Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
New York must exorcise defensive demons
by Ridge Mahoney, October 31st, 2008 7AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS PLAYOFF PREVIEW] On paper, the Red Bulls look completely spooked against two-time defending champion Houston, and even with game-changers Juan Pablo Angel and Dave van den Bergh they're frightfully overmatched on artificial turf or grass as well.

But there's a chance -- a slim chance to be sure but a chance nonetheless - that New York can revert to its run of sharp form and smart results and give the Dynamo trouble, especially at home on FieldTurf. Two months ago, New York ran off a six-game unbeaten streak that included thumping Houston, 3-0, at the Meadowlands with goals by Angel, Dane Richards and Mike Magee.

But that was then and this is now.

The Red Bulls aren't expected to advance in this series, and all too often too many players have looked tentative, a product of inconsistent play and chronic personnel and formation juggling by master tactician Juan Carlos Osorio. In a two-game series, Osorio can prepare a team to maximum effect. With speedster Richards, Angel, van den Bergh and Magee buzzing about as Jorge Rojas probes for openings, chances can be garnered.

However, downing the Dynamo will require staunch defensive play, which is unlikely given that keeper Danny Cepero has played all of two professional games, defender Jeff Parke is one of the two players suspended, and several of Parke's mates, especially Gilberto Jimenez and Gabriel Cichero, are playing just plain awful.

Getting pasted by Chicago, 5-2, in its final regular-season game ratcheted up New York's ugly defensive record to 18 goals conceded in the last six matches. If Osorio benches Cichero in favor of Andrew Boyens, the New York backline will be bigger (Boyens is 6-foot-5) but really no better. Yet probably nobody else can take on Nate Jaqua (6-foot-4) on more or less equal terms, but that still leaves forward partner Brian Ching, who set a personal best this year with 13 goals.

Houston hasn't lost in league play since that Aug. 24 defeat at the Meadowlands and surely remembers the source and site of that embarrassing defeat. Coach Dominic Kinnear used his reserves Tuesday in El Salvador to garner a 1-1 tie against Luis Angel Firpo in the Concacaf Champions' League and should send out a sharp and rested team.

Before its season-ending streak, Houston occasionally wandered through gloomy spells of spotty finishing. Unless those goblins return the day after Halloween, New York is in for a nightmare.

MLS WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINAL
Game 1 Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (Direct Kick),
NEW YORK (10-11-9, 4th East) vs. HOUSTON (13-5-12, 1st West)



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Video Pick: The Bundesliga's Top 5 golazos     
The German Bundesliga's 23rd game day lived up to the league's reputation as the Europe's highest ...
Region IV teams sweep ODP titles again     
For the second straight year, Region IV teams won all four ODP Championships. Cal South took ...
What They're Saying: Sinisa Mihajlovic    
"Let's be clear. I didn't take his neck, I took his shirt, pushed his chest and ...
Johnson hits Gladbach winner; no stopping Tijuana    
Fabian Johnson scored his first goal since moving to third-place Borussia Moenchengladbach in its 2-0 victory ...
2015 MLS Preseason Action    
Preseason play wrapped up Saturday with the Houston Dynamo (Carolina Challenge Cup), New York Red Bulls ...
MLS: Projected opening day lineups    
MLS is slated to start its 20th season on Friday when the defending champion LA Galaxy ...
Gallardo shines as U.S. U-17s rout Cuba     
Joe Gallardo, who suffered a broken shinbone last August, scored a hat trick as the USA ...
Garber: 'Nobody's looking for a work stoppage'    
Speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston on Friday, MLS commissioner Don Garber ...
What They're Saying: Univision's Juan Carlos Rodriguez    
"If the rights are already fixed, there's little incentive to FIFA to award 2026 to the ...
2015 MLS Preseason Action    
The MLS preseason wraps up on Saturday with 18 of 20 teams in action, all but ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives