If you've ever been out to D.C. United's training grounds outside RFK Stadium, you know that the temperature there is always about 10 degrees cooler than the rest of civilization because of the vast open area around the fields. Which of course is a big problem when the temperature is already below freezing and a biting wind is picking up speed as it approaches the corner of 21st Street and Oklahoma Avenue. Most of the players wore caps and sweatpants, all had heavy upper-body apparel. Not a pleasant 90 minutes to start preseason.
A few items of note:
-- Matthew Andongcho of Cameroon is working out with the team but has only a remote chance of making the roster. In fact, it's unclear whether he'll accompany the club to Florida next week.
-- Stephen deRoux was excused for personal reasons.
-- New assistant Chad Ashton has arrived.
-- Dana Leary, the Gonzaga High grad who was the Division III player of the year at Williams College, was not invited to preseason workouts. He's 6-4, but perhaps a step slow for MLS. He is also expected to work out with New England next week.
-- No news on foreign signings or on Jay Nolly's status. DC should know for sure about Nolly this week.
-- Brazilian forward Luciano Emilio made an immediate impression and worked well with Jaime Moreno. "I have a good understanding with Jaime," he said. "It seems like we've been playing together for three years." Emilio said the cold weather does not bother him too much, making mention of his time in Germany years ago, "but I prefer tropical weather."
-- Ben Olsen: "I'm very excited to be back. it's a great year for us, there's a lot going on and we have a lot of competition where we can further the brand and make some money! We've got a lot of work to do in a short amount of time."
-- More Olsen, on playing so many non-league games: "It's not too much. Fortunately, Tommy's in charge now. If it was Peter, it would be way too much." Ben was joking. We think.
-- Soehn: "Today we just kind of threw them out there and let 'em play and let 'em figure themselves out. The next few days we're going to put them in refined situations so we can see where they rate."
-- Soehn, on participating in today's workouts: "I felt old!"
-- Soehn, on Emilio: "He does well. You can see the first day he's already linking up with Jaime pretty well. He's a soccer player and he's got a good soccer brain." Soehn intentionally paired Moreno and Emilio on the same team and let Gomez play on the opposite side to see how Emilio would do. "The first signs were very positive."
-- Soehn, on rookie Jay Needham: "He's a smart player. It's going to be interesting to see how he fills the role. He reminds me a little bit of Bobby [Boswell] when we first got Bobby. They have similar qualities, as far as how he reads the game and how he communicates."
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