So the feed didn't kick in until around a quarter of the way through the match for me, but based upon what I saw when it did start working, I'm pretty sure I didn't miss much. Tactical abortion? That might be one way to describe it. If I hadn't seen Onalfo's chalkboard machinations before, I would have assumed that he didn't bother leaving any instructions since he was suspended for this match. Let's hit a few talking points, shall we...?
* WTF? vs. 4-4-2. Best I can figure it, the starting tactical diagram would have been a back four, King sitting in front of them to hold and distribute, and five guys (a d-mid, a winger, and three forwards) roaming about wherever the hell they wanted (Allsopp as winger?). Just awful. Particularly given the lack of off the ball movement. Then Emilio went down injured, Tino came on, we slipped into a more rigid 4-4-2 and, Hey Presto! the chances appear. First Tino plays in Allsopp who crosses for Moreno to...put into orbit. Then Moreno pops up in the same situation with Quaranta running wide, but, predictably, holds the ball too long.
* Class will tell. United sucked enough defensively to allow the Kickers quite a few good chances. Fortunately, the Kickers' last ball and finishing attempts would have fit right in with early-season United highlights. In contrast, Moreno, having blown the golden chance of the first half, stuck one in the corner of the net from the edge of the 18 early in the second half. And Quaranta, after some tedious dillydallying with Moreno that would have been punished by competent defenders, managed to hit a shot that deflected in for the second. But the classiest guy on the field was Dejan Jakovic, who looked a step above and a step ahead of everybody else. I still wonder how long we can manage to keep him.
* Find your level. Castillo has been shown the door, but there were a few others who looked like maybe we should put them on the bus home with the Kickers. McTavish may have been playing on his "off" side on the left of defense, but that doesn't excuse letting simple balls dribble past you out of bounds. Or failing to close down runners and crossers. And what about Morsink? I defended his contributions early in the season, but he was just a flat out pile of excrement in this match. I think more of his passes went to the opposition than teammates. And to top it off he kicked a ball at an opponent lying on the deck, engaged in his usual ref-bitching, and managed to almost start a fight in a largely bloodless game.
* Fortunate sons. Let's get this straight. On the scoresheet this goes down as a shutout. In reality, United will be thanking, in no particular order: Richmond's miserable crossing, Richmond's even more miserable finishing, Bill Hamid's shins, and the ref for swallowing his whistle on what looked a certain penalty against Barry Rice late in the second half. There were patches in the second stanza where United took the air out of the ball with some nice passing sequences. But between those patches, they created too little and allowed too much given the quality of the opposition.
To be certain, the lineup was jury rigged, attention was probably focused more on not getting hurt and on the Quakes match this weekend, and the field looked in pretty miserable condition. All of that said, the Open Cup—half-assed competition that it is—is pretty much United's only shot at glory this year, and the commitment level, both from players and coaches, needs to higher. Nevertheless, United march on to face the Harrisburg City Islanders in the quarterfinals. Here's hoping players and staff decide to take that one seriously because I'm not looking forward to United having zilch to play for with the summer only half over.