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 rudimentary 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.