- Defensive Miscues - If you've been paying attention lately, the one thing that I've been harping on during our recent run of craptastic-ness has been the sudden and insidious return of the sort of brain-dead defensive errors that haunted the United back line during our early season woes. Well guess what? They're baaa-aack! We're lucky we only shipped one, as there were a half-dozen really, really boneheaded plays at the back that probably should have resulted in at least three Chicago netters. And didn't we bring in Greg Vanney for his veteran smarts? C'mon, the only person slower than Vanney in MLS is Blanco . . . so why the hell are you diving in on the hunchback when he's advancing up the wing, Greg? Jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick!
- MLS refs suck . . . Part, oh I don't know, infinity? - Here's one thing I never thought I'd say. "I wish Brian Hall had been the ref tonight." What? Yeah, I know, my tongue tastes like a dung heap after uttering that filth, but if Hall went all psycho-killer with the red card for Bobby Rhine's version of "dissent", I can only imagine that Blanco might cause flames to actually shoot out of his ears as he proceeds to turn fire-engine red and rip Blanco's head clean off, showering in the ensuing fountain of gore . . . Sorry, got a bit carried away there, but how does Blanco get away with openly mocking the official to his face and telling him to shut up and not get a card of any hue? It's a bit of a refrain in these parts, but the ref had a bit of a stinker tonight. To be fair, by MLS standards he was actually above par and he did manage to keep everybody on the field, thus refraining from ruining the second leg, though he did miss a number of late, hacking challenges (WTF with Conde's two-footer on Simms going completely unnoticed?), non-deity hands in the box (though only one should have been given a shout and that was 50/50 on whether you call it or not), and very nearly lost control of the match a few times.
- 1-0 isn't the end of the world - All things considered, that's actually a decent result. If we can't paste these clowns in our own house, then we don't deserve to lift MLS Cup. We just need to win over 90 minutes, and if it's only by one goal, then we get another 30 to try and stick the dagger in. A couple of factors in our favor: (1) our starting strike partnership only went a combined 60 minutes last night, whereas they should be ready to go for the full 180 (or 240) next week; and (2) all signs point to Chicago playing deep and looking to counter like they did in the second half. They've already got the lead, and that's been their most effective tactic against us. That should work in our favor, because it means they'll allow us to bring the game to them. We'll get our big guns healthy and get to play some possession ball in front of 20-odd thousand screaming loonies in black, which can't hurt our chances with the refs, given their utter spinelessness in the face of crowd pressure. We dominated the second half tonight, and it should only be more of the same next Thursday. Pile up the possession and you know they'll start hacking; then the cards will come; then the free kicks will come; then they'll have to back off even further; then we'll be in business. Far be it from me to inhabit the Land of Fairy Optimism and Rose-tinted Lenses, but I like our odds given those circumstances. Like I said above, if we can't beat them in our house, then what right do we have to move on? Vamos United!
United Recap - Welcome to Socc-tober!
Ugh. I know I promised to lay off of Rob Stone a bit, but Socc-tober? Really? And the only thing worse than Rob Stone is Stone plus Foudy. Yuck . . . I think I just puked in my mouth a little. Anyway, on to some match that ESPN decided to time-shift about--good thing I went down to check the DVR before my daughter hit the sack or I wouldn't have been a particularly happy camper tonight. Not that I am one after that result anyway, but enough ramblin', let's hit those talking points.