Wednesday, August 16, 2006
DC United comes into this game looking to rebound from only their second loss of the season. Both of United's losses have been on the road to inferior competition with the deciding goals coming very late in the match. United is 5-2-4 on the road this season with a +6 goal differential. United is in first place in the Eastern Conference, seventeen points clear of second place New England. DC is also in first place in the Supporters Shield race, six points ahead of FC Dallas after twenty-one games.
The Red Bulls are on a 4 game unbeaten streak which followed a four game winless streak. New coach Bruce Arena will be on the sidelines for the first MLS match since leaving DC United in 1998 after winning the MLS Cup. New York is 4-2-4 at home this season with a even goal differential. They are in fourth palce in the Eastern Conference, one point behind Kansas City and two ahead of Chicago. They are in eight place in the Supporters Shield race, twenty-one points behind DC United.
With United on form after their tie with Real Madrid and New York looking to play well for their new coach, the game should be a good one. Look for the home team to score early and United to respond with one in the first half and the game winner in the last 15 minutes.
DC United 2:1 New York Red Bulls
After a nice couple weeks on hiatus, DC United returns to MLS action tonight. A preview will follow later today, but I wanted to jot down a few comments about the very busy time since the last league match.
I honestly wanted John Wilson cut after he lost his head against Real Salt Lake and decided to give the game away. I have adjusted my stance a bit to, keep him off the field for a while and if he does that again, goodbye. What is the point of putting him on the field if the defense doesn't get better. I was so high on him earlier this year, this is a tough turnaround to swallow. One more chance. I am sure I am over reacting, though.
I didn't get to see the All Star Game and my TiVo failed me (most likely I forgot to program it) but it sounds like if the choice was to watch either that game or the Real Madrid game, I made the right choice. More below.
I listened to Tony Limarzi's call of the US Open Cup match against the Crew and it sounded exciting, too exciting in fact. Good for Gomez to play the full 120 minutes. I'm just glad we stayed alive. Next up, RBNY next week.
The goal scored against Real Madrid was a thing of beauty. I think there have been and will be more important and memorable moments this year, but those four passes were fun to watch. And does Eskandarian ever score an average goal? It seems like he's either in traffic or booming a shot from distance. He's so much fun to watch.
DC United need 8 wins in the last 11 to set the scoring record. Number 1 is tonight.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
DC United is riding a 15 game unbeaten streak. They are plus 20 in goal differential, far and away the best in the league. United is twenty points clear of second New England in the Eastern Conference and nine points clear of FC Dallas in the Supporter"s Shield race. United hasn't been shutout all season and has seven shutouts of the opposition this year.
Real Salt Lake is currently in last place in the Western Conference, three behind Los Angeles and also last in the Supporter's Shield race. Salt Lake have two wins and three losses at home along with five ties. Real Salt Lake has only one win in their last nine league matches.
This is the first meeting this season between Real Salt Lake and DC United.
DC United 3:0 Real Salt Lake
- DC United absorbed the attack and was able to find a way to earn a point on the road
- Eskandarian scores a nifty turnaround goal in traffic and looked very dangerous throughout the second half
- Textbook game by Chicago to disrupt what United does best, possess the ball.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
United begins their long road trip against the Fire. DC is currently on a six game winning streak and a thirteen game unbeaten streak. They are twenty points clear of second place New England in the Eastern Conference.
Chicago is tied for third in the Eastern Conference with twenty points, two clear of last place Columbus.
Dc United 2:1 Chicago Fire
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Okay, this may sound crazy, but this reminds me of pro wrestling. Remember when Hulk Hogan went bad and changed from the yellow jersey and bandana to the black? In the space of less than 6 weeks, Bruce Arena has gone from savior of American soccer to Sith Lord. I can't get over this. This is Joe Gibbs coaching Dallas. Michael Jordan playing for the Pistons. This is Marcus Allen playing for Kansas City. Oh, wait, that actually happened.
And you know what? I love it.
Long live the rivalry. Long live DC United.
After the first 15 minutes or so, my friend Joe started talking about how confident he was. He broke all kinds of rules about daring the soccer gods and such. Of course, DC United scored their first goal about 30 seconds later. However, the goal at the end of the first half I completely lay at his feet. the soccer gods have spoken. On any given Saturday, even Columbus...you know the rest.
A word about that first Crew goal. The reaction by the crowd was pretty cool. Dead silence. Almost as if to say, "Huh." It's the first time in months a team has come into RFK and tied up United. Made for a fun second half though.
- Josh Gros was amazing in the first half. He was everywhere. Best game in a month for him.
- Nice save by Perkins when he made himself big and stopped a great chance by Columbus to tie the game at three.
- Great shot by Carroll the Elder. Excellent way to score the first of the year.
- First time in a while the defense wasn't great. Just average. Losing Erpen didn't help matters.
- Adu clearly wasn't happy being subbed out. It's fine to be disappointed, Freddy. Just don't show up your coach.
Forwards (Adu, Moreno) B
They were fine. Nothing spectacular.
Midfielders (Gomez, Gros, Carroll the Elder, Olsen, and Simms) A-
We finally got to see the triple defensive midfielder lineup. Sure, on paper Olsen lined up outside. But he played most of the game towards the middle. Gomez, Benny and Carroll the Elder all tally. Benny steals his from Gomez who was having a little trouble pulling the trigger in the box. Wonder if anything was said in the locker room about that.
Defense (Erpen, Boswell, Namoff, and Perkins) B-
Two goals at home is not their best effort, but the first one was kind of a fluke.
Subs (Wilson, McTavish, Walker) B
Not sure why Walker was hanging back and Moreno was up front. I'd much rather have Moreno in the midfield than Walker. His first touch leaves a bit to be desired. Wilson was fine replacing Erpen. McTavish must be very impressive in practices because he keeps getting minutes over Moose.
Overheard in Section M-32:
We were sure we saw McTavish sitting with his parents in the mezzanine. Then he was on the field. Maybe he has a twin brother, or at least one who looks just like him.
Discussion wandered to whether MLS should switch to a September-May schedule. I am in favor if a few things happen. No playing from December 15-February 15. Too damn cold in most of the USA. I know FIFA is pressuring MLS to change the schedule to one more like the rest of the world. As long as the teams have places to play, I think it works. Getting games on TV could be an issue with college football dominating Saturdays. Maybe a weekly game on ABC on Sunday at 4? How about 11 AM, before the 1 PM NFL kickoffs? Or 6 PM Saturday? The good thing about MLS is you know how long the games take to play. You can schedule one 120 minutes before the kickoff of a game and be sure you won't go over in to the next program.
Friday, July 14, 2006
DC United welcomes, and I mean that sincerely, the Columbus Crew to RFK Stadium for the fourth and last regular season game. Not that we don't have another game scheduled in a few weeks against them. DC are on quite a few streaks. They are unbeaten in the last 12 league matches with 9 wins and 3 ties and 5 shutouts. They are unbeaten at home this season with 7 wins and 2 ties. They are +14 at home and +19 overall. The every other MLS team with a positive +/- combined doesn't add up to United's. United scores the most goals and allows the fewest. They are 17 points clear of second place New England in the Eastern Conference and 11 points clear of FC Dallas in the race for the Supporter's Shield.
Columbus Crew are pretty bad. They are winless in their last 7, with 3 losses and 4 ties. they haven't scored more than one goal in a game since June 3rd. They haven't scored more than two goals in a game all season. Their injury list is long and undistinguished. I think their keeper was signed from the YMCA on Old Georgetown Road.
DC and Columbus have played 3 times this season with DC winning two (5-1 and 1-0) and a 1-1 tie.
DC United 3:1 Columbus Crew
It seems Clint was a bad boy and needs to go and think about what he did. I'm sure Chicago would have rather he sat out the next two games against them and not reward Real Salt Lake and Houston Dynamo for his foul against the Fire. I've always found that strange. Wouldn't it be more fair if you are given a red for violent conduct that you are forced to sit out the rest of that game and the next game against that team? Maybe it's just me.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
I found this tidbit while trolling the soccer groups. I am really looking forward to the CONCACAF Champions League with a group stage.
Univision Communications has reached agreements with Soccer United Marketing (SUM) to air 3 products marketed by SUM starting with the 2007 season on the Spanish-language TV network TeleFutura:
1. US Major League Soccer (MLS): 25 matches each season including the MLS All-Star game and the Final, usually on Sundays at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific.
2. The Mexican InterLiga: exclusive coverage of all matches each January, featuring 8 Mexican League teams fighting for 2 spots in Copa Libertadores, South America's premier club competition.
3. CONCACAF Champions League: exclusive coverage on Tuesday and Wednesday nights in July through November, featuring a combination of teams from the Mexican League, MLS, Central America, and the Caribbean, with the winner advancing to the FIFA Club World Championship in December.
Formerly known as the CONCACAF Champions Cup (Copa de Campeones), the 2007 CONCACAF Champions League will feature a group stage prior to the elimination rounds.
TeleFutura replaces FOX Sports en Espanol as the exclusive US TV outlet for the exican InterLiga and the CONCACAF Champions League.
TeleFutura reaches about 50 million US TV households via a combination of broadcast TV stations, cable, and satellite
The big question in my house is will it be carried on DirecTV?
What a great night. The rains ended around kickoff, and then DC United poured it on their Scottish visitors. The lines were long for Guinness and green "hoops" shirts were everywhere. Quite a buzz in the air as excited Celtic fans were anticipating seeing their "bhoys" live and in color, while DC United's faithful were jazzed to see their boys take on another legendary squad from the other side of the pond.
- Adu was brilliant on attack. His stepovers and misdirection had the Celtic defense on their heels throughout the game. He slotted his best chance home bringing the ball from his right to his preferred left and sliding it under the outstretched arm of the keeper.
- Boswell scores again in a friendly. He seems to really excel in the international games.
- Walker tallies on the team he tried out for in 2004.
- Another shutout by the Untied defense.
- Eskandiarian misses a wide open net in the first half.
This is a review of the match by a Celtic site. Interesting take here on MLS and what Celtic hoped to get out of the game.Thanks to The DCenters for the link. The DCenters also summarized the game here. It was a great night. Next up: Columbus Crew.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Game 18 - DC United 1:0 Columbus Crew
- What a shot by Eskandarian!
- Defense was steady once again, especially being down a man for the last thirty minutes.
- What a moronic shove by Eskandarian!
- Only one goal on the road is an invitation for trouble.
Forwards (Moreno, Eskandarian) B
Eskandarian gets a goal and a red. Moreno looked a little tired. Here's hoping he doesn't play against Celtic this week and rests up.
Midfielders (Adu, Olsen, Carroll the Elder, Simms, Gros) B-
Solid on the defensive end, still lacking pushing forward after getting the first goal.
Defense (Erpen, Boswell, Namoff, Perkins) A-
Another week, another shutout. The parts may be lacking, but the whole is playing pretty well.
Subs (Wilson, Gomez, Quaranta) B
Maintained the lead. Solid effort.
Overheard in my basement:
I watched the game on delay and fell asleep around minute 55. Watched the rest the next day on fast forward. Looking forward to a friendly and a league match at home this week. Haven't fallen asleep at RFK yet.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
DC United comes into this game riding an eleven game unbeaten streak, a four game winning streak, and allowing only eight goals in the last eleven. United stands atop the Eastern Conference with 38 points, seventeen clear of second place New England.
Columbus crew enters tonight's match having not won a game in their last six, the most recent four all being ties. The Crew are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 18 points, four clear of last place NYRB.
United leads the season series with a win and a tie in two games. The most recent was a 5-1 romp by United at RFK stadium on May 31st.
DC United 2:0 Columbus Crew
Friday, July 07, 2006
Now that DC United's injury list has been reduced significantly, it's time to look at who is on the roster and what the second half may bring in as far as the starting XI.
The top eleven players, in order, regardless of position:
Moreno, Gomez, Adu, Gros, Boswell, Perkins, Eskandarian, Olsen, Carroll the Elder, Erpen, and Namoff
That is two pure forwards (Eskandarian, Moreno) four pure midfielders (Olsen, Gros, Carroll the Elder, Gomez) one forward/midfielder (Adu), three defenders (Erpen, Boswell, Namoff) and one keeper (Perkins).
If Adu plays right wing, the lineup is obvious. However, Adu has been noticeably stronger at forward the last few weeks in individual play. The team has been scoring fewer goals since his move up front. I think the two are related. So move Adu back to right wing and get Eskandarian back in the starting lineup.
Now, the reserves are a bit more interesting. If the above eleven are starting, that leaves the following as reserves:
One forward (Walker), five midfielders (Simms, McTavish, Carroll the Younger, Mediate, and Moose), a forward/midfielder (Quaranta), a defender/midfielder (Wilson) , a defender (Prideaux) and a keeper (Rimando).
With only three subs per game, that is quite a list. Simms, McTavish, Mediate, Moose, Quaranta, and Wilson all have reasons to get them on the field. Simms and McTavish have played well in the absence of Olsen and Eskandarian. Moose is a first round draft pick who should start getting time late in games. Wilson just keeps getting the job done late in games as a defensive sub when DC has a slim lead. Quaranta needs playing time desperately as he was considered for the USMNT World Cup roster until injuries hit again.
An embarrassment of riches on the roster. As well as the defense has played, I credit the midfield for the low number of goals allowed this season. Should DC look to package a few of the younger players for an experienced outside defender? Probably. The MLS Cup is clearly within reach and shoring up the defensive personnel would probably be the best way to handle this roster logjam.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Forwards (Moreno, Adu) A-
Not very dangerous for most of the game, but able to finish the one that counted. Great cutback by Adu to set up Gomez. Excellent awareness by Moreno to let Gomez take the shot.
Midfielders (Gros, McTavish, Simms, Carroll the Elder, Gomez) B+
Unable to keep possession for long stretches, but very capable of short circuiting FC Dallas' ability to generate a consistent attack. Gomez buries the best chance of the night from about 20 yards away.
Defense (Erpen, Boswell, Namoff, Perkins) A-
Another shutout for Perkins and the fullbacks. Other than a few bobbles, Perkins was very solid. Facundo was overly aggressive, but Boswell had his back.
Subs (Wilson, Eskandarian, Olsen) B
Eskandarian should have done better on that breakaway. Nice to see Olsen back in the Black and Red. Wilson made some very aggressive runs and looked good doing so. Having him on the field really gives DC United some options with positioning. He can play on the left wing or he can play left back.
Overheard in my basement:
Scribbling on a pad of paper trying to figure out the depth chart. More on that tomorrow.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
DC United is on quite a streak. They have swept the season series from Kansas City, currently third in the Eastern Conference. Their road record is a spectacular 3-1-3, with the only loss coming two months ago in Colorado.
DC's offensive production seems to determine the result. Only twice this season have United allowed two goals. If United scores one goal, it usually results in at least a tie. Two goals and with one exception, United wins.
Ben Olsen should rejoin the starting lineup today. I'd like to see United keep Adu up top with Moreno, and have Gomez, Carroll the Elder, Gros, Simms and Olsen. I doubt we'll see that. Maybe we'll see Santino up top with Adu in the midfield for Simms.
DC United 3:1 FC Dallas
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
DC United sweeps the season series from 2nd Place Kansas City. Their unbeaten streak continues to an amazing ten games. United also matches their season high three game winning streak which they have done three times now. DC United is now fifteen points clear of the rest of the Eastern Conference and eight points clear of FC Dallas in the full table.
Adu tallies his first goal and fifth assist. Gomez also scores.
No grades this week as I didn't see the game. I went old school and listened to the entire game on the radio. Tony L was not happy with the penalty awarded to Kansas City.
Isn't winning fun?
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
- Nice timing to come out strong after the lightning delay
- Excellent cross by Gros and finish by Jaime on the game's lone goal
- Great game by Perkins and the defense
- Yet another one goal game
- DC United seemed to sit back and coast after getting the first goal
Forwards (Moreno, Adu) B-
Finished the best chance of the night. Not very effective throughout the game.
Midfielders (Gros, Carroll the Elder, Gomez, Simms, McTavish) B
A better effort this game. McTavish nearly gets a goal from distance with a beautiful, bending strike.
Defense (Erpen, Boswell, Namoff, Perkins) A
Well organized and consistent. Another excellent game.
Subs (Wilson, Quranta, Moose) B
We have a Sanitno sighting and a Moose sighting in the same game. Both played well, considering they were only in to run out the clock with fresh legs. Good to see them both on the field. Wilson was a timely sub to maintain the defense late in the game.
Overheard in my basement:
The sounds of partying as I had family in from out of town. Fun to watch Tony L do the TV instead of radio.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Good luck for United to get the Wizards just before the reinforcements return from Germany. Sloppy conditions are expected tonight. I'm looking for a low scoring affair. Eskandarian regains his touch with a rocket volley from Gomez.
DC United 1:1 Kansas City Wizards
Friday, June 23, 2006
As I continue forward after the untimely loss of the USMNT (RIP - 2002-2006), I will do what they would have wanted me to do, make terrible predictions which have a 100% chance of being mostly wrong. I'll even be specific as to the score to guarantee I will be so off base, it will be comical.
I will consider getting 2 scores correct a victory. How's that for setting the bar just above sea level?
Second Round: (Updates)
Germany 2:1 Sweden (Correct winner, 2:0)
Argentina 4:1 Mexico (Correct winner, 2:1)
England 2:1 Ecuador (Correct winner, 1:0)
Portugal 1:3 Netherlands (All Wrong, 1:0)
Italy 1:0 Australia (ALL CORRECT!!!)
Switzerland 1:1 Ukraine (Correct winner, correct in PKs, 0:0 PKs 3:0)
(PKs Switzerland 2:3 Ukraine)
Brasil 4:0 Ghana (Correct winner, 3:0)
Spain 3:0 France (All Wrong 1:2)
6-2 with one correct score (Updates)
Germany 1:2 Argentina (All wrong)
Italy 2:2 Ukraine (PKs Italy 4:5 Italy) (Right team, Wrong score)
England 1:1 Netherlands (PKs England 3:1 Netherlands) (All Wrong)
Brasil 3:2 Spain (All Wrong)
1-3 with no correct scores
Argentina 2:0 Italy
Brasil 3:1 England
Brasil 2:1 Argentina in Overtime
Thursday, June 22, 2006
I have a few points I need to make and a few complaints to lodge after the USMNT was bounced from Germany.
Arena takes the lion's share of the blame for the general lack of offense. The last major mistake he made in my book was the last USA-Mexico game at Atzeca. It was Onyewu's first big game and he trotted out a 4-5-1 formation. McBride alone at the top and it seemed like they were playing for the tie. What happened? USA goes down 2-0 and it's game over. Then they switch up, add a forward and score a goal. That goal placed them first in CONCACAF as USA won the tiebreaker because of it. The USA is too talented to go out in a defensive 4-5-1 formation. If USA only has one striker that Arena trusts to put on the field, fine. Let's all admit here and now that Donovan is not a forward. Period. Play a 4-1-2-2-1 with the attacking midfielders way forward. But the time is over when we absorb the other team's attack and try to counter. All three games Arena started with one striker. Maybe once you could defend. But today against Ghana we needed goals. Boatloads of goals. And they took it to us. Again. And if the USA has only produced one striker in the last decade, that's on Arena, too. Why bring four strikers if you didn't plan to use more than one. Wouldn't Twellmann have been a nice sub off the bench in the spots Ching and Wolf were sitting in?
Additional blame goes to Lewis, Bocanegra, and Keller. Lewis seemed unable to get back and fulfill his defensive duties. The first goal against the Czechs was a direct result of his not being in position and it happened several times against Ghana, though no goals resulted. Bocanegra's boneheaded popup which resulted in the penalty called on Gooch because he had already moved forward and thus was on the wrong side of the player he was called to have fouled. And I'm sorry, but that isn't a penalty. When a player doesn't use his hands, and simply leans into the opposition, you don't award a penalty kick. It's too harsh. Keller should have come off his line on the first goal by Ghana. I have no idea what he was waiting for.
The refereeing has been universally bad with cards flying like they are velcroed to their hands. I shouldn't need to check who is assigned to the game. The guy who was on the field today was inconsistent.
Rule change that needs to be implemented immediately. If play stops because a player is on the ground, that player should be barred from returning to the field for five minutes. They should report to the fourth official who will bring them in like a sub after the five minutes have expired. Enough of this delaying by the team that is ahead. It starts in the 60th minute now.
Thanks to Reyna for a wonderful USMNT career. However, I don't see a worthy successor on the roster not named John O'Brien, and we all know how fragile he is. I don't see how the USA even maintains their current position, nevermind improve between now and South Africa. Who is going to score the goals? Anyone?
According to Adam Kilgore at The Post and Steve Silver at The Times, Lucio Filomeno is on his way back to Argentina after asking out of his contract to pursue a spot on the team he 'idolized' as a child, Nueva Chivago.
Filomeno was never a good fit for DC United. He was not match fit when he arrived last August. Comparisons to Gomez' immediate impact after his similar arrival late in 2004 left Filomeno looking worse. This year he seemed to expect to start and when that didn't happen, he was clearly unhappy. He tallied the 5th goal in a rout for his only score as a member of the team. For someone who was making six figures, it was too much money, too little production. Seems to be the best thing for all parties.
Unfortunately it leaves United a bit shorthanded in the near future. Eskandarian (knee) has been out, Jaime (ankle) went down in Wednesday's game against Chicago, Quaranta (hammy) has yet to make an appearance, Olsen is still in Germany, and draft pick Justin Moose (hammy) still hasn't made his first appearance due to injury. Let's hope Jaime is only out a few games.
Let me get this straight. The USMNT plays the #2 team in the world, a three time World Cup champion, and arguably the #1 team from Africa.
They lose to the Czechs and tie Italy.
If everything goes right tomorrow and they beat Ghana, Italy beats the Czechs, and the beer doesn't run out in Germany they are rewarded with what?
Brasil, you say?
Did I mention that my wife is Brasilian? Can you say counseling?
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Game 14 - DC United 1:0 Chicago Fire
What a nerve-wracking game. From the moment DC United scored, they seemed unable to maintain possession. Very poor games from the forwards and midfielders. Talk about a terrible way to win three points. Almost unwatchable. Is this really the same team that scored eight goals in two games a few weeks ago?
- McTavish got his first significant time of the year and wasn't bad. He started on the right but was switched to the left around the 65th minute and seemed to play much better from there.
- Perkins was strong again in goal. He played the crosses well and seemed to be very comfortable throughout the game. You've got to say that Perkins is the clear #1 at this point.
- Simms puts one in from distance with a spectacular strike.
- Jaime goes down with what looked like an ankle injury. He stayed on the sideline for about 10 minutes after being subbed out before hobbling to the bench. I would say he is doubtful for Saturday's game. Think good thoughts for Eskandarian and his availability against Kansas City.
- Nothing of note from the forwards. Not able to keep much possession and did little to threaten Chicago.
Forwards (Moreno, Adu) C
Adu rings the post again. How unlucky can Freddy get? He was really playing withdrawn forward instead of striker. Jaime was not very effective before being subbed after rolling the ankle.
Midfielders (Gros, Mediate, Simms, Carroll the Elder, Gomez) D
Folded up the tent after Simms' goal. Completely inexcusable after the last two games. Anyone else remember two late goals which resulted in two ties to inferior teams? I do. Gros had a great chance in the box in the first half and waited so long that he was surrounded by defenders and ended up dribbling it out of bounds. Carroll and Simms were unable to start the attack and Gomez was invisible for the last 75 minutes.
Defense (Boswell, Erpen, Namoff, Perkins) A-
The lone bright spot on the night. Perkins was the Player of the Game. Namoff and Boswell were very steady. Erpen had a slow start where he seemed not to get a touch for the first 20 minutes, but he ended up with a solid game including yet another 'Flying Facundo' clearance at the top of the box. My, but doesn't he love to leave both feet and take wild swings at the ball.
Subs (McTavish, Wilson, Walker) C+
McTavish played better as the game went along. Wilson was a good sub since DC United had stopped attacking somewhere around minute 20. Walker was able to waste time during the last five minutes and during injury time.
Overheard in Section M-32:
We were invaded by the enemy! A jersey wearing Fire fan came into our section just before halftime and tried to hang a banner right in front of me. The hell? Not in our house. Not on my watch. And the guy was actually upset when he was denied. Amazing.
As I meantioned earlier, I love me some stats. So, with that in mind, please check out the column to the right. Your other right.
I'm going to keep track of when goals are scored and conceded. Plus there are a few other goal related stats.
Also, I have added a full table list. You know, the way it should be, without that conferences rubbish.
Finally, I have added lists of the two MLS records on which Jamie is currently moving up the ranks: Goals and Assists.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
After two late game equalizers, I decided to look at the season thus far and see if there are any patterns to when DC United allow a goal. Through thirteen games, DC United have three shutouts. They have eight one goal games and two games with two goals. There are no games in which United have allowed more than two goals. In the multiple goal games, the first resulted in both goals during the first half and the in second, both goals were tallied in the second half. No pattern there.
The eight one goal games include four 1-1 ties. In two of those games, the goal came after the 85th minute. The lone loss of the season included the go ahead goal in minute 84.
Not quite sure what to make of it yet, but I am going to keep track of this for a while and see if anything develops. It is still a little weird and distressing that of twelve goals on the season, four have come after minute 83.
DC United are coming back home after two disappointing 1-1 ties on the road to the Revs and the Galaxy. United are on a seven game unbeaten streak, 4 wins and 3 ties. United hasn't lost at home this season and has won three consecutive games at RFK. DC leads the Eastern Conference and all of MLS with 26 points.
Chicago Fire are currently last in the Eastern Conference standings with 11 points. Incredibly, they have played 10 of 11 games this season on the road where they have not done well. Two wins on the season to go with four ties and four losses. Their lone home game resulted in a tie. The silver lining is their new stadium, Toyota Park, opens this Sunday and they will play nine consecutive home games.
I'm looking forward to the spirited crowd we usually get on Wednesdays. All diehards. I'll be in the mezzanine above the WTOP sign in my Benny Olsen jersey.
DC United 2:0 Chicago Fire
As I didn't get to see the game, I feel ill equiped to comment or grade. I listened to Tony's call on the radio of the last 20 minutes and that unfortunately included the equalizer. It sure seems like we give up a lot of late goals. I may have to look into this to see if it is more than a feeling. Love me some stats. Home for the next few. Preview should be up today.
So all the teams have played two games. Some are eliminated from advancing, some have secured a place but not a seed, and many are still trying desperately to stay alive.
Based on watching most of the games here are the favorites so far in alphabetical order:
If you put a gun to my head, I would still pick Brasil, but not as confidently as before the tournament started.
My father-in-law is particularly upset with his Brasil squad. He has started calling Ronaldo 'gorginho' for how fat he has become. He really looks lazy on the field. His days in the starting eleven have to be numbered. They are much more dangerous with Robinho on the field. And Kaka looks great. My wife, born in Brasil, has a theory that the uglier the Brasilian team is, the better they play. Kaka makes her nervous. She thinks he is far too good looking.
Now the US team...
I thought that Italy and the Czech Republic were the better teams on the 12th and the US and Ghana were better on the 17th. If not for the red cards, the group would be all tied up at 3 a piece. It will be interesting to see what Arena does to his lineup since Mastroeni and Pope are unavailable. (Side comment: Mastroeni deserved to be sent off. Go studs up and you are taking a huge chance. Pope's cards were very questionable. I feel bad for him to miss this game.) Arena could go 3-5-2 and put Beasly and Reyna in the midfield with Dempsey, Convey and Donovan. He could go 4-4-2 with Conrad replacing Pope and Johnson up top and Reyna playing defensive midfielder. Or he could get really creative and do what I think makes the most sense. Put an attacking formation out there, 3-5-2 with Olsen replacing Mastroeni. My lineup would be
G - Keller
D - Cherundelo, Onyewu, Boccanegra
M - Olsen, Reyna, Convey, Dempsey, Donovan
F - McBride, Johnson
Subs - Beasley, O'Brien, Wolf
USA 2:1 Ghana
Italy 3:1 Czech Republic
Final Group E Standings
Italy 2-0-1 7 Points
USA 1-1-1 4 Points
Ghana 1-2-0 3 Points
Czechs 1-2-0 3 Points
Thursday, June 15, 2006
- Goal of the Year potential for the spectacular score by Gomez. Wow.
- Everything else
What a turn around by the team. After playing so well for the last 5 games, it all falls apart. Little effort was shown. Only the ineptitude of the opposition allowed DC United to salvage a point in this one.
Forwards (Eskandarian, Moreno) C-
Nothing much to write home about. Very ineffective.
Midfielders (Gomez, Gros, Adu, Simms, Carroll the Elder) C+
Gomez scores the only goal unassisted. Not good a controlling the ball and bringing it forward.
Defense (Boswell, Erpen, Namoff, Perkins) C
No excuse to allow Galaxy's inept offense to score.
Subs (Filomeno, Mediate) D
The team played worse in the second half and Mediate contributed to the play which led to the Galaxy goal.
Overheard in my basement:
Lots of cursing.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
DC United heads to the west coast this weekend to take on the Galaxy. Some interesting facts to think about:
- The Galaxy are 0-5-1 at home
- DC United is 2-1-1 on the road which includes their only loss
- The Galaxy have lost seven straight games
- DC United is unbeaten in their last five (4-0-1)
- Galaxy are missing Landon Donovan
- United are missing Ben Olsen
I just can't find any reason to believe that DC United won't win this game going away.
DC United 3:0 Los Angeles Galaxy
DCenters W (2.0 Points); DC SunDevil W (3:0); Quarter Volley W (2:0)
Congrats to DC SunDevil and Quarter Volley for correctly picking the Game 11 result. No one picked the correct score.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
I found this nice little tidbit on the NY Times site:
Since the beginning of group play in 1950, teams that have won their first games have advanced to the second round 81.1 percent of the time. Teams that lost their first games advanced only 18.8 percent of the time. Teams that tied advanced to the second round 62.5 percent of the time.
Holy crap! So if the US loses the first game against the Czechs, they have an 18% chance of advancing? I was nervous enough about their chances before I knew that.
On a different note, the English are far too obsessed with broken footed forward, Wayne Rooney.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
On the RFK wall next to the MLS Cup banners, there hangs another banner which can only be qualified as the DC United Hall of Fame. The DCenters excellent post on Marco Etcheverry reminded me of the fact that John Harkes is the only player on this list. It is a very weird situation to have one member of the group. (Can one person be a group?) As the first captain of DC United, Harkes is deserving of the honor. However, it leads to the obvious question: Who else belongs? One man's opinion...
1996-2003...Regular Season - 34 Goals, 101 Assists...Postseason - 3 Goals, 13 Assists...3 MLS Cups...MLS MVP 1998...MLS Best XI 1996, 1997, 1998, & 1999...MLS Cup MVP 1996...Goal of the Year 1997 & 1999...DC United Record 19 Assists in a Season...The first #10...long time captain...spectacular free kicks...beautiful passes...amazing vision...the best player for DC United's first 8 years.
1996-2002, 2004-Present...Regular Season - 99 Goals, 74 Assists...Postseason - 12 Goals, 9 Assists...4 MLS Cups...MLS Best XI 1997, 1999, 2004, & 2005...MLS Cup MVP 1997...Will end up being DC United's leader in goals, minutes, games played, and many other categories. Robbed of a league MVP in 2004.
1996-2002...Regular Season - 8 Goals, 8 Assists...3 MLS Cups...MLS Best XI 1997 & 1998...Defender of the Year 1997...Unquestioned best defender in DC United's first 8 years.
1998-Present...Regular Season - 20 Goals, 40 Assists...Postseason - 2 Goals, 2 Assists...2 MLS Cups...MLS Cup MVP 1999...Rookie of the Year 1998...Humanitarian of the Year 2003...Heart and soul of the team for a decade...my favorite player (Yes, it counts!)
1996-1998...61-35 (0.635)...2 MLS Cups...3 Finals Appearances...The Gold Standard of MLS Coaches
Raul Diaz Arce
1996-1997, 2000-2001...Regular Season - 44 Goals, 10 Assists...Postseason - 8 Goals, 1 Assist...2 MLS Cups...DC United record 4 Goals in a game (twice)...DC United Record 23 Goals in a season...DC United record 48 Points in a season
1996-2000...Regular Season 6 Goals, 17 Assists...3 MLS Cups...MLS Best XI 1997
2001-2004...Regular Season - 7 Goals, 5 Assists...Postseason - 1 Assist...1 MLS Cup...MLS Best XI 2003 & 2004... I honestly felt that DC United was a goal a game better with him on the field
On the Road
2003-Present...Regular Season - 18 Goals, 7 Assists...Postseason - 4 Goals, 1 Assist...1 MLS Cup...MLS Cup MVP 2004
2004- Present...Regular Season - 18 Goals, 14 Assists...Post Season - 1 Goal...1 MLS Cup...MLS Best XI 2005
So What are we waiting for? Let's get Etcheverry and Bruce Arena on the banner so Harkes can have some company on the list of the best in DC United history. And leave room for Jaime, Nelson, Olsen, and Pope.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
- Jaime scores his 4th goal in the last three games. A terrible defensive play by Parkhurst allowed the ball to cross the line, but Jaime's hot streak continues.
- Adu was very dangerous throughout the game and made several nice crosses and one wicked one-timer which strike the crossbar in the upper left corner with spectacular pace.
- Gros played a complete game yet again and continues to be one of the best players on the field.
- The defense was much improved and kept Tewllman largely invisible throughout the game.
- Kansas City ties RBNY which extends DC United's cushion in the East to 10 points. Wow.
- Dallas loses to Columbus which makes DC United the overall leader in MLS by 3 points in the race for the Supporters Shield.
- Erpen pushed up well and then made terrible decisions. The goal at RBNY must have convinced him he is better at the 30+ yard shots than is reasonable. Many wasted possessions from wild shots from #5.
- Finishing was off tonight across the board. Eskandarian was dangerous, but never really got off a great shot. Moreno finished his breakaway, but also never really tested Reis.
Forwards (Eskandarian, Moreno) B
After a dominating first half, unable to maintain possession in the second half which led to far too many Revolution possessions. Jamie now only two behind Kreis for the all time MLS leadership.
Midfielders (Carroll the Elder, Gomez, Adu, Gross, Simms) B+
Simms had a great cross to Adu which led to his near miss. Gros was the Man of the Match. Gomez and Carroll the Elder held down the middle, but had problems in the second half keeping posession of the ball.
Defense (Erpen, Boswell, Namoff, Perkins) B+
Much improved over last game. Defended the cross well. Only gave up a few good chances.
Subs (Mediate, Filomeno) C
Filomeno was somewhat active but neither did much to remember.
Overheard in section M-32.
Best crowd of the season. No question. Six full sections stood throughout the game in Barra Brava. Well done 12th man. Brought the wife to the game for the first time this year and she was very impressed. She kept saying how much fun it looked like they were having.
You've gotta believe that Eskandarian, Gros, and Carroll the Elder will get good long looks during friendies and tournaments for the USMNT after the World Cup. Good young American talent on display all season at RFK.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
With DC United sporting the #1 Offense, best goal differential, and tied for the best overall point total, a game at home against .500 New England shouldn't pose much of a problem. However, I can't help but think that that guy Twellman is just itching to show Arena what a mistake he made in passing over him for a roster spot for the World Cup in Arena's old house. He makes me nervous. Couple that with the spotty play on the back line and New England will have my full attention and I hope United's as well.
No reason to change the starting lineup which obliterated Columbus on Wednesday. I'm not sure why Adu and Gross switched sides once per half last game, but I certainly prefer Adu on the left. When he is on the right, he cuts everything back to the middle. (Must have something to do with the fact he hasn't discovered he has two feet.) On the left he can cross or cut it back.
Be sure to listen to Tony Limarzi on WMET 1160 AM on the way to they game or while listening at home. I went to high school with him (Go Gonzaga!) and he does a great job as the English voice of DC United. His pregame show starts 30 minutes before kickoff.
DC United 2:2 New England Revolution
Other game predictions:
During the United-Crew game last night, discussion naturally wandered to the World Cup and the US roster. Back in December, I drew up my ideal lineup which looked like this:
D- Onyewu, Pope, Lewis, Cherundelo
M- Beasley, Reyna, Donovan, O'Brien
F- McBride, Johnson
After all the games between March 1 and now, it seems a few changes are in order. DC United alum Bobby Convey is pushing for a spot in the starting lineup, Beasley is a bit off his game, and Johnson is in a terrible slump. So, with all that in mind, here is one man's opinion on who should start, who the top subs are, and who I pray never sees the field.
G - Keller
D - Onyewu, Pope, Lewis, Cherundelo
M- Convey, Reyna, O'Brien, Beasley
F- McBride, Donovan
This lineup would have Reyna playing the holding midfielder position and Donovan playing withdrawn forward. Cherundelo and Lewis would be pushing up the wings and Beasley and Convey would have significant defensive responsibilities to cover for their runs.
Johnson, Dempsey, Mastroeni, Wolf, Olsen
Johnson would sub late in games to try for an equalizer. Dempsey, Wolf, and Mastroeni for posession, and Olsen for an injury to Reyna or O'Brien. None of the defenders should see the field unless someone is injured.
Who should go uncapped:
Albright, Bocanegra, Ching, Howard, Hahnemann, Berhalter
Group E Prediction:
1. Italy 7
2. USA 5
3. Czech 2
4. Ghana 1
Which would mean the Italy-Czech game would have meaning for Italy as they would need to win to avoid Brazil in Round 2.
Predictions for all groups in a few days.
- Eskandarian scares the bejezus out of the Crew defense and draws a trifecta out of it, a penalty kick, a goal, and an own goal (via his head, no less). Not a bad night for the man who missed most of a full year.
- Jaime scores #100 and closes the gap between him and Kreis to 3. Is it just me or is this a better watch than that guy with the big head in San Francisco who was chasing a dead guy? Both Jaime and Kreis are still playing. Should make for a fun chase this season.
- Adu, Gomez, and Gross were great distributing the ball. Even with 5 goals, there were a few more left on the field which should have been converted.
- Lively Wednesday night crowd. Always nice to see the United supporters arrive in force on a weeknight. Bodes well for close to 20 K for Saturdays game vs. New England.
- Adu needs to be quicker getting his shot off in the box. Once he was unable to pull the trigger with his right foot and never got a shot off and another time he hesitated and was smothered.
- Back post defense was terrible in the first half. Namoff was beat several times, including the lone Crew goal.
- Filomeno's goal celebration was pointless. Why do something which will guarantee yourself a card? Act like you've been there before.
Forwards (Eskandarian, Moreno) A
Two goals, and countless threats. Can't ask for more. Glad to see these two together in the starting lineup as it should have been all last year.
Midfielders (Gross, Adu, Gomez, Simms, Carroll the Elder) A-
Being a huge Olsen nut, I must say they midfielders had their best game without him of the last few seasons. Good possession, great distribution, got back on defense.
Defense (Namoff, Boswell, Erpen) B-
A few tense moments, but the scoreboard shows only 1 goal. May not be the leagues best defense, but definitely above average with room for improvement.
Subs (Filomeno, Mediate, Carroll the Younger) B
Scored a goal and got the stars off the field early.
Overheard in Section M-32:
It was decided that Mexico and Germany have the two easiest groups and Argentina has the hardest. When looking at the rest of the groups, the USA would have gotten a better draw if placed in Groups A (in place of Costa Rica), B (Trinidad and Tobago), D (Iran), F (Japan), and H (Saudi Arabia). We wanted no part of Group C and Group G would be a wash. It may be USA pride talking, but they were clearly the strongest team in Pot 3 and getting beat out for a number 1 seed hurt their chances for advancing significantly. I predicted that Italy, Czech and USA will all get 5 points and the dreaded goal differential will determine who advances. I was subsequently laughed at. Nothing new there.