Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
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
Player Ratings: USA reaches new low in Klinsmann era    
Of the 16 matches the USA has played at competitive tournaments in the Jurgen Klinsmann era, ...
European draw for 2018 World Cup produces enticing groups    
A group with former World Cup champions Spain and Italy and another with Netherlands, France and ...
What They're Saying: Mauricio Pochettino    
[MLS All-Stars coach] Pablo [Mastroeni] and I share something. Pablo is Argentine like me, same nationality.  ...
Tottenham manager loves challenge of playing in altitude    
For many of Tottenham's players, playing at altitude, even in the Mile-High City of Denver at ...
Three-time gold-medalist Boxx will retire after USA's fall tour    
Shannon Boxx, who won three Olympic gold medals to go along with her Women's World Cup ...
Washington Spirit Reserves claim first W-League title    
The Washington Spirit Reserves got two goals from Chilean Yanara Aedo Munoz -- including the game-winner ...
Top 25 U.S. Soccer Crowds (2015)    
Soccer fever was evident as five matches drew crowds of more than 60,000 last week: the ...
NWSL Weekend: Seattle reigns after thumping Thorns    
Seattle Reign FC moved into first place in the NWSL with a 3-0 win over Portland ...
USL Weekend: Rhinos' unbeaten streak reaches 19 games    
Steevan Dos Santos' goal in the 10th minute gave the Rochester Rhinos a 1-0 win over ...
Video Pick: Anderlecht wonderkid scores stunner    
Youri Tielemans, who made Sacha Kljestan expendable at Anderlecht when he broke into the starting lineup ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives