Dynamo v. Sounders Review: Good Players, OK Play

TSG is officially 1 for 1 on MLS playoffs observations. It’s all downhill from here for us. Yikes.

Seattle vs. Houston can best best characterized as good individual efforts with team efforts lacking a bit.

Here’s some random comments that you will probably take us to task for (note, if you’re an avid MLS fan, you might find the commentary Clarks doing what he does bestrudimentary or please feel free to elaborate on things):

• The game was like a continual ping pong rally with the ball moving from counter attack to counter attack. I found it surprising that the Sounders playing at home didn’t try to really build their offense. They did–I surmise–a few times through Ljundberg but what I remember about the Swede when playing on that dynamite Arsenal midfield line is that he was an interior slasher, not a guy you really relied on for a lot of linkage.

Is he the best Seattle has in that vain?

• TSG liked the movement of Nate Jaqua on the field. The 6’3” central midfielder–playing as a bit of top of the offensive third target man–seemed to have a good sense of how to attack the Dynamo defense from his positioning on runs to his pass selection. He also did a good job of sealing off defenders for the most part and opening the pass he wanted. Haven’t really watched the guy before, but very impressive.

• Following up on the first point, I saw a lot of good moving in pairs and triples, but not a lot of good recognition of team. Many times, a switch field run or pass was not made that would have opened up some offense.

• Was, overall, disappointing in the finishing.

• If I had to use one word to describe the collective play over the last 20 minutes, I would say “immature.” Both teams either started resorting to chippiness or played the foul or apparent foul instead of the play. As a fan, I was disappointed in this.

• Impressed by the touches of Freddie Montero, but his game needs overall seasoning.

• Not impressed with Ricardo Clark. I would think that the midfield man–though I guess he was carrying a knock?–would have a better feel for his teammates at the club level. I didn’t see that. With Clark, I see a collection of skills, not a complete player. Having said that, Clark’s ability to track a man do and his on-man defense is more than solid.

• While it is clear that USMNTer Stuie “The Iceman” Holden is one of the best players on the field, I thought he really needed to take control of the game this evening. He darted into available positions on offense–and maybe this is the Dynamo’s offense–but I wanted to see a man of his skills dictate the play more.

• I liked the play of Patrick Ianni–I believe he called upon at the last minute for Marshall, correct?

In general, I saw a decent game of American soccer, but was longing for a lot better team play and recognition. I didn’t see any concerted effort to attack a weakness or dictate tempo by either team. Maybe that’s because good defense is favored by both teams.

Please weight in as TSG is a MLS playoff newbie.

Have a good one.

Oh, and lest I don’t mention it, as a player and fan, I have a contrarian view on the Onstad-Montero scrap. I don’t know many veteran goalies that actively look to challenge an outfield player unless there was a transgression. Montero embellished the bump as well. Onstad is more guilty of poor judgment rather than anything else.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kevin on 2009/10/31 at 11:47 AM

    A few things to help you out a bit.

    Some Background on Jaqua is that he used to play for Houston as a striker. He is very productive and has a knack for goal. I think he was called up by BB somewhere in late ’07 or beginning of ’08 but I’m not sure. His natural position is a striker, and I don’t really know why he started as a midfielder, but he did. I think part of the reason he knew how to penetrate Houston’s backline is because he practiced with them every day.

    Ianni was called upon at the last minute for Marshall, so yes correct. He also formerly played for Houston, and did well against Ching. who didn’t look great getting the ball to his feet, but looked better than as of late.

    This was Rico’s I believe first game since he hurt his knee minorly. You are spot on with the assessment of the two Freddies (Montero, and Ljunberg). I haven’t really noticed before, but switching sides is something missing in MLS. Thanks for pointing that out. They switch side in their own defensive half, but after that they tend to keep it on the same side. I never really noticed that before. Both coaches, although they like a strong a defense, like a very offensive style of play, so the 0-0 result both surprised me and didn’t surprise me at all.

    What did you think of the called back goal? The Onstad v Montero thing? The ref? Did the Seattle coach look like a nervous wreck to you?


  2. Posted by Kevin on 2009/10/31 at 11:49 AM

    Another thing I meant to ask, but kind of forgot. Do you think the midfield is what seperates an OK defense from a solid, stingy defense?


  3. Posted by Mark T on 2009/10/31 at 1:12 PM

    Matthew…what is happening to us? We both watched this game. Did you have this on over the Evil Empire in the World Series (or did you DVR)?

    I chose this game over Nuggets vs. Portland which was surprising to me. (Baseball is dead to me.)

    Can disagree with much of what Matt said above. There was a lot of action, but it wasn’t due to good team play, rather spotty touches and defensive breakdowns.

    Kevin, the goal that was called back was technically right. I heard a whistle during the game play, so I don’t know why the JPD and Harkes were making such a big deal about it. You can argue the ref should have called advantage and probably rightly so, but the whistle blew before the pass was even received. Onstad was looking back up-field and I am guessing could see the refs hand raised (or heard the whistle) as he made no play on the ball. Unfortunate for Seattle, but the play was dead before the shot was even taken.

    Onstad / Montero was a joke. Onstad overreacted and then Freddie took a dive. I am just going to believe that the yellow cards were given for both being idiots.


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