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Countdown to Kickoff

Sorry, folks, but it's looking less and less likely DCU will be able to put another new foreign acquisition on the field for the first leg of the Champions' Cup quarterfinal series with Olimpia in two-plus weeks. Think about it: Even if the club announced a signing tonight, they would still have to go through the cumbersome process of an international transfer certificate, visas, acclimation to a new team, etc. It's not impossible, but just seems like a longshot at this point.

So having said that, what will DCU's starting XI look like on Feb. 21 in Tegucigalpa?

Barring injuries and assuming Soehn sticks with a 3-5-2 formation for now, this much is certain: Perkins in goal and Namoff, Boswell and Erpen across the back. Gros would be on one flank, Olsen and Carroll support Gomez, and Moreno will play withdrawn behind Emilio. That leaves one open spot on the flank.

So what does Soehn do?

Here are some possibilities:

Of the remaining options, Simms is the best all-around, but can he play outside in international play? Or does he pinch inside and allow one of the outside defenders to run the flank? Kasper seemed to hint the other day that the club has plans to use Dyachenko out wide at times this year. Does he receive his first test vs. Olimpia?

Mediate and Wilson are flank players, but both are coming off serious injuries. I can't imagine they would start right away.

Walker has speed and could play outside, but his unreliable touch is a problem. DeRoux? Too inexperienced? Moose? Jeff Carroll? Arguez?

How about McTavish in the back and Namoff pushes up into midfield? Hmmmm......

The simplest solution? Send Olsen wide and start Simms alongside B. Carroll. But does Olsen still have the wheels to be effective out there? And can he and Gros serve enough effective crosses to create opportunities? If not, the attack will be centrally oriented.

Without Adu and Donnet around and no more newcomers yet, this team has got some issues to address before the Olimpia opener.

What do y'all think?

By Steve Goff  |  February 4, 2007; 12:53 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: For Openers...


I say he puts Eddie Lewis in on the wing.
Cheap bastards.

Posted by: DCAustinite | February 4, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I play it conservative in the first match and wait for the game to develop.

Olsen out wide is our best option with Simms and Carroll in the middle with Gomez. Leave McTavish, Dyachenko and Walker as first subs.

We simply can't afford to get down early and return to RFK in the hole.

Posted by: delantero | February 4, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

You nailed it. That's what we have to go with for at least Honduras, and the smart money says Olsen moves wide to accomodate Simms inside. Personally, I would just prefer Olsen to stay middle and put Dyachenko out wide, as Clyde Simms just doesn't bring enough offensively. As it stands, this roster is good enough to get us past Honduras. This roster is also good enough to get a draw at home with Chivas. Unfortunately, without two more studs, this roster is also good enough to get a 4-0 drubbing in Guadalajara. Please sign two more internationals, I can't take another Mexico embarrasment...

Posted by: Nick | February 4, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Steven, great stuff! This kind of analysis (or "informed speculation") I think is what a lot of us more involved fans have craved for a while. I see why it makes sense to have it on-line rather than in the paper, but either way, I'm just glad you have the forum to do this kind of stuff now.

Without any new signees, and without Wilson or Mediate being ready, I think that really constricts our options. I'd be inclined to go with Olsen outside. I don't think that's a reliable solution for 30+ games. But for one or two games, especially at the beginning of the season, and especially in a competition that means more than a typical summer MLS game, I say put Olsen on the wing and tell him to run it out. We'll figure out a long-term solution in May and June.

Posted by: soccer geek | February 4, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

More proof that the MLS should move to an international schedule. We aren't in shape, and we haven't made enough moves. Crazy. We could use Freddy and Esky...boy are we thin these days. Look at our bench.

For this game, we'll be defensive. I'd go with your lineup. I'd also pray for no this rate, David Stokes may not just make the team, he may start.

Suck it up and give Donnet his money! We need the depth.

Posted by: jj | February 4, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Steven, any inside info on why Donnet wasn't offered a contract? I thought he did a good enough job to get another shot. Olsen on the outside is probably the best option at this point.

Posted by: Hampton, Va | February 4, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

It seems that Donnet ended his chances with the club by having little offensive production over 8 regular season and 2 playoff games and wanting $200k for this season. He was good, but not that good. If DC can't win the first series without an additional acquisition or 2, then they have no chance in the second round.

Posted by: Adams Morgan | February 4, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'm going the echo the chorus on here ... seems like we gotta get both Simms and Olsen on the field and Benny on the outside seems to be the best way to do it. Not ideal, but we should go with the most experienced 11 and shade even a little bit towards the defensive to begin the game.

If Olimpia gets up - Soehn can pull Simms, slide Benny back to the center and bring on Dyachenko for offensive support on the wing.

Posted by: tmc | February 4, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Ugh. Erpen in the back. Erpen is always good for one serious mistake a game. And one attempted Bicycle kick. The XI looks good, i agree moving Benny out and Simms starting there, but with Erpen in there I shake

Posted by: Kenny | February 4, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

It would be a waste to put Olsen out wide, as he thrived playing in the middle of the pitch. I might be alone, but I'd go with Moose on the flank.

Either that or just pick the one who looks the fitest at this point in time.

Posted by: Rich H | February 4, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

In response to Adams Morgan "If DC can't win the first series without an additional acquisition or 2, then they have no chance in the second round."

I say if they can't win the first series, they have no chance of making the second round. let alone with or without any acquisitions :)



Posted by: JayRockers! | February 4, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see DeRoux get the shot. He impressed me last year.

Posted by: Ian | February 4, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I've said it before, but it's great to see news/commentary like this. It's a big step forward for the Washington Post and MLS. The blog's become one of my couple quick news bookmarks.

Posted by: RB | February 4, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

I 2nd the DeRoux suggestion. Play the guy. He had some nice touches last year and seems to have a lot of potential. We aren't exactly spoiled for choice going into this important tourney.

Play DeRoux DeRoux DeRoux was on fire!

anyone else?

Posted by: NA | February 5, 2007 1:30 AM | Report abuse

Sign Nolberto Solano. The Peruvian Beckham! He'll send in some sweet crosses to Emilio.

Posted by: Mitch T. | February 5, 2007 6:03 AM | Report abuse

I like DeRoux, based on what I saw in reserve games last year, but I don't know if Honduras is the right place for the guy to get a start.

I like the Olsen wing option; Namoff can overlap Benny without losing much on defense.

Posted by: Joe S. | February 5, 2007 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Given that it's still early in the season, Ben can't say he's too worn out from too many games. He knows the wing, and can still cross at times. Certainly better to have some experience out there for the first half and then bring in DeRoux or Dynachenko for some danger in the second half if he get tired.

Posted by: DCUinCT | February 5, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Dyachenko gets the start on the right flank. First, he's a big body, which you see less of in Latino clubs. Even though I don't know our oponent, I'd guess he could create some matchup problems in the box for them defensively. Second, lest everybody forget, the coaching staff was seriously high on Dyachenko at the end of last season. To the tune of swapping a first rounder for him last week. Goffs is dead on with the other 10.

Posted by: Matt | February 5, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't Emilio be cup-tied for this match as he played for Olimpia in the UNCAF to advance to the CCC?

Posted by: Brad | February 5, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Good question.

He apparently is eligible because he played in the UNCAF, not the Champions' Cup -- separate competitions.

Posted by: Goff | February 5, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

deRoux gets my vote.

How's that pronounced, anyway? de-ROO or de-ROH?

Posted by: Goose | February 5, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Boss T | February 5, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Why dont we just give up all hope and look towards the 08 season! :(

Posted by: Internet Fan | February 5, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

My first thought was to go with DeRoux on the left wing. We could use that pace. And I was impressed by the brief glimpse we got of him with the first team last year.

Posted by: PJohnson | February 5, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

You have to get Simms on the field. Look how the team did last year when Olsen was with the national team and CSimms and Carroll ran the middle. If I'm not mistaken that was when they went on the 15 game unbeaten streak and jumped out infront of everyone. Clearly they are a better side with Olsen on the field but Simms needs to get the green light for a whole season and I believe he will find his comfort zone and start to add to the offensive end. It is a waste of to sit him for another year. He is a starter on any other team in the league

Posted by: bob | February 5, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I've grown tired of Bennie and his beard. Wouldn't mind seeing some new blood. Why not throw a rookie in there just to mix things up.

Posted by: Beans | February 5, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Benny does great things for beards! and pencil him in for the right midfield slot with Simms and B. Carrol playing defensive midfield. It's a long (very long) season and there will be plenty of opportunities to play DeReoux, Dyachenko, Arguez, McTavish, etc...

Let's put out a seasoned line-up for meaningful games (like Olimpia in Honduras) and have some more experinmentaly/youthful teams in relatively meaningless games (like the early / middle stages of the MLS campaign)

Posted by: Diego R. | February 5, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Every one is talking about new signings but no one is talking about the new owners let alone the NEW Head coach, I am sorry to say I dont see DC going anywhere with this Coach. DC United has the most passionate fans and carries a legacy where ever they play we need / as a matter of fact we deserve a high profile coach. bottom line! nough said!

Posted by: BIGDCUFAN_IN_L.A. | February 6, 2007 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Tommy is a good coach. Screw "high profile" players. We have a good core group of players. We'll do just fine. I look forward to this season.

Posted by: DB | February 6, 2007 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Great stuff, Steve - keep it comin'!

I'm guessing that they'll move Benny out wide and pair Simms with Carroll. Personally, I'd try Simms out wide; I think that Ben's too valuable in the middle of the field.

I liked what I saw from Deroux last year, but I think his game still needs to develop a bit. I wonder what the coaches are seeing in practice - who's impressing and who's not living up to expectations? We never really know how the reserve guys are progressing until we see Mediate come on the field instead of Moose (as happened last year). Any insight on this, Steve?

Posted by: Jeff | February 6, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

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