Now I know that FSC is all flush with having the UEFA version of the Champions' League, but could somebody please let them know that the CONCACAF tourney is in the group stages now? They seemed convinced for a large portion of this match that we were in a home-and-away knockout with Marathon. Whatever the case, the sad truth is that DC will be hard pressed to advance from the group. Sure, if we hold serve at home, we stand a decent chance, but given the huge pileup of fixtures approaching, we needed to get something early to keep is out of a hole, and we desperately, desperately, desperately need some speed in attack. Other thoughts..?
* Soehn's epic fail. I'll give him credit for finally rolling out the 4-4-2, which was the obvious move to shore up the back, and it worked pretty damn well for much of the match, but can somebody please explain the logic of putting Simms at center back, Janicki at right back, and leaving a tired Olsen in the center of midfield when you have McTavish available to go to right back, Olsen to right mid, and Simms in the middle where he belongs? Anybody? Guess who got caught on the wrong shoulder of the attacker for Marathon's second? Janicki. Guess who gave up the questionable late penalty (Olsen's fall a minute earlier looked more convincing than the flop-job Marathon got lucky with) by diving in where he didn't need to go? Janicki. Which brings us to...
* Janicki does not belong at this level. There are plenty of defenders with the physical attributes and skill sets to occasionally compete at the highest level. What sets top-level defenders apart is the mental capacity to maintain focus and a high level of consistency. Could Janicki get there with a couple of years of seasoning? Perhaps, but I tend to think he'll find his level is one step below MLS. Three Janicki failures + three Marathon goals should = don't let the door hit you on the ass.
* Moreno had his moments. But they were sprinkled liberally around poor passes, holding the ball too long, and generally looking a step behind the game. Although he started the season very well, the last month has seen a pretty drastic drop-off in his level of performance. Coaching staff for 2010? The change to a dynamic Quaranta looking to attack and cause problems made the problem ever so clear.
* The one that got away. Wait! I thought we lost Walter Martinez to Spain? Now he's popping up, scoring goals against us in CONCACAF? Look at the energy and speed that he brings, and you'll see much of what DC United is missing in attack.
* Avery John is just awful. Can we ditch him yet? Our possession statistics would probably increase by at least 10% per game without his constant give-aways.
* Quaranta was hungry--head up, looking to play quickly, and attack, something we were desperately missing in the first half.
* No pace in attack, and it's killing us.
* Habarugira looked pretty confident with both feet. Certainly can cross a ball and got forward (at least in the first half) waaaaay more than John, who highlighted a miserable outing from the entire left flank.
* Jacobson was promising, taking the space given to him and hitting some rockets from distance, though he seemed to fade in the second half.
* Where was Szetela? I thought he was held out of the TFC match for this game? Is there an injury we're not being told about or has the attitude monster struck already?
* Emilio showing guts and a striker's hunger to get the goal. Here's hoping we don't have concussion issues...again. Or the Bum Hammy Hammer...again.
* Wicks doing the "uncomfortable statue" look a little too often for my liking again.
* If we go out of this competition on goal difference, I hope somebody shows the ref that our "encroaching" player got shoved into the area, causing said encroachment. Although I'm guessing the video of the dive that got the PK called might be embarrassing to him as well.
So that's about the meat of it. Angry? Perhaps. Frustrated? Definitely. Surprised? Not really. There was about a twenty minute stretch there where I thought we might get something from this game, but, as usual, the no-ambition tactical wizard on our bench pulled defeat from the jaws of victory. I keep hearing the cries of "make the change after the season," but I don't see how continuing this farce can be productive. Not that it would be fair to a new manager to take over in the midst of this death march of matches, but at the very least I'd put Tommy on a five game notice.
Home to LA in MLS
Home to Toluca in the Champions' League
Away to Chicago MLS
Home to Seattle in the Open Cup final
Away to FC Dallas in MLS
Wins in the Champions' League and Open Cup would be nice, but we need points in the league. After these matches we close with five of the last six MLS matches at home. If we're still floundering under Tommy, I'd say let somebody else have a shot...and that's being generous.