- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 31, 2008
- 2 Comments
There’s nothing like opening day in any sport. Yesterday in Dallas was no different really. There was something in the air that just smelled better than normal. What can I say I love a new soccer season, so that was probably it. Thankfully that smell didn’t fade too quickly either.
I wasn’t too sure that I was going to be able to make the opening game for Dallas but when I got an email saying that I had season press credentials to pick up I knew I couldn’t miss the game for anything.
I have to say, there is nothing (for me at least) like watching a game with the press. I think it was something I got very use to doing in college when I covered a variety of sports at West Virginia University. The view is higher but I think its better since you can see everything that is going on below you.
Dallas and Chivas played a fairly even game for the most part. I will break each club down, as well as a few players from each with what I saw yesterday. The game was really a story of two halves, though I would argue that it was more of a story that Dallas played well for the first 25 or 30 minutes and Chivas played better for the rest of the game, which lead to the game tying goal. Dallas should feel a bit thankful for the one point in the standings, they didn’t play like they wanted it for the majority of the game.
One last thing, I am not a fan of the new numbering on the jerseys this year. Ones and sevens look too similar. Its tough enough that Aaron Pitchkolen and Andre Rocha look a like but when one is number 17 and the other is 11, it makes it nearly impossible to figure out the two.
Mini rant but with that I will start with the visitors.
- Again, not a lot from this club in the first 30 minutes or so of the match. I think if they had their main leader in the back (Claudio Suarez) the score would have been different and Dallas may have not scored their goal.
- Other than getting beat on a Juan Toja blast from within the six yard mark, keeper Brad Guzan was really never tested. Dallas only tallied a couple shots besides the goal in the first half, nothing that really made Guzan work.
- The midfield for this club is pretty impressive I think. They hold shape very well and know how to possess the ball much better than their counter-part.
- Their depth is still a concern for me but I did see some quality play out of their bench players that may make me change my mind about them as the season progresses.
- I love watching this kid play anymore, because as he moves the Chivas midfield goes with him. Without him this midfield could look very average.
- I thought for sure Kljestan would score yesterday, as he had a number of chances that were on target or just slightly off.
- He also work very well with the next man that I am about to speak of, Ante Razov. The two had some great combinations that could have easily lead to some Chivas goals if it hadn’t been for Dario Sala.
- I think it is safe to say that Razov is nearly 100% here this season, he didn’t play the full 90 yesterday but 70 or 72 minutes that he did play were solid all around. I would have like to see more of him and Galindo at the same time but I guess we will have to wait until next time for that.
- Razov was another guy that had plenty of good looks at net that Sala was able to save for Dallas.
- Also, he did work pretty well with Atiba Harris in the first half, the two were able to create a number of chances but anytime it was Razov setting Harris up, he wasn’t able to finish it. More reason that I wanted to see Galindo and Razov together because I would be willing to bet that Galindo would have finished the chances that Razov created for Harris.
- You could tell he wasn’t nearly game fit but he did score and tie the game for the Goats late. The give-me goal that he scored really spoke volumes of his work ethic on the field though. While he was pretty fresh, the Dallas defense (more importantly Duilio Davino) looked very tired. Smart sub on Preki’s part.
- I think it could be safe to say that Galindo will continue what he started last year in the goal scoring department.
- Again, good first 25 or 30 minutes of the game. The Hoops looked good on the ball through midfield and created a couple of solid chances with Abe Thompson before scoring a nice goal from Toja.
- After that, but probably more noticeably after halftime, the Hoops looked disinterested in the game and were more focused on keeping the one goal advantage. It wasn’t quite the bunker style that we see from time to time but it was more of a “let’s just dump and run and hope the other team tires out first” kind of style.
- The goal that was given up late is exactly the kind of goal that Steve Morrow has to cringe at. Terrible give away close to goal by a guy (Davino) that should know better in terms of getting rid of the ball after a bad touch with a man on him.
- You can tell that a number of Dallas players aren’t at all 100% here to start the season.
- The one goal was a very nice one by Toja. Probably the best run of passes for Dallas in the entire game. It all started with a nice long switch of play to Wagner (who was always open on the wing for Dallas yesterday), who then crossed it to Rhine on the other side, who then played it in to Thompson, who then played a crafty touch to Toja, who finished it home for the Hoops.
- Dario Sala was probably the man of the match for Dallas. Loads of saves (7), not to mention his leadership that probably helped save a couple other chances.
- I do question why Davino started this game. He really didn’t show much at all throughout the game and in the end he gave up the game tying goal to Galindo. Sloppy play from a guy that has high expectations on him going into the year.
- I will say that aside from the give away to Galindo and a couple other chances in the second half, Davino’s leadership in the back was a bit noticeable on a few runs by Chivas.
Kenny Cooper and Abe Thompson:
- Not the best afternoon for Cooper. I think you can tell he is trying very hard to be “the man” for Dallas here this season. Lots of touches that lead to lots of nothing.
- Thompson and Cooper usually work well together but yesterday it wasn’t happening out there for the Hoops with these two. Thompson was very hit or miss and Cooper just seemed to take up space out there from time to time.
- Thompson had some decent looks at net but never really put the ball on target enough to test Guzan. Something he really needs to work on is his finishing.
Dallas game grades:
Sala – 8, Pitchkolen – 5, Davino – 4, Serioux – 4, Rhine – 5, Wagner – 6, Saragosa – 5, Rocha – 5, Toja – 7, Thompson – 5, Cooper – 4.
Subs: McCarty – 4, Odoro – 3, Ricchetti – 5
Chivas game grades:
Guzan – 6, Curtin – 5, Thomas – 6, Mendoza – 5, Vaughn – 5, Nagamura – 5, Bornstein – 5, Marsch – 6, Kljestan – 8, Harris – 4, Razov – 7
Subs: Galindo – 7, Wicky – 5, Braun – 5