Friday, April 18, 2008

My Take: DC United 1 - 2 Columbus Crew

Ok, I admit it, I stopped watching the game on ESPN2 right after the second Crew goal. I couldn't stand, er, my fiancee couldn't stand me yelling and screaming at the TV for much more and she was worried that I might throw something at the TV.

So I played a computer game instead.

In the small amount of time I did watch the match, I saw alot of things. I saw that DC United has two very large problems with it's offense. First, United retains the ball too long. What I mean is that our players try and hold the ball at their feet longer than they should and this allows for defenses to track back and get ready for any type of attack. I lost count of how many times a United player has tried to dribble the ball into the 6 yard box or make a short pass inside the box, rather than take a short on goal.

Second thing I saw was that United is scared to shoot. I lost count of how many times a United player would make a back pass or a short pass, rather than take a shot at the goal. Namoff took that long range shot in the first half and right afterwards, he was able to get inside the box and cause the own goal. United seems to think that they are only allowed to score from inside the 6 yard box.

If you add these two things together, you can see why the offense has had its problems and why the defense is getting rushed so much now. However, these two problems, IMHO, are more direct results of two outlaying problems that DC United is suffering from. They are the coaching and a player absense.

I am losing more and more confidence in Tom Soehn as the days go bye. As in all other major team sports, the fault should lay with the players, as they are the ones who aren't getting it done on the field. However, as always, the coach shoulders the blame for on the field problems. Soehn needs to get his guys up for these matches. He needs to get the right info across to his guys, mainly that they need to take more shots and stop trying to dribble through 4 defenders. he needs to adapt the game plan, or he needs to go.

The player absense is something that I brought up earlier in the season, and his name is Gomez. The absense of Christian Gomez, regardless of Gallardo's abilities, has IMHO, caused a major problem with the performance of Emillio. Last season, with an offensive midfielder moving in right behind Emillio, defenders had to give Emillio more room, because if they focused only on Emillio, Gomez could kill them, based on how he positioned himself. If they focused on Gomez, then Emillio was free, as was the case some 30 + times last season.

Now you have Gallardo, who plays a much deeper role in the attack, creating a gap in the offensive third of the field. Moreno doesn't play like Gomez had, so he doesn't fill the role, as neither does Niell or Quaranta. Fred could maybe fill the hole, but then we need another guy on the flank. Emillio is left all alone without any type of support, so we are seeing more "holes" in Emillio's play as he is having to fight for more balls with his back to goal, something he is failing at. Losing Christian Gomez, IMHO was a huge mistake and we are seeing that right now.

Gallardo is a very good player and sees a much different game than most on the field. That said, as others have said, the process of getting Gallardo and the rest of the club in the same page is taking much longer than it should, especially considering that United have now played 8 matches this season. This is the type of problem that the coach is supposed to sort out. I am starting to wonder if Soehn can bring this group together or if the FO needs to bring in another coach who can.



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