One of the things you learn in the USSF Coaching License classes, especially when Coaching young age groups, is that a result doesn't always tell you the entire story. The Match can tell you far more than the who won or lost, and this was match was a perfect case of that. There are players on this team who lace up their boots and bring their A-Game and there are those who come to collect a paycheck. You can easily see who did what on this day, and you can see who the fighters are in this group. Not once, but twice, Milan pegged Roma back, the same Roma who remains unbeaten, and the same Roma who never conceded more than a goal all season. Milan showed this team can be beat and save a few chances late on Milan could have spoiled Roma's unbeaten run returning the favor.
Looking beyond the result, it all starts with Zapata. A terrible error early on to concede to Destro and a great goal soon thereafter. From that point forward he seemed alive, focused, attentive and ready to play and play he did. The same could be said for his defensive mates with Urby having one of his best most effective games in the red and black. He did well to bottle up runs from his flank and join the attack. It was a crying shame to see him strechered off from a shambolic error from Gabriel. One of two errors on this day and while I was beginning to see some improvement in the young GK, my assessment of a lack of fundamentals and poor decision making was on display today. The no call to floor Urby should bring the point painfully home, just ask Urby.
In the attack Kaka had a driving match and he continues to be the creative force for this team. It was interesting to see him deployed in the alongside Monty who could not meet the demands of the match. While NDJ had DDR in his back pocket Montolivo struggled to find his footing closer to goal and was a bit worse deeper allowing Strootman a bit more space than Poli had much earlier. Balotelli continues to be inconsistent and his late miss hurt, but like all good strikers they can frustrate you to know end only to find one moment of brilliance. Almost the polar opposite of Matri who brings you zero chance at brilliance but works like a mule making space for his teammates. His inclusion made an immediate impact creating space but Milan could not capitlaze.
All and all it was entertaining, it was not a testament to those who enjoy "pretty" football, but it was good football no less. Hard nosed, a bit tough, and a bit chippy. This Milan team is clear in their intent to fight and the heart that was lacking earlier in the season seems to have returned and while the chip on the shoulder is a good start, playing from behind each and every match is not. Progress is good, this draw will be one to remember, but the match told us a few worrying things, What the management does with those worries, say Perin in, Gabriel out, or Montolivo some time on the bench, or a new CB, is entirely up to them.