Today, we publish a discussion with Sporting KC assistant coach John Pascarella. Pascarella is responsible for much of the technical preparation and tactical work for the Livestronglies. He and head coach Peter Vermes played club ball together and KC front office media man Josh Wisenhunt comments Pascarella is revered by the team, especially goalkeeper Jimmy Neilsen (Pascarella has a big hand in training the goalkeepers during practice.)
The reason we sought out John? His wife was responsible for the CJ Sapong draft pick. Actually, let’s wait on that for a minute.
The real reason?
The MLS Cup final thesis that is percolating over here at the TSG Hall of Justice?
Well, just take a look at our first question…
TSG: Okay, John, here’s why I wanted to get in touch.
I want to pick the Dynamo as my MLS Cup victor.
Here’s the reasoning I have in my head.
Sporting KC attacked the Dynamo with three very quick, very adept forwards who got a decent amount of service and they didn’t score. Now, here you’ve got LA with an older–despite what John Harkes says–Robbie Keane coming off two international games, Mike Magee and “some other guy” because Chad Barrett is out.
If Houston held KC to a goose egg, why can’t they do the same with LA?
Why shouldn’t I pick Houston?
John: Well, to be honest with you, I think it’s a pretty good pick.
I think the game is going to be a toss-up. I just think that what the Dynamo are very, very good at is getting a team to play their style of game, their tempo of a game–which is what happened against us.
And once that happens they are very good at playing that game. It’s not a bad game or an ugly game of soccer. But it’s a very physical brand of soccer.
They knock the ball around well. They play to their strength which is Chinger [Brian Ching] up top obviously. Davis’s service has been strong, but of course he may not play, but they’ve got other guys.
Their team is very experienced. If they get you playing at their tempo, their team is very strong…and then they end up being very dangerous in attack that way.
You know your pick is not a bad one. It would be hard to go against it.
TSG: Ok, I get they control the game. But how did you guys attempt to speed it up, open it up–which I imagine was the strategy–and how did you not find your way through? What did you try to tweak during the game or try to solve to change that tempo?
John: Well, what we did was play into their hands by trying to play too direct.
If we had played a little bit more on the floor and if we would have connected through the midfield we would have had more success.
Where I think we were naive is that we tried to bypass the midfield and play direct to the forwards and I think that their back four handled that very very well that day and, to be fair, I think they handle that type of pressure very very well in general.
We would have been, in my opinion and the coaching staff’s opinion, more successful if we had kept the ball on the floor and tried to play through them rather than go by air.