Q: Which bores you more: 1) When United has bye weeks. 2) Discussions on whether Facu is horrible. 3) Stadiuzzzzzzz Questions.
A: All of the above.
Q: Other DC paper sources state that our favorite defender will be benched this Saturday in favor of McTavish. What's your read on it?
A: All the details, of course, were in the Insider three days before anyone else wrote about it. McTavish likely to start in place of Erpen, but where in the back remains to be seen. On Monday, he was in the middle with Boswell. I'm guessing that Namoff will play right back, Boswell in the middle, McTavish pinched inside on the left, Gros the left back with freedom to patrol the flank. Fred on the right side of midfield, Carroll and Olsen supporting Gomez, Emilio and Moreno up top.
Q: What is up with former Chivas iron man John O'Brien these days?
A: Last I heard, he was working out in the Los Angeles area, hoping to get another shot. With his injuries and inactivity, however, I wonder if his career is over.
Q: Freddy Adu vs Josy Altidore. Is it proof that Freddy was overhyped, or proof that soccer is not a one-player sport and Josy is benefitting from a better team around him?
A: First, Altidore is a goal scorer, Adu is not, so it's difficult to compare. RSL is a bad situation for most every player, especially for a young one in need of a breakout season to fulfill his Euro dreams. Altidore should benefit from the players around him (Reyna, Angel, etc.) more so than Adu.
Q: Is Erpen gone after this season? What is the biggest overall change in D.C. United media relations department since the new ownership took over? If Facundo Erpen gave the ball away but there were not any fans to see it, would there still be boos?
A: Erpen could be gone by June, if he doesn't improve. Media relations is the same (Hicks, Flores, Sheldon). So you're asking, if Erpen gave away the ball in KANSAS CITY, would there still be boos?
Q: Any word if DC would use the designated player rule?
A: At the moment, no plans. However, if this season begins to turn ugly, the front office could take action and pursue a major international acquisition when the June 15 window opens.
Q: Understanding we need to have all our players play better defense, how about this for an experiment: Start one of the next games with Gomez as the withdrawn forward and put Fred at the AM spot?
A: Interesting thought, but it seems the club's faith in Moreno is unwavering.
Q: What are the chances of Fred starting this game on the right?
A: It's time to see Fred go 90 (or at least 80).
Q: Why was Adrian Fenty at our last match if he did not announce anything about the stadium?
A: Was he REQUIRED to announce something? He was there as a guest of Victor MacFarlane, who is soon to become a very big player in city development.
Q: Will we ever know the real story of Jurgen and the USSF? What are the most reliable 'rumors'?
A: Only Juergen and Sunil know for sure, but in my opinion, it would not have been a good fit for either side. The love affair with Klinsmann is a little baffling, to be honest. Germany, playing at home in a World Cup, advanced to the semfinals. So?
Q: If you had the authority to use the designated player rule, who would you pick to come to D.C.?
A: Cannavaro, but that's not going to happen. Either is Ronaldinho, Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. I'd love to see Gattuso one day.
Q: Why is it that the USMNT and the USSF are so reluctant to schedule international friendlies against European superpowers? Granted, I am pretty stoked for Copa America, but if the US has any realistic chance to advance in the 2010 World Cup, we need to be competing less against CONCACAF opponents and more on UEFA teams. I think Sunil Gulati has no idea what he is doing, and therefore should be fired.
A: The USSF isn't reluctant; it's not easy to schedule these games for many reasons (Euro qualifying conflicts, MLS schedule, money, availability, etc.). They just added a match in Sweden. The Gold Cup, against CONCACAF teams, is mandatory -- it's the regional championship. Copa is a great challenge. Sunil can be blamed for the coaching situation, but not scheduling.
Q: Do you still lurk on Bigsoccer?
A: Who needs bigsoccer when the Insider is around? :-)
Q: Will Steinberg be joining you for a tag-team, slap-in, slap-out session in your second straight weekend in Columbus?
A: I was in Cleveland last week, but no, I'm sure he's busy with the Wizards playoff game Saturday night.
Q: Why is it that less coaches in MLS wear a suit and tie? I remember Peter Nowak always wearing a suit and tie, along with most other international managers/coaches, yet MLS and the USMNT coaches wear warmups; I think it is quite disrespectful. Has anyone else made that observation. Do you think it is American thing, or are there coaches in the Premiership who do not wear suits?
A: I've never given it much thought. Sorry.
Q: Were we misguided in thinking that United will be a conteneder this year? Are they really as good as we thought? Are they really as bad as they look?
A: United had the best record in the league last year and added attacking firepower, so it was reasonable to expect them to contend for a championship this season. After two games, however, the attack has not found a rhythm and the defense is a mess. Saturday's match will give us a good indication of whether those first two matches were an aberration or a sign of serious trouble.
Q: Is Addlery the first forward option off the bench (ahead of Walker)? Any inside scoop on these Zidane to MLS rumors?
A: Walker is sliding down the depth chart, in my opinion, and could be gone by the summer. Addlery appears to be a pure striker and would likely be the first scoring option off the bench. We'll see what happens Saturday. Zidane rumors come and go. (Materazzi to DC!)
Q: If you had your pick of the litter of American athletes from any sport, who would you like to be playing for "your" MLS squad?
A: Shaquille in central defense, Kobe and Iverson on the flanks, Arenas at withdrawn forward and Nash in central midfield.
Q: Did you catch the KC game last night, or at least the highlights? How downright embarrasing is the KC franchise to the league with the lack of attendence, on a home opener?
A: Terrible. The weather will scare away a potential walk-up crowd, but how do you sell so few tickets in advance to a home opener?
Q: Instead of having two separate teams play in the same stadium (Galaxy and Chivas), why not move Chivas to Miami?
A: Because Chivas has a Mexican fan base. Millions of Mexican immigrants live in Los Angeles. Few live in Miami. Besides, Miami's stadium situation (for MLS's purposes) is not good.
Q. Do you think Adu has the potential to develop into a starter on an elite club?
A: By elite, do you mean Premiership, La Liga, etc.? No.
Q: If Wilbon gets his wish and covers WC2010 in South Africa, will you get five good minutes on PTI?
A: Wilbon is usually on vacation in mid-summer. I'd love to see a columnist at the WC, but I'll believe it when I see it.
Q: First coach fired: Ellinger or our Scottish friend up in Toronto?
A: Johnston will get a pass this year because it's an expansion team. Ellinger might be in trouble by June.
Q: An 0-2 start really isn't a big deal in MLS, but for a team with high expectations and new ownership, it may be looked at closer. Has there been any actual or apparent pressure coming down from Chang (or one of the other owners) to make dramatic tactic or personnel changes?
A: No pressure from new management -- yet. If this team is struggling in June, you might see the investment team push for a designated player.
Q: Have you ever thought of changing the name of this blog to "Turn your head and Goff"? I'm just askin....
A: Are we in fourth grade again? Yeesh.....Grow up, Count Chocula!
Q: How's Brad North looking in training?
A: He's coming off an injury, so hard to say. He'll need to prove himself in reserve matches.
Q: What score does DC need against Columbus to quiet the natives? If Erpen is out, can he be traded to make room for another defender?
A: 1-0. Sure, they could try to trade him, but he makes around $115,000, and between the salary and his play, I can't imagine there would be many interested parties.
Q: Any chance RSL will replace Rimando w/ Keller?
A: Keller came very close to signing with RSL three years ago. Now, with Moenchengladbach going down, perhaps he will look to end his career in MLS.
Q: Do you see the Designated Player Rule blowing up in MLS's face next year when underpaid but not well known players like Christian Gomez, Shalrie Joseph and Dwayne De Rosario all hold out to try and get their teams to sign them to DP contracts? Can't we spread the wealth to some guys who have already proven they can play in this league?
A: Great point. Most current players understand the DP rule was created to attract international stars, but some will feel, and justifably so, that they should get some of that cash.
Thanks for the questions! Our next Q&A session will be a live online chat next Wednesday at washingtonpost.com
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