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DC United vs. Houston game diary and player ratings

By Jeff Maurer

(This blog was written in the distant past…last Saturday night. Chester A. Arthur was President. Ice cream cost a nickel.)

I started this morning with LA vs. New York on DVR from last night, which was a well played game. I followed that with Man City vs. Chelsea, which was an outstanding game. In fact, it was so good I started wondering if I was dumb to watch that game as an hors d’oeuvre to tonight’s last vs. last Houston vs. DC matchup.  I mean, you don’t go on a fine-dining binge for breakfast and lunch if you know you’re having dinner at Denny’s.

My apologies to Denny’s: they have not made me throw up nearly as many times as this year’s United team. Although I have to admit: United have been playing a bit better lately. They haven’t been playing well by any means, but they’ve been organized and competitive lately. Credit Ben for that. And Houston stinks. Put all that together, and I think United are going to win tonight (comment from the future: please note the integrity I showed by not editing out that prediction before this went live).

Boskovic starts, King on the bench. MaTavish starts for Graye. Not a whole lot of tough lineup decisions for Ben to make, are there? There are so many injuries and mediocre players on this roster, the lineups pretty much pick themselves.  

2’ – Is it just me, or is CSN’s high def some of the worst high def there is? Not that I was going to put in the effort to figure out which one’s Morsink and which one’s Zayner anyway, but CSN is making it impossible.

6’ – Najar blows right past Serioux and wins a corner. That was some seriouxly nice dribbling!

9’ – The picture just jumped from low def to high def…much better. Now I’ll be able to see the grimace on Perkins’ face when we give up the game-losing goal in the 86th minute.

15’ – Quaranta centers for Allsopp, but Allsopp miss-hits the shot. Right now, Allsopp’s challenge is to be better than Adam Cristman, and it’s starting to get debatable.

17’ – So far, this game is not living up to the lofty expectations of a last vs. last MLS matchup.

21’ – Rongen: “Not giving up a goal is important.” Is that comment not quite so moronic in the original Dutch?

26’ – Najar passes up a shot to lay off for Morsink. I made a lot of bad decisions when I was 17, too.

28’ – GOAL UNITED! Guess who? That’s right: Andy “Only Guy on the Team Who Can Finish” Najar! And this one was nice: Tino with a great switch to Najar, who brings it down (nice), beats two defenders (great), decides not to dish off to Allsopp (outstanding!), and blasts past Onstad (unbelievable!)!

32’ – Jakovic with a giveaway. Is that his Horrible Mistake of the Game? No…when Jakovic makes his HMOTG, there is no debate.

34’ – Very nice sequence from Boskovic, though nothing comes of it. He’s looked good – maybe the Roque Santa Cruz rumor lit a fire under him.

39’ – Serioux with a scissor tackle on Boskovic that is basically the same move my Aunt’s German shepherd makes toward my leg whenever I walk through the door. But no yellow card.

44’ – Hernandez wins the ball and starts an attack. He’s also looked good, except for his new faux-hawk haircut. It’s the same one sported by Carlos Tevez and two thirds of the contestants on Top Chef.

HALFTIME.  1-0 United, and it’s deserved. United started off slow, but they played some nice attacking soccer toward the end of the second half.

52’ – Outstanding punt from Perkins find Quaranta in space. Quaranta crosses for Allsopp, and with the goal open, Allsopp can’t adjust his body to put the header on frame.

55’ – Quaranta with a shot that’s, I don’t know…40 yards or so over the bar. Is there something wrong with Tino’s depth perception? Does he need glasses?

59’ – United goal called offside! Hernandez with a nice shot (!) that forces a save from Onstad. The ball bounces to Allsopp who puts it home, but he was called offside. Looked like the correct call.

62’ – Replay shows that Allsopp was NOT offside…the left back was keeping him on. Very tricky call for the linesman, but he got it wrong. Should be 2-0 United.

65’ – GOAL HOUSTON! Excuse me…(throws up). Zayner and Tino let Mulrooney run free down the righ…oh wait…(throws up). Whew…okay…one minute. Okay…(spits)…okay. Cross comes in and Perkins completely mis…misses…here we go (throws up). Bounces around and deflects off of D mc T for an own goa…nope, not done (throws up).

66’ – Unbelievably horrible goal. Required bad plays by three guys, with Perkins’ gaffe being the worst. I cannot describe my thoughts on that goal on a family-friendly website.

67’ – Onstad flaps at a cross – presumably to make Perkins feel better – but Najar can’t quite get to it.

69’ – GOAL HOUSTON! Cameron heads home as Jakovic stands and watches (that would be Jakovic’s Horrible Mistake of the Game). I wonder if Jakovic went so far as to yell something supportive into Cameron’s ear as he headed home, perhaps “Good luck!” or “I believe in you!”.

73’ – Allsopp out for…does it matter? Out for a guy who’s not Danny Allsopp, so I’m behind it. Turns out the sub is Carlos “Not Danny Allsopp” Varela.

76’ – Najar undercuts Robinson and should have had his second yellow card. The kid is frustrated and wants out. I can relate.

80’ – Davis almost puts a free kick in the top corner, but Perkins makes the save. I always thought that Davis should have gotten some of the looks with the national team that ended up going to Damarcus Beasley.

82’ – Fred’s appropriately-named little brother Junior in for D mc T. United will shift to a 3-4-3, though I’m not sure who’s going to get pushed up top.

90+6’ – Onstad took a knee to the head, but looks like he’s staying in there. Boy, he looks woozy. This makes me wonder: will MLS follow the NFL’s lead and enact rules governing use of concussed players ten years after the problem becomes apparent?

90+9’ – Goal Houston. Whatever.

Here’s something that will make you feel better: it doesn’t matter. This season was trashed a long time ago. When we lose a game that we should have won during a competitive year, then it will be time to get mad. But this year, well…here’s an early look at the 2011 draft.  

Player ratings:

Perkins: 4. Only made one mistake, but it was a whopper. I don’t know what’s wrong with him this year, and I doubt he knows, either.

McTavish: 5. Didn’t get exposed on defense, and wasn’t at fault on the own goal. So, I guess he’s notable for the mistakes he didn’t make.

Jakovic: 3.5. Can someone put together a YouTube video of all of Jakovic’s HMOTGs?

James: 6. I think he’s played himself onto next year’s roster. If United draft or sign a central defender, I’ll bet it’s Jakovic that gets bumped, not James.

Zayner: 4. Reminds me of Ben Stiller’s dance scene in Along Came Polly: lots of effort, not a whole lot of skill.

Morsink: 5.5. If people call him “Mor-stink” when he’s bad, then I think it’s only fair to call him “MORE-sink!” when he’s good. Except that that’s idiotic.

Najar: 6.5. Would have been higher if he hadn’t spent the last 15 minutes of the game trying to get thrown out.

Quaranta: 3. The Koala survived because it had no predators. Tino stays in the lineup because we have not other credible options on the wing.

Boskovic: 6. Finally showed some flashes of quality, though he seemed to tire at the end.

Hernandez: 5.5. Will Hernandez score this year? If he doesn’t can United possibly bring him back next year?

Allsopp: 3. I’ll bet if you check the 2011 media guide for the Melbourne Victory, Allsopp is already in there.

By Box Seats blogger  | September 26, 2010; 9:09 PM ET
Categories:  Jeff Maurer, United  | Tags:  DC United-Houston, game diary, player ratings  
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Next: Those pesky fourth downs

Comments

Jeff,
This is outstanding commentary and much appreciated. Keep up the great writing.

Posted by: dsheon1 | September 26, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

"LA vs. New York on DVR from last night, which was a well played game."

Um, WHAT?

Maybe it makes for lesser stories, but your judgment of quality needs serious tempering from both sides.

If Tino played on a men's team, he'd have about 30 assists this year.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | September 27, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I enjoyed reading this account a lot better than watching the game live. The first half looked so promising, but the second half and its denouement. As badly as #dcu has performed this season, I've found the referees' judgment at least as bad, and often far worse. We can trade players, but is there no recourse for awful calls by the refs?

Posted by: phburris | September 27, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I'd love to read your thoughts on the officiating. Do you agree with Ben that the officials should hold a press conference?

Posted by: edmundburke247 | September 27, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Love your reviews. I thought my husband paraphrased it right last night when he said: "Perkins snatches defeat from the jaws of victory."

Posted by: VirginiaFan | September 27, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I particularly appreciated your take on Najar. Very insightful. I was wondering why he was running around trying to foul people. Thanks for putting me straight.

Posted by: fischy | September 27, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

TOTALLY agree with all that was said. I think we all appreciate your insight and cleverly stated analysis. !! When will they let someone else (anyone) play in place of TINO ?? He cost us several promising attacks this game and many before this. He has the touch of a sumo wrestler!

Posted by: patrick18 | September 27, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

And the Koala-Tea of Mersey is not strained.

Posted by: Ron16 | September 27, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, there's an epidemic of chlamydia with Koalas apparently. Not sure what that says about DC Utd, maybe just another thing to feel nauseous about.

I give your review a 6.5. Much better than the match itself.

Cheers

Posted by: irregardless | September 27, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"26’ – Najar passes up a shot to lay off for Morsink. I made a lot of bad decisions when I was 17, too."

Just awesome.

Posted by: rickinashburn | September 27, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"34’ – Very nice sequence from Boskovic, though nothing comes of it. He’s looked good – maybe the Roque Santa Cruz rumor lit a fire under him."
_______________________________

That sequence actualy elicited a real "wow" from the crowd. There is some talent ther just need to unlock it.

Posted by: DCB23 | September 27, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute: you weren't at RFK. Fraud.

Posted by: BDR232 | September 27, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I was so busy lusting after all of the jailbait at that game I didn't even notice that junior was on the field. Bom dia, Juniore.

Posted by: weetabixjihad | September 27, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Great insightful and hilarious commentary! I knew reading your post would cheer me up. I wonder if Perkins still has his bank job? Maybe he's tired from getting his resume together at night because he knows he isn't here much longer if he can't get his head on straight.

Posted by: prots21 | September 27, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I call shenanigans on your player ratings. For one thing, you weren't there. For another, they're inconsistent with both reality and your commentary. It's cute that you want your name in the paper and all, but you haven't a clue what you're watching on TV, dude. And you don't write about it particularly well, either. I'm with BDR232; you're a fraud.

Posted by: Landru | September 27, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

And I should fully disclose--I'm really with BDR232; I stand next to him at games. The ones you're watching on television.

Posted by: Landru | September 27, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Ah...my first "you have no idea what you're talking about" comment! Thanks, Landru - your comment is printed and framed in my office next to the first dollar I ever made.

Posted by: JeffMaurer | September 27, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

How about something like this for the Perkins explanation, stream of consciousness:

64'40" I'm really on my game today.
64'42" Like I have been lately.
64'46" Like I was in Valerenga. Good times.
64'50" Wow, did I really give up my European soccer career because my wife couldn't stand Norway? No, don't go there. But wow, yeah, I did. I . . .
64'56" Hey -- a ball! Should I get that?

Posted by: dccal | September 27, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Great writeup with a good mix of soccer and humor. This gives me something to look forward to when DCU plays since I've given up hope in good performances on the field.

Posted by: Mongoose714 | September 27, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Happy to be of service. Wanna talk about the actual substance now? Do you ever go to games? Do you go to more home games than you watch on TV? Have you ever watched the club in another city (other than Germantown)? (For the record, yes,yes--all of them, yes, and yes).

Considering that you had the benefit of the TV commentary and we had only our poor confused eyes trying to make sense of Alex Prus and his crew in addition to the sensory binge that Goff described, would you care to add anything on the various officiating-related mysteries? In your ratings, Tino gets a 3 for a performance including the game's only official assist (please don't take me wrong--I don't like Tino either, and I think Najar made the goal himself after actually being able to pull down the same delivery they try 4-6 times every game)? McTavish OG's and gets a 5--while Perkins, who tapped him the OG and was, as usual, out of position on the Cameron goal, gets a higher mark than a guy who had an assist and a near-assist? The ratings for James and Jakovic, who are equally filthy and contributed nearly equally to Houston's bounty, are that disparate? Allsop, who by your account had a goal wrongly taken away (from our viewpoint, we weren't sure where he was when the shot was taken, and we didn't get a replay in RFK), gets a 3, while Hernandez, who didn't do squat, gets a 5.5?

In truth, I'm not interested in quibbling about individual ratings--that's old garbage in the commenting community here, and it's no wonder Goff gave it up, and if you're game to do it and read the quibbling, that's your bag. But the inconsistency between your narrative and your ratings is a big part of what underlies your hard-earned scorn. I'll be kind and leave out differing perceptions of what happened--after all, you had the benefit of replay and got a better look at significant bits of the game, and the inconsistencies in your own words are enough to knock you down anyway. You wanna write for the Post? Cool, I hope there's something in it for you. But pooping out nonsense doesn't get you taken seriously.

And really, you watched on TV? Whatever, dood.

Posted by: Landru | September 27, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Alright Landru, time to step up. Give us your breakdown of the game minute by minute with a full player rating.

(ps you had your laptop at the game right?)

Posted by: silverrey | September 28, 2010 3:06 AM | Report abuse

Landru, tried to get the "Box Seats" blogging gig but got beat out, eh?

Re: "quibbling about ratings" being old garbage, there sure was plenty of old garbage in your post.

Posted by: Ron16 | September 28, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

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