Anton Shunin Araz Ozbiliz

A Losing Pattern

4:19 PMAleks Vee

What do RPL's Dynamo Moscow have in common with the New England Revolution?

If you have been following the MLS lately and just happened to catch Dynamo's latest games, there's no doubt you've noticed a familiar pattern. For starters, the MLS and RPL teams have new managers this season. Both teams have been improving in the attack, creating more and more chances in the opponent's box, leading to quite a few early goals. Yet both the Revs and Dynamo Moscow have also been consistently conceding after those early goals. The situations are almost parallel, with one major exception - the goalkeeper. The Revs would have conceded far more than they already have if not for Matt Reis' skills. With a .729 save percentage and some of the best records in the league, it's no wonder he's been made captain of the team. Reis has been great at stopping difficult shots, including penalties (remember him scoring and then saving a penalty in the 2010 SuperLiga?). The complete opposite of the brilliant keeper is Anton Shunin. Dynamo Moscow's main keeper can't save an average shot on goal, let alone a penalty, and don't get me started on set pieces! If I had a dollar for every time Dynamo has conceded from free kicks last season and in this season's first games, there'd be enough money to finish VTB Arena in under 2 days. 

Dan Petrescu gestures to his team. Photo: Dmitry Korotayev/Getty Images Europe
Dan Petrescu's first league game in the technical area this season just happened to be against his former club, where he faced disqualification for a scuffle with a referee. Since taking up the post as head coach of Dynamo, he has vowed to reform the team into a winning side. Not much of that winning mentality was visible on the pitch during the first half. Neither team made much of an effort beyond holding on to the ball and the occassoinal foul. The game finally started to heat up towards the end when Igor Semshov was in action. His best attempt was more like a pass to the keeper, however, and was easily apprehended by Belenov. The referee booked Semshov a minute later, apparently having mistaken him for his teammate Vladimir Granat, whose challenge should have earned him the yellow. News sources cite dissent as the reason, however. The guests had a free kick that went wide of the net, leaving the last minute of play in Dynamo's hands. Christian Noboa found space in front of the opposition's net and curved the ball in with a right-footed shot that gave Dynamo a 1-0 lead seconds before halftime. As with almost any first half played by the team's MLS counterpart, the New England Revs, Dynamo's first goal seemed to set a precedent for the rest of the match to go in their favor.
Christian Noboa celebrates his goal for Dynamo. Photo: Dmitry Korotayev/Getty Images Europe 
No halftime substitutions were made. The guests got ahold of the ball and infiltrated Dynamo's box. A free kick gave the home team a series of moments to set them off into the attack. Kokorin picked up the ball from Noboa, and, running towards the keeper for a rendezvous, flailed his arms about, earning him a handball and the guests a free kick. Spanish defender Angel Dealbert cleared the ball away after a Dynamo attempt. After an unsuccessful counter by Kuban, Dynamo's Semshov had his one-on-one run with the keeper, but his attempt to shoot the ball over Belenov resulted in the keeper's successful catch up in the air. A dangerous free kick got Kuban the late equalizer. Artyom Fidler's set piece delivery had a slight ricochet off the wall that only helped his shot fly into the net. Aleksei Ionov went one-on-one with Shunin, but his goal was disallowed for an offside. Dynamo had an array of subpar attempts which mostly ended in weak shots aimed straight at the keeper. The team had the ball in the box so many times, that at some point, it was harder to miss than to score. Ozbiliz, who was subbed in earlier in the second half, had a right-footed shot that nearly got Kuban their second goal, if it wasn't for the crossbar. Misimovic, who was subbed in for Semshov, took a free kick for the home team on the last minute of regular time. The ball ended up going out of play, but neither the referee nor the linesman took notice. Kuban picked up the ball for a successful counter in stoppage time, with Ozbiliz scoring the winning goal for Kuban, a left-footed shot during the last minute. Dan Petrescu left the pitch before the referee blew the final whistle. The manager didn't show up for the post-match interview and the press conference. Considering the way the game was going as well as Dynamo's current position at the very bottom of the table, you can't really blame him. But if there's one thing the coach failed to do, it's preventing his team from panicking after the equalizer. 
Kevin Kuranyi was subbed in; the striker's goalless streak continues. Photo: 
Consistency is not only associated with good technique, but with emotional stability, a factor that the blue-and-whites are still lacking. Perhaps observing the reserve squad's games would give them a fresh perspective - the youngsters defeated Kuban's reserves 5-0, and have been on a winning streak for quite some time. The main team also failed to take advantage of the transfer window, or to at least consider the prospect of introducing a goalkeeper from the reserves. By now it's clear as day that Anton Shunin should not be playing for Dynamo or for any club in the Premier League, and it'll be a big mistake if he remains in the starting lineup for the away game against Rostov on the 16th. 

Russian Premier League - 7th matchday
Sunday, September 2, 2012, 8:00AM ET

FC Dynamo Moscow vs. FC Kuban Krasnodar - 1:2 (1:0)
Referee: Sergey Karasev (Moscow)
Stadium: Arena Khimki (Khimki)
1:0 Christian Noboa ('45 + 2')
1:1 Artem Fidler ('65)
1:2 Araz Ozbiliz ('90 + 3')

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