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United Rewind

The storyline from D.C. United's 4-3 loss at Houston begins with the sudden collapse amid the Dynamo's three-goal uprising late in the first half. It includes Josh Wicks being frozen in time as Brad Davis's shot reached the far corner and Bryan Namoff retreating as Brian Ching rumbled into the penalty area for the second goal. There was the questionable penalty kick decision against Dejan Jakovic, Luciano Emilio's two second-half goals and Fred's blast.

The storyline must also include this: 4-4-2. United shored up its defense and drastically improved its play when, at halftime, Tom Soehn shifted Marc Burch to central defense with Jakovic and inserted Avery John at left back. Although Houston's drop in concentration allowed United to attack fluidly, D.C.'s alignment brought badly needed shape and balance to its game.

"We should definitely look into it," Jakovic said afterward, responding to a suggestion that the formation become permanent. "It showed we can play with four in the back even though we haven't been playing it all season. We did well."

Jakovic said last week that he enjoyed playing in a four-man backline with Canada at the Gold Cup because the defenders didn't have to cover as much ground and had more freedom to go forward since there was more cover around them. Will Soehn stick with the 4-4-2 on Tuesday against Firpo in San Salvador? Jakovic and Greg Janicki in the middle with Burch and Namoff on the flanks?

After the week United just endured -- blowing a two-goal lead at San Jose, settling for a tie at home with Firpo, buckling under Houston's first-half pressure -- perhaps the time has come to shake things up.

Read my match report with quotes.

PLAYER RATINGS
Wicks 3.5; Namoff 4, Jakovic 4, Burch 5; Quaranta 4, Jacobson 4, Olsen 4, Gomez 4, Fred 5; Pontius 4, Moreno 5. Subs: John 5, Emilio 7.5, Szetela 5.

By Steve Goff  |  August 2, 2009; 1:34 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Comments

I don't think we can win a championship with Wicks. I'd like to see Milos more.

Posted by: tpm26 | August 2, 2009 1:52 AM | Report abuse

Why didn't Soehn start with a 4-4-2 sooner in the season? I feel like it's deja vu from two years ago.

Posted by: Juan-John | August 2, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Screw your heads on tighter next time, boys. That's honestly all I can say. What else is there to say? Three minutes, literally asleep, costs us three points. Game over.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | August 2, 2009 2:07 AM | Report abuse

I aksed Fred to just stay at a 5, he did that.

Very glad to see Emilio's game like that, high energy, dangerous, more like what I think it should be.

I guess I'd be down with the 442

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | August 2, 2009 2:21 AM | Report abuse

I'm curious what everyone thinks about this. What is more important now, the CCL/Firpo or the exhibition against Madrid? For what it's worth Madrid also has an exhibition two days earlier in Toronto. As a DCU fan I personally vote for the CCL because it matters more but I realize Madrid brings a MLS image issue to the table.

Posted by: croftonpost | August 2, 2009 4:18 AM | Report abuse

Firing Soehn at this point in the season would accomplish little. They need to dance with what they got for now. If the season comes up short then address the coaching issue.

Posted by: croftonpost | August 2, 2009 4:27 AM | Report abuse

In the balance of pros and cons between 4-4-2 and 3-5-2, the absence of Clyde Simms tips the scales heavily toward adding a fourth defender. The recent tailspin coincides with the loss of Simms; maybe what's needed is an extra defender to cope with that loss. If he comes back and is 100%, then maybe go back to what had us at or near first place most of the season.

Posted by: granadoskerry | August 2, 2009 5:46 AM | Report abuse

Fortunately I am in Barcelona on holiday and missed the travesty last night. I've been calling for a 4 man back line for weeks now and maybe Soehn has finally learned his lesson. You cannot play 3 in the back and hope to win any trophies! Don't know why he moved Burch to the center when McTavish and Janicki are both better suited for the position. If he settles on a another central defender the team might rebound and do well; if not we are looking at a repeat from last year.

Posted by: agoldhammer | August 2, 2009 5:54 AM | Report abuse

Couldn't agree more about Simms. I think they have to make the switch to a 4-4-2. The personnel dictates it. Right now I would even prefer a 4-5-1 to a 3-5-2.

Posted by: croftonpost | August 2, 2009 6:46 AM | Report abuse

Never a fan of Wicks. Again the ref's decision, in a legit league that was not even remotely a pk. Jakovic clearly got the ball. but then again dumb founded ref can't understand that. everyone is crab except one nice thing to look is fred's beautiful goal.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | August 2, 2009 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Pontius is very good at blowing off excellent chances, loosing possession and hitting straight at the keeper. Rating should have been even lower to everyone. Wicks should get one for saving the one last blast. Quaranta, what can i say? every cross was disgraceful. he should not have practiced hitting gridon ball. everyone suck.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | August 2, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Fire Soehn. We won't win with him.

His reliance on the 3-5-2 when the personnel available are not suited to it means he i not coaching well.

In a 4-4-2 Janicki does well, he does not in 3-5-2. Burch's liabilities are constantly exposed in 3-5-2 not so much in 4-4-2 though I thought Avery did well and don't see why we keep an experienced international on the bench in order to keep Burch on the field. Burch's sole thought upon receiving the ball is to launch a long ball. It is so predictable it is laughable. We might as well pass the ball to the other team. This is Soehn's fault.

He overuses our two rookies. Why keep Szetela on the bench? He needs minutes.

Jacobsen did well, I thought.

Posted by: RRP1 | August 2, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Jacobson played well--much better in the second half than the first. He obviously enjoys the freedom/flexibility of the 4-4-2. Maybe it's time to switch Pontius and Tino--Party Boy can't buy a goal right now. I assume we were saving Szetela for a more significant role in El Salvador--but he also looked very active and creative while he was in there.

Posted by: dcarmy | August 2, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

I didn't know that Fred could kick the ball that hard.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 2, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I know they want to show well when they play at FedEx, but CCL is way more important at this point. Especially since, after seeing what I saw last night, I don't think DC will make a deep run into the playoffs.

Posted by: nairbsod | August 2, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Well, a 442 would make Habarugira's signing (and performance) a bit more critical. It's not as though we're loaded with depth in the back.

Posted by: benonthehill | August 2, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Some of you guys overreact to every little thing. Wicks has one bad game and you've never been a fan of him? Didn't hear you saying that last week.

John has one decent half and suddenly he should be starting ahead of Burch? Have you not seen any of John's other appearances this year? Surprisingly, Burch was our best defender in this match.

I think the 4-4-2 is good in certain situations, but not necessarily every match for the rest of the year. On the road against Firpo and then Toronto both look like good times for the 4-4-2, at least until we get Simms back. I actually thought we did well with Namoff-Jakovic-Burch-John. Not sure that I trust Janicki enough to be a regular starter right now. But I'm sure he'll get a chance when we have multiple match weeks.

Posted by: DCUMD | August 2, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

DCUMD - you read my mind. DC has been off the past three games (SJ, Fipro, Houston) but you gotta have faith. A bad two weeks and people already want to fire the coach, cut players, and play the blame game? DC is still sitting in third and not in a bad position. Emilio is heating up on one of his goal-scoring streaks again which is good. No worries - wait until the last two weeks of the season to start blaming.

Posted by: AnthonyTheGreat | August 2, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Agree - Fire Soehn. We won't win with him!

How many more games/tournaments/seasons/years must we suffer?

Posted by: Fino100 | August 2, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

As I have been saying for weeks now, the loss of Simms is crucial. Without him our midfield loses its physical presence. Once again we created enough chances to get a result from this match. Pontius has to finish at least one out of the three clear chances he has.

Also, I am not ready to throw Wicks under the bus. That is just ridiculous. To begin with on the first goal Namoff's angle definitely screened Wicks. Plus on that first goal, as I watched from my tv, right when Brad Davis got the ball I said "step" (common word used to tell someone to close the ball down) yet no one stepped. Looks like the guy on the couch got that one right.... If you give a guy a 19 yard shot you will get punished.

Then on the second goal Stuart Holden's run made Namoff play Ching as it where a 2 v 1. I blame neither Namoff or Wicks as the break down came from Burch/Jackovic losing the ball earlier in the defensive half, resulting in the Ching breakaway scenario.

As we all have noted those three minutes killed DC, but a lack of finishing played a huge part in DC not getting a result.

Posted by: grubbsbl | August 2, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I agree about the overeaction concerning the play. The only change I have called for is the formation change due to Simm's injury. Having said that, the criticism of Tuesday night's line-up was very justified. The Champions League is not the US Open Cup and the opponent wasn't the Ocean City Barons. The planning for the match was putrid at best. However, I still didn't call for anyone's firing. Just don't make the same mistake this week or I will have a problem with it.

Posted by: croftonpost | August 2, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

well said grubbsbl. Agree totally. Most people don't realize the significant role Simms plays for this team. DCU are a frustrating team to watch. Does not have the right mentality. Too many lapses in concentration, bad finishing, poor performances by many players game in game out. Open cup is our only chance of glory.

Posted by: uknowmeas-GQ | August 2, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

grubbsb1:
It was Moreno who lost the ball in MF prior to goal #2, not "Burch/Jackovich". In fact, every out-of-town announcer has been saying for 2 years at least that Jaime "no longer moves around, but picks his spots". So did I when I turned that age. When a team has 2 Latin players overage in midfield,we should not be surprised that the backs pound the ball upfield b/c nobody is open. I don't blame the players for being overage(for these positions); I blame the coaching/front office for not seeing it/ refusing to act on it.

Posted by: bechtoldpk | August 2, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Pontius is very good at blowing off excellent chances, loosing possession and hitting straight at the keeper.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | August 2, 2009 7:24 AM

You've just described nearly every forward in MLS. Why do you think Schelotto leads the league in goals?

Pontius is doing fine in his rookie season.

Posted by: Kev29 | August 2, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

How did Moreno rate a 5? Maybe a 3. He was absolutely horrid last night. If Moreno is a 5, based on that Metric, Fred is a 7 and so is Szetela.

Benny looked horrible once he picked up that yellow, and with the exception of one decent run, Gomez was invisible til he picked his up.

I'd seriously consider benching all 3 at Firpo, which would really amount to a 2 game benching for Benny since he has a yellow-card accumulation suspension in the next MLS match.

My Ratings: Wicks 5, Namoff 4.5, Jakovic 4.5, Burch 5.5, Tino 4, Jacobson 4, Olsen 3, Fred 5.5, Gomez 3, Pontius 4, Moreno 3, Emilio 6.5, Szetela 5.5, John 5

Firpo lineup:

--------------Kocic--------------
Namoff--Jakovic---Burch------John
-------------Wallace-------------
Tino-------------------------Fred
-------------Szetela-------------
----------Pontius--Emilio--------

Subs: Wicks, Moreno, Gomez, Olsen, Jacobsen, McTavish, Janicki

Posted by: alecw81 | August 2, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I wish everyone would add Payne to their venom list. Don't think for a single solitary minute that Tuesday was all Soehn's doing. I guarantee you Payne was completely in on that decision. Where are all the defenders tonight of that ridiculous line-up on Tuesday now?

Posted by: croftonpost | August 1, 2009 9:25 PM |
--------------------------------------------------

I do not mean to single any one out, but this reaction makes no sense to me at all. In fact, I thought the opposite. I looked forward to all the bellyaching by the same people who complained how awful the lineup was on Tuesday...because of the hypocrisy. By comparison, the play of the lineup Tuesday night was several leagues better than last night.

Last night, DCU fielded their best-quality lineup, and looked horrible. Really bad. United had one good goal, when Houston let Fred run free. On his first goal, Emilio shot wide, but James knocked it in. The third goal was one of those freaky pinball goals that came from hustle, not skill. United has trouble creating chances, even more trouble finishing them, and the defense was badly exposed...even in the four-man formation.

Still, United is probably not that bad. They really were sleep-walking through the whole first half, not just the 3 minutes. I know it was hot, but you have to find a way to run, not stand around and watch. Sure, the ref was crappp, but United deserved to lose.

The effort was so bad that I am seriously considering shunning United.

Posted by: fischy | August 2, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

BTW, the worst call was not the penalty. The worst (non)call was not even whistling a foul when Jakovic was scissored to the ground by Ching, which led to the yellow card lovetap foot sweep of Holden by Olsen. Ching deserved at least a yellow, if not a straight red.

Posted by: fischy | August 2, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Goff wrote this:

.... a ghastly three-goal downfall that emerged without warning ...

I do not agree. You never expect a barrage like that, but I felt the first goal coming. The Dynamo were doing whatever they wanted on offense.

Posted by: fischy | August 2, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I do not mean to single any one out, but this reaction makes no sense to me at all. In fact, I thought the opposite. I looked forward to all the bellyaching by the same people who complained how awful the lineup was on Tuesday...because of the hypocrisy. By comparison, the play of the lineup Tuesday night was several leagues better than last night.

Posted by: fischy | August 2, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I'm totally confused by your comment, because DC was horrible Tuesday as well as last night. What's your point?

This team is unorganized, slow and tactically adrift, just like it was this time last year. For all those "We can't switch now, who could replace Soehn etc. blah blah blah..." types I applaud your acceptance of mediocrity, enjoy the Open Cup, because that's as good as it will get under this staff. Anyhow Soehn doesn't have the goods and that has been readily apparent for about 20 months now, until he is gone the MLS cup is a far distant dream, so goodnight and goodluck.

Posted by: SoehntheExit | August 2, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

What I mean is there is little point in criticizing the roster choices on Tuesday. The hoped-for lineup played last night instead, and really stunk. No reason to think they would have done better on Tuesday.

Posted by: fischy | August 2, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone ever won a championship in a 3-5-2?

Posted by: delantero | August 2, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Namoff needs a rest, too. He's had a bad run lately between the own goal and his role in the goal last night (ok so he did get a nice header a bit back).

But that was some of the weakest 1 on 1 defending I've ever seen (Heaps against Haiti is still tops on that list). Namoff needs to close that space. Instead he treats Ching like he' Messi and gives enough space to drives a truck through. I might have even put that shot on frame.

Wicks? He'll come back to better form, but that was an inexcusable performance. To "see the ball about 10 yards" and freeze? What the ? You are a goalkeeper in a evenly matched, tight game and you freeze? Send him to the bench until he wakes up from his daze.

Posted by: delantero | August 2, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Re: ↑

Yes. DC United in 2004.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | August 2, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I think we should go with a 4-4-2 in El Salvador. If we limit our mistakes in the back I am confident DC will get a result.

Delantro, good question. I cant remember what we played when DC one our last MLS Cup but I feel like it was a 3-5-2. I could be wrong I think when DC plays a 3-5-2 with Simms we are arguably the best team in the league. Look to Colorado at home, or Chicago at home, I almost thought DC was the MLS version of Barcalona. Without Simms we have to switch to a 4-4-2 though.

Posted by: grubbsbl | August 2, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"Yes. DC United in 2004."

Re: 3-5-2 and championships. . . How bout in the international leagues or World Cup?

In order to play it and win consistently, you need the players. Simms is helpful Olsen isn't quite there yet and Jacobson may never be. Plus our wide players have been pretty inconsistent, our forwards too quiet.

The season turn around or dive may rest on Szetz' ability to give us a spark as it just doesn't seem like anyone else is capable of that right now.

Posted by: delantero | August 2, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Namoff, Jakovic, Burch, Beasley! Wallace (?)

Pontius, Olsen, Gomez, Fred

Emilio, Doe (:0!)

Speaking of which, this team needs someone like Ching or McBride that can dominate the air. What's Crouch up to?

Posted by: delantero | August 2, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I think that it was reasonable to criticize the lineup on Tuesday. If you are serious about competing for a regional championship than you would think you would put out a first choice lineup in the home leg of a 2 game series. Trying to finish the job at home and not risk having to go to El Salvador in bad conditions 3days after an important league match in Houston having to get a result. It would only make sense to me if the either think that Firpo is a weak team, the champions league is not important, or DC United is an extremely good team that is under performing.

Posted by: totalfootballer | August 2, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

pontius does need to improve on finishing.
we did score 3 goals. if u score 3 goals on the road there should be little complaints about the offense.

this was a pure defensive break down game.

burch is horrible and has been all season. maybe moving him to middle would help not expose how slow he is and how horrible are his crosses.

of course john has been pretty bad too and cant cross as well.

mctavish and janicki no way.

that said. that was no penalty but also ching offsides gooal was pretty darn close.

tino was god awful last night.
backline horrible
wicks bad

at least the brasilians are use to that heat and didnt wilt

Posted by: castroviejo | August 2, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

If we divide the world into factions about the lineup vs Firpo last Tuesday - I subscribe to the Crofton Post Faction.

The lineup last Tuesday was insulting and showed a lack of regard for the Concacaf Champions Cup. But the lineup was not just Tom Soehn's idea. The idea of fielding a weak team had to be approved from higher up.

All will be forgiven (at least by me) if we win Tuesday in Cuscatlan.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | August 2, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Agree with fischy about the non-call on Ching. I'm thinking our guys felt un-protected by the Officials.

Is anyone giving odds on whether we see yet another "opps" from the league regarding calls in the box?

Posted by: carnack | August 2, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

What I mean is there is little point in criticizing the roster choices on Tuesday. The hoped-for lineup played last night instead, and really stunk. No reason to think they would have done better on Tuesday.

Posted by: fischy | August 2, 2009 12:01 PM |

Sorry, don't mean to single anyone out, but that's a load. There's no reason to think DCU could have played better on Tuesday night with that lineup? Seriously? At home, and against a team that at best is half as good as Houston? Not to mention the insane heat that they were playing with in Texas. I think they were even reporting that it was uncharacteristically humid as well!

I REFUSE to believe we wouldn't have pounded Firpo into the ground if we'd started that lineup on Tuesday. Or some close variation. Firpo's coach was even quoted as saying they were surprised with the 6 different players that they didn't expect to be on the field when the match kicked off.

DC played well for like the first 20 minutes last night, and then it seemed like Houston shifted up a gear or two dismantled them.
Happy to see the Brazilians shine.

Posted by: DadRyan | August 2, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Let Wallace take a breather. We play alot better w/o him.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | August 2, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Backline should be, Burch, McT, Jakovic and Namoff. We definitely need 4 in the back. Those four have more experience on the back line than any combination on the entire team. I feel we are on a downward spiral that is getting worse. Our team does not seem all that motivated to win!!
Coaching staff needs to change that!!

Posted by: therealfan | August 2, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Simms injury is not the problem, it was always a 3 man backline. Even when he was playing, it was the wing midfielders job to cover on defense which was not always happening. Simms job was defense in the middle of the field not out on the wings. Namhoff could cope when someone didn´t backtrack, Burch sometimes would get beaten and Janicki could not cover two men. Remember what Janicki said when he came back from the Gold Cup, Canada played four back and it was a lot easier.

Posted by: agoldhammer | August 2, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

fischy,

The point was obvious. On Tuesday there was a group of fans that defended the line-up used at the time because they believed DCU was saving the better players for Saturday. It obviously did not work out so well last night. I never compared the play of the two units. However, I do not believe that Tuesday's line-up would have fared better last night. I believe that to be an overreaction at this time. See my comment about the Ocean City Barons above.

Posted by: croftonpost | August 2, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Compared to August 2, 2008:

The product is better.

Soehn is much better.

The payroll is much lower, and the team can clear a LOT of space this offseason if it chooses to.

There's a very young core of high performers who can be retained for years and paid competitively. (I think the FO includes Burch in that group. Sorry, haters.)

Midfield and (believe it or not) defensive depth are improved.

The remaining glaring problems (forward depth and GK) are fixable.

"Fixable" was not a word that readily came to mind last year.

No one thought then, "looks like a year from now, DCU will be competing for major championships." And they aren't. Six wins in 20 games is not championship calibre. But things in general are a lot better than people seem to think.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | August 2, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Last year, the thing that reverberated with me was that the loss of Olsen, Gros, and Carroll really ripped the guts out of the team, and I never really held that high an opinion of Simms. His play last year and this has proven me wrong, and I think his absence was the difference at San Jose.
In Soehn's shoes, I would switch to a 442 until Simms gets back, or until I'm comfortable with Sz- Scz- szz - Jersey Boy as a 90-minute contributor.

Posted by: daggar | August 2, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Simms is a terrific d-mid. There should never have been any doubt there. Just his pace alone is crucial to slowing down opponent attacks, and he is a tough tackler to boot. But, there are a lot fo slow guys in the DCU lineup...and a team that is willing to to make the overlapping runs like Houston did will toast DC ever time. I agree that Tino is suffering noticeably -- seems discombulated and uncertain. There is no one that really stretches the opposing defenses -- no one that opens up the attack the way Davis, Clark and Holden do, and no striker that real makes defenders run the way Oduro did. DCU needs to be precise, but that is not reaping great rewards because the finishing has been terrible all around -- not just Pontius or Emilio or Quaranta. The team has some decent moments and some good players, but the FO really needs to add some firepower in the offseason.

Posted by: fischy | August 2, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Once again, another example of Soehn being out of his depth as a coach.

Posted by: vthokies1 | August 2, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

granadoskerry:

You make a strong point. Without Simms, our defensive midfield choices are mostly guys that are more box-to-box types than actual defensive midfielders. Until Simms is fit, it's something that has to be considered; when he returns, though, I'd still argue we're better in the 3412.

DCUMD:

Dead on. Burch actually got a 5 from me, on a night we gave up 4 goals. Bizarre, but it stands up; all Houston's success came from attacking other players. In fact, I might be underrating him.

fischy:

Glad I wasn't the only person that noticed Ching's tackle. It was just as bad as Gomez's later on, but was in less space and the ball quickly moved away, so it was like it never happened. However, Salazar was right on top of it; not noticing that scissor tackle is unforgivable (as was the appalling call on the PK, which was beyond absurd). All game long, Salazar gave ticky-tack calls against us while allowing Houston to play an even more physical, aggressive style than usual.

Still, I hardly blame Salazar's poor performance for the loss, though. We came out poorly, didn't adjust to Houston's tactics, and deserved to lose. I'm just glad we came out of the game with no injuries or red cards, because players in danger tend to retaliate, and Salazar looked almost like he wanted someone to see red.

Godfather_of_Goals:

You've taken the words off my fingertips. This isn't a likely championship team (in MLS, you can never rule out someone getting to the final on luck, like LA in 2005 and NY last year), but it's light years closer than the team we had last year. Everyone should get off the ledge.

***

I'm big on finding the positives, and there are some bits of good news from the game:

1. The players still have faith in Soehn. I don't know what he said to them at halftime, but they came out and played like it meant something. Teams that have given up on a coach (as many here have implied/declared) come out and do just enough to maintain that 3-0 scoreline.

2. Jacobson is much better in a 442 than the 3412. He has the engine and size to win the ball, and the technical ability to distribute it. As bad as he was in the first half, he had a very strong second half and that should be noted.

3. As was already said by many, Simms almost makes our 3412 a 442 because of his contributions as a defensive midfielder. We have no replacement for him, save possibly DiRaimondo (who can't handle the full scope of Simms' duties). As a result, you have to consider a 442 for the short term. I was wrong about that a couple of days ago. I still think the people arguing that the formation alone is the entirety of the problem are spouting nonsense, though.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | August 2, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

My ratings, for praise/debate/excoriation:

Wicks - 3
His worst showing in a DC shirt, but let's not toss him out just yet.

Namoff - 3
Assist to Emilio should be noted (very intelligent to pick out Emilio had escaped Chabala). However, he was involved on each of the goals during the blitz (the non-step on Ching was truly baffling). Hope this is a one-off and not a sign of exhaustion.

Jakovic - 3.5
This was a game where he needed to step up, and he didn't. You could implicate him on goals 1 and 3 (tossing out bad PK call). Again, I suspect this is more of a one-off.

Burch - 6
Houston tried to isolate him against Ching (who was forced to drop the ball off with others) and Oduro (who Burch cut off by taking up better angles), and got nothing. Burch's side of the field was secure, and that should be recognized despite pre-conceived notions people have.

Quaranta - 4
Needed to read the fact that Davis was pinching in to overload Olsen and Jacobson in the 1st half, but he didn't. The result? We lost central midfield while also getting nothing from his flank.

Olsen - 4
Needs Simms or someone similarly athletic (Wallace?) as a partner to be effective.

Jacobson - 4.5
Very impressive 2nd half, but his 1st half was quite poor. Detailed his failure on goal 1 above, and his successes in the other post.

Fred - 5.5
Golazo! Also did some better-than-usual defensive work in the 1st half, which balanced out his lack of attacking somewhat. Cameron was a bad matchup for him, but he did about as well as you could hope for considering.

Gomez - 4
Scissor tackle was his only contribution.

Moreno - 4
Turnover caused a goal amid silent 1st half. Improved with the team in the 2nd half. Benefited greatly from being partnered with a hungry, enthusiastic Emilio.

Pontius - 4
The only United starter to be a real danger in both halves, but his finishing was awful. Should have had a hat trick.

Subs:
John - 5.5
Still has no ability with the ball, but his defending was acceptable and he moved forward at the right times. Like Burch, people hate on him no matter what he does.

Emilio - 8
Hasn't played that well in a long time. Full of energy and desire to score. Got 2 classic poacher's goals, which is exactly what we need out of him above everything else.

Szetela - 6
Energetic and unquestionably effective. You can see that he's played at a higher level, both in terms of technique and his thought process.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | August 2, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Wicks' great game is offset by horrible efforts early in the year. So when Crayton's third on the depth chart, he's getting screwed. And I think he's been treated shabbily by Soehn in the press. If the club is relying on Wicks and Kocic for a play-off push, I think they're making a mistake. I guess we'll see, I hope I'm wrong.


Posted by: OWNTF | May 29, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

=====================


I still hope I'm wrong but I don't think I am.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 3, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

It seems we have all been waiting more than patiently for this team to hit its stride. It seems every time they take a step forward they then take two steps back. However, starting with LA on 8/22 DCU will have 6 home games to close out the season, including the re-scheduled KC game. I believe that is when we will see the team kick it up a gear. DCU strikes me as a team that wants to win and they will have a target in sight (Playoffs), a friendly crowd and a renewed sense of purpose. I'm looking forward to it. Soehn should expect to grab 12 to 14 points of the available 18 from these matches if he expects to be in the top 2 of the division. They have done it before. That being said there are definite merits to playing the 4-4-2 against certain teams. I hope they do that!

Posted by: DCU99fan | August 3, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I watched the game with my two sons (13 and 8 yrs old) as we do every Sat night. I must have screamed at Burch 5 times in the first half for his staple play - receive ball from Jakovic, dribble twice, look up, look down then pound ball with left foot out of bounds or to Houston GK. Kids were quiet. Suddenly, late in 1st half, Burch came out of nowhere and tackled Oduro in the corner, putting him into the 2nd row. Did anyone else read Burch's lips as Oduro got up crying to Burch about the hard (CLEAN) hit? We're down 3-0, and Burch is MF*ing Oduro the entire waltz back to the goal during the throw in. I smiled and told my boys, "I like Marc Burch!" That is why Soehn must keep him in lineup.

Posted by: sevnshvn | August 3, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Yeah I noticed that too. I watched the entire double-header and was wondering afterwards who I thought was the biggest A-hole on Saturday, Burch or Dema Kovalenko. I'm gonna go with Dema though.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 3, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

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