AFTN PMS – Post Match Summary…
I have to give all the credit for the title of today’s blog to my good friend Tractor Boy, who came up with this quote of the week on the Southsiders forum.
So is there anything we can say about last night’s game that hasn’t already been said elsewhere. Probably not, but we’ll do our own post game reflections nonetheless!
We wanted to give it some time to do some sober reflections on the game and not to be caught up in the heat of the aftermath. It’s hard!
As always, you can read our full match report of the game over at Prost Amerika.
What a game. Again. That’s three home games now and three amazing matches – all for different reasons.
We may as well start with the two main talking points – referee Toldeo and Eric Hassli.
Baldomero Toldeo has a reputation for being card happy. We were talking about it on the Southsiders forum pre-match. The Caps would have surely known about this too and warned the players.
It was always going to be a card-fest as soon as he set his stall out early when he booked Atiba Harris in the 6th minute. After Koffie was sent off, I was telling the guys beside me that the red cards weren’t going to be over for the night.
Today I was questioning whether I was just watching the game through blue and white tinted glasses with my criticism of the ref. Having reviewed the game though, I don’t think so – or maybe I should head to the opticians.
Myself and Steve at Prost Amerika have a difference of opinion on all of Toledo’s four key decisions! Football’s all about opinions. That’s the beauty of it!
I’ve watched Hassli’s first booking numerous times now and I still don’t think the intent is there to deliberately hit Alston in the face. There’s clearly no doubt that he did and it’s been argued by some that he could have had a straight red there and then.
How is an attacker meant to hold off an opponent if he keeps his arms straight down by his side? I just don’t see his arm swing back to hit out.
The second booking, and thus the sending off, was just idiocy on Hassli’s part but I don’t hold it against him. It was a class celebration at the same time!
As soon as he jumped the advertising boards I said “he’s off”. Atiba Harris clearly felt the same judging by his post game comments.
He’s a fantastic player but he’s no use to us sitting in the stands. He is clearly distraught by the sending off and the damage it has done to the team and the Caps have said they are going to fine him. This is where this matter should now end.
Let’s not make the referee the centre of attention here though.
What we should all be raving about is the team spirit and the fact that NINE men took the game and ran the show against a full strength New England side.
Harris and Khalfan ran themselves into the ground.
I’ve not been Atiba’s biggest fan but you could not fault the guy last night. By then end, him and Nizar’s tanks were on empty.
When the Revs scored the equaliser, the way the Caps players just fell showed you what it meant to them and how much they have given as a team for the three points.
At half time I would have gladly taken the point but by the end of it I was disappointed not to come away with three.
The pace of the Caps breaks in the second half and the way they were splitting the Revs defence apart was breathtaking.
Kevin Harmse looked very impressive when he came on. This is a man that wasn’t deemed good enough by others in MLS, but he was all over that park and a star out there. We should see him start in the middle in Houston on Sunday, with both Terry Dunfield and Gershon Koffie now out through injury and suspension.
At the other end, the defence was resolute. I could not believe that was the same Blake Wagner we saw out there to the one we saw as left back in Philly. Alain Rochat was also outstanding in the middle.
The biggest defensive plaudits have to go to Jay Nolly. Coming off a pretty shaky game on Saturday, he was immense out there. Confident when collecting crosses and in the right place, at the right time for everything. He had no chance for the goal.
The AFTN 3-2-1 for the game is:
3 points – Jay Nolly
2 points – Alain Rochat
1 point – Atiba Harris
It was pleasing to see a crowd of just under 20,000 at our first midweek MLS match. The atmosphere in that second half was amazing and the Southside is rocking better and better each game. When you have opposing players constantly praising the atmopshere and the fans at Empire, you know you have something special.
We also have something special on the pitch.
We should be proud of the squad we have here. They have shown more commitment, fight and spirit in four games this season than some players show for their team in a whole season.
Not every game at Empire is surely going to be as exciting and action packed as what we’ve had so far, but this bunch of players could see us do very well in the MLS this season. Very well indeed.
Mon the Caps.