A win is a win, and that's what I keep telling myself. From the magic of Mauro Diaz, to the Sunday League defending there is no short of topics from the game last night. There were definite positives and negatives for the game last night, and we'll review some from where the everyday cash-strapped fan-with-kids sits on the normally scorching east side.
Our young players performed fantastically (for the most part as you'll see later on) and this has been something we've been counting on to work in order to have a decent season. Fortunately, the East side was able to witness some of the impressive wing-work Fabian Castillo brought to the first half of the game. The tricks and skills were fun to watch, and the crowd around me was constantly applauding his every fake-out of the opposing defenders. The kids are me were constantly yelling "give the ball to Castillo!" wanting to see more of his fun shenanigans on the wings.
Magico Mauro started at the central attacking mid position and really shined in my opinion. The attack seemed to flow through him for most of the game. We'd get possession, and the first thing we'd try and do is find Mauro and did it pay off. Distribution throughout the final third was solid from the small Argentine and I was personally hoping he'd get the ball every time we entered the opposition's half. Expectations were high and so far I'd have to say Mauro has put the doubters on their back-heels with a clean performance last night. That free kick tho'.
Seitzy, I always doubt him when he's put in goal, and every instance he decides to say "shut up Ryan, and watch this". A very nice performance from the former Philadelphia Union man and showed why we're keeping this guy around (maybe this performance might raise his value as trade bait?). A point blank stop from a scary situation early in the first half, till a late reaction save low to his right late on in the game, he was on alert for all 90 minutes and both goals could hardly have the fault thrown his way.
Oh, good ol' Castillo, I just complimented you in the first part, and now we'll drill into you in this one. We saw the Castillo we all want, but we also saw, a number of times, the Castillo of the past. The winger would do everything right, dribble who he needed to dribble, make the runs where he needed to run, but the final decision, the final act to an impressive move was lacking more times than not. This decision-making has been talked about before and I'm not going to sit here and break the already broken record, I'm just saying he needs to continue to work on it. Unfortunately, another issue we noticed on the east side was that switching the play was an option we rarely saw. There were times when Castillo or Benitez would be completely open on the left wing where we were, and no one gave a hoot until it was too late. Hopefully the guys on the team will start picking their heads up more and realizing we can switch the play to the open man.
FC Dallas handyman Je-Vaughn Watson start on the right wing, and here's to hoping he doesn't again. The winger opposite to Fabian was not as dynamic and almost felt like he was a hold-up wide-man instead of a pacey crosser of the ball or goal scoring threat. While a wide hold-up player isn't a bad idea, I didn't really feel like it worked in the system that Oscar Pareja is trying install in the hard drive of the team. We moved him to right back with the introduction of Andres Escobar towards the end of the game (which I liked the riskiness of bringing on a fresh attacker up by only one) and he there were no real tests save for a shakey few moments towards the end that was more of a team-wide thing.
The entire defense, save for Matt Hedges, was beyond poor. We let in 2 goals against a MDV-less Montreal. 2 goals, can you imagine what this defense would've let in against a team like LA or Seattle?! The first goal was hilarious, 3 of our players getting beaten on the dribble from some guy I've never heard of, mainly our "sure-fire" Benitez. Hernandez then tries to cover for him, the cross comes in and Acosta for some odd reason thinks "Oh, I should go near post with Hedges." and leaves the left winger who only scored once all of last season with an easy tap-in. Acosta should've stayed far post like he's supposed to, sure Hedges was dealing with 2 attackers at the near post, but at least there's a defender near post, there was nobody far post.
Then for the second goal, I know CB is not Moises' main position, but the 2nd goal was just appalling defending from a guy I was excited to see play. Wenger, a back up who really shouldn't be scoring on us, got in between the CB's and had a deflection goal. Moises reacted much too late to the attacker and when he finally realized what was happening it was too late. He looked about as nervous as a college student writing his final term paper. I was expecting much more from this young man, but we'll have to wait and see if OP's faith in him has also been shaken.
Defenders going forward, this section is mainly about Kellyn Acosta's forays into the attacking third, the fact that I can't remember Benitez going into the final third and doing anything really makes me think there's nothing to write about him getting forward. Kellyn Acosta skied at least 4 balls, and I don't remember him putting in any crosses that caused any danger. The crowd around me couldn't believe some of the decision making coming from our young exciting player out of the right back position. The nice couple beside me towards the beginning of the 2nd half even asked me "Where's Zach Loyd?" and I felt myself wondering that as well at times. We have to see better deliverance's from our 18 year old defender if he's going to get forward so much.
In conclusion, it seems like Pareja's squad did enough to get the 3 points, nothing more and nothing less. And to be honest, we could've ended up with a draw. But that's just what I saw from my seat, what did you guys think of the match? Feel like I was a little harsh on the defense in my rant? Early season jitters, or a deeper lying problem that we might see more of as the season goes on?