Given the still–frequent references to the playing surface in Jamaica, I expect DC United will elevate their play to the realms art tonight, stroking the ball across the canvas that is RFK’s playing surface.
I kid, I kid. I imagine a plug-ugly win will send DC fans home happy.
We’re not far from the kick-off of the decisive second leg of the CONCACAF Champions Cup (CCC) quarterfinal series between DC and Jamaica’s Harbour View FC (HVFC). Only a couple minor changes to report: DC will, indeed, miss Jaime Moreno for tonight’s game, but the Jamaicans arguably have it worse: they’ll be missing Rafeik Thomas, a semi-hot scorer for the club of late, and Kemeel Wolfe courtesy of visa issues. And don’t forget the team chef…that one’s a killer. Otherwise, the preview that preceded the entire series covers the Big Picture…though, there’s that little matter of the first leg to cover.
(UPDATE: USSoccerplayas.com linked to a Jamaica Gleaner article that does really well with flagging HVFC’s players to watch, what to expect for tactics (more of the same). And, to add a personal emphasis unrelated to that, I wanted to highlight my concerns about DC’s ability to get its offense firing. They’re not exactly ripping the nets, with one goal per game setting the high-water mark in recent outings. I get into my belief they need to score early below, but it bears emphasizing: finding the net is plenty hard, but trying on tired legs only makes it harder.)
I’d argue DC held the edge in both play and style over the first 50, 60 minutes, before pre-season legs undermined their efforts. One competitive game and one week’s further conditioning shouldn’t greatly alter that equation so pressing for an early advantage seems a good tack to take for the hosts. Their capacity to make that pressing count relies on their ability to score – which relies in turn on syncing their play, something Jeff Carlisle smartly flagged in his one-stop CCC08 second leg preview for ESPN.com: Continue reading