times, let's not forget that New England belongs to that select fraternity of US Teams who have eliminated United in club matches, and they're next, and not likely to play the same team of reservists after the scare they got from Crystal Palace Baltimore. What's more, the Charleston Battery are also part of that select group (the other active teams being the LA Galaxy, FC Dallas, Harrisburg City Islanders, and the Richmond Kickers. I think that's the list, adding in the Miami Fusion and MetroStars for teams that no longer exist. No doubt Lifton will correct me if I missed someone). So it's not a gimme. But it is, at least, a one in four chance.

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At 09 July, 2008 10:44, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched the Blanco "assault" on the stadium employee, it was right in front of me. Let's not get too carried away with this one. He did perform a "Zidane," but the guy barely took a step back.

It was no more classless and bullying than anything he does 5 times a game. MLS has made a deal with this particular devil. This time someone in a DCU Polo rather than jersey paid the price. Too bad, but these are the wages of a bad decision driven by marketing.

At 09 July, 2008 11:55, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Wells, he had an absolutely terrible play where he dithered with the ball at his feet, the Chicago player came up and partially deflected the ball which then almost went to another Chicago player. Totally unneccessary and something I wouldn't even expect from my rec league keepers. In my mind the Wells experiment (and the Rod D experiment for that matter) is over...

At 09 July, 2008 12:44, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am pretty sure that everyone here agrees with you about Wells. He is making progress, but that progress is way too slow. Obviously, his role is to be a backup keeper and nothing else.

This time next week, we are all expecting to see a real keeper on the roster. It is honestly shocking that names are not leaking out yet. That very fact leads me to believe that the signing will either be huge news or that we will all be hugely disappointed.

At 09 July, 2008 23:27, Blogger Bob said...

I've been doing some research around the smaller international clubs and I came across a keeper whose skill level I think would mesh well with DCU. He's tough on and off of his line and he commands his defense like a F-ING general. Currently, he plays for a Norwegian club called Valerenga...

At 17 July, 2008 10:46, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure I'm in the minority, but I like the history and longevity of the U.S. Open Cup and one day it will receive its due, so I'd like to collect as many of the cups as possible.

Given the likelihood that DC won't win any other hardware this year, I hope they put everything they have into lifting this trophy.

At 18 November, 2008 20:38, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off I want to say that Im really upset that this blog was posted on my birthday and I didnt get to see it on my birthday! :)
I most definitely agree with a lot of people in here, throwing differnet views, different discussions. THIS IS WHAT I LIVE FOR!


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