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United Rewind

Before we reflect on yet another tie, a few items to share:

*The buzz in MLS circles is that San Jose's Bobby Convey, who returned to the league from England this year, is already on the trading block. However, his $244,500 salary will make it difficult for the woeful Earthquakes to move him. Perhaps he'll end up back home in Philadelphia with the expansion Union next year.

*Will Chang, D.C. United's primary investor after Victor MacFarlane's exit this week, tells the Insider that, although he wasn't at RFK tonight, he was able to watch the match on TV and saw the "Chang We Can Believe In" banner unfurled by the supporters. "I am deeply touched," he said. "We have the best fans in the league."

*Alan Kelly, the former DCU goalies coach and Irish goalkeeping legend who died this week, will be remembered by friends and family May 31 at 5 p.m. at Ireland's Four Courts pub in Arlington. The public is welcome. More details soon.

As for DCU-RSL......

Josh Wicks. Josh Wicks. Josh Wicks. Was there anything else to take from this mind-numbing, instantly forgettable match? Okay, United's backline was pretty good too. Click here to watch Wicks's saves.

Player ratings, story links and bonus quotes on the continuation of this thread.....

Paul Tenorio's Freedom match report from the 2-1 victory over Sky Blue FC.

My United match report.

PLAYER RATINGS
Wicks 8; Namoff 7, Jakovic 7, Burch 7; Quaranta 5, Jacobson 6, Simms 6, Gomez 5, Fred 3; Moreno 5, Emilio 4. Subs: Pontius 6, Wallace 6, N'Silu 5.

Bonus quotes from Tom Soehn:

"It's not the first team that has bunkered against us, but the way we addressed it, we didn't move off each other at all; we just stood there and waited for the next guy to do it. The second half we adjusted a bit and it got better, but still obviously we couldn't break them down."

"I thought we were flat. The one thing we have done against other teams that have bunkered and we've been able to open up is the movement off each other has been so good. ... At the end of the game, we just played kickball. That's something we haven't done in a while."

On Moreno's departure at halftime: "He wasn't feeling well [during the day]. He wanted to go and we just felt like he wasn't getting enough of the game and didn't have the energy."

On Pontius and Wallace not starting: "Chris put a lot of minutes in Wednesday. Rodney has never sat. We're trying to keep everybody healthy and fresh. When you play a lot of games, you always worry about guys hurting themselves, and we are going to be cautious to make sure everybody is healthy."

By Steve Goff  |  May 24, 2009; 12:24 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , MLS  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: DCU Matchnight #11: United-RSL
Next: USA Roster Announced

Comments

First
3 things:
-Wallace needs a right foot
-Fred needs a day of game pace finishing
-Moreno can put a great game in every time he wins an award, not every week

Posted by: SexyOffender | May 24, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Wicks and the D were the story of the game. If he can keep improving like this, it'll be hard to find a reason to keep Crayton around.

Burch came up big tonight with some nice tackles, hopefully a trend. And Tino had some great and creative touches, but no one got to them.

Not a game where I saw much growth outside of Wicks. bleh, getting sick of ties.

Posted by: eadc | May 24, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Ties are better than a loss......... I'm not so sure right now. This is getting real old. What was up with all the kickball in the second half. Offensive creativity (there was none) was severely lacking in the second half. Having said that, the keeper and back line play was very encouraging tonight.

Posted by: croftonpost | May 24, 2009 1:02 AM | Report abuse

4 of the 6 games tonight were ties, so it's not like United is the only team suffering form this, but seriously? Enough already. Maybe this whole parity thing has gone a little too far.

Posted by: Kenobi | May 24, 2009 1:29 AM | Report abuse

The physicality of the game worked in RSL's favor - their back line easily outmuscled our attackers. Great, gutty defensive display by both teams, which to me redeemed an otherwise 'forgettable' match. Seems silly to trash this or that player for missing a chance here or there, that happens every game. Give some credit to the opposition for coming prepared.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | May 24, 2009 1:45 AM | Report abuse

agreed the defense was very strong on both sides. at least we kept the clean sheet.

Posted by: pino149 | May 24, 2009 1:58 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Will Chang not being in attendance at RFK tonight... he WAS in attendance last week's United match vs. Chivas at Home Depot Center and after the game he came over and personally shook hands with and thanked the United fans who attended the match. It was a nice touch and it made this week's news even more palatable. Love the "Chang we can believe in" banner! Great idea. I agree.

Posted by: UnitedFanInTX | May 24, 2009 2:06 AM | Report abuse

croftonpost:

I think the problem had a lot more to do with the utterly stagnant play by everyone in the offensive end. Tonight, DCU was just too slow in thought and action. Perfect example: Quaranta attempted to put Wallace through. The decision was right, but the play took forever to develop. RSL was so scrambled at the moment that this delay didn't hurt us. However, Quaranta's ball through to Wallace was itself slow enough for Russell to make the tackle and break up the play. That should have been, at worst, Wallace and Rimando colliding on a loose ball (which means an at least decent chance at a loose ball in the box with an empty net gaping).

***

There wasn't much to take from this game offensively, but it was nice to see our defense hold RSL to mostly long shots. The shot stats seem gaudy for RSL, but they don't tell the true story of the game (though it must be said that Wicks made 4 great stops, while Rimando had little to do). RSL's low pressure tactics confounded us, but I think the bigger cause for such a lackluster and irritating draw was just slow thinking, reacting, and movement.

I have different ratings from SG. Wicks got a 7.5 in my mind; not much of a difference. This was the first game from any of our keepers that I would deem good, so hopefully Soehn will let him have a few more games.

Across the back, I had Namoff with a 6 and Jakovic and Burch on 7s. It seemed RSL wanted to test Burch more than Namoff, who had comparatively little to do. However, I dock Namoff for being bested a couple times by Morales. Sure, one of these instances was a foul against Namoff that was clearly Morales taking a dive, but we're talking about 2 cagey vets putting all their tricks on the line, and Morales got the better of the battle.

In the midfield, I thought Jacobson really needed to push forward more often and more effectively, so I drop him to a 5. Gomez did little for me tonight; his best moment was winning a throw-in by pressuring hard despite a calf cramp. Your #10 is supposed to offer things a little harder to find than hustle. I had him on a 4.5. I think the 3 for Fred is really harsh; sure, his finishing was garbage, but he was the only attacking player for United tonight that offered good movement and, for lack of a better term, looked "switched on". Everyone else was flat and mediocre. I give him a 5; the positives of his play are still tempered by the misses.

Emilio put in a decent shift and won a couple difficult headers, so I kept him at 5 (though I considered dropping him down for the lack of threat, I feel like that's more down to the flat showing by our creators).

With the subs, I had 5s for Pontius and Wallace, with N'Silu (who barely even made himself known) a 4.5.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | May 24, 2009 2:34 AM | Report abuse

and I was complaining that the game shown on my system was LAG-FC Dallas -- which also stunk, by the way, but perhaps was better than the DCU snoozefest.

at least I got to attend the Benfica game last night. Mantorras scored in stoppage time of what was likely his last game ever.

Posted by: troy6 | May 24, 2009 3:25 AM | Report abuse

As I mentioned last week,DCU has two teams:One with the Latin flavor showing ball skills and the occasional surprise but clearly aging and unable to provide energy for 90 minutes--to me the #1 problem last night. The other features Pontius, Wallace, N'Silu (Boyzzz),Barklage,Jakobson complemented by Tino,Simms in both "teams" who offer energy and greater speed but less skill and makes us look like most MLS teams.
What was particularly frustrating last night that just about all clearances came right back b/c Emilio failed as a target player and Jaime+ Christian G.are clearly on a downward slope approaching the end of their careers. Remember that both got benched in NYNJ and Colo,respec-
tively. TS will have to figure out how to transition from the 2007 and before teams to the future. Too many fans are caught up in the past-don't we all do that?- but the very occasional brilliance of our aging Latin stars can not be sustained over time. Now, if we had a healthy Gallardo with all the youngsters...but we don't.Coach P.

Posted by: bechtoldpk | May 24, 2009 4:05 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the points above concerning timing, execution, and age. Well said.

I have said this numerous times before but United must find a player who can create in the offensive third when Jaime is out or off his game. At the moment United is one team when Jaime is on and another team when he is off. Unfortunately, the problem is only going to get worse as he ages.

Posted by: croftonpost | May 24, 2009 6:36 AM | Report abuse

@ bechtoldpk

Actually, I think this proved that we Need our rookies and younger players out there to score. They provide the energy and grit that was lacking for at least two seasons, maybe three.

I liked Wicks. Please let this not be a fluke.

This game was actually somewhat predictable, as I have come the conclusion that we are a drama team. Meaning, we only score fluently when we are down.

I still think Burch should go, and doesn't deserve a 7. Our entire backline would be unbelievably improved with someone who can play that position, (not John).

Emilio? When he doesn't finish enough over the entire season, then you dump him. He's scored good goals.

Fred is a better creator than a finisher. However, Gomez did well last night.

Pontius is our only solid, tried and true goalscorer.

Hopefully next time, we figure out how to win with a shutout.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 24, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Way off topic but does anybody have a link to free tv or radio for Glasgow Rangers match? It just kicked off and Marcus Edu is on the pitch and playing for the Scotish championship.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | May 24, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

When teams bunker, you basically have a couple of ways to deal with it:
--crisp, tight-space, give-and-go, one-touch passing
--movement off the ball combined with good timely switch of play (think of a basketball team undressing a zone defense)
--direct soccer, played mostly in the air

Direct could have been a decent option against a short, rusty Rimando who's never been strong on crosses except that Olave and Borchers are pretty good antidotes to that type of attack. Movement off the ball--we should be good at that but as Soehn pointed out it wasn't there. Quaranta, Pontius, Fred and maybe Wallace are our attackers who seem to have shown the most of that this season, both wise movement but also energy off the ball...sustaining runs, not stopping after you've made 3 runs and not seen the ball. Quick play--you'd have thought that was a strength as well with Gomez and Moreno out there (at least quick play in tight space).

RSL sought to bunker and play counter ball (great strategy for a team in a slump who has never scored on the road this season and has Robbie Findley as an attacking option). Good of our guys to get a shutout and play sharp enough to not give up such a goal. That said, this was a game we should have had: playing a team in a slump, lineup and tactics designed only to defend in depth and counter (so score an early goal and they're hosed) against a team historically bad on the road in a stadium that has been a house of horrors for them.

Posted by: JoeW1 | May 24, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

There are Soccer Gods. They punished Chelsea for playing anti-soccer in the first match against Barcelona by temporarily blinding the referee at key monents in the second match.

Last night, they honored the late Alan Kelly with the goalkeeper coach's dream: a 0-0 scoreline.

If you have any doubts of supernatural intervention, just remember: one of the goalkeepers was Josh Wicks.

Posted by: granadoskerry | May 24, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

I thought Burch played his best game all season. Comparing his effort last night with Avery John's on Wednesday -- the job is Burch's. However, I think having John press Burch for playing time, had had some impact on Burch's development. For the first time in several years, DCU has bench players who "could" start under certain circumstances and that development has made the "starters" much sharper than in years past.

Posted by: griffin1108 | May 24, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, and parity comment is quite true. But it plain to see last year, how long it took for even one team to be denied a chance for the playoffs was horrifying and astounding. Solution? Raise salary cap. Why it won't happen? Not enough fans, and bad situations a.k.a RFK

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 24, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I took away several tings:

1. Jaime was tired and had no energy. He usually does and that made a difference.
2. Gomez didn't get the ball enough. WHether that is because he didn't show or the team didn't pass it his way I don't know but I didn't see him for long stretches.
3. No Ben. Probably the biggest difference was ther was no bite and energy in the midfield. (Fred had some yes). My guess is that if Ben payed this is a win.
4. Long ball. How many times did Burch just launch it? or Namoff? I'd ike to see Wallace at left back and see his speed and skill burn some players on the outside. That would be a threat that Burch doesn't offer.
5. I thought we would dominate givent that this is arguably our best lineup (minus Ben).

Last year this was a loss. I'll take the tie. We're in first place, we can get a lot better; hey it's all good.

Posted by: RRP1 | May 24, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Was anybody else impressed with Gomez' 60 yard sprint with the ball that left several Real players in the dust and was dropped off for Emilio, who once again showed how ridiculously slow he is and could not get a shot off.

Emilio scores and is good in the box, but it really hurts when you know almost every through ball or pass that requires speed vs an opponent will be lost by Emilio. This kills United's attack.

I wouldn't bother passing to him anymore .

Posted by: united100 | May 24, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

@United100: I was impressed with Gomez's sprint, he should have shot himself. I'm not gonna criticize Luci though.

Posted by: DadRyan | May 24, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

With all the decent Midfielders we have on the team, it seems strange to me that Burch and Namoff are the guys controlling the distribution...And subsequently, that will always affect how Emilio plays. Playing the long ball strategy is never a way to consistently win games..Poor coaching again...It appears Real Salt Lake has our number!

Posted by: alan19 | May 24, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

There are Soccer Gods. They punished Chelsea for playing anti-soccer in the first match against Barcelona by temporarily blinding the referee at key monents in the second match.

Last night, they honored the late Alan Kelly with the goalkeeper coach's dream: a 0-0 scoreline.

If you have any doubts of supernatural intervention, just remember: one of the goalkeepers was Josh Wicks.


Posted by: granadoskerry |

**************************

Good one!

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | May 24, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I don't think blaming Emilio is going to get us very far.

Hopefully, this will help us realize that we need to do some things concretely before we become a winning team. All our come from behinds and, if we had only focused doesn't mean anything.

Eventually, some teams will start winning. If we want to be among them, win at home. Clean sheets.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 24, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

anyone watching Milan v. Roma? It's like the bizarro United game with end to end action ad 4 goals in the last 15 minutes of the game (so far). Highly entertaining.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | May 24, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Also has anyone seen Convey play much this year? I thought he would help make San Jose better, but that hasn't happened and I'm wondering if maybe be has just stagnated as a player due to injuries, etc.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | May 24, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Emilio is slow, can't hold the ball and KILLs way to many build-ups. I'd rather move Gomes up with Pontius (who clearly has the creativity to score and create chances) and stretch the field more. That would open it up for Moreno and Quaranta to take a well-timed shot or two as well. Also, we have to get used to seeing 45 minutes, tops, from Moreno. This is looking more and more like a "building" year where we see what players are going to take over in the years to come. We'll win and make the playoffs but it is much more important to start finding who is going to replace our aging front line.

Finally, was it just me or were Quaranta and Moreno at odds with each other. I could have sworn Quaranta was having words with Jaime.

Posted by: jnel | May 24, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Guys, I dont know, I hope you understand that Luciano will not perform miracles by himself. We all know DC needs another striker to help Lici up front. If Luci doesnt get the from the Midfielder there is no way...Lets not Point to just a Player its the entire team...How many mistakes has the defence done and you havent said nothing about it?????? We Need an EXPERIENCE CENTRAL DEFENDER WITH CHARACTER, LEADERSHIP AND ANOTHER STRIKER TO HELP LUCI..........

Posted by: ajs101 | May 24, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else notice that during the pregame introductions, the PA announcer said that the visiting team was coached by "Jason Crease?" There is but one suitable reaction to such a mispronunciation: Oh, for Kreissake!

Posted by: universityandpark | May 24, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I agree with jnel that this is a (re)building year this season. DC is in the process of transitioning its old nucleus (moreno, gomez, olsen and emilio) out for a new one (pontius, wallace, barklage, n'silu, khumalo, jakovic, and jacobson) this year. We are going to have a ton of cap room when the old guys come off the books next year. I see Namoff, Simms, Fred and Quaranta as the new old guard. We need to take some of that freed up cash and find a new left back and a new attacking mid with pedigree. If Wicks doesn't answer the call or Kocic isn't ready, maybe we could spend a little on a new goalie as well. Hell, maybe we could answer one of those needs immediately when (if) Crayton comes off the books this summer.

The foundation for sustained excellence in the future is in place. Hopefully the FO can have an equally superb offseason next winter as well and we should be good to go.

Posted by: JaimeSegundo | May 24, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

another great foward will not help emilio with his ball control or finishing.

his first touch is pretty awful for a foward, and his finishing should be better for the amount of opportunities he gets. I am a believer that you judge someone on how many goals that have and how many goals they missed. Emilio's ratio is very low.

Posted by: Norteno4life | May 24, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

So, five goals isn't enough for this early in the season? I'm not for getting rid of him, because I know that we probably won't find a better striker for MLS, not if we get Palermo, or some other aging guy who is trying to retire with a million in his pocket.

We should be concerned with the overall team performance, because, as far as I'm concerned, Luciano's doing what he's paid to do.

As for repeated calls for an experienced center back, don't throw out the Jakovic with the Burch-water. He's doing a marvelous job of taking the ball away from opponents cleanly. Trust me, all out problems would not be solved by the almighty foreign veteran, since what we get is golden oldies who know their clubs don't want them anymore.

Jakovic stays. If he doesn't, you'll just end up pining for him like Perkins and Boswell.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 24, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"Finally, was it just me or were Quaranta and Moreno at odds with each other. I could have sworn Quaranta was having words with Jaime."

@jnel

Jaime played a ball back to Tino on the right flank, which Tino brilliantly one-touched back into the space Jaime was NOT running into (and should have been -- Tino was right). Tino then looks at Jaime and spreads his arms out in the universal gesture of "WTF!" And then -- well, then Tino didn't play another ball to Jaime the whole rest of the first half, I think, despite a number of opportunities.

To Goff all praise, but a five for both Moreno and Quaranta? No, 4 and 6

Posted by: dccal | May 24, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Will Chang not being in attendance at RFK tonight... he WAS in attendance last week's United match vs. Chivas at Home Depot Center and after the game he came over and personally shook hands with and thanked the United fans who attended the match. It was a nice touch and it made this week's news even more palatable. Love the "Chang we can believe in" banner! Great idea. I agree.

Posted by: UnitedFanInTX | May 24, 2009 2:06 AM
==============================

He seemed to really enjoy it when he showed up and I slapped him a nice, hard high-5.


Oh yeah, fire Soehn too.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | May 24, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

RRP1:

In a back three, your defenders overlap only in very rare cases. Having Wallace back there and telling him to get forward would make our already poor goals against record get worse.

alan19:

I don't think Namoff and Burch were supposed to be main outlets for us. There was nothing in the game that made it look like this was a tactical idea from Soehn, so calling it "poor coaching" seems like an unwarranted shot to me. The reason they were on the ball so much was that the guys that were supposed to be on the ball were all not moving into good positions to receive it. That, combined with RSL's low pressure up top, meant that Namoff and Burch consistently had time and space to play the ball.

UnitedDemon:

I couldn't agree more. Personally, I think the sudden anti-Emilio stuff in this thread might be the least reasonable thing I've read this season.

Emilio thrives on being given the ball in the right spots. When we play as flat and stagnant as we did last night, his suppliers won't get the ball in spots where they can in turn put him in scoring positions. On nights where the whole team is clearly on, Emilio gets chance after chance because he's the right compliment to our set of midfielders and forwards.

Seriously, on a team leading the league in scoring, our top scorer is the problem? Really? It's not, I don't know, the porous defense? The fact that our top keeper at the moment is the same guy who was flat out dreadful in LA last year?

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | May 24, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

RRP1:

Chest is right about overlapping from a back 3, and I actually thought Burch had some good long distance field changes and more dangerous balls into the box than I can remember from him.

But you're right about Gomez . . . and I think it's because he wasn't demanding the ball. I don't remember him showing to it nearly enough.

universityandpark:
I chuckled at "Jason Crease" too, but doggone if he didn't look like a BMOC frat boy in that jeans/oxford outfit.

Posted by: benonthehill | May 24, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Emilio is a poacher. Why does everyone want him to take defenders on from 25 yards out? Won't happen. His goal last week was fantastic. His attempted header this week, with Fred sitting alone . . abysmal.

I say put Pontius or Tino up top with him, Fred on the right mid, Wallace on the left mid. Gomez, Olsen/McTavish (NOT JACOBSON!!).

Posted by: delantero | May 24, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I was just gonna lurk like usual....but, all this Emilio talk is kinda interesting to me.
I don't know how many times the ball bounced off Emilio like an haphazard pile of bricks last night. Me and my son said almost at the same time," Emilio, where attacks go to die."
Nobody questions that he can score and does net a lot of chances for DCU.
It is his inability to take a ball at midfield and return it to a MF or spray it wide or make a thru pass that drives people nuts. 10-15 turnovers per game to 1 goal per 2.5 games gets a little much to take sometimes.
All that said, I am a typical fan-boy who loves him when he scores and yells at him when he drives a stake thru another transition attack.

Posted by: googlio | May 24, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Quaranta deserves more than a 5; he was trying to pump the ball in and get things going. Moreno deserves less than a five for his effort. And I'm getting very tired of seeing Fred butcher every chance from four yards out, but scoring only when the keeper is totally out of the play.

Posted by: b18bolo | May 24, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Chest-Rockwell: "In a back three, your defenders overlap only in very rare cases. Having Wallace back there and telling him to get forward would make our already poor goals against record get worse."

Absolutely correct. Which is why, especially with Ben out, we should try a back four, with Wallace on the left and Janicki or McTavish or John joining Jakovic in the middle. It is far better to have Wallace on the field than Jacobson. The system should fit the players, not vice versa.

Posted by: granadoskerry | May 25, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

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