Friday, March 28, 2008

A three-way on the freeway to First Kick: Episode 2: The Midfield

Continuing the previous post, we move to the middle.


PLAYTHERAPY: Speaking of Wasps, Clark, with those long, graceful legs, when he's on, he's Mr. Everywhere. When he's hot, he completely disrupts midfields. His outside shot is also something to remember. Mulrooney does not have the same pace, but is so damn versatile and seems to run as fast in the 93rd minute as the first ten.

De Ro is working out the kinks, coming off the offseason, expecting to do the phenomenal. Sometimes it works, others he gives the ball away too easily. I expect this to improve greatly in such a big game. Clearly, big games are a motivation. I also expect the phenomenal occurring more often as he gets in season form.

Ashe was superb against Municipal, a bipolar performance from the away game. At Roberstosn, a majority of the attack flowed through him, and, even better, it worked. I expect Corey to return to his 70+ minute game entries, when tired opposing defenders wish they had high powered rifles so they wouldn't have to keep up just to hack him. I do worry that if Ashe has a terrible game starts, will Kinnear pull in
time? Ditto for Boz?

I like Holden. I really really like Holden. I like his scrappiness and his ability to go at people. I also like how he finds ways to score. I think he needs to be on the field, getting some major minutes. Fantasy wise, he was a steal last year.

Davis was hit or miss last year but when he hit, he was awesome. While De Ro was out, Davis would drift more and more to the center, looking for more touches. With the cast back and hopefully healthy, I'd like to see more production out of Davis. Unfortunately for Brad, he was often subbed for Holden.

I know everybody and their dog says stopping Mullan is the key to shutting the Dynamo down. Yet for far too many years, Brian's assist and goal totals have been laughable. His dribbling and ability to leave fullbacks in his dust is fantastic, yet something invariably happens to break the play down- a good cross to no one, one too many touches, or a wide shot. The great thing about him is his ability to stretch the field, teams definitely go out wide to cover him. I just want his dazzling magic to make more goals.

MARTEK: In the middle, I refer to these thoughts I posted to Jimmy Chowda:

Dynamo clearly has an overloaded midfield. Kinnear has always used a 4-4-2 and
sticks to it like glue. So that means you’ve got this line-up in that middle 4:
Brian Mullan, Brad Davis, Ricardo “Fishkiller” Clark, Dwayne De Rosario, Stuart
Holden, Richard Mulrooney and Corey Ashe. By my count, that’s three starters too
many, three players, mind you, who could start on any team in the league at any
time. You also have four national teamers there (3 US and 1 Canadian), Dynamo’s
co-MVP (Mullan) and the guy who was probably they’re actual MVP from 2007
(Mulrooney), leaving Corey Ashe as the 7th man out. Some of these guys are not
going to play, and keeping top quality pro athletes happy while not playing is
something of an impossibility.


MISTER3D: mullan-mulrooney-davis-holden start against the revs with the possible positional flip flop of davis and holden. If the game warrants, keep Dero on the bench and rest him for saprissa. If ashe can duplicate his municipal performance I wouldn't mind him starting and mullan coming on as a sub. If davis isn't ready holden and ashe start alongside mullan and mulrooney. The riches of the dynamo midfield and all the game worthy players and possible lineup permutations gives me a headache... in a good way...i think.

MARTEK: Wait a minute, wait a minute, I'm still trying to get my head around the "Keep Dero on the bench and rest him for saprissa" comment. I can imagine Kinnear's response to that suggestion, ala John Rhys-Davies: "Very dangerous. You tell him first."

After how well he has played against the Revs, I think it would only embolden a team you've got down to rest the guy who has killed them more than any other. Who counters Shalrie in the middle and keeps him honest if not for De Rosario? If Clark was available, maybe, but even then...

MISTER3D: Yes the resting Dero comment shows my idiocy but the prize in my eyes right now is concacaf and saprissa which is making my vision somewhat blurry. I did employ the weak qualifying phrase, "if the game warrants". And you're right about player passion, after we watched that simple training exercise of keep away evoke competitive bloodlust amongst the dynamo i wouldn't want to tell a healthy dero that he was sitting. (but come on--it will be 30 degrees on game day and ...saprissa...)

MARTEK: Hmmm. I like the way you think. Play the starters and then sub early. Saprissa win is more important than a grind-it-out early MLS game in Arctic conditions.

Still, I hate the thought of losing to those guys.

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