Probably a Dumb Question

Discussion in 'D.C. United' started by GoDC, Oct 12, 2003.

  1. GoDC

    GoDC Member

    Nov 23, 1999
    Hamilton, VA
    From what I have seen, the two best games of the year we have played were against LA and SJ at home. Those were the closest to playing some good attacking soccer for long portions. In both of those games I believe that Earnie and Ronald plaed at forward. Since then Earnie has played at midfield and we have pretty much sucked on offense. Maybe could we put those two back up front again and sit Martins?? Or is scoring goals and attacking somethingwe don't want??

    Just my opinions.
  2. TCompton

    TCompton Member

    Oct 21, 2002
    you know, I was think the exact thing this morning. Should we bench Thiago to put Earnie and Cerritos together again, something that had shown to work well?

    Man, that's a tough decision. Thiago is just such a presence on the field. It's really hard to say that he isn't doing well, since between Cerritos and he have played together, it is Thiago that has stood out.

    There's two questions that should be asked here too.

    1. Do we have another forward to pair with Thiago instead of benching him?

    2. Can we afford to move Stewart out of our midfield?
    a1. The other forwards we have at our disposal are
    Hristo and Alecko. While Hristo might do well with Thiago, Hristo is not a 90 minute player. I'm not sure how ready he is to go 45 minutes. And Alecko I have no clue about. He's had a few games that he'd consider good games, other than that, he's been largely ineffective this season... but that is probably just rookie stats. So, we might not have another forward.

    a2. We can generally say that Dema, Bobby, and Eliseo are more or less 90 minute players. Are we going to ask Marco to go 90 minutes? We've got an improve Chino on the bench to come in for defensive games, but other than that our midfield options are relitively limited. Earnie gives us options, in that he can really play any midfield position.

    But, if we can't score, then who cares.

    I'm in favor giving Cerritos and Stewart another opportunity together. Give Marco a shot to go as long as he can. As soon as Marco shows signs of fatigue, sub him out for Thiago and move Earnie back to Marco's slot. When Cerritos is tired, put Hristo in.
  3. sch2383

    sch2383 New Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    Northern Virginia

    Or, if Dema can play the wing, we could drop Q2, move Dema to the right, Nellie or Namoff to D-Mid, and put Ivanov in the back line.
  4. Cweedchop

    Cweedchop Member+

    Mar 6, 2000
    Ellicott City, Md
    I'm thinking that the injury to Olsen is the key reason why we don't see Earnie and Cerritos together..

    Of all the players on this team, pretty much only Stewart can replicate what Olsen does on the field.. We still haven't seen him playing on the right side of midfield yet.. He played on the left yesterday with Cheyo on the right.. I think it might be time to put Earnie back up top and put Bobby on the left and sit Thiba, though I do think he has been dangerous..

    As for Cerritos, he seems to have really leveled out the past few matches and I'm not willing to concede that it's only because he isn't paired with Stewart..
  5. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia

    THAT is the short answer.

    I'm think that our most effective matches, including those effective parts of matches, all have one thing in common: there's a midfielder who's willing and able to make serious penetration of the opposing defense. Without that midfielder we have, as Ray put it earlier this year, "possession without penetration".

    Here are the times that I've seen this happen:

    1) For several games before he got injured, Ben Olsen was THE MAN for the team. He penetrated on a regular basis and was the key player in the best stretch of games that DCU played this year: the home games vs SJ and LA and the away victory @ the metros. Since he got injured, we've been 0-2-2 and our offense has been anemic.

    2) Right before Olsen's resurgence, and overlapping with it (the LA game), it was Quintanilla who was the straw stirring the drink. His impact began with the miracle comeback @ NE and basically ended with the LA game. Like Olsen, he was dynamic during that stretch, leading United to be truly competitive. But he's really tailed off, in part because he is slow and small and in part because he uses only one foot and the opposing team know it. Some folks here have likened him to an "Etch lite" but though he can do many of the things Etch does, he doesn't do them as well and at this stage, i'd expect to see etch pull some old magic out way before I expect to see anything out of Q2.

    3) During the midseason, the team relied on Hristo Stoichkov for being the creative instigator. His best games were both @ Chicago, plus the home "Eddie Gaven" game vs the metros. Until he got hurt he was almost guaranteed to create at least two high quality chances per game. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the stamina to go 90 or even 60.

    Three other mids have been sporadically creative during brief stretches of games but aren't reliable:

    - Dema Kovalenko. His main problem has been that he plays the d-mid slot so he's too deep to get into the attack much. When he does he's golden but a couple of games go by without his offensive input. It says here, though that if he had played more forward all season, he'd be in double digits in goals easily.

    - Marco Etcheverry has had his moments too culminating in a couple of effective halves @ C-bus and hove vs SJ. There have been other moments too, but again, it's not reliable.

    -Finally Bobby Convey had his moments this season, like early @ Dallas. But since the Tottenham debacle, he's shown precious little.

    The other offensive-minded players- Stewart, Cerritos, and Martins mainly- are all complimentary players, meaning that someone else has to step up for them to be effective. And they can be effective. But they need someone else to step up and that ain't happening on a regular basis. But that also means that who starts at forward- other than Hristo- doesn't really matter. They are all good worker bees and no combo of them is gonna be dangerous without some mid or Hristo stepping up with real creativity.

    So with Olsen down we are back to having a stagnant offense, something that's been very common in the Hudson era. I would say that if we really want offense we have to start Stoichkov and move Kovalenko forward and tell him to think goals first. Arrange the other players around them and sub for Hristo at minute 60 and hope for the best. Otherwise we just have to get lucky and that won't get us far into the playoffs- if we get there at all.

    Obviously taking Dema out of d-mid puts our defense at risk and I doubt that Ray would do that now. But, again, it's Ray's decision to not have a real d-mid on the team. Olsen's injury punched a huge hole in our offense. Just plugging players into the same positions won't fix it. We know this: we've seen a whole season of that futility.

    Ray: do something now or risk getting fired.
  6. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    What would I do for a formation/lineup? I'd do a 352, but Ray tens to play that so...defensively. If he would


    I would start Ivanov over Chino at d-mid because he has better offense, but probably that gives away too much defensively and Chino is a god d-mid in a 352. Tell Convey and Earnie to push forward at will- that's why I have them on line with Etch.

    Sub in Cerritos for Hristo, Q2 for Etch. If ahead add the other of Ivanov/Alegria.
  7. eltico

    eltico Member

    Jul 16, 2000
    Martins Stewart
    Convey Dema Q2
    Chino Namoff
    Prideaux Nelsen Petke

    This team is at its best when it has a "busy" midfield that works and works and harasses the other team into mistakes then quickly counters. The match at the Metros was our best match of the season, I think, and it was because all eleven players on the field worked hard and were on the same page as each other.

    Etch, as skilled as he is, does not offer that same work rate in the midfield (I don't think it's because he's lazy, I think it's just that he's slowing down too much physically to do it for 90 minutes) and he and his teammates are clearly not working from the same book. Earnie, Convey, Dema, all of them make crappy passes and give the ball away, but they all work back to win the ball. A midfield with Namoff and Chino offering their typical 100% effort provides wonderful support for the three ahead of them in the midfield. We're not asking them to do any more than hit the simple ball that links the defense with the midfield, and, if they give it away, work their asses off to get it back. Convey, Q2, and Dema all can get forward reasonably well, and seem to link reasonably well with each other and Stewart. Earnie goes up front to continue with the work rate and play interchangeably with Q2, which will allow Q2 to press forward a bit more and be dangerous as he was back in August when he had more freedom to go forward. Martins over Cerritos because with this group I think we need a target man who can hold the ball well, and at that I think Martins is superior to Cerritos.

    Off the bench come Etch, Cerritos, Stoichkov, Ivanov, and whoever the backup keeper is.

    If we're ahead, well, Ray doesn't seem to like to sub anyway, so he can replace Martins with one of the first three or put Ivanov in anywhere else. If we're losing, well, he certainly has some options, such as pulling Chino off for Etch, who is much better playing the last half hour against tired legs (see: miracle comeback against NE) than he is playing 90.

    This is all in an effort to help regain some of the work rate we lost when Olsen went down. We're not gonna win games hoping that someone does something brilliant. It has to be a team effort. And this eleven gives us the best opportunity to do that.
  8. Jose L. Couso

    Jose L. Couso New Member

    Jul 31, 2000
    Arlington, VA
    Perhaps DC United should play the same setup they had against the Crew in Columbus, which did a good job of controlling the tempo of the game.

    I think against the Revolution Convey was exposed as a left back against Ralston in the 442.

    When they changed the formation in the second half to a 352, Ralston dominated Prideaux primarily because there was little midfield support on the left side.

    Against the Revolution I would have played a 352 with Stewart straight up against Ralston. I think Stewart would have dominated him with his experience and savvy.

    Stoi should be a late sub, period.
  9. Cweedchop

    Cweedchop Member+

    Mar 6, 2000
    Ellicott City, Md
    Ummm Jose, Stewart was on the left side and should have been matched up with Ralston.. He was no where to be found..

    There was too much changing of positions by Convey-Stewart-Q2-Marco during this match.. It was very difficult to tell who was playing where for most of the match..
  10. Jose L. Couso

    Jose L. Couso New Member

    Jul 31, 2000
    Arlington, VA
    No, Stewart was on the right side playing right half in the 442 in the first half, and then in the second half Stewart played the right wing in the 352.

    Convey was consistently on the left. Convey was playing left back in the 442 in the first half, and then in the second half Convey played the left wing in the 352.
  11. GoDC

    GoDC Member

    Nov 23, 1999
    Hamilton, VA
    I don't hate Martins but for all the great things I read about him here, in the 4(?) games he has played, has he scored a goal or set anyone up for a great chance yet??
  12. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    I see your point. However, before I agree with you, I would want the following to happen:

    Martins is your basic target forwards, right? Big, plays with his back to the goal, fairly good in the air. Kinda mobile too for a target guy. How about if United uses Martins like Arena uses McBride? Why not change our offense to see if we can use him to knock down air balls for our mids and Cerritos to run onto? This would entail a revamping of our offense, but it seems like we have various mids and forwards who are used to playing this game: Stewart, Convey, Cerritos to name three. I would like us to use our personnel as they play best.
  13. Cweedchop

    Cweedchop Member+

    Mar 6, 2000
    Ellicott City, Md
    Oh well, I must have watched a different game because I swore I saw Earnie on the left flank for most of the game..

    Jose, if Convey was playing left back in a 4-4-2, then who was on the left flank for United? Marco and Dema were in the middle and Cheyo was on the right, so who then was playing on the left?
  14. Jose L. Couso

    Jose L. Couso New Member

    Jul 31, 2000
    Arlington, VA

  15. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    But that's the base offense that Hudson & Trask want to play. We've tried it for most of two years and it still doesn't work.
  16. BroonAleMagpie

    BroonAleMagpie New Member

    Apr 14, 2000
    Fairfax, VA
    Do anything, say anything, buy anything, sell anything, kiss whoever's ass is needed, but someone find a decent player we can put at D mid and PUT DEMA ON OFFENSE!!!!

    It is a criminal waste of one of the team's most exciting attackers to have him chained to a stake in the deep midfield. Yes, he chews the leash off sometimes and gets free to attack, but he always has to effing drop back and cover for some talentless clown who's supposed to be distributing in midfield. And that's not directed at any specific player--I can't think oof anyone who has looked effective at A mid for us this year, with the possible exception of Earnie.
  17. jackrock

    jackrock Member

    Aug 19, 2003
    Talcott. WV
    DC United
    Dude, thats exactly what I'm screaming. I thought his play had diminished over the last few games (and it might have, only caught highlights,) but I didn't realize he had been a d Mid. Thats crap, where did he play in Chi. ? Wasn't he one of their top scorers for a few seasons?
  18. BroonAleMagpie

    BroonAleMagpie New Member

    Apr 14, 2000
    Fairfax, VA
    Dema is a wing midfielder, a forward, or an attacking central midfielder (in my order of preference, at least). He can *play* d-mid, but it's a criminal waste of a good attacker.

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