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DCU-CHI Aftermath

Considering Emilio and Moreno (27 goals combined) did not start...
Considering Moreno was not at full strength in his 45 minutes...
Considering Emilio was understandably tentative in his 12+ minutes...
Considering they were on the road playing a team that had not lost in seven weeks...
Considering they conceded an early goal...

...not a terrible result for United.

The mission is simple: Return the favor at home with a 1-0 win to force 30 minutes of overtime and -- eek! -- penalty kicks. Or just win by two goals.

Although United did not seriously test Pickens in the second half, there were encouraging signs in possession and creating width in the attack. The problem was breaking down a disciplined Fire defense in the final 30 yards or so.

On a side note, anyone have a flashback to 2005 when Gomez got into Brown's face during their second half confrontation? No spitting this time. Lots of chaotic moments after halftime -- handball on Gomez's free kick? Moreno gets an elbow up too high, Blanco with his usual theatrics, plenty of bickering. As Soehn said afterward: "That's normal, that's playoffs, it's always going to be intense and that's the way it should be."

Next week is going to be fun, huh?

PLAYER RATINGS
Perkins 6; Namoff 6, McTavish 5, Vanney 5, Burch 6; Olsen 5, Carroll 5, Simms 6, Gomez 5, Fred 6; Kpene 5. Subs: Moreno 6, Emilio 5.

Game report here.

Jump below for quotes and more quotes.....

SOEHN On playing Moreno and Emilio: "We knew we couldn't run them too long, but I knew I could get something out of them. It was important to bring Jaime in and Luci wanted to see where he is at and we gave him a few minutes to see if he could impact the game. The important thing is they came out healthy so it's a positive."

On his team's situation: "It's disappointing that you lose, but it's a two-game series and we've been dealing with two-game series with these international games where we've never had the home-field advantage. So now you go home and you know what you have to do. You come into our building and it's not an easy place to play. And we're going to make it really tough on them.

On the second half: "We had a lot of the possession, created a lot of opportunities, they were solely relying on the counterattacks and in our building, it's going to be even harder for them."

On whether he thought a handball was missed: "Do you want to get me in trouble [with the league office]? Of course I have problems with it; it's a handball."

Overall: "We wanted to come out with a result here and we did what we could do to do it. Having Jaime and Luci back are going to be big additions on Thursday. They'll have a week to rest."

OLSEN
"Overall it was a pretty good performance for us soccer wise, but that doesn't cut it in playoff soccer. You can't make mistakes, you have to make a big play. The time we did make a mistake, they made a big play. To go down a goal to that team is the last thing you want to do because they do know how to defend. They had six, seven guys really committed to defend and hold down the fort, and they do a good job of it. It's important for us next week to push early and get that goal and draw them out a little bit. Overall, though, I think we are in good shape."

"They took care of their home field and now we have the chance to take care of ours. Would I like a tie or win? Absolutely. But the situation is not panic time and we have to go ahead and take care of our home."

On the nastiness: "It's nothing personal. Things are getting heated because everyone wants to raise a trophy."

BURCH
"We needed to get one back, but going home, we're going to throw everything at them. I don't see any reason why we can't beat them by two, or at least beat them by one and force overtime. We'll be at full strength. It would be like them missing Blanco and Barrett. They wouldn't have a scoring chance."

VANNEY
On the goal: "On the initial long ball, I was thinking one of our guys was going to go up and challenge it initially because you never want the ball to hit the ground and skip. Every time I go up for a ball I try to survey what's going on around me and I thought Rolfe had dropped into midfield a little bit more, thinking I could go up and knock it back to Troy. And as soon as I went up, he went up at the same time. He kind of bumped me and I didn't get all of it and basically laid it down into Rolfe's path and he finished it. In hindsight, I misjudged where Rolfe was, which would have changed my decision and I just would have headed it out. It was a bad decision at that moment."

On the difficulty of trailing Chicago: "By them picking up an early goal we allowed them to play and just sit back with six guys and really defend in tight spots. It made it difficult for us to combine in that final third and really create the good chances we want. That's disappointing. We keep it at 0-0, they need a result here, they start to open up a little bit trying to find that result and in return that gives us space to play into. That's the difficulty of falling behind early."

Overall: "We're fine. You have to win in this scenario to have a chance to go through. All it did was increase the likelihood of going to overtime. You have to win one to have a chance. In that way, nothing has changed. We still go out and we play with the same mentality, we play aggressive, we try to attack them and score some goals. Without giving up a second one, that was the key."

PERKINS
On playing without Emilio and Moreno: "It affects our rhythm a little bit. We're so used to having them up there. But we have to be able to play without them. You never know if something happens and they are not going to be in, maybe they are not here next year, you never know. We can't depend on two guys doing the job for us. We have to have guys who step up and take control offensively and do the job."

On Game 2: "We go home and we know what we have to do."

ROLFE
"They've got a great attack and they're a very good possession team, so after we got the goal we were making sure that we were behind them. So trying to play a little bit less aggressive and trying to make sure we kept everything in front of us and then we could counterattack from there."

By Steve Goff  |  October 26, 2007; 1:26 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Enjoy the Weekend

Comments

Not sure how you can give Vanney average marks. It was his misplay that led to the goal, and he made another weak play in the second half that was almost big trouble. Namoff had a bad misplay but recovered to knock it out. Defense struggled. Offense struggled to create good chances. I remember one in the second half -- header to Pickens. DId we watch the same match?

Only good sign is that DC more or less controlled possession, but there were so many errant passes -- killing almost every push down the field.

While United did not look good, the Fire was only a one-man gang with Blanco. There is still hope for next week, but they're going to have to win a game, and it'll be a month since they've done that. Jaime and Luciano will be a boost, to be sure.

I think this team is missing Gros' speed on the flank. I hope those rumors mean United might get some help on attack. They have no depth there, at all -- and Moreno's years are showing.

Posted by: FischFry | October 26, 2007 2:40 AM | Report abuse

Chicago was not impressive...other than their ability to hack, kick, push pull, flop and be real "organized" defensively ....they didn't do sh.. .

DC gave up a bad luck goal...totally dominated possession..without the full services of two very key attacking players.

Perkins deserves a 7 at least...6 is real low for a guy that came up big three times (solid saves..not spectacular) and didn't make any mistakes despite tough conditions.

Can't help but think that we need Boswell instead of Vanney back there. No way Boswell gets beat on that header that led to the goal..plus not having him in there on free kicks takes away our greatest aerial threat. We traded Erpen and benched Boswell so we don't really have any threats in the air (other than Emilio of course...who didn't really even play tonight)

Chicago's only chance to win the series is to pack it in...if they open up and attack us we'll throttle them.

DC clearly was the better team tonight.

Posted by: Matt Y | October 26, 2007 2:52 AM | Report abuse

Not a good night for me and my teams on the ESPN networks...

Posted by: sitruc | October 26, 2007 3:23 AM | Report abuse

Good play, Bad play whatever!!!!

The bottom line is the team still lost and has choked in every competition this year. We somehow find a way to lose the big games.

As I've said before we have NO depth at forward. Think about it. Our third best forward, the first person off the bench to help with the offense, has NEVER scored a goal despite playing regularly over the season.

I will be supporting the team and hoping for the best, but frankly I am not optimistic based on this team's play drop off in the last few weeks, an inability to win the big game and our record with Chicago.

Posted by: Nick | October 26, 2007 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Blanco is bad for the league. All the constant showing up of refs and it doesn't look like they can give him a card for it.

Posted by: Bart | October 26, 2007 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Oh btw, wasn't DC in this same situation 2 years ago? Needing a goal to get back in and came home to give up 4 to New England?

Posted by: Bart | October 26, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

"Oh btw, wasn't DC in this same situation 2 years ago? Needing a goal to get back in and came home to give up 4 to New England?"

No.

We tied 0-0 at Chicago and lost 0-4 at home.

Posted by: MattM | October 26, 2007 8:00 AM | Report abuse

To think United can come home and win by 2 is a big mistake. Chicago is playing well and United is not. Where was the playoff intensity for United. Moreno should have been put in the game right after the goal. Gomez needs to play better on the set plays. Not having Gros has cost us in speed. This team needs to step up. Considering they are the best team and this is the playoffs!!

Posted by: JonB | October 26, 2007 8:01 AM | Report abuse

2 years ago we tied Chicago in Chicago and the came home to get plastered by them 4-0

Posted by: jgildea | October 26, 2007 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Bart - I agree Blanco is pathetic. When he was jawing to the ref in the first half and all his diving - he deserved a yellow card.

to hear Wynalda yap about how many bruises he has for what sympathy - oh please the more bruises on Blanco the better!!

The pisser on this game was DC dominated possession but lacked any imagination in the final third - even after Moreno and Luci got in.

Posted by: bobf | October 26, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Matt, I'm not sure we were clearly the better team. In the first half I don't think we generated a single threat. And in the second half despite all the frenetic activity in the Chicago end and all the possession, I don't think we were particularly dangerous.

Posted by: Mitch | October 26, 2007 8:12 AM | Report abuse

While Blanco deserved booking for the diving and the whining, both Moreno and Fred got off light for gesturing for yellow cards after they were taken down. All of which was negated by the missed handball in the box.

Posted by: Landru | October 26, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

The curse of me.

You will never beat the Fire.

Posted by: Piotr "Ring of Fire" Nowak | October 26, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

2 years ago we tied Chicago in Chicago and the came home to get plastered by them 4-0

Posted by: jgildea | October 26, 2007 08:01 AM

ohhh the memories. If you drink enough the pain goes away.

Posted by: Southeasterner | October 26, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Goff, agreed this is a pretty decent result. Defensively United has to learn to deal with the long balls over the top. While Vanney misplayed the header Burch made a giant miscalculation not staying with Rolfe-he looked like a forward playing defense. Midfield was pretty good and they will need to continue stacking it up around Blanco at Estadio RFK. The return of Emilio and Moreno full speed should generate some opportunities up front.

------Perkins-------

Namoff---Vanney---Burch

----Carroll Simms-----

Olsen Fred

----Moreno Gomes----

---------Emilio---------


Posted by: Fire Wynalda | October 26, 2007 8:29 AM | Report abuse

very frustrating game. disapppoint defensive play by Vanney. lack of foward play. Will this change next week? I really hope so but it is not looking good. Chicago plays very physical and frustrates DCU players and DCU forward just don't play well when they are constantly under pressure.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

-playoff game away; at Chicago; 1st 15 minutes; central defender must keep the game in front of you, right? Vanney out, Boswell in.
-Gomez set pieces; very bad; hope he got those out of his system.
-99 is STILL the straw that stirs the drink even when noticeably hobbled.
-What was with the Blanco love from the booth last night in the 1st half? I would much rather listen to Stone and Foudy.
-Can't wait to give Blanco a nice DCU welcome Thursday.
-IMO Fred is underrated at 6 -- great possession; creativity; working both sides of the ball; but Kpene is totally out of synch with anyone else on the field, so it's wasted, especially in 4-5-1. Why not give Dyachenko a shot? Could you score any fewer goals with him instead of Kpene?

Posted by: WNT fan | October 26, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

guess the bandwagon is in the shop...

Posted by: JSF | October 26, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Can we win 2-1 and force overtime? Or does Chicago win 2-2 on aggregate because of more away goals for?

Posted by: Brendan | October 26, 2007 8:40 AM | Report abuse

McTavish and Vanney were dreadful. Thank God Chicago bunkered in the second half. If they bunker for another 90 minutes, DC United can win this.

Was it me or did that cruel wind completely die at halftime? I had been looking forward to having it in the second half and it just wasn't there.

I thought Gomez took a ding in the 28th minute that affected him the rest of the night.

Posted by: Brendan | October 26, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse

6 for Burch is WAY too kind. He got caught ball watching on the goal and several other occasions. And now that he's not a secret weapon anymore he's been struggling. He doesn't move the ball quick enough when he gets forward. He always needs to take an extra touch or two to clean the ball up before he serves it. And he continues to make some pretty wild tackles. I'd say 4 is more like it.

Fred's removal of Rolfe's contact lens was pretty amazing.

Posted by: Glenn | October 26, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Brendan, I had the same question, and apologies to all if it's been addressed in a previous thread. Can anyone tell us: do the MLS playoffs go with away goals or is it pure aggregate?

Posted by: stevie in gp | October 26, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

away goals and home goals all count the same

Posted by: Glenn | October 26, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

No away goals rule. Any DCU lead of one goal forces overtime for 30 minutes, and if still tied, the dreaded PK shootout.

Posted by: tmc | October 26, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

I fear the away goal... *knocks on wood*

Posted by: B,A, | October 26, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Pure aggregate.

And indeed... We didn't exactly play our best last night, though at least I can whine about how Chicago only held onto their lead due to their Hand of God move... It'll make me feel better until next time... *fingers crossed*

Posted by: Mike K | October 26, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I got motion sickness from ESPN's constantly changing the camera angle. I never thought I'd wish for the days of single-camera broadcasts. And why does the director insist on closeups? We want to see the passing options?

As bad as the commentators are (jawing while while Gutierrez gets a card and never mentioning it), you can always press "mute." I'd rather have a good director.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 26, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

"You come into our building and it's not an easy place to play. And we're going to make it really tough on them."

Hey Barra Brava and Screaming Eagles -- sounds like Tommy's calling for your help.

Posted by: Joe Doc | October 26, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I typically don't take issue with the player ratings, but I think you're off the mark this time, Goff. If Perkins doesn't play as well as he did, that game ends up 2-0 or 3-0. On the other side, Vanney and Fred don't deserve their ratings. I don't get the love for Fred. He constantly:

1. Wanders out of position, forcing Burch to cover extra ground
2. Doesn't track back to play defense
3. Loses possession in the midfield
4. Tries to be too cute instead of being constructive.

And, for once this season, I would love to actually see him challenge someone for a 50/50 ball. I get it, the Brazilian game is about the jogo bonito. But you're a midfielder. At some point you have to go win a ball or two.

The loss definitely isn't on Fred, but I don't think he did us a single favor out there last night.

Posted by: Blanco is a punk | October 26, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm with I-270. Those constantly changing camera angles made me sick. The worst was the bird's eye camera that started spinning round and round trying to keep up with the passes around the field. I had to close my eyes and look away.

Dear ESPN: don't try to innovate when you still don't have the basics down. Wide shots that show passing options. Close-ups only on super slow motions. Do what Europe does.

Posted by: Brendan | October 26, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Looks like Juande Ramos of Sevilla will take the Tottenham job...

Posted by: RK | October 26, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

The past is never prologue. I would be shocked if this Fire team scoreed four goals at RFK. While the team player well, Kepne continues to disappoint. He will have to step up if he wishes a position with the team next season.

Posted by: A Hardwick | October 26, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

This could be one of the biggest choke jobs in league history if DCU goes down at this stage. Clearly the better team won and DC showed no signs of ever scoring so it looks bad coming home trying to score on these guys.

Posted by: henrik | October 26, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

So much negativity! So they lost 1-0 to a team at home that has been playing well...without two of our best players!

Screw the DCU-Fire playoff history. We're coming home now, and we're gonna rock Chicago at RFK!

Forget overtime. Forget PKs. DCU wins, 2-0.

Posted by: KR in DC | October 26, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the clarification, all.

Posted by: stevie in gp | October 26, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Perkins "You never know if something happens and they are not going to be in, maybe they are not here next year, you never know"

Either he reads the Insider or he knows something.

Posted by: Rocko | October 26, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you KR! We don't need the "Curse" of Chicago to be on our minds. The Red Sox got over theirs, so will we. Emilio will play probably 45 min or more next week.

Posted by: DC girl | October 26, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Away goals do not have any relevance. It is simply total goals.

Posted by: Arsonists General Counsel | October 26, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

For the home match DC must come out in full force. Start Moreno and Emilio, and work for the first / early goal. Chicago will try to withstand pressure and counter, but if we can put one in before the half we'll force them to open up a good bit.

Chicago started last night with a lot of high pressure play. I presume the same will happen next week. The lads need to work on managing that sort of thing in practice (hell, it is something that DC does well also).

Posted by: Nov. 1 | October 26, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I had completely forgotten what a dirtbag CJ Brown is.

Posted by: jasonVA | October 26, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Burch wasn't ball-watching - he was trying to decide if he needed to stay with his man or go over and help. If the ball hadn't fallen to Rolfe and Burch was there to clean it up, nobody would be talking about his "ball-watching."

Vanney himself admitted it was his fault. Blaming Burch for that goal is an error.

Posted by: Burch | October 26, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I was surprised by how few yellow cards were handed out to chicago that game.

In my humble and unbiased opinion, blanco should have gotten at least one yellow card...for shushing the ref in the first ten min. Then maybe for just being an all around despicable person when on the field.

CJ brown is a thug. Kicking gomez when he was on the ground. That is like kicking him while he's down...

Chicago will bunker up in the next game and play long balls to Rolfe to catch us on the counter. we need qicker passes and cheeky runs through the box.

I anticipate a PK will be called at RFK. Chicago are a bunch of thugs.

Posted by: bribri | October 26, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

DC vs Fire in the last month

DC has one goal (on a mistake), 12 Shots on goal and very few scoring opportunities.

Combine this with the Fire holding a 5-0-1 and 11 goal to 0 playoff record and DC is pretty much done.

Soehn screwed up playing Emilio and Moreno in that meaningless final vs the Crew. Both should not have been on the field.

Fire to advance 1-0 and will knock out the Revolution in the ECF. See you at RFK for the Cup.

Posted by: Fireman Sam in DC | October 26, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I had completely forgotten what a dirtbag CJ Brown is.

Posted by: jasonVA | October 26, 2007 10:24 AM
For what? Attempting to kick Gomez in the leg (where the ball was) and Gomez rolling around holding his back like he was shot? If he would have gotten up and played on he could have gotten to the ball as it was played back out of the Fire box. I'm not a fan of CJ, but Gomez needs to worry about creating plays rather than trying to draw cards. It's okay, we'll get them next Thursday.

Posted by: dcu west coast | October 26, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Burch just stood there and watched while Rolfe ran right past him. He's got to track that runner and stay goal-side. He just stood and watched the ball go past Vanney's head straight to the Chicago forward. McTavish and Vanney were sandwiching the other forward. You don't go to triple team when you would leave the other guy wide open. I like what Burch has contributed to the team, but he's not immune to criticism and has certainly tailed off the last few weeks.

Posted by: Glenn | October 26, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

As I began this thread late last night, I though I'd weigh back in -- To KR in DC: You're right, The Fire are playing weell. lately, And DC is not. That's why the negativity. This was at least the fourth straight clunker. You can add the loss in Jalisco to that list, too.

It's not about playoff history -- it's about the fact that this is two straight games against Chicago without any offense. United held much of the possession, but they did not cotrol it. There was little purpose, with much of it going backwards, and there were so many bad giveaways. The team had some great offense against New York and Toronto. Where's it gone?

I would rather have seen Gomez up top, with Mediate in the mid, then Kpene alone up top. Whatever his skills are, Roland Guy can't be the only guy up top. Hopefully, there will be MAJOR improvement at RFK.

The worst part for me? A lack of intensity and hustle. Kpene gets knocked down some 25 secs into stoppage time, and it's almost 30 secs before they get the play started. They won a corner kick, and then didn't move quickly enough to actually take it. Then at the end of the second half, with that juvenile display, arguing the call for nearly 3 minutes. United wasn't going to win that, and they should have walked away and played the game instead. They needed to score, and they used up precious minutes there. Guess they had given up on the result by then?

The only thing I'll say in DCU's defense was that missed handball was pretty blatant, and pretty significant. C'mon refs! That wasn't just one hand -- it was a two-handed effort. And it wasn't the ball playing the man! You could say it was self-defense, since he moved his hands up from his crotch to his face, but that's still a handball!!! Right in front of the linesman. How can they miss that call????

Posted by: FischFry | October 26, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I think Vanney was being good teammate by taking the blame. It was McTavish who lost his mark, requiring Vanney to try to cover. Burch just froze and ball watched and lost track of Rolfe. The order of blame should be 1. McTavish; 2. Burch and 3. Vanney.

Posted by: griffin1108 | October 26, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

are you kidding me griffin?

Vanney tried to head it back to Perkins IN TRAFFIC. He admitted he didn't realize Rolfe was coming on. That's why you teach defenders to play safety first from a very young age. There is plenty of blame to go around.

Posted by: DC | October 26, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Why are you all hating on Blanco. I think he is one of the best midfielders the mls has.

And I think DC deserved the final score because once again DC goes into a playoff trying to tie the away game ( it happend to years ago with Chicago) . When are they going to go into an away game to ACTUALLY try to win it? I mean When they played in mexico they went to go and defend the score and did it work? No

Posted by: Luis | October 26, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Luis:
I'm not sure how much football you've watched in your time, but fans aren't usually too supportive of the opposing teams best player diving, whining, play acting, feigning injury, needling refs, begging for other players to be carded (and getting them carded) and generally making an ass of himself to the detriment of their team. If he beat United by actually playing well last night we wouldn't be this bitter.

Hope that explains it for you! ;)

Posted by: d, dc | October 26, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Trying for a tie - I hear people throw that around a lot, but I don't think the term reflects reality. Trying for a counter is more like it. Bunkering is not used to intentionally NOT score goals. It's used to limit the opposition. Then the strategy shifts to "jailbreaks." Unfortunately, every time we started down that path, the wings would hold or turn for a flat 90 degree pass. I was at the match. Can't recall a single time in the second half when play was at our end that United drove hard and fast and took players on. THAT was the problem, not bunkering.

Posted by: David | October 26, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Luis - I don't think anyone is on here contending that Blanco is not one of the best, if not the best, attacking midfielder in MLS. People are upset because he shows a disdain for referees, constantly cherry-picks, simulates/flops whenever he gets a chance and generally is a massive pest out on the pitch. Any Blanco fan must realize that he's one of the most polarizing players in the world.

Now, this is not to say that DCU didn't hack him quite a few times (Carroll's challenge comes to mind immediately), but Wynalda's constant praise/support for Blanco on the broadcast rubbed me the wrong way (and I'm sure many other DCU fans agree).

Posted by: tmc | October 26, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I thought McTavish was really shaky last night and almost cost DC another goal in the 2nd Half. Fred, as someone else said, hasn't wowed me much in Midfield. He plays the ball too far ahead in the final 30 and loses possession when in a crowd.

I liked Glenn Davis on play-by-play. He's definitely an improvement. Now, if someone could explain to Wynalda that he's not being paid by the word, we'd all be happier.

Posted by: Dog the Bounty Hunter | October 26, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I thought we played a good match. I'm happy with the result. I said in a post yesterday, that if we came home with a 1 goal disadvantage that we would win this series. I still believe that. Moreno and Emilio got some rest, we held them to 1 goal in their house. No way can Chicago bunker for 90 minutes. We'll have our chances next week, and we'll finish enough of them to win this thing.

However, I will second what Fireman Sam in DC had to say, we never would have been in this situation if Soehn had rested starters against Colombus. But he deffinitely made a good decision to go defensive against Chicago last night.

Posted by: Matte | October 26, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

It's certainly starting to look like both Mctavish and Burch are suffering from too many games in too short a time... these 2 are still players who are relatively young and inexperienced in a long professional season. Yes, Burch is in his 2nd year in MLS, but he only made three appearances as a substitute for LA before being traded to the Columbus Crew. With the Crew, Burch made seven appearances (five starts) . And, McTavish only made five first-team appearances (three starts) in 2006. Inexperience and both mental and physical fatigue are setting in--kinda like it did with Boswell his first year.

Bruan Carroll was just awful!

We lacked intensity and heart. Does not bode well for next Thursday, but I will still be there hoping we can turn this ship around.

Posted by: Soy United! | October 26, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Goff, for once I thought your player ratings were pretty undifferentiated on a night when clearly some showed up and others didn't.

6.5-7s: Perkins, Namoff, Moreno, Simms
5.5: Olsen, Fred
5s: Burch, Gomez, Emilio
3-4: McTavish, Vanney, Carroll, Kpene

Posted by: viv | October 26, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

(Should have made this one post)

So, personnel-wise, I think bench Carroll, who was borderline worthless, bring in Boz for McT. Dyachenk needs a run out--make him a-mid and have Gomez up top.

Hopefully most of this is moot next game as we'll have our full strike force back.

Posted by: Viv | October 26, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Foudy is more observant, more articulate and less egotistical than Wynalda. The latter is not really saying much. Apart from the soccer comments, the comment about the California fires was in unbelievable poor taste, to put it mildly.

Stone is knowledgeable and knows when to keep quiet once in while. I really doubt that he came up with soctober on his own. Sounds like Jim Mike from the Nike WWC commercials came up with that.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Foudy for Wynalda
Stone for the other guy
Boswell for Vanney
Dyachenko for Kpene
Moreno for Carroll
Barry for Fenty

Now we run

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

What no Comments from Blanco?? Goff Step your spanish game up! :p

Posted by: Bolivian DC Fan | October 26, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

As always, I feel most people (both on the DC side and Fireman Sam) are overreacting. We looked shaky for the first half hour, until the Fire retreated because Osorio is conservative and the Chicago lineup featured 6 defenders (3 playing in midfield). In my opinion, the fact that Chicago didn't attempt to go for more is likely to be a major tactical blunder.

For our side, we didn't play well at all in the first half. You can find something wrong with every type of player we had on, save Perkins:

Forward - Kpene is not suited to play alone up front
Attacking midfield - We barely ever got the ball wide to Olsen or Fred, and Gomez was always surrounded (credit Chicago for that)
Defensive midfield - Simms had problems with his touch all night, while BC gave the ball away too often and was not close enough to Fire players when we didn't have the ball
Defense - struggled with fairly easy high balls dropping just behind them

However, there are positives. Blanco was kept pretty quiet, which is the #1 thing to make sure you achieve when playing Chicago. We earned what should have been a penalty (not the one in the wall, but Conde's John O'Brien impression later on). Once Moreno was on, we got the ball in good wide positions.

Now, when you play a team that is dropping 7 or more men every time you get the ball anywhere in their end, you need to go about things differently than we did. You need quick combinations (which means more off-the-ball running) and dribble penetration. We also need people who get the ball wide to get into the box sometimes and cut the ball back towards the penalty spot low and hard. Moreno tried it once, but had touched the ball over the endline just before. Nothing breaks down a bunker like that ball. Earnie Stewart used to be great at using that to set up goals or force own goals. It is very difficult to defend well.

There is every reason to feel confident that we can turn this around. It's not like we struggle to score at RFK. We just need to go about things a little differently when we have possession in attack (I am going out on a limb and assuming that Chicago will again play their ultra-defensive lineup, as they don't really have another option).

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | October 26, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Spicoli | October 26, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

It's a sad situation if KPENE has to start a game. Is there no one on the youth or reserve team or in a local league or someone at a homeless shelter that can't dress in his place? It's absolutely horrific that this guy wears the uniform.

While Vanney misplayed the ball that led to the goal and he and McTavish looked out of their depth in that game, I blame Marc Burch for ball-watching and getting caught out on Rolfe's goal. It's the fundamentals that burn this defense. All three should receive a 4 max rating.

Maybe we should not be going after Veron. Maybe we should try Zanetti instead.

Posted by: bristol | October 26, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

At least Arsenal de Sarandi stomped on the Guadalajara Goats 3-1 in the Sudamericana...

Posted by: Juan-John | October 26, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Don't blame Kpene.

He didn't pencil himself in as a starter.

In the playoffs.

Up top.

Posted by: spike_2.0 | October 26, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Ryan Nelson

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

there are a couple things to say...

First, can somebody tell ESPN Camera Operators to pull out and not zoom in on the ball carrier... They keep loosing the game trying to focus on someone dribbling the ball, its not Football, its Futbol!!! We need to see the next pass, the space, field....

Secondly, what the h-ll is going on with UNITED???? Four plus games of below average performances... True, they had better possession in the second half but Dang.. they weren't creative at all going down the flanks or switching the ball. How times did Burch just chip the ball down the line for Fred??? When there was an open cross for Benny with space ahead... United was not too inventive on the ball. Also, please stop sending those over the top balls to the forwards... Its like 1 in 5 actually hit the target and United is giving possession away cheaply... Keep it on the floor...
Thirdly, Where's the Service???? In the past 4 games the service to Luci in particular has not had the same quality, nor to one else in the final third...

Lastly, United needs to win those second and third balls...

Please, United, BRING the RAWKUS and beat Chi-town down!!!! I dont want to have to eat this ticket from Cali cuz y'all aren't in the FINAL at RFK...

Posted by: Cashous | October 26, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

wow, could be burch be anymore of an ignorant jerk, first he publicly disses freddy, a player who, as he said is a primadonna, but DUH everyone knows that you don't have to ignorant and state it publicly that's just bad taste. and two a sign of a strong team is NOT relyin on one player if DC is so good they shouldn't have to rely on EMILIO, so to be like "we'll be at full strength [next game]" is just stupid. what DouChe.

Posted by: MarkVA | October 26, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Are you reading the same quotes? What did Burch say about Fred that I missed?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Man, there are so many sky is falling types after a loss. Every player was terrible. Bench everyone. Fire Soehn. We suck.

Let's face it, Chicago did nothing. They did nothing to prove they can beat us . . . only that we can beat ourselves.

Posted by: delantero | October 26, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

What did Burch say about Freddy?

Posted by: J | October 26, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Simms is awful.

Posted by: not good | October 26, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

As is often the case with DCU, we hold our future in our hands. If we play up to our ability, Chicago will be done for. If we play down to our opponent, or play cautiously & nervously (as we seemed to last night during the first half), then we are giving up.

Sounds cocky, but we need to impose our will, our style of play, and our presence on Chicago (and anyone else we meet). If the guys on the field can't get up for a match like this, find others who can / will.

Posted by: Are you in good hands? | October 26, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Burch has reached a plateau if not taken two steps back. His inexperience showed mightily on that goal. ALWAYS get goal side, particularly when the center backs step up. Defense 101.

Posted by: chicagobites | October 26, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Burch is a candidate for the patented tough love treatment. I am going to hound him until he steps it up.

Worked great with Namoff. Not so much with Stokes.

Posted by: this is DC UNITED, not U. Maryland | October 26, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Burch said this about Freddy:

Junkies (EB): Is everybody happy to be rid of Freddy, does anybody talk about Freddy these days?

Burch: We don't really talk about him, and a lot of people are happy to be rid of him. He's a little bit of a cancer in the locker room, we have good team chemistry right now, and I don't think anybody is really missin' him. I don't really care too much about Freddy so...

Junkies (EB): Did you think he was a dick, you never really played with him though right?

Burch: I think his ego is a little bit bigger than he is, he's 5'1" and his ego makes him 7 feet all.

Junkies (EB): Did other guys on the team agree with you, without callin' them out?

Burch: You're friends with your teammates, but it gets to you eventually, people like that, sometimes you can't stand them.

Junkies (Cakes): You're basically saying he's just a diva, who's had everything handed to him by the MLS, and he's not nearly up to the level of his press clippings?

Burch: He's as good as he can be, for his age.

Junkies (EB): Did guys on the team believe his advertised age?

Burch: Uhhh, no comment on that one.

Posted by: Soy United! | October 26, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Soy United! | October 26, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Cite the source (this was hard work to transcribe):

http://beanjah.blogspot.com/2007/10/marc-burch-on-freddy-adu.html

Posted by: Edgell Supporter | October 26, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Just watched the replay of the goal. It looked like, instead of going up for the ball, McTavish went out wide to let a much shorter Vanney try to win the header. However, if McTavish had stayed closer to the action, he could have recovered in time to contest Rolff's shot.

I hate the way ESPN uses all of their 37 cameras in a minute, too. All you need are two cams--the game cam and the hottie cam.

Moreno looked pathetic--being unable to charge forward and giving the ball up to the double team on several occasions.

Kpene the lone forward? Mr. Soehn, come on. Kpene can't hold the ball. All he did was pass it back to the midfielders. I'd rather see Fred up top.

Here's to the speedy recovery of our forwards.

Posted by: UVA to RFK | October 26, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Burch needs to apologize to everyone - on his MySpace page of course.

Posted by: Hope Solo | October 26, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Source of above transcription: http://theoffsiderules.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Soy United! | October 26, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I hate the way ESPN uses all of their 37 cameras in a minute, too. All you need are two cams--the game cam and the hottie cam.
Posted by: UVA to RFK | October 26, 2007 02:02 PM
------------------------

Roone Arledge? Is that you?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 26, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Who gives a rat's a$$ what Burch said about a guy who is not even on the team?

Jeez, I thought you meant he was talking about FRED. That might matter.

Burch is right the team is better off without Freddy.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 26, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

1) ESPN's attempt to americanize the game with the dizzying camera switches and the head shots during the run of play was extremely frustrating. Was anybody else shouting "show the game" at the tv?

2) I didn't think Brown kicked Gomez in the leg - I thought it was a late kick in the back. Did you see the way he started laughing as soon as the ref turned away? It was an obvious attempt to provoke or hurt Gomez and I hope the league takes notice the way it did for Clark.

3) For some reason the "heavy defense" backfield combo of using Simms and Carrol in addition to the back 4 does not work and never has, and I wish Soehn would stop going to it. A far better option would be to pair boswell with vanney as the center backs and put mctavish, who has better ball skills than carrol, in next to Simms.

4) But for this game, we need to scrap the extra defense anyway. Perkins' strengths as a goalkeeper are all about positioning and intelligence. I dread the thought of a shoot-out in the post-Rimando era. Also, we are fooling ourselves if we think Emilio is the answer. He was stone cold before the injury, and he goes in streaks. While he could get hot, it seems unlikely in cold weather coming off an injury. I say push Fred forward to the front line with Moreno and put Mctavish on the flank in front of Burch, where he can serve crosses or drop into defense if Burch goes forward.

Posted by: regular fan | October 26, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm not being critical or a smart ass but can someone give me the story about Boswell not starting?

Posted by: Mike | October 26, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

He hasn't had a solid year: He's made several defensive letdowns. He's blown many opportunities for a score. He's fairly inexperienced in the playoffs. He's slow.

The only thing he has on Vanney is height, which could have helped last night.

Posted by: UVA to RFK | October 26, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

First of all, Im a really big fan of DC.

We have to speak the truth, DC united hasn't been playing all that well recently. I don't know if its because of all the recent international tournaments or what. DC has the player to go all the way and win the championship. Yesterday has been one of the worst performance by DC that I have seen in a long time.

The forwards were EASILY getting beat buy the defenders, it was almost as if the forwards were waiting for the ball to get to their foot.

Now Goff I dont think we should use Emilio and Moreno as an excuse that we lost, yeah i know they are our two forwards but still, its a team (and I think your player ratings were alittle off :] ).

Hopefully DC can get it together by the next game, and wo on to conference finals.

Posted by: Luis | October 26, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Boswell needs to stop thinking about his stupid web page, Cosmo cover or which woman he's going to drill and start being a stud on the field.


Kpene was a mistake from the moment I saw the line up.

All these "tournaments" they played in hurt, not helped this team. They're spent. I was hoping they would lose that Shield so it would be one less tournament for these guys. Olsen, Moreno, Gomez and Vanney aren't getting any younger.

Just my .02 YMMV

Posted by: Joe in La La Land | October 26, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'm the only one that enjoyed the ESPN broadcast and pre-game (minus the soc-tober nonsense). Maybe because I remember the early, dark days of MLS, with NO TV coverage. Ever. No FSC, No Comcast sports coverage. Lucky to see 2-3 games per season with Jack Edwards(!) and Ty Keough(!!) as your commentators.
Go watch some broadcasts from 10 years ago and notice the in-the-toilet production values.
The people whining about camera angles need to get some perspective.

Posted by: wisc. ave | October 26, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Telling, when the BigSoccerites seem level-headed and rational in comparison with these blog posts.

Posted by: viv | October 26, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Dear wisc ave.

I'm one of those who were "whining about the camera angles." It's great to have MLS on regularly and cable channels devoted entirely to soccer. But it's not a matter of all v nothing. You missed the point. Just because all the fancy technology exists, doesn't mean the directors have to use it to make the broadcast look like a video game. What we are saying is that the camera switching detracts from, not adds to, the experience.

I'm glad you have perspective on the early, dark days. My first soccer-watching experience was the World Cup in Germany. West Germany. 1974.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 26, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

270 exit 1:

I hear you. Dark days indeed. I understand the need to strive for improvement (e.g. Soc-tober, the unnecessary comparisons with baseball, etc.), but I was seeing a lot of negative comments about the broadcast and felt the need to add a positive one. And appreciation for the fact that there was a broadcast at all. In the past I've had issues with ESPN and their barely disguised hostility towards soccer, but I thought seeing MLS on in primetime, with a pre-game show to boot, was great.

Posted by: wisc ave | October 26, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

i agree with bobf.
lack of imagination in the final third.
its the same thing every time. cross it outside to olsen and burch. crappy cross in and its headed out. same thing every time.

ugh

Posted by: castroviejo | October 26, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I love all the hand wringing over a perceived hand ball but no mention of the number fouls on Blanco (1 from behind with studs showing that should have seen straight red) and Carr being pulled down in the box which should have been a no brainer penalty. Stop making excuses. Chicago owns DC. They will tie 1-1 in DC. Hey at least you'll shop into that 11-0 goal differential Chicago holds on you all time.

Oh and Burch sure talks a lot of bullsh** (Adu and now this) especially for a guy who's half a step below a reserve player on RSL.

Posted by: Blanco's Educated Left Foot | October 26, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I am obviously happy that Chicago won. Though I am not penciling in a spot in the next round yet. DC is a talented team.

Joe in LA LA land: why would you want to lose the Supporters Shield? IF (and I hope you don't :) ) you win the MLS Cup, you'll be playing in all the same tournaments you play in as the regular season champ (Supporter's Shield winner)

I thought DC would want to win both. IMO the Supporter's Shield is as important as MLS Cup is given the fact they both allow you into the international tourneys.

Posted by: papa bear | October 26, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

If you listen to the Burch interview, how he says what he says makes it not as bad, particularly the rest of the part about Freddy's age. He states that he believes Freddy is how old he says he is, but merely that others did not - no shocker there.

Posted by: G-Dub | October 26, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Amazing how many of these comments complement one another, even as you see them as point vs. counterpoint. From FischFry on down, lots of good stuff.
It's not that missing Moreno and Emilio makes them lose the game, but it alters what the team can do on the field. Chest Rockwell pointed to this.
DCU can win this. Defense needs to avoid amateur mistakes. Nothing to be ashamed when the other team creates a terrific opportunity, but c'mon, some dude heaves the ball from his own end, and they score? (terrific strike, btw).
Not sure what you guys think, but a rain-free evening would be nice at RFK.
Keep pressing Blanco. He'll get himself red-carded.
As for being old, how do you think it felt to cheer for Rivelino, Jairzinho, Pele, and the rest, while your Dad is cheering for Italy? :-)

Posted by: Pentacampeao | October 26, 2007 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Come on Tom get Boz in the match!!!! I wonder if the gaffer is trying to put Boz down to prove a pointe or something (website, cosmo,etc) but wasn't this guy just defender of the year?? OMG could Fred wait any longer on flighted balls so more than ONE Fire player could jump infront of him? Get BC out of the mid, he has fallen way down in the pickin order!! A one legged (ankle, whatever) Emilio has to play !! Come on Tom get your squad's head on...and let's get one for the thumb!!

Posted by: moupper90 | October 26, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm assuming that rating for Kpene was supposed to be -5?

Posted by: CD | October 26, 2007 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Burch's comments were uncalled for. What was the point for him to diss Freddy? What a jerk!

Posted by: Charles | October 26, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

To the Blanco fan:

If we're talking about Carroll's tackle that got him a yellow card, that didn't even deserve a card. Carroll successfully played the ball way from Blanco, while Blanco successfully played the ref into giving a foul and card. Ditto, later on, when the Blanco dive near the corner got a free kick. And, it WAS a handball. Now, stop talking smack, and let's let the players setttle it on the field.

To Boswell fans: Have you been watching this year? Dude has made a lot of mistakes. I'm not anxious to see him in for Vanney. Maybe MacTavish, though he's got a better shot.

To the Simms hater: Yeah, Simms gives away the ball and seems to run without purpose. But, his speed on defense is indispensable -- at least until United can find somene with the whole package.

To the Ryan Nelson poster: Are you trying to start a rumor? Because I was just wondering what it would take to get him back...

Meanwhile, we've got our forwards back, and we've got a rocking RFK waiting...

Posted by: FischFry | October 27, 2007 1:54 AM | Report abuse

Coverage on the ESPN is great, believe. Yes, there are a lot of room for improvement such as better camera ankles and to bring better match commentators. It's different how you see the feild and the players from watching EPL, Bundes Liga and La Liga than to MLS. Their camera ankles have been set the way you can see the ball and players movement so beatifully but in MLS everything is crowded. I don't mind Dave O'Brian, Derek Dae, Tommy Smith and someone with J. P. D something from ESPN. They are the best ESPN can offer as far as the commentator goes.

Posted by: td | October 27, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

These quotes look sadly too much like the 05 quotes after we stole a 0-0 draw in Chicago. I have a feeling we're in for another serious home playoff embarrassment at the hands of the Fire. The parallels are a little too much to ignore for me.

Posted by: Anon | October 27, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

United needs to be creative in attack. Overlaps, wide play.

Get Fred out of the g*dd@mn left wing...

Posted by: spike_2.0 | October 27, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

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