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It's All About Argentina

Ah, Argentina -- Buenos Aires, great steaks, Patagonia, Evita, gauchos........and futbol players. Who needs futbol players? Struggling D.C. United could use one, no?

United President Kevin Payne and technical director Dave Kasper are in Argentina as we speak. I just reached Payne, who reluctantly confirmed his location.

Why are they there?

"I think I've been to Argentina six times in the last 18 months," Payne said. "We look at players in Argentina all the time."

True. But who are you looking at today?

"There are two young players who might be available on loan sometime in the future."

And might you make contact with a certain superstar named Juan Sebastian Veron and/or his representatives?

"I have no comment on any players besides the ones I just mentioned."

Don't you dare read anything into that. I'm serious.


By Steve Goff  |  July 23, 2007; 4:05 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Sounds like one of Ben Bradlee's "non-denial denials" to me. "When they call us f'n liars, then we know we might have a problem." - BB ;-)

Posted by: Throwin | July 23, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey JP-- Please take our meager million(s) and help us win a fifth championship at home. DCU love you long time.

Posted by: Ohboyohboy | July 23, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Well, there's $150 million that just got freed up in the budget... ;-)

Posted by: Anonymous | July 23, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

GOFF! you drive me wild.

Posted by: antonio | July 23, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

You're definitely right about our front office finally realizing that we're not a championship caliber team, and that we need to acquire some foreign talent. I just wish they did this earlier...before the vanney trade woulda been nice.

Posted by: Andy | July 23, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Goff, you got any sense of where United's mindset is re: Gomez next season?

I got to wonder if, between United's current play and Gomez' relatively poor performance this year, the divorce is more and more inevitable.

And how Veron would fit into all of this, of course.

Posted by: bdr | July 23, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Feel the pressure Fenty? If not DC, it's Patagonia United!

Posted by: Arrrlington | July 23, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Does KP often go down for signing? Normally an underling or coach would handle this, NO? But if it were a big name, perhaps the presence of the president would be required.

Posted by: DCAustinite | July 23, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse


speaking about guys possibly coming in on loan whats the news regarding the Vagner kid from Brazil??

Posted by: Ben | July 23, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Who is this gaucho, amigo?

Posted by: Dave Lifton | July 23, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Vagner is long gone after a week's trial -- too young and not nearly good enough.

No news on Gomez, but I have a feeling he won't be back next year.

Posted by: Goff | July 23, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

i went to argentina for training a couple summers ago. it was great until i got food poisoning. after a couple days confined to the hotel room toilet, i tried to play in a game against one of the river plate youth teams. i was so dehydrated and disoriented that i didn't know where my head was in relation to the rest of my body.

besides that, a great country. fun times.

goff- any idea what kind of squad dcu will be offering in the super liga group games? you figure soehn will favor younger guys or will he be putting out a full strength line up?

Posted by: longfellow | July 23, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Goff- Do you believe DCU can actually bring a player like Veron? It would be great for the team and as well the league. So do you think its all possible?

Posted by: Luis | July 23, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Seems like a longshot, but who knows.

Posted by: Goff | July 23, 2007 6:15 PM | Report abuse

...Why is he standing
In your spangled leather poncho
And your elevator shoes
Bodacious cowboys
Such as your friend
Will never be welcome here
High in the custerdome

Posted by: Vladimir | July 23, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Moreno being out could have something to do with getting run into by one of the Dallas backup goalkeepers during pregame warm-ups of the 3-3 tie at RFK..... Keeper was chasing a ball and did not see Moreno until it was too late. Called the trainer over and everything, looked like it hurt.

Posted by: Terps_United | July 23, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Veron, DC United's Waterloo

Posted by: !!!! | July 23, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of South America, I was just now catching up on the dead-tree version of this morning's Post, when I came across this article in the Metro section: Although quite frankly, it comes across as old news by now.

Posted by: Go Penn State! | July 23, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I wish I could get a job where I could go to Argentina a lot. Buenos Aires is one of the greatest cities on the planet.

Posted by: Gaucho | July 23, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

So Kevin Payne heads down to Argentina just to look at a couple of players who might be available on loan sometime in the future??

And he does this on a week when he also reportedly said that would be heavy with meetings with the DC government regarding the stadium??

Sure Kevin...nothing's up...just prospecting two maybe possibly useful players who might be available on loan some day...sure Kevin.

Posted by: seahawkdad | July 23, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Man, I knew the stadium situation in DC was looking bleak, but I assumed the back up location would be in the DC suburbs, not in Buenos Aires!

Posted by: soccer nerd | July 23, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Think it is kind of interesting that we argue that the MLS is a more competitive league than we get credit for, but we have to go to S America to get quality players. Goffer is right, United is not at championship quality at the moment, though when Moreno, Benny, Gomez, Emilio have it going we are quite good. I believe it is also fair to call in to question the capabilities of Coach Soehn who also has not impressed with his brilliance.

I believe United is going to struggle to make it to the playoffs and that the Dynamo are the team to admire.

Posted by: crowbar | July 23, 2007 8:32 PM | Report abuse

What about a defender? Don't we need to shore up the defense?
Who comes off the field if we sign a big time midfield? The lineup is currently Olsen, Gomez, Fred, Carroll. Who sits?

Posted by: gomez4prez | July 23, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Please, Oh please bring Veron here!!! We need someone to take some pressure of the midfield. The passing in New York was really awful. Veron would be a big presence in the middle, kind of like a poor man's Viera in his prime, MLS style....

Posted by: VirginiaGooner | July 23, 2007 8:45 PM | Report abuse


Depends on what kind of player we sign, but I see it being Carroll in most situations. The following lists the position the signing plays, and is followed by the midfield we would send out:

RM - New guy, Olsen, Gomez, Fred
DM - Olsen, New guy, Gomez, Fred
AM - Olsen, Carroll, New guy, Fred
LM - Fred, Olsen, Gomez, New guy

I highly doubt it would be a replacement for Gomez in mid-season, so it really becomes the other three scenarios. In all of them, Carroll has to sit. Fred has been most of the thrust of our attack recently, Olsen has been our most consistent player along with Emilio, and Gomez is Gomez. Carroll, meanwhile, should probably already be sitting, with Simms on instead.

There has to be a traditional Argentine #5 floating around that's at or near a Gomez level...right?

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | July 23, 2007 8:55 PM | Report abuse

All this Argentina talk reminds me of Robert Lowell's poem "Buenos Aires," about pre-democratic Argentina. Here's my favorite verse:

"A false fin de siecle decorum
snored over Buenos Aires
lost in the pampas
and run by the barracks."....

[quoted from Robert Lowell, "For the Union Dead"]

Anyway, I hope our front-office guys are doing more there than eating t-bones and drinking cabernet.

Posted by: Mitch | July 23, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Well they make some tasty Malbec's in Argentina as well...

Posted by: AlecW81 | July 23, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Another poetry night, brought to you by the Soccer Insider.

Posted by: Arrrlington | July 23, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

maybe they are trying to get Los Fabulosos Cadillacs to play at halftime of the MLS Cup. I'd love to hear Vasos Vacios in RFK

Posted by: diego r. | July 23, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Go Kevin, Bring Veron back with you! I don't get how some doubt that Veron can be a great addition to United! I do not see any midfielder of his caliber in MLS.

Posted by: Charles | July 23, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Veron, DC United's Waterloo

Posted by: !!!! | July 23, 2007 06:59 PM

All time stupidest comment ever posted anywhere on any site in the history of Internet technology.

Posted by: !!!! is soo dumb, how dumb is he? | July 23, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Goff, you rock! I used to ask what we did before the internet. Now I ask what we did before you!

"Brian Carroll- coming soon to a bench near you"

Posted by: Kire | July 23, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm ignorant of who Veron is, is he bald? I saw argentina in copa america and a bald midfielder was linking all the passes and drew my attention. Thanks

Posted by: fred | July 23, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't quite get it - where would Veron play? It seems like he has to play Gomez's position, right? From what I know of him, Soen wouldn't play him as a CDM, would he? Goff, as long as we're speculating, do you have any non-denial-denials that would shed some hypothetical light on this theoretical situation?

Posted by: Jeff M | July 23, 2007 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Two quick comments-
To Fred: Yes, Veron is the bald guy, with the goatee though, since Cambiasso is bald as well.
-To Jeff: If Veron has to take Gomez position, that is fine. He will be a major upgrade there or at any other position in the midfield. Gomez has been pretty much average, if not mediocre this season anyway.

Posted by: Charles | July 23, 2007 10:58 PM | Report abuse


Sounds like Kasper/Payne get a little frustrated with the inquiries sometimes...

Posted by: Todd H. | July 23, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

I think a lot of the blame should go to the coaching staff. They have been a real let down this season. Change is inevitable. I pray we get a player with Veron's skill. It's the next coming of El Diablo.

Posted by: DC United Fan | July 23, 2007 11:19 PM | Report abuse

fred, The bald midfielder of which you speak is the one and only Juan Sebastian Veron His style of play is actually very complementary to DC's style of possession-oriented slow-building attacks. He's not a goal scorer, but more of a defensive, holding, distributing midfield general who controls the flow and pace of the game. He would have to be replacing Carroll because he is not a flank player, and historically has played further back than Gomez. He was much better after the French World Cup while he was playing in Italy than he was during his time in the EPL.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | July 23, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

for some reason the blog doesn't like HTML anymore.án_Verón

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | July 23, 2007 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget about Cambiasso. He's bald and plays in the midfield, too.



Posted by: JayRockers! | July 23, 2007 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Payne/kasper while you there get a futbol coach, ours stinks... I bet Talon can do a better job!!!!! sorry I am fustrated with Soehn.

Posted by: koolcaio | July 23, 2007 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Relax guys, Veron ain't coming yet. He said no (for now). This was just posted on "Clarin", the most popular Argentine sports journal. For those of you who can't read Spanish it says that Kevin Payne offered him $20 million: $10 million for playing and an additional $10 million for image rights. He politely said no but the article presents this stance as possible posturing on his end, perhaps holding out for more...

Posted by: Allan | July 24, 2007 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Relax guys, Veron ain't coming yet. He said no (for now). This was just posted on "Clarin", the most popular Argentine sports journal. For those of you who can't read Spanish it says that Kevin Payne offered him $20 million: $10 million for playing and an additional $10 million for image rights. He politely said no but the article presents this stance as possible posturing on his end, perhaps holding out for more...

Posted by: Allan | July 24, 2007 12:41 AM | Report abuse

I think the Clarin article (posted by Allan) is detailed enough that we can at least conclude Payne was down there to see Veron.

Unless KP really just wanted a fancy, out of the way place where he could get served by 4 waiters.

They still talk about $20 million with half of it being for playing and half for image rights.

Posted by: garbaggio | July 24, 2007 6:53 AM | Report abuse

I could easily see Gomez leaving after this year with either Jaime or Fred taking the playmaker role. With Kpene and Luciano up front Jaime would do very nicely as the number 10. Then with Bennie and Fred on the wings and a Veron-like d-mid we would be very, very good.
The major point is that DCis willing to splash $10M on salary. You can get a lot of very good mids for that kind of cask. Think about it.
Seerdorf, that's who I would like to see. Makelele, still great
There are others, who do you think would be good if salary is not an option?

Posted by: rrp | July 24, 2007 7:05 AM | Report abuse

The local Telemundo station reported last night that Kasper was in direct talks with Veron's peeps. Seems kind of funny the ownership group is willing to commit so much money with DCU's uncertain future in mind. Or is it?

Posted by: Chico | July 24, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Note this:

"Quedó tan contento, que el presidente del Washington se iba hoy, pero Verón lo invitó al country."

--Veron was made so happy (by the meeting) that he invited Payne (who was supposed to leave today) out to his country house.

Posted by: Shmenge | July 24, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Ives reporting that Fire now set to sign Paulo Wanchope...

Posted by: RK | July 24, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Feel the pressure Fenty? If not DC, it's Patagonia United!

Posted by: Arrrlington | July 23, 2007 05:13 PM

Would create a very interesting situation for the Barra Brava, from what I understand they already have a small fan base in Argentina :-)

So Goff at half season who are your favorites for the MLS Cup? I took a look at your original predictions from the Post before the season started and you seem to still be on track.

Houston vs. KC?

Posted by: Southeasterner | July 24, 2007 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Notice in the article how KP is referred to as the "president of Washington DC". Mayor Fenty will really be mad about that.....

And it sounds like KP & Co. were splashing a lotta gifts and goodies around.....can we get some?

Posted by: Fenty's mad now | July 24, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I predicted Houston vs. KC in the final? Huh?

I thought I picked Houston vs. DC, but that was before they changed the playoff format. At the moment, I'll go with Houston vs. Dallas.

Posted by: Goff | July 24, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

The Olé article says that Verón was very impressed with the offer, really likes the idea, included his wife in the meeting, and is worried about Estudiantes because they sold three key players and didn't replace them. It says he thinks maybe in December he will come. I think the article is a lot more positive than it has been painted here. Verón likes the idea of playing against Beckham, as well...

Posted by: Lost in BA | July 24, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the updates, everyone. If nothing else, I'm impressed that DC's front office is willing to put that kind of money on the table for a signing.

Posted by: stairs | July 24, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Stairs...they don't have to spend the money on a stadium, after all :)

Posted by: RK | July 24, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Love this blog. Props to Steely Dan. Who woulda thought?

Yeah, Veron plays a more defensive central role. Seems where he's comfortable. He looked really good in the Copa, I thought. But the cool thing about that Argentine side, was the fluidity of their mids. Not real static in their positioning. Any of them could be found at any part of the pitch at any given time. Sweet flowing stuff. Veron for coach-player. LOL

Posted by: Matt | July 24, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I remember Veron being more of a holding midfielder than a defensive midfielder or CAM. So he wouldn't be a straight replacement for Gomez. I think he'd play the Reyna/Feilhaber role. I agree that Carroll is probably still the odd-man-out in any scenario.

Having Veron in DC would be a lot of fun. I'm excited about the possibility. But still reluctant to get my hopes up.

Posted by: Shatz | July 24, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Diego r said:
"maybe they are trying to get Los Fabulosos Cadillacs to play at halftime of the MLS Cup. I'd love to hear Vasos Vacios in RFK".

Me too, but I think 'Matador' would be more appropriate. It's such a classic soccer song.

I want Veron, but I don't want to wait until December. We need him now. Splash more cash, KP!

Posted by: David | July 24, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

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