Discussion in 'D.C. United' started by Knave, Jun 30, 2005.
aka RFK North
We have a winning streak at HDC.
Chivas and MLS Cup matches don't count.
Wasn't Walker Adu's "first Goal of an MLS Career" bitch?
Here are my thoughts on this game.
1. Columbus has exactly one win against teams in the East. That was against us, after the Pumas match, in Columbus, 1-0. So while they're a bad team, we need to take them seriously.
2. They're now stronger on the wings than the last time we played them (where Mediate was one winger and Rodriguez was the other). They've added Henderson (but lost Busch).
3. Their middle of the field is still very soft. I've been one of the guys yelling that Adu has holes in his game, isn't an automatic starter, etc. etc. The Crew are one of the few teams in MLS that Adu matches up against perfectly. Our game plan against the Crew should be to go forward with gusto and don't stop. Even if we don't score, putting the Crew back on their heels is the way to attack this team. It minimizes Adu's defensive limitations, let's us get away with Gomez as a holding mid and also decreases the chances that one of their frontrunners will score some kind of silly goal given enough chances. Seriously, the Crew aren't Dallas or NE or even Chicago--teams that can absorb pressure well. We've looked to be the better team by far in both matches against Columbus and that's b/c we spent most of those two games running at them.
4. I also wouldn't be surprised if Adu got minutes at forward. Eskandarian might be healthy and I think Soehm said he'd likely be available for some minutes this weekend. Kuffour might be a good fit in this match (just b/c he scored a goal doesn't automatically mean he should start). While the last time we played these guys Gomez was a holding mid, with Simms and Carroll healthy and tend to think that might put Freddy on the frontline. Which is fine--none of our forwards are going to beat Fraser or Marshall in the air.
5. I wouldn't be surprised if Stokes got the start. Prideaux evidently s*****d the pooch against Chicago. Buddle (if he's healthy enough to start) is wildly inconsistent but he's a physical force. Stokes (with his height and quickness) may be a better man matchup against him. And if another body goes down on the backline, don't be surprised to see Brian Carroll there. He adds quickness and get up and down the flank--something that is important against this Crew team.
These two comments bring up one thing I'm a little concerned about, which is fatigue. A number of people that haven't been going 90 went 90 Wednesday night (Wilson, Simms, and obviously Kuffour). I'd like to give Nana another start, but I dunno what he'll have in the tank. Then again, if Esky's good for "some minutes" only, I don't know what else you'd do either.
I agree that Freddy starts this one.
I thought I read that Kuffour played striker on Wednesday, alternating with Jamil Walker. Isn't he a midfielder? I would rather see someone like Walker up top and Gomez as the center attacking midfielder, to keep Gomez from retreating out of the game, which is his tendency when he and Adu are on the field at the same time. But then three playmakers on the field without a poacher-type may make for some great possession but not a lot of goals. I suppose we have Gros and Kovalenko out wide but putting Adu out wide would force the action up the sides of the field, which is where I think the Crew's defense is weaker. Simms/Carroll/Gomez in the middle. That would also present a new look, although Adu would have to track back on defense and is isn't used to doing that all game. Maybe we put Gros in the middle instead of Carroll to support him. Somebody will hopefully get the business done and get some goals. Our ability to spread the field
On paper, yes. But in the reserves, and obviously Wednesday night, he's been playing as a forward.
Except Walker has not been playing well lately.
All that we need to do to dominate Crew is deny their midfield the ball - which should be very simple provided we cut down their outlets to Hendu and "El Loco". Those two are by far Crew's most dangerous players at this point in time. I am glad that Dema is not matched up opposite "El Loco" because I feel that he could give the new, improved and self-disciplined Dema an enormous temptation to go off the deep end and break him in half. At least Hendu is an honest and clean player.
Elliott, Martino and Wingert (or whomever they prop up in the center of the field) should not be able to move without bumping into a DC player. I want to see our midfield totally clamp down on them - pursuing every lazy pass and force the Crew midfielders into making panicky backpasses as they are over-run in the midfield. Panicky backpasses could present Nana, Dema, Josh and co. with some exciting opportunities at the attacking end. Also - if we put the Crew midfield under enough pressure, the defense will have to push up even higher in support and that will provide us with more counterattacking opportunities. If we play our cards right - Andrulis will be forced to go to a one striker line-up by the second half, as his team gets overrun in midfield and the backline gets exposed.
Cornell Glen is gone and Buddle is sore, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of John Wolyniec up front. That is an easy mark for any of our defenders since John depends on service and the only Crew player that can provide what he needs is Hendu. Marcus Sealy or Jamal Sutton could provide Stokes with some trouble if they figure in this game (just as Hendu could if Stokes gets isolated on him), but I don't mind starting Stokes ahead of Prideaux. Stokes actually matches up fairly well with Buddle (especially a sore one) and Woly since they are not particularly quick and are not great at holding the ball and dishing it to others.
If Johnny Walker does get the start - I hope to see Nana and Clyde (if not others) unleashing some 20+ yard bombs to humiliate him/soften him up proper and give Nana, Josh and Dema some scraps to follow-up on. As shaky and rebound-prone as Walker was when on form last season - I grin and rub my hands together at the thought of facing him cold. Please start him.
I am sick of Bill Gaudette, especially after he mowed over one of our players - Jaime I think - (late tackle and didn't even make a play on the ball as it rolled over the endline - likely not called (incorrectly) because it was not a goalscoring opportunity) at RFK. I am sick of seeing burly keepers (Reis, Thornton, Gaudette) playing through our forwards when none of the refs protect little Nicky and instead card him for standing up for himself after every forward and their brother drag their feet on him.
So far as our attack goes - I think that on current form I would be delighted to start out the way we did against Chicago. Nana and Gomito are both very aggressive moving into the box and pouncing on the ball and Columbus has several defenders who pick up cards/give up penalties to these types of players (Marshall, Mediete, etc). They are also likely to have to play some pretty green players in defense with Hejduk missing, Herdsman injured, etc. Adu will be a great addition in the second half after Simon Elliott's butt has been run into the ground.
To be perfectly honest, just as Columbus was a great team to break out the ALL-ATTACK Adu/Gomito/Simms central midfield for the first time last month - I think this time I would use the more pedestrian Simms/Carroll/Gomito to start with because I want to see the Crew midfield completely denied the ball and I think that given present form that Gros-Moreno-Gomito-Nana-Kovalenko will provide plenty of firepower and dominate the weak Columbus back line.
Right fscking on.
Fortunately for us, C-bus played Wed. night in K.C., where it was hotter than in Chicago (94 at game-time). The C-bus defender Schulte looked deader than Petke in Mexico City.
Has anyone from the Crew braintrust actually said or indicated that Walker will start? I don't think he's even fully recovered from his 2nd injury this year. I'd expect to see Gaudette back in goal, which would be fine by me--I wouldn't say he's fat, but he's kind of... lumbering.
There was a moment Wednesday night when I switching between the Crew and Rapids games when Stephen Armstrong and Eric Denton badly misplayed balls about 10 seconds apart. Had a very bad flashback to 2001, of course, and just couldn't watch any more of the Rapids game.
Say "bye-bye" to the big leagues, 'druler. At least sweater-vests are still in fashion in Milwaukee.
I absolutely don't want to see Adu at outside midfield. Let's be real honest here--unless we totally have our way with the Crew, our outside mids in this game are going to be spending most of their time defending. Does that sound like a good fit for Adu? Match him up against either Rodriguez or Henderson--neither is a good fit. No--this is a match for Kovalenko and Gros, and maybe Carroll or Simms later if one of them needs a break.
I agree that we want to own midfield. I also agree that putting Gomez at holding midfield means fewer touches and puts him further away from goal--neither is good in my book. But Adu matches up well in central midfield against the Crew. And if we come out attacking then I think that means Gomez at holding mid with Adu as the A-mid. But Liverpool, your point is well taken and you may very well be right about the need for more ball-winning talent in midfield. In which case, Freddy's only chance to start is at forward (instead of Kuffour).
Chessplayer should stick to chess. Crew's biggest threat is through their wide players (Hendu and El Loco) as mentioned above. They need to be denied space and touches. Adu on the outside is not the answer to that problem. Gros and Dema are 90 minute players for me at this point in the season.
In fact - I doubt this is the case - but perhaps Nowak even asked Josh to be careful about expending extra energy against the Fire in preparation for our upcoming match against Crew - knowing full well what a threat El Loco was in the RFK match and how much we would need Gros to be 100% without Benny available to back up at wide midfield.
If Gros or Dema get blown, I would consider pushing Wilson up against Loco and subbing in Prideaux.
I know you mentioned Kuffour should not be an automatic starter purely due to his goal. But his combination of power, pace and penchent for directly attacking the goal makes him well-suited to start in this game. He played well throughout the Fire match and justified the call that some of us made for his inclusion in the line-up a few weeks ago (see the thread below - I believe you were a bit down on him in this thread but he basically did what I said he could do in my post #27).
My hope is that we get 2 early goals and that Freddy gets to play the entire second half in midfield. He will torture Simon Elliott - especially once the Kiwi has a couple miles in his legs. He will represent a great change of tempo in the second half, as Freddy is better at playing the possession game (even when not on his best form) as an attacking mid than Gomito, though Gomito is a bit more incisive and direct. I want incisive and direct in the first half and then we will see about putting Freddy on and playing out the game with an attractive possession-attacking tempo.
I was a bit down on Carroll and the 2 holding mid scheme for awhile (when we were having trouble getting our front line unhinged and were not taking enough shots) but right now (especially with the addition of Wilson on the outside) we seem to be getting enough service and making more of our chances even with two somewhat "negative" holding mids (Simms and Carroll) on the field at once. Plus I really want to see total domination of the Crew midfield. I want to see Elliott screaming out of frustration and I want to see the Johnny Walker face over and over and over.
After this past Wednesday night, Wilson may not be able to go 90 (cf. his getting pulled at halftime of the Revs win because of fitness after going 90 against the Fire three days earlier -- although to be fair he'd gone 90 three days before that against the Metros, so it's not quite the same situation).
Another reason I lean more towards starting Freddy, though, is that it's my understanding that Hejduk has gone back to being moderately effective for them in the last couple of games. Freddy is in Hejduk's head a little bit, especially after our last home game against them.
That was only his second game with the team though (IIRC) and his first "two-game" week. He may be in better fitness now - after more training in the hot weather. I really think the point is moot anyway, as Dema and Josh generally go 90 minutes without subs.
But isn't Frankie being moderately effective for the USMNT this weekend? I think that he is in Gold Cup camp.
And if Freddy gets 30+ minutes in the 2nd half, he will have plenty of time to terrify more Crew players a little bit.
Oof. Uh, yeah, good point.
I think DC United needs to rip them a new one, but that's stating the obvious.
DC United needs to take them serious and take the 3 points.
Panicky backpasses - Standard procedure especially from Elliott
Andrulis will play for a draw after about 60 minutes. We will be lucky to finish with 1 forward on the pitch.
Last week -- contrary to public sentiment -- I called for Nana. And the mighty boards said "no way".
And Nana came in and from all accounts was great.
Nana, your moment has arrived. Make it happen.
We need a win, and better be taking all the shots we can. Have at it boys!
Here is what I said about Nana on June 6, 2005 in response to JoeW:
I think he is a "safer" player at forward, as his "over-exuberance" and tendency to pick up cards is not as big a problem there as it is when he plays at right midfield. I would not want him matching up against Hendu, as he would end up getting a red before 90 minutes were up. But as a forward - I think he would match up great against Crew. At least given our available options.
I have no doubt the team has all intentions of taking this game seriously. When you seemingly can't win on the road, all games no matter how good or bad the competition may be, must be given their full attention.
With that being said, this team simply doesn't know how to win on the road. I can't explain it because they basically impose their will over most matches but just can't close the deal.
As sad as it is to say, what happened at the end of last season is starting to look more and more like a big fluke.
I was thinking the same thing buntil the home game vs Chicago, but I've changed my mind now. I think we have what it takes but it might take awhile to get all our ducks in a line, so to speak: we just need everyone to be together, probably after the gold cup. The defense is the biggest concern, but I think by early August at the latest the offense will be seriously clicking. We might not win MLS cup because of the defense but we will be very dangerous to the end.
One thing that should be noted is that United has played the toughest schedule in MLS so far, has done it with a fair amount of disarray and have come out of it pretty damn well. Can't win on the road you say? We're miles better than LA.
That is a good point. The only terrible team that we have played more than once is Columbus. We have played Chivas USA one time (road) and we have played the Revs and Fire (top teams in our conference) 3 times already.
Once we get a run in which we get to play Colorado, Real Salt Lake and Scum we will begin to pile up more wins.
Also - our attack is actually in better shape this year than it was last season. We rely "overrelied" on Esky for goals through the middle part of the season (our worst). Now we are spreading the goals around more between Jamie, Christian and "bit-part players" (Santino, Nana, Freddy, Josh) on a much more regular basis. And Esky will be a nice shot in the arm when he begins to round back into form.
The defense will only improve over time and I really don't see Boswell (knock on wood) struggling so much with the rookie wall. I know there was a lot of incredulity about his performance in the Chicago game, but it sounded to me like a couple of guys could share the blame on most of those goals (Kevin Terry and Brandon Prideaux amongst them) and Wilson really is an upgrade over Petke. He has also made a nice injection into the linking play/attack.
Once Josh rounds back into form, Freddy gets reacclimated in the side (he was good against the Fire) and Dema gets his first goal - I think we are going to pile up a couple more wins through the middle third of the season than we did last year.
I am still not ready to pronounce us championship worthy - but I have no doubt that we can beat any team in our conference when playing well. We don't match up well against Dallas, but there is a long time for us to build up our play and for their lame-butt players to get hurt and run out of form. It will give me great pleasure to watch the Galaxatives fade over the second half of the season - especially as they wilt against tougher Eastern Conference opponents.
Secret weapon to get your must-win in Columbus:
hit em with your purse