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DCU Training Notes


Is this the MVP? (Jonathan Newton - TWP)

Hey strangers, Steinberg here. Sorry for long-time-no-post. I've been on serious local-NFL-team duty. Will now attempt to vomit up as much from my computer screen as I can before I'm back to local-NFL-team duty.

First off, the new acquisition, Jerson Monteiro. Will write a note about him in tomorrow's dead-tree edition, and some googling would have revealed much of his path to MLS (leaving war-torn Angola at age 14 and all the rest), but I wanted to get it in the paper for the record. He's a big kid, both fast and physical, and Tommy Soehn said that, like any player on the roster, he could figure into the lineup before this year is done.

Also, the MVP race. Luciano Emilio will obviously figure into the talk. (An aside on Emilio; while his first name is pronounced with an "s" sound, his nickname is "Luci," pronounced "Loo-chee." I asked Ben Olsen why the same letter changes pronounciation in the nickname. "Loochee sounds a little more manly than Luci," Olsen said.

Also, I was told that Christian Gomez apparently does not like being called "Gomito." "He was Gomito as a kid; he's a grown-a$$ man," Olsen said.")

Anyhow, thoughts on the MVP race after the jump, and I'd be curious to hear your feelings on the issue. Is DCU affected most by the absence or Emilio, Moreno or Gomez? Do any of them impact DCU more than, say, Angel in New York? I would think Emilio would be the choice as of this moment, just because that's the easiest way to go.

Soehn on candidates:"That's for everybody else to decide after the season. No thanks. We're selling our team. Teams win championships."

Moreno: Luciano Emilio, Juan Pablo Angel, Eddie Johnson. Spoken like a true goal scorer.

Troy Perkins (who, I just realized, might have a future in TV if he wants one): "You know, I'm tired of guys getting MVP's who score goals, because there's a lot of guys that work behind them that do just as well if not better. I don't know, you could pick a couple players from Chivas who have done really well, and we've got some players here who have done exceptional jobs. Luciano has to be one of the top two guys for league MVP this year. He scores all these goals, but he does a lot behind the ball too. I can't even consider Eddie Johnson. I mean, he scores goals but there's so much that goes against him as far as contributing to his team.

"Who else is up there? Christian I think could be a team MVP this year; it's a big difference with him off the pitch, because we lack some creativity without him and he really influences our flow of the game. For Chivas, I think Jesse Marsch has done well. I think he's the heart and soul for that team. He battles, he sets the tone for that club. You take him away, and they don't have any leadership in the middle of the park. They might not be a contender without him."

Olsen on his own chances: "Yeah, that would be a riot. No, I've got two guys, three guys on my team that have more of a chance for that stuff than me. I wouldn't ever really want that award. If you deserve it and you have an incredible year, that's great. But I've had an ok year right now. I've scored some goals. I think for the most part I've played pretty well. It's just that award's reserved for the guys that really take the league over and put their stamp on the league, guys like Christian and Emilio this year have certainly done that. I'm always a fan of Jaime's; this year it's a little bit more subtle because it's not as many goals, but right now we're in first place and he's still the guy that makes us go. He changes the way we can play. He's another guy that's just crucial and that type of player. Talk about valuable player, that's as valuable a player on this team as we get."

(Here's an ESPN.com story that suggests Olsen is a legit candidate.)

Devon McTavish (joking. I think): "Ben Olsen. Seven goals? I mean, come on. He's having a great year. I'd go with Ben Olsen. Or Troy Perkins (as Perkins entered the room).

Perkins on Olsen: "He's had a hell of a year, hasn't he? What, five goals? Seven? Yeah, Benny could be up there, Benny's a top three pick. If he continues to play well, he comes back after this match and continues to play well for us? I mean, look what he did coming off the bench for us against New England. He comes in, we score two goals. He does the same thing as Jesse Marsch, the heart and soul."

What else? Guys are extremely excited about the prospect of getting a soccer field back at Estadio RFK, with the upcoming departure of the Nationals. More on that in the paper tomorrow. "Thank God," was Perkins's response.

Perkins discussed his PK stop on Eskandarian last week. Apparently Eskandarian famously taunted Perkins about his pre-PK shuffle, calling it "the Harlem Shake." I asked whether Perkins had an advantage from practicing against Esky for years and knowing his tendencies.

"I get an advantage from him talking so much [stuff] to me the last three years," Perkins said. "I was going to do everything I could to save that PK. He would tell me I was never going to save a PK, that I do stupid dances before PK's, that I wasn't imposing at all. Finally, look what happens....He wasn't happy, but what are you going to do? If he makes, it he's jubilant for the next year, until he comes back here, and we never stop hearing about it. I think for the front office and everyone on the team, we were happy he didn't score against us."

Lots of talk on the three yellow-card absences this coming weekend: Olsen, Gomez and Fred, who likely won't travel. "Maybe me Fred and Christian can meet up at one of those Argentine steak places," Olsen suggested. Moreno said he "definitely" expects to take on even more of a play-making role against Chicago, and that there's a good possibility he could drop even further back than he has been. "It always makes things interesting," Soehn said of the suspensions, although he'd sooner cut his entire roster than discuss any lineup decisions.

Moreno was also asked about Cuauhtemoc Blanco's somewhat unsavory reputation among U.S. national team fans; "That's between the U.S. and Mexico, we've got nothing to do with that," he said.

Soehn was asked whether the refereeing has been more uneven this year than in seasons past; "we don't spend a lot of time talking about it because over the course of the season it all evens out," he said. "Obviously some situations affect you more than others, but you can't control that. All you can control is the way you play and how you handle decisions, good or bad. I think our guys do a good job of keeping their mouth shut and playing hard."

Concerning the defense, McTavish said he's still willing to play out at right back if Bryan Namoff needs a spell, but that Namoff has been playing well and it might not make sense to tinker with that. Obviously, there are three guys (including Greg Vanney and Bobby Boswell) playing for two central spots.

"There's no bitterness there at all; at least, out in the public," McTavish said with a smile. "But if you see the other two playing well in practice, you're going to have to pick your game up, because there's only two spots. In terms of competitiveness, I think it's great. If you're not playing well, then you shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be out on the field."

Olsen (who, programming note, will be on Washington Post Live on Comcast SportsNet this evening) said he spent the free weekend painting the "man room" of his new house. The man room turns out to be a library outfitted with entertainment-technology stuff. He also said he planned to sue Boswell over the unauthorized use of his images on BobbyBoswell.com.

"I told him I'm going to sue him and I'm going to sue the site, and his response was we have the same lawyers," Olsen said. "His agent is my agent. But I've been with my agent a long time, a lot longer than him, and I will certainly convince him to shut that site down if he puts something on there about me that is unauthorized. All I ask him is to come to me and say, 'Ben I'm putting this on there, is that ok?' All I'm asking for is a little respect.' "


Wow. Yeah. (Via MLSNet)

Also, this photo of Esky tweaking McTavish during last week's game.

"I'm suing Esky for it," McTavish promised. "It's ridiculous. You should see it, I could press charges for it. It's disgusting."

[Note: These final two comments were said in jest.]

Apologies for so much fluff in here; I have to save the more serious stuff for the paper.

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 18, 2007; 3:16 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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