Friday, November 03, 2006

DC United Preview 11/03/2006

MLS Eastern Conference Finals
DC United vs. New England Revolution
RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.
4:00pm, 11/05/2006 ESPN2

Ok, this is it, the one for all the marbles. Win and you get a trip to Dallas to face the Western Conference Champion. Lose and well, you get shit. In one corner we have the most successful club in MLS history, the current Supporters Shield winner, DC United vs. the Buffalo Bills of MLS, the team that has been to 5 Eastern Conference Championships, and have been to two MLS Cup finals, losing to the LA Galaxy in both matches, both in overtime. As the Galaxy never made the playoffs, the Revs look at this season as their best possible chance to finally get a victory.

So, after coming an inch (or a Christian Gomez) away from blowing the second leg of the Semi-Finals, DC United find themselves back in the Eastern Conference finals, for a 6th time. United are playing at home, in front of the greatest fans in MLS and should be the favorites to win. However, they are not. After backing into the playoffs, United are no longer impressing anyone and have played themselves into being the underdog in their own stadium. If it wasn’t for the efforts of MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Troy Perkins, or for soon to be crowned MLS MVP Christian Gomez, DC United most likely would already be playing golf this week and the coaching staff would either be packing up their offices, playing golf as well, or be developing their training program for next season.

I was one of the 21,455 that were clad in black, screaming for the boys to get their heads out of their asses and get to work. Some of my friends asked me afterwards how the game was, as it looked awesome on TV. I have told everyone that the game itself was very painful to watch. It was like I was watching a live action, slow motion train wreck, slowly getting worse as the match went on. Episodes of “The Simple Life” have been less painful to watch. George Lucas’ dialogue in “Star Wars Episode I, II & III” were easier to take than the performance from United on Sunday. I could go on and on about how bad the match was. I expect nothing less than a 180 degree turn around from our guys this Sunday.

Everyone has their bad days, it just appears that for all of the good matches that United had during the season, they are now reaping the opposite at the end of the season. Karma says that the string of shitty performances should be over. No matter how bad these guys play, we all know that they are better. I guess if Barra, the Screaming Eagles, La Norte and the rest of the supporters in the stands yell, scream, drum loud enough, we can get the best out of our guys. At least I hope that this is the case.

So, getting back to the match on Sunday. Considering we have no injury issues except for Nick, I expect that our normal starting line-up will take the field against the Revs. New England is probably expecting this same formation. I hope though, that in reaction to how our defense has been shredded by the Revolution offence in the recent matches, we play a 4-4-2, with a four man back line, with Josh Gros moving to the back to allow for better wing coverage. With his speed, he can make forward runs up the side that over lap with the midfielders. I am hoping that Nowak uses a four man midfield, with Gomez, Adu, Olsen and Donnet, with our forwards remaining Moreno and Head Gear.

I want to see Alecko take more shots, take quicker shots and take them from the top of the box. Doing so should open up the Revolution defense and make them step up in the attacking third, which should create more space for guys like Gomez and Moreno. I want Freddy to look up faster for passing chances, and to take quicker shots. I want Donnet to be able to create more chances and get better passes in. On defense, I want Benny to bug the ever loving shit out of Joseph and or Deuce (if he plays). Erpen needs to control his movements and make much better decisions on his positioning and passes. I would also like to see Bozilla provide better support for the Argentine defender.

All in all, I really don’t know how this one will turn out. I would like to think that all the crap that has been spewing forth from the United players mouths about how we have to step it up and we must play better actually leads to some increase in performance on the field. However, their recent displays have shown me to really stop believing them. I can only be told that there is no spoon so many times before I stop believing.

If United actually plays up to their potential, gets out there and plays their style of soccer and can smother the midfield, I think that they can pull out a slim 2-1 victory. If Bizarro United shows up and we play remotely like we did against the Red Bulls last Sunday, the guys will have tee times for Monday morning al scheduled and ready to go.

Prediction: DC United 2 – 1 New England Revolution or Bizarro United 0 – 2 New England Revolution


Blogger The Manly Ferry said...

I chucked my thoughts on the Eastern Conference final in the ring yesterday and figured we may as well compare notes. Like you, I've got no friggin' clue who owns the advantage in a game between High Anxiety United and the cast of extras from Gone with the Wind.

Good luck to your bunch Sunday, though. No matter what happens, I expect it will be emotional.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Mike H said...

Bizarro United has been hanging around way too much in DC these days. As I said over on my site, unless United does a major reversal from the last few matches (or two months), the Revolution will be celebrating on the RFK pitch.

Still, I do have hope that the best will come out and make a great game of it all.

Enjoy the ride; I'm sure it will be exhausting.

2:18 PM  

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