Monday, April 17, 2006

DCU 2, Houston 0

Easily the most encouraging game since last year's team peaked in August. I've not been happy with Peter Nowak's coaching strategies, especially as he stubbornly insisted in the three man backline even as opposing teams constantly ran, and ran successfully, at the wings and whipped crosses into the undermanned middle, but two games in a row he has started four back, anchored in the middle by Erpen and Boswell and leftbacked by the I'm sure I'd hate him in real life but he can play for me Josh Gros, and the defense has never looked more solid. If only they can get Namoff healed and out on the right - once those four have their communication down it will certainly be the most defensively stout AND most offensively dangerous backline in MLS.

I wasn't all that impressed with Adu during the game, commenting to my brother that I wondered why Nowak was playing a natural leftfooter on right midfield, but Adu's play was what the Post beatwriter commented on most. What I took away - besides the defense - is the difference in attitude and speed when Eskandarian is up front on the left: United looks far more potent and exciting with him in than Filomeno (who Esky replaced in 60th minute). It may be a combination of giving Filomeno time to prove himself AND not risking Esky for too many minutes (while working him into game fitness).

First road game this weekend v New York Red Bull (now, to their greater benefit, Alexei Lalas-less). I'd have been happy before the first game to take seven out of nine points in the three home games, but since the two points they gave back was New York, the team they were most likely to have beat, getting three this weekend in New Jersey is - well, not crucial, but I'm greedy.


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