United Recap - Goat Stew

RFK was rockin' as DC United managed a 2-1 victory in the first leg of their quarterfinal tie with Big Papa Chivas in the Copa Sudamericana. United managed to win despite going a man down in the first half as Marc Burch saw his second yellow under questionable circumstances. At the time, United was up 1-0 on a laser from distance by the Bearded Bombardier. They added a second from Clyde Simms in the second half before the glacial Greg Vanney was beaten on a near post run to give Chivas their lone tally.

Just a few thoughts:
  • I thought Burch deserved his first yellow, though the second was a bit soft. Other than that one questionable decision, the ref was excellent. He did have a bit of the melodramatic touch with his calls and it's true that the Burch sending off was a pivotal part of the match, but compared to the normal array of CONCACAF clowns we have to deal with in the Champions' Cup (not to mention the absolutely stellar quality of MLS officials) I was pretty pleased.
  • Chivas must have a touch of that finishing disease that United was suffering from earlier this season. Tons of chances, lots of great set-up play, but no payoff.
  • United looked pretty competitive out there, and obviously managed the win, but Chivas are a step up in quality. The big differences - they play one touch when we play two and their team speed and movement are superior.
  • Until his sending off, Burch was massive for us - much more effective than Namoff on the right, both in attack and defense. That has me worried since I assume he'll be suspended for the second leg. If we put out a Namoff-Boswell-Vanney-McTavish back line, we're asking to get murdered by speed. And Gros is not the answer at either fullback position. I think we had abundant evidence of that last night.
  • Oh, what I would give for Emiligol to have connected on that chance to head past the Chivas keeper late on. A two goal advantage heading south of the border and I think we've got a good chance. At one goal up, we've got to possess the ball a bit, be decisive on the counter, and hope the Goats are wearing the same shooting boots they had on tonight.
  • What was up with Perkins' feet? How many goal kicks did he pump out of bounds and how shaky were some of those clearances? Here's hoping that there isn't some creepy Goat-voodoo psychodrama going on in Troy's head after what happened in Guadalajara earlier this season. The last thing we need at this point in the season is for Perkins to start having confidence issues. Here's two words to strike fear in the heart of United fans - Jay Nolly! Ugh.
  • How can the Bearded Bombardier not be United's player of the season this year? I know this wasn't MLS, but . . . MVP, MVP!!!
  • Oh, and did anybody else catch that Max Bretos thinks we made it to the semifinals of the Confederations' Cup? Sweet, we're our own national team now. Watch out, World Cup 2010! Is it some kind of weird law of broadcasting physics (or metaphysics) that Max Bretos doing a broadcast alone is somehow less annoying that Bretos with a partner? Not that I'm claiming he wasn't annoying, far from it. It's just that he didn't seem to be trying so hard without someone else there for him try and riff off or entertain. It sure is a strange, strange world.
So, a good start to our tough little run of games over the next couple weeks. I hope we're not looking past TFC on Saturday, because, and I know I've been flogging this one to death but, these top versus bottom matches late in the season are fraught with danger, and we can't afford to slip up with Baby Chivas nipping at our heels for the Supporters' Shield. We should have enough depth to send out a hungry side, capable of doing the job against the Canucks. Time to do the squad rotation dance and give Mediate, Gros, Carroll, et al a chance to impress. Until Saturday then - Vamos United!

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