Catamount, I'm not disputing that Pete was awful tonight, but it seems to me he was just unlucky on the own goal. We had a breakdown on the right side which they had been exploiting because Beckham was playing so high. What I remember was Pete desperately rushing back to cover other people's mistakes and couldn't handle the hard cross. Help me out if you remember it differently.
And I neglected to mention earlier that the ref was horrible - we got homered on our own field. Pachuca dove early and often and the ref fell for it. The AR on the bench side was also terrible - he blew several offside calls, once for Pachuca and a couple of times for us. It seems that any time the Nats or an American club play in CONCACAF, it will also be called like an away game.
I also wonder what the heck went wrong with Pachuca in the second half. In the first 45 they were ready to run us off the field. If they had come out with authority in the first fifteen minutes of the second it would have been game over. Instead, they sort of drifted and let us back into the game. I don't think we made any amazing adjustments - although Cobi for Pavon sure helped. I think Pachuca lost the plot for awhile.
And one more gripe. $20 to park in the dirt because I wasn't allowed to go to Lot 13 because I made the mistake of entering through the gate the website said to use. Plus I'd had my car detailed this morning, so I was extra happy to play extra money to park in the dirt. Awesome job, HDC.
I know you're not. As a guy who has coached for a while, you get a certain feeling that a player is going to create a disaster at the worst possible moment. It almost happened in Dallas when PV was directly linked to three of the goals. Last night it happened. These are moments you can't get back. The G's would have been better than Pachuca with Tudela or Caso in that position. As it was we played them even.
Pachuca doesn't see high quality goalkeeping game in and game out like MLS. I think they would struggle in this league. They aren't great finishers against top class keepers. The MLS could have the best goal keeping top to bottom in the world.
As for what happened to Pachuca in the second half. The G's are far more athletic, faster and more powerful at every position. The Gophers were forced to maintain their shape without straying to protect the one goal lead. This is good soccer. If you have an athletic advantage you can take more risks. If you are athletically inferior you must stay together. Pachuca does that very well, but they sacrifice offense when they do. Secondly the G's seemed more patient in this game. They didn't dive in as much. They kept the game in front of them and Pachuca could not break them down as easily. Pachuca loves numbers up situations. They bait you to dive in or kamakazee a 50/50 ball. Only PV constantly and K-Mart occasionally obliged in this game. It's simply hard to describe how horrible PV was. I felt that the one training session conducted by Frankie made a huge difference in this game. The G's tactic was cohesive.
This leads me to believe that when Frank has a chance to coach (they have had exactly one training session this month and that was this past Tuesday), the team responds very well. The play of X and Roberts in the middle is a very good example. Neither allowed the flank attack to pull them out. X would stay central and let the Gopher wide player run free toward the endline as Klein tracked back. this was by design. Frank said we don't think they will hurt us around the flanks, but they will kill us up the middle. Give them the flanks. It worked beautifully. Randolph basically stuffed the Pachuca right flank. Pachuca never scores off the cross, they score off the second and third ball. The Gopher forwards never really sorted this out and they actually ran out of ideas. The G's chances were of far higher quality than the Gophers, and Cannon stood up well with a solid tactic in front of him.
Any time you prevent a team from scoring, your tactic was successful. If the G's had simply put players on the pitch that help rather than hurt they would be Superliga champs.
The rest of this season is preseason for next season. The calendar won't be nearly as full since the G's have qualified for nothing but the chance to play into the US Open Cup.