The trouble with DC United's game over the weekend is....well damn near everything. A 0-4 loss to Real Salt Lake just cannot be explained away and there is not point trying. I have only seen the first half and about 10 minutes of the second half, but that was enough.
Resting key players like Gallardo and Zach Wells is understandable as they have played a lot of games in the past few weeks and the horrid conditions of Rice-Eggles Stadium is not where you want tired players risking an injury. So with Tom Soehn's decision to rest some players, I have no quibble. But other decisions were poor.
First up is the formation. In the last match against Pachuca, Soehn went to a 3-4-3, offensively aggressive formation. The more aggressive offensive stance was needed in that game and it worked. The personnel he used in that set up made sense and produced results despite utlimately falling short. I can see using the 3-4-3 again in similar situations, but for a long time DC United has used a four man back line, Soehn has almost always used it and quite frankly, this game was on where a four man back line was needed. But against RSL in that stadium, with an untested keeper, a four man back line would have made much more sense. Try as I might, I can't come up with a real good reason to not have a four man back line, even if you are resting Gonzalo Martinez. A three man back line has to be supremely organized and probably should be played in front of your most experience keeper. The back line was shoddy, with too many gaps, too many lapses and not nearly enough communication between them and the goalkeeper. The Espindola goal should never have happened.
Next, Rod Dyachenko is not Gallardo and we know that. Dyachenko is a good player and the worst part about Saturday is that it was obvious that he was in over his head. Could he be a holding midfielder in the future, I believe so, but not yet and for Soehn to put him in that position at this stage borders on the criminal. Dyachenko, right now, is not the kind of player who can dicate a game's rhythmn.
Finally, while Fred and Emilio played, well not decently but not as bad as everyone else, I am getting more and more dismayed at their lack of impact this year. Emilio has such a great year last year that I am willing to give him a little more leash before I really start tugging on it, but Fred isn't doing it for me. When Dyachenko started to choke, I looked to these two guys to start getting it done in the midfield and attacking third. They didn't and that has to change.