CCC08: DC v. Harbour View Talking Points (Some Pointed)

I laid down the big picture perspective on DC United’s 1-all draw with Jamaica’s Harbour View FC (HVFC) last night. Bottom line, DC did well enough for a two-legged game – especially one this early in the season and all that implies – but clearly faded down the stretch. And, to give commenter Longshoe his due (who writes over on Who Ate All the Cupcakes; worth checking out), United let up a little early, whether by fatigue or tactical adjustment.

Below are some bulleted talking points that come to me…um, in the absence of the notes I took last night. One last thing to note: the visual contrast between last night’s games.

– The Harbour View game looked and sounded like a United Soccer Leagues-1 game. The small, quiet, almost milling crowd, the crappy, bouncy pitch, even the camera-work: all spelled “minor league.” No offense intended to the good people of Jamaica…besides, your team played above the visuals.

– There’s a lot to love in the Jamaican player; even the defenders look comfortable and inventive on the ball – an oddly tentative second-half spell on defense notwithstanding. Even tactically, the Jamaicans moved the ball well, though only at their best outside DC’s attacking third. They switched the ball well and often and, particularly through Robert Scarlet on their right, found plenty of space down the flanks. Work on their crossing and they’d have something.

– Apart from Scarlet, “The Two Jermaines,” Jermaine Hue and Jermaine Taylor, showed pretty well, even if they too often received the ball in a swarm of black-and-red clad defenders; again, I blame the crossing.
– Speaking of the Taylor, was it him how risked the red card in the first half when he pulled down Franco Niell? Tough call, that one. If you go by the book, that should have been red. But I like “by the book” in soccer about as much as I like mandatory sentencing in the courts, which is to say rigidity mainly spares people the effort of thinking. I don’t think the non-call ruined the game.

– I don’t know about anyone else, but I followed DC’s Marcelo Gallardo closely all night. And, I have to say, he looks über-fantastisch! Great as his passing was – e.g. accurate, quick, switching up range, can play into damn-near any space, etc. – his movement off the ball impressed just as much. The man knows how to find space. If he looks like this all year, a great friggin’ acquisition for DC. If there’s a knock against him – and I think this will resonate with D over at The DCenters, he seems no less wed than former DC-maestro Christian Gomez to running the offense up the middle…maybe it’s an Argie thing?

– Moreno…sigh. Where to begin? He is a wonderful player, for my money, one of, if not the, best player in league history, but it’s time to put down that torch, DC fans. He’s not done, but I can’t see him as a regular starter in ’08.

– Besides, Niell doesn’t look half-bad either.

– Then again, someone really has to do something about his and Fred’s (as well as a couple other culprits’) swarming around/bitching at the ref. Teams select a captain for a reason; let him do the bitching. I would have dished cards to DC players like I was dealing a game of Hearts in that first half.

– Speaking of Fred, I still don’t get him as a player.

– Did Luciano Emilio play last night? Oh, yeah. He boned one clear chance on goal. Otherwise, I didn’t see him. Barring something unforeseen, it’ll come for Emilio. As for Fred…

– What about the “Gonzo defense” – i.e. the Gonzalo Peralta and Martinez pairing? Soccer America’s report says Harbour View players broke on them a couple times in the first half, but I’m thinking they recovered well enough, if only because I don’t remember those occasions. The worst break came in the second half, when a counter left Brian Namoff isolated against Scarlet and another Jamaican; that was HVFC’s best attempt in the run of play and probably resulted from the central defenders pinching too far right…not that we’d know given the camera work.

– Finally, I looked up a couple words after listening to Christian Miles, FSC’s play-by-play man, all night:

Smarmy (adj.): ingratiating and wheedling in a way perceived as insincere or excessive.

Pretentious (adj.): attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, [ed. and education] than is actually possessed.

The words in bold capture where I think those words meet in describing Miles. It’s official: he’s my least favorite soccer-related TV personality. Cash in those fifty-cent words, son.

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6 Responses

  1. For the commentating, it was the story of two games. Miles and Caliguiri were terrible. “Even those both of their first names are Gonzalo they are not related.” Beyond the mind-numming non sequiturs, the analysis was poor. Mute.

    On the other hand, Bretos / Sullivan is by far the best American soccer commenting duo. They did have a much better game to work with but Sullivan has a great feeling for the game. He often points out the little things that as a causal fan, I miss. A great pass, good positioning by a defender, etc. I know Bretos isn’t that popular but he has some serious knowledge of players in CONCACAF and I like his goal call.

  2. Good points, especially on Sullivan. I get the same thing from him. As for Bretos, I just love the jester act, so unusual in the broadcast booth. He’s so far past giddy, I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if he busted for cocaine possession. Wait, scratch that. I don’t know what FSC pays, but I’m guessing it’s meth money.

  3. […] the CONCACAF Champions Cup quarterfinals involving Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs down the page (Harbour View v. DC and Municipal v. Houston). In my usual rounds around the Web, however, I found plenty more thoughts […]

  4. What’s not to get about Fred? I thought he was the best player on the field on Wednesday.

    (Sorry for randomly responding several days later, but the comments about Fred puzzled me)

  5. No worries on timing. I didn’t see much to like in his play, but different people see the game – as well as a game – differently. That’s a good thing.

    For specifics, though, I just don’t recall much menace coming down Fred’s left and, to point perhaps to the deeper problem, I think I expect more of that player. I wasn’t sure about where he was supposed to be/wanted to be on the field. I remember him cutting inside and teeing up a shot – one that was blocked out by Harbour View defenders – but that’s the sole, memorable contribution.

    I’ll keep staring at Fred, though, and maybe it’ll come to me.

  6. […] preceded the entire series covers the Big Picture…though, there’s that little matter of the first leg to […]

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