United improves, no doubt about it

Fair play to Soehn, Jaime and the boys, they played a lot better yesterday and wholly deserved to win. At any one of a number of points, I was positive that United would collapse mentally, Toronto would win, and Soehn would be on the phone to Long and Foster. But it never happened. United clawed back into the match after what could have been a devastating dagger-like goal at the end of the first half. I was convinced that I’d wake up Monday morning and find an email in my inbox entitled “DC United Head Coach Tom Soehn Relieved of Duties,” but barring something very strange happening, I won’t.

Other thoughts:

  • I love Gonzalo Martinez. I haven’t been this excited by an outside back since maybe Milton Reyes. He’s raw, yes. But he seems to have a good sense of not only when it’s appropriate for him to go forward, but also when United needs him to get forward. On a team full of people who sometimes seem to shrink under adversity, he doesn’t.
  • I thought Namoff played wonderfully after getting beaten by Robert for the first goal. At some points, he was practically marshaling the attack from the right side.
  • Did a Soehn-ordered tactical adjustment actually work? Yes it did, moving Fred, Quaranta and Gallardo around width-wise the way he did worked really well offensive and stifled Robert. It gave DC multiple “looks” going forward.
  • Emilio, at times, looked interested. I still thinks he spends a lot of times standing around, not making runs, expecting the ball to magically appear at his feet, but he looked a little better last night. He fully deserved the goal, chasing down that rebound and finishing well, it has to be said, under Sutton.
  • The defensive marking reminds me a phrase by the great Ken Beatrice… no they’re not like an Arby’s shake, but they are like the “little girl with curl,” they’re either really good or really bad. About every third or fourth set piece, someone on Toronto got way too free, especially on set pieces.
  • Since the Chicago match, this team has played slightly better each time. If that kind of gradient can continue, especially on the road, this season could be salvageable yet.
  • Before we get too excited, if Greg Sutton doesn’t hand Emilio the ball in the penalty area, what are we talking about? Were probably talking about another mental collapse like the one that happened at the end of the first half.

More later…


5 thoughts on “United improves, no doubt about it

  1. What do you mean by Martinez being “raw”? Just that there are aspects of his game with bad decision-making?

  2. He has great physical talents, he has a pretty good sense of the game, but that his decisionmaking will get better. I think he’ll improve. If all goes well, the Martinez we see in 2-3-4 year, will be much improved from this year’s version. And this year’s version is pretty darn good.

  3. Well, I dunno how many years he has left in him, or how much more developing he’s going to do — he’s almost 33 after all, his international career has come and ended for the Colombian National Team, he’s done playing in Europe, etc. — he’s definitely on the ending side of his career.

  4. I think raw was the wrong choice of words.. it’s that he’s so direct out there, just driving up the field, often down the middle. Maybe the phrase is inelegant, not raw. I’ve never really seen a player like him, especially when he plows out of central defense into the midfield.

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