The game that seemed like it would never be played finally was played last Wednesday and the result left you wondering whether D.C. United got tired of waiting.
Houston man-handled D.C., 2-0, at RFK Stadium in a game that had been postponed twice and was delayed for hours on the night it was finally completed. It proved to be worth the way for the Dynamo. For D.C. United? Not so much.
Houston’s form in SuperLiga coupled with Wednesday’s win has the champions thinking three-peat while D.C. is trying to figure out what happened to the killer form it rode up the Eastern Conference standings in recent weeks.
SBI correspondents Alex Swaim and Joel Sanderson took in the action and gave us their takes on the match:
Dynamo starting to show championship form
By ALEX SWAIM
Was that Geoff Cameron playing in defensive midfield for the suspended Ricardo Clark and the injured Richard Mulrooney? Effectively stymieing the admittedly disorganized DC United attack without having ever (to my knowledge) played that position before on ANY level? Was he really pushing the ball up and taking shots? And he notched an assist?
He might not have the star power to win MLS rookie of the year, but Cameron should be in any discussion of it at this point in the season.
And if the Dynamo continue their current form, he might just get the consideration he deserves. Combined with recent forward pickups Nate Jaqua and Kei Kamara and the recent gains in form by veterans like Brian Mullan, Brad Davis, and Craig Waibel, the Dynamo appear to be looking stronger than ever.
And more importantly, they’re playing well together. In the SuperLiga group stage the Dynamo showed that they still have the ability to turn dominating midfield play into goals – and wins – from more than a
single source. In other words, they’re finally playing Dynamo football. Atlante couldn’t handle the multi-faceted attacking display put on at Robertson. While fitness levels had a role to play in the margin of victory, it looked to me like the Atlante defenders just couldn’t get a grasp on how La Maquina Naranja was operating.
Even the Chivas loss was optimistic. Chivas won 1-0 on an amazing goal that came very much against the run of play. The Chivas midfield couldn’t lay a foot on the ball, and the defenders couldn’t keep the
Dynamo in check. If it wasn’t for an amazing performance out of Ernesto Miche, Franco Caraccio would have celebrated his last game in orange with a two-goal performance and a win.
And let’s not forget the DC games. While they were fairly hapless all across the field for both encounters (including the monsoon) the Dynamo didn’t falter in delivering dominant performances both times
against what had been a rising team with one of the hottest strikers in the league.
Earlier in the year, the Dynamo would have drawn at least one of those.
But with a Pachuca rematch looming and both Holden and Ianni Olympics-bound, the question is: can they keep it up? Can they defeat a team that’s as solidly built as Pachuca? Can they continue this play against MLS sides that are happy loading the 18-yard box and attacking on the counter?
I know the players think they can keep winning. And if players like Cameron continue to rise and face whatever challenge may come their way, I have no doubts that they will.
Poor SuperLiga form carries over for D.C.
By JOEL SANDERSON
In a dominant performance, DC United lost 2-0. Is that a little off? Well, it’s true though. It just happens to have been Houston whose performance was oh so dominant.
I guess the SuperLiga mattered so much the DCU that when it finished getting stomped in three games that it decided that it would play like a bunch of stoned Ziggy Marley fans in the make up game.
The game hearkened back to Rapids and Fire games back in May. That’s because in those games, DC’s offense didn’t know what to do with itself.
DC did score four goals in the three SuperLiga games, but they players never seemed to click. DCU had been getting like 20 shots on goal in the last few games. What happened?
I’ll tell you what happened. The same things that caused the problems early in the season came back: guys standing around waiting for their balls to drop, the defense being so mesmerized by the guy with the back that it forgot that there were as many as 10 other opposing players on the field as well, playing offense with soggy passes that made me wonder if the field was soaked in the first half as well, and last, but not least (well, maybe), Zach Wells.
At least we know Wells can dunk.
As their balls were dropping, a game of soccer happened to be underway on the field. It was awfully depressing. I’d blame the fans for not showing up, but (a) the game’s time got changed enough time that I thought the MLS schedulers might be running for President and (b) the fans were loud as hell and stuck around in the pouring rain when the game was canceled, so they care.
It’s the players that didn’t. I actually think I could copy and paste an old article about how the players don’t seem to care here and it would tell the same story.
How can you not be motivated to play soccer? At least Wells always seems to care. He may make stupid plays (see: second goal and alley-oop), but he always seems to be getting excited and plays hard.
This is professional soccer. I know I’ve gone to work and slacked off before, reading the history of the Barnum and Bailey circus and other wholly useless nonsense, but when I it’s time to interview someone, I’m ready to go and focus.
The lineup was a little off, but that’s not an explanation, that’s an excuse.
It was sad to see that in the second half DC didn’t come out with a fire. They were flatter than the applause for Jessica Simpson’s acting on Broadway. Sickening. You can often tell how hard a team is playing by the number of fouls given. DCU fouled 20 times. They were mostly lazy fouls. And Gonzalo Martinez’s card, though I thought it could have been a yellow, was another lazy foul.
DC should be used to the rain. They’ve had enough practice. Instead it was Houston, of the land of the hot and humid, that had the control. 23 shots. 10 shots on goal. 4 shots allowed.
What’s the solution? Aside from the reminder that the offense will have to carry the team, a defensive stopper is needed very badly. More than that, I think that the man I love, Mr. Clyde Simms, might need to be replaced. Now, I love Simms, but a defense get much better when there is a field general out there directing and breaking up the flow early. He’s not a bad defensive midfielder, but he doesn’t force the opponent to adjust the attack or hold up. He is just a consistent tackler. That defense needs something.
Of course, the whole team could use a few amphetamines before the next game.
(*note: I do not advocate the use of performance enhancing drugs in any way. You know, unless it helps my team.)