Wrapping Up Week 1

I am experimenting on how I’ll review each week’s worth of MLS action, so expect this section to evolve a bit as the early part of the season goes on. We’ll begin each item with British tabloid style headline.

Soehn blows as United hemorrhages. Let’s start here at home where United manager Tom Soehn made abundantly clear to everyone in soccer that he’s feeling the heat. Tommy, blowing up at your beat writer in the locker room is not a good way to indicate that you are calm, collected and in control. Instead, now he appears like a total lunatic who knows what I have long believed, which is that he will be the fall guy when (not if) this team gets off to a bad start. Looking at DC’s schedule, it’s not hard to see them getting one, maybe two points over their first five league matches. You bet Tommy’s feeling the heat, he knows that was by far his best chance to bank a win over the first month of the season and they blew it. The ending of that match was the rare case where everyone screwed up. Soehn screwed up by not making one substitution after the injury. Jair Marrufo screwed up calling a penalty that was undeserved. Finally, Devon McTavish and Greg Janicki ignored any sense of defensive organization by crashing into each other at full speed and busting each other’s head open. LA deserves the credit for taking their chances, but the fact remains, under no circumstances is it ever excusable to blow a two-goal lead in the final 10 minutes. I am going to watch the match again later tonight, I’ll have more after that.

Guille is silly
. Heck of a goal from GBS to grab a point for the champions against Houston. Everybody think’s that Houston and Crew can go deep in the postseason this year, and this game (despite being played what is being described as a beach) did nothing to dissuade that. BTW: This weekend, both Ben Olsen and Duncan Oughton saw time. Wow, it’s just like 2003 all over again. Let’s cue up “Stacy’s Mom” and get freaky.

Fire: Curse this. The Fire finally wins at Dallas and does so emphatically. Dallas fans, the 30 or so left, must have felt good after Kenny Cooper caught Jon Busch off his line from beyond the midfield line. Someone needs to remind Buschie (who is at least two inches shorter than the laughable 5-10 he is listed at… if he’s 5-10, I’m 6-2.) that little guys like him can’t hang around too far outside the goal. McBride and Blanco followed up with goals to take the lead and the Fire showed why they remain many folks’ favorite to win the title this year. Anyone care to guess how many goals they plant on United next week? Three? Five? Ten?

Dube, doobey-doo. So New England grinds out a road win with a well-organized, if not scintillating performance? Not a huge shock, is it? Though Dube deserves points off for the worst goal celebration of the week, which I can best describe as Liberace on horseback.

Ama-Dos. In what certainly appears like the match of the week, Toronto put three past Kevin Hartman to win 3-2. TFC’s first goal brings up one interesting question. Does Jim Brennan’s screaming near-side finish herald a new era attacking danger from the Canadian, or does it signal that Kevin Hartman has now entered the Meola Zone, that period in a goalkeeper’s career when he can no longer jump over a copy of Us Weekly? Then I saw the third Toronto goal, where he palmed a low shot right into the middle of the penalty area.. question answered.

Paulo’s Peaches. Paulo Nagamura scoring twice… good. Everything else that has to do with a Chivas-Rapids early-season match. Unwatchable. I think that sums it up, don’t you?

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7 thoughts on “Wrapping Up Week 1

  1. It would have been interesting if Touchline had focused on the whole conversation between Goff and Soehn, rather than just the take out line it used. But maybe that wouldn’t have made a very good blog entry.

    I think the part on United is quite an overreaction.

  2. I have been saying for months that Tommy would end up the fall guy and now it’s clear that he knows it. I don’t actually agree with it, but typically in these situations “someone must pay” and Tommy is the one most easily jettisoned.

  3. I just think it’s hard to draw that conclusion from one game, especially under the circumstances.

    Yesterday proved (among many reasons ) why I could never be an MLS coach. If I was Tommy, and Marrufo was gesturing and talking back to me after the game, I would have decked him.

  4. To me the match above proved two things:
    – We have a disorganized defense.
    – Coach Soehn is a man who is feeling the pressure.

    I don’t think bullet #1 comes as a surprise to anyone who has watched DC United the last season or two. And the second bullet validates a belief I have had for a while, which is that Payne and Kasper won’t fire themselves after a bad start and Gallardo isn’t there to blame anymore. That leaves only Soehn as the logical fall-guy for this organization.

    Coaches only blow up at the media for two reasons… 1, they’re under pressure to win and keep their job or 2, when they’re complete sociopaths like Bob Knight and do it simply for their own amusement and safe in their knowledge that they’ll get away with it.

  5. Donovan is offside on the second “goal.” Should have been a 2-0 United win. I know we started allowing them to waltz right in and tee it up, but there’s no way we should have lost that game. LA worked hard to get themselves back in it, but did not deserve the point because they did not actually score. We all know the PK was a heap of bullsh*t, and, to me, the second goal looked offside by a couple feet as well.

    I don’t blame Tommy for being pissed. I would be too. Yes, he shouldn’t have flipped out at the best soccer writer in the US, but I can certainly understand his frustration. There’s no way in hell that we should not have walked out of Carson with 3 points.

  6. I would have fired Tom Soehn at the end of last season. I wish they had. But since they haven’t . . .I don’t know how you fire him in the middle of *this* one. Why? Because if you fire Tom Soehn, you fire Chad Ashton too; they’re joined at the hip. You might keep Simpson on, since he’s been with us through multiple coaches and is more the team’s man than Tommy’s man; but Soehn and Ashton are a pair.

    So if you fire him during the season, that means you’re bringing in not just a new coach, but an entire new coaching staff, one with absolutely no experience working with these players, during the season. That seems like a recipe for even more embarassment.

  7. Soehn was upset for Marrufo not stopping play when the injury happened. I think he has 100% justification for being upset at that because it was a head-to-head injury. Soehn didn’t seem to concerned about the bad penalty call.

    On Washington Post Live, Soehn was asked twice about whether Crayton was healthy enough to start on Sunday. Both times Soehn said that “there was competition at every position on the team.” If you can’t draw your own conclusions from that, then I don’t know what to say.

    So if you’ve got a beat writer asking a pissed off coach–Pissed off because two of his (desperately needed) defenders were injured in a head-to-head collision–a question that he’d already “answered,” then it really should come as no surprise that his reaction would be a little bit aggravated.

    As for the pressure. Of course he feels the pressure. Simply stating the obvious isn’t some spectacular insight. But every coach should feel the pressure (with the exception of maybe Schmidt).

    Clearly “Management” decided that blame for last season could not be placed on one person, and that other circumstances outside of the Soehn’s or Kasper’s control led to the disappointment. The very fact that we have “Management” that THINKS is a good thing. The last thing DC United needs is AEG-styled decision making.

    For those people who wanted to fire Soehn last year, who would you have hired? There were no real candidates available. Finding coaches outside the US has proved difficult and mostly unsuccessful. Seattle paid Columbus a fee to interview Schmidt, so he shouldn’t be considered. Would DC really have looked at any MLS Coaching castoffs? Firing him was not an option then and its not an option now.

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