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Today's Papers


(Lois Raimondo - The Washington Post)

Notes while wondering how long until Goff and I can make a living with TheSoccerBlog.Com, or whatever it should be called.....

My story in the dead-tree edition about Luciano Emilio. Among other things, the Honduran question is discussed. He's very well aware of the media reports of him possibly playing for the Honduran national team, but he said no formal contact has been made yet and he didn't want to speculate on what he would say. I'm not completely straight on the formal process of getting him qualified, but he spent more than four years living in Honduras, which I'm told makes him eligible.

Bonus quote from Tommy Soehn, when asked about Emilio's English skills. "It's unbelievable, how anyone can adjust that fast," Soehn said. "He speaks better English than Josh Gros."

(More bonus quotes:

Emilio on being removed early against Dallas: "It's very difficult, this moment, because I want in this game to score, and then but I have a little problem, hamstring, I cannot [be a] 90-minute player, but that's ok. I think after problem, we must little little [play] and then every game more [play], more minutes."

Olsen on Emilio's reaction upon being removed early: "I mean, who wants to come off the field, you know? Nobody wants to come off the field, nobody doesn't want to start the game. It's just kind of how the profession of soccer works. But you know, it doesn't mean you have to be happy, you just deal with it in the right way. He didn't say anything publicly. I didn't even really notice anything went down, to be honest."

Salt Lake Tribune preview, which calls Emilio "terrifying" and sums up RSL's chances thus: "uh-oh."

The Deseret Daily News quotes Esky and Rimando on their homecomings, and also provides a stadium update, which seems promising.

The Utah student paper has a long preview that says RSL is still within striking distance of the playoffs, which seems farcical to me. Also, Jason Kreis talks about pushing forward more aggressively.

The AP reports on the ongoing efforts in St. Louis to land an MLS franchise, which may have taken a step forward yesterday. Much more in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which quotes St. Louis bid leaders as saying they hope to know their fate within 2-3 months.

The New York Sun is skeptical about the prospects of a reborn WUSA.

Here's the NYT's Jack Bell on the top MLS newcomers this year. Fred and Emilio, of course, are both included. Btw, have they been given a dual nickname yet? If they play up top together tonight, they surely deserve one. All I can come up with at this early hour is this: Their initials + DCU= EF U. Can I say that here?

Check back later for some notes from Esky and Nick Rimando, hopefully.

Questions:

Will Esky/Rimando get cheered tonight?
What cities should be next in line for MLS expansion?
Will a women's pro league ever work?

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 12, 2007; 11:13 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Today in Eagles (Spoiler Alert)

Comments

Yes, Eski and Nick (and Eddie....and to a lesser extent Talley) will get applause tonight during intros. After that, all bets are off.

With San Jose already announced, two of Seattle, Philadelphia, and St. Louis will also get in. Maybe all three if they get greedy. Portland, another New York, and other places like Cleveland are on the outside looking in.

Of course a women's pro league can work. The issue is scale. WUSA had these grand visions that were just unrealistic. Hopefully the new plan is more modest.

Posted by: Kim | September 12, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

"He speaks better English than Josh Gros."

Yeah, but does Luciano Emilio speak better English after running a marathon in protective headgear?

Posted by: Inquiring minds want to know | September 12, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Will Esky/Rimando get cheered tonight? YES - from me at least!

What cities should be next in line for MLS expansion? Philly - Miami

Will a women's pro league ever work? i wish it would but it will be tough!

DCU 2 - 0 tonight.

Posted by: bobf | September 12, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Emilio, the article also used the word "electrifying". Apt, to say the least.

Posted by: Ron | September 12, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Expansion in Philly. Although I agree with those who worry about the dilution of talent.

Instead of expanding to St.L., just move the Wiz.

Posted by: Kyle | September 12, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I'll certainly be cheering for Esky on his return. Maybe a new banner, "We Fear the Head Gear!" -- or maybe that's too much.

In any case, it'll be good to see him out there, even though we'll be stomping his team shamelessly.

;)

Posted by: rke | September 12, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Fredilio...a feared two headed Brazilian scoring machine.

Come on lads!

Posted by: Tweaked | September 12, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

RSL is getting their SSS before DCU?!?! It seems they are doing it the right way too; midfield player entrance, no bench seating and a permanent stage. Now if we could only get our act together and break ground. oh wait, that would require a deal with the city, i guess i will still be around in 2020.

Posted by: J-Mart | September 12, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

So, Steinz, what did Goff eat that has him "under the weather" and unable to chat with his minions today?

Posted by: EdTheRed | September 12, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm definitely wearing my #11 (Esky, not Emilio) tonight!! Nicky and Alecko will always be part of United. And, as someone mentioned, don't forget about Eddie Pope!

Expansion - St Louis (east), Seattle (west)...if another two teams, then Philadelphia (east...though maybe Atlanta?), Portland (west).

And Chivas should move to San Diego.

Posted by: DE | September 12, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

FSL's stadium "seems promising." Uh, yeah. A hell of a lot more promising than our stadium, in that it, umm, exists. Thank you very much Mayor Fenty.

Posted by: DJC | September 12, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

For nicknames, how about Bacardi and Diet Coke? Those commercials were way funny. Or another drink that goes well together... Black & Tan? Or how about my favorite Brazilian words: Cachaça and Pao de Queijo?

Posted by: apqjr | September 12, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Great. St. Louis and Philly want teams and are working to get them, while all we get here is Mayor Photo Op coming out to RFK to pick up his free kit and lie to us. I wonder what kind of message that sends to MLS. I don't mind if the man doesn't support a soccer stadium, just don't come on opening day and flat out lie. I wonder if we'll actually be sitting at a match when his wrecking ball comes a-knocking?

Posted by: cd | September 12, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

How about Cachaça e Caipirinha?

Posted by: Soy United! | September 12, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Although I think the south needs a team, I just don't see an ownership group stepping up in Atlanta yet. Philly, StL, and Seattle are way ahead. And all three would be great locations.

How does Emilio qualify for the the Honduran Seleccion?

BTW, don't forget about Adu's return tonight! I guess MLS can't schedule everything perfectly...

Posted by: RK | September 12, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Will Esky/Rimando get cheered tonight?
They better be. They are good parts of DCU's history.
Talley and Pope (are they honoring him tonight since this is his last trip home?) will get recognition too.

What cities should be next in line for MLS expansion?
I think they need to address the teams that are not drawing well before they continue to add more teams. I have no issues with moving teams though (SJE to Houston worked well).

Will a women's pro league ever work?
It can, but they have to go about it right to get it off the ground. From what i've heard so far, I think they are making many of the same mistakes they made last time. They should only be in MLS cities to start with and work out deals with the clubs/MLS to use them to get a leg up (joint marketing, double headers, etc..) and hopefully cut some significant costs.

-dave

Posted by: gnat | September 12, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

1) Yes, they should be cheered
2) Philly and St. Louis. Both prepared and have large population of soccer fans.
3) Yes, if they have reasonable expectations, and if USWNT wins the World Cup.

Posted by: ek | September 12, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Which facts is worse -- that the assist leader for RSL is Freddy Adu, or that the leader has 2 assists?

Posted by: RK | September 12, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Fredilucigol?

Posted by: G-Dub | September 12, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

My biggest fear with considering additional expansion is dilution of talent affecting the level of play. I really hope that they don't add more teams too quickly (next year). To me, they would better address the long-term prospects of the league by improving the number of senior roster spots from 18 to 22 than by doing anything else. When you lose young prospects to USL2 teams because they can't pay the bills, the need for more compensation is obvious. Designated Players help pack the stands now, but more roster spots helps increase the level of play, which will raise the interest in the league and allow them to turn a profit now and in perpetuity.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | September 12, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I know I will be cheering Esky and Rimando, eventhough Esky seems a little peeved to be gone. I am glad Nick has a starting role somewhere. I have seen him make some great saves in games where RSL should have lost 7-0 or 8-1 and only lost 2-1 or even tied. I will cheer them both, and of course Pope.

I really want a women's league to work. I agree with statements above that if they keep perspective on the sacel that it can succeed. The excitement my girlfriend has when watching the WNT play is great to see. I guarantee we would be season ticket holders. I think the league can succeed by choosing its markets, knowing its constituents, and establishing itself as what it unfortunately is, a niche market for an under appreciated sport. If they don't expect 20,000 seats full every match they can establish a viable business plan.

Posted by: T. Henry | September 12, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Chivas should totally move to San Diego. Couldn't do any worse, and the players would love it. Maybe (just maybe) they could tap into the Tijuana market as well. That has long been a reason for Mexico playing international friendlies at Qualcomm.

How about Fruciano Fredilio? Or Luced Emilied? I'll keep tryin'...

Posted by: T. Henry | September 12, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"My biggest fear with considering additional expansion is dilution of talent affecting the level of play."

My biggest fear is losing players to the expansion draft.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 12, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Ok, last one, Luced Fremilio?

Posted by: T. Henry | September 12, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

For Fred - Tyrannosaurus Fred - that just makes me giggle.

For Emilio - How about Lucky Luciano? Although it's mostly skill and talent, but I'd love to see a photo of him in a tux with a smoking Tommy gun. Classic.

And for the two of them? How about Brazilians a Millionz? Or the Million Dollar Brazillians?

Posted by: Grotus | September 12, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Move Chivas to Tijuana? They would have rename them the Donkeys.

Posted by: RK | September 12, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Expansion:
MLS is at 13 teams right now. Add in San Jose, and that's 14. I'm all for St. Louis, and I'm split on Seattle over Philly (the Sounders have a nice base... but it'd be nice to have a closer rival than NY).

The important consideration, akin to watering down the talent, is that every other major Euro league has 18 or 20 teams. (Italy - 20, Holland - 18, Germany - 18, France - 20, EPL - 20, Spain - 20).

And really, most of those teams could actually stand going down to 16 teams, as there are always 6-7 bottom dwellers. I'd be happy if the league went to 16 over the next 3 or 4 years, and then froze any expansion until a) all teams in a SSS b) the league turns a profit for 3-years running and c) the lowest salary, even for development, was a liveable wage ($30k?).

If all those things ever happen, then sure - go add 4 more teams... but until then, I think the MLS is just going to be filling the league with bad teams, which doesn't help anyone.

Posted by: Jason F | September 12, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

- Jack Bell's article makes a good case for Angel but Emilio is four goals out in front for the Golden Boot on the hottest team in the MLS, even if Angel did arrive late. On a related note, the club better pick up his option next year given United's depth at forward

- Gnat may be on to something about how to market a women's pro league. Use the drawing power of the successful MLS teams (attendance wise) and try some double-headers. If United had a decent game I would be tempted to stick around and watch a DC women's team.

- How many players do we get to protect in an expansion draft? Creating a bunch of new teams in a hurry seems foolish, yet there are some deserving cities. It is funny to even discuss another New York team until they can pack the seats in the new stadium.

Posted by: Terps_United | September 12, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

The New York Sun article had at least one factual booboo. It stated that the WUSA's Carolina franchise played its home matches at Chapel Hill. In fact, the Courage's home ground was SAS Park in Cary, just outside Raleigh.

Posted by: Section 410 | September 12, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

from an MLS.net article:

"8. What if D.C. United did not start 0-3-1? Would they be considered one of the greatest MLS teams ever? Think about it, say they go 2-0-2 in those opening four games and currently sat with 50-plus points with eight games to play. I ran into Tab Ramos the other day and he thinks this D.C. team is one of the best he's ever seen anyway. But I can only imagine what the opinion would be had they gotten off to a better start. They're good."

http://dcunited.mlsnet.com/news/mls_news.jsp?ymd=20070911&content_id=116765&vkey=news_mls&fext=.jsp

I always thought the late 90's DC teams would never be matched in this league, Etcheverry, Moreno in his prime, Diaz-Arce/Lassiter, then basically the starting USMNT defense. But if you think about it those teams were only 3 deep on offense. Once you got past the magic triangle it dropped off considerably. Who were our wings? Sanneh/Maessner? good players, esp Sanneh, but not world-beaters.

This team goes 5 deep on offense with Fred, Gomez, Luciano, Moreno and Olsen. Although it's probably true that this 5 is not as dangerous (or fun to watch) as those 3 were, lol. Also, the defense isn't nearly as good in my opinion: Pope, Llamosa, Goose, Gori, Williams etc... those teams were suffocating.

My take, fwiw, is that I always thought those classic teams could've finished mid-table or better in a strong european league; I think the current version would get relegated, as much as I love them they have too many question marks and inconsistencies.

It does say something about the job that Soehn has done when something like this even gets mentioned. All the injuries, the hectic non-league schedule, and having to get two key new players acclimated to the league? Coach of the year in my opinion.

Posted by: uranderson | September 12, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

who saw this about Olsen on espn.com and how do i vote. finally Olsen is getting the rocognition he deserves. i believe this man is the engine that makes dc run.

Late write-in for MVP

With about 6 weeks remaining in the season, the race for MLS MVP is taking shape. Juan Pablo Angel, Luciano Emilio, Eddie Johnson and Juan Toja all seem to be locks for short list consideration. But there's a possible fifth candidate -- with lots of momentum on the write-in portion of the ballot -- in the shape of D.C. United captain Ben Olsen.

With D.C. edging into the lead for the Supporters Shield (D.C. posted a 5­0­0 August record, the best record by an MLS team in one month since the Metrostars recorded an identical record in July 2000), Olsen has been the key cog in the engine.

Olsen's seven goals are tied with New England's Andy Dorman for the most goals for a midfielder. However, Olsen has amassed his total in 6 fewer games. When you consider Olsen scored a total of seven goals combined the previous three seasons, it's clear to see his impact this season. Olsen, who's an artist and painter off the field has been creating quite the MVP-caliber masterpiece on the field this season.

Posted by: hiro_pro | September 12, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I know, I know, Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment has a stranglehold on any further MLS expansion in Canada, but Vancouver would be a nice addition.

As for the women's league, why not do it like the EPL, which has women's divisions (I think the Seattle Sounders do something similar).

Posted by: Juan-John | September 12, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

uranderson:

That early dc united team was great and i loved watching them. No team has more heart then that team. However, i believe the quality play in the league has increased substantially since then. i wonder if that old team could play at the pace of this team. could they control the ball the way Soehn's team does or break down this new team (the way we did in new england a few week ago). i would argue that the MLS in 2007 plays a faster game with more ball control and skill then america was producing 10 years ago. 10 years ago we didn't have kids from the US program Brandan, FL either...

the other difference in the league today is the quality of the bottom half of the starting roster. in the old days there was a substantially larger difference in quality between your best and worsst palyer on the field. now you have depth alway through to the bench

Posted by: hiro_pro | September 12, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

As for the women's league, why not do it like the EPL, which has women's divisions (I think the Seattle Sounders do something similar).

Posted by: Juan-John | September 12, 2007 04:03 PM
_________________________________________

It would be up to MLS investor-operators to institute such a setup, and it is pretty clear that there is little interest on their part. At the time the WUSA was formed, every MLS investor-operator passed on the opportunity to get involved. Only two of the proposed franchises in the new league (St. Louis and Los Angeles) have MLS connections. (Even your example of the EPL is instructive, in that only about half of the clubs field women's teams.) It should not be surprising that most MLS owners don't want to risk additional capital on women's teams. This does not preclude their involvement in ways that don't involve substantial capital investment, such as inviting women's teams to be secondary tenants in their SSSs on reasonable financial terms, scheduling doubleheaders, etc.

Posted by: Section 410 | September 12, 2007 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Will Esky/Rimando get cheered tonight?

I hope they were....they were both great players at DCU and suffered injuries/ unfortunate circumstance that led to their departure.

What cities should be next in line for MLS expansion?

I'd agree the league should address address their current allocation of teams in the league in terms of attendance and ownership, in addition to adding teams. In my opinion, I think that Chivas should move to San Diego and the Wizards should move to St. Louis. In terms of the expansion cities, I think that Philadelphia and Seattle should round out the final two (of the 16 projected by the league for 2010). I would like to see expansion into the SE in Miami or Atlanta, but I don't think that their ownership leadership would be ready in that time frame.

Will a women's pro league ever work?

I hope so. I think that the success of the league will have to do with a variety of different factors - most importantly, the success US Women at the World Cup (both on and off the field - marketability, etc) and the adoptation of an appropriate and reasonable business model.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 12, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

yeah Hiro-Piro, it's hard to compare the talent level of different eras, you can't say for sure, but I tend to agree with your take. That said, those classic DC teams were very good. I forgot to mention Harkes and a young Ben Olsen when talking about wing play. The only edge I'd give to the current squad is in goal. But even there it's close, we had some decent keepers back in the day.

The major difference is the backline, people forget how dominant Pope and Llamosa were together. They proved how good they were in the 2002 World Cup.

I think the classic teams would dominate this league even now, but it's all speculation, and I'm biased obviously. ;)

Posted by: uranderson | September 13, 2007 2:04 AM | Report abuse

I think that ... the Wizards should move to St. Louis.
________________________________________

Are you saying that you think there should be two teams in St. Louis? It is almost certain that a new franchise will soon be awarded to an owner-investor group with no connection to the Wizards. Perhaps the Wizards should move, but by the time they do, St. Louis will no longer be a potential destination.

Posted by: Section 410 | September 13, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

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