What we learned vs. San Jose
Our ‘Caps moved up to second in the Western Conference with a hard fought 2-0 win over an in-form San Jose Earthquakes team.
So what did we learn?
The NRC effect
Nigel Reo-Coker sets up Camilo for the winning goal
Nigel Reo-Coker has quietly gone about his business in helping our ‘Caps become one of the top teams in MLS. He has been a consistent performer, controlling the midfield with biting tackles and endless energy.
Then you get a game like Saturday. This time he was not so quiet as he took the game by the scruff of the neck.
When he took off on that run for the first goal, you could sense something special was going to happen. We have seen it before with Nigel. You felt that nobody could stop him. And they did not.
It was a marauding run as he powered his way into the box and sent a great ball for Camilo to score the winning goal. His play really inspired the team as the rest of the players followed his lead and controlled the rest of the match.
It was a very tight game that could have gone either way until Reo-Coker decided to take matters into his own hands.
Energized 'Caps put match away with second goal
This time last year we were in the midst of a major slump, the team looked tired, and it appeared we were running on fumes.
Not this year.
This past Saturday the boys were in a battle with a desperate San Jose team trying to stay in the playoff race.
After a very tight first half our boys seem to get stronger and stronger in the second half as we wore the Earthquakes down.
As a good coaching staff does, you learn from past experiences and adapt, which is what Martin Rennie and his staff have done.
Their preparation for each game, rest days, and how they train, has kept this team fresh.
While other teams have hit the wall and are beginning to feel the effects of a long season, our ‘Caps appear confident and full of energy as they continue to push through this tight playoff race.
Ousted comes up with massive save to keep match scoreless
Last week I talked about Ousted's presence in the goal. This week it was all about his quality.
In my conversations with goalkeeper coach Marius Rovde about David, he told me his biggest quality was being able to make the big save at key times and wining games for his team. Well he made two big saves on Saturday in a match that could have gone either way.
Late in the first half he made an incredible stop on San Jose’s Cordell Cato after the shot deflected off of Jordan Harvey's heel and went through the legs of Johnny Leveron.
The ball was destined for the bottom corner, but Ousted showed amazing reflexes as he followed the ball and sprung to his right to palm it out.
His second save came just before we scored our first goal. After a free kick was sent into our box and headed across goal by Clarence Goodson, it looked like San Jose striker Chris Wondolowski was in position to tap the ball into an empty net. But Ousted dove and stretched every muscle to get a finger tip on the ball and redirect it behind Wondo, which enabled Reo-Coker to block his effort on the line.
It’s becoming clear what Rovde saw in Ousted when he was scouting him. A real game changer.