Distribution, defending lacking in disappointing opener for United

If DC United’s 4-0 loss at Kansas City to start the 2010 season is any indication, it’s going to be a long, long season.

Yes, United was without Bryan Namoff, Devon McTavish, Marc Burch and Juan Pena – and later Clyde Simms to injury – but still, to give up four goals to a less-than-stellar Kansas City showed some glaring weaknesses in defense and midfield. The jury’s still out on the goalkeeping – as Troy Perkins was hung out to dry – and on the forwards, because they didn’t see the ball enough to be properly adjudicated.

DC United marked poorly, made careless fouls that led to bookings, and turned the ball over in midfield. Santino Quaranta, in game one as an attacking midfielder, was invisible. Jaime Moreno touched the ball little, Chris Pontius and, later, Danny Allsopp, touched the ball less.

Distribution and defending were not there. I have to say I didn’t notice a lot of Cristian Castillo either and teen starter Andy Najar had mixed results – a nice strike on goal but some defensive lapses. 

If United is counting on set pieces, it should look for something else. You have to have a semblance of an attack to create set piece opportunities in the first place.

It didn’t help that Clyde Simms, already coming off an injury, injured himself again in the first half. A porous defense got weaker with his absence.

Kansas City didn’t do anything overwhelming. The Wizards just executed, though again, they didn’t have to strain hard – especially defensively – to do it.

Perkins held up his end of things as best he could, but he can’t be counted on to be a defensive bailout policy. A good goalkeeper with a bad defense is still going to give up goals – maybe not as many goals, but enough to lose.

I had a great game once where I had about 20 legit saves – full stretch saves, one-on-one saves, etc. I still gave up 12 goals in a 12-2 loss. What I’m saying is that Perkins at his best is still going to give up goals in the situation United is in now.

As for the coaching, I’m not sure what Curt Onalfo could have done here. I’m not sure I start Najar and leave Allsopp on the bench, though Najar did nearly score. And there was little he could do but sub for Simms when he got hurt.

Thinking about the midfield, I’m not sure that Onalfo has another option on the roster now but to have Quaranta as the playmaking midfielder. I think he’s talented enough to grow into the role, but it doesn’t appear to be a natural role for him.

It’s one game, and I’ll reserve overall judgment on the team, but United gets low marks on its first exam, and even without its full complement, it shouldn’t have been a hard one to pass, or at least break even on. It’s going to have tougher tests soon enough.

UnitedMania will be giving away some World Cup soccer jerseys and soccer jerseys from our good friends at SoccerPro. Simply comment on this match report for a chance to win. We will pick one lucky visitor at random and announce the 1st winner live on our next podcast on 4/11/2010 at 7:00 PM.

12 replies
  1. julius
    julius says:

    Tino really hasn’t shown he can lead the attack even in this new 2 two-way central midfield but he does absolutely need a better partner than Morsink. Simms or Barkladge. Barklage in every appearance he’s ever made has looked better than Morsink.

    The game started so positively with Moreno’s strike on goal, it was some nice build up and then

  2. FROM . . . the University of Virginia
    FROM . . . the University of Virginia says:

    To be expected . . . when’s the last time we won in that outfield? KC knows how to play there: one touch passes and swarm the guy with the ball. I’d rather be a fan of a team that at least tries to embody “the beautiful game.”

    Not too upset over the loss.

  3. Mike Martin
    Mike Martin says:

    I don’t think Tino is the problem in midfield. I think he’s well capable of playing that central role as good as guys like Evans, Moffat, Jewsbury, Lowery, Husidic, etc., etc. He din’t have a good start, but no one else did either. He turns the ball over too much, but his insightful switches and his overall vision are well within the range of good central midfielders. No, the problems are more with the players around him. Morstink, obviously being the most egregious example.

    ANd if this is actually a one off clanger of a loss, OK. But this showed all the earmarks of an undisciplined, sloppy team that desperately needs some confidence but now has to dig their way out of a huge hole in their pysche.

    Probably the perfect storm of problems to start the season. Now, we’ll see if Onalfo and company can turn the ship around.

  4. patrickkennedy
    patrickkennedy says:

    I’m not convinced the talent is the problem. The pieces are there. They just need to be put together right. Is that field tiny or what? I think they went in cocky and got smoked.

  5. mickipedic
    mickipedic says:

    I’m not terribly worried about the season. The defense was weak, yes, but Perkins is a great defender. The mid will work itself out. We’ve never done well at KC, and considering how well DCU did in the preseason, I think that at the home opener we’re going to see a squad that knows how to dominate the pitch and score some goals.

  6. Rugman
    Rugman says:

    First and foremost, appreciate the coverage. Watching this game confirms everyone’s worst scenario for how we handled the off season. I always thought that Onalfo had KC ready to play at the start of a season. They would fade after the first month. Will be interesting to see how we respond vs. the Revs. The good news, we have no where to go except up at this point.

    On the podcast – beyond the technical difficulties you guys are hard to listen to sometimes. Stop yelling over each other.

    On the webpage – move the stinking tweet link or provide a space between it and the article. Don’t let it overlap. Frustrating trying to read your stuff when I have to constantly scroll to be able to see the words.

  7. rke
    rke says:

    Ok, after a day of mourning, I’m ready to pick up the pieces.

    Big mistakes by Onalfo:

    Simms at RB: Please stop trying to put Simms anywhere but DM. That’s where he belongs, and as long as he’s healthy, no one else belongs there.

    Talley at CD: Our back line is Namoff – Jak – Pena – Wallace. James is the natural backup for Pena. With Namoff & McTavish out, the only question is RB. Find your best alt. there and don’t mess with the rest — especially putting a guy in CD who hasn’t even been introduced to the team yet.

    Minor mistakes by Onalfo:

    Najar at RM: That was a big risk which didn’t work out. But it could have been interesting without the other blunders.

    Speaking of RM, I haven’t heard any talk of putting Pontius on the right with Moreno/Allsopp up top. Doesn’t that make sense, given the choices?

  8. jwgreen40
    jwgreen40 says:

    There seemed to be so much wrong with this game that I just gave up trying to figure it out and wrote this one off as (hopefully) an anomaly. It now feels like this weeks game against the Revs is suddenly a very important game. How well they bounce back will be very telling. Who would have thought that week two would be a must win game (or at least a must perform game)?

  9. vanderhoof
    vanderhoof says:

    I have seen United have some rough starts before, but this is so depressing. The thing is we seem to do terrible in this KC stadium all the time now. The pitch is narrow, it was raining, injuries, and new players. I am gonna go the home opener and have a great time win or lose.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by unitedmania. unitedmania said: New post: Distribution, defending lacking in disappointing opener for United http://bit.ly/a0weSt […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply