I hesitate to call this a "match reaction," since I wasn't devoting my full attention to the game for the full 90' and was dealing with a stream that kept cutting out on me, but I'll provide a recap for those who missed the game, and then move on to some overall thoughts...
The first half was predictable "pre-season" play with bad touches, disjointed possession, tentative attacks, and more knocking it around in midfield than goalmouth action. United probably shaded possession for the majority of the half and had slightly better chances, though RSL just missed connecting on a handful of counterattacking moves.
0-1 RSL (Findley): RSL player goes down in the box (Grabavoy?) without much contact (Morsink?). I was talking to my wife with half an eye on the game at the time, but it didn't look like much. Without the benefit of replay, however...
RSL came more into it as the half came to a close, but couldn't double their lead. United started the second half on fire, dominating possession with some slick passing moves and taking the game to RSL, both with the ball and without. RSL's offense dried up under a series of long balls and offsides whistles. Still, the United onslaught petered out before they could find the equalizer.
RSL swapped out about six or seven guys on the hour mark, presenting a soft underbelly of scrubs for what was a largely unchanged United lineup to savage. Sadly, the new legs seemed to invigorate RSL, and United were pushed onto the back foot.
1-1 United (Moreno): A McTavish through ball found Quaranta streaking through a gap in the defense. One-on-one with Rimando near the edge of the box, Tino tapped it lamely against his former teammate, only for Rimando to make a complete hash of the clearance. Moreno pounced on the loose ball and chipped it home into the empty net.
The game started to open up more. Tired legs on United's side, young ones on RSL's. Half chances started appearing, with United more able to exploit the flanks than in the first half, though RSL won a series of corners.
2-1 United (Moreno): What's with the corner kick goals? Somebody (Cristman?) rose to meet a Quaranta corner, headed it down towards the far post, and Moreno deflected it home.
RSL had a few more chances, the best coming late on with Perkins able to get in the way of a tight-angle chance.
Chippy game. Few chances. Just win baby?
* The formation looked much like I expected given the pre-season match reports thus far...
... Morsink sat behind the the three higher mids, with Quaranta having free reign to make marauding runs forward. Moreno tended to drop deep while Allsopp sat waiting on the shoulder of the last defender (where was Pontius?). I liked that we're pressing higher and with more energy when the opposition in is possession, though I thought were were maybe too eager to get the ball forward in the first half. The second demonstrated better patience and more coherent attacking play, allowing us to create more width in attack. Between Pena (if he signs) and Jakovic we may have the best ball-handling pair of center backs in the league.
* On the subject of Pena. He looked to be struggling with the RSL attackers' pace early (though, to be fair, Findley and Espindola are among the quickest in MLS), but after some initial struggles, settled nicely. I lost count of how many times we caught them offsides, though whether that's due to over-eager RSL attackers or good coordination between Pena and Jakovic is debatable.
* Quaranta in the attacking midfield role is going to be a project. I love his runs when he breaks from the middle (see: our first goal), but he just doesn't have the patience to play-make. His first instinct is to blast away from distance. His second is to hit a killer ball that might not be on.
* Likewise, Wallace is going to be a project at left back. He commits way too many fouls, gets caught with the ball in bad positions, and too often resorts to the hopeless long ball. Of course, maybe he's just basing his play on what he saw from Burch last year (zing!). But you have to balance the bad with the good. When he overlaps on the left flank, he does so with speed and hits an inviting low, driven ball.
* Old Man Moreno. So he had two goals and an audacious bit of trickery to lift a ball up to himself for a volleyed cross, but too often he was caught dallying with the ball. Is it a concern that the team seems to want to play at a higher pace while he wants to slow things down, or does the juxtaposition of that patience with the "hurry up" nature of the rest of the team confuse defenses? This jury's still out for me, but I find it frustrating that I want Tino to slow down and Moreno to speed up.
* Najar is a good little player. He did more at the right mid spot than Barklage did, and generally looked eager for the ball and willing to take guys on. A highlight? Beating three guys on the dribble before racing off down the right flank.
So, we played their starters pretty even and trailed to a questionable PK, but managed to beat their scrubs by a couple most of our starters still on the field. (shrug) It's pre-season. Still, you like that the guys managed to come from behind, and the second half was certainly a more impressive display than the first.
Anybody else catch the stream?