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The Opener, The Aftermath

Here is my game story:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/07/AR2007040700839.html

And some bonus Insider quotes:

SOEHN
On the long time away from home: "Our guys have been on an emotional roller-coaster; they've had a season within spring training, from winning to losing to playing in tough environments, and it's going to be refreshing for us to get home and recharge our batteries."

On the flank play: "We didn't get enough service. I think we had one service and one goal. That's something we need to work on."

On Fred: "He found it hard to find the game, but like everybody else, we weren't good with the ball. We were hoping he would add some energy."

On Casal: "It was a tough situation for him to come in, but he's good swinging the ball. We just didn't do enough of that."

CASAL
"I'm distraught because of the loss. It was a very hectic game to come into. We didn't really take our chances and I still think we could have created more. We just have to learn from it and take it into next week."
NAMOFF
"The team as a whole, we were out of sync. I didn't think we had a good team performance like we normally do. One of the keys to us winning was possessing the ball. We're a possession team - that's how we break teams down - and we didn't do a good job."
On the disappointing start to the season: "Let that be our one slip up."

OLSEN
On going from playing Chivas to Colorado: "MLS teams are different. There is an athleticism and a bite to these teams. You saw a very emotional team and a hard-working unit. We were down a little bit and I don't think our energy was as good as theirs. In MLS, it doesn't matter what type of team you are, if your energy is not there, well, that's our fault. We're very disappointed but we'll move on and we've got a chance at home next week to redeem ourselves."

"They stretched us pretty good. The way we play in the three-back system, it can be exploited if done in the right way. We didn't do a good enough job of shutting down the outsides. A lot of that has to do with communication, a lot of that has to do with energy, and also just knowing what to do out there, where to be and how to get there. That's some of the stuff we have to work out."

"The guy up top, the Panamanian, is a handful. Pablo came in and did his usual wrecking, and that's about it."

PLAYER RATINGS
Perkins 5; Erpen 4, Boswell 4, Namoff 4; Moose 3, Carroll 3, Olsen 6, Gomez 5, deRoux 4; Moreno 4, Emilio 5. Subs: Fred 5, Casal 5.

By Steve Goff  |  April 7, 2007; 9:20 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gameday: Colorado
Next: MLS, Week 1

Comments

I hate to say it, but Boswell was probably worse than a 4. While hopefully a aberration, Perkins didn't look so confident playing balls in the air.

I thought Moose had some good passes, but maybe I was watching a different game from everyone else. Carroll's shots from distance were good ideas. I think Foudy is right in that two people should line up over our free kicks, not just Gomez.

Posted by: Paul | April 7, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

No arguments here about the assessments from the players and Soehn. They looked dull, worn out a little, and definitely looked to be affected by the weather. Only one issue: I thought Casal was much better than a 5, more like a 7. His size was an instant problem, his cross to Emilio spot on, and did you notice how many times he tracked back on defense? He allowed Boz and Namoff to play more centrally, and they looked much more steady with him in. He also showed a desire to run at the Colorado D. He was the one player for United that looked comfy in that freezing cold. Must be that English upbringing.

Posted by: grotus | April 7, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I'll disagree with you on Casal. I was at the game, sitting right above the benches, so when he came in, he was running the touchline right in front of me. Too many times he looked like he didn't know where he should be and ended up standing around, When he got the ball, he made a bunch of runs with his head down that led him into 2 or 3 Rapids. He may have tracked back on defense, but while he was back there, he missed quite a few balls he should have gotten to or let them go right past. He'll get there, but he's a work in progress. The cross was great, though. DC could have used a lot better flank play today. That field is ridiculously wide.

Posted by: Kenobi | April 7, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Rapids played a very good game. You can see the talent that DC has; I hope Fred can start soon.

Posted by: 12th man | April 7, 2007 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I'd put Moreno at a 5, if the game had been called a bit tighter foul wise, he'd have created several dangerous free kick opportunities. Out of sync is an apt assessment.

Posted by: noptov52 | April 7, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

i think a 3 is generous for carroll - he has been awful the past couple games. he can't connect a single pass to a teammate.

herculez should have gotten at the very least a yellow for retaliation against fred - he dove in the box and then chased down fred, pulled his shirt and pushed him.

and what was up with with peterson rolling on the ground, kicking the boards, and whining for a couple minutes? i don't get why the ref stopped play, he was already out of bounds.

Posted by: pat | April 7, 2007 10:57 PM | Report abuse

I like Casal's attitude, saying he's "distraught" over the loss. Sounds like an intense young fellow. The fact he got a nice assist doesn't hurt either.

Rarely has DC been outplayed so thoroughly as in this game.

Posted by: Mitch | April 8, 2007 12:00 AM | Report abuse

I know what you meant, but isn't this sentence kind of confusing to someone not familiar with MLS:
"The Rapids, enjoying a cozy home field after 11 seasons in cavernous NFL stadiums, simply took advantage of the wide surface to stretch United and create an abundance of space."

Posted by: j | April 8, 2007 12:23 AM | Report abuse

Was anyone else a little embarrassed by how Jaime dived spectacularly after some instances of light contact? I can't remember him ever doing it as flagrantly as yesterday. His most egregious simulation was when he got fouled on 90+ and acted like he got punched in the face. It made my stomach turn a bit. I hate how this has become "part of the game".

Posted by: Paul | April 8, 2007 2:59 AM | Report abuse

The problem with the mantra, "we're a possession team" is that you start believing it so much that you lose the expectation, the will and the skill to counterattack.

And on days when even possession can't be achieved, you've nothing left.

United had nothing left yesterday.

Posted by: seahawkdad | April 8, 2007 8:02 AM | Report abuse

That game was a mess. The hardest part was talking to all the non-MLS fans who watched on ABC and after the game felt the need to tell me how bad the US league is.

I almost had to agree after that showing.

Horrible passing and ball control on both sides. Horrible fouls and diving on both sides and really just a hard game to watch after Chivas. It also didn't help that they kept saying it was a sell-out and they showed pictures of thousands of empty seats. After halftime it looked like the people who bothered showing up for the first half left!

I don't think I have ever seen Gomez and Moreno miss so many simple passes. :-(


Posted by: Southeasterner | April 8, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Goff, nice piece (as usual). Good analysis punctuated with relevant quotes.

One question though: did the Rapids' locker room also have no hot water?

Time for some investigative reporting.

Posted by: seahawkdad | April 8, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

It seems like we have gotten a little arrogant and just sort of expect things to happen offensively for us without really trying. Very disappointing passing game, lots of long balls to space with no one running and even more passes to the other team. Even with our lack of a possession game, a few more good passes could have earned a point that we didn't deserve.

Posted by: Andy | April 8, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

The problems (tactical, mental) were obvious -- hopefully this is a wake-up call and they fix them and move on.

Posted by: RB | April 8, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

After spending almost all day watching well refereed matches from England, Germany, Spain, & Italy, I found the DC-Colorado match apalling. What was this ref thinking about. Flagrant fouls with on card at all!

Posted by: Alan | April 8, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Any reason we shouldn't switch to a 4-4-2?
Perkins
Gros Erpen Bos Namoff
Casal Gomez Carrol/Olsen Fred
Emilio Moreno

With 5 mids we should/need wide play. We should have owned them yestrerday with a 5-4 in the midfield. Instead they stretched our defense and scored. Deroux and Moose never beat their man 1 v 1 and put in a cross. Casal and Fred did. Why didn't they start?

Frustrating loss. If COlorado can break us down like that what will the better teams do? Colo had a whole new defense and a first-time starter in goal we should have owned them.

Posted by: RRP | April 8, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

RRP,

The need for a traditional 4-4-2 pretty much goes away if Gros is available.

The formation got exploited because two players with a small handful of professional games between them were on the outside of midfield.

If Gros is one of those guys, I almost guarantee he's up against Cook the whole game, and that Cook doesn't get a good look at an opportunity until around the 80th minute, and Colorado is desperate for points at home.

If United wanted a 4-4-2 yesterday, John Wilson plays, and Olsen likely moves to a wide position....allowing Kirovski and Beckerman to play around with Brian Carroll. And Olsen would get gassed fairly quickly on the wing.

Posted by: Kim | April 8, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Dear DC United Front Office:

How is that Brandon Prideaux trade working out for you all?

Sincerely,
Diego R.

Posted by: Diego R. | April 8, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

So, why does Soehn insist on using this 3-5-2 thing, when it breaks down if key personnel aren't available? What if Gros goes off to one of the US camps this season? What if he's out for concussions? 4-4-2 is a simple, yet flexible system that players can move in and out of. Nowak's gone. Take the 3-5-2 with him.

I was bitterly disappointed in the starting lineup. Moose and DeRoux. Both were too slow in their play and decisions. They are reserve players at best.

How does Casal get a 5 and DeRoux a 4? Casal should get a 6 for the cross alone. A cross into the box met by the head of DC United striker!? When was the last time that happened? Seriously. Last headed goal in open play? I don't remember.

Bad mistakes from Boswell two games in a row. He needs to forget about Cosmo and bobbyboswell.com and work on his craft which is currently wanting. Erpen had a good game. He deserved better ratings.

Soehn also needs to get his game together. DeRoux is the answer to nothing. He should not play in a first team match. Casal and Fred should have started. Soehn made a major gaff thinking two reserve players could do the business for us. As far as I'm concerned, Soehn is on notice. This needs to get better.

PLAYER RATINGS
Perkins 5; Erpen 7, Boswell 1, Namoff 4; Moose 1, Carroll 3, Olsen 6, Gomez 5, deRoux 1; Moreno 4, Emilio 5. Subs: Fred 6, Casal 6.

Posted by: Not Sold on the System | April 8, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Every coach has a player that they have some sort of abnormal liking for, or maybe that player has embarrasing pics of the coach. deRoux is clearly a guy that has embarrassing pictures of Sohen. Get him off the field. Terrible...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 8, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I thought Jaime was faking at first when he got knocked down towards the end of the game, but the replay showed that he smacked the back of his head hard on the turf when he landed on his back.

Posted by: Terp | April 8, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

A few points relevant to the previous blog, posted here because here is where it's at.

Sellout refers to the number of tickets sold, not the number of spectators. The announcers should have mentioned that people stayed away because of the weather. Saying "sellout" over and over again when the camera shows empty seats was silly.

I'd give the fans a pass on not knowing dirty v tactical fouls. Even at RFK people jeer for tactical fouls. Fans, if they stay long enough, will understand.

What is up with that roof? It's damned distracting.

Yeah, Kicktrax was dumb. We saw the play. We saw the replay. We don't need your stinkin' arrows to show us that Casal's pass went to Emilio's head.

It would be hypocritical to criticize Famous Freds. We've been "blogging" for weeks about Yabba Dabba Doo and I'm Too Sexy, so maybe ABC picked up on it. But, they forgot Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster).

Posted by: Anonymous | April 8, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

The best thing I can say about the match:
"Man, it looked beautiful in HD."

Also, the downside of painting your name on the seats is that it's much more obvious that the seats are empty... you shouldn't be able to read "colorado" during the game.

Posted by: bbarrie | April 8, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

KickTrax is an abomination. If you're going to use graphics in replay, use arrows to note the movement and momentum of players and how that creates seams for the play to develop.

You can see the ball and where it's going on replay; covering it up with a four inch wide dotted yellow line and arrow is moronic.

Where was the supposed offsides tracker line? Might have come in handy with the first (bad) call against DeRoux which would have been a breakaway. He timed it perfectly and the linesman judged position based on DeRoux being even with the defenders and the ball was already 10 feet away from the service.

The lack of commentary on those moments is what really hurts the TV coverage in the US. At least discuss whether it was a good call, let alone break down how/why. Wynalda would have done so on instinct and possibly been way wrong, but at least he would have mentioned it.

Love the new Rapids unis. Love the roof. Don't like the massive open gaps in the stadium when the city is nowhere to be seen. Still massively jealous though.

And to heck with zzzzzzz at Poplar Point. The Nats are leaving RFK. It has perfect car and Metro access. Rebuild in the lot, transfer over the bouncy sections, open it toward the city with a capacity for about 25k. Get on with it already.

Posted by: Shmoo | April 8, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Of note on the stadium is this article from today's Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/07/AR2007040701317_3.html?referrer=email

I'm realistic that the only reason DCU has a new owner is so the owner can expand his empire into Poplar Point. Still frustrating though.

Posted by: Shmoo | April 8, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

FSN's coverage of the Toronto/Chivas match had both the 10yd circle and the offside graphics and they were used sparingly and effectively.

Posted by: bbarrie | April 8, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Easy on DeRo. He isn't a starter at this level yet, and he had a bad game. But, he's a prospect. We need these guys to develop.

Our depth is a problem--which we've known for months--and two away games in one week demonstrates it. Hopefully, DeRo, Moose, Dyanchenko, Arguez, etc. can be starters in the league...eventually. Give them a year or two.

Unfortunately, we don't have those players 12-18 that we need to be a great team week in and week out. It's precisely because the league hasn't developed guys for a number of years. Hopefully, this changes over time. But, the whole Needham mess and the low developmental deals generally make me wonder....

Posted by: jj | April 8, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Carrol is playing like he is bummed to be back at DC after having missed his chance in Europe.

Posted by: RC | April 8, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Shmoo: A soccer stadium on RFK grounds was ruled out years ago. The problem is that RFK and the surround parking lots are DC Sports Commission. A new stadium under the same old management? No thanks. What's more, if they think that Snyder wants to move back to DC, they will hold off on any construction plans that interfere with the Dannydome.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | April 8, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | April 8, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Is there a reason we don't have a guy camped on the far post on corners and free kicks? Neither Herc Gomez's first goal today nor Altidore's goal against us in the playoffs go in if DC has someone on the back post. Especially with Erpen's shady marking in the area, it seems a good precaution.

Casal has nice speed and moves going at defenders. Once he and Fred learn the system and get comfortable, using Gros at fullback in a 4-4-2 maximizes our personnel best.

Posted by: c | April 8, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

One thing that I had to question was the idea that Colorado's field is larger than other MLS fields... I believe they announcers said the Rapid's field is the largest size allowed by FIFA. Doesn't this sound like the sort of thing that would've been addressed as part of the new Game First initiatives MLS is starting up? They're going to regulate the length of the grass and the way it's cut, but why shouldn't they enforce a uniform pitch size around the league? Personally, I think it's crap that Colorado has an intentionally oversized field, which gives them an even greater advantage (as if the high altitude wasn't enough).

Aside from that, we got owned in the midfield... Beckerman, Kirovski, Cooke, and Mastroeni each outplayed all of our midefielders.

Posted by: James | April 8, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I seem to remember that when HDC first opened LA had the field as wide as possible. But after a couple of games they realized it was too big. All that running will be tough on their opponents when they come into town. It will be hard on the Rapids every time they play at home.

I liked the "mountain" roof. Gives the place some character. But there sure didn't seem to be any crowd atmosphere. Maybe that was due to the weather or the fact that almost everyone left at halftime.

Posted by: Glenn | April 8, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

What the game showed is that we are not going anywhere with deRoux and Moose out wide. While DC has talent, it apparently doesn't have depth. We were run ragged all night on the flanks, and it had nothing to do with the width of the field.

The TV coverage was atrocious as usual. but I asmost put my foot through the screen when the cut away from the action towards the end when DC was pushing for a tie, to show us once again the Colorado keeper in his African garb.

Posted by: Mike | April 8, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

"Carrol is playing like he is bummed to be back at DC after having missed his chance in Europe."

They all played like they were bummed. Maybe it was sympathetic depression.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 8, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else see that Payne is going to be on for a chat at 11 am Monday!

Any announcement about our fricking new stadium Kevin?

Posted by: del | April 8, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Give it a rest. We've won an MLS Championship with this formation, we dominated the league over 75% of last season, and on most days we play attractive/attacking football. The formation is not broken and we have the personnel to play it. Outside of the game in Denver, we have let up a handful of goals against Olmpia and Chivas, none of which would have been prevented by adding another defender. If Carrol is doing his job, he should be playing in front of the back three as a stopper. Benny as a Defensive Mid. Let's not throw the system away over an unfortunate 2 games.

Posted by: P. Nowak | April 9, 2007 7:35 AM | Report abuse

It's a long season. We've got a good group and a good coach. They didn't really show up against Denver, but things will be fine. Hopefully DC fans won't becoming like the howling fools who follow the Redskins - if they win, they're the greatest team in history, if they loose, the world is ending.

Maybe Clavijo is just a really good coach who figured out how to go at DC.

Posted by: Hacksaw | April 9, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse

"They're going to regulate the length of the grass and the way it's cut, but why shouldn't they enforce a uniform pitch size around the league? Personally, I think it's crap that Colorado has an intentionally oversized field, which gives them an even greater advantage (as if the high altitude wasn't enough)."

The length and width of a field varies widely from stadium to stadium, even within one league. Look at Arsenal-- I believe their move from Highbury to the Emirates meant they had an extra 16 yards of width for their wing play.

It's hard to take a loss, but to try to imply that there was something unfair about Colorado's field configuration comes close to whining. And the suggestion that MLS, which has to contend with very narrow fields at RFK and the Meadowlands, should limit field widths to match those two, is practically the definition of "procrustean."

Posted by: Benjamin | April 9, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Not Sold on the System, gotta agree with you on the comments about Soehn. Goffs, please include a grade for Soehn in your player grades. I've been unimpressed with United's mental and physical preparation, where players have been placed, and player selection thus far in this campaign. I'd have rated Soehn at a 3 yesterday.

I will grant Soehn this much, it's very early in the season. If the team is weak to start the season but finishes strong (frankly, the opposite of how the last two seasons under Nowak played out) then I'll be hailing Soehn as the second coming!

Posted by: Matt | April 9, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

The worst part of the loss to me is letting CO own the midfield while playing a cross between a 4-3-3 and 4-4-2. Herc isn't and didn't play as a straight up LM. And worse, Kiro - the laziest player at CO now that Cleatus is gone - was playing in the middle of the park. How did DC not own the midfield?

Posted by: Allen | April 9, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Paul and southeasterner, I agree there was too much diving by DC. (And the Rapids? I don't care, I'm not a Rapids fan.)
About Moreno hitting his head on the turf--it looked to me like he began cradling it when he saw the ref was looking, not when he hit it on the ground.
Show me one other American sport where athletes pretend to be hurt . . . sad, sad.

Posted by: gringo | April 9, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I definently think Fred and Casal should start, yea they have to learn the system but come on the talent level is much better than Moose and Deroux. I couldn't believe the starting line up when it came on, Casal is big and fast, Fred is a solid midfielder, there is no way I wouldn't start these guys, they are not 2nd half players.

Posted by: rafee | April 10, 2007 6:58 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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