Saturday, April 23, 2011


Thursday night was a beautiful evening to spend at RFK. Setting to one side the result, the audience at the stadium was treated to an excellent display of football from the visiting side capped off by a remarkable moment of skill from Juan Agudelo. A diehard Arsenal supporter accompanied me to the game and after spending most of the drubbing recalling some of Thierry Henry's more exceptional goals in light of his brace, Agudelo's juggling conversion paid perfect homage to his teammate's career achievements.

I wish that this all would have been enough to allow me to leave RFK happy and justify missing game 3 of the Bulls-Pacers series. But a pathetic performance from D.C. United starkly contrast the Red Bulls effort. The juxtaposition between centerbacks was particularly noteworthy. Rafa Marquez and Tim Ream were tremendous; frankly, I spent almost the entire first half admiring their partnership. Perry Kitchen and Dejan Jakovic, not so much. Craig Stouffer's excellent recap of the evening locates blame for Henry's two goals on D.C. United's fullbacks (Chris Korb and Marc Burch), but from our seats, in real time, Jakovic seemed to lose his defensive assignments throughout most of the evening. The Canadian international made a brilliant tackle late in the second half and endured numerous cheap shots from mini-Hercules Luke Rodgers without being provoked into retaliation, but otherwise appeared to struggle.

Ethan White lost a starting spot following United's only shutout of the season because Kitchen was apparently healthy and perhaps that's the right call. But watching a team's most potent attacking force go completely unmarked doesn't sit well and belies any claim that the defensive personnel on United's roster reflects the best recruits available for Olsen's Army. A short piece by Ives Galarcep on Andy Iro's frustration in Columbus concludes with the following:

Iro was a fixture in Robert Warzycha's starting lineup last season but hasn't played at all this season. Instead, Warzycha has paired Julius James with Chad Marshall in central defense. The Crew's back line is in the midst of a 373-minute shutout streak and has posted four consecutive clean sheets.

Tell me again how James isn't very good.

Ethan White was joined on D.C. United's bench last night by Branko Boskovic, Andy Najar, and Santino Quaranta. I don't believe any of the four where there because of fitness concerns. The team selected for the starting XI got thrashed and spent much of the game (at least until Boskovic's introduction) sputtering in the attacking end.

Perhaps United fans will soon be treated to declarations that Boskovic, Najar, and Quaranta aren't very good?

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