Top Ten: Thoughts that arose watching US Open Cup
1Southlake StinksAs small a stadium as Old Panther Field is, it still would have better than Southlake for two simple reasons: it has grass and it doesn’t have football lines.  If there is one great legacy of Southlake, it is that the idea of turf in Lamar Hunt’s House of WA was killed off with absolute certainty for all time.  And maybe turf at any other MLS venue was killed off too.
2Nunez oh la laTold you he could play.  You can see so much potential. Moments of pure brilliance and skill, but very inconsistent.  You can see the improvement in his defense though.  Is he ready for the burden of starting in the middle of a MLS game? no, but his minutes are going to go up and up until he is ready.
3Gibbs the ManWhat a stud this guy is.  Never panics, flawless positioning, great in the air, immense strength, fantastic pace.  Without Gibbs the Burn are a .500 team.  With Gibbs they can be much, much better.
4Reyes OuchThe tackle for the second yellow was a little reckless a la Chris Gbandi, particularly since he was already carrying a yellow.  But give him credit for getting up and defending himself to Bilyk.  And nice to see his teammate in there too.  He was not challenged defensively and showed well getting forward, but made too many poor passes for my taste.  I will give him the benefit of the doubt for not having been in many games
5Thompson ToughNow that is how you make a tackle to make a point.  As Jason said to me late, “You can’t let a team like that, with that kind of skill level, get away with that kind of stuff.  We have to show them you can’t come into our house and try and push us around.”  Good for you Kid.  The only bad part was it took Jason Thompson to do it instead of a ‘regular’.  JT would earn more playing time from me just for that tackle on Bilyk.
3Solid BehnckeMatt sure brings a feeling of calm on the left with his solid defense.  I like the way it balanced out Reyes’ tendency to head up field on the right.  Behncke is one of the few players in Burn history to get better and better every year without peaking.  He may yet become a real MLS level starter, he is already valuable on the bench being able to play four positions.
5Not So Dynamic DuoI actually really liked the Stone/Valakari combo.  Simo’s positional sense and nose for the ball are flawless.  Jordan has always been a terrier and has brilliant work rate.  They looked very good together.  It actually made start to think of how we might use this combo more.
7Inferno FormFabulous work by the inferno from the opening lineups where Virginia Beach players acknowledged the “YS” chant all the way to the end of the game.  Classy to not “YS” Former Burn players Dove and Washington.  Hilites included “Headbands are for Chicks” and “Shut your pie-hole” to Bilyk.
8Killed the KidsThe Burn’s inability to kill off the game in the second half, primarily due to being down a man, killed any chance the kids had to get into the game.  I was really looking forward to seeing playing time for David Wagenfuhr and Ty Maurin.
10Goodson PotentialYou can see potential in Goodson too. He is still fairly raw, but was good in the air in this game.  His anticipation and positional understanding still need work but that will come with time.  In particular I thought he was calm on the ball and passed well out of the back, especially considering his limited playing time prior to this.

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