What a week for soccer. DC United lost on Saturday to the NE Revolution, and then the US natioanl team lost last night to Costa Rica.
First, DC United. For the second week in a row, they played against a really negative team (Real Salt Lake was the week before). A team that chooses to bunker with numbers behind the ball and then just hope and pray they score a goal somehow. This tactic is shockingly effectively against us, overall.
I would like to say that Soehn learned his lesson from the RSL match and that’s why he didn’t put Gomez, Moreno, and Emelio on the field at the same time. 3 Guys who, while skillful, have very little mobility. A static offense is an epic FAIL against an entrenched defense. Oh, and Quaranta is still not a good winger in a 352. I’ll ignore the fact that Gomez was out with injury. The lineup Soehn put out was active and creative. And it showed with a goal, and two shots ringing off the post. But, a one goal lead against a team that doesn’t give up a lot of goals, and at any second can score a goal from absolutely nothing (because that’s what they do), and in a season where we have made a habit of giving up goals at the strangest times, is not enough of a lead.
Sure enough, the second half was a disaster and coupled with some REALLY shaky calls by the ref, NE walked away with a victory.
I can be mad at the ref all day long, but the reality is if DC had finished their chances in the first half, it would have beena moot point. And, oh by the way, it will take a long time for me to be able to respect Taylor Twellman again after not only a shockingly bad dive, but the chutzpah to sit on the ground with his hands in the air, ala Cuatemoc Blanco, looking for a PK. I have long thought of Twellman as a hard-working stand-up (literally) player who gave 100% all the time and was above all that flopping and diving. And I’m not even talking about those cases where an attacker “goes down lightly”, the play in question was a blatant dive that players like Blanco do. Note that Twellman was the only yokel asking for a PK, everybody else was following the play upfield.
The US National Team. Boy did they lay an egg down there in Saprissa. They were spanked 3-1 by Costa Rica. We were lucky they didn’t tack on a few more. I missed the first few minutes, and I fell asleep somewhere in the second half. The parts I did watch though, especially in the first half, showed Costa Rica consistently winning 1st and 2nd balls. And I saw a lot of poor defending. Players would dive-in when they should have just contained, they contained when they should have dove-in. The US team looked like they had never seen a give-and-go before in their lives.
There was a point though, closing out the 1st half, where I thought the pace had slowed a little because Costa Rica had run themselves out. I figured, the US is usually in better shape than the other teams in CONCACAF, so maybe this would be where they could exploit something. Especially with Altidore and Donovan on the field. But nope, nothing ever came of it. Torres got yanked for Kljestan, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Kljestan is more of a central midfielder, and he’s slower, effectively giving the US 3 central mids and conceding the flanks (not like Dempsey is a true winger either). I don’t know, it just didn’t seem to add anything other than change just for the sake of change.
I think a better option may have been bringing in Davies and then moving Donovan back into midfield. You can still take out Torres if you want, but I probably would have taken Dempsey out instead. Another choice could have been to bring in Bornstein (not sure if he’s really fit though, coming back from injury) and move Wynn up ito midfield. Wynn was having a lot of defensive troubles, and that would have made Costa Rica at least have to go chase him down (good luck with that…).
Here’s hoping we can rebound and leave the week on a high note. DC United play tonite against the NY Red Bulls, and the US Nats play against Honduras on Saturday.