Tuesday, August 28, 2007
I don't watch a lot of Spain's La Liga, but on Saturday I picked a fateful match to watch, Sevilla v. Getafe. I saw Antonio Puerta go down and his teammates rush to his side. It was a surreal experience. I don't know very much about Sevilla or Antonio Puerta, but I was very sad to hear the news of his death today. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
This was the funniest game I have ever seen. It was stressful until Fred put his shot away and then it just became laughable. It looked liked a contest to see which team could give the ball away more. I have never seen so many balls passed to someone or something out of bounds. Terrible, sloppy play. Slide tackles that didn't even come close to the ball. I swear one time a sliding Toronto player came up short on the ball and continued to scoot along the turf to get to the ball. The Edgell Supporters were literally laughing out loud during most of the match. Toronto even broke the most minutes without a goal record previously belonging to RSL. Congratulations.
I know turf is supposed to make the game faster but the ball and the players looked extra slow tonight. It looked like the players on both sides couldn't get their feet moving because the turf was too soft (or maybe wet according to Max Bretos or Christopher Sullivan). Toronto had a lot of possession but they were less than dangerous with it. A lot of their service went wide or out of bounds. DC looked quite disorganized to begin the game but the defense played well enough to keep themselves out of danger. When Moreno came in DC at least started to show some form and string a few passes together. Maybe I'm sleeping on how much possession Olsen brings to the game because our midfield was unable to hold on to the ball for any decent amount of time.
For inquiring minds, the actual lineup (substitutions):
We won on the road with three regular starters out and Moreno sitting for the first half. We kept a clean sheet which means we haven't given up a goal in the run of play in 5 games. We beat a team we were supposed to beat. These are all good signs even with the lack of chemistry on the night. On the other hand, we need to find someone besides Emilio to score goals and Olsen to keep possession (Am I off on the Olsen=possession theory? Does Carroll=the opposite of possession?).
Side note: Add Carl Robinson to the dirty players list.
Facts and Reality for Match 2.21
1. Kpene looked a little more creative than he has in awhile, no goal yet though.
2. Fred and Gomez didn't really work together, but then nobody really worked together until sometime in the second half.
3. Three points, not particularly beautiful, but three points it is.
4. Burch didn't have a lot of opportunities so we're still waiting for his goal.
To make the situation more difficult we will be missing several starters. Gros is still out with the concussion and will be until he gets back from the specialist in Pittsburgh. According to Goff, Olsen and Emilio did not travel with the team so they will also be unavailable. Toronto on the other hand should be returning some of their players that have been out over the last few weeks. I believe that both Dichio and Cunningham should be back for the TFC attack. Not that those two are amazing strikers, but they'll be hungry for goals.
[UPDATE: Jeff Cunningham will not be playing due to season ending surgery.]
If Dichio plays we need to have Boswell's physical play on the back line. I'd like Boswell in no matter what, but if TFC is without Dichio I'd be ok with Vanney given his current form. Other than that I don't think we need to change much up except to replace the starters that are out. The lineup I'd like to see is:
If we take this match lightly I think we go down a goal early but we pull it back and settle for the draw. If we come out prepared and ready to kill we will be able to put this match away shortly into the second half.
Hopes and Dreams for Match 2.21
1. Kpene puts it in the net.
2. Fred and Gomez continue to work together, I really feel if those two continue to develop chemistry we could see some magic.
3. Three points, anything less than three from this game is a disappointment.
4. Burch from distance.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
[UPDATE]: Preempted by WNBA, you have to be kidding me. Little League World Series on ESPN2 pushes WNBA playoffs to ESPN Classic. I guess live comes before replay. I was really enjoying the game.
Ok so we weren't exactly featured, although they did have the good sense to show El Goleador in his entirety and only show half of my face.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Felicitaciones Abuelito Moreno! Numero 109! A PK, but 109 nonetheless.
The crowd was louder than I have ever heard and there were A LOT of people there for a Wednesday night game (it is hard to be objective sitting in 234 row 5, right behind the Barra).
We came out and dominated and finished in the first 20 minutes. The RBNY PK took a little wind out of our sails but we continued eating up possession and controlling the game. I have not yet watched the game in an appropriate manner to analyze it, but here are a few observations:
-Simms is always around on defense. He is cleaning up the ball in all sorts of situations. Not much help in the attacking third, but I'll give that up for a defensive mid that plays defense.
-Burch didn't have the best game but his service is still beautiful. He also had some acrobatic plays on defense.
-We need the scrappy, hustling Ben Olsen in all games, not just against NY. Even in this game he kind of petered out in the second half. If he can't always go in the hyperactive mode, maybe Moose can be that guy. We will really need someone in the next few years that can take on that role.
-Dane Richards was dirty last night.
Facts and Reality for Match 2.20
1. Another great performance from Benny, an assist and a goal, he loves to show up to beat RBNY.
2. Los Cuatro (Moreno, Fred, Gomez, and Emilio) are even passing together during warm ups, this is a very good sign. Oh and they dominated the first 20 minutes of the game. Keep it coming
3. The Atlantic Cup is ours again.
4. Burch got an amazing ball from Gomez but couldn't put it away, if this keeps up, Burch will be on the score sheet eventually.
It's been more than a month since the Edgell Supporters last visited RFK to watch FC Dallas come back on our 3-nil lead. We will be in attendance tonight, albeit in smaller numbers (just El Goleador and I). A Wednesday night game will probably need as many loud voices as possible, so we're coming to help.
DC will be missing Gros who is out with another concussion and he may not be back. Cautions have not yet bitten us but we have a bunch of guys one or two cautions away from suspension. I expect over the next few weeks we will see some guys getting MLS mandated games off. Not that I care, but the entity known as RBNY is missing some injured guys. None of them are named JP or Jozy though so we'll be facing the full strength RBNY side.
I'm glad that Soehn has seen that Vanney and Boswell are the ones that should be fighting for starting spots and that the other three are earning their place each week. Does Boswell get the start so he and Jozy can go at it again? I hope so. I'm a fan of individual rivals like the Burch/Schelotto match last week. Assuming that Simms gets the start again (which is the wise decision), the only other lineup change will be Olsen instead of Gros, bone spurs for a concussion. Seems like an alright trade. I think we will miss Gros's work rate tonight but Benny's rancor towards RBNY should make up for it.
Come on ya Black and Red!
Hopes and Dreams for Match 2.20
1. Benny repeat performance. The hat trick might be a bit much, I'll take a brace.
2. Los Cuatro (Moreno, Fred, Gomez, and Emilio) build upon their teamwork from the Columbus match.
3. The Atlantic Cup
4. Burch from distance.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Great strike by Fred, I mean an honest to goodness golazo! Great play by Fred to set up Emilio's opportunistic goal on Hendrickson's friendly assist. We had good possession and control of the game tonight. No major defensive lapses but there was a little too much space in the midfield for the Columbus attack.
Three straight wins and all clean sheets, not bad at all. I don't want to jinx it, but in league play we look to be improving at the right time. We are not quite peaked, which is a good thing, but we are definitely on the upward climb.
Simms is an upgrade at defensive mid because of his distribution (not always perfect but better than Carroll) and his ability to shut a lot of stuff down coming through midfield. I hate to say this because of what it means, but we did not really miss Boswell tonight, Vanney was decent playing in his spot. Vanney = Boswell?? I don't know but I think the other three on the back line are there to stay.
Moreno, Gomez, Emilio, and Fred all played together tonight. Between injuries, international call ups, and mental absence I don't think the four of them have had enough time to learn to play together. Tonight they looked like they liked each other and they knew where the next move in the attack would be. With more time together and getting over egos (that's just my guess) we could have an unparalleled attack.
I like the win on the road and the style of play. Even more than those things I like where we are headed. I think for the first time DC has given me sustained hope. Such a wonderful and dangerous feeling.
Olsen sitting out on this one will hopefully have him ready to go next Wednesday against RBNY. We'll need energy and motivation to win that one. Come on ya Black and Red!
Facts and Reality for Match 2.19
1. Nothing for Moreno, but I feel it coming.
2. Our touches and passes weren't perfect, but definitely an upgrade from the last match. Long stretches of possession gave us control of the game and made it possible to kill time at the end.
3. Not a complete unleashing of the attack but close to it. We CAN score goals.
4. Burch did not score from distance, but man is he a revelation at the back.
In the year of our Lord Two-thousand and seven on the eleventh day of the eighth month (8-11-07) the not so mighty Columbus Crew with the actually mighty Barros Schelotto committed the greater sin by allowing FC Dallas to take the full 3 points with a late goal in the 92nd minute.
Based on these most recent results math tells us the following:
FC Dallas = DC United
FC Dallas > Columbus Crew
Therefore DC United > Columubs Crew, right?
Tonight, the two sinners face off for the second time of the 2007 season. The first meeting was during United's 4 game winless season start and went to Columbus 1-0. The Crew, while not spectacular, are mounting a steady campaign towards the playoffs. United on the other hand are at times spectacular and other times less than spectacular. We'll call them inconsistent.
If we can disrupt Schelotto's distribution (8 assists on the season) we should at least be able to control the Crew attack. The problem we will have is finishing, not because of the Crew defense but because that is what United's problem is, the attack. I'm fairly confident the backline of Namoff, McTavish, Boswell, and Burch will handle the back as long as Simms is starting over Carroll in the defensive midfield position. Gomez has got to show something today for the attack or we might be better off with Dyachenko or Fred in his spot. At this point I don't believe Dyachenko or Fred are better footballers than Gomez but they seem to fit better in the team. Maybe even Moreno should be playing the 10 spot. I hope that Gomito finds his fit but I'm not holding my breath.
Hopes and Dreams for Match 2.19
1. Moreno takes the record with # 109.
2. First touches and passing are not our weakness. (This was a big problem in the LA SuperLiga match)
3. An unleashing of the attack potential I know DC has somewhere. I'd like to see 3 or 4 goals.
4. Burch from distance.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
The first 25 minutes were all DC. We controlled, strung a few balls together, Jaime had a humorous attempt on goal from midfield, and barely escaped an ugly yellow card meriting Beckham tackle. Then it happened. Did Perkins not know who was taking that free kick? First name Bend It, last name Like Beckham, Sir Goldenballs himself. Perkins looked lost. I'm no keeper. I'm scared of the ball. Maybe I just don't get it, but usually keepers only jump the wrong way on PKs. Then we just fell apart and the next 20 minutes were some of the ugliest I have seen in a long, long time. Neither team could pass the ball, put together an attack, or refrain from fouling. I'm not sure what happened. It was sickening. Oh and Moreno got pushed pretty hard in the box, no call. Just sayin.
More nausea to begin the second half. Goldenballs to Receding Hairline. Bleh! I wonder if the game plan was to damage Martino, mission completed. Dirty, dirty tackle by Carroll, maybe that's why he started over Simms. He was a hit man. Beckham leaves the game and Posh Spice gives us the double hand royalty wave... huh? The second half was just as ugly as the first. A lot of hard fouls and not a lot of the beautiful game. We could not put anything worthwhile together and we looked juvenile. I don't even know if juvenile is an accurate observation, but that's the word that keeps coming into my mind. The other word is petty. That is probably because Dirty D Supporter is convinced that DC is cliquish and segregated. According to her, none of them are friends. Seems as good an explanation as any.
We lacked the organization necessary to beat the circus act. We couldn't settle our nerves in that atmosphere and once we lost what little game we brought we never really found it again. I don't mind losing when we the other team is better, but it really bothers me when I feel like we were the better team. Farewell SuperLiga, back to the quest for the MLS Cup.
One final thought, the Home Depot Center was empty to start with, but filled up nicely and got really loud. Good for them.
Vanney is slow. Vanney is bad on the ball. Vanney fouls when he gets beat. Vanney should not play. All I can see him saying after the first half is, "Dude... did you see how I totally passed it to Beckham and then he touched it.... so awesome..."
Facts and Reality for SuperLiga Match 1.4 The Semifinals
1. Nothing went in early, less went in late.
2. Simms didn't get the chance to show why he is starting over Carroll because he didn't... that was a mistake.
3. Boswell made a run that really only could have been finished by a diving header, but that's what he gets paid to do right? Sacrifice all. I think a diving header would have put that ball in the net.
4. Kpene got chippy with Xavier, not a goal, but I don't mind someone giving a beating to that white haired freak.
Ok, definitely the final thought. We need to look into orchestrating some kind of collision where Xavier and Vanney hit each other and spontaneously combust, never to return to the earth.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
The Galaxy are tired after a long road trip and a lot of games. They are missing Gordon, Jazic, and Gray to accumulated cautions. I still don't feel like this will be an easy one. I expect LA to come back home to the Home Depot Center and give it all they got. The SuperLiga may be their only chance to claim silver this year and I expect that they are well aware of this.
With Burch out on accumulated cautions and Moreno and Gomez not completely healthy Soehn will have some decisions to make. If Gomez can go I see Gros dropping back to fill in at left back instead of starting Vanney. Moreno and Kpene will both partner with Emilio up top and the rest of the lineup should be the standard.
Whether Beckham actually makes a difference or not, I always get the feeling that the other guys on the team want to impress him. They step up their game when he is around. DCU will have to find a way to remove the motivation and hope. I don't think it will take much... a couple early goals, suffocating defense, or a Beckham no show should do it. In any event, we will have to come out and show something to get the job done, this won't be a walk in the park.
Hopes and Dreams for SuperLiga Match 1.4 The Semifinals
1. We put one in early and a second one in late to finish the deal.
2. Simms shows why he is starting over Carroll.
3. Boswell makes some more of those runs we were seeing a few games ago.
4. Kpene scores.
Just a real quick review before we move on to SuperLiga. DC looked especially solid in the first half but still couldn't put a lackluster Galaxy away with authority. The killer instinct we saw in the Revolution game needs to make more appearances. The hopefully permanent addition of Burch and McTavish on the back line and the Brian Carroll replacement, Clyde Simms have shored up our problems on defense. So we are finding form as we head into the last part of the season and we are doing it without MVP Gomito, what does that mean?
Facts and Reality Match 2.18
1. RFK rocked ESPN2's microphones, I was sorry I couldn't be in the packed house.
2. Emilio scored again on a scorcher from outside the box.
3. The audible booing of Beckham was a welcome relief from the Beckham Blitz. I know it is sacrilege but David the Ankle shouldn't expected to be worshipped EVERYWHERE he goes.
4. No goal yet, but a great ball from Burch set up Emilio from distance.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
The Galaxy's performance in SuperLiga shows that there is some improvement from the team but nothing to get too excited about. DC's SuperLiga play sparked them to a 3-0 win over the East leading Revolution. The Galaxy always get up for a game at RFK, Beckhampallooza or not. The inconsistent United will need a strong showing tonight to prove their path back to consistency.
Hopes and Dreams for Match 2.18
1. RFK rocks ESPN2's microphones.
2. Emilio scores again.
3. Beckham's pleas for grass only are heard by the commissioner.
4. Burch from distance.
Better late than never right? I'm on borrowed time (both internet connection and battery) so we'll make this quick. I only saw the goals as I am still in Utah but I plan on watching the DVR edition when I get home on Saturday.
Facts and Reality 2.17
1. Twellman did not score, nor did any other New England player.
2. We got all three points.
3. Emilio scored two goals and one was off a creative pass from Kpene. I like Kpene's style and creativity.
4. No goal for Burch but started and created. Quickly becoming my new favorite.
Oh yeah, I attended the RSL/Houston game last Saturday. RSL not only won, but they could have won by more because they missed on several chances. Houston's packed schedule aside, RSL controlled the game in its entirety. Way to go Reds!
Friday, August 03, 2007
That's all I have for this weekend, I'm on vacation in Utah. I'll be in the SLC this weekend (and throughout the next week) checking out the RSL v Dinamo game, come on ya Reds! Off to Cafe Rio for me.
Hopes and Dreams for Match 2.17
1. Twellman does not score.
2. Points, points, points. That's plural. That means three.
3. Emilio scores.
4. Burch scores from distance. I'm still testing the waters but he might be my Erpen replacement, no official word yet.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
DCU 0 Houston 1
We looked quite tired in the first half. With the exception of Burch's limited long service and Kpene's ball into the box there wasn't much of an attack. We didn't use the wings at all and we didn't have any runs from the back. Obviously the narrow field has something to do with that but we played into their game plan and let them clog the middle. Defensively we did enough to keep them from scoring and got some luck on DeRo's miss.
In the second half we started out with a little more energy and offensive effort. Then almost as soon as we looked to be getting control of the match, the defense got caught on their heels on a great Jacqua/Ching combination. We continued to put pressure on Houston throughout the half and Jaime's presence gave us more control over the match. Two problems: Moreno didn't pull the trigger and Boswell missed a sitter.
Houston is good. They finish. DC is not bad, but we do not finish. I worry a little about our fitness as Houston has also played the same number of matches recently but didn't look nearly as tired as we did. Come on you Aguilas!
Facts and Reality for SuperLiga Match 1.3
1. In two hours we will know if we advance based on the Morelia v. America result, stay tuned.
1a. [UPDATE] America 3 Morelia 2. DC advances.
2. I don't like Ching, but that was a nice left footed volley.
3. How did Boswell miss that sitter in the box?
4. Emilio isn't back yet, we need someone to finish.
[UPDATE] America v Morelia Bonus Coverage
Could they wear more similar colors? It took me awhile to figure out who I was pulling for.
17th minute - America scores.
54th minute - Morelia goes a down a man with a straight red to Mauricio Romero as he fouls while being the last defender. America is awarded a PK.
56th minute - America scores the PK. America 2 Morelia 0
67th minute - Morelia pulls one back. America 2 Morelia 1
73rd minute - Morelia draws even. America 2 Morelia 2
85th minute - Thank the soccer Gods, America scores again. America 3 Morelia 2
90th minute - 4th official gives 4 minutes of stoppage.
94th minute - That's it. America wins. DC is through.