Friday, October 28, 2011

Sure do wish i could log in on this dern site...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Football is a skill to itself... A whole universe to itself. Me love it because you have to be skillful to play it! Freedom! Football is freedom. -Bob Marley

Monday, July 11, 2011

Much Needed Catching Up

After missing several weeks, jumping right back in is a precarious task, but I will brave the frigid water of blogging...and in the smoldering heat of summer and get back in the saddle. Even before going on hiatus, I went away from previewing and then reviewing matches. I expect to continue that discontinuity for the most part. However, the season is looking pretty good for United after a couple of trades.

Despite my personal belief that DeRo is one of the league's best midfielders, this trade was a real shock. Early in the season, Dax's energy was much needed in the center of the field, but after the first month, what he was delivering was something less than what was expected or needed. In fact, he started to remind me of the section in Soccernomics where Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski discuss the tendency to over-value redheaded players. Specifically, they state that redheads stand out on a soccer field differently from players with black or blond hair. Scouts and other players see them more and can more easily pick out what the redheads do. Sure there are great soccer players out there with red hair, but Dax is just "pretty good".

If you compare DeRo and Dax's successful passes last Saturday to each other, the difference between them is clear. DeRo is involved all over the field and his passes are distributed pretty evenly. In contrast, Dax's passes, were almost all from the defensive middle to either the wings or full backs. Even DC's defensive midfielder Clyde Simms moved around the field more and distributed the ball more broadly than Dax. I do not know how Dax will pan out in New York, but it may be to his benefit to play under a guy like Kyle Beckerman (at RSL) at some point; a tough center-mid playing in a withdrawn position.

The addition of Brandon McDonald is also welcome, and has shorn up our defense the last few weeks. At 25, he provides some experience and greater physicality than our injured young roster. I still feel Julius James got screwed in the off-season and suspect our defense would have been better earlier if we had kept him. However, in MLS we do not need to dominate the table, just fight to make the play-offs; preferably high enough in the table to avoid the mid-week wild card round. With the international transfer window opening on 14 July, we will see if United selects one more player to shore up the defense in order to make up for injuries.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Coming up on the All-Star break, DC United are again plagued with a boatload of injuries. I will not harp on this too much, but we now have Blake Brettschneider's on the injury report with a concussion. I wonder if along with the cliche journalists and soccer geeks once repeated like a mantra ("DC United plays with a certain style"), we will soon start to hear sexy new catch phrases such as "wounded like United" or better yet "get yer head injury on".

Friday, July 1, 2011

Long story short- my computer was stolen and I haven,t been able to replace. Soon though...

Friday, May 13, 2011

This blog is currently on hiatus. I will provide an update in the next day or so.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

United Tie Aganist Dallas: A Respectable Result

Maybe the expectation this week was lower than it was for other games, but DC's tie against Dallas feels pretty good. Dallas came to RFK after a week of rest after beating LA Galaxy at home 2-1. But United was starting it's third game in nine days, and had expended a lot of energy in its 2-1 victory over Seattle (and their arrogant fans) on Wednesday. It was with this in mind that a tie over Dallas was a welcome result.

DC defended well despite playing Dejan "Tacklem' From Behind" Jakovic at centerback, and Josh White, who is inexperienced. The midfield was instrumental to the defense too, because they were able to control possession for large chunks of the game. Even better, for the second straight game, the midfield and forwards linked up well and posed a real threat. Andy Najar again played his game, retaining possession, moving the ball, and distributing dangerously to Charlie Davies and Joseph Ngwenya. DC's best chance was probably in the waning minutes of the game, when a point blank header from Fred should have scored DC's go-ahead goal (pictured above). But an incredible save by Dallas's goal keeper, Kevin Hartman preserved the tie for them.

One more notable point to make has nothing to do with either team, but with referee Baldomero Toledo whose propensity for bad calls or missed calls often makes him the center of a game's attention. This was not the case last night. There were missed calls, and phantom foul calls, but it was not unusually poor and none of these were cause for either team (or their fans) to cry foul.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Olsen's Army Answers Call

The start of this week was tough for DC. After losing three straight games in disgraceful fashion, the boys answered the call on Wednesday, beating Seattle 2-1. Seattle came to RFK (a venue where they have never lost) chasing first place in the western conference, to play a team that had given up 11 goals in the last three games. Under pressure to show signs of life, Olsen rallied his team and ramped up pressure to a level that had not been seen all season. The result was a sucker-punch of a match that gave Seattle more fight than they were expecting.

Many of the players exceeded expectations for them for this game. Charlie Davies scored a goal with an assist from Josh Wolff. In the second half, he returned the favor for Wolff's goal. Both of these came off of balls slotted through by Andy Najar whose technical ability was in top form. The defense gave up only a single goal (on a deserved penalty kick). What about goalie Bill Hamid? His play was outstanding, and kept DC in the lead in the closing minutes of the game.

The most important thing about this game may be that when pushed into a corner, Olsen was able to rally his team. As poor as the squad played against the Houston, this week they were in sync. On Monday, Olsen's practice was intense by all accounts. It included a lot of yelling and the team's reaction could well have responded less positively. This was in stark contrast to last year's team, which was demoralized by this time last year and was unable to rally when then-coach Curt Onalfo recited his mantra that the team would have to "Dig a little deeper", after each game.

If United continue to perform well over the course of the season (even if they miss the playoffs), Olsen's effort this week will stand as a defining moment for the coach. "Game 8? Oh yeah, that's the game Benny showed what he could do."