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D.C. United's Laser Man

Goodstein in action. (Tony Quinn/WireImage)

As Jaime Moreno and Luciano Emilio have rapidly nursed their sprained ankles back to health, they have used compression sleeves and electro-stimulation, Thera-Band resistance devices and Game Ready boot-like devices that deliver "intermittent compression and adjustable cold therapy." They've been instructed to spell out the alphabet with their injured ankles two or three times a day, and they've been through ultrasound treatments. Finally, they've been blasted, if that's the right word, with infrared beams from a $12,000 laser that the team has on loan for the playoffs.

"Hocus pocus," joked Ben Olsen about the laser.

"It's [bleep]," Moreno added, but he was just joking, too. "It must be good," he later said. "I mean, people work and study all these new technologies..."

And the lasers and streams of ice water and alphabet exercises seemed to have served their purpose. Moreno--the team's captain and offensive engine--and Emilio--the team's leading scorer and MVP candidate--both say they're on track to start tomorrow night's playoff game against the Chicago Fire.

"I'm great," Moreno said today.

"I try to start the game," Emilio said. "When I feel not good I must change, but I think I'm ready. I think I [will] not have problem. I don't have pain."

This was happy news for Brian Goodstein, the team's head athletic trainer and strength and conditioning coach, whose job got a bit more complicated when United's two most important players were injured in the final game of the regular season. For D.C. sports fans, this was Gilbert and Caron redux, the two stars hurt at the worst possible moment. For Goodstein, a frontrunner for MLS's trainer of the year award (really), it was "pressure time," although he said injuries to any players put pressure on the trainer, "whether they're the best two or the worst two."

In this case, Goodstein--who wanted me to insert a plug for his training staff--has been seeing the injured stars two or three times a day since Ankle Sprain Fest '07, meeting with them before training, during training and after training.

"Too much time," Emilio said. And what do they talk about during all this time together?

"We talk about sex," said Moreno, who's been urging Goodstein to start a family. "But I'm not his dad. He's gonna decide when he's gonna have children. Well, not him, his wife."

Anyhow, Goody, as he is universally known, feels good about the two stars heading into tomorrow and said he wouldn't be dreaming about ankle ligaments because "I pretty much leave my job at work."

"I'm happy, job well done, but again, it's my job to get them back in the quickest and safest time possible," said Goodstein, in his fifth year with United. "Just doing my job."

(By the way, Goody is a former collegiate wrestler at the University of Delaware who United's players say could thrash anyone in the locker room if he so wanted. That apparently increases the effectiveness of Goodstein's medical advice. "You kind of have to do what he says," Olsen said, "or he'll get you in a spladle.")

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 31, 2007; 6:12 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: College Basketball Begins in Foggy Bottom


Every time I read something Jaime says, I fall a little more in love with him. And I am not ashamed.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 31, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm really not sure what to say after reading that. I think that's a good thing. I've thought about this a few times and still can't decide who would be Arenas, Luciano or Moreno? Vamos United!?

Posted by: sitruc | November 1, 2007 12:36 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: S | November 1, 2007 1:06 AM | Report abuse

That's team leadership for talk.

Can't wait for Luciano to build his command of English. That enthusiasm for life that he exhibits is gonna result in some outrageous quotes...

...and Dan, you're just the man to capture them and weave them into a great read.

Props to you, as usual.

Posted by: seahawkdad | November 1, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

"Get you in the spladle" - isn't that what happened to the Middies Saturday?

Posted by: Rob Iola | November 1, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Of course, Dan, if you really loved us you'd learn Portuguese.

Posted by: seahawkdad | November 1, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Which alphabet? English? Spanish? Portugese? American Sign Language? Come on Dan, give us the details.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | November 1, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Vamos United! Can't wait!

Posted by: Scroot | November 1, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Hocus Pocus?

Can we get a little abra cadabra these days?

Posted by: | November 1, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

good news that the athletic trainer can heal our boys up in time for the playoffs....

but wtf were they doing playing in the last season game anyway? No one on the field was really trying, we'd already taken our playoff spot and won the supporters cup...

No need to risk the injury in the first place.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 1, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Leave it to a kid from PA to name-drop the spladle! Now, who knows where the name comes from?

Posted by: grotus | November 1, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Agent Steinz: You heading to Estadio RFK this afternoon? make the day go by faster...

Posted by: EdTheRed | November 1, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Easy grotus. It's Wade Schalles' name for the funky move that is a combination between a split scissors (or banana split) and cradle. And I plead the fifth if ever asked about being caught in one. :)

Gotta love Benny for dropping some PA wrestling knowledge.

Posted by: Brian | November 1, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Great piece again Burger

Posted by: Dave | November 1, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Would that make the spladle the same thing as a ball-and-chain?

Posted by: AlecW81 | November 1, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Yay for athletic trainers!! Thanks for saying athletic trainer too, it's a pet peeve to be called "trainer".

Go United!

Posted by: Jenny | November 1, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

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