Monday, May 19, 2008

DC United Meltdown

With a late night start time, I struggled to watch the DC United--Chivas match on Saturday night, now I wish I had not wasted my time for the second half.

Three unanswered goals is bad, three unanswered in a single half is really bad, three unanswered in 15 minutes is shameful. Coach Thomas Soehn, whom I have been somewhat critical, noted that his team lacks mental toughness and he is absolutely right. While Soehn is making decisions I question, I have to question just how tough DC United is. At this stage they absolutly deserve to be sitting in teh cellar.

As Goff pointed out, DC United have Fulham's disease, i.e. giving up lots of goals in the last 15 minutes of the game. So far it is six goals in 8 games.

DC's first half play was not bad, it was not great, but it was not bad. The fact is that DC is having a hard time just simply holding onto the ball. The mid-field is not controlling or dictating the pace of play. United seemed utterly incapable of stringing together more than two or three passes. The attack was weak, practically non-existent. I was, frankly, surprised that DC scored. Gallardo's goal was brilliant, a real GOTW candidate. But the rest of his play should disqualify him from that honor. For a holding midfielder, he was routinely unable to control the ball, unable to avoid getting dispossessed and unable to make accurate passes.

Santino Quaranta--is this the only guy who is willing to fight for the team. He never quit and I think he has earned his starting post. He is looking and working like a real winger, staying wide on attack, making solid crosses into the middle, and really tracking back on defense. Yes, Tino has grown up since his last stint with DC United. All is forgiven Tino, now if yourteammates would take a hint from you, they might climb out of the cellar.

Gonzalo Martinez--although he should be chided for failing to lead the defense, none of the goals look to be his fault. At times, despite being outpaced by Atemi Harris, Martinez positioned himself well and played pretty decent. Of all the acquistions over the break, Martinez has been the most consistent performer.

Bryan Namoff--Namoff played very well at right back, in particular I liked the fact that he was animated at the lack of vision of Martinez, Mediate, Simms and Gallardo. Namoff was wide and open on a number of occaisions. While Tommy Soehn may be looking for formation answers for the rest of the squad, Tino and Namoff seemed to work well together. At least they seemed to be the only ones who gave a damn.

Gonzalo Martinez--I know it is strange to put him in the good and bad category, but he is the center back, he is the most experienced and by every formational structure in teh book, it is his responsibility to make sure the back line is organized. His individual play is noteworthy, his organizational skills are not.

Zach Wells--I think it is time to sit Mr. Wells. Yes Jose Carvallo is inexperienced, but he can't be any worse that Wells at this point. Wells has made some fine saves, including Saturday (witness getting down to stop Mendoza's near post daisy cutter), but if he was better positioned and better at organzing his defense, he would not need to make such saves. Really, Carvallo can't do any worse and may be a game or two on the pine will make Wells rethink his actions.

Jaime Moreno--you are the Captain for Pete's sake, act like. When the team is not playing well, it is your job on the field to motivate people, to yell at people and to get people doing their job. FSC's Bretos and Sullivan made a big deal of the "bickering" that Chivas was doing on teh field. I don't call it bickering, it is communication and that is the captain's job.

Player Rankings
Gallardo--5 (and that includes one just for the goal)


Simply put, DC United is playing embarassingly bad. There really is no excuse for dropping three goals like that(not even Fulham dropped that many in the last 20 minutes). United's performance is uneven, uninspiring and unworthy of this club. I am not sure if a full shakeup is in order, or if Soehn should simply continue plugging away. To be sure, the next two weeks are going to be tough, with four games in 12 days, and it is unlikely to be an comfortable 12 days.

Maybe what they need is to have to play on instinct for a while, just to prove they can. With that many games in so short a period, instinct may be all they have in games 2-4.

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