Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Well, well! After my weekend absence, I've returned with some match notes and ramblings. Normal service, it seems, has resumed. And after this weekend, it seems perhaps that our form is returning to some sense of normalcy as we ease into the final weeks of the season. Anyhow, it was a nice win, so let's get to some discussion.
If we have indeed returned to our winning ways, then perhaps it's at the perfect time of the season — better late than never, and we've got a big run in the Champions League to contend with. Add to that the issue of form heading in to the playoffs, and perhaps things aren't so gloomy as they were a month ago.
- We saw a great deal of rotation in the midfield within the match, with every midfielder dropping back one spot or moving forward one spot. We often saw Javi dropping into the center of the park, Johnson dropping deep, Beckerman stepping forward, and Grabavoy stepping into Javi's spot. It didn't particularly provide goals, but there were some fantastic moments of creativity.
- Nick Rimando was essential — perhaps more than we would have liked, such were the chances created by United.
- Paulo Jr. was fantastic during his 60-some-odd minutes on the pitch, pushing the line and generally looking to be a creative force up top. It is no accident that he leads RSL in key passes per minute — the kid is constantly making things happen right now. His involvement with the goal was wholly deserved, with his cross for Will Johnson proving half the difference on the night.
- Javier Morales does get pushed around and hacked more than his fair amount, but his attitude toward referees in recent weeks — if it doesn't improve — may well land him in a spot of trouble. Can I blame him much, though? I don't know. It's tough, but yellows for dissent need to be avoided at this point in the season.
- Tony Beltran flitted between brilliant and woeful. His back passes were bobbly and slow, but he took on player after player with great success. It was a microcosm(*) of the match as a whole and perhaps our season. That said, he was largely up against Dwayne De Rosario, who presented him more than his fair share of work on the night. Overall, I can't fault him, but it wasn't his best match of the season.
- * Or is it a macrocosm? I'm never really sure. Maybe it's a microorganism. Maybe that's what I mean — e.g., our form was bacterial. Heh.
- Chris Wingert was solid if not dazzling — his usual self, really. With someone like Kenny Mansally waiting in the wings (no pun intended. Or some pun intended. I can't recall which) with incredible attacking forays, Wingert's consistency keeps him in the side. That's not to say he's somehow bad — much the opposite — but he does provide less in attack than our Gambian wing back.
- Sometime in recent weeks, Jason Kreis asked Will Johnson to get more involved in attack — too get further forward. We saw the fruits of that with a fantastic goal, but he was generally involved in attack and looked a valuable option around the box.
- On the night, we could have seen a handful of goals. Great shots from Saborio, Grabavoy, and Morales were all on target or deflected. It was perhaps our best attacking performance since our form dipped, even though we ended with just one goal.
- Kwame Watson-Siriboe looks like he wants a goal. He had two very good moments in the box, one of which (the one that ended in the back of the net) was incorrectly called back for a handball, and in the other, he was fouled but remained on his feet. Funny, that.
- A final word for the magnificent fans, who stayed through a 90-minute delay and miserable weather. I salute you.