Sunday, July 16, 2006

DCU 3, Columbus 2

Since when did MLS rules allow other teams to score against DCU?

Now we've seen what happens if one of the back three in DCU's defense gets hurt. Of the three - Boswell, Erpen, Namoff - I would have guessed that an injury to Erpen (and as I type this I don't know how serious he's hurt) would be the least worrisome for DCU to manage, which is a compliment more to Boswell and Namoff than a slam at Erpen.

Facundo's reliable for a one or two dvmbfvcks a game (though someone
told him to stop bicycling at any backflipping opportunity), but his strengths outweigh his weaknesses, and now, with him subbed out at half after torqueing what looked like a knee in the first half (Goff in the linked article says minor foot injury), it's apparent that - at least without a week of practice - DCU can't play three back if one of the back is John Wilson. Yes, the two Columbus goals were freaky (especially the first, when Erpen WAS on the field, hobblingly), but Eddie Gaven had two headers, both sitters, late in the second half. Perkins came out and deflected the first, but the second, late, almost in stoppage, Gaven just gakked. Both were on Wilson's watch, and that second came on Wilson's watch after Nowak subbed in McTavish for Adu to help. And that sequence of that last Columbus corner kick, with twenty seconds left in stoppage. Jeez.

Perhaps it's a blip, perhaps Erpen will be OK, perhaps a week of practice as a unit with Wilson getting the minutes will help the defensive organization and cohesion if Erpen can't go. Nowak has shown that he's capable of adjusting his system, so until I see another game with such defensive breakdowns, I'm calling this an injury-related blip.

(An aside: three years ago I thought the future of American soccer would certainly have included Eddie Gaven. I remember a couple of Metroscum games where he made absolutely brilliant runs into the box, along the endline, and clearly was among the most skilled, if not the most skilled, players on the field, and he was, what, seventeen? Eighteen? But he's not even in the USMNT pool now. What the? I'd love to see what Peter Nowak could do with him over the course of a couple of years.)

I'm not sure what I make out of this game. DCU is so much better than Columbus, and dominated all the stats, dominated possession, had two goals taken (rightfully) away, should have scored more, that at 3-1 I thought the game was headed for 5-1. On the other hand, Columbus could have, should have, drawn a point. I believe DCU is too professional to have quit in the 60th minute thinking they had won; on the other hand, I'm shocked that DCU, up 3-1 at 60th minute, ended up sweating this out, injury to Erpen or no.


Special Game B in my ticket book, what's it gonna be for, I was wondering. The Post article, way at the end, says negotiations are on for a game v Real Madrid at Camden Yards. Woot!


One note from this past week from the NYT's weekly soccer note column:

On NYRB, who this week had a Saturday night home game rescheduled for 2pm Friday afternoon so that Giant Stadium could be readied for a Jon Bon Jovi concert this coming Tuesday:
Midway through the season, the Red Bulls (2-6-8, 14 points) are dangerously close to becoming irrelevant for another season. The team has no director of soccer operations, no permanent replacement for the fired coach, Mo Johnston, and no Youri Djorkaeff, the midfielder who remains in France on extended leave to attend to personal business. The team has no timetable for Djorkaeff’s return.
One can hate the Metroscum and still wish for a vibrant, successful, and annually competitive MLS team in NY. I don't see how MLS reaches a level of comfortable confidence in its survivability - a true and assumed level of comfort, as in "we're here for good" and not have to cross fingers - without anchor franchises, and one of those anchor franchises NEEDS to be in NYC or environs. It's shocking to me that MLS has let this franchise become so neglected and irrelevant.

I wonder if they've rung Bruce Arena yet. While it'd bitch my craw to see him on the Metros sideline, if MLS hasn't at least put out a feeler to Arena's agent they're more grossly incompetent than the current state of what should be one of the flagship franchises of MLS suggests they already are. Which wouldn't be good for anybody concerned about the future of soccer in the United States.


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