Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Match 2.11 DCU v RSL - Recap by RSL Ben

I asked RSL Ben for his take on the game and he sent me the following. I'm not sure why I am putting myself through this but maybe if we keep it close in our minds it won't be repeated. He also sent pictures of which I will post a few in the near future.

Ben Cup Leg 1: RSL v. DCU 6/23/07
Hmmm...I'm not really sure how to do this. I was beginning to think I wouldn't have to do it all year... How do I write up an RSL win??? I'll try anyway.

First half: Expectations and morale seemed pretty low throughout the stadium as the game kicked off. As the game started and RSL missed a wide open goal off a corner I had a feeling of here we go again. I even sent a text message to DC Ben saying it was a "bad omen". But then, something amazing happened. Real Salt Lake remembered for the first time this year that they are, in fact, a professional soccer team! And, by extension, started playing like one. They really outplayed DC in every facet of the game and looked hungry to win for once. DC, on the other hand, looked like RSL usually does: disinterested and bored. The culmination came with a nice breakaway goal by new guy Robbie Findley late in the first half. Oddly, this came soon after I had said how bad he was playing (and he had been-lots of turnovers, little hustle). I believe I inspired him. Probably the best half of soccer RSL has turned in all year, and with some better finishing (and some correct officiating-how does Esky NOT earn a PK late in the half), RSL really SHOULD have been up 2 or 3 by halftime. Either way, half time score: RSL 1, DC 0
Half grade: A- (higher with better finishing)

Second half: I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. You know, the one that comes during every RSL game where they fall asleep mentally and blow the game. But then, there it was, another Findley breakaway goal. Amazing! The only thing he's missing is Jeff's sweet sweet goal celebrations. No one can be self absorbed like Mr. Cunningham. After the goal, RSL did a pretty good job controlling possession and keeping DC out of it until late. Then they seemed to lose a little focus. DC scored a goal on an absolutely braindead play by RSL's backline. Kipre had about an hour to clear it, but decided to just bounce it around for a while. Rimando probably could have gotten to it earlier but didn't. Next time in that situation, Nicky needs to punch Kipre in the face and take the ball from him. It's called taking one for the team, Jean. hahaha Soon after, Medhi "Nah, I don't want to win" Ballouchy continued his awful game (those who say otherwise, go back and watch it again, he sucked as usual this year) by sending a wonderful header into the box...for DC! Sadly, this is probably the best "attacking" pass he's made all year and it was to the other team. If only he'd set our team up like that! Luckily, DC absolutely choked on the opportunity (I think the ball is scheduled to land sometime next Thursday) and RSL faked injury all the way to a 2-1 victory. Actually, the ref got RSL back most of the way for the time wasting with a 5 minute stoppage time session that seemed to last about 2 hours. EVERYONE in the stadium was expecting RSL to blow it (see RSL v. Dallas any time this year for prime examples). The joy that overcame the stadium was amazing when the final whistle blew. "Did someone just win the world cup?" "Nah, RSL just won a game." The place went nuts, that s**t was bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s. Good times, good times. RSL now just needs a tie to clinch the 2nd Ben Cup in Sept., or as I put it to DC Ben after the game "Oh snap. That is all."
Half grade: B

Pros:
-Findley, where have you been all my life?
-The team looked interested and played with passion
-Talley over Adu was an upgrade of epic proportions. Have fun in Europe Freddy, don't let the door hit you on the way out (or do, actually, all your crap about leaving while you don't do crap for us has gotten mighty old).
-Solid performance almost all the way around.
-Atiba Harris back at his natural D-mid spot is nice.-Eddie Pope, rock solid again. We will miss him next year...
-WE WON!!!
-Ben Cup 2007: RSL 1-0-0, DC 0-1-0, mwahahahaha!

Cons:
-Esky didn't get a goal. You could tell he really REALLY wanted one.
-Ben Olsen was a chump. Lots of shoving and smacking RSL players behind the play. If I didn't know better, I'd have thought Mastroeni came in and played for him. It was nice to see him booed every time he touched the ball for the last 30 min. though.
-Kipre's idiocy that led to the goal-otherwise he played solid.
-Medhi Ballouchy. Or as he is becoming, Adu Jr. Wants to be the team's playmaker (and sadly, is given that role) but can't do it. Decision making was poor at best (what was that late back header about?), passing was off, and he still can't hit a cross or a corner at all. Why he is still taking them is beyond me.
-DC fans blaming it on Nolly. He was hung out to dry on both goals. Not his fault.

Game grade: A-

Other things we learned:
-RSL seems to play its best against DC. Don't know why, guess it's the Ben Cup.
-Ballouchy is "cute." Or at least my wife thinks so.
-The Ben Cup is only getting started...just picture it in 5 years. Oh yes.

Player grades:
Nick Rimando, 7-didn't have a lot to do honestly
Jean-Martial Kipre, 5-played well, but huge mistake cost him
Eddie Pope, 8-held together the back line and killed DC
Jack Stewart, 6-quiet game, which for him is good-when he's loud its because of mistakes
Ritchie Kotschau, 6-meh, was he on the pitch?
Carey Talley, 7-played pretty well in Chris Klein's old spot
Atiba Harris, 7-the move to d-mid has done him a world of good
Andy Williams, 6-active but sloppy
Mehdi Ballouchy, 5-had a few moments (and got his nose into things-see number of times he went down), but his sloppiness/weaknesses continue to hurt
Robbie Findley, 9-Two goals make up for any early miscues. Just wow. Great debut!
Alecko Eskandarian, 8-Active, hustling, urgent, hungry. Normal Esky game.
(Daniel Torres 46) 6-played quietly but decently
(Jamie Watson 73) 7-didn't do a lot but was all over the field. Like a little Esky.
(Kyle Brown 84) Inc.-didn't have time to do anything

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