There may not be too many reasons to go verbally hyperbolic about Sounders FC’s 0-0 draw with DC United but there are a couple of reasons for wry smiles.
Pat Ianni v.2012 looks to be the best version ever. It is a huge upgrade on v.2011 but also significantly better than v.2010 which seemed set to launch him to regular starterdom.
Tonight Ianni too often found himself at the right place at the right time for it to be a coincidence and foiled a competent DC offence time and time again.
Another reason to be cheerful is the continuing dominant form of Mike Gspurning who dominated his six yard box to such effect that latterly United seemed afraid to sling anything anywhere too dangerous. Not that Kasey Keller is forgotten.
His colour analysis was laudably impartial and he, and the impressive Ross Fletcher, are to be congratulated for not dumbing down their observations when a couple of players were carefully nursing ‘man wounds’.
For United, Nick DeLeon looks an incredible prospect even if he eventually drifted out of the game. He and Real Salt Lake’s Sebatien Velsquez look set for a ding-dong battle for rookie of the year.
Dejan Jakovic deputised admirably well for the suspended Brandon McDonald on an evening where defences ruled. Ben Olsen observed:
“Dejan’s had quite a few games in this League, and we expect him to be able to come in and do the job. I thought he did a great job, in particular, on [Fredy] Montero, at times. Montero’s a real player in this League, and he is a handful. I thought we did a pretty good job on him overall.”
That was despite Fredy Montero threatening to once more set the stadium alight where he has many happy memories. There are just signs that finally the captain’s armband may be inspiring him more than it is weighing him down. We would still rather see it on Jeff Parke though.
Of the regular punching bags for the knee-jerk reaction prone fans, Zach Scott had a better game than Brad Evans who in turn had a better one than Roger Levesque.
To be fair, Levesque has had few bad games when called upon and can be forgiven one. It just wasn’t the sort of night where Sounders wingers excelled. Fernandez wasted Sounders best chance with a poorly placed lateral pass when a colleague was in the clear waiting to slot the ball home.
It may have to be faced until there is evidence to the contrary, that without the play-acting, he is not as threatening a force. Or at least, the reshaping of his game will take some time to reach the potency it left.
Of course, it is more likely that he was due a bad game after many fine ones. One suspects he will be back to his most effective self for the visit of Colorado next weekend.
Osvaldo Alonso had a far more disciplined performance than so far his season. One suspects he was asked by the coaching staff to tone it down, given that many journalists outside Seattle observed how lucky he was to escape sanction for tackles made last week.
It was thanks to him that the dangerous Dwayne De Rosario had a very frustrating evening.
Sigi Schmid certainly thought so:
“I thought [Osvaldo Alonso] did a great job on DeRo [Dwayne De Rosario].
I thought DeRo got frustrated towards the end of the first half and [Osvaldo Alonso] ended up paying the price for that a little bit.
I thought he did a good job of shutting him down and eventually they moved DeRo up to get him away from Alonso. He did a good job for us and I also thought the center of our defense did well.”
What was pleasing was that a less aggressive approached did not adversely affect his game. He has nothing to worry about from MLS newly active retroactive Disciplinary Committee. Chris Pontius however does for a pretty horrible over the ball and crude challenge on Scott.
So four games have produced seven points. Not great, but this was done largely without Mauro Rosales, and a greater points haul will surely be derived upon his return.
Besides, there are many other interesting, very interesting, things happening around the Western Conference so far. Who’d have thunk San Jose would have four times the points of the LA Galaxy?
More on that when all the results are in.