United Match Reaction | Shuffle the Pack

So what do you think? Is a draw an acceptable result with a shuffled pack on the road against a full-strength Wizards team? I'm going to take a position of: "yes, a point on the road with a handful of scrubs in the soup is good value for money, but we should have won this one." KC created a handful of chances, only a couple of them any good, even after they were throwing the kitchen sink at us late (small, ineffective sink that it was). It's late, so this will be necessarily short, but here are a few talking points...

* Wallace giveth, and he taketh away. He showed good strength to muscle Watson off the ball to slot the opener home. Too bad he wasn't more consistently able to abuse Watson in the first half, as he seemed to have an advantage there. But in the second half, it was Wallace trying to play out of danger that got us hit for KC's goal. That's more than a couple of times that he's made such mistakes. It's a tough one. You want the kid to play in the DC style, keeping possession and all that, but he's got to read the situation and know when to get rid of that. You'd hope that would come with coaching and experience. He's getting the latter. What about the former?

* Who was that joker with the whistle? I'm all for letting them play, but he was really inconsistent. There were clear fouls on both sides that went uncalled, only for little ticky-tack stuff to be whistled a minute later. It may actually have benefitted us on the goal. Jaime was pretty clearly caught after he dished the ball, but play carried on with Wallace tucking the ball away. The question is: was the ref playing advantage (I saw no arms raised) or was he just not going to call that? Based on what I saw in the rest of this match, I'd favor the latter supposition.

* I'm guessing that Shatz is going to "rail" Quaranta. Sure, Tino and Pontius had that nice interchange that Pontius pinged off the post early, but Quaranta spent most of the rest of the match, particularly in the second half, hitting awful crosses and balls to nowhere. Is he trying too hard to make something happen, or is this just the price we pay for a couple moments of brilliance?

* The defense wasn't bad, considering that we swapped out 2/3 of it. Whether that's down to the players on our side or theirs is debatable as we were never under too much pressure. John did some of his usual hacking and earned the mandatory yellow, but I don't see much between him and Burch. Both hit their fair share of aimless balls (though Burch's look much prettier), and while John may be the more solid defender, he doesn't offer as much going forward. That's the biggest problem I saw in this match. Janicki doesn't distribute as well as Jakovic does. Too many times, he either hoofed when he didn't have to or played little balls that got intercepted, leading to loss of build up play or KC breaks.

Quick hits?

* Barklage was fairly anonymous.
* That's the first I've seen of the Jacobson cannon. Watch out Burch Bomb and Clydewinder Missile! There just might be a new sheriff in town looking for a moniker for his long rangers.
* Neither Emilio or Gomez looked terribly impressive off the bench. Gomez' through balls were too heavy, and Emilio didn't get very involved, though that's probably more a fault of service than his effort.
* Crayton was better with the punches this time around, though he doesn't exactly have a commanding stature in the box.
* Hercules Gomez is a punk. Yeah, maybe Jaime caught you a little, but it wasn't a foul. When the Godfather offers you a hand up, you don't roll around, whine, and refuse the assist.
* To the KC fans chanting "please retire" to Jaime. Priceless.
* To the KC fan on the grassy knoll in a Newcastle kit. Really?

Frankly, I'm a bit disappointed that we didn't offer more going forward in the second half with our "magic triangle" all on the field, two of them fresh off the bench. Yes, the point on the road was a fair result, but KC didn't look that impressive. In fact, they didn't seem to be pushing their fullbacks forward until really late. that left them attacking seven, and sometimes eight of our guys, with five or six of their guys (Hirsig wasn't consistently getting forward either). That's a numbers game I can live with. I wonder why Onalfo did.

Here's hoping we're fresh for Saturday.

Vamos United!


  1. Nah, I'm cool with Tino. He was instrumental on the goal, and had a good first half. But he looked out of place on the right wing in the second. Which is strange considering that was his starting position last year. Maybe that says something about why we had such a poor season last year, because so far in 2009, Quaranta has looked much better as a forward.

  2. Quaranta (or, "The Pheonix", as some would have me call him ;-), seems to be a classic case of a player who does much better when he's playing by instinct and intuition. When he has too much time to think (on the wing or in deep midfield), he often overcooks it. When he's in a more advanced position, with defenders forcing him to make an immediate decision or when he plays one-touch, the results are often good.

    Which raises two questions (post fodder!):

    (1) Is Tino the inevitable replacement for Moreno, or is Pontius?
    (2) Given that neither Pontius nor Tino are ideally suited to the right midfield spot in a 3-5-2 (they're both better at attacking mid or withdrawn forward), should we be shopping for right mids? What are our other options? McTavish? Khumalo? Fred? Barklage?

    Don't get me wrong, I like Tino and generally appreciate his contribution, it just seemed that against KC, he kept on eliciting the groans with wasted pass/cross after wasted pass/cross.