Thursday, March 15, 2007

1-1: DC United recap

Well, I learned that in a cold, wet, rainy hostile stadium, Budweiser almost tastes good.

Besides that, I watched a very good soccer game between DC United and Chivas, the real Chivas. I saw a pre-season United absorb everything that a midseason Mexican powerhouse could throw at them, and really only give up one mistake the entire match. I also saw two guys show their worth: Bobby Boswell & Emilio.

Tonight's match was what I really expected the first Olimpia match to look like. United looked like they were in pre-season form. Our offense was never really clicking and our runs were rampant and off sequence. Our defense, for the most part was very strong, yet looked erratic at times. Facundo Erpen had at times the match of his life and at other times, a very horrible match. If we get anything out of this match tonight is that for 90 minutes, we showed that we can go blow for blow with the best in CONCACAF and still remain standing.

Emilio had a less than stellar match, then again coming off of his last two, he really didn't have anywhere else to go but down. He had some really nice runs and passes, but he was never really able to get through the final step and get a really good shot on goal....until the 90th minute when he headed in United's goal. This guy is a striker of every facet of the term. He can work the match for 89 minutes, then in that last minute, he strikes. Thank god he is in United black & red.

My Man of The Match was Bobby Boswell. That boy was all over the place in the back line. Everytime Erpen was beat or made a shotty kick, Boswell was there to clean it up. Boswell shut down their central forwards and was huge for our defense. That guy is growing right before our eyes. I expect him to start getting offers from overseas as soon as the 2008 January transfer window.

So we have a 1-1 goal aggregate on our hands. Considering that we scored both goals and the last one came in the 90th minute, I have no problem with 1-1 heading down to Guadalajara. Is it 2-0 like Houston has with Pachuca? No, but then again, we could be down 1-0. Assuming that Troy continues to get his thigh better and can have better ball distribution and we get Fred on the roster and can get him into the squad, we might have a chance heading into the second leg. I really don't think at this point that we will advance...but this is the thing; Chivas really didn't impress me tonight.

For a club that has half of the Mexican National Squad on its starting roster and for such a powerhouse of a club, Chivas really didn't look that special. Yes they have great passing and their attack is very fast, but (maybe it was the rain) their finishing isn't the best thing since sliced bread. Their only goal came from a deflection and it was an own goal at that. Granted now that I have said this, they will execute like the Harlem Globetrotters and we will get a replay of the PUMAs home match two years ago. That said, I really don't see Chivas as having that great an attack.

So where does this all lead? Our attack needs to get much better and get everyone back on the same page that we were on against Olimpia. If that is to happen, we have a fighting chance in the second leg. Our defense, while very good/lucky tonight, needs to step it up an extra notch. If these two things occur, then I will eat my words and we should get a result in Mexico. If they don't...well, we should be ready for the MLS season opener.

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