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United (continued)

*Courtesy of Steinberg and, up close and personal video with dejected United supporters.

*MLS has narrowed its goal of the year candidates down to 10. As a darkhorse pick, I like Ngwenya's sweet run in the box against Chicago.

*Be sure to read my end-of-season obituary in Saturday's print edition (available late tonight on the Web site). Kevin Payne had, um, a few things to say.

*Congrats to Insider loyalist "Longshoe" for submitting the 30,000th reader comment since this humble little blog launched nine months ago.

By Steve Goff  |  November 2, 2007; 3:18 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Friday Gallery
Next: United Wrap-Up, Houston Rally


"Be sure to read my end-of-season obituary in Saturday's print edition (available late tonight on the Web site). Kevin Payne had, um, a few things to say."

Now THAT? is a quality tease.

Posted by: bdr | November 2, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

in the video, interesting comments by Beninho about the team sometimes lacking heart in the playoffs.

Posted by: Rob | November 2, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Longshoe | November 2, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh Goffmeister, "a few things to say." We never know with you. Either Payne really did have little to talk about or he went on a scary tirade, forcing you to hide in a corner with a tape recorder.

Posted by: James | November 2, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I will come clean. He called out the defenders a bit, came to Soehn's defense and also implied that the club will likely pursue a designated player. Details in the actual story.

Posted by: Goff | November 2, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Looking forward to it, Goff.

Posted by: B.A. | November 2, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Never did like you, Longshoe.

I was gunning for that.

Posted by: Joe Doc | November 2, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Joe Doc | November 2, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Called out 'the defenders' or a defender? I imagine one complaint would be their reacting slowly, but maybe someone needs to call out the GM in that for years DC has had a problem with speed on the backline and the guy in charge of bringing in new players has never solved that one...

Not a sermon, just a thought

Posted by: Matt | November 2, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe 2 comments forced Goff to reveal his teaser. :)

Posted by: Bart | November 2, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Well I hope he called out Boswell and Vanney. Both goals came through the middle and at least one of them was out of position.

I hope the DP is either

a) a proven scorer or
b) a quality central defender

Posted by: Bart | November 2, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Bart - he kept plenty unknown. I'm looking forward to the paper tomorrow morning for sure. I'll be sure to read that before heading to Lucky Bar for the Gunners v. Man U.

Posted by: tmc | November 2, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

In addition to a DP, this team sure could do with signing Jay Needham to a full contract. They've already got his MLS rights, he's already got a year of USL experience...and we need the help.

Posted by: EdTheRed | November 2, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"The playoffs is not about soccer. It's about heart..." says Ben Olsen. I think it's also about having the right strategy. Going to Chicago to play defense was our undoing. And of course having central defenders out of position didn't help.

oh well, there's always next year.

Posted by: Bart | November 2, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Who in mls has a speedy backline? Not exactly a league blessed with an abundance of defensive talent. Burch should improve with an offseason of defensive training (he is still learning positioning and still overthinking defensively) Namoff is solid as a right back, the center backs are slow. I think McTavish has decent pace and will be a consitent starter next year, it will be interesting to see who is on the team to start with him.

Posted by: dtd | November 2, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully we're not going to end up like the sox of old; next title in 2093. Our best days are behind us -- at least for the next century....

Or maybe we just need defenders who get the concept of tight marking in a friggin playoff game.

Posted by: Hacksaw | November 2, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Speed. We need speed like 1998 Michael Owen World Cup Speed up top. we also need speed in the back.

Some comments on Soehn. I think he is and will continue to be a good coach. However he did make a big mistake. He did not learn from last year's fade out.

He witnessed firsthand the fatigue of the team, and he did the exact samething. Hindsight is 20/20 but the reg season finale should have been the reserve team. How many more games has this team played in the last couple of years. A lot. We are an older squad, and we just ran out of gas. That and some shoddy defending, but we need to get younger at key positions, or manage minutes better. While the Supporter's Shield is great, if United and the fans truly care about MLS Cup, then we need to forget about the SS.

What do you think is the priority for the Front Office and Team? MLS Cup, Supporters Shield, Concacaf CC, Superliga? Decide and plan accordingly. Too many games in a short period of time.

A new playoff format is needed as well. There is absolutely no advantage to a #1 seed for the playoffs until the 2nd round.

Posted by: steve-o | November 2, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Amen, steve-o, Amen!

Posted by: 5 o'clock somewhere | November 2, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

there are certainly a lot of things that need some work.

I love Troy, but his decision making for the last several weeks has been poor on a number of important plays.

We definitely need to sort out the central defense situation. How many games had Vanney and Boswell played together before last night? I generally think Soehn did a good job this season, but I am not sure the Boswell selection made much sense.

While Vanney provided us with some important things this year, he was pretty terrible last night. All of those hopeless long balls floated to the far post. All those terrible passes directly to the other team. Is it worth bringing him back next year?

I think the choice of DP will depend greatly on which players are back and what holes need filling. We know Jamie isn't getting any younger even if he does come back. Gomez was hot and cold all season. Let's just hope we are smart enough to not pick a Denilson.

Posted by: Glenn | November 2, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I have faith that whoever they bring in as a DP will be a good player. I think thats one of the reasons United didn't bring one in during the season... after all they *could* have got Denilson ;)

Posted by: noptov52 | November 2, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Still gutted...who's with me?

Posted by: Dave | November 2, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

In Steinberg's video I like how the 1 guy pointed out that Bobby Boswell was on myspace at 1 a.m. Just another reason why I totally loathe the entire internet-social-networking-webpage thing.

Gosh, how I miss going to DCU games regularly. Getting 2 games a year out in California doesn't even come close to giving me my fix that I deperately need.

Posted by: Chief Clancy Wiggum | November 2, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I was #10k...missed another one...

Ngwenya, for me, is easily the winner. His was a singular, crafty effort, where most of the other ones were "just" nice shots.

Posted by: RK | November 2, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

From a Guardian story on Ronaldinho:

"There is an urgency to complete any deal before next summer when Ronaldinho could take advantage of Fifa article 17, which allows players to break a contract after three years if they signed when under the age of 28 or two years if they signed when 28 or over, to buy himself out of his contract for just €20m (£13m) - something his brother is studying."

I say screw Veron, screw the stadium, let's mortgage the club's future and pay Ronaldinho $400 million. He's a magic triangle in and of himself.

Posted by: d, dc | November 2, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

yep... still gutted.

Posted by: d, dc | November 2, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Great job with the Insider, Goff. You really added a lot to the experience of being a soccer fan in the DC area this year.

As far as United are concerned, it was a great physical effort but, at least in my opinion, Vanney and Boswell will never be complimentary players. They will always appear to get in each others way if you put them under pressure, bringing out the worst in both of them. It can work as a stop-gap, but that is not the type of line up you want to field as your best possible line up. If people want to "call them out", go ahead, but it won't make them anymore complimentary of each other to do so. McTavish, regardless of his level of play or experience, would have been the better fit last night. There was too much confusion between the midfield and defense.

Great season though. We qualified for international competition and we broke in some young, promising players. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. Congrats to the team on another Supporters Shield.

Great job by the supporters last night. DC has the best supporters in MLS, bar none.

Posted by: Great Job! | November 2, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

On the BSPN2 telecast last night, Payne said something to the effect that unnamed parties associated with potential stadium sites in Maryland had shown particular interest in talking to United. Did he elaborate further when you interviewed him, Goffinho? (BTW, he seemed in fine form, stroke or no stroke.)

Posted by: 22201 | November 2, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

anyone else notice how the team with the worst record in the league ended up with 3 nominations for goal of the year while the team with the best record in the league didn't have one nomination? apparently spectacular goal scoring has nothing to do with winning games. just interesting.

Posted by: Boss T | November 2, 2007 7:28 PM | Report abuse

All I want for Christmas is a Central Defender ;).

Posted by: Kevin | November 2, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: LA NORTE 118 | November 2, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Boswell was on MySpace at 1:30 a.m. last night??? What's up with that? Absolutely unacceptable!!!>:|

Posted by: BigWave | November 2, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

a dude's gotta blog, dude...

Posted by: spike_2.0 | November 2, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

A player who can't sleep because he's nervous about starting a playoff game!? Unheard of!

Posted by: Dave | November 2, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

the game wasn't until 7:30PM. Who cares how late Boswell was up? I doubt he had to be at RFK before 3 or 4 PM

Posted by: DC | November 2, 2007 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Still gutted.


Caipirinhas seem to help numb the pain.

Posted by: Mike Lastort | November 2, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

What did he say on myspace? "Hey Wendy, I'll see you later tonight," or "which epl club should I play for next season?"

Posted by: UVA to RFK | November 2, 2007 9:47 PM | Report abuse

With the way he played last night, Boswell would have a hard time getting a Scottish league contract

Posted by: Natty | November 2, 2007 9:56 PM | Report abuse


One More Houston!!!!!

Ruiz must go down!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

GOAL AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!

Houston SCORES!!!!!

Ruiz going down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I want Houston eliminated. Go Dallas!

Posted by: Mike Lastort | November 2, 2007 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Or perhaps he simply left his account logged in... no... nobody ever does that...

I'm not defending his performance, which was abysmal, but c'mon people, even if he was at his computer at 130am, it's not exactly a physically taxing endeavor. Perhaps he's weird like me, I perform better in soccer games and rugby matches when I've had less than 6 hours of sleep.

Posted by: AlecW81 | November 2, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I don't particularly care about the MySpace thing, Alec. Truth be told though, Boswell has (mostly) stunk up the joint the entire year. I don't know what to put it down to - the blog, his constant partying, defender of the year award going to his head or maybe he was just a system defender.

Last night, whatever the cause, his poor play really screwed us over though, no two ways about that.

Posted by: Natty | November 2, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

SERIOUX for Dallas needs a suspension, you can't step on the back of someone.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Not to spoil it or anything but Goff's Saturday article is up now. Spoiler alert - says Payne is now considering use of the DP slot - and going for Veron. No big surprise there and I would certainly welcome someone of his experience. We've gotta find some help in central defense. At least once or twice a game, minimum, (and I mean virtually EVERY game too), the defenders would have that moment where they're all looking at each other like, "you gonna take that one?" and it would lead to a goal - or a small heart attack for DC fans.

Another thing, while they are looking for a defender, please find one who is a bit of an enforcer type. I really think this team is missing that "edgy" player who will mix it up. Chicago just flat 'out-physicaled' DC and DC doesn't do well in street-fight grudge matches.

I know this is a reach, but its like Arsenal's been the last several years. They had the reputation for being "soft"...So what did Arsene Wenger do this season? Instead of giving the captain's armband to Gilberto (a nice chap and odds-on fav for the captaincy), he gives it to Gallas who plays with a big ole chip on his shoulder - and that has bled over to the rest of the team this season.

Only 5 more months until we do it all again. Until then, Go Gunners!

Posted by: NapoleonDynamite | November 2, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Veron is nice and everything, but do we really need more slow old guys? Can we also pick up someone lesser known who's athletic and can score on corner kicks? A central defender, perhaps?

Posted by: UVA to RFK | November 2, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Spoiler alert? Goff told us in this blog that Payne is pursuing a DP.

Posted by: RK | November 2, 2007 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Kevin Payne is being a bit unfair in calling out the defense. Nobody had a good game/series. The defense did not lose this series. The team lost.

The team had lapses all year, these came at a bad time.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse


DOWN RUIZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 2, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse



GO HOUSTON (only if gomez took a free kick like that yesterday)

Posted by: Atlanta | November 2, 2007 10:51 PM | Report abuse

still gutted; can't talk, can't walk, still grumpy....

Posted by: JSF | November 2, 2007 11:22 PM | Report abuse

anyone notice that there was so much time waisting during the Houston-Dallas match during the 1st half of overtime. Near the end there was a bu coming in and the ref said come in no go out no come and wasted more. I assumed that maybe 2-3 minutes at the minimum would be awarded, but they stopped it a 15:30. We really need to spend some DP money on better Refs. Yes I know that every REf will blow a call here and there, but MLS Refs do not respect the game. Players like Blanco and Ruiz would easily be thrown out of a game in any league in Europe. Imagine telling the REf to shut up and for the ref to take it. I just told my ref if he wanted my address and I got red carded in my local league. This ruins the beutiful game completely, no Repect for the game or worse the FANS

Posted by: MLS REFS SUCK | November 2, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

PATHETIC not to win against Chicago is pathetic. They are just not a good team period.

Here is what needs to happen:

Boswell - cut him or trade him.
Vanney - cut or trade
Rod D - Cut
Addlery - Cut

These moves are needed to sign two top flight center defenders from Europe - EPL category. Sign two forwards from South America (Boca's? or Argentina)

The backline lost this series for DC - Their play was terrible. Those who made mistakes need to ride the pine and learn how to play in big games....

Posted by: bobf | November 3, 2007 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Veron is nice and everything, but do we really need more slow old guys? Can we also pick up someone lesser known who's athletic and can score on corner kicks? A central defender, perhaps?

Posted by: UVA to RFK | November 2, 2007 10:31 PM

You took my post! MLS playoffs are an entirely different game to the regular season. Playoff games are way more pressured, and the deliberate buildups are easier to cut out when defenders are motivated (and it's not 110F). Would love to see some of that Veron money used to make the team quicker and tougher from top to bottom.

Posted by: mik_smith1 | November 3, 2007 2:02 AM | Report abuse

It would be the absolute wrong move to sign some overhyped big name. This team needs a couple of solid defenders with a decent amount of speed, who are also familiar with the concept of marking.

After that, find an up and coming central midfielder, shift Fred to the right and Olsen to the defensive mid or even left mid, add a complementary striker next to Emilio.

There are greater issues than can be solved with a big name. Trying to stock up the defense with scrubs can only go so far.

Posted by: spike_2.0 | November 3, 2007 8:06 AM | Report abuse

""who are also familiar with the concept of marking""

That certainly would be nice.

Posted by: d | November 3, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Given the full slate of games again next year, this team needs more depth at every position.

Our starting 11 players are fine, but the drop off in play without certain players is dramatic.

Keep Christian and Jaime if you can, add a DP somewhere. Add a 2nd striker to complement Lucho.

Add depth everywhere else---and that depth in my opinion does not reside on our current bench.

I trust in Payne . . . look at the additions of Burch/McTavish/Fred/Emilio this year!! Just do that again and we'll be fine, ha ha

Posted by: delantero | November 3, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Spike.

Here are some moves I see in the near future (wild and crazy maybe):

- Boswell gone (and I think he wants to go). Not to Europe but to San Jose or West Division team.

- Joining him out the door....Brian Carroll.

- Christian and Jaime stay but Jaime moves into the front office.

- Christian can not fill the vacant Jaime position and this is where the DP comes in (or Fred?).

- Tommy realizes how weak his reserve attack is now. Jamil Walker gets a one more year try (this could have been his year to shine or be gone!) but the rest of the long. Going to look for new young talent to fill in. Hello Bryan Arguez time to stand up.

- Not sure when Perkins contract is up but Europe is in his future.

Non-DC Predictions:

- Rumor that Oscar de la Hoya part of the group buying Houston.

- And expect a 2009 players strike if salaries do not rise.

Posted by: Nostradamus | November 3, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

While we could use a quality central defender, I'm not sure he has to be an "enforcer." Parkhurst does quite well in the middle and he had no more than five fouls and zero cards during the season. When you begin counting on an enforcer, you risk giving up penalties (foul in the box) or playing shorthanded. Those Chicago goals were superbly taken by Rolfe (twice) and Barrett, but could have been avoided by better positioning and anticipation, not by better thuggery.

Posted by: Hedbal | November 3, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I keep seeing posts that suggest we should dump Dyachenko. Don't people realize that he had assists on both goals Thursday? The last one, his spot-on pass to an onside Gomez was money. With Moreno and Gomez uncertain about returning, why on earth drop a possible replacement?

Posted by: Hedbal | November 3, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I still want to know if the team got a refund for that Velocity speed training they got in the pre-season or was it all just publicity so the Velocity people could wear DCU shirts?

Posted by: sitruc | November 3, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

what a game for Arsenal v. Man United! Summers was packed. It was a fair result.

Posted by: td | November 3, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

No way do you dump Dyachenko. He's the only dangerous, speedy offensive player coming off the bench.

Posted by: spike_2.0 | November 3, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

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