Saturday, April 11, 2009

An RSL Winning Streak – Finally!

After watching 2008 pass without a winning streak, RSL finally managed to capture one tonight thanks to a great winning blast by Javi Morales past a sprawling Louis Crayton.

The match had an inauspicous start as both teams seemed to be feeling each other out early.  On the strength of a 5-man midfield, DC managed to hold the ball for the majority of the opening 15 minutes, but they could not create chances despite having 2 or 3 players ahead of the ball at all times. 

However, DC did open the score sheet in the match in the 38th minute off of a great chip by rookie forward Chris Pontius to Luciano Emilio who headed the ball home. 

RSL was able to equalize just two minutes later off of a great ball from Will Johnson who hit Olave from 30 yards out.  Olave headed the ball past Crayton.

The second half started out slow in the opening five minutes, but RSL became the aggressor and created numerous opportunities in the second half as DC appeared content for the road draw.  They appeared able to absorb the RSL challenges until the 80th minute.  That’s when Morales saw an opening for his strike at the top of the box and drove the ball to the right of the diving Crayton for the game winner.  The play came after a pass from Beckerman who played a slotted ball forward to Findley who made a great touch on the ball to redirect the ball behind him to Morales. 

Additional thoughts on the game:

  • I’m surprised that DC let their foot off of the pedal so early in this one.  They were able to get players forward pretty frequently in the first half, but seemed content to drop their midfielders behind the ball in the second half.
  • I was surprised by the early substitution of Cox.  I like what he brings offensively, although he made some poor passes in this game.  I’m not terribly comfortable with either his or Beltran’s one-on-one defending, but they weren’t really pressed tonight.
  • Robbie Russell not being on the 18-man roster might be a bad sign.  I understand that the shoulder has been causing him some discomfort even though he has medical clearance to play. 
  • It was good to see Javi have a good match, as he appeared to be bottled up by the opponent in the previous two matches. 
  • Findley impressed again tonight.  The assist on the game winner was sublime. 
  • Namoff handled Movsisyan as well as I’ve seen any defender.
  • Grabavoy seems lost out there as to how he fits in with this team.  Surprising for a quality vet like him.
  • A win at New York next week (doable, but with our struggles against New York and on the road its no gimme) would be a tremendous start to the season.