Or was that 0-3? I make 1-0 the blown offsides call that negated a much-needed goal for Emilio (and United!). 2-0 would have been the missed PK call, again against Emilio (which may have seemed soft but for the fact that Dunivant made no effort to find the ball while his hands found Emilio's chest). And the possible 3-0 would have been when Pontius (I think) headed the ball back across the area and it appeared to hit a Galaxy arm (Gonzalez?). Moreno immediately had his hand up, but nobody else reacted much. Credit to FSC's Sullivan (don't hear that one too often, do you?), who put in a little "that might have been a hand ball" in between Bretos' hot-air parade of the Bruce's former jobs, Donovan's wife, and whatever else he could mention that was tangentially related to, but not actually relevant to, the game on the field. Sadly, FSC declined to show a replay, as is their wont...
* Color me shocked we didn't concede. Not only because we always concede, but because Soehn or Ashton or whoever put together the team sheet decided to play with three backs, all of whom have been making questionable decisions of late, on a wet field, against a team that relies entirely on quick counters. You'll pardon any grammatical slips or drunken, rambling asides in this post, because I started drinking as soon as I saw the starting lineups, anticipating that things would get real ugly, real fast. Despite the fact that it didn't, and despite pitching the shutout...
* Enough with the 3-6-1 already. Okay, I get it. We're a "possession" team. That doesn't mean we need six in midfield, leaving Emilio stranded and retreating, and guaranteeing that we leave gaps in defense. Sweet Jeebus! Did you see the highways LA were paving down the flanks in the late going? It's almost unbelievable that the Gals didn't bury at least one of their chances. On the flip side, while we had some chances, we didn't have the handful of good chances that would have almost certainly guaranteed a goal in this game, though Ricketts has a way of bailing out the Gals.
* The flank problem. Wallace shows promise as a two-way wide midfielder that can cover an entire flank, but he's not there yet, and we've got nobody else who can play like that. So why do we insist on trying? Considering the aforementioned flank highways we opened for LA and the fact that most of our attacks end up going through the middle (which is inevitably clogged against us) when we don't have numbers wide, I can't understand how our fearless leader can stick to his limited tactical guns in the face of such evidence.
* I thought Fred and Moreno looked really impressive in patches, though both also wound up holding the ball entirely too long, a pattern that's becoming all too familiar...
* Quaranta showed real vision and drive throughout the match.
* Wicks only had one "oh crap!" moment where he got caught on his line, wondering if perhaps he should rush out to deal with a deflected cross before the three wide-open attacking Gals did.
* Emilio looks really hungry. Too bad he's so starved for chances that he feels the need to fire away from 30 yards out.
* We didn't give up a cheap goal. Or any goal for that matter. And Donovan's danger was dulled.
* Gomez was invisible.
* The back line still made ugly decisions. Fortunately, they were fewer than normal and didn't cost us. Is it wise to continue with a three man back line when two of those backs like to take chances with the ball?
* We didn't create enough chances.
* Olsen looked glacial trying to keep up with Donovan.
* Berhalter and Gonzalez would have struggled to deal with attacking speed. Unfortunately, we have none.
* How was Mike Magee winning aerial and positioning battles against our defense, and are our defenders suitably ashamed?
So what's the take-home message? Does the improved defensive result give us heart for the coming month or are we duly worried that we didn't create much ourselves? If this was truly a must-win league match, where does that leave our playoff effort? Is next week's Open Cup final our only chance at silverware...again? Let's just say that hope remains alive for the moment, but I'm getting ready to call the crash cart and charge the paddles.
And, lest we forget...Despite my frequent disparaging remarks concerning Tommy Soehn's tactical "genius," I understand that he has to be pretty ill to be missing this game, and I know that I, and all of my FBF readers, are united in wishing him well.