MLS Standings (Top Half)

RankTeamPPG GD
1. DC United2.08314
2. FC Dallas2.0008
3. Houston1.6363
4. Kansas City1.5451
5. Colorado1.545-2
6. Chivas USA1.3001

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Friday, June 09, 2006

World Cup v. DC United

I'm totally and utterly engrossed into the World Cup therefore DCU coverage will be shotty for at least this weekend. It could also be due to the fact that I didn't pay for MLSnet.tv and that's the only way to see the game.

Speaking of the World Cup, Germany and (unfortunately cause Poland is in my group of teams in the office pool) Ecuador had strong performances. It will be interesting to see how England plays tomorrow morning.

If you aren't in a pool yet but want to start one here's an easy way to enjoy the Cup. Obviously it's useless to just choose the team that'll win because the Conventional Wisdom is that Brazil and Argentina will come out on top and the smaller games don't really matter. Ok here's what you do:

Get four people total (or eight people total with four teams apiece). Put all 32 teams in a hat and everyone randomly draws a team sequentially until all 32 teams have been picked. The goal is to add up all points earned by all your teams. The winner is the person who's 8 teams (or 4 in an eight person pool) had earned the most points total. This actually made the Ecuador-Poland game worth watching. And since it's drawn randomly it not only prevents people with more info from getting an upper-hand, it also allows for late comers to create a pool.

Ok. Real quick: DC-LA preview.

LA is going through a bit of turbulance in their organization right now. They lost to Chivas. Let me repeat...They lost to CHIVAS. I know Chivas is a better team but come on. DC is riding a wave of success and should take care of LA pretty handily. Even though it's in LA, I think DC has the composure to get past the fans and play their game. DC should watch for being overconfident and should grind out the game especially if they get a goal early. Take LA out of the game and wait for good chances at goal they will definitely be there. Our strength this game should be the defensive midfield if we control that and are able to make the pass to the offensive midfield then the runs and shots on goal will fall into place.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

DC United 1: New England Revolution 0 :: Soccer Fans Everywhere: 0

What an ugly game.

The game was uneventful except for a couple flashes to excitement from both teams. DC got the win which is all that really matter but I would've liked to have seen more from both teams.

The tempo was set early by the ref. The Revolution quickly realized that the ref was letting the teams playing more aggressive that usual. Normal fouls weren't called and fouls deserving yellow cards drew a simple whistle. He let plays go on even when there was no advantage. It was reminiscent of the Chicago game at RFK during the playoffs last year. Just ask Jaime Moreno how much the ref was calling. I felt like I was watching the first half of his career when the way teams contained him was to foul him hard. To be fair, I'd be upset if I saw my keeper and one of my defenders get completely embarassed by him.

The physical play seemed to benefit New England but they couldn't capitalize. They had periods where they were stringing 5+ passes together seting up a shot on goal but could not get past Troy Perkins. I thought he did an amazing job expect for the one cross he dropped near the top of the box and the almost goal that everyone in the stadium thought tied the game but was ruled offsides. Pat Noonan left the game relatively early with something it was odd because one minute he was dribbling through the defense, the next he just bent over hurt. It was strange and the outcome may have turned out differently for the Revs but that's how the game is sometimes. New England did have a good opportunity at the end of the game which was their highlight of the night. Cancela had a free kick right around the 92nd minute. It reminded me of last year when New England had a penchant for scoring game-winning goals at the very end of games. But again, this isn't last year and Cancela hit the ball straight at Perkins.

Defensively, it was a bit of a mess. There was a whole lot of stabbing at the ball with out following through and there were too many uncontested crosses. Like I said, Troy had another solid game. There is a world of difference between 2004 Troy, where he was good but still unsure of his role on the team, and 2006 Troy where he is steady and much quicker and more physical. He even seems to have a swagger, which all the good keepers need. Something unknown to the television viewer is that Nick Rimando was warming up in the goal prior to the game from around 7:10 until the team went back to the locker room. Troy on the other hand looked none too happy when he walked back to the locker room at around 7:15. It at least looks good that Novak is letting them compete for the starting position. It'll bring out the best in both keepers. Right now I feel Troy has played well enough to keep the starting position until he makes a drastic mistake. Nick should also learn how to sit on the bench as a #2. If DC has another Columbus-type game then I think he should get some playing time. But for the time being, he should accept that he's not the starter.

The biggest story of the game is Jaime Moreno's 101st goal. And it was gorgeous. A perfectly timed run combined with a sweet move that ended in a goal. Though, Jaime could have hit the ball a little harder because he gave the NE defender plently of time to clear the ball off the line. Fortunately for DC, he tried to be fancy instead of just blasting it off the line and the ball went between his legs. It may have been the slowest nutmeg I've ever seen. The move was nice, the finish could have been better. And the run was onside, no matter what anyone says. The farside defender kept him onsides. It's not Jaime's fault that the Rev defend collectively kept running upfield which made Jaime look offsides. It was a beautiful pass and Jaime has the experience to get past the keeper and get the goal.

Other offensive notables: Alecko Eskandarian had one of his patented break aways and had only Matt Reis to beat (which would have been the sweetest revenge) but his shot lacked the spin to get around him into the back of the net. The ball got past Reis but just missed. It was a gorgeous play that was left unfinished. Adu also almost came up huge with a volley that came from a cross (though I'm not sure that was his intention) from Domenic Mediate. The high cross fell in perfect line with Adu's favored left foot and his volley was a laser of a shot that Reis had no chance of saving but it hit the crossbar and the score remained 1-0.

Notes from the stadium: It was Armed Forces Appreciation day and I still become a six year old when I see the helicopters and humvees. The U.S. Army Drill Team performed during halftime which drew a bunch of ooh's and ahh's from the crowd.

All in all it was an ugly game that saw good chances for both teams but only Jaime Moreno could find the back of the net to reach 101. DC United is now undefeated in it's last five games (W-T-W-W-W).

Next up: Bottom feeder Los Angeles Galaxy. With even less threats than New England and Columbus, the rivalry may not present itself, then again, it is an away game.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Preview - Revs vs. DCU

Obviously DC is riding a wave of success at the present moment. The hardest part about success is that you take it for granted. As long as DC doesn't think they can just walk all over the rest of the league, they should be fine. That being said, they have to know they can beat anyone in the league especially at home. Even one point would be disappointing for this team and its fans.

If I'm not mistaken, this is Alecko's first time facing Matt Reis. Ever since he was knocked out for the rest of the season a little less than a year ago, I know I've had special disdain for Matt Reis as a keeper. Nothing would please me more than a break away run by Alecko heading straight for the North goal and scoring a booming goal from about 20-25 yards out a la 2004 playoffs against the Revs.

New England enters the game with a L-W-W-L-T record over the last five games. From what I hear, they are not playing all that well. For some reason they are not clicking the way they did last year. Like the DCenters says, both DC and NE always pick up their games when playing each other, especially the team that had been struggling in recent games. The way to take out New England is to strike early and disrupt their game. Defensively, shutting down Taylor Twellman and making sure whenever Shalrie Joseph gets the ball there is someone immediately on him well ensure that the Revs' attack stalls.

For DC, they have to focus more on moving the ball up and down rather than left and right. Offensively, crossing runs by Alecko and Adu will effectively break down the New England defense. On set pieces, I think the quicker the better because New England seems to do better when they can get into position. Their weakness is when plays break down. Therefore, DC has to pounce on their mistakes. They shouldn't look for maintaining possession in those situations. Instead, they should head straight for the goal and let it rip. The follow-up of the shot from players like Gros are key for this to be successful. The New England defense seems to have lost its identity. They are confused and lose the players they are responsible for. Quick passes and crossing runs will be the key to winning the game.

It may or may not rain tomorrow night but it will be balmy and humid. Personally, I think that the forecast favors DC.

I'll be there rooting the team on. Hopefully this time I'll remember the camera. We should get three points. I'll say a 3-1 win for DC. Adu is long overdue for a goal, I think Jaime will get 101 and look for Alecko to get subtle revenge.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

More from the Columbus-DCU Game

There is a point where a team stops competing against other teams in the league and starts competing against history. We're not there yet but a couple more games like the Columbus game and we'll have to evaluate how this team ranks against the Golden Age of DCU. Right off the bat, if this year's team ends up being comparable to those classic teams it'll be without the first generation of legendary names such as Harkes, Agoos, Etcheverry, Lassiter, Diaz Arce, Pope, Sanneh, LLamosa and others. DC has consistently drawn players that aren't big international names but that fit into a system.

One of the reasons that I see that accounts for DC's early success is the way they play with the ball at their feet. Many DC players (when playing with conviction) are looking for the quick pass and as soon as the ball leaves their feet, they run into space. But above all else DC has the ability to shake off shoulder charges. Jaime is one of the best in the league at holding the ball and taking a challege from defenders while maintaining his composure. Many times last night Adu (who's pretty small) would shake off Columbus midfielder Rozental.
Alecko is at his best with a defender on his right arm running straight at the keeper lining a shot up with his left foot. Gomez and Gros also have the ability to keep a challenging defender at bay.

Gros also needs more accolades for his tireless efforts. He, above all other DC players, can run up and down the field and play consistently well on both ends. Not only does he have amazing endurance, he is one of the fastest players on the team. On more than one occassion he has tracked back from midfield to clear a ball out of bounds at the endline. A key move that shut down what little offense Columbus did have was to move Gros from the outside left in the first half to the outside right in the second half. Taking nothing away from Namoff and Adu's games, they could not contain Ngwenya in the first half. Unfortunately for Namoff, he had a mental lapse and left his man (Ngwenya) alone for a pretty good goal. Gros put a stop to all of that in the second half and had enough energy left over to grab himself a goal. To have the endurance to run up and down the field and contribute offensively and defensively, signals to me that we're looking at an sorely underrated player and as soon as the finer points of his game (such as his first touches and confidence striking the ball) are refined, he'll no doubt become an All-star, premier outside midfielder in the league.

Thing I missed: July 12th at RFK DCU plays run away Scottish Premier League Champions Celtic FC at 7:30 pm. You can count on the Celtic fans to show up and represent so we have to get out there and make sure our presence is felt.

If anyone has the video of the opening montage that they play right before the teams come out onto the field highlighting DC United's first ten years, please let me know.

Finally, little did I know that Olsen put out an instructional video in his younger days. Below is a teaser of just that video. Look at that shaggy hair.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What an Electrifying Game - Columbus:1 DC:5

Every game I've attended before this, I've taken my camera and shot putting boring shots. This game could have changed all that and what do I do?? Forget the camera in the car. It's as if I was being punished for leaving it in the car. Needless to say no pics this time.

NOTE: This was written from what I remember from the game. Highlights aren't posted yet so the specific touches may be inaccurate but this is what I saw.

What an amazing game!!! Too bad it wasn't on TV. To anyone who missed the game: I'm sorry and I'll try to put everything into perspective. A lot of things happened and needless to say that DC dominated offensively and aside from a couple of mental lapses (one which led to the goal), the defense was solid.

Real quick: Columbus came out and tried to run up and down the sidelines like they did the last game. Only this time DC was ready and shut down the flanks for a majority of the game. Columbus had very good chances but they couldn't take advantage of the few defensive lapses. Ngwenya had a very good goal that capped a string of 5-plus passes for Columbus. That was the most dangerous they looked the entire game and, for the most part, the defense went out and did it's job.

Offense: so I may have underestimated our potency on offense. They went above and beyond everything I could have predicted offensively. Remember the breakdown of shots on goal from last game? Columbus: very few and DC: a whole lot. It was pretty much the same this game only they actually finished. FIVE GOALS...simply amazing. The first goal was going to be a through pass to Alecko who would have dribbled around the goalie for an amazing left footed shot. Unfortunately, Columbus's tenth-string goalkeeper went straight for Alecko's knees which drew a pretty obvious penalty kick and a yellow card. Guess who takes the penalty kicks for DC. Hint: he's been pretty much automatic from the spot for the past two seasons. That's right! Jaime Moreno setup the shot and converted for his 100TH GOAL!!!

The next goal didn't come until early in the second half. Christian Gomez took the corner. It was low, direct and aimed for the near post. Out of nowhere Alecko flew in and deflected the ball towards the goal. At first it looked like a straight goal but thinking about it again, it seemed like it bounced around a little and ended up being a Columbus own goal. But it all started with a perfect service from Christian Gomez for the second straight game. Alecko ran pretty much the same route as the KC game on the goal that was nullified by a phantom foul. He used the screen other DC players produced by just standing still to free himself from his defender and he had a clear header. Funny thing: during the celebration most DC players were pointing to Alecko's head and gesturing as if to say "you shouldn't use your head".

The third goal was almost Jaime Moreno's 101st. He received the ball deep in the Columbus box with his back to the goal. One defender was on his back and two were closing in. He took a couple touches away from goal, turned, and took a hard right footed shot on goal. The keeper did well to deflect the shot but the Crew defenders just stood and watched as Josh Gros performed clean up duty and scored a nice goal. Gros is all hard work and those types of goals are tailor-made for his work ethic. No matter what happens he finds a way to get it done.

At this point I thought DC would sit in a shell and protect their lead. Well they finally realized that the best way to win a game is to maintain pressure throughout the entire game. The fourth goal came via a classic-Eskandarian run. After a scare at the other end. Perkins played the ball to Gomez who then passed the ball straight down the field to Alecko that had to fend off his defender as another was seconds from getting in position. Alecko's strength and speed held off his man and as soon as he saw the left side of the net open, unleashed a rocket that the newbie keeper had no chance of stopping. It was gorgeous.

The last goal just summed up the night. After DC subbed out Gomez for Filomeno, I thought that Novak's plan was to slow down the game. But Filomeno wasn't having any of it. He picked up where Gomez left off. He was on a mission and he looked very sure on the ball. Adu started the play by taking a solid shot on goal that was fisted away by the keeper only to land at the feet of Lucio Filomeno about 3 yards away from goal. After fumbling a little bit, he got the ball into the position he wanted and finally scored that ellusive first goal. His celebration said it all. He took off his shirt and you could almost see him shaking the monkey off his back. The first goal is always the hardest and let's just hope that this is the first of many.

Last Columbus-DC game I said that DC played like the varsity team who takes playing the freshman team for granted and ends up getting embarassed. This time DC played like the varsity team that takes all competition seriously and crushed a weaker freshman Columbus team. DC is point blank the best team in the league; offensively and defensively. They are on a roll now and nothing in the near future looks to stop them.

P.S. It was a good showing from the fans. La Barra Brava was out in full force and as loud as ever. I noticed a new chant though (well new to me). They took the popular USMNT chant of "U S AAAAAA, U S AAAAAAA, U S AA, U S AA, U S AAAAAA" and replaced USA with United. I liked it and it's something everyone can chant. On our side their were four middle eastern? hispanic? men that were banging away at their drums and getting everyone in adjacent sections to clap and dance and chant in unison. They were having a blast and it was actually nice seeing some emotion from the middle sections on our side of the stadium. The atmosphere was exciting and as the goals piled up the entire crowd got more vocal and hungry for even more goals.

I'm sorry to all of those who missed it but hopefully it's a taste of the rest of the season.

Next up: fledgling New England Revolution on Saturday at 7:30. It will be televised.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Columbus Comes for Dinner

The worst thing that can happen on hump day is a bad day at work. After what happened two Saturdays ago I have a feeling that DC is going to be that tyrant boss that makes you (Columbus) wish you called in sick. Tomorrow night twenty-two guys will take the field and only half of them will be happy they get paid to play soccer.

After DC got embarassed (honestly, they did) by Columbus last match, DC should be looking to rebound and maintain the unbeaten home record. From what I've heard their second half against KC was pretty ugly, with a lot of defensive play and very little possession. I'm not bothered by that. At the end of the day, DCU came out of KC with an immensely productive half of play and the solidarity in the defense to withstand another half of unrelenting attack. DCU should feel good about the entire KC game and should go into Columbus ready to dominate.

The offense is the most potent in the league. DC has the most game changing players than any other team. Adu, Gomez, Moreno, Eskandarian, Gros, and even Erpen and Boswell have the ability to step up. It's only a matter of actually stepping up. Last game against Columbus, DCU could not step up in any form and failed to keep possession of the ball for even moderate stretches of time. It's not an exageration to say that DC's goal against Columbus was against the run of play.

Tomorrow night Columbus will again try to use the flanks to attack while making runs behind the defense. DC has to communicate. Defenders have to know where the attackers are and the only way to do that is to talk. DC is getting into a groove and they have to make sure not to become complacent. They took the game to KC and they have to again take the game Columbus. Get them on their heels from the beginning and they'll never recover. Columbus is injured and their attack is still too young to create a real threat under pressure especially at RFK.

Tomorrow night promises to be a good showing hopefully by both teams. MLSNet.tv will be showing the game but for the rest of us who didn't subscribe the only resort we have is to fight traffic and get our butts to RFK. I'll be there taking pictures (as bad as they may be) and hopefully I can get some good stuff.

Predictions? uhh...2-1 DC. Alecko and hmm...Gomez. Probably all wrong but might as well throw it out there.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

98 & 99

Before I begin I have to say that I didn't watch the second half of the DC United and KC Wizards game. When my DVR stopped recording the final score was DC-3 KC-1. I was upset enough that I let myself look at the TV screen when, in the back of my head, i knew that it was live action. I watched the first half and since that half ended 3-1 then I figured there was no reason to watch the rest. If something big happened let me know.

There is no better way to start the game than with a goal. Jaime Moreno's 98th goal began with him being offsides. He trotted back to be even with KC Defender Garcia and Gomez served the ball at the exact moment that Moreno broke back towards the endline for a beautiful goal. It was subtle but Jaime also paused for a split second that froze Bo Oshoniyi in the middle of his goal (not letting him chase Jaime) that freed up the near post. The service by Christian Gomez was absolutely perfect. At first glance it looked like a poor pass because it was so far ahead of Moreno, but it was also short enough that Oshoniyi didn't have the chance to come off his line. Moreno is faster and probably stronger than Garcia so he had the time to think and score.

Jaime Moreno's second goal came on an unfortunate (and blatently wrong call). Clyde Simms simply lost his footing and mishit the ball. The ref's angle, the way Simms fell, and KC Defender immediately throwing up his hands afterwards are my factors that contributed to the call. Usually when a defender throws up his hands like that, it means that he actually did make contact and doesn't want the call. I think if the defender just went along with it there may not have been a call. Either way I felt bad that United's second goal had to come that way. I know Moreno is automatic from the spot, so part of me wanted Moreno to purposely miss just as a gesture of good sportsmanship. The other part of me knows that purposely missing a penalty against the next top team in the East would not have made Coach Novak very happy. I probably would have discussed it first, run it by Novak, and acted accordingly.

The second goal did have repercussions. On Clyde Simms very next touch, he got tackled from behind in what was given a yellow but should have been a straight red. Simms was tackled in retaliation. The KC player never meant to get the ball, he came in from behind, and it looked like he made the kind of foul that potentially ends careers. Should have been a red card but wasn't. The teams should now be even right? Well apparently the ref had to make amends because he later took away what would have been a Goal of the Week by Alecko Eskandarian. Now everyone has made up for the poor call by the ref.

The only thing I have to say about the KC goal is that the defense has to do a better job of clearing the ball. Credit KC for the effort and having bodying in front of the box to clean up loose balls.

The final goal came right before half time from an Adu cross and Boswell header. It was textbook. Adu hit the ball low and hard and all Boswell had to do is tap it to slightly change its direction and it's in the back of the net.

For the first half, DC United dominated a team that should be one of the elite teams in the league. DC's offense was spectacular even without the goals. I really feel that Adu more than everyone else is getting comfortable in his role on the outside and is looking for his teammates more and more. Everyone was in a groove and United not only controlled the midfield but players were making dangerous runs behind the KC defense. KC really is a shell of itself without Josh Wolff, Eddie Johnson, and Jimmy Conrad. They came out flat, allowed a goal early and never recovered. United came out with a purpose and the effort was great.

Now all they have to do is repeat it against a team that they haven't beaten this season. This Wednesday the Columbus Crew comes to town. I'll be at RFK taking pictures and seeing the game from field level.

BTW-Catch the USMNT game on Friday? Convey was a terror. We need him on the field in some form or another. It's too bad that he doesn't play on the right because he would definitely start over Glass-Legs MaGee: Johnny O'Brien. Olsen had a quieter game but still effective. Slowed the game when necessary and put in a hard working effort all around.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

How Do You Stop Beating Yourself?

The world-wide stereotype of U.S. soccer fans are that they are passive. There is no fire, no emotion, when they are at soccer games. Obviously those of us who go to the games, especially DC United games, know different but common observers still believe the stereotype. Usually its the players themselves that show the passion.

Last night the roles were reversed. The atmosphere looked great (all red, white and blue) through the television broadcast, but the team itself was flat. This is a team that's supposed to transition into the upper tier of national teams. We're now expected to compete with teams like Italy and the Czech Republic. Unfortunately, against Morocco, the USMNT failed to step up to the plate and there was no spark. A few sparks came in the form of Bobby Convey (who I think need a lot of playing time) and Eddie Johnson but for the most part I was underwhelmed.

The reason I'm delving into this game is because how familiar it seemed. I saw this game before only I saw it last Saturday in Columbus. Watching this game reminded me of the DC United-Columbus Crew game. Both involved superior teams that could not penetrate the other teams defense and the superior team failed to excite. Both also were missing a key ingredient: Ben Olsen.

Don't get me wrong, Ben Olsen shouldn't start for the national team. I don't think his abilities will carry him for 60-90 minutes a game, but the team needs someone that can run ragged, throw his body around, and generally pick up the pace of the game. He's exactly what the team needed in the last 20-30 minutes. No offense to Pablo Mastroeni, but he slowed the game down and his passes were not on target. Olsen could have quickened the game and he isn't intimidated by anyone which would have definitely benefited the team. Out all 23 players on the national team, he's the only one who I see being able to instantly change the speed of the game. He plays with all heart and will always give everything he has. His experience also give him an advantage in that he's smarter on the ball. He can survey the field and get it either out wide or down the middle depending on the play. He also hasn't lost his power as was evidenced by his goal from distance earlier this year.

All this means that Bruce Arena would do well to give Ben Olsen more playing time. If the national team starts playing flat again, I would love to see Ben Olsen get into the game and I think he would instantly pick up everyone's game.

Monday, May 22, 2006

News from Around the Net

Here's a look at the DC United-Columbus game from the Crew's point of view by Walter Wheeler.

Relatively old article by Jeff Carlisle spotlighting Alecko Eskandarian: Back with a Vengeance.

Awesome new MLS website launched by Adidas. The DC United section features Jaime Moreno. With good speakers the website looks sleek and sounds cool. Check it out.

Finally, Kyle McCarthy takes a look at early season trends in the MLS. It focuses on the disappointing and mid-table teams but hints at how DC and Dallas are playing (at least have the potential to play) at a higher level than the rest of the league. I would add Kansas City and even Houston to that list.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

DCU 1: Columbus 1 - Post-Game Outlook

According to a writer of the Mid-Atlantic Soccer Report, DC United, among others, are playing on a completely different level than the rest of the league. I whole-heartedly agree and certain games this year you've seen games that resemble a high school varsity team versus the freshmen (see DC vs. NYRB).

Watching the Columbus game I couldn't help but think that DC sometimes plays like they are the varsity team v. the freshmen. What I mean is that they are expected to win most games and play without any urgency because, well, they know the goal will come eventually. This game for example: They started the game flat as is they felt like they were going to just steamroll over Columbus without any effort.

It wasn't until right after the Columbus goal that DC showed what they are capable of. For their goal, which defines DC soccer, Jaime Moreno started with a gorgeous dibbling display and laid it off to Freddy Adu who ripped a low shot that GK Jon Busch couldn't hold on to and Christian Gomez was there for the clean-up goal. Team play, a little one-on-one, a hard shot and the follow-up if need be are things that define the DC offense.

DC seemed for a little while that the fire that they were playing with after the Columbus goal would lead to multiple goals for themselves. Unfortunately, they couldn't find that last pass to finish Columbus off and in the second half they just got tired.

Towards the end of the game I would've liked to see Jamil Walker come in for Jaime Moreno. I know he was having a great game, but he's always been prone to getting tired early. Everyone was tired and Jamil's speed could have been the deciding factor. I would've also like to see Domenic Mediate come into the game for...hmm...Christian Gomez. Adu and Gros were playing great and Gomez's touch was failing him at the end. Mediate would have been brought on for his fresh legs and ability to get forward (at least from what I saw last game).

The problem is that Novak can't keep changing the line-up. I understand if someone's injured but he can't change the roster every week because the players can't form an understanding of each others' playing styles.

Now the problem is also what it has always been: the defense. That first goal was a defensive mistake but more than that, it was a goalkeeper mistake. Troy Perkins was a step to slow in coming out to stop Joseph Ngwenya's goal. Ngwenya easily chipped the ball over Perkins for the goal. It's always easier said than done but Perkins should have stayed on his line and forced Ngwenya to not only beat a trailing Josh Gros, but also force Ngwenya to have to hit a tremendous shot to beat him. I think Perkins learned from his mistake because later in the half Jason Garey had a similar play but instead of coming out to meet him, Perkins held his position and forced Garey to shoot the ball. On that play Perkins made a great save. Some of you might think that Garey's shot was close to beating Perkins, but I say that I trust Perkins to save those shots more than I trust Perkins to come off his line and time it so that he can stuff the ball when the opposing forward already has control. If Perkins had come off his line to meet Garey, all Garey had to do was either chip the ball like Ngwenya or tap the ball towards the endline away from Perkins and use his speed to catch the ball and have a shot with a wide open net. All I'm saying is that while Perkins makes mistakes, it looks like he's at least trying to learn.

Now the defenders. When I look at the DC backline, I only see two true defenders. Bobby Boswell and Facundo Erpen are the only players that have the ability to shut a player down completely. Namoff (to me) is more of a defensive midfielder. He had an incredible game but still when I think of the defenders of DC, he doesn't come to mind. I wonder if DC would be better off putting him in Olsen's vacated position and acquiring another true defender.

That's another thing. Who will replace Olsen. It looks like there's a massive void in the midfield that DC is trying to fill. Whenever the opposing team has the ball it seems like everyone is covered except of a solitary player that Olsen would have pressured. DC looks like at times they are playing with ten men when the other team has the ball and they are scambling to chase down that extra man. I understand putting Filomeno in that position (offensive player to overwhelm Columbus) but Novak should've known that forwards generally aren't very good defenders and to put him in that position was borderline reckless. DC began to regain control of the game when Simms was able to help Carroll. In my opinion, Mediate in Namoff's position and either Simms or Namoff in Olsen's position may help the defense settle down.

To sum up this game, Novak didn't use his subs effectively (i.e. leaving Mediate and Walker on the bench), Novak's continually changing of the starting line-up disrupts the consistent play that DC United needs, and finally the DC players have to stop thinking they will win every game and actually start playing like they want to win every game. I know you are supposed to be happy with points on the road no matter how many, but would anyone out there be satisfied if we tied Real Salt Lake or Chivas or New York? I didn't think so.

Next game is a biggie at Kansas City on Saturday the 27th at 8:30 pm (ET). They will be seeking revenge and DC should be seeking to find their game against a World Cup depleted Wizards team.