Well, there is no two ways around it. The game against the New York Red Bulls exposed all of the flaws in this current DC United team, while showing none of the good things that they have built so far this season. Actually, it reminded me a lot more of last year’s team, which is never a good thing.
Is DC United that bad or are the Red Bulls that good? I’m leaning towards the latter. With Henry finally getting hungry, this team is now cooking on all cylinders, while United is a team still finding out who they are. This will happen with a young team, and they need to figure out how they will learn from it. If not for Pat Onstad starting a couple of games, this would have been the youngest team in all of MLS; let’s not crush them with expectations just yet.
- Marc Burch: What was he doing out there? Almost all of the Red Bulls’ offensive action came down the left side. The second goal coming because Burch was in a bad position and then got muscled off of the ball. His abilities going forward, which are average at best, in no way make up for his poor defensive play. United needs Jed Zayner or Devon McTavish back, or perhaps should give Daniel Woolard a run out too. I would suggest even putting Ethan White there, except for…
- Dejan Jakvoic: What was he doing on Henry’s first goal? United needs a centerback who can be physical in the air, and that person is not Dejan Jakovic. I seriously think that, by the end of the year, Ethan White will be starting alongside Perry Kitchen unless Jakovic does something drastic to his play. White is a more physical player than Jakovic, and the hope is that he can develop into an Oguchi Onyewu type player. I say throw him in at let him develop now, because Jakovic isn’t getting it done.
- Offensive play: The offensive play of United reminded me so much of last year’s team: tons of possession but no real chances. There was good linking play up from the midfield down towards the box, but no one wanted to make that final run or that final cut that could free them to put a shot on frame. At halftime, I thought the move would have been to bring in Andy Najar for Fred and let him run at people; sure, he might have got dispossessed, but at least he would have brought some energy down that line. Also, why bring in Branko Boskovic for Dax McCarty when you are already down 2-0? I thought Dax was having a decent game, not great, but the more offensive play is to let Dax be the holding midfielder and sub out Clyde Simms.
- Charlie Davies: I would not have taken him out, but he was not having his best game. His first touch was very heavy, often bouncing ten yards away and leading to a lot of turnovers. There will be off nights for Charlie and he will continue to improve.
- The linesmen: Charlie Davies was very onside, as was Josh Wolff.
- Akron Defenders: If you are looking for anything good out of this game, it is surprising to say that it was from the defense. However, I thought that United’s two rookie defenders from Akron put in some solid work. Perry Kitchen was very solid, including a hard, but clean, tackle in the box to stop a goal scoring opportunity. Chris Korb wasn’t quite as solid, but I thought that he put in a good effort and had some nice defensive plays. Hey, only one of the 4 goals came down his side, so that’s something?
- Josh Wolff: I like what he does. He puts in some very quick, tidy passes that are usually on target. Often I’m sitting there wondering how he did that. He does need to put the ball on frame more, but his tidy passing does free people for opportunities.