Henri Camara wins MLS player of the month plaudits for his 5 goals in 6 May appearances. I'm fairly satisfied with what we've got up top, particularly with Brazilian attacking midfielder Vavá soon to be on board. Where I think we could use some tweaking is in central defense and central midfield. Not that either are bad, but I'm shopping for center backs and d-mids, just to see what's out there. Of course, I'll have to clear roster space first if I want to make any changes...
Speaking of changes, word is, some of the supporters aren't happy that I sent Gomez packing to KC...
Fire: (L 0-2) It's always the goddamn Fire, isn't it? We went in unbeaten since the opening day, they were struggling, we looked to take the game to them at home, and...brick freakin' wall. We created nothing. Fred and Camara were anonymous in attack, and Quaranta had a shocking game. Not that Chicago were dominant, but they created more and managed to finish twice from set pieces. Pathetic. I lay into the boys in the locker room.
The Galaxy have gone six games without being scored on.
Wallace goes down with a damaged foot in training. Chance Myers, this is your...uh...chance?
@Colorado: (W 3-1) Frankly, I expected to struggle a bit in this game, even if Colorado have been pretty terrible thus far. But I demanded performances before the kick off...and thought it had backfired after a lame first half that saw few chances for either side but both of my starting holding mids withdrawn through injury. At halftime, I gave them a gentle nudge and they came out firing, Moreno in the playmaking role providing two sitters for Camara to lash home before Habarugira (playing as an emergency holding mid) hit Moreno on a defense splitting run, and Jaime slotted home the third. Of course, we conceded the mandatory goal from a corner with ten minutes to go. Hmmm...I'll have to look more closely at my instructions on set pieces. Vavá made his debut for 15 minutes near the end in place of Moreno but didn't do much of note.
Bad news from the docs. Our old friend the Bum Hammy Hammer has laid Jacobson low for 2-3 months. The search for central midfield help just got more intense.
Camara picks up the Player of the Week and Goal of the Week double, with Moreno finishing second in Player of the Week balloting and third in Goal of the Week. The press note the attacking prowess of my United side...
Salary deadline day is a week away, and I've got some decisions to make, particularly about Fred's future with DC United.
@Seattle: (D 1-1) One of those games. We were lucky not to lose, but unlucky not to win (sort of like the real-life draw away to Seattle). How so? We started well, keeping the ball and slotting Camara in for a couple of chances. Sadly, he couldn't take either. Then Seattle really started dominating, spraying the ball around and dumping balls into the box. We had a couple of goal-line clearances, some mad scrambles in the box, and Jacqua pinged the upright before Ljungberg put them up from close range on the hour mark. I rang in the changes, replacing my entire attacking midfield line (Lopez-Moreno-Rogers out, Olsen-Vavá-Pontius in) and going on the attack. I tasked the new wingers with pressing high, and we were unlucky not to get a penalty call almost immediately as Riley hacked down Vavá in the box. Deep in stoppage time, Hurtado caught Vavá right at the edge of the 18, and Camara slotted home the equalizer. Phew!
With a bit of a gap in the schedule opening up, I'm scheduling a friendly with Montreal in order to get some of the scrubs and out-of-form guys on the field.
(F) Montreal: (D 1-1) Completely controlled things, but couldn't ever seem to find the finish. When we did it was an outrageous 45-yard first-time volley by Szetela into an open net after the Montreal keeper fluffed his clearance from the edge of the box. Vavá showed some signs in the central role, but Robbie Rogers seems to have hit a wall of some sort. His recent form has been dipping, so I reluctantly threw him on for the injured Fred, only for him to hit a stoppage time own goal (off a corner kick...of course) to negate Szetela's strike. Speaking of the Szetela goal, it was an eerie reminder of this Stankovic special, only from the opposite side of the field...
The Champions' League play-in draw has been announced, and we'll be going up against Sugar Boys Juventus FC out of Belize. Awesome name!
I shopped around MLS for a d-mid, trying to land Sam Cronin, Jeff Larentowicz, and Pablo Mastroeni, but nobody was biting on the Fred-plus-picks-bait I was dangling. Instead, I've looked abroad, bringing in the vastly experienced 31-year old Uruguayan Marcelo Sosa. He looks like a nasty piece of work, with exactly the type of strength, grit, and fighting spirit that I'm looking for to dominate the midfield battles, though he's not the speediest of cats. Here's hoping the name Marcelo isn't cursed at RFK!
Julius James, only having featured in one disastrous (4.7 rating) substitute appearance is waived to clear the senior roster and international slots required by Sosa's signing.
@Columbus: (D 2-2) We came out flat in the first half and were down to two typically scrappy Alejandro Moreno efforts. Jakovic was having an absolute nightmare. I went into a bit of a shell and rode out the storm till halftime. Then I let them have it with both barrels in the locker room, threw Mendes on for Jakovic, and went on the attack. Camara netted after being slipped in by Tino after just a minute. We controlled the second half, though it was a bit of a narrow thing on a couple of occasions when they hit us on the counter or got set pieces. They've traded for Brad Davis, and the combination of him Gaven and Schelotto is pretty impressive. Still, we had the better chances, with Szetela filling his pants twice from unmarked headers near the six. To be fair, he was carrying an injury at that point and I was desperately trying to get him off. We finally got the breakthrough when Simms busted up a period of possession for them on 87 minutes, launched one for Rogers, who tore up the left and delivered a low drive across the box. Camara ghosted in behind the two lumbering center backs and dove onto the ball just inside the six, pulling us level. We then had a huge chance to win it when the new boy, Vavá, on for Moreno, stole the ball from Marshall in the center circle and took off. One on one, he tried to round Hesmer, but couldn't find his way past and we had to settle for the draw.
We have an open weekend ahead, so I move quickly to book a friendly with some Mexican opposition to get an idea of where we stand with regards to the Champions' League. San Luis will arrive on Friday as part of their pre-season warmups. That gives us a full week to recover before our next match, though the All Star Game will take place the following Thursday against Stuttgart. I'm disappointed, but secretly pleased, that only Camara has been included on the All Star team since we'll have a game two days later at home to Colorado, our first league home match in over a month.
Think I'm making a mess of this? Grab a copy of Football Manager 2010and have a go yourself. Then write it up and post it to your own blog or send me a copy and I might post it here on FBF...