Monday Morning Centre Back: Toe Pokes and Lost Opportunities

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 01: Dominic Oduro #8 celebrates his goal with Daniel Paladini #11 of the Chicago Fire while Brad Davis #11 of the Houston Dynamo looks on , on October 1, 2011 at Robertson Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

Random thoughts from Saturday's game, where the Three Amigos from the Nutmegging (or Nutmegged) blog were finally reunited for a game. I still love the blog's postcript salute to the redneck American prejudice against footy as if it's a noncontact sport- 'I love soccer- am I gay?'

Here goes:

  • Why did we bring in Carr if we stay with the diamond, which compacts play into one third or ½ of the field when we have possession? Oduro's goal was beautiful, a result of his deft speedy touch- but also due to the Fire's wide spacing and attempt to create mismatches with one on one isolation. Martek complained that you have to put a body on Oduro when he receives the ball that deep. Hainault or Robinson would have knocked him out, but Oduro would have gone down hard and most certainly drawn a foul (I don't remember, but think this was outside the box). All the same, I think it's significant how each team scored. We got a feisty goal from Clark off a set piece that wasn't cleared and they got a cheeky score that seemed as much about tactical strategy as it was about skill and determination. When Carr entered the game, we all hoped he could also prove his value to his former team. Too often, Carr was playing up top in the muddle, rather than in a position where he had the space to utilize his speed. The few times he got the ball wide (I disagree with Tinman's too wide assertion) were scoring opportunities, especially when he played a ball flat across to Ching streaking toward the left post. If we were to keep the rather centrally focused wedge shape, wouldn't Bruin be a better fit for these types of tight spaces? Earlier in the week, Boz stated that many players achieve more after leaving Houston. I'm starting to think that's because those new team's game strategies are tailored around player strengths and weaknesses. Oduro's goal was an excellent example of that as well as Chicago's spacing when they had the ball.
  • On the subject of Bruin, the last time he got minutes, he scored a point saving header against Columbus after coming on late in that game. Nothing like sitting after a clutch goal.
  • It is ironic Costly missed a similar sitter to the howling miss that sent Oduro north. Clearly, as Martek asserts, Costly is used to a more sedate tempo where he could at least get more time on the ball. Again, the diamond wedge creates congestion, leaving little time or space. Is this formation cheating Carlos from what he does best?
  • This line of thinking might also be tailored toward Cameron's struggles at attacking mid. I don't know too many competent tall attacking mids, but wonder if Geoff would do better at CAM if spaced differently. Few attacking mids can dribble on a tight wire a la Deco in his prime.
  • I made this crack during the game but still firmly believe it: restrict Moffat from watching Maradona videos. Adam, you should avoid one on one encounters and should take the Joe Shlabotnik approach to the game- stick to basic routines. A few touches, then that's it unless completely unmarked. The Scot lost several balls deep which thankfully went unpunished.
  • Cruz is gonna be awesome if he ever develops poise to go with energetic speed. He seems to have the game savvy of an ADHD cocker spaniel puppy. With experience, this will hopefully change, until then; I expect lots of excitement followed by a chorus of resigned sighs.
  • Speaking of which, Martek seemed resigned after Oduro's goal. I think he's in the Depression Stage as even if we make the playoffs, then what? He seems much more excited about the new stadium than playoff prospects. Don't worry, it's all good as I believe Martek is almost to the Acceptance Stage where a rebuilding stage can be just that and the rest is all gravy.
  • The MLS schedule drives me nuts- so many contenders have several games in hand while the Dynamo sit for a few weeks. All revved up with no place to go. Ah well, I bet the last game film will be played repeatedly to a host of players as they rue missed opportunities.
  • Given the number of high profile Chicago players who didn't start, the Fire are a team to be reckoned with. Given their need for three points, I was surprised Klopas settled for the draw, though perhaps he wanted morale high for the upcoming US Cup Final. Hat's off to them for a confident performance in the sticky heat after playing in midweek.
  • The post-game explanation of why Cameron was selected as Man of the Match was simply hilarious. The announcer went into detail, almost defensively, as if the choice needed justification. It was as if he were saying, "We apologize, but we had so little to work with!"
  • On the subject of the announcer, the WWF spiel exhausts me. I don't want monotone but this is ridiculous. As I told Ben (Mr3D from the old Nutmegged blog days), I wonder if this guy does the same thing during foreplay with his wife (LET'S GET READY TO RUMMMMMBLLLLE!!!). Sheesh!
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