All I could think of last night watching the DC United-Atlante SuperLiga match was Subbuteo – the scaled down version of soccer that I still play with some friends around the Baltimore area. Hell, like Conor in real youth soccer with the StarKick, I used to be nationally ranked.
It was United’s play that reminded me of this, particularly the defense. When players first pick up the game of Subbuteo, their instinct is to put their players in a formation similar to something you’d see in real soccer – four defenders, four mids and a couple forwards. In reality, because of the various strategies employed in the game – it’s actually more beneficial to play with six or seven defenders, moving people up when possible/necessary.
If I remember right, on the first Atlante goal, United turned over the ball near midfield, and Atlante played a ball through to a forward as a posse of would-be defenders stood and watched. It was like they were waiting for some geek in his mid-30s to flick them into the right position for the block. But the flick never occurred. The Atlante player got the ball, and he was free. No United Subbuteo figure had a chance to catch him, and at that point, the attacker is going to win the 1-v-1 battle with the goalkeeper way more often than not.
It’s not good to look like a Subbuteo figure when you play soccer. During a United Media Game one year inside RFK, old coach Ray Hudson told me I looked like a Subbuteo figure playing forward. Not cool. But like a Subbuteo figure, United’s defenders apparently had no feet, because they couldn’t get in position to make plays. They were exposed once again, as they were against Chivas, and this time it wasn’t just Bryan Namoff – you can’t single out one player this time.
Nice little touch finish on the goal by Doe – and it will be good for the team down the road that he got on the board in that setting. A quality bit of work from Emilio for his finish on United’s second goal. But not nearly enough to make up for the lack of marking and a poor overall effort.