You know, the window through which I viewed this match was pretty encouraging. I should note, however, that said window only opens about 37 minutes into the game. From this (admittedly warped) perspective, we earned a hard-fought draw on the road and completely dominated the run of play for large patches without really creating enough solid chances to actually win the match. Sadly, I'm afraid that MLS is going to have to include those first 37 minutes and, therefore, the second goal that the Revs knocked into the DC net.
So, 2-1 to the bad guys, and the DC charge up the league is deflected as the hungry pack gathers around to gobble them up in a mid-table feast. How does the song go . . . "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you"?
Let's hit those talking points . . .
* Questions about Crayton will probably be flying after that Larentowicz blast for the Revs' second. Was it deflected? Did the swerve catch Crayton out? Whatever the case, it was a hard shot and probably should have been closed down better, but ultimately it was one that could have been saved. Perhaps if Crayton knew of Larentowicz' power from distance he might not have left his feet? I only saw one quick replay of the first, but that appeared to lay more at Fred's feet for failing to hang with Khano Smith prior to the cross than with Crayton. Despite the game winner, I thought that Crayton continued his encouraging play. He was quick off his line to cut off through balls and breaks, came for crosses, and was vocal with his back line. Is there anybody out there who can't picture the 4-1 we might have suffered with Wells in the net?
* Ye Gods, if only Burch were a competent defender! I flat out love his technique at the back. He's confident, perhaps even tricky, on the ball, can hit an accurate pass over distance, and is calm under pressure. The key phrase to be added there is "when he's on the ball." Off the ball, his positioning is questionable, he often misjudges the bounce or flight of the ball, and his tackling is often suspect. But those are things that can be learned. He's still transitioning to a defensive role, and I have high hopes for the possibilities that he presents as a technically-sound center back.
* Great hustle and desire by the old-man in general, but particularly on his goal. Moreno won the ball off Joseph (no easy task!), slotted it through for the darting Fred, and then proceeded to cooly finish what Fred could not with the weighted volley. Too bad he was often a bit of a one-man band, but I thank my lucky stars every day that I get to witness the things that Jaime can do with a futbol. The control, the trickery, the deft touches and passes, the delicate through balls, the cool finishes--just beautiful stuff to watch and appreciate.
* Damn those efficient Revs! You just knew after they blew the match against Chicago and then got keelhauled by the Quakes that the real Revs--the back-alley fighters and the clinical counter-attackers--would show up. The passing moves to set up both goals were pretty stuff from Nicol's boys. Sadly, much of our own pretty stuff never made it to the "final ball on a silver platter waiting to be finished" stage.
* Looked like Fred was grabbing at his hammy before he limped off. Great. Time for Injury Crisis, Mk II?
* I didn't have much of a look at Zaher, but what I saw seemed reasonably competent. On the other hand, Kirk didn't do much with his time save turn the ball over constantly. It's too bad, because you can see our lack of size highlighted by the fact that he looks like a freakin' giant when compared to the rest of the guys in the same shirt.
* And, of course, I couldn't let this finish without a shout-out to Abi Okulaja. I'm not going to highlight any specific incidents. Instead, I'll make this one comment. I'm all for letting the ticky-tack stuff go and letting the game flow. But there's such a thing as "letting them play", and then there's swallowing the whistle so hard that you fear what its passage will do to your intestinal tract.
So let's wrap things up. Disappointed? Absolutely. I thought that we did enough to merit at least a draw on the balance of play. We're still not creating enough good chances, nor have we cleaned up all the crap at the back. But it was encouraging to see United hanging around in a game well after the time when Wells or a defensive blunder would have already handed all three points to the Revs. So I'll close with a definite, but somewhat tempered . . .