When in the nation’s capital, it’s about striking with purpose and intent. Deliver messages that get results. Soft shots, like soft words don’t play in DC.
In an election year, daily 50/50 challenges between Republicans and Democrats play out like strikers and defenders behaving in all manors possible to win possession. Defenders grind and bleed to play the ball safe and clear, while strikers turn rusty sinks into artful masterpieces sewing the ball into the goals netting. No in-between in DC. Messages get delivered with purpose, or go home.
Steven Lenhart saw a ping of vulnerability in Sounders newest left-back Marc Burch. Lenhart goaded Burch into giving a slight nudge of retaliation inside the penalty box. The referee was audience to Lenhart’s well executed soccer flop.
Don’t be mad at Lenhart. Like a tricky politician collecting delegates to bolster his nomination, Lenhart gave a performance delivered with purpose to get his club their desired result. ”i’ve seen him enough, it’s the same tricks every time,” Burch stated. ”I should be bigger than that, better than that”. Sometimes casting silly votes by being vulnerable and innocent to a politicians tactics, we learn how not to vote next time. Burch will be ready for the next match.
Even Sounders coach, Sigi Schmid said of Lenhart, “He’s the kind of player who looks for exactly that. He got one tonight. I don’t think it’s the best soccer.” Indeed, it’s not the best soccer. Unless you are on point and prepared to execute your message without any distraction, you leave yourself vulnerable to a soft undoing.
De Ro in DC.
Going into the Sounders third consecutive home match last Saturday, Seattle was in place to start their season with a hat-trick of home wins. Instead, the Sounders settled for 2-wins and 1-loss. Overall a good start. But rather than DC being a first road trip where Sounders could ease into the long travel of their MLS season, the match with United becomes even more important. A loss would be harmful. A draw would be tolerated, but sting.
Pause, for a moment of sporing reflection and cliché. ”It’s early”. Saying that, a win Saturday in DC is critical for the Sounders to earn all three points. Even in a long campaign, it’s never too early to deliver a statement of challenge to your opposition. Sounders have a talking points list of reasons for needing a win in DC that sends such a message.
- Missed opportunity at three home wins.
- Avoidable and frustrating loss to San Jose last week.
- Avenge a 2-1 defeat at DC last year.
- Chip on the shoulder for injury to Mauro Rosales in last September’s match vs DC in Seattle.
Sounders didn’t pick up their first win of 2011 until match #5, on April 9th vs Chicago Fire. Mauro Rosales’s pinpoint cross to O’Brian White for his perfectly placed headed goal of the week finish. Combined with Zakuani’s skillful 1-v-1 move past a Fire defender to stuff in the winner helped the Sounders earn their first win of 2011. All three players are still with the Sounders, but not one of them will start in DC on Saturday.
Oh, what injuries do.
The Sounders talented roster of Injuries quickly needs to be put aside. DC United have in Dwayne De Rosario (De Ro) the finest attacking-midfielder in MLS. Playing for three clubs last season, he finally settled with his third in DC. Despite odds agains a successful season due to so many moves, he managed to win Major League Soccer’s 2011 MVP. DC didn’t make the playoffs. When was the last time you heard a player win MVP and the club not make the playoffs. Don’t furl your brow at this. De Ro earned it. He’s that good!
De Ro takes over games on his own. Creates goals out of nothing. He poaches in close, heads, and strikes from distance. He feeds assists to teammates finding gaps for them to score goals they would not otherwise create for themselves.
Osvaldo Alonso will have the weighted responsibility for keeping De Ro in check. How well Alonso does may determine how well the Sounders do in delivering their early season message in DC.
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© 2012 Sales on Sounder by Ryan Sales