It was nice to see Tommy finally show some anger yesterday with this team. On what would be charitably described as a frustrating night, United again reverted to the kind of slow, clueless, insipid play that characterized the first two months of the season.
Tommy should be mad. He should be mad at his players for getting outworked at home and he should be mad at his bosses for providing a team unable flex to the demands of injuries and fatigue induced by a long season. United was never going to win against a team as well-organized and talented as Houston. Not with the kind of reserves that Tommy is forced to throw out there on a regular basis. Let’s be completely honest. How many of United’s bench players would make other MLS teams’ first teams right now?
- Francis Doe – probably
- James Thorpe – maybe, but only because so many other teams seem to be carrying 2nd goalkeepers with zero experience, just like DC is
- Quavas Kirk – maybe
- Mike Zaher – doubtful
- Ryan Cordeiro – doubtful
- Joe Vide – doubtful, since it seems no one else seems to want him
- Rod Dyachenko – doubtful for anyone other than SJ
That’s just not good enough, even for when a team has three (four if you count Olsen’s continued absence) big injuries. Of course, that falls upon the heads of Kasper and Payne, who between blowing draft picks and trading them away for stiffs like Dyachenko have painted United into a corner where, even if they want to trade for depth, do not have much, if any, talent they can afford to trade away – not with the next options being those guys I listed above.
Soehn did say that there are “reinforcements” arriving, probably at least in the form of Carlos Will Mejia. Whether the 24-year-old Honduran midfielder can contribute is anyone’s guess. It wasn’t as if he has been leading his club, Platense, to any great heights. Last season they finished eighth in the clausura and ninth in the apertura.
But other than that move, I am at a loss for what they plan on doing. The need to address the goalkeeper and defender positions, the areas that are the biggest problems. Wells last night played really well right up to the point where he handed Houston three points by tap dancing on the line rather than either staying on the line and for a reaction save or making the better decision of going after the free kick and not letting it reach Boswell. Instead, it appears that Wells did one of two things.
- He got lost in his own head and couldn’t decide whether to stay on the line or challenge for the ball.
- He simply was afraid of the physical contact that would’ve come by getting to that ball in front of Boswell and wussed out.
I am fairly certain it was a case of No. 1 there. He is clearly thinking way too much out there. In general, I don’t want a goalkeeper who reads the Economist, and is a sensitive deep-thinking soul. I want a guy who is a bit edgier, I want a guy who is a bit crazy, willing to take risks to make plays. To make a strange comparison with the Wizards, who would you rather have playing goalkeeper, crazy Gilbert Arenas or intelligent, sensitive Etan Thomas? I like my soccer players intelligent and well-read, those guys just shouldn’t be playing goalkeeper. You need someone a little less well-adjusted to succeed in that role, I think.
All that being said, DC needs to go get a replacement who can at the minimum, challenge Wells for the position. Right now, how does trading Fred to the DC United alumni squad Colorado for Preston Burpo and a draft pick sound? It sounds pretty good to me. How about getting Matt Jordan from Montreal, or Bill Gaudette from Puerto Rico? How much worse do those options sound right now than what we currently have?
I would also like to call out Gonzalo Martinez and the entire United defense for upchucking a performance last night that yet again ranks as some of the worst defensive play ever by United. Player after player after player was left unmarked by United defenders who even found ways to leave guys like DeRosario unmarked. Can somebody tell these guys that not everyone else in the league is John Wolyniec who can be allowed to charge in towards goal while the defense stands safe in the knowledge that he is too incompetent to do anything.
The swoon is most defintely on folks, and it’s going to be interesting to see just how far it drags on.