The trend that has occured in D.C. United's first two preseason games continued in this morning's game against the Chicago Fire: United had good possession and a solid defense in the first half, which then fell apart in the second half when the substitutes were brought in.
Even though it is only the preseason, you can tell that Jeff Parke and Bobby Boswell are a giant improvement from last year's back line. When they have to defend under pressure, it just looks more effortless than Dejan Jakovic could ever be. The one knock on them, their speed, was also on display: at one moment when they were stepping forward, Chris Rolfe just burst through to have an open chance at Bill Hamid. Also, Sean Franklin is quick at getting forward, starting two or three counter attacks in the first half alone.
The first-team offense is still yet to create many chances, and the root of that problem seems to be coming from the midfield. In this game, Perry Kitchen and Jared Jeffrey started together centrally, with Davy Arnaud as the nominal left midfield (who often drifted into the middle of the field). While these three were able to dominate possession at times, there was not quite enough creativity to spring Fabian Espindola or Eddie Johnson. The backline seemed to notice, with more long balls from the back to the forwards later in the first half.
The defensive struggles came primarily from inexperience along D.C. United's second-half back line, which contained two rookies and two little-used players. Jalen Robinson was the culprit on the goal, getting frozen by Benji Joya who then launched a blistering shot from the corner of the 18 yard box. One good thing that I saw in the second half was a sense of urgency from Luis Silva, who got United's first shot on goal. His effort combined with the lack of production from the first-team offense should result in more time for Silva in the Carolina Challenge Cup.
These are just some of my thoughts, so what are yours? What are you happy about as we end part one of the preseason, and what are you worried about? Do memories of 2010 temper your preseason expectations?
- MLS Preseason: D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire - live streaming, kickoff time, previews and gamethread
- Freedom Kicks: D.C. United links for Wednesday 12 February 2014
- New MLS Jerseys--Part II (let's build a schedule)
- Freedom Kicks: D.C. United links for Tuesday 11 February 2014
- Open Call for Writers at Black and Red United