The scant positives:
Gros is proving a very valuable member of the squad indeed, sliding back into his old position with little difficulty. He penetrated up front more than a few times and fulfilled his defensive obligations well. Burch did admirably, making only one rookie error as far as I could tell and serving a couple good balls into the box. McTavish continues to prove he belongs in the first team. Fred continues to prove that sometimes, he's got more class than the rest of the team knows what to do with.
The plentiful negatives:
Why didn't we have a single person who could put away what Fred provided? Emilio was absent, Gomez was appalling, and Addlery was incompetent. Fred made the most of every opportunity and no one could do the same.
I hereby condemn the 4-5-1 from Soehn's playbook. It's useless. Instead of creating more opportunities, it actually crowded the midfield and allowed Red Bulls to play zone defense with ease. Gros might be the kind of player to pound the endline and find service in the box, but Fred certainly isn't. When you've got players like Fred, Gomez, and Emilio being the vanguard of your attack, you need service on the ground, into the box. Soehn commented at halftime that the team wasn't exposing the flanks enough. Why did this concern him? Instead of taking issue with how the players were adjusting to the formation, why not simply adjust the formation? Remove some dead weight (Carroll, Addlery, Simms) from the midfield and allow for some penetrating runs and smooth passing. Don't force flank play on these brilliant creative minds.
Speaking of brilliant creative minds, Addlery isn't one of them. He can't finish, either. At least Carroll is useful in the backfield.
In the second half I found myself cussing the same as when the U-20's lost to Austria. Seeing my beloved United flounder so badly had that kind of effect on me. With the schedule getting more and more difficult these next few weeks and our first Superliga match this Wednesday, I think my profanity is justified. We need results fast.
- The sooner Altidore turns 18, the better.
- Comcast has a very tidy scoreboard. ESPN, please adjust accordingly.
- Vanney and Perkins can be blamed with equal measure for conceding the goal.
- I'm starting to see merit in the arguments against Carroll. He looks like dead weight. Let's get Olsen back immediately.
- The way Gomez missed was disgusting. It's not like he clipped a post or sent it straight into Conway's hands -- it's that from the six yard box, Gomez completely missed the goal. Squarely over the top bar. Nasty.
- Our brief glimpse of the 3-5-2 wasn't pretty. Let's not revert.
- I'm honestly curious to see what Tom Soehn's blood pressure is. Does he stress about this team as much as I do? If so, he should probably seek out some prescription blood thinners. Aspirin at least.
- I excuse Fred for his red card. I hold him absolutely blameless. The referees missed some blatant jersey pulling, blatant even for a free kick into the box, and then Red Bulls got indignant when they discovered that Fred was a little ticked. The red was harsh, even -- there was very little contact and Fred had an honest view of the ball. Shoddy refereeing and a really unfortunate series of events for Fred. Dane Richards is shameless.
- I'm really sorry Gomez can't find his form. We sorely need his good touch and smart dribbles. I wonder, what is it about Fred and Emilio that disrupts him?