What an exciting way to return to the season. United showed a new look and a new attitude to the game. First a few observations followed by player ratings.
-You could tell from the very beginning that this team is different from last year. At the end of the day, there is just more quality on the field. There is a reason Boskovic and Quaranta are on the bench, they have been out played for starting spots.
-The team seemed to have trouble on set pieces.
-We capitalized on mistakes by the other team, a big change from last year.
-Charlie Davies was overwhelmed by his success. Shedding tears at the end of the game, and not in the Miami Heat sense, you could see the attitude of this team. You could see what we all hoped Ben Olsen would give to this team. This game mattered to them.
-Zayner came out injured - hamstring. TBD the extent of the damage.
-Ngwenya was reported as having ice on his ankle at the end of the game, but that it was just maintenance. It is still something to keep an eye on.
Ratings are 1 to 10, 10 being Etch
Pat Onstad (5): Seemed to struggle a bit on timing some crosses, but came up with some key reaction saves when needed.
Jakovic (7): Played a good game and was called for a questionable hand ball in the area which made for a soft penalty. It was commented that playing next to a vocal organizer such as Kitchen has made him a better player, lets hope so!
Burch (6): Didn't make any key mistakes, didn't do anything to stand out either. I am a big fan of his ability to deliver a long ball. I am not a fan of the fact that his only way of relieving pressure on tight situations is to lump the ball up field and give up possession. He does get props for his goal line save.
Zayner (7): I feel he is fitting in to our system well and we must hope he is not seriously injured. Had the assist on the first goal.
Kitchen (6): He can certainly play with the big boys. He took a little time to settle in, even making some early ill-advised slide challenges, but got his footing and kept the defense organized well.
Simms (6): Did well, won a good amount of headers in midfield and seemed to be a little more physical than in the past. Still has a penchant for the horizontal/back pass.
McCarty (7): Had a great first half with a good chance at goal that had the keeper (and the post) beat to the outside. He was not as noticeable in the second half, but was not needed to be as prevalent.
Najar (7): Did not score a goal, but had to deal with extra defensive pressure that was not given last year. He dealt with it well and still seemed to be a cut above.
Pontius (7): It was mentioned that Pontius was enjoying the competition for spots as it gave him the motivation to work hard. He certainly showed some extra class, particularly in the first half, that should keep him in the starting spot for a while. Welcome back Chris.
Wolff (8): Man of the Match. He worked hard, scored a great goal that came from work, a good assist from Zayner and a nice finish from the outside of the foot. I thought Ngwenya would be the starter up top with Davies, but perhaps it will be flipped around with a Wolff/Davies combo.
Ngwenya (6): Did alright at holding the ball, alright at being an outlet for long balls, but all the things he did alright at do not make up for his poor finishing. I hope that he isn't planning on continually shooting high and wide instead of hard, low and to the far post. Still, the Davies sub for him was perfect.
Davies (8): Came in for Ngwenya in the 52nd. Did well and showed that there is speed, there is fast and there is Charlie Davies. He can close on a defender holding the ball in the blink of an eye. He did two circles around Marshall, dizzying him, causing him to lose the ball in befuddlement to Davies for his second goal. I think he answered a lot of critics tonight and answered a lot of questions he had of himself. This is truly an inspirational story and I wouldn't be surprised to see him starting next week.
Brasesco (7): Came in for Zayner in the 70th. Came in on a minutes notice and held his own. Seemed to be comfortable with the ball at his feet and coming in to the attacking half. He also had a good sense of the game, awareness, and was strong in the tackle without being reckless.
Quaranta (6): Came in for Wolff in the 83rd. Didn't show too much but also didn't have as much time to make an impression. I hope we see more from him as the season goes on because he is a likable guy. But I will like him more when he is part of a successful United team.
Ben Olsen (8): He has remained tempered and has seemed to make this team his own while modeling it after his fighting spirit in a short amount of time. He made a smart switch to put on Davies and looked sharp in his Pea-coat.
What are your thoughts?