In The Cold Light Of Day: New Era, Same Old Caps

I’d hoped to make a post about Wednesday’s game before now, but the Santa Barbara sun and good times put paid to that.

At least part of AFTN’s three game road trip is going to be fun. The on field part of it, I’m not so sure about.

Waiting in Phoenix airport, en route to Salt Lake City, this seems like as good a time as any to catch up.

We’re one game into the Tommy Soehn era and already it seems like same old, same old. A game we should have won. A game we ended up drawing. A result that does little to help the Caps season.

Soehn was true to his word though and rang the changes. Some surprising, some we expected.

It certainly looks like some of Teitur’s D2 old guard could be on borrowed time in a Caps jersey, left to warm up endlessly for ninety chilly minutes in California.

Seeing Alex Morfaw and Bilal Duckett in the starting eleven was a huge surprise. I’m not doubting their talent, in fact I rate Morfaw very highly, but since Bilal had only featured on the bench once, and Alex not at all, this season, starting them could be construed as a major “Teitur had no clue in my opinion” moment.

Watching them both in PDL action for the residency in Abbotsford on Sunday just before I left for my trip, I had no idea I’d be seeing them playing in Carson. I’m sure they didn’t either.

Morfaw had a good game. I expect him to do well as a first team regular and it was good to see him finally get his chance. I’d started singing “One Alex Morfaw” for him pre-season in Tukwila and have continued it at the PDL games. He enjoys it and now we can keep it going!

I haven’t seen enough of Bilal Duckett to fairly judge. He looks gangly and unorthadox on the ball, but hey, if that gets the job done, who cares what it looks like. I would expect Jonathan Leathers to be back in there when he’s recovered from his niggling injury, but it was a surprise to see Bilal start over Wes in the right back position.

Bringing in Akloul for Janicki in the centre of defence I have no problem with. I think he’s the better centre half and one that offers us a bit more at the other end of the field too.

Both Mouloud and Jay had some heroic last ditch tackles out there, especially Jay’s goal-line clearance near the end of the game.

Joe Cannon starting over Jay Nolly is the most contentious of Soehn’s decisions. I’d have gone with Cannon before the season started, but at this time I don’t think Jay has done enough to lose the starting goalie position. He’s kept clean sheets recently and been voted man of the match. Harsh.

Cannon was partly at fault for the Chivas goal. He should certainly have done better getting down to it. That said, the defence were equally to blame for backing off and backing off and allowing the shot in the first place.

Soehn has indicated that we would be playing more attacking and more exciting football. Early days, but we didn’t see that on Wednesday and if there’s a team we could have done that against, it was Chivas.

They’re a poor side and that game was there for the taking both before and after Eric Hassli’s sending off.

The big tactical switch Soehn made was moving Davide Chiumiento to the middle, playing back off Hassli, and moving Camilo to the wing.

Camilo scored a cracking goal but didn’t seem overly suited to the role of left or right midfield. Davide looked good at times and linked up well with Hassli.

Those two have shown a connection in so many games this season and watching their interplay has been a joy. It was a cheeky little back heel from Hassli to Chiumiento that led to the goal. No way should Davide have tried a shot when he did but at least the ball broke favourably.

It was a frustrating game to watch as a Caps fan.

We were outpossessed fairly easily. Disappointing considering the player we have and the ball control they show when they have the ball at their feet.

It’s way too early to judge Soehn, as some have been doing elsewhere. We need to give the guy a chance to stamp his mark on the team. That’s not gong to happen overnight.

We should have a good idea of what a Soehn Caps side will look like by the end of June. Then we can start the judgements, for by then our MLS season could be as good as over, with just exhibition games basically left.

The players need to stand up and be counted though.

Whenever my team has lost a manager, and so many other teams too, the players are so up for it in the next game. Keen to prove a point and keen to pay homage to their old gaffer.

That wasn’t evident at the Home Depot Center on Wednesday.

What kind of team and performance will we see on Rio Tinto Stadium tonight? That’s going to be telling and show what kind of players we have in the blue and white this season.

It’s a hard enough place to go, never mind without your top striker (shocking sending off when I saw the replay, although at the game it looked a rash challenge).

I’m not expecting much. Maybe this is when the Caps will surprise me.

Mon the Caps.

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