I'm going off some buffering, stuttering, and often times crazily modulating Limarzi audio here, so I won't attempt too much in the way of match analysis, but I'd like to raise the following points in the aftermath of Marc Burch's 2-0 victory over the Rhinos . . .
* Does this count as a shutout? No, no . . . probably not. Shutting out CONCACRAP opposition (outside of Mexican clubs and possibly Saprissa) and USL teams (despite their pretty good showing against the big boys last night) probably doesn't hold quite the status as an MLS shutout would. Still, it's got to be encouraging, right? Apparently, Carroll the Younger (that would be Pat--as opposed to Carroll the Middling Son [Jeff] and Carroll the Elder [Brian]) showed quite well at the back, both on the right and in the middle, and we learned that Burch can do a decent a job in the middle of defense if push comes to shove. Which reminds me . . .
* Burchy for the Boot? Why not have a defender win the Open Cup Golden Boot with that cannon he's got strapped to his left leg? And another thing . . . we've seen Burch come close with the free kicks in a couple of MLS matches--closer than the stuff that Gallardo's been serving up anyway. Anybody think that perhaps now he'll get more chances to ping a few from distance, even when the DP is on the field? One thing's for sure--Fred won't be taking too many more.
* I still can't believe we sacrificed a first rounder to get Dyachenko back from TFC. Not that we would have done anything useful with it, given our recent history in the draft (though Cordeiro is starting to make a tiny bit of noise), but it still stings. I haven't seen him do anything in his time with United outside of having one or two matches where he put in a decent showing in spurts. That's not good enough to merit the faith the FO and coaching staff seemingly puts in him. Anybody know how to say "chopping block" in Russian?
* So, what's the strategy for Chicago next week? We've got a full week of rest until the quarterfinal match on Tuesday, and then three days to rest up for the SuperLiga opener on Saturday. If Tommy is taking this thing as seriously as he says he is, I'm expecting a pretty close to full cadre of starters lining up against the Fire. Anybody carrying a bit of a niggle can probably be rested, but I doubt it'll be quite as many as in this match.
On to the quarters! USL put in another good showing for itself last night, claiming three MLS scalps out of a possible eight. And the new kids on the block at Crystal Palace Baltimore flew the USL-2 flag high with their shorthanded sinking the Swamp Things. I know that the tournament means a berth in the CONCACRAP Champions' League this time around, but I wish it was treated as something that actually matters--to the teams and to the fans. Ah well . . . baby steps, baby steps.