Did anyone else hear anything about this being the weed cup or anything? I didn't. Mildly disappointed in you, World.
We are riding high right now, with a 4-1 win over the Rapids on a Deuce brace (Deuce deuce?), Obaflip and a Neagle......goal.
Either way, this week leaves me with a conundrum. The effort this last week was so solid that I'm having a hard time saying any one player or position is really playing beyond their expectations, so moving the posts in will be a bit of a struggle.
But in the face of such adversity, struggle I will.
Moving the Posts In: Multi Goal Games
Buzzkill McKillington here. We may average bunches of goals a game over the season, but there will be a streak of games where they don't flow as they have been. Among the multitude of reasons to think this will occur, the chief culprit would be the fact that Clint Dempsey has scored 44% of our goals and the fact that he will be visiting Brazil in a couple months.
What does this mean for us?
Defense had better get it together. Although we held Colorado to a single goal, the fact of the matter is that goal constituted 25% of the Rapids' goals from open play this year. We gave up a goal to a team that had scored only 3 open play goal through 6 games.
On the whole, the defense has done nothing but improve through the year which is promising. Hopefully they hit a run of form that sees the back line and Ozzie and Pineda (I dub the, The Night's Watch, watchers of the wall) begin to absolutely shut down any and all play in the defensive half of the field, but more realistically limit the amount of movement and passing in the final third.
You only need to look to Liverpool for a cautionary tale; offense is important and exciting, but defense wins championships, and if they perform, they will get us through the goal droughts we're bound to encounter. Prepare yourselves; summer is coming.
Moving the Posts Out: Dylan Remick
Quite a solid showing on Saturday. He began the season as a place holder for Leo, and did a solid job at that, but he was not someone I felt would threaten the starting position.
Fast forward a few weeks and we've seen Leo back to his old form and shut down the left side of the field with classic Leo performances. He goes down, and Remick steps back in. It may be against one of the most offensively inept teams we will face this year, but he seemed to do an outstanding job of playing the LB position. Good help inside when needed, decent 1v1 defending standing his man up all led to a Colorado right wing that did nothing on the day. We will see how well he manages quality RW play if the need arises.
In the attack, he relieved pressure by providing an outlet and playing small ball with the wing and CM, and picked some really good times to get down the wing and put in a cross or two. He had the small matter of a poorly executed dive in the box, but otherwise a very strong outing in my eyes.
I'm not here to say he's going to take Leo's job this year, but I think if this form continues, he could really be an effective option to be used (even if Leo's healthy) against some of the weaker offenses we face this year who try and bunker. Much like the wing play in the midfield, it's nice to have options with quality players who can both step in a play to their strengths rather than just a starter/backup pair.
This is after only 4 appearances with the first team so I temper expectations a bit, but hopefully he can continue to gain experience and confidence. It would be nice for him to have a similar impact to Yedlin, growing from the youth ranks into an every week, MLS quality starter. While he doesn't have quite the same athleticism, he seems to be learning quickly and may follow a growth path more akin to Brad Evans. I wouldn't go quite so far to say he has USMNT written on him, but hey, Brad did it.
In Range: Lamar Neagle
Here is a player who seems to get fans on two side of a fence. One group doesn't like him as a winger, but accepts that he's a decent MLS striker but would prefer Evans or Pappa be given his spot in the starting XI. Another group doesn't understand why the first group doesn't like him starting, he's producing goals and assists. I, per my default mode to break up family Thanksgiving/Xmas/Easter/Wednesday fights, take the middle ground.
Lamar is a great MLS player with individual skill and can strike the ball well. He lacks a bit in spacial and situational awareness, as well as a touch that wouldn't be best described as world class. I want to emphasize that he is a great MLS player. Using the skills he has, he's able to make space for himself for a shot as well as put in dangerous passes/crosses. Would he be as effective in Liga MX? Or the English Championship? Probably not, but for the MLS he has the moves.
For me, his success last year came from his pairing with Oba (and to a lesser extent EJ) and he was allowed to play at pace knowing the ball he was given by Oba or Mauro was going to be put into dangerous positions, or that the ball he played in had a high chance of being finished by Oba or EJ. This season, he is in a wide role but finds himself central quite often. He is able to exploit the space and quality deliveries from Oba and Dempsey to get his goals, and he collects assists feeding international level finishers. His defending isn't anything to write home about, but the effort is there.
Lamar plays like a younger Mike Magee; overlooked and understated, but effective. Given a chance to start, he could probably score in bunches. But like Magee, who had some impact for the Galaxy but wasn't a go to player, Neagle would need to be sent to a team that wasn't competing in order to find that starting role.
From the Half Way Line: Can you say Draw City
How much happier could I be that we are a quarter of the way through the season and Lincoln Logs United haven't registered a scoreline exceeding that of their opponent over the course of a sporting match. I don't have much in the way of analysis as I don't follow them closely, but I don't understand where the breakdown is. If anything, I thought the team would be better than they were last year which gave me a bit of concern. Unfounded fears it seems as they are a team who love to give up late goals after taking the lead. Caleb Porter seems to have done a great job down there, so the best I can hope for is that his seat is getting hot, everyone freaks out and they fire their manager. Maybe he can go coach in Europe somewhere so I don't have to concern myself with him any longer.