And no, hopefully I do not turn into the soccer equivalent of Peter King; if I do, please, someone just smack me upside the head. Anyways, here are my random thoughts about D.C United’s 2-1 win over the Charleston Battery:
- Dax McCarty with an early knife just splitting open the Battery defense: that’s not something Kurt Morsink or Stephen King could do. He also captained the team, which I found significant: If Santino Quaranta isn’t starting, McCarty is the obvious captain. If ‘Tino is on the field, I still think he will be captain, since his play improved noticeably last season after being given the armband.
- Andy Najar started slowly in this match, got frustrated, and eventually got a yellow card for slamming the ball down after not getting a call that he should have. This, combined with other things Olsen has said and done over the past few months, still leaves me to believe that Najar will be starting out on the bench to begin the season, with Santino Quaranta starting in his place. I could definitely see Najar building steam and taking that spot back from ‘Tino as the season progresses, however.
- I don’t think that Joseph Ngywena or Josh Wolff will start, but they give United pace and work ethic off the bench, which is not something they had before. Ngywena also should not be putting himself in positions to get a penalty called on him, even if it was very soft.
- If Chris Pontius keeps playing like that, there is no way he’ll be in the bench. I think he’s going to play in the hole off of Charlie Davies, but he’ll have enough freedom to be able to go a little wide and make the diagonal runs that made him so dangerous against the Battery.
- That said, I still want to see some killer instinct. That game should have been more like 3-1 or 4-1; United needs to twist the dagger on teams that they dominate like that.
- United is going to miss Perry Kitchen when he’s gone with the U-20 National Team; hopefully he can be the kind of vocal leader that can put some more urgency into the play of Dejan Jakovic.
- Speaking of Jakovic, I love the way the Ben Olsen got after him for taking the more careless route and not heading the ball out of bands. According to the United Mania guys, Olsen yelled at McCarty (who was the captain) to get on Jakovic’s case. Hopefully actions like this can prevent a repeat of his disaster of a season of last year.
- So who is the starting 11 for the season opener right now? Well, obviously we will learn a lot more with the lineup for the Chicago Fire match on Wednesday, but for now, I would say it is:
Zayner Jakovic Kitchen Woolard
Quaranta Simms McCarty Boskovic