Thursday, March 26, 2009

Game One: RSL vs. SSFC

I have a lot of faith in RSL's ability to win this weekend.
Giving credit where credit is due, Montero has quality. Good skills on the ball, good fundamentals when shooting. But having watched and rewatched the goals from Seattle's 3-0 thumping of RBNY, I am convinced that it was more a case of NY being crap than it was of Seattle being good. NY's back 4 were consistently out of position and losing Seattle's players while their midfield stood idly, too attack minded to think about throwing out a tackle. I'm not saying this was necessarily the theme for the game, but if I were i think i could make a decent case for it. Here it is: THREE-nil.
If you watch the goals you will notice that there are in 2 out of the 3 cases clumps of white jerseys looking confused as the ball gets pushed off to a solitary Seattle player. The third goal was created primarily by Petke's mediocre first touch and his attempt to be cheeky on the ball.
So, bottom line- bad defense cost RBNY their match.
As far as Seattle's defense is concerned there wasn't much to analyze as NY's attacking was almost nonexistent. The best chance of the match was a strike from outside the 18 yrd box. It seemed that Seattle defended with numbers, but were semi complacent in keeping the defensive line high enough to pressure shots from range. The next best shot was created by a decent long ball, a Seattle defender who failed to clear the ball, and some fight from Kandji. However, the chance was easily snuffed out, having been shot directly at the keeper, who had his angles covered and was precisely where he needed to be. Seattle's defense looked pretty rudimentary on the corners, though poor delivery, and lack of NY players in the box make that difficult to assess. On top of that with Casey Keller in goal, the delivery on corners is going to have to be immaculate.

RSL's keys to the match.
Our back line. I have real faith in the RSL defense. Nick Rimando has shown time and time again that despite his height he's solid in goal. Borchers and Olave are both tall commanding center backs with good ability to move the ball. Very defensively minded. And that's what the rest of MLS is really lacking (not to say that there aren't some). Borchers needs to be careful with his back passes. Wingert has very few errors defensively that i can recall. Tony Beltran is a mystery to me, so I'm crossing my fingers. I really think that our defense will keep out the majority of Seattle's attacking threat.
Offensively i think the man of the match will be our man Jave Morales... not that that's a real stretch of the imagination. His ability to find the right pass and take shots from distance, testing the keeper, will make a big difference in the match.
Further, i would vote to have Mathis in at the secondary striker role, leaving Robbie to come in as a super sub with fresh legs. Mathis has undeniable skill in making space for himself and has a lazer of a shot. Fast or not, Mathis has a spot in our attack, even if the spot doesn't last 90 minutes.
Arsenal legend Freddie Ljunberg. In other matches i hope the best for him, but not against RSL. His main strength is running off the ball, and finding himself in the right position. At arsenal he had the luxury of getting service from the likes of Robert Pires and Thierry Henry, among others. i dunno that he'll have the same luck at Seattle, leaving him to make his own chances, of which he is definitely capable. Kyle needs to keep his wits about him in the holding role and make sure than Freddie doesn't have the space or the freedom to make runs off the ball. Kyle also needs to be willing to put in some hefty tackles and really learn a thing or two from Kovalenko (Crazy Charley).
That's my assessment of the match. we'll see if i'm as smart as i think i am on saturday.

Come on you Royals.
Oh. and if you missed it, here's this...