Friday, March 28, 2008

A three-way on the freeway to First Kick: Episode 1: The Back Line

The Nutmegged Brain Trust knocked our collective skulls together over a nice meal at Madras Pavilion (The Official Nutmegged Indian Restaurant) the other day, and then retreated to our individual computer screens to rap out our thoughts on the upcoming Dynamo/Revolution MLS season opener and the state of the Orange in general heading into the season.


MARTEK: In the back, I project a starting lineup for Saturday of this:
Waibel-Boswell-Robinson-Barrett with Onstad of course in goal.

My goodness, is Bobby Boswell that much of a downgrade from Ryan Cochrane? He
has been slow, slow, slow this season and riddled with mediocre decision-making.
You guys were at the Municipal game, what did yo see in real life? And please
tell me it looked better than it did on TV.

Th thing is, if Ianni looks as good as he did for the U-23s, Boswell might just
see his playing time dwindle significantly this season. And that might just be
his best contribution to this team after all, as a Generation Addidas guy's
backup. Now how far down is that from the 2006 defender of the year?

MISTER3D: Martek's starting projection looks solid and I'm sorry to report that boswell is even scarier in real time. In the first half of the municipal game, his eyes shone with the look of a man in the thrall of a pass back petit mal causing onstad visible unease. Hopefully onstad can help rewire boswell's brain to better fight this worrisome default instinct but let's remember that the dynamo managed well with cochrane and should do the same with boswell.

At this stage, I'm not sure that ianni is that great of an upgrade over boswell. Does ianni have the skills to play outside back, he might make a nice replacement for waibel when the season starts to take its toll on craig and on those occasions when mulrooney is platooned in midfield.

PLAYTHERAPY: My man of the match in the Muncipal game at Robertson was easily Onstad. Without his point blank saves, this would have been a much different game. He even dealt well with Boswell's- HUZZAH- surprise backpasses. This Canadien national is one of the most unsung keepers in the MLS, a pure case of ageism. Without doubt, he has the best positioning of all MLS netminders- I'm surprised no English teams have come shopping for a bargain- not
that the Dynamo would bite, mind you.

Boswell WAS scary. Cool guy, cool blog, frightening play. The other day at lunch, mr3d teased me about screaming at Boswell during the Municipal game, "Don't call off Onstad if you don't have your man marked out" (actually, don't remember what I said, a moment of passion). Too many poor decisions, frightening backpasses with head down, hardly looking up at anything but the ball. I "prayed" Boswell knew where everyone was- the attacker breathing down his neck, the other defenders, and his keeper. Clearly, some of the problems plaguing him at the end of last season do not seem to be resolved as he was beaten several times. Onstad and Boswell left the field at halftime discussing what seemed to be communication problems. Bobby is a big question mark.

I miss Cochrane. Martek and mr3d slagged him all last year, but he was part of the centerline of one of the top defenses in the league. Now, one part of our spine is questionable. Ianni acquitted himself well last season plus scoring a few timely goals. This year, he'll have waaay more responsibility. We'll have to see.

Waibel is Mr. Cool but the Revs went at his lack of pace during last year's finals. Once he got help against Khano Smith and Smith tired, frustration ensued. I would venture the Revs go right at him again. I noticed Waibel making fewer overlaps during the Municipal game.

Barrett is the opposite, making constant overlapping runs which really help stretch the field. He is part of the glue of this team, as Houston can frustrate the hell out of a good possession team with its wasplike smothering defense.

MARTEK: Ianni might do well in place of Waibel, or maybe Boswell can move out there. It's sad to say, but I think Waibel's days are coming to a close. He's still one tough hombre out there, but he's slowing down, and he was never all that fast to begin with, now was he?

As for Barrett, Captain Wademerica is like Teddy Kennedy over there, Mr. Consistency on the left. He seems slow, but really is kinda sneaky quick. It's the black boots. The genius about wearing black on your feet is it makes you look slow, but in reality you are not slow. Trickery, trickery, trickery. I wonder if he learned that playing in The Netherlands.

And you notice we're not mentioning Eddie Robinson. How nice is it to have THAT hammer in your arsenal? Bozzie better buck up or ERob will take his head off.


playtherapy said...

Eh, I didn't mention the center of the center? Robinson is the guy everyone loves to hate but secretly wish he played for their teams. While Parkhurst will do the job looking like Dudley Do-Right, Eddie just gets the job done. The blood on his shirt may be his, but maybe not. Robinson is Keano's type of player, not a prawn-sandwich type at all. The trio Onstad-Robinson-Barrett anchor the back line and, excepting their age, I wouldn't trade them for any other backline in the League.

Martek said...

Agree PT. The left is secure. Now, over on the right.......

The Manly Ferry said...

Here's the dirty little secret about Bobby Boswell: he never should have been defender of the year. He was better back then, or just seemed more tuned in, but the best defender in the league? Any year? Nahh.

Good luck tomorrow. I'm tied up with the god-awful teams I'm following, so you'll have to make sense of Houston v. NE for me. Do your best to make it read straight and narrow.

Martek said...

Boy, the more I see Bozzie, the more I'm inclined to agree with you.

And good luck to you and your Rapids. I hope they put the screws to Lalas quick.