Panic? Well, maybe not just yet. I’d say we looked much better last night (1-0 LOSS to the Columbus Crew) than we did in the first two games. In those other games, our defense was a sieve and our offense could barely string together a handful of passes.
Last night, our defense was much better, only letting the Crew through a couple of times. One of those was on a crucial error by Brian Carroll. Carroll in trying to break from the Crew’s press tried to thread the needle and unfortunately, it got caught and started a 4v2 fast break for the Crew which ended up with former DCU player Ezra Hendrickson scoring the goal. Game. Set. Match.
The recipe for defeating United this year is holding steady. Defend with numbers, clog the middle of the field, and counterattack with speed and/or down the flanks. Just don’t let us score, and eventually we will make a mistake that you can capitalize on.
Some key points…
Devon McTavish started and played well. He did what I think Soehn (and myself) were expecting. Just play solid defense, nothing flashy, stay at home. I think he’s done enough to earn another start unless Soehn’s whole purpose was just to let Erpen “chill” a little bit and get some perspective, in which case, we’ll likely see Erpen on Thursday for the next game against the Revs. Personally, I would start McTavish until he decides to lose it.
The Moose Is Loose:
Justin Moose got the call in the second half and played centrally for Brian Carroll. I thought he did a great job. Defensively, he wasn’t all that great, but quite frankly, neither was Brian Carroll on the night. And Moose gave the defense a much better link to the rest of the midfield than Carroll did. This is interesting to note since Moose came to the team as a winger, but in the reserve games he’s been playing in the center and now he sees some first team action in the center. Similar to the path Ben Olsen has taken (moving outside in). I think it’s worth taking a look at Moose in this role. Maybe not starting yet, but getting some minutes here as a sub.
Brian Carroll has been one of the most under-appreciated players for DC United over the last several years. This year, however, he has been atrocious. Last night, he cross-checked somebody real good and i thought to myself, “Great! Brian is fired up tonite!” Never heard from him again except for when he made the turnover that led directly to the Crew’s goal. If memory serves, he has been subbed out in almost every game and it’s probably time for him to sit down, right next to Erpen. Even if its just for a game or two to get some perspective. In his place the best replacement would probably be Clyde Simms, but I would also like to take a look at Moose there again, and also see if his brother Jeff Carroll or maybe even 17 year old Bryan Arquez have anything to offer.
OK, Fred is top-notch. He hasn’t shown up on the score yet, but I’m sure he will. He is great with the ball, with at-times some jaw-droppingly sublime bits of skill that you just don’t appreciate unless you’ve ever tried to do them yourself… at speed. His passing is at the moment probably the crispest on the team. He has a great workrate, really willing to get stuck in and tackle and do other dirty work. He has great balance and rides challenges well, does not seem to be pushed off the ball. He has a great sense of the field, knowing where to be at the right time. He is fiesty, and a fighter (Ben Olsen – like). His only shortcoming (and quite frankly, I’m more than OK with it) is he loses the ball at some inopportune times while trying to beat somebody off the dribble and gets it stripped.
He got his first start and had a few chances on goal, and created some other half-chances. One of the better players on the night. I think he’s got a starting spot sewn (no pun intended) up. My only question is maybe the wing in a 352 isn’t the best place to start him. But until the day when we move to a 442, United find a real winger, or Gomez leaves the team (maybe this is his last season) thats probably where he will stay.
Other quick hits:
Kasali Yinka Casal showed well enough again last night. He is truly a very raw product right now, but he has all the physical tools: size, speed, strength, skill. He just needs to put it all together and polish his game and sense of awareness. Nicholas Addlery (just signed over the bye week) showed some decent stuff as well. Big, target-type forward. I’m curious to see what else he offers.
What others are saying:
- United still winless with loss to Crew (dcunited.com)
- Lightning Strikes, but D.C. United Does Not (Steven Goff, washingtonpost.com)
-Official postgame review
- The Aftermath (It Ain’t Pretty) (Steven Goff, Soccer Insider Blog)
-Includes quotes from Soehn, Moreno, Olsen and Perkins.
- First Impressions – Columbus Crew 1 : 0 DC United (The DCenters Blog)