Friday, September 22, 2006

DC United Preview - 9/22/2006

DC United vs. Red Bull New York
RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.
9/23/2006 7:30pm

Christ, this is a long season. This is the 5th and final time United and the Bovine of the Big Apple lock up this season, 4th in the League, and the extra matchup coming in the Quarter Finals of the USOC. United are still leading the Atlantic Cup series, with a win and two draws. They also defeated the Red Bulls 3-1 in the USOC matchup, knocking the Bulls out of the tournament.

Ok, so what the hell. United storms out of the gates, pimp slaps the league, breaks off a 13 match unbeaten streak, gives up 2 late penalties that lead to a loss and the whole ship starts to sink faster than the Titanic. United are assured of finishing no worse than 2nd in the Eastern Conference, and based on their current run of form, that statement is a blessing. Ask any United supporter two months ago if you would be happy with being assured of 2nd place and they would have screamed!

I honestly think that the biggest problem is that United truly does not have deep a roster as some of us thought. We were too dependent on players who in their stages of their careers, should never have been asked to go 90 minutes, every match, the entire season. Moreno, Gomez, and Olsen are the ones that come to mind. Coach Nowak should have approached these guys the way that Baseball managers approach pitchers. Their arms only have so many innings in them for a season. If you can get a guy out of the game in the 6th or 7th inning, it means that you can use him deeper into the season. Nowak should have looked at these guys the same way. A perfect example of this is the second RBNY match. Alecko Eskandarian is 24 years old, there is really no reason he should be pulled from a 4-1 match before a 32 year old is. yet Moreno stayed on the field for a 4-1 drubbing.

I know that a lot of United matches had been 1-0 victories over the beginning part of the season, but when you cannot do anything without 1 or 2 guys, the season will rise and fall based on their form. They need to be stretched out and allowed to rest from time to time. On the flip side of this, you need to get guys onto the field to get them the experience that they can draw from in future matches. Get Mediate on the field for 30 minutes in a match against the Crew. Why only have deRoux come in this late in the season? The biggest why of them all...why trade Santino? We had a bench that was lacking and knew that the problem of injuries and thinness were looming, so why trade a guy who can go out there and be a threat?

Nevermind, just venting a little.

So, onto tomorrow nights match.

United are coming off of a 0-1 loss to the Chicago Fire, and the Red Bulls just played at midweek and lost to the Revolution. Bruce Arena is still sorting out the mess he was handed and it doesn't look like he is seeing any type of good shape or form from the big steaming pile of monkey crap he was given in New York. The Bulls shouldn't be a problem.

The problem will most likely be United themselves. Are they up for this? This is a match that United should take all 3 points from, hands down. Will they do as they normally have done in these types of matches...take it lightly and put in a 50% effort and maybe get the win? Or will they come out with all guns blazing and pop a cap in the Bovine's collective ass'?

DC United honors the 1996 MLS Cup Championship team tomorrow night at halftime and they are inducting Marco "El Diablo" Etcheverry into the "Tradition of Excellence." I hope that El Diablo has a meeting with the players before the match, shows them the 3 rings he has and tells them that they are not performing like United players and that they must step it up. Challenge them, or tell them that he will have Hristo Stoichkov come back and break their legs.

I think that United should be able to pull this one out. They have to get things together, as they have a tough road match next week at Houston, then home matches against the Revolution and the season closer against the Chicago Fire, a match that could truly determine the Eastern Conference and the Supporters Shield.

Prediction: DC United 1 - 0 Red Bull New York


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