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Kansas City Preparations

Greetings from Estadio RFK, where United is preparing for not only the Wizards Saturday night, but more awful weather. Consider: If, as expected, the heavy rain arrives tomorrow, United will have played all three home matches (Olimpia, Chivas, KC) in brutal conditions. Not to mention last weekend's cold and snow in Denver.

Anyway, a few notes to pass along, followed by comments from Tom Soehn and Bobby Boswell......

-- Mayor Fenty will join lead investors Victor MacFarlane and Will Chang for pregame ceremonies on the field. I'm taking bets as to what date they'll proclaim for opening day in the "new" stadium at Poplar Point. Hmmm.....

-- Ticket sales have surpassed 19,000 and, under normal circumstances, that would be an indication of a total turnout of more than 22,000. But with the weather, who knows...

-- Rod Dyachenko remains sidelined with a knee ailment. "It's gone on a lot longer than we expected," Soehn said. "We're not sure how long it's going to take. Different people respond differently. MRIs have been negative."

-- United's game in Kansas City on Sat., Oct. 6 has been moved to Fri., Oct. 5 because of scheduling conflicts with the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. (The NFL schedule was released this week, causing MLS to scramble in a few markets.)

Continue below...

On preparations: "We've had a pretty serious week. Obviously, any time you come off a bad performance you are looking to get back on the field and rectify it. I just think they are energized again. We were pretty drained from traveling and being anyway. Just getting home and from the first day you could see a new mentality from the guys."

On the overall defensive effort: "Our shape and organization were really bad. We let their outside backs become playmakers. Instead of dictating play, we allowed them to dictate, and we lost the flanks. It didn't just come because of our flank guys; our defenders pulled them too deep. It's a bit of a cat-and-mouse game from the flanks, and they won the battle. But having said that, as a team, we weren't good enough. We played predictably, we didn't keep the ball, we broke down in so many different areas you can't really pinpoint the blame on any one guy."

On the young flank players: "Anytime you put new guys on the field, they need instruction from the guys who are veterans. I don't think they did a good job giving them proper instruction. Had everyone played up to par and you injected new guys, they're probably going to be successful. It's not their fault. They gave what they had and, on the day, the team wasn't good enough."

On Fred's adaptation: "He's starting to understand it. He just needs some warm weather. I do think it has affected him. He hasn't been around cold before and it's a hard adjustment. Having said that, he's been with us and watched us play, he's trained and gotten into games. His comfort level is going to increase more and more."

On K.C.: "They haven't made a lot of changes. They have a couple young guys playing, Hartman was a nice upgrade. The one gray area is what kind of mentality a new coach brings. Ultimately, we haven't spent a lot of time on them because we don't have a lot of information on them. They haven't played yet. We just have to focus on ourselves; we shouldn't have to worry about other teams if we do what we need to do."

On last week: "Our shape from the outside in was pretty bad. We weren't really connected and we got exposed when they switched the ball pretty quickly. But overall, the intensity wasn't there. We didn't really have the fight. Even when we got the goal, it was ugly. The thing was, we built up pretty well to that game so it wasn't like we could see it coming. It was a shocker. So this week we've made sure we don't come out like that again."

On K.C.: "They're a really good team and have one of country's center backs starting (Conrad) and have some athletic guys who can score goals. They are one of the tougher teams. Everyone talks about these power ratings, but for my money, they are one of the teams to beat in our league, for sure."

Okay, the moment you've been waiting for: My prediction for the starting lineup:

Perkins, Erpen, Boswell and Namoff in the back. Olsen on the right, Carroll and Simms behind Gomez and Gros on the left, with Moreno and Emilio up top.

By Steve Goff  |  April 13, 2007; 12:37 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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