Thursday, August 24, 2006

DC United Recap - USOC 8/24/2006

DC United 3 - 1 Red Bull New York

Now that was a fun game to watch. There were some really questionable calls by the line judges, but overall the match was a very good effort by DC United. United move on to the USOC Semi-Finals to face the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on September 6th.

First off, I have to say I was surprised that Peter Nowak actually started a match without Freddy, Benny, Jaime and Gomez. Gomez and Freddy seemed to be due to injury, Ben...not sure why, and Jaime because he ain't no spring chicken and he has been running out of gas in several matches. So we essentially started out backup keeper, our first team defense, what can be called our first team defensive midfield, as Simms earned the job while Olsen was in Germany, and one of our first team forwards. The rest of the guys were our reserves. RBNY on the otherhand, fielded their first team with the exception of Dema, who was banned for one match due to his last USOC match red card.

Based on the starting line up, I was not too excited about our chances. What I saw was amazing! Our lineup of reserves and first teamers were not only not getting run over by their starters, but we were just as dangerous as they were; scored first and gave up a soft goal. I was impressed by the play of Mediate and Dyachenko, with them progressing along like this, the future should be good.

One thing that shocked me more than that was that at the start of the second half, our composure went to pieces. We were having a lot of defensive flubs and the Bulls were resting in our half of the field. Then the change came. Olsen and Moreno were subbed in and it was the shot of adrenalin that the team needed. Better runs off the ball, better passes, and we scored right off the restart. The difference that Ben and Jaime made last night was huge!

Some quick points:
- Rimando: Nick showed two things last night. Why he is a good keeper, and why he is the backup. That goal last night was all, all his fault. The whole first half he did a great job of blocking shots, but he was leaving way too many rebounds. He ended up giving away one too many and Guevara pounced on the loose ball and scored. The entire second half, Nicky did a much better job of holding onto the ball, or pushing the ball out of bounds. The number of rebounds in the second half were just about nill, compared to about 3 or 4 in the first. I like Nicky as a keeper, but he scared me last night. I understand why Troy is the starting keeper now.

- Marvel Wynne: Ok, I am usually not one to praise a RBNY player...but that kid is good. I was sitting in section 229 last night and through the entire first half, all I saw was that kid run up and down the side of the field. He and Josh went tooth and nail last night. His performance last night reminded me of the way that Roberto Carlos plays for Real Madrid. He is in the back, then he sprints forward so quickly. He will be on the 2010 WC team if he continues to improve like he has.

- Red Bull Supporters: I was actually happy to see that many traveling fans down from NYC for last nights match. They were loud (granted I ended up sitting about three sections in front of them) and the interaction between them and Barra/SE was great. That said, their chants were very unoriginal. "Esky Sucks! Esky Sucks!" (I reminded them that Esky spits) and "Metro, Metro!" Didn't anyone tell them that they changed their name? All in all, I was glad that they showed up. If more Wednesday night matches in either MLS or the USOC have that many or more traveling supporters show up, the league and pro soccer here in the US will get stronger.

All in all, it was a great match. We are now faced with an away match at Toyota Park against the Fire. Hopefully the good form that we have had in the USOC will continue through that match. I am also hopeful for that form to translate to a victory this Saturday against the Aliens of LALA Land.

On a different note, in the spirit of Operation: Deflower I took my brother to last nights match. Other than some gripes about the prices of chicken fingers and the beer selection, he had a great time. He had been to some United matches last season, but this season he had yet to make it out to one of them.


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