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United-Olimpia, The Wrap-Up

Let's quickly review the good, the bad and the ugly of United's stunning 4-1 victory in Honduras......

THE GOOD
-- Gomez's first goal from 25 to the upper corner.
-- Gomez's second goal from 20 to the lower corner.
(You think he's gaining some leverage in his contract talks with DCU?)
-- Gros's cross and Emilio's clever little touch before the break for a 3-1 lead.
-- Emilio's humble celebration in front of his former fans.
-- Emilio's presence with and without the ball, his smart runs, and ability to hold possession and ward off defenders.
-- The new Magic Triangle of Emilio, Gomez and Moreno; wonderful chemistry in their first real game together.
-- Gomez's energy and ambition.
-- Perkins's command of the penalty area.
-- United's patience and composure in midfield the final 35 minutes.
-- The game officials; you barely noticed them because they were so good. Quite a contrast to the Puntarenas-Houston crew.

THE BAD
-- Erpen's first-half recklessness. Yikes!
-- Olimpia's overall defending. (They're really in mid-season form?)
-- United's letdown at the start of the second half, which nearly left the match level.
-- The field surface.

read on...

THE UGLY
-- The TV announcing crew of Christian Miles and Paul Caligiuri.
I will cut them a little break because they had to call the game while sitting in front of a TV monitor at the Fox studios in California, but the number of factual errors, mispronounced names and bizarre comments was staggering. Fox Soccer Channel has been a blessing to the U.S. soccer community and should be commended for making these matches available with live broadcasts, but they've got to do better in the booth.

Okay, anything else from the evening stand out to you?

By Steve Goff  |  February 21, 2007; 11:36 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Technical Update

Comments

--"The Trinity" was amazing. Could they be one of the tops in all of CONCACAF?

--How about DC finally scoring off of a corner? Is this the first one ever in the CCC?

--Soehn couldn't have impressed me more and what on earth has he done with the old Moose?

--How many people could have predicted '4-1'? How about in favor of DC United in Central America? Amazing.

Posted by: Dave | February 22, 2007 12:18 AM | Report abuse

--"The Trinity" was amazing. Could they be one of the tops in all of CONCACAF?

--How about DC finally scoring off of a corner? Is this the first one ever in the CCC?

--Soehn couldn't have impressed me more and what on earth has he done with the old Moose?

--How many people could have predicted '4-1'? How about in favor of DC United in Central America? Amazing.

Posted by: Dave | February 22, 2007 12:20 AM | Report abuse

NICE!

Missed the game, but reports are solid.

Question I have is if the people on this board are going to be there next week to support our squad returning victorious from the shores of Tegucigalpa?!

Ok, so maybe there aren't shores there, it might be surrounded by mountains for all I know, but THREE CHEERS TO THE VICTORS! TO THE VICTORS!!! TO THE VICTORS, WE ARE!!!!

DC UNIDO, JAMAS SERA VENCIDO!

Posted by: delantero | February 22, 2007 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Spot on about the announcing crew. By about the third minute I wanted to strangle them.

How on Earth does someone mispronounce Namoff?
At any given time during the game they had any one of 10 guys playing central defense for United.....not one of them was named Boswell.

But Caliguri was spot on when he said "This is the biggest game so far in Tommy Soehn's coaching career." The sad thing: Paul wasn't trying to be funny.

Posted by: Kim | February 22, 2007 12:32 AM | Report abuse

I'm the first to admit it: I was wrong, wrong, wrong. DC United worked. we looked calm, composed and deadly. I would still love, LOVE to see us pick up Eddie Lewis in the English offseason, but I was wrong about us, we don't look weak or bad on the wings or outclassed and we crtainly showed it tonight. let's hope it lasts.

Posted by: DCAustinite | February 22, 2007 1:21 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone else wonder if someone's children puts the formations together before each FSC game? I guess they're still struggling to figure out that DC plays a 3-5-2. Sadly, it's not just with DC, but often with the EPL as well.

Posted by: SpikeFC | February 22, 2007 1:33 AM | Report abuse

This DC team looked miles ahead of Houston in regards to their preparation and match fitness. This looked like a hungry team, a team that wanted to win and wanted to play well for each other.

God bless em, our boys are back!

Posted by: Logan Circle | February 22, 2007 1:39 AM | Report abuse

Emilio is money! And Gomez will be making mo' money with goals like those...

I was worried the squad may run out of gas after half due to lack of match fitness, but they played okay the whole way. Think the back line still needs to come around, but think that will.

So far. So good. See you all at RFK soon!
Dee Cee!! DEEE CEEE!!!

Posted by: NapoleonDynamite | February 22, 2007 2:11 AM | Report abuse

FSC is a very good thing, but also needs an incredible amount of improvement. The worst, for me, was not only when the formation screen showed Boswell as a left back (I'm used to FSC's formation screens just showing who'll be out there in a 442, no matter what they actually play), but that Miles insisted on 2 separate occasions that Boswell would be playing wide and Namoff would be in the middle. Leaving out that this would never happen, there was the immutable fact that you could clearly see Boswell in the middle! They could have at least admitted that they were wrong.

Other than the beginning of the 2nd half (until Gomez scored out of nowhere, we were completely on the ropes), I was really, really pleased with what I saw. I still would prefer to bring Olsen into the middle and bring in a faster player for the right side, but we looked good.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | February 22, 2007 2:13 AM | Report abuse

1. i really like Emilio...and thought this even before the goal. perfect compliment to morenon and gomez

2. Gomez is great...looked great..better than ever....pay him whatever he wants....get him a green card...then citizenship...and hand him the #10 jersey for the US nat team. If portugal isn't ashamed to naturalize deco...and belgium, poland, germany do also...why should we be.

3. Perkins is king of the air...he will play in England or Germany just on that skill alone. 2-3 years...and he's gone. I'd be shocked if he didn't make the 2010 WC team.

4. Reffing was GREAT

5. Olympia fans are AWESOME...the true heroes of the match. If one is an olympia player...they should hand their head with shame for putting out such an effort in front of an inspiring crowd.
I can see why Emilio didn't want to celebrate out of respect for the fans...class move...class fans.
PS: the chicas from Puntarenas are hotter though...

6. Houston looked terrible...and so did the cow pasture that they played on. DeRo looked lost....terrible reffing quite a contrast from the DC Game

7. If olson is on the outside...we need to have Namoff behind him...not el loco Erpen.
Gros-Erpen...Namoff-Olson is a better mix.

8. I actually didn't view Soehn as having a strong game. Our players played the ball backwards in their own third WAY too much. I know that it's our style, and a team also needs to adjust to the pitch. Some of those balls were way too risky only because they'd be bouncing like crazy when they got to our player. Soehn should have corrected that.
I though he waited WAY too long to sub out Moreno and Olson. Moreno because having fresh legs would have been good to protect the 3-1 lead...he could have put in a midfielder and pushed up Gomez..plus it saves Moreno wear and tear..plus injury possibility.
olson...because he had a yellow card...yes he's a vet and should know how to play with one...but Benny only knows one speed..and isn't known for having good brakes...he clatters into guys way too often.

9. I like simms and carroll paired together...both good work rate...solid defenders, do a good job of filling in the defensive holes created by only having three back and make the simple passes....it allows Gomez to do whatever he wants. Our thre attackers are so talented I'm not sure we need too much playmaking from those two...

10. Would someone please tell Moreno to SHOOT..he's giving us fans a heart attack.

Posted by: Matt Y | February 22, 2007 3:09 AM | Report abuse

Steven,
I thought the foreigners played well, and I thought the Americans, save Perkins and Boswell, played poorly. That includes Olsen. That was the one thing that disturbs me, that discrepancy of play. We are still waiting for an American player to have a great performance on the road in an International competition...

Posted by: Nick | February 22, 2007 3:21 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you Steven and it's no mistake that all four goal scorers were foriegners, terrible first touches from Carroll and Simms I thought killed a lot of attacks and it seems DC's defense still haven't learned how to pass the ball have they. But it's way too early to be making any serious critiques on this team, good for MLS good for DC. Houston were pathetic by the way, why did they even show up, same for the refs.

Posted by: Kyle Prather | February 22, 2007 3:52 AM | Report abuse

We're looking for defensive depth? How about a replacement for Erpen?

Last year at this time, I'm willing to cut the guy a break. However, he consistently (with no exception) makes two or three flubs a game that could prove costly.

If you think Moreno's lack of shooting is a potential heart attack, focus on Erpen's play and grab a defibrillator.

Posted by: Jared | February 22, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Goff, the best your boys at the Post could do was the 4th page of the sports section?

Nothing big happened yesterday in the world of NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB so put DCU front and center! We need good press and we need a new stadium before old RFK is torn down and we become MDSoccerplex United.

Posted by: Southeasterner | February 22, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Cut Erpen! Are you nuts. So he's not in shape,
neither was half the team, but he was awesome last
season. We can't afford to replace any defenders
at the moment, let alone are most skillful one!

My question is, if we are able to reinforce the
defense, will they be eligible for the semi's.

Posted by: SeanM | February 22, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Magic Triangle! Magic Triangle! Magic Triangle!

Posted by: soccer nerd | February 22, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

wow, that was awesome.

Whoever said before the game to watch how the ball bounces was spot on.

Erpen makes me soil myself at least once a half.

What were the noise makers that the (great) fans had, they would be singing and then briefly it sounded like screeching monkeys (in a good way). Does anyone know what they were, could come in handy.

Posted by: Rocko | February 22, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

One thing not being discussed here is Simms. I thought he kept sitting in too deep and going too hard to the ball to start the attack, and then giving it away. He also didn't backtrack and mark up very well (it was his guy who got the goal).

His vision and some of the balls he was trying to hit were very nice, but they weren't quite there yet. I'll cut him a little slack for now, but if he can't start hitting and distributing, we have to get another outside back and let Olson go back inside to play that midfield engine role.

Posted by: Grant | February 22, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I think we've already got another winger - the young English kid Casal. I imagine that we might see him out left, Gros on the right, Olsen in the middle, and Simms on the bench before too long.

Posted by: Casal | February 22, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

One other comment to make.

About the officiating. It's not surprising to me, as a ref, that the officiating in that game was as good as it was. All three refs were FIFA refs, (you could tell by the huge blue shields on their right pocket) which is almost never the case in MLS, though our FIFA refs are some of the best in the world.

CONCACAF did the game and both teams a huge favor by giving them that quality of ref. It is not easy at all to get to that level and if you can get there, you know how to call a game.

The broader National Pool of refs here in the U.S. need the type of experience that a FIFA ref gets at the highest level. I think we're getting there with reserve league matches, and a consistent MLS league.

But this was a big game, and I think you've seen in almost all the big MLS games that the best Refs in the country work them.

Now, about that Houston game ... that trainer is an idiot.

Posted by: NW | February 22, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

DCU played far better than anyone could have expected at this point in the pre-season. Gives the fans great hope for the rest of the Champions Cup run and the MLS season.

Steve, you were right about the FSC announcers and their facts. For example, they kept saying that away goals count as a tie-breaker. That's not what the rules say on the CONCACAF web site ("CONCACAF Champions' Cup 2007 Regulations", Article XVII, Section B, Paragraph 1).

FSC, however, is a mixed blessing. Obviously, it is at its best when it broadcasts from Europe and uses English announcers. Fortunately, most of the games with its own announcers, including last night's match, are produced by other networks with the resources to place several cameras around the field. The FSC-produced USL matches are awful, with a single stationary camera that cannot catch any action at the near touchline. Still, at least someone is giving U.S. soccer fans the opportunity to see games from around the world (including last night's great match) and to get a taste of USL and NCAA soccer.

Posted by: ho | February 22, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

For those of us to cheap to pay for FSC:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKOBSok4fBY

Thanks to greekchampion04

Posted by: I-270 Exit 1 | February 22, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

grant you are crazy. simms i thought had a good game. he and bc controlled the ball and got it to the play makers. the two of them did quite a bit of tracking and simms in particular was always offering as an option to relieve pressure in the middle and attacking thirds. it would be a mistake to sit him.

Posted by: rick | February 22, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

grant you are crazy. simms i thought had a good game. he and bc controlled the ball and got it to the play makers. the two of them did quite a bit of tracking and simms in particular was always offering as an option to relieve pressure in the middle and attacking thirds. it would be a mistake to sit him. when did he ever give it away except one ball to olsen that was overhit?

Posted by: rick | February 22, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Sports directors need special training in soccer. Americans can't broadcast soccer because our sports culture is based on football and baseball, where the action is stacatto and repetitive.

The many pauses in F&B have resulted in the evolution of the circumlocutor (Talkus toomuchus) who fills the time with trivia and non sequiturs. The pauses also allow the camera to focus on a single player who just did something significant. What the directors need to understand is that in soccer, THE GAME IS STILL GOING ON!

Having said that, we are responsible for a number of innovations that enhance the experience: lots of camera angles, instant replay. slow motion, and the babe shot.

Posted by: I-270 Exit 1 | February 22, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

While I agree that the announcing was horrendous, I thought the camera angles provided, particularly for replays of the offsides and goals, were terrific. I'd like to see FSC or ESPN hire whoever was directing the feed they were picking up.

Posted by: Mark | February 22, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

When is the last time DC scored off of a corner kick? I believe that stat for last season was as perfect goose egg - correct?

Posted by: Mickey | February 22, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I knew the announcers were bad when my wife said "I could do a better job than these guys." And shambolic?

Posted by: Oscar | February 22, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I agree the announcing was horrid and was startled by the invocation of the word "shambolic," which I was convinced was not a word. Yet, to be fair, it is:

shambolic:

shambolic definition
adj. Chiefly British Slang
Disorderly or chaotic: "[The country's] transportation system is in a shambolic state" (London Sunday Times).
shambolic etymology
[Probably from alteration of shambles.]
shambolic derivatives
sham·boli·cal·ly adv.
http://www.yourdictionary.com/ahd/s/s0315100.html

Posted by: danboleo | February 22, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I wasn't suggesting cutting Erpen...I just think that it's reasonable that we could find somebody solid enough to say, "Hey, step it up or else so-and-so is ready to step in."

Right now nobody in the back has that pressure, and I think that Erpen could benefit from it. Tell Facundo that if he doesn't pick it up then John Wilson is the starting left back, and he'll probably laugh at you.

Posted by: Jared | February 22, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Dave, I missed the game. Did Moose play well?

Posted by: Nordy | February 22, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Actually, a great idea for improving the play by play/color commentary on FSC would be to hire Dave Johnson. Perhaps, he's under contract w/Comcast, but if FSC could get him just for the DC games, that'd be great!!! "It's in the net! It's in net! It's in the net!!!"

Posted by: Dave | February 22, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Wilson won't take Erpen's place.

Posted by: ursula | February 22, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

CD Olimpia gave up defense for Lent. Bodes well for the return leg

Posted by: 4-1 explained | February 22, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"What were the noise makers that the (great) fans had, they would be singing and then briefly it sounded like screeching monkeys (in a good way). Does anyone know what they were, could come in handy."

I think that those ingenious noisemakers were the supporters own fingers and lips ;-) Amazing what you can do with those. Loved the Olimpia fans, they must get the Argentine league in Honduras, because all of their songs were plucked from the terraces of Boca, Racing, etc.

Re: the FSC commentary, when Caligiuri spoke, I found myself wanting to hear more of Christian Miles. I never thought I'd hear myself say that. Caligiuri needs to go back to shampoo ads. He began the night saying "Tottenham Hotspurs" and it only got worse from there.

The new "trinity" could be a nightmare for MLS defenders.

Posted by: Kev | February 22, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I wasn't suggesting cutting Erpen...I just think that it's reasonable that we could find somebody solid enough to say, "Hey, step it up or else so-and-so is ready to step in."

Right now nobody in the back has that pressure, and I think that Erpen could benefit from it. Tell Facundo that if he doesn't pick it up then John Wilson is the starting left back, and he'll probably laugh at you.

Posted by: Jared | February 22, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

New rule....erpen is not allowed to play the ball square or backwards. That should prevent fan heartattacks.

Posted by: Matt Y | February 22, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

New rule....erpen is not allowed to play the ball square or backwards. That should prevent fan heartattacks.

Posted by: Matt Y | February 22, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Kev - those weren't noisemakers...that was the sound of several thousand people whistling at the same time. Pretty darned cool.

Posted by: EdTheRed | February 22, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Sorry 4 the double post! Maybe Houston was too busy checking out chicas n the stands! Good result though. I am going 2 make so much money off chivas fans!! Unless of course they don't advance then I'll die with pleasure and laughter.

Posted by: Matt Y | February 22, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Dave, I missed the game. Did Moose play well?

Posted by: Nordy | February 22, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Sorry 4 the double post! Maybe Houston was too busy checking out chicas n the stands! Good result though. I am going 2 make so much money off chivas fans!! Unless of course they don't advance then I'll die with pleasure and laughter.

Posted by: Matt Y | February 22, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Sorry 4 the double post! Maybe Houston was too busy checking out chicas n the stands! Good result though. I am going 2 make so much money off chivas fans!! Unless of course they don't advance then I'll die with pleasure and laughter.

Posted by: Matt Y | February 22, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Sorry 4 the double post! Maybe Houston was too busy checking out chicas n the stands! Good result though. I am going 2 make so much money off chivas fans!! Unless of course they don't advance then I'll die with pleasure and laughter.

Posted by: Matt Y | February 22, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Sorry 4 the double post! Maybe Houston was too busy checking out chicas n the stands! Good result though. I am going 2 make so much money off chivas fans!! Unless of course they don't advance then I'll die with pleasure and laughter.

Posted by: Matt Y | February 22, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Dave Johnson is a very good soccer announcer and could help any broadcast, but he's got a lot going on these days: Washington Wizards radio play-by-play man and sports director at all-news WTOP Radio in Washington.


Posted by: Goff | February 22, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"Kev - those weren't noisemakers...that was the sound of several thousand people whistling at the same time. Pretty darned cool."

That's what I was insinuating and it was cool! Sounds like they are the best supported team in the Central American leagues.

Posted by: Kev | February 22, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Moose's 20-minute appearance was quite good. After not making much of an impression last year, it seems he has grasped the pro game and is ready to contribute this season.

Posted by: Goff | February 22, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

New FCC Regulation: All broadcasts of soccer games in the US must be announced by Ray Hudson. This goes for cable too. If you don't think that we have jurisdiction over that, then you probably believe in habeas corpus and search warrants too.

Posted by: FCC Commish | February 22, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

New FCC Regulation: All broadcasts of soccer games in the US must be announced by Ray Hudson. This goes for cable too. If you don't think that we have jurisdiction over that, then you probably believe in habeas corpus and search warrants too.

Posted by: FCC Commish | February 22, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

New FCC Regulation: All broadcasts of soccer games in the US must be announced by Ray Hudson. This goes for cable too. If you don't think that we have jurisdiction over that, then you probably believe in habeas corpus and search warrants too.

Posted by: FCC Commish | February 22, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

New FCC Regulation: All broadcasts of soccer games in the US must be announced by Ray Hudson. This goes for cable too. If you don't think that we have jurisdiction over that, then you probably believe in habeas corpus and search warrants too.

Apologies in advance for the double post.

Posted by: FCC Commish | February 22, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

if they can get Bruce Arena to pull double duty, coaching and announcing, maybe they should get John Harkes to do the same. I always though that he did an excellant job as a color commentator.

We definitely need another 'skill' player in midfield, who can get the ball, calm things down, and distribute. Will Casal be it? It's too bad that Ruy deal didn't go through because if we had another Brazilian maurading down the right side of the field things could get very interesting.

Anyone know why Erpen was playing right back and Namoff left back, when almost all of last year they did the reverse? I know that at the end of 2006 Erpen moved over to the right but that was so he could be on the same side of the field as Donnet, which is obviously not the case this year.

Posted by: Diego R. | February 22, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Erpen is most comfortable in the middle and on the right. Namoff can play either side, although he has more experience on the right.

Posted by: Goff | February 22, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I too shook my head at "Shambolic"

but then later on i watched the tape of Liverpool-Barca, and they referred to the Barca defense as "shambolic" on one occasion...

two incidents in one evening... coincidence?

Posted by: mangle | February 22, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Gomito's first goal was a thing of sublime beauty, a long, arcing strike that would give pause to even the most ardent of eurosnobs.

Also, "shambolic" is really not THAT uncommon of a word...

Posted by: Anonymous | February 22, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Ditto on the announcers. One extra fact that drove me nuts:

It's "Puntarenas," ONE word, NOT "Punta Arenas." The announcer said he'd visited Costa Rica, so one would think he'd have learned the local pronunciation...

Posted by: Juan-John | February 23, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Steven,

Gomez' 2 goals and performance all last season were simply on another level not commonly seen on our shores. I know he's already 32 but what do you think about getting him American citizenship for the national team? He'd be the automatic #10 hands down.

Posted by: Steve | February 23, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

If you look closely at Jaime's (non)shot, the ball gets away from him and by the time he regains control the defenders are on top of him. I thought it was a great move just to retain possesion.

Posted by: Chico | February 23, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Erpen is good for a bonehead play every game...but we usually overcome them and they're offset by his occasional goalscoring.

Olsen out wide is fine because Caroll and Simms cover so much ground and are hesitant to go too far forward. It's not his best position, but he did break into league out wide and has plenty of energy.

And the guy calling the Barca-Liverpool game, Seamus Mallin (sp?), has diarrea-of-the-mouth.

Posted by: Eric Mondero | February 23, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

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