Saturday, September 29, 2007

Match 2.27 The Setup: DCU v TFC 9-29-07

Toronto Fried Chicken comes calling at RFK with pretty much only the draft in mind. I guess crashing DC United's Supporter's Shield Party would also be a decent consolation prize. DC will not be overlooking Toronto as they need the points to continue on the path to the Shield.

United will be at full strength while TFC will be missing Sutton (GK), Dichio (F), and O'Brien (M) which are some of their better players. I want to see us get back to our goal scoring ways. The stadium should be packed and the weather will be beautiful, see you at RFK.

Hope and Dreams for Match 2.27

1. We are the better team and we show it.
2. Fred and Emilio get back into the swing of things.
3. The new, non-infield grass is down.
4. Burch from distance. As noted by Fullback Files, we should probably start a pool on this.

One last note:
MLS and DC United, you should thank the unavailability of HDNet because that is the reason we felt compelled to go tonight. We are sitting in terrible seats thanks to procrastination on my part and what I'm guessing will be a huge crowd.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Copa Nissan Sudamericana 2007 Match 1.1a The Result: DCU v. Chivas de Guadalajara 9-26-07 First Leg

DCU 2 Chivas 1

Pace:
It took DC United about 25 minutes to get adjusted to the pace of the Chivas game. Namoff had a particularly difficult time adjusting, but once he did, he hung in there just fine until the injury. Gros and Carroll came on as subs and also found difficulty keeping up with the speed and flow of Chivas.

Goals:
Great blind strike by Olsen and beautiful dummy by Emilio. Simms earned his goal in a very Ben Olsen fashion by cleaning up a deflection.

Defense:
As previously noted it took DC awhile to get used to the speed and once we did we went down a man. With all the shots Chivas had we did a good job to only let one in. The one goal we did let in was a collective breakdown from the cross to the box to the net.

Chivas:
Quick and creative. They really use the whole field, but their crosses and finishing leave something to be desired... and I'm ok with that.

Atmosphere:
A lot of fun, lots of fans from both clubs and lots of beer in the air on the second goal.

We will be out Burch for the next leg and we will be in their house. It will be hostile, but I think that, considering their weaknesses in the attack, we can bring it to them. We know their pace so our time needed to acclimate ourselves to their game should reduce dramatically in the next leg. Hopefully we won't be playing a man down again either.

Facts and Reality for Copa Nissan Sudamericana 2007 Match 1.1a
1. 2 goals on 5 attempts, not as many as I would have liked, but we won. At least we are efficient... right?
2. Possible injury to Namoff, but I don't think it was serious.
3. Considering the number of people at the game the the traffic was very light on the way to RFK. We cheated and went through Alexandria though.
4. Simms and Olsen both from a bit of distance, but no Burch from distance. Burch got a first yellow that I never saw and a second yellow that was soft, especially for a second yellow, but I guess I can see it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Copa Nissan Sudamericana 2007 Match 1.1a The Setup: DCU v. Chivas de Guadalajara 9-26-07 First Leg

The fierce rivalry between the US and Mexican soccer continues in the Copa Nissan Sudamericana. Chivas de Guadalajara (the Real Chivas) and DC United face off in the round of sixteen. The last time the two teams met, Chivas de Guadalajara defeated DCU 3-2 on aggregate in the CONCACAF Champions Cup and although both teams participated in SuperLiga 2007 they did not get a chance to meet.


The feelings about this match are expressed quite well in this episode of Access United.





Basically, we owe them one. Come out tonight and sing our boys to victory.

Hopes and Dreams for Copa Nissan Sudamericana 2007 Match 1.1a

1. Lots of goals so we can go to Estadio Jalisco without the pressure.
2. No injuries that will damage our MLS hardware chances.
3. Light traffic on the way to RFK.
4. Burch from distance.

Match 2.26 The Result: DCU v Chicago Fire 9-23-07, The Supporters First Road Trip

DCU 1 CHF 1

So much to say but not much of it has to do with the match itself. We squeaked a point out of the match with the miraculous cross/strike by Jaime. Our backup midfield is about as good as our backup strikers and that is to say, not that good. I will report on the trip itself later but time prohibits me at this point.

Facts and Reality for Match 2.26
1. I don't think we necessarily fell asleep we just didn't have the right tools.
2. Jaime brought the control but he had to fall way back to get it leaving Emilio up top alone. Simms entry into the game helped us get forward a little more.
3. Getting a point out of this game was a miracle.
4. Burch looks like the long season is getting to him, can we rest him?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Match 2.26 The Setup: DCU v Chicago Fire 9-23-07, The Supporters First Road Trip

Coming to you from downtown Chicago. The weather has been beautiful for the last few days and Chicago is a fantastic city.

After a two hour delay at Dulles we got to our hotel in Chicago just in time to catch the last ten minutes of MLS Prime Time Thursday . Chicago looked slow and tired but consistent. Let's hope they are still tired today. The stakes of today's game are a playoff spot for Chicago and the Supporter's Shield for DC. United will be missing their midfield today as Olsen, Fred, and Gomez all sit for yellow cards. We still have Moreno and Emilio up top so our attack should be ok, but we'll have to fill in the other holes.

We are on our way to Toyota Park so I will catch you all this evening. Vamos United!

Hope and Dreams for Match 2.26
1. We have not fallen asleep during our 10 day rest.
2. Jaime brings the control to the game so we don't miss our starters so much.
3. 3 points while on a road trip would be amazing.
4. Burch from distance.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Final word on the Ben Cup

After days and days of deliberation we decided that we did not want to use behavior as a deciding factor and the Ben Cup is indeed a tie. The Cup itself remains in Utah until DC claims it next year.

RSL Ben's take on it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Match 2.25 The Result: DCU v RSL 9-12-07, second leg of THE BEN CUP!!!!!! [UPDATED]

DCU 2 RSL 1

We played well enough for the win, but not quite enough for the Ben Cup. Let's take care of Ben Cup business first and then we can talk about the match. The Ben Cup Series ends in a deadlock with both teams scoring 2 home and 1 away goal for an aggregate of 3-3. Because the result is unprecedented I believe that, as much as it saddens me, we have agreed to leave the Cup in Salt Lake City for the next year. The Ben Cup Executive Committee still has to work out some of the details, but it appears that neither team has won Ben Cup 2007. Maybe we can go to the count on fouls committed, which, after last night, will undoubtedly go to DC (aggregate 45-24). Or maybe attendance. After the Bens have an after-Ben Cup meeting, I will report back on the happenings and the decisions. I know you are all desperately awaiting our decision.

On to the match itself. 3 games in 7 days is tough. 7 points in 7 days is phenomenal. A beautiful Wednesday night with a smallish, but ruckus crowd. RSL gave us a lot of space throughout the game but especially to start the game. The space created a lot of chances but nothing we were able to put in, it seemed like we were having some bad luck. Then Gomez hooked up with Emilio for his 19th goal of the campaign. I have watched the Beckerman goal a few times to see who is at fault. Boswell obviously hesitated to defend, but how did he have THAT much room in the middle of our side of the field? Where were Carroll and Gomez? I'll have to watch again. A bunch of fouls, offsides calls, and a blocked PK later, Fred hits Gomez for a header that was almost a mirror image of the earlier Gomez to Emilio goal. Then the ref tried to keep RSL in the game and Perkins came up with a huge save on the questionably awarded PK.

I don't think I have been this frustrated with the foul calling since last season. Last night seemed awfully one sided. How does Devon McTavish get body slammed by the neck by Carey Talley and then RSL gets awarded a PK? It's a simple question, anyone have an answer? According to MLSnet Team Totals DC leads the league in fouls committed at 434 with Toronto being our closest competitor at 391 (Dallas 374, Colorado 370). Is it possible that we ACTUALLY foul that much more than the other teams in the MLS? Are we dirty? I'm willing to concede the fact that I am blinded by my fanaticism, I just want someone to confirm that we are 64 fouls dirtier than Colorado.

Obviously we need to rest people and we need to find another striker so I can't fault Soehn's lineup. Carroll started instead of Simms, Boswell instead of Vanney (still not sure who owns that position), and Kpene was in for Moreno. Olsen and Gros started on the wings, Fred came off the bench for Kpene at half. We didn't look lazy, but more like there just wasn't a lot left in the tank. Christian looked particularly quick out there though, which was a nice change. Both he and Fred ran at the defense a number of times in the second half with a lot of speed.

According to Dirty D Supporter, Kpene is "irrelevant, a non-factor." I think that is a bit harsh, but probably only because I still have hope that he will be a factor. He gets pushed off the ball far too easily and is not doing the basic stuff right, like pulling the trigger when he gets close.

One of the pleasant surprises was Brian Carroll's aggressive play, it was nice to see that, although I don't think it lasted very long. That could be because he faded or because I stopped paying attention to him specifically, I still need the objective DVR view of the game.

Esky is class and deserved the cheer from the supporters as he came over to chat after the game.

Facts and Reality for Match 2.25

1. A tied Ben Cup?
2. How is it possible to draw a Cup game?
3. They should have gone to extra time and then a shootout
4. Burch still didn't get a goal, but one of his crosses last night bent at a ridiculous angle.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Match 2.25 The Setup: DCU v RSL 9-12-07, second leg of THE BEN CUP!!!!!!

The most prestigious sporting competition involving DC United and Real Salt Lake (unless RSL ever makes the playoffs) kicks off tonight at Estadio RFK in DC. This is it, the big game for the Cup. With the Cup being currently forged in the depths of Sandy, Utah, both teams will be pumped to get their hands on it. United faces an uphill battle as they sufficiently overlooked Real Salt Lake in the first leg of the competition and find themselves down 2-1. A goal differential of positive 2 is the only way to take the Cup back from RSL.

RSL will be coming in full strength and having won 3 of their last 6 matches. With the addition of the three Argentines, RSL are actually starting to show signs of a soccer team. Who knew? This may be a bad thing for them though because DC will not so easily overlook them. United will be missing Jaime Moreno, who has been called up to Bolvian National Team duty, but the rest of the team, including Josh Gros, will be ready to go. This is the lineup I'd like to see:

Perkins
Namoff-McTavish-Boswell-Burch
Simms
Olsen----------------------Gros
Gomez
Fred-------Emilio


We will see you all tonight at the game.

Other previews of the Ben Cup:
The Royal Review (RSL Ben )
The Poplar Point Perspective

Hopes and Dreams for Match 2.25

1. Winning the second Ben Cup competition, DCU's first.
2. The Ben Cup
3. The Ben Cup
4. Burch from distance.

The Ben Cup: Leg 2

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Match 2.24 The Result: DCU v. NE Revolution 9-9-07

DCU 4 NER 2

There was a different feeling about this game. DC seemed very cool and collected. They looked like they really enjoyed being home. They looked so calm that after they went down 2-1, I thought for sure they were giving up. I was wrong and I'm happy about it.

-McTavish returned to the starting lineup. He always seems to be in the right place to keep goals from going in.

-Gros is back from the head injury/migraines. His fresh legs were a godsend. And maybe it was just me but was Joshua Gros getting creative out there? Little creative touches and such.

-Emilio was holding his own against the physical play of New England. My only complaint with Emilio is that he can't hold the ball and he gets knocked off the ball too easily, not so in this game.

-Olsen came in to the game for an exhausted Fred and immediately widened the field.

-Soehn made defensive substitutions at the right time and we still scored more goals.

Facts and Reality for Match 2.24

1. DC returned to form with only small lapses of judgement.
2. The midfield had moments of dominance and with the number of games we've played in the last week, that's saying something. It was nice have Gros' fresh legs in there.
3. Twellman scored one of those that he always scores, urghhh.
4. No goal for Burch and he seems to need a few stutter steps to hit those crosses, not that I'm complaining, just an observation.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Match 2.24 The Setup: DCU v. NE Revolution 9-9-07

I guess from here on out all of the matches are important for Supporter's Shield standings, but not all of them are against Supporter's Shield contenders like this one. This match will determine superiority in the East and in the MLS.

New England comes into RFK after a rest week and winning their last two MLS matches (KC and RBNY). DC comes home riding a 7 game unbeaten streak that started beating New England at home 3-0. This is DCU's third game in 9 days and they already looked mentally tired on Thursday against Chivas. In order to win this game they will have to find the energy to do the small things right and especially make smart passes.

Hopes and Dreams for Match 2.24

1. The last 60 minutes of the Chivas game were an aberration and DC returns to form.
2. Midfield dominance. We live and die by the way these guys play both in the attack and on defense.
3. Twellman doesn't score.
4. Burch from distance.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Match 2.23 The Result: DCU v. Chivas USA 9-6-07

DCU 2 Chivas USA 2

MLS Primetime Thursday started at 11:15 PM this evening. Who knew 11:15 PM was considered "prime time"? I was starting to have a nervous breakdown as I frantically refreshed Soccer Insider for updates, refreshed the match tracker on MLSnet, and listened to an endless loop of adds on WMET 1160 AM in hopes of hearing something... anything. Goff came through with the first report of the 3rd minute strike by Luciano "It's in the net" Emilio.

First Half (starting in the 9th minute due to above debacle): DC controlled most of the first half although they looked a little disorganized. Moreno was able to send a nice ball to Emilio for his first goal. Moreno also contributed to Emilio's second strike, as it was Moreno's blocked shot that got away from Guzan that Emilio put in the back of the net.

The turning point in the game was the odd Perkins clearance turn Razov deflection and subsequent goal. Before this goal Chivas looked somewhat lost and uninspired. The goal gave them new life at the end of the first and into the second half. DC seemed content to allow the new found inspiration by not winning 50/50 balls, making bad passes, and giving way too much space to the attack. Chivas' goal in the 60th was the result of a 10 minute complete loss of form and team defense. From that point, our offensive attempts consisted of short fallen crosses from the back which created one chance, a Burch to Olsen to Emilio string of passes. Soehn was obviously looking for the draw when he added Brian Carroll in the 76th. With a defensive sub we should have shut down the match, but we insisted on letting them have space and time with no counter of our own.

Just a few final thoughts. Our team speed is slow, or our team is slow, however you put it, in comparison to Chivas USA we lack speed. Chivas exploited our slow defense and never allowed us time to recover between attacks, credit goes to them for that. I'm not sure if it was the speed issue again, but we were not winning balls. DC did not get to the ball fast enough and when they did they got muscled off. We also took a few steps back with our team passing, a lot of bad passing from everyone, not hard enough, too hard, no previous thought before passing, we saw it all tonight.

There are a few good things to take from this. We saw what the other hot team in the MLS looks like. We might need to prepare for them in the playoffs. A draw like this should motivate us to remember the important, basic things like team defense, passing, and winning balls.

Bring on New England.

Facts and Reality for Match 2.23

1. 1 point, from the way we played, I'll take it.
2. Both goals from Emilio and it is good to see him get the goals he so badly wants. What's this talk of him leaving in December and being the highest paid DC player?
3. A hard match I wanted, a hard match I got. We started as the dominant team and ended as that inconsistent team from 6 games ago.
4. Burch's left footed crosses have officially been added to the DCU repertoire.

ESPN sucks (See: late start, feed going out, too many shots of players/coaches/allen hopkins instead of the match).

Monday, September 03, 2007

Match 2.23 The Setup: DCU v. Chivas USA 9-6-07

DC goes up against, the undefeated at home (7 wins, 1 draw), Chivas USA in a match that has Supporter's Shield written all over it. DCU stands at the top of the league with 1.91 points per game while Chivas sits well within striking distance at 1.80 with two games in hand on DC. Both DC and Chivas have been playing good soccer in the last month, I expect this to be a continuation of form and an entertaining match.

With Maykel Galindo up top for Chivas, DC's back line will have to be careful not to get caught up too high because he likes to burn people with his speed. Galindo, Razov, and Kljestan are all scoring threats but also know how to distribute the ball with 17 of the team's 34 assists coming from the trio. I believe that Clyde Simms will have the most important defensive role in tonight's match. In the last few Chivas' games most of the scoring threats have come right down the middle of the field. Clyde will need to frustrate the Chivas' attack early and the back line will have to continue to play the smart, team defense they have been playing.

On the offensive side of things, we need Fred to keep hassling defenses allowing Christian more space to distribute and taking the focus of Benny so he can play cleanup. I'll be looking for Luci to score so I can see him smile again. A win tonight puts us in the Supporter's Shield driver's seat.


Hopes and Dreams for Match 2.23


1. 3 points=Supporter's Shield is ours to lose.
2. Fred and Benny keep the goals coming.
3. This is going to sound weird, but I'd like us to have a harder time winning this match to get us back to reality. What if reality is complete domination?
4. Burch from distance.

The Fullback Files

You must check out this week's Table Talk over at The Fullback Files... the descriptions of the Galaxy are hilarious.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Match 2.22 The Result: DCU v. FC Dallas 9-1-07

DCU 4 FC Dallas 0

Ben Olsen is the Garbage Man. He cleans up any stray ball bouncing around in the box and puts it where it belongs, in the net. He caught Sala in a bad position early and then closed out the half by putting a blocked shot back into the goal. Christian Gomez added to the box cleansing by smashing a Dallas defense deflection back into the net by way of volley, beautiful strike. Fred is starting to make a habit out of cutting back across the top of the box and then taking a shot. This is a good thing. The way he works the cut back is the perfect misdirection and usually gives him time to put something on frame. Tonight it worked and he scored. On the night DC had 6 shots on goal and 4 goals, that's offensive efficiency.

Now on to the more important part of the game, another clean sheet and this time with Boswell in. This means we have depth at defense, but not only do we have depth we have clean sheet depth. The first 15-20 minutes were a bit of a struggle but everyone pulled together at the back to keep the ball out of the net. Even with all the offense Dallas was throwing at us early, they only managed 2 shots on goal. That means Perkins is no longer carrying the load and that the attack is getting shut down early. The one good chance Dallas had was thwarted by Boswell's clearance on the line.

So the attack got the job done and the defense continues to frustrate opponents. The only complaint is that in the first 15-20 minutes the midfield allowed too much through defensively, but even that was cleared up. A final thought... not that it needs to be said again, but Marc Burch is an assassin with his service from the back.


Facts and Reality for Match 2.22
1. No backup strikers were needed, all subs were of the defensive nature.
2. I'm not sure the chemistry of Los Cuatro (Moreno, Emilio, Gomez, Fred) was really that great, but the chemistry of the team as a whole was beautiful.
3. I feel avenged and good inside.
4. Burch almost had one from distance, but it was nothing in comparison to his crosses that created all kinds of danger tonight and resulted in at least two of the goals.

Match 2.22 The Setup: DCU v. FC Dallas 9-1-07

Sickness is spreading among the supporters so I have to make this quick and keep moving. This match is about the Supporter's Shield. DC gave up a 3-0 lead to draw with Dallas at RFK in the last meeting. DC is without Gros and maybe Emilio. Dallas should have Toja back after almost a month without him and Denilson is available to play.

Hopes and Dreams for Match 2.22

1. A backup striker scores, don't care who.
2. Progression is made with the chemistry of Los Cuatro (Moreno, Emilio, Gomez, Fred).
3. I really want to avenge that draw at RFK. It would make me feel right inside if we can get the three points.
4. Burch from distance.