Technically Speaking: #DCvNE

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

In a game that was played almost throughout on even terms, the Revs ended up with a 2-0 loss to DC United. The two teams were essentially neck-and-neck in overall game statistics. By my count, the Revs had 15 scoring chances on goal for the whole match, to D.C.’s 17, so it was clear that neither team was dominant in any category. D.C. was a team that hadn’t won for a long time, and was maybe just a bit more desperate for a win than the Revolution.

The Revs were predicted to win the game (even by NEST staff members), and after the San Jose game, I shared this opinion. What perhaps was a bit overlooked was D.C.’s acquisition of several high-quality and experienced players – Eddie Johnson, Fabian Espindola, Davy Arnaud, Bobby Boswell, and Chris Rolfe – and how they might respond to the challenges this game presented. They all played pretty well.

The game was decided in the 43rd minute by an own goal by Jose Goncalves, a goal that should have been easily prevented. All he had to do was to push the ball away with the inside of his right foot, a very easy skill. Instead he resorted to an awkward attempt with his preferred left foot, causing the ball to go in the goal. Forwards can get away with using their dominant foot most of the time, but defenders and goalkeepers have to be comfortable using both feet, and this own goal shows why.

Strikers, too, should be able to shoot the ball with both feet – something that is basically not too difficult to do. If you learn the proper technique for the power kick with your dominant foot, it is easy enough (with concentrated effort) to transfer it to the weaker foot. Teal Bunbury had an excellent chance to score in the 56th minute but hit the ball wide of the goal with his dominant right foot. If he had been able to trust in his left, he could have shot the ball on the goalmouth with authority.

The Revs, as Paul Mariner frequently says, lack that final bit of finishing quality, especially when shooting. To be fair, D.C. wasn’t much better, with Davy Arnaud’s miss in the 12th minute and Sean Franklin’s in the 36th. Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen, and Kelyn Rowe much prefer their dominant right feet. If I were an opposing coach, I would school my defenders in how to cut their chances.

It was disconcerting to see Jay Heaps ejected from the game. We have not been told the exact reason why, but I suspect that it was a culmination of critical comments directed at the fourth official throughout the game. Anyway, a coach’s total focus should be on the performance of his team. Leave the refereeing to the referees.

Another great comment by Paul Mariner in the 31st minute: He said that he would rather have defenders run with opposing forwards rather than use the offside trap. I agree. You live and you die by the offside trap, as the Revs almost found out the hard way when Eddie Johnson broke free in the 80th minute.

Next week’s game vs. Houston should be good. A win would turn things around for the Revs. Mental preparation should not be a problem for this one.

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About Rick Sewall

Rick Sewall played four years at Yale University (1961 to 1965), nine years semi-pro for New Haven City (1966 to 1974), three years on the Connecticut Senior All-Star team (1972 to 1974), one year for the Boston Minutemen (1975), three years for Framingham Belenenses (LASA League, 1980 to 1982), and many years of over-30 and over-40. He has coached at all levels from kindergarten through college, including Boston Latin High School from 1986 to 1999 and girls’ club soccer from 1991 to 2005 (including two Mass. state championships) and runs camps and clinics focusing on technical training. A USSF B licensed coach, he was taught by, played with, and has coached with and for Hubert Vogelsinger, his primary soccer mentor, for over 40 years.