United Recap - Bend Over for Beckham

Notice that it's not "Bent Over by Beckham". True, he did hit a good free-kick. Also true, he steered a "dagger ball" through the United back line for the Gals second. But - Perkins was caught admiring the "bend" on Beck's free-kick when he should have been busy trying to save it, and Gros is not a defender. Is Soehn even watching his team? Gros has looked miserable to moderately bad as a left back all season, and yet was borderline man-of-the-match when he pushed up onto the wing in the last two MLS matches. Stick him in at the back and within two minutes you've given up the goal that knocks you out of the tournament.

What does this tell you? It tells me - and anybody else with half a brain cell - that Gros is a midfielder, not a defender! Please refrain from putting him on the back line. Also, Brian Carroll = trade bait. The dude has been miserable this season. Whether it's a lack of confidence after failing to catch on with a Euro side this winter or just an inability to be the lone defensive/holding mid in United's new formation, he's just not working out.

Now, all is not doom and gloom. United did control the opening half hour and the closing stages of this match. They just got punched in the gut by the Beckham goal and caught with their Gros, I mean pants, down on the second. The Black-and-Red were consigned to defeat by those two lapses, Joe Cannon finally proving his worth in the LA net, and the dreaded recurrence of the finishing disease. United created more than enough chances to net two goals, and possibly more, but either failed to convert or were denied on every occasion.

So, another semi-final crash out in an international competition. We've now missed out on the Champion's Cup, the Open Cup, and SuperLiga, with Sudamerica, the Supporters' Shield, and MLS Cup to play for. Realistically, I've got to think that Sudamerica might be a bit of a stretch, and we're going to need a lot more consistency if we expect to get anywhere near the Shield. That leaves us with MLS Cup 2007. It's in our house, but will we be there? With the tools his disposal, Soehn should be able to make a run at it, but does he have the experience and tactical nous to pull it off? The Magic Eight Ball says - "Outlook not so good".

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