Finally back in black with a 4-1 victory over RSL. Moreno continues his mastery of the PK, while our preferred mode of attack seems to be dumped crosses for the far post runner. Despite the margin of victory, things were not entirely comfortable for the Black-and-Red, with frailty at set pieces and a few moments of miscommunication demonstrating that all is not yet completely well with the side. When RSL started pressing the issue, United never looked entirely comfortable . . .
While I don't have any problem with a return to the style of play that we enjoyed with three at the back, I do wonder about our wide players in this system. Removing the four-back safety net places a lot of responsibility on the wide midfielders--get forward enough to provide width in attack, but also be prepared to get on your horse and dash back to cover defensively. Where are the players who can handle this? Gone are the likes of Gros and Stewart. Fred? Drifts inside too much and I question his commitment to the defensive cause. Olsen? Even if the ankles recover, he doesn't have the wheels to cover that kind of ground anymore. Burch? Maybe, and he certainly stayed wide and did his bit against RSL, but I'm just not sure that he has the engine or determination to bust a gut up and down the wing all game. McTavish? The spirit is willing and the early attacking signs were good, but I need to see more. Sometimes he just looks a bit lost out there. Quaranta? Too much defensive responsibility detracts from his attacking quality. The effort has been there so far, but how long does it continue? Kirk? Maybe, haven't seen enough to judge. Reserves? Ditto. I'm just not certain that we have all of the right tools for this to be a successful strategy against the better teams in the league at the moment . . .
It seems that nobody can quite claim the crown of early-season favorites yet. Every time a side "plants their spear", along comes some other club to wrest it from the ground, snap it over their knee and beat the previous owners about the head with the pieces. Will anybody replicate the "DC United Dash" of 2007 and start to break out ahead of the pack? . . .
Somebody's got to put a stop to those deluded TFC fans and their Goal of the Week ballot-box stuffing. If you can honestly look at Guevara's free kick and then Gallardo's wonder volley and still come out thinking that Guevara's was more special then you've got so many screws loose that I worry your head might fall off. Thank goodness that justice and the benign influence of the soccer gods (and OCD United mouse-clickers) prevailed in the end . . .
Wednesday and Fulham are starting to work the old Great Escape dark magic. Of course, the Owls were never in the mire as deep as Fulhamerica, and they'll only be needing a draw or results to fall their way elsewhere on the final weekend to maintain their Championship status. The Cottagers and their American Foreign Legion are down to two games to save themselves. The upcoming home match against relegation rivals Birmingham is absolutely huge. Deuce and McHead for the win? . . .
The Prem title race is on in earnest, and I really should be excited. I know, I know, two games left and only goal difference between them, but it's really hard when you want both of them to lose--Chelsea because of the money and the crap futbol and ManU just on general principle . . . And now, of course, we've got the same pair ready to trot out and do battle in Moscow for the right to be crowned kings of Europe. Ah well, at least familiarity breeds contempt, and there should be some sparks ready to set the tundra alight.