Thursday, August 17, 2006

From what I saw (and I'll spare all of us an anti-MLS/Live rant, deeming it sufficient to say it sucks, at least on my PC), I'm concerned. Nowhere near panic, nowhere near foreboding, nowhere near feeling it necessary to taunt gods with predictions of doom. Concern.

I expected NY to come out aggressive and energized. Throw away the Barca game, this was the NY players first true game audition for their new coach. NY carried play the first half, and I would have been surprised not only if they hadn't tried but if Nowak hadn't assumed a defensive posture in the first half and hope NY's adrenelin burnt out their legs by half. And Nowak probably wanted to play reactively in the first half as he figured out what Arena was trying to proactively do.

Still. One can look at the effort United put out in the first half of the Madrid game and the effort they put out last night and conclude that they only have enough in their legs now to play full-on selectively, or one can look at the respective efforts and conclude that if Madrid had played full-on they'd have buried United. Carroll looks tired, Olsen looks tired, Adu looks tired, Gros looks tired, Gomez looks tired. Dang, that's the whole starting midfield. The passes are slow and late and telegraphed anyway. I don't doubt the effort; I don't believe that Nowak would keep a player on the field who he didn't believe was playing as hard as he could. But the breakdowns in execution are breakdowns caused by exhaustion, both physical and mental.

All other MLS teams are going to view any games v DCU as tests and will bring all the energy they can summon. The question becomes, what energy does United have to summon now, and where do they spend it? How does Nowak find more? Not necessarily for Colorado this Saturday or the Cup game next Wednesday or the LA Quaranta next Saturday, but so everyone is fresher come October and November.


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