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Branko Boskovic: Photo: Martin Fernandez.

Episode 85 – The Montenegrin Apex

Branko Boskovic: Photo: Martin Fernandez.

Branko Boskovic during his "apex" with DC United. Photo: Martin Fernandez."

 

Join the guys as they look back at DC United’s last two matches, including the win against Seattle and the draw against FC Dalllas. The boys also look ahead to Colorado and talk about the rest of the league.

 

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.

United falls 2-1 to Seattle Sounders FC in U.S. Open Cup Final

Fredy Montero and Roger Levesque scored late on to give the visiting Seattle Sounders FC their first domestic trophy on their first attempt, via a 2-1 win over D.C. United last night before 17,329 disappointed fans at RFK Stadium. While the “WeWinTrophies.com” sales pitch did wonders in getting a US Open Cup record crowd into RFK, the soccer from the home side definitely let down the occasion. Josh Wicks was sent off after he stomped on the arm of Montero just seconds after he scored the opening goal in the 67th minute. Wicks, who was easily the player of the match to that point with a number of stunning one-v-one saves in the first half alone, was incensed at his sending off though television replays clearly showed a pure lack of class on the goalkeepers part.

Up to this point in the match thought it was the visitors who had bossed most of the games scoring opportunities. United only had a few chances that even bothered Kasey Keller and got nothing of danger inside the penalty area as the Black and Red were forced to unleash long range chances on goal. That all changed in the 67th minute when Freddie Ljunberg was sent in by Montero and his stabbed toe-poke was well saved from Wicks only to see the rebound fall right into the path of the Colombian striker. As he lay on the ground Wicks inexplicably stepped on his arm. Although the head referee Alex Prus and assistant linesman Rob Fereday missed the play, fourth official Andrew Chapin saw it clearly from midfield, as did many United fans seated just behind on the Quiet Side of RFK.

With United trailing and now down to ten men, Head coach Tom Soehn inserted backup goalkeeper Milos Kocic and subbed out the ineffective Christian Gomez. United poured forward to no avail as shot after shot was blocked by the bunkered in Sounders defense and then Seattle put the game past all doubt in the 86th minute on a counter attack. United defender Dejan Jakovic was left alone to defend Seattle forward Sebastian Le Toux down the left sideline. Le Toux seemed to get away with a foul just before they got to the end line and the Frenchman simply fed the ball across the goalmouth to waiting substitute Roger Levesque to put away for a 2-0 lead.

What little life United had remaining did conjur up a goal to halve the deficit in the 89th minute. Santino Quaranta’s free kick was deflected right into the path of Clyde Simms who easily slotted into the goal and gave United a brief albeit fading lifeline. United sent the kitchen sink forward but never really threatened to score in the resulting 5 minutes of stoppage time allowed by Prus.

Seattle Sounders FC walked into RFK Stadium with a ton of bravado and walked out with a well deserved U.S. Open Cup championship to take back to the Emerald City. United sits and waits for a rematch in 10 days at RFK.