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Long December

Long December and there's no reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass

How 'bout a round of applause for the Counting Crows. Thanks, Adam. FYI, the Insider is going to cool the engines for portions of this month. Gotta make a small dent in my massive vacation balance and recharge the batteries. Fear not, I will be around to break stories and keep you updated on important events. But there will be some days when I do not post anything. Not a word.

Some things we will watch for in the very near future:

*DCU's pursuit of Juan Sebastian Veron should conclude soon, and it's looking like they will get their man.

*I'm told negotiations between DCU and Christian Gomez are not going well, dimming the prospect of him returning next season. Meantime, Jaime Moreno seems likely to return.

*The Virginia Tech Hokies play at UConn tomorrow afternoon in the NCAA quarterfinals. A small preview will appear in Saturday's print editions. The final four is next weekend in Cary, N.C.

*On Dec. 15, the U.S. national team will find out its preliminary WCQ semifinal schedule with home and away dates and likely matchups starting in August (assuming they, um, get past Barbados or Dominica in June).

*On Dec. 17, FIFA will name its men's and women's players of the year. Cristiano Ronaldo or Kaka? Marta, for sure.

*Two days later, CONCACAF will hold draws for the Champions' Cup (which will include DCU and Houston) as well as the U-23 Olympic qualifying tournament. There is a possibility that the USA and Mexico will be grouped together in order to avoid a possible semifinal meeting between the regional powers, like what happened four years ago. (The two semifinal winners earn berths in next year's Olympics.)

*Finally, if you haven't done so already, don't forget to exercise your voting privileges. It's the American way.

By Steve Goff  |  December 7, 2007; 9:12 AM ET
Categories:  MLS  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Mastroeni on the Move? United's Draft List
Next: Hokies Advance to Final 4


Enjoy the holidays! You deserve it :)

Too bad about Gomez -- who's going to step in? Fred? Or new talent?

Posted by: iammrben | December 7, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Vacation days???

You have a job that lets you follow the greatest sport in the world and pays you to do it...and you need vacation days???

Enjoy. You deserve everything you get.

Posted by: seahawkdad | December 7, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Crap, guess we gotta work now.... ;)

Enjoy the time off!

Posted by: what to do? | December 7, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

No Gomez - no problem. I don't see any reason why Veron, Fred, Simms, and Benny can't hold down the midfield.

Gomez needs the money. I think we can all appreciate that.

Posted by: London Dan | December 7, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I'd have liked Gomez to stay, but between Fred and Veron (knock on wood) we can make up that loss.

Posted by: Sean | December 7, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I think Fred would be happier in the middle anyway. I've seen kids on my son's U11 team that are more comfortable with the ball on their left foot than Fred is.

Posted by: JB | December 7, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Can't be too upset over anybody leaving because we really have under achieved over the past 2-3 years....we need some new blood. Thanks for all your efforts Brian and Christian.

Posted by: tex | December 7, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Losing Gomez is terrible, keeping Moreno (and I'm going to get hate for this), is also bad. Moreno is a backup off the bench player now. He is slow and did not really produce for DCU last season. We are giving up a tremendous offensive threat, keeping a slow one, so we need new attackers.

Posted by: Felix | December 7, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Vote early, vote often.

Posted by: WNT fan | December 7, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I think it's not the worst thing in the world to lose Gomez. The dude needs money to retire off of. We need the cap space anyways, especially if we're going to bring in another forward to pair with Emilio. I'm fine with essentially trading Gomez for Veron. Although, I really hope that Veron brings the same type of tenacity that Gomez brought to the pitch.

I wonder if this lineup is going to become a reality:

Emilio - ????? forward


Simms - Veron - Olsen

Burch - McTavish - Boswell - Namoff


Subs: Dyachenko, Vanney, Moreno, ??? Left Winger???

Posted by: strago | December 7, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Gomez coming off a ten goal season isn't what you can call an underachiever. And who's to say Moreno will start? He'd make a super sub. Look at how bad United sucked without him last year. His game is not speed anymore but control. No one else on the team has his control of the ball with his back to the goal.

Posted by: DirtyHarry | December 7, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

strago, I like your line-up but would replace Vanney for Boswell.

Posted by: Chico | December 7, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I have cast my vote for SI. Did not know there were so many other blogs out there --the Goffer will have to be on his toes in 2008. Will use my "vacation" time to make good on my promise to find a way to post that vintage 2002 video of none other than the Goffer himself -- from WC 2002 -- as inquiring SI minds want to know . . ..

All reasonable hush money offers will be considered -- and weighed against counterfoffers to publish. :)

Posted by: MR Caretaker | December 7, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Goff, do you see Gomez leaving MLS all together or some other team splashing cash on him OR would a team that might not necissarily get a marquee international player (Colorado, RSL, KC, etc) with their DP spot be willing to spend their's on Gomez?

Posted by: Landis | December 7, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Possible, but unlikely, another MLS team would offer Gomez enough (money and guarantees) to stay in the league.

Posted by: Goff | December 7, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | December 7, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Simms, left-winger, really? Do you want to see that? We need to find a true winger if at all possible this off season (maybe one of those Argentines mentioned earlier?)

Posted by: Doze | December 7, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

That's a bummer about Gomez. I have this nagging feeling that Veron is going to be a dud looking for a vacation. Hope I'm wrong.

It amazes me how people count out Moreno before every season. Doesn't anyone remember what the team was like without him on the field? I don't care if he fails to score in the run of play all season long, he makes everyone else better by holding the ball up there.

Posted by: Joe S. | December 7, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Agree that Moreno has the ability to make players around him better...I just think this year he'll be doing it for the final twenty-five minutes of a match.

Posted by: Jared | December 7, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

What a bad day... I'm losing Goff and Gomez in one fell swoup.

Posted by: David | December 7, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Outside of Dave Matthews, is there a more annoying band than Counting Crows?

Posted by: Fuego Fanatico | December 7, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Outside of Dave Matthews, is there a more annoying band than Counting Crows?

Posted by: Fuego Fanatico | December 7, 2007 11:53 AM

While this is a very excellent post, Goff could've possibly quoted lyrics from oh lets say maybe:

3rd Eye Blind
The Verve Pipe

But yes there aren't many bands that are stinkier than The Counting Crows and DMB.

Posted by: Poopy Pants | December 7, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Outside of Dave Matthews, is there a more annoying band than Counting Crows?

Posted by: Fuego Fanatico | December 7, 2007 11:53 AM


Wow. 1996 called, and it wants its frat boy musical argument back.

So given the loss of Gomez and the addition of Veron, what about a return to the dreaded 3-5-2?

Emilio - Moreno/new fwd


?? winger/Burch? - Veron - Olsen


Vanney - Boswell - Namoff


That solves none of the speed issues on the back line, but with more defensive responsibility and possession from Veron in the midfield, it could work.

Posted by: Kenobi | December 7, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Well, if Steve's not going to post regularly, then I might as well use my vacation time too.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | December 7, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

fred can not replace gomez in DC United' current style of play. i think that is a certainty. veron too will add to dc United's play remarkably, but he would not post the same #'s Gomez does. Veron has never been a goalscorer. DC will definitely miss Gomez if he goes.

Posted by: gomez! | December 7, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

thanks. enjoy your vacation.

Posted by: m | December 7, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Let me see:
* 34 year old MF with maybe 1 or 2 years left in his futball career
for $1.5+ million a year. Why? But ok bring him on. Is there a clause in his contract that guarantees United the title next season, otherwise that's a bad deal.

* Gomez's gone. good riddance. trade on mediocre mid for a better one. that is good in my book

* DCU is doing right by Jaime Moreno by letting him finish his career. but with the money they are saving from Gomez deal, they must find a replacement for Moreno to start training and partner with Emilio

* who cares about college Soccer... Go AU (yeah my point exactly)

* Kaka will win Player of the Year. C Ronaldo has the stigma of being a diver and a bad seed. He is not going to win.

* Why, oh why is Briannay Scurry back on the WNT? don't we have enough depth in the goaly position? no young players to speak of? after all the drama from China last year, will we get more drama again in China again next year? to quote Solo"what happened in the past..." :-D

* Goff, great job this year again. Here's to another wonderful 2008 SI posts. Happy Holidays to you & the family

Posted by: justsayin' | December 7, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

this just in....... Veron and Jose Luis Calderon to DC United! hehe

Posted by: rumor starter | December 7, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"fred can not replace gomez in DC United' current style of play."

I think adding Veron will change DC's tactics dramatically.

Posted by: Goose | December 7, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Veron is 32, not 34.

Posted by: strago | December 7, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

One huge problem: speed.

Only Fred and Gros (and mayyyyybe Olsen)have it.

My solution:

...Fast guy who scores on headers...Emilio






Posted by: Glaucon | December 7, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Goff, do you know anything about this:

"Shevchenko is attracted to a move to Major League Soccer in the US - his wife Kirsten is American - but Chelsea may try to sell the loan option as a way of improving his sharpness so he can still revive his Blues career."

Ok, it's a baseless rumor, and it would make way more sense for Sheva to go back to Italy, but is there any word on an MLS team sniffing around for the guy?

Posted by: longfellow | December 7, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

* Gomez's gone. good riddance. trade on mediocre mid for a better one. that is good in my book

Posted by: justsayin' | December 7, 2007 12:44 PM

Your book is for illiterates then, because that is the dumbest post anyone has ever posted on this blog ever. Seriously, that is profoundly stupid.

Posted by: Avellaneda | December 7, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Where's the U-17 news? ;)

Posted by: sitruc | December 7, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

If Veron is really coming to play, we will be a better possession team, but we will lose a lot of Gomez's goal production. Where are we going to get those goals? Can Fred and Olsen both get 7 from the wings again? Simms will have to use his long-range shot to get 2-3 more, while Moreno will have to get a couple more himself from the run of play. Guys coming off the bench (Kpene and Dyachenko specifically) will also need to be threats, rather than threatening to be threats.

Ultimately, I think a Veron-for-Gomez swap makes us defensively stronger (Veron doesn't play as close to the forwards and will give the ball away less), but that we might be a few goals short of this year's prodigious output. Now, if we can go get a quality center back and combine it with this more solid midfield, we should still be a top team; just expect fewer 3 and 4 goal shows at home.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | December 7, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

P.S. Enjoy your vacation, SG! You've earned it.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | December 7, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Avellaneda beat me to it.

Posted by: Chico | December 7, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

FYI, yesterday's item about DCU's draft picks has been updated to show that the club also has Colorado's third-rounder. The draft information comes from the league office via DCU.

Posted by: Goff | December 7, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

No Gomez, no problem.
Sorry, but DC needs guys who step up in the playoffs.

Posted by: Hacksaw | December 7, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Where's the U-17 news? ;)

Posted by: sitruc | December 7, 2007 01:28 PM

Here's the official report on the one match that has been played so far in this series:

Who is worth paying attention to besides Renken?

Posted by: 22201 | December 7, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

The fact that we've gone all the way through this entire blog entry without mention of a SSS at PP means is fantastic mojo! That must mean its a done deal.... oh wait. Crap. Sorry guys. My bad.

Steve, best to you and yours for the holidays. Thanks for everything!

Posted by: AlexandriaDan | December 7, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

DC had 2 playoff goals this season. Gomez had 1 of them. That's 50% of our goals! What more could you ask for?! Gomez even tried so hard to score another goal that he was willing to use his hand if that would help. Gomez shouldn't be blamed. It's the rest of the team (mainly the defense!) that needs to step it up.

Posted by: Shatz / DCUMD | December 7, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

It wasn't Gomez who was hurt in the first Chicago game, either.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 7, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

would love to see Veron play in the MLS. He would offer a refined style of play that is rare in the rough and tumble MLS. I think more refined natural play would help raise the profile of the MLS in general. Players like JP Angel are already helping with this. Where do most of the Veron rumors originate from? Enjoy your vacation.

Posted by: wrc | December 7, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

re: justsayin'

Some of you are a bit biased in your analysis because of Gomez history with the club. Gomez was less than stellar for the entire first half of the 2007 season. His game improved near the end, but the fall-off from previous years was abysmal. Compare the caps for Gomez versus Veron, and you should get a very clear indication of their respective talent. They don't play the same exactly, but the technical ability both with and without the ball is better with Veron, most particularly the prowess for precise, purposeful, penetrating passes (hows that for alliteration, ha!). Gomez has been a valuable member of the team, but we really could use the cap space for speedy forward-beneficiary-of-Vernon's-passing-prowess or speedy central defender. (Switch sides on Fred and Benny, and Glaucon has the lineup.)

Posted by: LeeesburgSoccerFan | December 7, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

If you're going to dog out people who need to step up in the playoffs, start with Soehn for starting Boswell and then Vanney and then Boswell, etc....

It was a collective team dump and you can't lay it all on Gomez.

Posted by: Chico | December 7, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Goff -

Thanks for all the excellent reportage this year.

Enjoy your vacation time, and "Happy Holidays" to you and you family.

Posted by: DCUInWheaton | December 7, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

re: LeeesburgSoccerFan

I don't think anyone is saying that Gomez is/will be better than Veron. Veron is a better player, with far more national team experience. No argument there.

What I'm worried about is the loss of production for the team if Gomez leaves. Even with his 'worst' full season at DCU in 2007, he still got us 10 goals and 9 assists in the regular season. (2005: 11 G, 9 A; 2006: 14 G, 11 A).

Veron will make us a better team overall, but I'm not sure he will be able to replace those offensive numbers.

Ultimately, what I'm saying is that DC United will be better with BOTH Veron and Gomez on the team, rather than just one of them. Gomez may not be a global superstar, but he is still a very good player, and probably the best overall player on the team over past 3 years.

Posted by: isaac101 | December 7, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey 22201,
I watched that u-17 game vs. Russia, and Stefan Jerome was really good, too. Those kids can play! It makes me feel good about the future of the USMNT.

Posted by: jrnail | December 7, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I guess it's true what they say about opinions, and everyone seems to have one...where Gomez is concerned. But, dissing him for the playoff result? He practically willed United into an overtime. I wish he could summon that urgency all the time, but he does step up. That's a bogus criticism. And I think DC should find a way to hold him. I'm OK with Simms or Fred off the bench. Gomez gives us goals. If you didn't notice, United was almost a three-man team, with Olsen, Emilio, and Gomez as threats (and Moreno making it go). We desperately need a goal-scorer, especially one who can run and attack on the dribble. Unless DC can use Gomez' money for a striker who fits that bill, they should sign him again. Then, use Moreno's money in a year for that striker.

Speaking of strikers...Stefan Jerome. Sitruc wanted U-17 talk. Jerome looked like exactly the guy I was describing for striker. Fantastic ball skills, and a good shot. Also has the confidence. I don't think he's far off from being ready for MLS. And, the 13 yr. old kid, Charles Renken? He's got serious chops. I think it's worth taking a flyer on either of these young'uns, if they're draft eligible.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | December 7, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

"(Switch sides on Fred and Benny, and Glaucon has the lineup.)"
-Leesburg Soccer Fan

Fred on the left? So he can use his speed to get up the left flank, and then, even though he has a step on the defender, take a cut back to slow things down?

Posted by: Glaucon | December 7, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Did you interview Oliver Weiss? The guy is a great coach.

I played against his Richmond Striker teams in the 90's. Its not surprising to see him have success at VT.

Does he want to coach in the MLS one day?

He was an awesome coach back then and I can only think he's gotten better.

Posted by: makalb18 | December 7, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I hope DC can find a way to keep Gomez. He has been so good for DC -- his passing, his goals, his control of the ball in midfield. He's also a great guy and a credit to the organization. And I don't think he is passed his prime. He scored 10 goals last year and played well for DC against Chivas of Guadalajara. He also played well in the second leg against Chicago, a match in which he scored one goal and had a second goal unfairly disallowed. Finally, DC was the best team during MLS's regular season; a lot of that had to do with Gomez.

Posted by: Ed | December 7, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse


How does DC United suddenly discover that they had another 3rd round draft pick from one day to another? It's one thing for fans to lose track but how did the organization not know they had that pick?

Posted by: bluemeanies | December 7, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

If Goff isn't going to start any new threads anytime soon, are we poised to get into Guinness for creating the longest thread on a blog?

Posted by: 22201 | December 7, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

"Ultimately, what I'm saying is that DC United will be better with BOTH Veron and Gomez on the team, rather than just one of them"

I would totally agree were it not for the additional $400,000 salary cap hit for a DP. Push Gomez up top to play withdrawn forward and good to go. Alas, we can't afford both and still address other pressing needs (additional tall, fast forward and central defender).

"Fred on the left?" Some of his best games were from the left this year. He's not a true winger and never will be, so the loss of speed for a quality cross on the touch line isn't an issue. His speed is more advantageous on the penetrating dribble. Benny on the left is much less of a threat than the right. Fred on the left is about the same as Fred on the right. That's my reasoning.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | December 7, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

The more I think about it, I could see Fred actually being the player that benefits most from Veron. Fred has some speed and knows how to escape his man and make dangerous runs. Veron, playing earlier balls, could easily catch people out with Fred making an early diagonal run from the left into the middle. Something for us to look at in the preseason, assuming this all works out.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | December 7, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

And so we start to see the backlash of DP's on the league. Previous top players still playing their arses off want much more money and we might lose Gomito to another league because of it. I agree with all posters who think we need to keep Christian and possibly push him up to withdrawn forward with the arrival of Veron. With the exception of the first half of this year, Gomez has shown brilliance in and around the box. I would want him up front with Lucio.
And those that think Fred could possibly take his spot and be as productive as CG are dreamers. I like Fred but he can not hold and move the ball as well as Christian. Especially if he gets half the attention Gomez did in the middle of the field. Losing Gomez would be a big hit as he has been our best player since he came here. KP needs to twist the league's arm and get concessions to allow Gomito to stay ala rule changes like LA received to be able to keep Landycakes.

Posted by: JMR | December 7, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm not anywhere near a TV, but the gametracker at the NCAA site reports that Florida State's Mami Yamaguchi buried one in Notre Dame's net 15 seconds into the match. Does anyone know what happened?

Posted by: 22201 | December 7, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

With our potential 60+ game schedule next year we need a bunch of 16 year olds hopped up on Red Bull not more 30+ year old players. A Gomez-Veron-Moreno triangle in the center would be a disaster for another intense season like we are about to have.

Bring on Fro Adu

Posted by: Southeasterner | December 7, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

It's a tough situation, but DC gave every indication of not acceding to Gomez's request long before it became apparent they had a good shot at Veron.

Posted by: Stan | December 7, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

A report from the USWNT camp that may interest some:

Posted by: 22201 | December 7, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

FSU leading Notre Dame 3-2 right now. I thought that was a 7:00 or 7:30 match.

Posted by: sitruc | December 7, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Florida State 3 Notre Dame 2

Posted by: sitruc | December 7, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I like Gomez but I think this might be a good thing.

IMO, United's greatest weakness the last couple of years has been our lack of a solid transition/distribution game. Moreno's certainly done a good job and it's of great credit to him that he was able to change from a goal scorer to someone who could maintain possession under pressure through the midfield, bring it forward and find the open man. While he's done a good job, he's definitely slowing done. He simply can't carry this part of the game for United for eight solid months- not all by himself. We certainly have some good mid-fielders but none of them (or anyone else on the team) are terribly good at this part of the game. We *NEED* help here.

Sacrificing a good scorer (Gomez) for someone who can maintain control and possession while running the transition/distribution game (OMG how I miss ball control on our part!) *and* potentially be of great assistance in allowing others to score is a pretty good swap. And that's without even factoring in defensive considerations.

I don't want to get too long-winded here so I'll just say that for various reason I think it had to be Gomez. With Carroll and presumably Gros gone as well, we'll certainly have a different looking mid-field but the biggest change is going to be from what Veron's brings as I've described above.

Between Veron feeding him, another year in MLS under his belt, and presumably moving to his natural position at center if Gomez leaves- Fred would seem to be the single biggest beneficiary offensively. Obviously, any new forward would fall into the same boat. Paging Mr. Kpene.....Never mind. We'll save that for another day.

Okay, time to fess up. I truly don't know much about Veron but my sense from what I've been reading is that he can help us in the transition/distribution/control at mid-field part of the game. Please, someone tell me he's the man for the job! The one thing I do know is this is what we need. And even Gomez is worth the price


PS- Gomez threw his jersey into the stands after our loss to Chicago in the playoffs and yours truly caught it. Looks like I own a piece of DC United history.

Posted by: Kire | December 7, 2007 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I think Veron will be a terrific addition.

Gomez is not worth the money he is asking. He dropped off considerably from 06 and I don't think he would improve in 08 so I can't see paying more.

How successfull DC will be in 08 will turn on whether we find a big strong fast complement as forward to Emilio up top and has some real threat as a 3rd forward.

DC also has to do add some speed at the wide midfield position.

Finally, we need a solution to our Centerback problems of 07. Boswell really tanked last year, while Vanney did ok but he was not the rock in the back the Front Office hoped. If Mctavish is not the answer then we need help in the draft or from overseas in this slot.

Posted by: Nick from Big Soccer | December 7, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Anyone talking about Coach Weiss leaving VT should have their comments removed and be banned from posting. :) I've heard some interesting stories about his coaching and well...yelling at players until they have no idea what to do, but players seem to like him.

I thought the U17 team looked pretty good against Russia. I thought a few of the players looked pretty good. Russia was pretty much outclassed at every position. The second goal was brilliant.

Posted by: sitruc | December 7, 2007 7:12 PM | Report abuse

We cannot use our magical allocation money to artificially extend our salary cap again, allowing us to pay Gomez without having to worry about the cap? We have ~$600,000 in allocation money?

I honestly don't know. Either way, I'm sure the DCU Front Office knows, and has a plan for using the allocation money before it expires.

Enjoy your break, Goff!

Posted by: B.A. | December 7, 2007 8:00 PM | Report abuse


Fred is not going to move into the middle, unless it's to play forward instead of Moreno. Veron is a central, playmaking midfielder. With him and Simms, and still no other left midfielders, Fred will continue playing left midfield and cutting into the middle from there. He may pinch in when Burch overlaps, but he will not be playing where Gomez was.

Now, is Veron the man for the job? If he comes here to play (like Angel obviously did), then absolutely yes. His range of passing (excluding crosses) is as good or better than Beckham's and his vision will be well ahead of anyone in MLS. He'll give us a much more controlled possession game (allowing Moreno to play further upfield and focus more on goalscoring), as well as give us deadlier counterattacks (due to his long-range passing).

However, if he comes here for a paycheck only (a la Denilson), we are screwed. In that case, I would imagine we would play too slowly, finding massed defenses instead of scrambling ones and generally struggling for chances. We would still outpossess most opponents, but it wouldn't amount to anything; essentially, we'd be reliving the Hudson era, but without the constant, thuggish fouling or soundbites.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | December 7, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't be surprised to see Fred go up to withdrawn forward if DC can sign a winger and Gomez leaves.

Posted by: Todd H. | December 7, 2007 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Why is it the vast majority of posters are under the impression that Veron is coming
to REPLACE Gomez?

He is NOT a Central Attacking Midfielder.
He's a Holding midfielder.
He wins loose balls, plays solid defensively, and distributes.

This means we'll either play a line-up with 5 mids (be it a 3-5-2 or 4-5-1), or perhaps a skewed box-4 midfield.

The problem with a 3-5-2, is we really don't have true wingers on the team.
Olsen did much better than anyone expected playing out wide in the 4-4-2, but that was because his defensive responsibilities were limited.

A 3-5-2 puts much more pressure on the wings defensively.

Sadly, there's a scarcity of wingers in MLS, and anyone worth playing out there will be impossible to sign.

The problem with a 4-5-1, is as good of a poacher as Emilio is, I don't think he's the kind of striker you can leave alone on an island up top. Maybe if you play Fred and Veron flat, with Veron stepping back just a bit, he'd receive the kind of support he needs, but I just don't see it.
That also leaves us with nobody to step in alone up top should he go down.

Of course Soehn could just go with a Diamond 4-4-2, playing Veron as a DMid, and using Simms for depth.

Bottom-line, we have a lot of holes to fill this winter: Wingers, a true #2 forward with a bit more pace and stamina than Jaime (and less hesitance to shoot on goal), and some depth in defense, be it Jay Needham or someone else. I wouldn't mind Needham at LB and Burch moving up to Left Wing, if he shows he has the wheels to do it.

Posted by: AlecW81 | December 7, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse

If Fred were playing CAM, with Veron at CHM, and Simms/Olsen at CDM, Fred would never really have to worry about holding the ball. He'd be making runs to stretch the defense, then one-timing the ball back across the pitch to a forward or streaking winger.

From everything I know of Veron, he plays all out, all the time, and leaves everything on the field. He's a player who will fight for the jersey, settle our play, and bring much needed leadership. Ben's a great leader, but a bit too feisty. Veron won't be missing matches due to red cards and yellow card accumulation.

I feel REALLY good about this move, and while I'll miss Gomez, ultimately we need to find a younger player to fill his and Jaime's roles.

Posted by: AlecW81 | December 7, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Any chance Simms could hit the weights this offseason and come back a central defender?

Then Veron can play his dmid role that you all say he's more inclined to.

Posted by: Glaucon | December 7, 2007 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Glaucon -

What an interesting thought; converting Simms into a central defender. I'd never considered that before.

Since I don't know if Simms has ever played any defense before, I wonder if he could develop the "mind-set" required for the position. Burch seemed to pick up the mental aspects well, so I guess Simms could too. But... it seems to me that learning the centerback position on the fly would be much harder, considering the other responsibilities of the position, like man-marking, organizing the defense and the offside traps, etc.

Simms certainly would add a LOT of speed to the back line.

Whatever they do elsewhere, United (coach Soehn) needs to find a way to keep Clyde on the field as much as is possible. That's my opinion, anyway.

Posted by: DCUInWheaton | December 7, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

If we get Veron, you have to go back to a 3-5-2. Simms falls in behind Veron and Fred. Move Burch up to play on the outside. He has proven that he can cross a ball and still play some defense. Benny is fine out on the right. We still need to sort out the Boswell/Vaney debacle; Soehn and get a forward that can score goals and play with Emilio.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 7, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

There's a play-in game for the Club World Championship, on now, and I found out that Iranian team was the Asian Champions League runner-up.

Apparently their opponent is from a New Zealand league -- I didn't think they had one , with the A-League around (and with a Wellington team). Still trying to figure out how Waitakere United qualified.

Happy to see the Concacaf is getting in gear to have their own...

Posted by: RK | December 7, 2007 11:59 PM | Report abuse

It's funny, the main thing that I remember about Veron is that prior to the 2002 World Cup in Korea / Japan Dave Dir picked Juan Sebastian Veron to be his "star" player on ESPN. Since then, I never had much respect for either Dave Dir or Veron. Now that was a group of death back in 2002: Argentina, England, Sweden, and Nigeria. Phew.

Anyways, I hope Veron proves me wrong. I don't see how DC United will be able to compete for a major championship without a second player who can score ten goals. I don't see anyone besides Emilio on the team being able to get into double digits. And that's a problem.

Posted by: diego r. | December 8, 2007 1:41 AM | Report abuse

Anyone know if the highlights from that U-17 match are posted online anywhere?

Posted by: show the skillz | December 8, 2007 6:53 AM | Report abuse

CONCACAF could avoid the US-Mex problem by seeding the two and then having only the group winners advance to finals.

Posted by: Justin | December 8, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Anyone know if the highlights from that U-17 match are posted online anywhere?

Posted by: 22201 | December 8, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

The Weather Channel reports that at kickoff time in Storrs, CT, it should be mostly sunny, with a temperature around 40F. Presumably all the snow they've had in recent days will have been dealt with. The gametracker and audio, respectively, are at:

Posted by: 22201 | December 8, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Here is the preview in the print version of the Post to which Goff referred:

Posted by: 22201 | December 8, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Goff, Is there any truth to the rumours that LA Galaxy are set to sign Polish international Zurawski? The rumours are flying around and as a LAG fan, I feel only you can settle this rumour properly. Many Thanks.

Posted by: | December 8, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Nyarko goal in the 22nd or 23rd to put VT up 1-0 over UConn early. It sounds like the field is in pretty bad condition from the snow and ice.

Posted by: sitruc | December 8, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse


With all due respect, I have to disagreeon Veron's position, based on years of watching Veron play for Parma, Lazio, Man. United, Chelsea, and Argentina. He doesn't play as far upfield as Gomez, but that doesn't make him an attacking player. In our current 442, he would almost certainly play just ahead of Simms in the middle (rather than just off the forwards, as Gomez did). Olsen and Fred would remain on the wings.

I'd also argue that the reason Olsen succeeded in our 442 is because he can still play as a true winger, which you don't find in a 352. A winger doesn't just mean a wide player, it means an attacking wide player. A 352 does not have that role, since your two wide midfielders have to do so much defending.

Finally, Needham is like Boswell Jr. He's big, strong, and slow. There's no way he can play left back. I strongly doubt we do anything with his MLS rights this season.


Simms played center back a couple this past season (6/28, 4-1 at home against Colorado; 7/11, US Open Cup disaster at Harrisburg), as well as a couple other times in 2006. While he's not awful at it, it's clear he isn't comfortable back there. He's also only 5'9", making it pretty difficult for him to mark larger opposing forwards.


Sepahan of Iran is in the tournament because, as host, Japan's Urawa Reds (the Asian champions) get an automatic spot. New Zealand does have a league (the NZ teams you refer to play in the A-League, but the country does still have its own league), comprised of semi-pro and amateur teams. Waitakere United qualified as the Oceania region champions, thanks to Australia joining the Asian federation.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | December 8, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

NCAA womens tournament played in Storrs in 2004 in the snow. Patriot League champ Colgate women defeated PAC-10 champ Arizona.

Posted by: Go 'Gate | December 8, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Pack your bags for Cary, Goff. VTech has upset UConn!!!

Posted by: 12th man | December 8, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Virginia Tech is going back to Cary, NC.

Posted by: sitruc | December 8, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

USA 1 Brazil 0

Posted by: sitruc | December 8, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Good point. If Fred moves inside who'd play left mid? Certainly no strong candidates on the present roster. We could conceivably see a new, young South American starting mid-fielder come from these scouting trips - one who might play on the left. If we lose three mids (Gomez, Gros and Carroll) and pick up one (Veron) you can make a case we'd want to pick up one more midfielder.

I think where we stand now is we'll have three solid mids- Fred (as already stated, will be even better next year), Ben (will be Ben), plus Veron.

Then you have Simms and Burch. This is a very big year for both of them.

DeRoux, J. Carroll, Arguez will have their chances- hopefully someone will rise. Moose & Dyachenko's stars are fading unless they really turn things around.

You know, the more I think about it, the more I think you're right - Fred is destined to stay on the left. Why? Because we're not going to pick up another mid-fielder. Instead United will invest in a goal scoring forward. As I already stated, I think Veron's going to help a lot of guys get some goals next year, but if you really want to make this team a beast, this is the move to make. Add another player who has a nose for the net to run alongside Emilio.

You know what we'd have then? The son of Diaz Arce - Moreno - Etcheverry. Only Moreno would be played by someone else much of time. I'll stay away from discussing Moreno just to keep this somewhat cogent.

I understand your concern about Veron phoning it in but there's no reason to think he's not coming hear to play. Can he do for us some of things El Diablo used to do? I think (read hope) he can, Granted it wouldn't be for such a long time.

On a separate note, I think a maturing Burch and McTavish alongside Namoff, Vanney and a hopefully reinvigorated Boswell will suffice at the defenders position. They're all good and they'll have had that much more time playing with one another. Yes, it'd be nice to pick up one 'great' defender, someone who had more speed- but you can't have everything. Lest we forget, Houston and NE are the teams with the least amount of turnover the last couple of years. I say let these guys keep playing together and they'll become stronger and stronger unit.

My x-mas list: Someone who's taller than my mother on this team!

Posted by: Kire | December 8, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

USA 2 Brazil 0
US converts a PK with 10 min to go

Posted by: sitruc | December 8, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

USA 2 Brazil 0

The ending of that match was pretty disgusting and disgraceful by the Brazilians and especially their coaches. A good match was played and US deserved the win.

Posted by: sitruc | December 8, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I won't be too disappointed to see Gomez go. His play has been inconsistent the second half of 2006 (yeah, I know he was MVP) and 2007. Sometimes you'd wonder which Gomez would show up.

Moreno would be good off the bench but would his ego take the demotion?

They might not contend for the SS next year but winning it in 2006 and 2007 didn't do too much for them. I see them contending for a playoff spot and sneaking in much like they did in 2004 when they won the title.

Posted by: Clean house | December 8, 2007 11:27 PM | Report abuse

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