Pirate style? Well, admittedly, I'm going into this half-blind as I was only able to catch the second half, and that on a tiny window on the SuperLiga website. Add to the mix that the site was all kinds of fussy using both Safari and Camino, so I missed swathes of action while blocks of data swam and swirled, buffered and broke. This is 2007, right? Hell, it says so on the website - superliga2007.com - see? Thankfully, it was the second half I was able to catch as the 'highlights' show some chances from the first half and then the whistle in the second. Emilio blowing two sitters and a half-sitter aren't highlights? A red card isn't a highlight? Particularly one so spectacularly deserved with a nightmare of a tackle attempt.
Anyway, technical limitations can't halt the march of half-informed opinion in the wonderful world of the blogosphere, so here goes nothing. First, lets all stand and give United a round of applause. That was the team I want to see - quick, one-touch passing, spreading the ball around, keeping possession, and doing meaningful things with said possession. Unfortunately, The man who is supposed to put the finishing touch on things was falling down on the job. Emilio had two golden chances and one silver in the second half to kill the game as a contest and didn't manage to put a single one on frame.
His striking partner, Dyachenko, finally did something to justify the first-round draft pick we spent to get him back from Toronto. Dyachenko's first-time finish was classy and came out of some decent buildup from the Black-and-Red. Maybe he's making a case for some more playing time; however, he's not making it nearly as strongly as Marc Burch is. When we finally get Namoff back (and dear God, it was good to see him out on the field again) in the starting lineup, we may actually have two fullbacks who can defend and get forward in equal measure. I've been really impressed with Burch's crossing and even more so with his defending. While he isn't perfect, he's taken the conversion to defense much better than I think Gros ever did. Let's hope he continues to impress when we finally get back to league play.
Speaking of adapting, let's focus a bit on Tommy Soehn, who shockingly made an in-game adjustment that wasn't 10 minutes too late, bringing on Simms at the expense of a forward to kill off the game. While that's prompted some criticism from some corners of the webiverse, I thought that United remained the more dangerous side and probably should have added another goal after they converted to the 4-5-1. There was always the danger of a repeat of the Morelia debacle, but in this match, United didn't leave things quite as open when they went forward as they did in the previous match.
So that leaves United tied with Houston on 4 points atop the group, Morelia sitting just behind on 2 points, and mighty America have been eliminated already. This situation brings up the nightmare scenario of United and Houston drawing 1-1 and Morelia beating America 1-0. That would leave United, Houston, and Morelia tied on 5 points with identical goal difference and the same number of goals scored. Guess we're down to drawing straws if we get to that stage.
United will advance with a win over Houston, but can still get through with a loss or draw depending on what happens between America and Morelia. Does America throw in the towel and experiment with players and formations in a game that to them is meaningless, or do they try and thump Morelia to salvage some pride and avoid finishing bottom? Whatever the case, United holds their SuperLiga fate in their own hands. Beat the Dynamo (easier said than done) and the rest is academic.