I'm a bit late getting to this, but here goes. Random thoughts and observations from the Houston match - just in time for the LA match.
- I like Keon Daniel, I like his calmness and composure on the ball, and his ball skill while in traffic. I think there's a place for him on the Union. But I'm not sure Forward in a 4-3-3 is that place.
- That said, his goal was sweet! I'm glad to see somebody score from distance on this team. And was that the least-celebrated goal in Union history? Daniel looked upset that he scored...
- I like Brian Carroll. Actually, I take that back. I have man-love for Brian Carroll. I love players who aren't the fastest or most-talented but still go out and give absolutely everything and make their talent work. i also like Gabriel Gomez. (Though I don't have a man-crush on him.) But it's becoming more and more clear that the two of them cannot be on the field at the same time. Carroll works well by himself in the holding mid role, allowing the other mids to get forward in the attack. And while Gomez has some free kick skill, it's not irreplaceable. So I'd vote for finding a way to move Gomez. That said, if Carroll brings me back a significantly better package, I'm OK moving him in that case.
- Was there a reason why Freddy Adu didn't start? For that matter, is there a reason Josue Martinez didn't start? I would've thought that Mcinerney being out would've been the ideal time to slip Martinez into the lineup, but instead we went with Keon Daniel at forward.
- I'm not an expert (obviously) but I'm not convinced that Ching was fouled. I would think with his reputation, especially, that he'd have to get all but murdered in the box to get a call in his favor. It's funny - right before that call happened I remember thinking to myself that the ref was actually decent. Knowing it was only his 4th MLS game, I was hoping that meant good things going forward - a decent ref in the league. From the point of that call onward, though, the ref seemed to suck.
- That said... I don't think the Union lost the match because of that call. They had chances - lots of them - between Daniel's goal and that call to put a second and even third goal up on the board. their inability to finish (I'm looking at you, Pajoy) is what did them in.
- Speaking of Pajoy... he's starting to grow on me a little bit. He seems to be working harder, which I like. Early in the year, he seemed to want to stand around midfield and wait for the ball, even though he sucked as a lone striker. I realize a lot of that was Nowak's fault for mis-using him. But the U switched to the 4-3-3 before Nowak was canned, and that's about the same time Pajoy started to show more of his game. Hopefully he continues putting in the effort and the runs, and then the ball starts going in when he has those sitters waiting for him.
- That said... I understand that the wide forwards come back and play defense high in the zone. But I don't think there's any reason Lio Pajoy should be playing defense near the opponent's 18 during normal run of play. Set pieces? Sure. But there was more than one occasion during run of play when Pajoy was playing defense way too deep. Again, I like the effort. A lot. It's much better than having him stand like a statue at midfield. But he's also got to stay within his role.
- Finally... Dear Nick S. Please do all Union fans a huge favor and fire Bob Rigby. I expect a little bit of homerism from local broadcast crews. But I also expect fair analysis and insight from the color guy. Rigby goes way too far on the homerism scale, and in return doesn't offer me a single bit of insight. I don't think I've ever learned anything from him while watching a match. He's just not a good broadcaster. Please. Find somebody else. Or let JPD work by himself, even. JPD by himself is a better broadcast crew than JPD+Rigby.
I'm looking forward to tonight's match. Hopefully the Union come out attacking - unlike last week when they didn't seem to show up in the 1st half. This team needs to start getting points out of these matches if they want to entertain the notion of getting back into the playoff hunt.