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United News & Notes (aka How's Emilio?)

I would love to give you a first-hand account of how Luciano Emilio and Jaime Moreno looked in training this morning, but alas, for one of the few times this season, United Coach Tom Soehn closed practice to the media. Well, not all of it, just 70 minutes or so. We did have the opportunity to witness the end of the session, which included Moreno stretching and twisting on the turf like a cat that had just awakened from a nap, Emilio lying on a table under a tent on the sideline and receiving treatment, and co-owner Will Chang in full training gear getting in some exercise.

It was actually a big day at the ballyard. All the local over-the-air TV stations and wire services that usually ignore the club were out in force. Woohoo.

Okay, here's the latest on the ailing forwards. Moreno is upbeat about playing Thursday and, unless he has a setback, seems set to be in the starting lineup. Emilio, who missed practice yesterday, "ran full out, had some ball work, so he continues to make progress," Soehn said. "We still have a couple days to decide how much they'll play."

An MRI found no significant damage in Rod Dyachenko's back, and he was back at training today.

Ben Olsen had a great quote about Cuauhtemoc Blanco and his contributions to the Fire since midseason:

"I stand corrected [because] I didn't think he was going to do anything in this league. I thought he was going to come here and just kind of go through the motions. He's been great for them. He does a great job of cheating and when he does get the ball, he's got very good vision and he's got the guys there wiling to run off the ball for him. He reminds me of Marco [Etcheverry] and in Marco's later years when Marco couldn't move as much but he was still deadly on his passing and vision. We have to make sure we are around him [Blanco] as much as we can."

Now before Chicago fans post that quote on the message boards, you should know that by using the word "cheating," Olsen does not mean Blanco is a dishonest player (although he has been accused of many unsavory things over the years). What he means is that Blanco will remain forward in a lot of situations instead of tracking back to defend and be in ideal position to take advantage of space on the counterattack.

That's all for now. Plenty of good stuff to come in Wednesday's print editions (available online late tonight).

By Steve Goff  |  October 23, 2007; 2:52 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Morning Reading and Viewing

Comments

A DC United bandwagon? wow....

Posted by: Chico | October 23, 2007 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Chang instead of Kpene? I kind of like it.

Posted by: DirtyHarry | October 23, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone seen the bald Chang?

Posted by: Soy United! | October 23, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Benny meant it both ways. That crafty wordsmith!

Posted by: Matte | October 23, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Slight alteration to my earlier line-up (given Moreno's improving health):

-------------- Perkins -------------

Namoff --- Vanney --- Bos --- Burch

------------- McTavish -------------

Fred --------- Simms ---------- Olsen

-------------- Gomez ----------------

-------------- Moreno ----------------

McTavish can give Blanco fits, Simms can hold the middle, always have four back, and can still counter with Olsen, Fred, Gomez and Moreno.

Posted by: Joe Doc | October 23, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

With all due respect, Joe Doc, I have to disagree with changing our formation. This team is built to attack. We have shown we don't really know how to play a full 90 minutes of defensive soccer (both trips to Guadalajara, for example). Sending out a squad to try and hit Chicago on the counter (especially with them playing 433, thus jamming up the middle with Armas and Conde), I think we would be left praying for a 0-0 and likely ending up 2-0 down coming home.

If Emilio ran full speed today, I feel like he'll be good for an hour Thursday. With that in mind, I'd send out the team that has gotten it done all season to get it done once again:

---------------- Perkins
Burch Vanney McTavish Namoff
----------------- Simms
Fred --------------------------- Olsen
----------------- Gomez
--------- Moreno ------ Emilio

The key to making this a successful trip will be to get good looks while Emilio is on. If he can only go an hour, we've got to make it count. I'd look for BC when Emilio is gassed (or, dare I even think it, if we're up at halftime). I would also expect Kpene for Moreno, in an attempt to stretch the field and offer a faster player up top for counters.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | October 23, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Given Blanco's propensity for diving I think it's possible Ben could have meant it both ways. He has also said of himself that he "cheats" too...which I suppose could also be interpreted either way. He may want to start using a different word though. :-)

If Luci's not 100% I think we should hold him out for game 1. All we need is a draw on the road. Not to say we should bunker in and let them attack, but I think we need to focus on defense and look to counter quickly. Hopefully it won't be too cold for Fred. Remember how he struggled in the chilly early months of the season?

Posted by: Glenn | October 23, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Why are Joe Doc and Chest Rockwell giving DC formations out? With apologies to your president, why are you emboldening the enemy? :)

Posted by: Bart | October 23, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Goff -- Sorry if I'm being annoying by asking this so many times, but I keep checking around various sources and haven't heard anything, so . . .what's the news on Fred's injury status? He wasn't fully healthy for the home Chicago match, and during the Columbus match he spent some time limping and grabbing his lower abdomen. Any word?

Posted by: Bootsy | October 23, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Will Chang now! He's our real #3 striker.

Joking aside, I'm glad to hear Dyachenko's OK.

Posted by: B.A. | October 23, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

IIRC, the last game at Chicago we switched from a 4-4-2 formation in the first half, where Chicago was playing 4-3-3 and running roughshod over our defense and midfield, to a 3-5-2 formation in the second half that seemed to settle things down for us. IMHO, Soehn should have he boys ready to do the same thing whenever he gives the signal at any point in the first half this Thursday night. We shouldn't wait until half-time to adjust accordingly.

Posted by: Soy United! | October 23, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Fred is fine. If there is news, I will be sure to share it.

Posted by: Goff | October 23, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

A DC United bandwagon? wow....

Posted by: Chico | October 23, 2007 03:14 PM
----------------

It's not often that the broadcast sports folks get to say "Washington" and "playoffs" in the same sentence, unless they throw in a "not in the."

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 23, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I-270 wins the thread!

Posted by: just sayin | October 23, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I-270 wins the thread!

Posted by: just sayin | October 23, 2007 04:48 PM

-----------------------
This is why I love Insider. Everyone who posts a comment puts real effort into clever word choice or at least thoughtful analysis. This is a sophisticated group. And when someone gets out of line with a foolish comment, they get called on it. Thanks everyone, Goff especially, for making this so much fun. If my boss knew about it, however, I'd be in big trouble for spending so much time on here!

Posted by: David | October 23, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Goff, hope you'll come visit the traveling fans pre-game at Toyota Park. We'll bring it strong.

Posted by: David | October 23, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Glenn said "If Luci's not 100% I think we should hold him out for game 1. All we need is a draw on the road."

Don't mean to crap in the punchbowl, but need I remind you of what happened the last time we came back home from a first-round playoff draw in Chicago?

I know the 'win at home and draw on the road' mindset is common in soccer, but I'll be much more comfortable if we can bring home a one-goal lead.

Posted by: MattM | October 23, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

After reading Goff's report and Soehn's comments, I'd imagine Jaime and Lucho will mysteriously recover in time for the match.

Soehn is being cautious. I mean rarely do you "run full out and do ball work" if you are truly injured.

I'm more curious as to why Moreno was stretching on the turf like a cat. Has his international travel caught up with him?

Posted by: delantero | October 23, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm more curious as to why Moreno was stretching on the turf like a cat. Has his international travel caught up with him?

Posted by: delantero | October 23, 2007 05:38 PM

Mmmm, perhaps he had just finished coughing up a hairball? In his case, either bleached or at least with dyed tips....

Posted by: Yuck... | October 23, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Shhhh....... This is all part of the disinformation campaign, which will be followed by the shock and awe and offensive bombardment of starting Carrol, Rodius, and Kpene up front


-------------------------------------------

Why are Joe Doc and Chest Rockwell giving DC formations out? With apologies to your president, why are you emboldening the enemy? :)
Posted by: Bart | October 23, 2007 04:09 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | October 23, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I saw Luci at Starbucks and he said he's not even going to Chicago this week.

Then he did some funny singing and dancing and everyone had a good laugh.

But he said he was serious about not traveling this week.

Posted by: dis-information | October 23, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

of course we WANT to get a goal lead. But realistically if Luci isn't 100% why risk further injury and an even longer layoff? If he isn't going to give his all is it worth having him out there? I'm just sayin' a draw on the road won't be the end of the world. We may need to bide our time a little bit. And who knows, maybe Guy FINALLY breaks out and hits the net instead of the post or the goalkeeper.

Posted by: Glenn | October 23, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry, who is now at Barcelona, says he wants to finish his playing career in the United States. (Mirror)

Come on United open up the wallet.

Posted by: mdyoung | October 23, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Just to return to Blanco for a minute, you definitely have to give him credit for a relentless will to win. Ben's retraction of his previous assessment was a frank acknowledgment of that fact, coming from the DCU player who arguably best embodies the same quality. I'd hate to lose to Chicago, but I'd relish a win against them more than I would against any other team in MLS at the moment on account of their Blanco-driven determination.

Posted by: dcca | October 23, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Henry has a 4 year contract at Barca, he won't be coming before it's up. By then he won't be worth the money.

Posted by: AlecW81 | October 23, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Chang / Goffer 2008 !

Posted by: diego r. | October 23, 2007 11:46 PM | Report abuse

I know we could spend a lot of time complaining about the MLS playoffs and about how the team with the best record in the league receives essentially the same treatment as the #8 team -in the first round of the playoffs (one home game, one away game). I am still a big advocate of the #1 team in each conference getting a bye and the #2 and #3 teams playing one game to decide who will face the top ranked team.

I can also anticipate those (including myself) who will not understand how the team with the best record in the league faces the #7 team overall, whereas the the #2 team in the league faces the #8 team overall. DC United seems to be doubly (triply?) disadvantaged for being in the strongest MLS conference.

But what it all comes down to is being the best team in the league. And that doesn't matter whether you are disadvantaged or not. A great team will find a way to win and I am convinced that DC United will do that.

Posted by: diego r. | October 23, 2007 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Coach Soehn just told me we're starting all reserves and that the team is playing in a 3-6-1.

Posted by: sitruc | October 24, 2007 2:56 AM | Report abuse

You also have to credit Blanco with not throwing his hands up in the air at the wretched finishing on that team. He plays the full 90 with full effort.

He set up at least half a dozen sitters for Chicago forwards on Sunday that were badly blown. A typical #10 would've been demoralized a lot sooner by the incompetence of his teammates.

Posted by: Blanco | October 24, 2007 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Good article in todays post.

Are you going to do an MLS Playoff preview like (or better) than the New York Times?

I'm still in shock that they had two articles covering soccer (the other being on Ryan) in one day, it looks like they are finally backing Angel and the Red Bulls.

Posted by: NY will win MLS Cup in DC | October 24, 2007 8:08 AM | Report abuse

It would be great (or at least easy) if there was a little box here at the Insider with links to the Washington Post (non-blog) stories here at the insider. so you could go directly to them. Kind of like the 'most recent posts' box.

Posted by: Adam Spangler | October 24, 2007 9:06 AM | Report abuse

""He took a hard fall against Chicago on Oct. 13.""

Just curious, was that the forecheck in the back by the Chicago defender? You know, the foul in the box that wasn't called?

Posted by: d | October 24, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

It's 9:30 on Wednesday. Has Gulati fired anyone else yet?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 24, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

"the foul in the box that wasn't called?"

Any team featuring Benny Olsen has thin grounds for complaining about uncalled fouls.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | October 24, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Hey Mastodon is back! How did that whole prognosticating thing work out for you?

Posted by: Chico | October 24, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Hi Mastodon-- congratulations on Red Bull winning the Supporter's Shield... oh... wait... just checked the MLSnet site and turns out that the Supporter's Shield goes to the team with the best record for the whole season, not just for April, my bad...

Posted by: bad penguin | October 24, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

The "foul in the box that wasn't called" was a hard hockey style check by Dasan Robinson on Dyachenko. Only thing was the ball had already crossed over the goal line. So it wasn't a foul and wouldn't earn us a PK since the ball was not in play.

It could, however, have been deemed misconduct and earned a yellow card.

Posted by: garbaqggio | October 24, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Soy United!-

The switch to a 3412 was notable, mostly because we learned that we can really slow Chicago down with 2 defensive midfielders. My guess is that Emilio will be able to go, and will be subbed off for BC to give us a 451 either at the hour or if we're up at halftime. I still think that we should be able to get a goal in the first half, thanks to their slow center backs, bad goalkeeping, and propensity towards fouling. Some Gomez freekick magic would be very welcome.

Mastodon Juan-

Any person supporting NY has thin grounds discussing how to succeed in the playoffs.

Listen, if we find ourselves in the La Manga Cup, we'll call for advice. Thanks.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | October 24, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

"He wasn't fully healthy for the home Chicago match, and during the Columbus match he spent some time limping and grabbing his lower abdomen. Any word?"

- Bootsy

Fred has fully recovered from consuming a grey RFK hot dog.

Posted by: ff | October 24, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

""the ball had already crossed over the goal line""

Ah, couldn't see that from my vantage point .. but you are correct, still could have been a card.

Posted by: d | October 24, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

How about we start Kpene and bring Emilio on at the half if we're losing or tied?

Posted by: Shatz / DCUMD | October 24, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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