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The Aftermath

You saw Gomez's free kick skip through the penalty area and hit the crossbar, right? You saw Emilio break in by himself and fail to beat Onstad, yes? Well, you saw the extent of United's threats this evening in Houston. Not a very inspiring performance.

There are many reasons for the attacking funk -- Gomez getting crowded and frustrated, inconsistent flank play, lack of support from Carroll and, surprisingly tonight, a dud from Olsen -- but the other issue I see is up front. When Moreno and Kpene are out, United does not have a withdrawn forward to play under Emilio and run at defenders to open space in the attacking third. Addlery is too much like Emilio (but not nearly as good), leaving United with two strikers, and he does not have the touch and direction to complement the Brazilian.

The Boswell-Vanney debut went well and yielded few opportunities, McTavish handled himself admirably and Perkins could not be blamed for the deflected goal. All in all, though, a deserved victory by a better Houston side.

Perkins 6; McTavish 6, Vanney 6, Boswell 6, Gros 5; Olsen 4, Carroll 4, Gomez 5, Fred 5; Addlery 3, Emilio 4. Subs: Dyachenko 5, Burch 5, Simms 5.

Game report here. Video highlights here. Bonus quotes below.

"I didn't have it. I feel bad because I was the captain tonight and I just didn't have any juice and let the guys down. There's a certain role I play on this team as the emotional leader and I just didn't have anything. I'll take a lot of the blame for this game. ... It was a bit of blur for me tonight."
(On the goal) "It's a scramble in there and that's what Ching does and what this team does - they scrap and keep balls alive."
(On Vanney) "He's a great player. You can tell he's comfortable on the ball and makes good passes. It's not the way you want to come back, to lose a game, but I think we did a decent job defending."
He obviously understands the game, he is a veteran of the game and I think I've got a lot to learn from him. He seems to have already taken a good leadership role.
(On the game) "We didn't create a whole lot and the chances we did create we didn't finish. They finished their chance, I guess."
(On the goal) "We've got to clear out of the box a little quicker and he [Fred] knows it. We made a mistake and got punished, when they made their mistakes, we didn't punish them. That's how it goes."
(On the goal) "I saw it coming in, I got myself there, he just flicked it in a bad spot for me. I was planning on Ching trying to dummy it because I watched their game on Thursday and it was an exact same situation and they let it go. I was in position for the first shot and when he touched it, I wasn't quick enough to react."
(On the defense) "There were times when communication wasn't there but for a first game I thought we were okay."
(On the attack) "We let ourselves down in possession and just didn't really create a whole lot."
"Defensively I thought it was pretty solid. We didn't give them a ton of chances, nor did they give us. It's a kind of game you expect it to be from two good teams and unfortunately we didn't finish that first opportunity to draw them out a bit."
"You've got to finish those, and in tight matches, you are going to get one, two, three chances, and the good teams finish those."

By Steve Goff  |  July 9, 2007; 12:44 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Matchday 14: DCU at Houston
Next: Adu, Clavijo, Expansion


I would've give Fred a 3. He seemed to lose almost every ball. When he did create an opening, he lost the ball. Addlery a 4. Other than that, I agree with the rest of the ratings. Poor show tonight. Oh, and I like the ratings Goffinho, those who say different don't get it.

Posted by: YuKno | July 9, 2007 1:08 AM | Report abuse

Still nothing to say about the DC United stadium release yesterday?

Posted by: Dave | July 9, 2007 3:35 AM | Report abuse

Disappointing result but an intersting game to watch. Two good teams. DCU seemed a step slower to the ball, increasingly as the game wore on.

Posted by: Frederick, MD | July 9, 2007 6:18 AM | Report abuse

It was obvious that Ben was not 100% so I wonder why Soehn waited so long to sub for him. Many balls that Ben would normally have had and won he lost. Not his fault, having flown a few thousand miles; the coach should have seen and reacted earlier.

Defense looked solid. Luciano should have scored the 1 v 1.

Posted by: RRP | July 9, 2007 6:56 AM | Report abuse

I agree with YuKno. This was a real stinker tonight for Fred. He seemed confused, held the ball far too long and held Ching onside for the goal. I was surprised that Soehn didn't replace him with Moose of DeRoux rather than replace Carroll with Simms. Overall a very mediocre performance against a very good team that plays to its small field very well.

Posted by: griffin1108 | July 9, 2007 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps because there was not a lot of space, we played a lot of balls in the air. Houston seemed to win most of those balls. So we worked hard to gain possession and then gave the ball back.

Posted by: DavidsonWho | July 9, 2007 7:29 AM | Report abuse

"Still nothing to say about the DC United stadium release yesterday?"

I think they release new drawing once a year. I can't wait to see what the pics look like next year! Yeah!

As for the game when do we get Moreno back?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 9, 2007 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Was Gomez that frustrated with Hall that he drew a yellow? Was he being manhandled all game or was it just a hard foul? What, what, what!??

Posted by: d | July 9, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I agree with YuKno and griffin1108 - not the best from Fred last night. Actually, I thought all five of our attacking players had poor games.

I'm starting to think that McTavish might deserve playing time even when Namoff gets back - he's looked consistently good out there. I wonder if Soen might play him on the left, or put him in the center and put Vanney on the left. I like Josh Gros, but I like him as a midfielder; he's limited as a defender.

Posted by: Jeff M | July 9, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Not the best from DC. Emilio should have scored at least once. As any other fan, I was pissed while watching the match. But after a few hours, I realized it wasn't quite as bad. DC was playing a second game in 4 days in hot weather. So was Houston but

a) Houston is the defending champions
b) they were playing at home
c) I don't believe they are missing key players

So all in all, a 1-0 loss to the hottest team in the league on a scorching day is not so bad.

But still "inconsistent flank play" :)

Posted by: Bart | July 9, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Can't believe we didn't already know that Addlery is a 4th forward that is not up to snuff when it comes to playing with the big boys. Kpene was definitely needed this match. His flicks in the offensive third would have kept their defense off balance. Fred just needs to learn that he can't dribble past the 3rd, 4th and 5th defender when they come at the same time. Gomez was pissed because it was an off the ball call (with both players pulling each other down) that went against us as he was lining up a 25 yard shot that he had. Don't understand the 4 for Carroll. His main job was closing down DeRo and he did it well.

Posted by: JMR | July 9, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Fred was giving up the ball more than we've become accustomed to. However, a lot of it was because we saw very little movement from his midfield teammates to show for the ball. There also appeared to be very little chatter. Fred was dispossessed several times by an opponent coming up on him from behind. That shouldn't happen if he were being alerted by his teammates.

Posted by: MattM | July 9, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I am actually not too upset by the loss last night. One Houston...against a very stingy defense... I predict we will see them much later (perhaps in the final?) and it is tough to beat a good team 3 or 4 times in a season. Better a loss now than later...
A good, even match between (in my opinion) the 2 best teams in the league.

Posted by: paul m | July 9, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

For all the constant crying for defenders and "flank" players I read on this blog and the big board, we need forwards. We need finishers.

Posted by: Gotta Finish | July 9, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Neither team created that much. Houston deserves credit for shutting us down. Emilio should have finished the 1v1, but that was such a fluky play, with the ball hitting Robinson in the back, followed by a possible foul on Emilio to push past him. Same with Gomez's freekick, since that was a service into the box (not a shot).

We didn't play particularly badly, but neither team was at their best. Houston was just a bit closer to theirs than we were to ours. Losing sucks, but that's also (in my opinion) the single toughest game of the season. Houston has the small confines that they've been used to since their San Jose days, a good crowd, the oppressive humidity, and just so happen to be the defending champs. I'm sure they felt exactly the same back in May when we beat them 2-1 at home.

Also, to Bart: Houston was missing Ricardo Clark, who is (along with Shalrie Joseph) the best defensive midfielder in MLS. So yeah, they were missing key players too.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | July 9, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Can anyone please, please explain to me what Addlery was doing on their goal?

A) A scene from Flashdance?
B) Training to be in the ballet?

Posted by: d | July 9, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Houston was also missing Brad Davis, who is one of the better left wingers in MLS.

Posted by: jrnail | July 9, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Hou was also without Brad Davis who is an all-star caliber flank midfielder. They may have been without someone in the back too, but I could be thinking of Mulrooney who played behind DeRo. Suffice to say they are loaded and also just picked up Jaqua who I have always liked.

Posted by: Henchlow | July 9, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Um Rockwell...Ricardo Clark subbed in near the end of the game. They weren't "missing" him, Kinnear just opted to keep him on the bench like Soehn probably should have done with Benny. Moose played well enough last match to get the start...Olsen could have come in around minute 70 and turned on what little juice he did have.

Houston were missing Brad Davis - though, despite his hat trick earlier this season, I'm not sure he qualifies as a "key player" and his replacement, Holden, looks real solid.

Oh, and one last thing, I have lifted my suspension of Addlery's back on. He truly stinks (well, except for in the reserve matches!).

Posted by: DE | July 9, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I agree with those who are critical of Fred's performance. He seems to still be gravitating towards the middle when he starts getting frustrated on the flank. It is never a good sign for the offense when that happens.

Cheers to McTavish for stepping up nicely when we really needed someone to fill in on the back line. I am glad that we have someone to put a little pressure on Gros and Namoff for minutes.

Posted by: united4dc | July 9, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Goff, I don't think any of our subs deserved a rating of 5. Simms and Burch were running around like chickens with their heads cut off and dyachenko couldn't maintain any posession with the ball. None of them had a positive impact on the game; especially simms, who i think does a pretty good job with a full 90 but is absolutely worthless as a sub.

And what was the rush with getting benny back in? he was moving like molasses on winter's morning. We should have saved him for the last 20 minutes a la clark.

Posted by: J-Mart | July 9, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Let's put this loss in perspective. We had @KC and @Hou in the same week in the dead heat of summer missing some of our superstars, and we escaped with 3 points. If you had to look at the schedule for the entire year and pick one game that we would probably lose, I think this might be the one.

This is definitely helping us establish our top lineup. McTavish looks like he can be a regular starter (wondering if they'll try either him or Namoff on the left soon). And now we know that Addlery is not yet capable of being a regular starter, but he could be a great role player as a guy who could come in late in a match and contribute if we are behind. Fred was disappointing on the wing, but we had some pretty quality service from some other guys (Gros, McTavish, Burch) but couldn't finish. Carroll played his role very well.

Posted by: Shatz | July 9, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Nice writeup and analysis as usual from Mr. Goff. The absence of both Moreno and Kpene is key to our performance.

Houston moves up the field in unison and their passing is efficient. We need to see more of that from United.

Posted by: towson | July 9, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Why does Brian Hall still have a job?
That's all I've got.

Posted by: AlecW81 | July 9, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

i didn´t see the game but it doesn´t sound too terrible. Houston is the best team in the league right now, they´ve scored 21 goals and conceded only 10.

in terms of the withdrawn forward role, what about using Fred there? it would seem to make sense. I would also be interested in seeing McTavish paired with Boswell in the center, with Vanney at left back. This would allow Gros to get back into the midfield and do what he does best which is run all day long.

Posted by: diego r. | July 9, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

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