Friday, April 22, 2011

Dear Benny Olsen

Y'know, Red Bull New York (or whatever the fuck they call themselves now) is a seriously loaded club. I didn't expect a result tonight, and I wasn't surprised by a thumping. MLS has made clear that New York and LA are the league's showpiece cities; I referred a few weeks ago to how loaded the Gals are, and RBNY is no less so--Thierry Henry, Joel Lindpere, Duane DeRosario, Tim Ream, Luke Rodgers, Rafael Marquez, Juan Agudelo, to name a few. If we're still able to sing "not a fucking one" to them after this season, they'll have something to be ashamed of.

I also have to admit that if I had to lose one game to New York this week, that would've been the one I'd choose to lose. With last night's incredible (and barely deserved) Capitals comeback over the Rangers and a potential series-ending game 5 approaching on Saturday, a midweek ESPN game (Oops! If you forgot that bit in your assessment of United's chances tonight, shame on you.) against the Red Scum is small potatoes. Sorry, priorities are what they are.

So never far from my expectations, this thumping. What was far from my expectations was the utter lack of heart the team showed. Thierry Henry banged home a relatively early goal (12th minute, says the box score), and it was over, the rest just an exhibition for the appalling number of non-DCU fans in the house on College Night.

When you're down, you attack. Not so, DCU. You've seen me complain about backpassing in this space for 3 years now. The team shows a decided unwillingness to even attempt to gain attacking position--a long probe, some dancing on the ball, and either a turnover or another fucking backpass and reset. It's ugly, it's ineffective, and it's quite frankly pussified. The usual result is a poorly placed long ball after some interminable number of resets.

Saint Benny is learning as a coach, and probably gets more space to do that than anyone else would--after all, he's Saint Benny. But the United teams for which Benny played weren't pussies about getting the ball forward. Possession is nice, but when you treat possession like masturbation, then it's just masturbation.

The lead masturbator was Dax McCarty. He has no touch. He isn't a 10. He won't go get the ball. He dances when he should pass and passes--badly--when he should dance. He can't even get off decent set pieces. He's dreadful. Fullback points out, correctly, that Dax played well in the preseason. He has yet to display any of that form in the regular season, not even once. He belongs on the bench.

What then, Fullback rightly asks? I say the problem is with formation and structure. If you're going to play with two holding mids, you need better attackers (and playing two holding mids needs to improve your defense to the point where there's less need for an attack). Even then, it's a pretty fucking dull way to play the game, especially when the team does, in fact, have some ability to explode up front (in a good way). And United's got some players who can attack (they just seem to have some morbid fear of attempting to finish).

It's a frustrating night, and I don't have too much more to say about it right now. Honor demands that Dax McCarty give up the captaincy--he's a schlemiel. He's not leading the team with his play, and he's got no standing to do anything here, except become better. Common sense demands that Benny give someone else a realistic shot at the 10 job, and that someone is Branko Boskovic (who is advertised on Metrobuses as "The Architect," for crying out loud).

My usual comment on MLS officiating: the guy was inept. Not prejudicially so--in fact, not anywhere near prejudicially, because United was so bad they couldn't have scored even if the guy gave them an outrageous break. Hell, they couldn't even get into the box with the ball to dive for a break. He was just plain inept, best evidenced by his failure to book Luke Rodgers after the guy (who is a serious punkass bitch, as is Joel Lindpere) after he swung his arm, clubbing Chris Korb like a baby seal as the ball ran out of bounds (with RBNY up 3-0). The ref clearly saw it--he ran half the field to yell at Rodgers about it, Rodgers' second verbal warning of the game for violent conduct. But honestly? Why would I have any right to expect that the referee wouldn't be a pussy, when my club put at least 9 or 10 of them on the field its own self?

Really disturbing. I pay for better. I can't imagine this club going into Red Bull Park on July 9 and salvaging a result on the second leg of the Atlantic Cup, or even doing anything but running around in abject terror. Which is discouraging, since I'll be there...

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