So United won tonight at RFK, after digging a hole, filling it, and re-digging it. We attended, with this guy and his women (EGbDr and Planet) and his brother. I spent a lot of time covering my eyes. All that digging and filling seemed a little unnecessary, because it was just Toronto FC, and TFC's goals were both mortal horrors. Brian Namoff uncharacteristically vomited on his shoes to give up the first goal (he chose correctly, covering the runner rather than the dribbler, but then unaccountably slacked off his coverage of the runner just in time to see the guy get the ball and slot it to another attacker for an open shot; some of those around me correctly pointed out that Namoff had to choose from a lot of bad choices, while I countered that when you make a choice about whom to cover, cover him).
The second goal was classic Wellsian bad judgment. Danny Dichio got the ball in the middle at the 18. Dichio is about 200 pounds of attitude and right foot, and not a whole lot else. He's gonna bury the sucker to his left side. Wells was sliding to his own left, and slid too far to dive back to make a save. Totally fucking wretched positioning, which is the standard for this guy.
I don't know if Wells is spooked, or if he's just not a very good keeper. He looks awkward and uncomfortable in his positioning, his decisionmaking, and his communication. It really came together for me tonight, watching him in context for the whole game, rather than the limited perspective you get from watching on TV. As plays are developing, he has no idea where to put himself. When things are happening in the defensive third, you can see smoke coming from they guy's ears as he tries to figure out where to be, what to do, how to command the area he knows he must command. He makes bad decisions, he makes late decisions, he makes timid decisions. He hugs the line when he should charge out and dissociate an attacker from the ball, or punch it clear. Then, when it's too late, he moves the wrong way to make the play. Over and over, I thought about what Troy Perkins would do; every time, the answer was that he would fucking well take charge. Sometimes the consequences of that were not optimal; more often--and, importantly, more often than happens now--the consequences were a clearance or a save. Didn't so much matter, because the point was that he fucking took charge, he did it right often enough for it to be okay, and that's what's missing and will be missing until Wells is gone daddy gone.
Ba'al knows the club needed to be rid of Boswell. But Jesus H. Christ on a wobbly fucking crutch, did we get the shit end of that stick. Wells needs to go, preferably to the USL. The club needs a competent first-string keeper, because when your keeper is too paralyzed to act effectively, you're fucked. It doesn't matter whether Wells' paralysis stems from how badly he's getting pasted, or from his innate suckage. He's got to go, or a couple of points better than San Jose is all this team is going to manage this year.
I have reached the conclusion that this is one of three fundamental problems with the team. Another is simply that we have swapped out Ben Olsen and swapped in Santino Quaranta. That's a dramatically different level of effect. Olsen was a flavor of pure primal fury and energy, and he was able to channel that in an organized way, one that was a beacon for the team. Actually, the math works out the same if you call it Quaranta for Gros (less accurate, but still a viable comparison if one considers the difference between right and left to be immaterial in a discussion of width). Gros' ability to direct his aggression, to make the chip on his shoulder work for the glory of the club, was hard to match. Quaranta is a young and energetic guy, unburdened by injuries. But he's not that smart, he's not that bridled, and the chip on his shoulder has pushed him to to work for the glory of himself (in the form of making up for the sad fact that he's an asshole). Yes, he's working hard. But he hasn't got the gift of making that work consistently produce effective attacks.
But I must shock you. You see, tonight's Man of the Match, in my book, would be none other than Tino. It was Tino who, through the glory of embellishment that he could only have learned while lapping hungrily at Landon Donovan's pussy, turned a very nice run into a well-earned penalty (in truth, there were two earlier occasions when DCU could easily have been awarded penalties; in this case, there was contact, and Tino was definitely going down, he just made it look better than it was). Minutes later, his run into space with the ball, coupled with a very nice feed to someone (I forgot who), set up the one moment this season when the ball has richocheted onto The New Mister Em's foot in the six-box.
And that last? That's your third problem. Things just haven't been falling for the offense. It doesn't much matter why Emilio isn't the same guy he was last season. Part of it is that some nontrivial number of his goals last season were poached, and he's been so innately lazy about getting into the box this season that his poaching opportunities have dwindled.
So, Tino for MOTM? Sure enough. Apparently Moreno won the text message voting, because he was the guy they flashed on the board at the end of the game. And Peralta had a really fun equalizer, stretching himself out to head a ball two feet off the ground into the net (bDr correctly noted that Peralta might could have just foot-tapped it, but it was a lot more fun the way it happened). Fred moved reasonably well off-ball, and Gallardo's touch and control (as long as he's not kicking a set piece) are a marvel. But Tino ran his ass off and earned it.
No, he did not earn my forgiveness. bDr's brother asked me a pertinent question when he wondered if, should Tino break Jay Heaps in half, spit on the body, and wipe his ass on a Duke t-shirt in front of 25,000 fans, I'd get around to forgiving. Actually, he phrased the question a lot less violently and my answer wasn't terribly affirming. Only when I embellished the violence and emphasis could I get to a place where the possibility of any sort of Tino-warmth could be forthcoming.
But I digress. Zach Wells must die, at least as a professional goalkeeper for my club. For the good of the harvest, for the collective mental health of a hundred thousand supporters, to prevent asteroid strikes on population centers, for the safety and security of America, to mitigate global warming, and for the power and the glory and the legend and the tradition that is DC United, Zach Wells must be sacrificed, and the lingering death by RSL/TFC/othersuck over which he has presided renders necessary an increase in the spectacularity of the sacrifice. Carved up on a blood altar? Then served, roasted with garlic, to Cuauhtemoc Blanco, with Mister White's choice of garnishes and accompaniments? Yes. I'm getting close, very close. Vaya con Quetzlcoatl, Semen Wells.
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