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KC Aftermath, and the Weekend

Wash Post gamer

KC Star gamer

To repeat, the injury report: About eight guys were suffering from at least some touch of a stomach problem, plus a few members of the staff. Others were knocking on wood. I was wishing I had a hospital mask.

Clyde Simms: Weak with the worst of the stomach troubles, which appeared in the middle of Thursday night and stayed with him all day, along with chills and all the rest. Coaches asked him to give them 10 minutes in the second half. He gave them 16. He said every meal he ate was with at least one teammate, so he's pretty sure it wasn't food poisoning.

Fred: Day to day.

Gros: Tom Soehn declined to comment on Gros's status.

Jaime: "Not bad, but not good," he said of his ankle, which was iced after the game.

The plan is for this week to follow a normal training schedule, but still, that will seem like a break after the past two.

"I think it's perfect timing," Burch said. "I think the guys need a little rest after this."

"Hopefully guys with bumps and bruises can take care of them and get healed," McTavish said, "so we can be 100 percent going into the last two games and then into the playoffs."

"We've got a good week before the next one and we need it," Soehn said.

"It is draining, especially traveling like that, it's tough, but that's part of the job," Perkins said. "We're not looking for any excuses for anything. We came out tonight and fought and gave it everything we had. It'll be nice to get a full week of training now, I'll tell you that."

It was another result that players admitted was not especially pretty, but considering the injuries/lineup/field and all the rest, no one was complaining, especially since two home wins still clinch everything. The mood in the KC locker room was definitely significantly more glum. None of the Wizards were saying they were satisfied with a draw, but United clearly was.

"We obviously would like to get out of here with three points," Olsen said, "but considering the circumstance and them getting that early goal, us coming back and Christian kind of bailing us out, you know, we're excited that we got one. And now we know what we have to do for the two home games: win out."

"I thought we adjusted well and came out in the second half and dictated a lot of the game, and had some good chances," Soehn said.

As for the offensive approach, "Completely different look," McTavish said. "It wasn't quite as creative as it usually is, probably a little more direct than we're used to playing, but that's kind of with the field and also the personnel. But we created quite a few opportunities, considering."

(Also, the official scorer initially gave the Gomez assist to McTavish, which was announced over the PA. "I got family up in the box," he explained.)

Gomez on playing up top: "I felt very good, I hadn't played in that position in a long time since I played in Argentina. I like playing there because it's closer to the goal, so hopefully I can keep playing there because like I said, that gets me closer to the goal and that gets me more opportunities to score." (in translation)

Onalfo on the outcome: "I thought it was overall a fair result. It was unfortunate, because we had the lead and we weren't able to preserve it, but going into this game with three of our key players, better we got a point than not any at all."

Onalfo on the Gomez goal: "He's a difference maker. D.C. in my mind has four difference makers, or five, they've got guys who at any given second can change the outcome of the game. You see that in Emilio, you see that in Gomez, you see that in Moreno, you see that in Fred."

This weekend, Dallas can clinch a playoff spot, Toronto can be officially eliminated (yeah, they're still technically alive), the Red Bulls can clinch if they get help from Dallas and Houston, Columbus and L.A. can be all but eliminated as potential D.C. first-round opponents, and Kansas City can get to the verge of clinching with some help. Other than that, it's sort of too early to say much. In some ways, it might help D.C. if Chicago and the Revs both lose. Except they're playing each other. The picture will finally start clearing up next weekend. All other thoughts below.

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 6, 2007; 10:23 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Matchday 28: DCU at KC [Updated]
Next: Mercenary Territory

Comments

Which players are sick? I'm guessing Moctezuma's revenge. Didn't anyone tell them not to drink the water while south of the border?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 6, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Onalfo said we might have five difference makers, but he named only four: Gomez, Emilio, Jaime, and Fred. I'd add Ben Olsen to that list.

Posted by: Dave | October 6, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

On the other end of the pitch, I'd also add Troy Perkins. Definitely saved our bacon at least once.

One goal we could scrape--two just didn't look likely yesterday.

Posted by: viv | October 6, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I'll take the point... I thought overall DC had the better of the play. Hopefully the minor league baseball field KC will be playing on next year will be better than the crap they had to play on last night. Here's hoping to a NE loss or Draw today...

Posted by: Keenan | October 6, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Considering the tough loss, the travel, the missing players, and the players that did play with illness, it's a good draw. With a makeshift lineup that saw McTavish often being the midfielder pushing furthest up, we still managed to have the better of the game (though not by much).

On the other hand, how bad does it bode for KC that at home, in a vital game, they were outplayed by a team in the above circumstances? I would not mind at all if they're our first round opponent.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | October 6, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Bomb out their systems with some Cipro...that will take care of the stomach illness.

Posted by: Tweaked | October 6, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

It was definitely interesting to see McTavish in goal-scoring positions. He actually did a nice job -- I think I like him in that role better than Dyachenko. Burch is turning into a force. Sure, they missed a few players, but the got to see others step into new roles, and acquit themselves well.

On the other hand, Emilio continues to have trouble bringing down and controlling passes to him. He did have one nice chest-trap - so I am guessing he worked on a skill that was really letting him down in Jalisco - but he gave a few away with his feet.

Posted by: FischFry | October 6, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Burch looks like he could develop into the leader in the back. You always see him pointing and giving directions to the other guys. He could be a potential captain in 3 or 4 years if he sticks around after Jaime, Benny, and Christian are all gone.

Posted by: Shatz | October 6, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting to compare the game stories of the Post and the KC Star.

Dan's Post story notes DC's depletion, of course, but also notes that KC was playing without three starters. The Star's story, on the other hand, notes only KC's missing three. The reader is left with the impression that a depleted KC team got a tie with a full-strength, rested, healthy DC United. Very misleading.

The quality points, both for the performance of the teams and for the performance of the press, go to DC. Congrats to the Post.

Posted by: Dave | October 6, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

RE: Shatz

Man, I am really excited about Burch also--not to mention Dyachencko, who I thought played a highly underrated match in his sub role, as well as McTavish and Simms in general this year.

It really shouldn't be a mystery to anyone why DC is constantly at the top of the league (early 00's notwithstanding). The United braintrust approach to growing young players is second to none in MLS.

Posted by: viv | October 6, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if the high altitude might exacerbate Gros's migraine issues.

Hartman really saved KC in the 1st half.

DCU looked completely out of gas around 70 minutes.

Posted by: Glenn | October 6, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

i am happy for the point but that has to be the worst pitch i have seen in the league. I get te injuries and illnesses were important but it seemed impossible for DC to create anything given the condition and SIZE. jeez, nobody had any time with the ball at their feet. I am just glad we dont have to watch half our games on that field-all partisan issues aside that was a lousy game to watch. no wonder KC draws so poorly.

Posted by: what a lousy pitch | October 6, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

. . . and you thought United had it bad having to share with the Nationals. . .

Posted by: Anonymous | October 6, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

yeah, i will never complain about the infield again.

Posted by: what a lousy pitch | October 6, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"not to mention Dyachencko, who I thought played a highly underrated match in his sub role,"

Agreed. Best match I've seen from him. Good spirit combined with pretty fair skill. A lot of United fans had been worried he didn't really have a position, that he was a jack of all trades and master of none. But nobody in the league has a backup center mid who could consistantly provide anything like what we saw from Rod last night, so if that's an indication of things to come we're in luck.

Posted by: Stan | October 6, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I think the fifth "difference maker" is Carroll -- just not in a good way...

Posted by: edgeonyou | October 6, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

RE: Rod

I just wish he could put a whole game together.

Posted by: viv | October 6, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

viv-

As much as I hate to say it, I think the Revs would take issue with your statement that we do the best job of developing young players. Out of their current starting XI, only Reis, Heaps and Ralston could not be called young players upon their arrival. We also have some busts on our record, like Stokes and Quaranta. Just playing a bit of devil's advocate.

Stan-

While I thought Dyachenko did well, I'd argue that there are some players around the league that I'd take off the bench instead. Stuart Holden can play anywhere in midfield and is starting quality for the majority of the league. Dax McCarty bounces in and out of the Dallas lineup, but still leads them in assists. If NY had everyone fit, Kovalenko would probably be on the bench for them.

That said, if we can get a full 90 of that out of Dyachenko, we will finally be getting full value on that 1st round pick we gave up for him.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | October 7, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Burch is quickly becoming my favorite player in the world, not just DC United, but the world. For one, he plays my position, he also plays for DC United, and he plays with such beauty. Everything he does is amazing!

Posted by: Garret | October 7, 2007 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Are the reserves still playing Monday morning? If so, where?

Posted by: Curious | October 7, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

kc is really bad.

Posted by: castroviejo | October 7, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Projecting through to next Saturday:

If Chivas somehow manages to lose at home to Dallas on Thursday, and we beat Chicago, the Supporters Shield is ours (worst we could do is tie with Chivas after the final game, and we hold the tiebreaker against them 4 points to 1)

Posted by: Eric | October 7, 2007 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Are the reserves still playing Monday morning? If so, where?

Yes aux fields at RFK...the thread on BigSoccer says.

http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=605988

Posted by: marksman | October 7, 2007 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Who do we want in the first round? Right now, it could be any of the following:

NY
KC
Chicago
Colorado
LA

It can't be Columbus, as the best they could do is 5th in the East, sending them into the Western bracket thanks to MLS's worst-ever playoff set up (especially after they had promised to do straight up 1-8 seeding at the beginning of the season, only to quietly change it halfway through).

LA, as we saw earlier this summer, is a different team with Beckham and he would be fit enough to play in a first round series. Considering the fact that they've won 4 straight and will likely have to win out to qualify, I'd rather avoid them if possible. Fortunately, it is still very unlikely that they'll get in.

Colorado is pretty weak all over the field. They rely far too much on trying to foul their opponents into submission, rather than play soccer. Their defense is physically strong, but can be easily pulled apart with good movement and quick passing. People have figured out Cooke, and Ballouchy is awful. If Namoff can keep up with Clark, they would create nothing against us. The only thing they have going for them is their location; playing at altitude and in the cold would be rather unpleasant. Sadly, it seems like a stretch that we'll get them, as it would take them and LA both winning out AND both Chicago and KC not winning again this season.

For all the improvements in Chicago, there are still flaws. Pickens is not a good keeper, Segares isn't very disciplined for a center back, and they rely almost entirely on Blanco going forward (granted, I can think of worse fates, but still). At full strength, I think we should be able to get 2 road goals and at least 3 at home, which should be more than enough. However, there is that whole playoff hoodoo with them.

Kansas City has good strikers and not much else. Conrad hasn't been himself, and their fullbacks are vulnerable. After starting the season well, their midfield has fallen off and only Arnaud seems to be a reliable threat. The fact that they can just hit long balls and hope to burn us with speed is worrisome, but they don't seem to have much else going for them. Plus, it's always fun to laugh at Hartman.

NY is our usual whipping boy, and I would expect us to beat them with ease again. Their midfield is mediocre and their defense is poor. Of course, with Angel and Altidore, they can still get goals off of very little. I'd have no problem drawing them, but I'd rather face KC.

My preferences, in order:

1. KC
2. Colorado
3. NY
4. LA
5. Chicago

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | October 8, 2007 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Thanks marksman

Posted by: Curious | October 8, 2007 12:13 AM | Report abuse

I said we did a good job developing it, which implies that development is possible. I'll accept that we might have done better with the physical tools that Q and Stokes brought, but, rather like Kwame Brown, there are some things that can't be fixed.

I may have neglected to account for NE's considerable success I'll grant you, but that doesn't diminish our own brilliance in that regard. Gros, Eski, Carroll, Boswell, Perkins, and now Burch and McT--we've had a pretty nice track record. I think Vanney's one of the only out-and-out trades for other team's established talent that we've made in the last few years.

Posted by: viv | October 8, 2007 12:54 AM | Report abuse

""I'll accept that we might have done better with the physical tools that Q and Stokes brought""

What were Stokes' physical tools? I remember poor speed, two left feet, poor vision, and inability to communicate with his goal keeper.

Quaranta? Well, he was more concerned with his hair and tatoos. Seriously, at least 4-5 times/game he'd be flicking his hair.

Good riddance to both of them!

Posted by: del | October 8, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone have links to pictures of RFK now that the Montreal Expos have left town for the Navy Yard?

Posted by: Baseball Free RFK | October 8, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Thinking about taking a little bit of an "extra long lunch" to catch the Reserves game today at 11:00. Who's with me? I wonder if the Goffer will grace us with his presence.

Posted by: Shatz | October 8, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

What were Stokes' physical tools? I remember poor speed, two left feet...
______________________________________

Did you perchance mean two right feet?

Posted by: Section 410 | October 8, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

So, Goff returns? Bring back the Berg! VIVA LA REVALUCION!

Posted by: Dave | October 8, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

viv -- don't forget DCU's role in developing Bobby Convey and, it could be argued, Freddy Adu. Two young united players who grew and developed with us and then went on to bigger (if not better things) in Reading and Benfica.

On that note, you might have to credit NE for Clint Dempsey's development. But I'm OK with that.

Posted by: Davdi | October 8, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

A little late in the game, but to add to that last post...we definitely cannot forget Blackburn Rovers skipper Ryan Nelsen as one of United's development projects.

Sure, he came here after four years of college, but he developed into a dominant center back while with United and moved on to become captain of a top-flight English squad. I'd say that's a success story.

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