22 March 2009

First Impressions - LA Galaxy 2 : 2 D.C. United

Can I see an entire season in one game? Maybe.

This entire off-season, I have been confused. I had no grasp as to the big picture of United's team building. Gomez back, but how can he handle the entire season? A 3-5-2 with a defense of backs that will likely take 10 games to even figure out how to play with each other. We let Ivan Guerrero go, and did we get anything in return?

This game seems to provide a blueprint on all that United offers this season. There's good stuff, as the second half of this match saw long stretches of United looking very dangerous, as young players Rodney Wallace and Chris Pontius threw themselves forward. It saw a first half where United barely threatened other than a Luciano Emilio shot low and wide of the far post... until Gomez earned a penalty and put it away.

Defensively, my entire expectations for the first half of the season were neatly encapsulatedin the collision of Devon McTavish and Greg Janicki. It would have been slapstick and comical if not for the fact that both players looked like Mick Foley taking an insane bump. It was sad, but at the same time, it was inspirational. We can take it as a given that this defense will not be great, but if I have a choice between confused and pathetic, and confused but fearless, give me the latter every time. If I have to see United give up two goals, then at least let one of the goals be on a piss-poor call from the center ref. This season may not offer much hope in terms of silverware, but it offers great hope in terms of watching players give their all. And if that is the best I can hope for, that is plenty.

I don't have high hopes for this season in terms of results. But the players on the field gave me a compelling reason to watch. If nothing else, the willingness of Chris Pontius to look like an idiot by shooting three balls over the crossbar shows me that he's willing to shoot, and I will gladly take his three misses for each goal like the one he scored today. I mean, for goddsakes, we want players to shoot more, right? And he did, so let's hope he never learns to dribble it into the net.

If nothing else, let this be a season where even when this team loses, or gives away a lead to a draw, it is a team that I can none-the-less love and cheer and cry for. Let this game be a good encapsulation of all that is to come.

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At 22 March, 2009 19:28, Blogger Bob said...


At 22 March, 2009 19:42, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who's D? And does he have a karma barometer?

At 22 March, 2009 19:44, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great! I remember this kind of heady bullshit talk back during the Hudson era. Sure we were crap, but we were a "fist of a team" as Ray used to call that pathetic but headstrong excuse he trotted out week after sorry week. And now I read from you that at least we're "fearless" and "that's plenty"? No, I will continue to hope for more - even if that hope must be expressed in weekly tirades against the mismanagement of this excuse.

At 22 March, 2009 19:57, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ref was doing so well up to that point. But, it's refereeing, guess we'll have to keep the concept of a properly officiated 90 minutes as a Platonic dream to be wished for, rather than a reality to be celebrated.

D, you seem to agree with the general commentariat that DCU will be essentially uncompetitive this year. I'm no blind optimist, but I still don't see how we've moved backward overall since the end of last season. The offseason basically traded Guerrero for several unknown players... which is what you have to do in MLS if you want real depth, keep churning the roster with fresh faces until you find people who can stick. Perhaps the total sum of Pontius, Jacobson, Janicki, Jakovic, Wallace, N'Silu, and Peters will equal zero... but much as I appreciated what Guerrero brought to us, if even one of those players becomes a respected regular by the end of the year, then we will have lost nothing on aggregate.

We played a decent game away from home with three key regulars out of the lineup. Let's give them some time before we bury them, 'k?

(Yes, I know you're not burying them right off. But enthusiasm can come from more than new signings you think are reliable and inspiring from the moment they pull on the shirt.)

At 23 March, 2009 00:25, Anonymous Anonymous said...

D, Right on!

Bring on Chicago.

At 23 March, 2009 07:35, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was really excited by how Pontius and Wallace played, and I want to see more of them. It's been a while since we've had a rookie that was worth a damn. (And drafted ones at that!)

At 23 March, 2009 09:52, Blogger Justin W said...


Welcome back, feels like the season has properly begun with your commentary.

While I *do* want fire and desire and guts (or scalps?) spilled in pursuit of Black and Red glory, I also hope for quality play and good results. Heck, I'll even take some ugly wins now & then, thank you. Let's make a season that we are proud of, please.

At 23 March, 2009 10:39, Blogger rke said...

I feel pretty confident that this will be a better season than last -- which should mean a shot in the playoffs at least.

We have a familiar core of solid vets, a much better bench of hungry rookies, and a lighter schedule. No reason to think we're in for another ride to the bottom.

Defense is still weak, but who knows, either they come together or bring in help mid-season.

I'd call the opener vs. LA a win overall. Final score was skewed by horrible reffing -- both the erroneous PK call and the failure to pause the match with two heads bleeding.

But I like that so many people are writing DC off this year. It's good to be the underdog -- any surprises will be happy surprises.

At 23 March, 2009 11:40, Blogger D said...

I do owe people a clarification of my expectations. I expect this team to make the playoffs, but not be a favorite for a trophy. I expect this team to be middle of the pack in the East.

I also think that the start of the year will be defensively tough and that the end of the year will be offensively tough.


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