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Q&A Continued

You have many questions.

I have a few answers.

Skip below for the Qs and As.....

Q: Any updates on Moreno and Gomez? Any leanings on them coming back or not? (Posted by Vasco)
A: Tough call at this point. I haven't heard much about Moreno, which leads me to believe he will be back. Gomez is 50-50 at best as the sides try to negotiate a deal. The sticking point may very well be the number of guaranteed years.

Q: Any thoughts/predictions on next year's African Cup of Nations? And is DCU or any other MLS entity planning on going to Ghana to scout for young talent in the tournament? Gotta believe there are some bargains to be had. (Edgeonvou)
A: I have to go with the hosts - maturing team playing at home. I can't imagine any MLS teams sending scouts there. Honestly, many of the top players in that tournament are already accounted for, and any young players that emerge will receive offers from Europe. MLS can't compete with that.

Q: MLS had an article on their web site announcing the waiver draft last Thursday, but there has been no info released since, not even a simple "all teams passed on all players". There seemed to be several key names available that other teams could certainly benefit from. What, if anything, happened? (Grumpy)
A: Yeah, strange that the league did not at least put out a release saying no one had been selected. Indeed, no one was selected. I'll disagree with you that there were several key players available who could benefit teams. They were waived for a reason.

Q: What are your thoughts on the likely matchup with Cuba in WC qualifying? Is there any chance the political process will become so involved as to prevent us from playing? Will any away support be allowed? Or simply too soon to know? (Kyle)
A: I can't imagine the government would prevent a U.S. team from playing an important international game. As far as fans traveling for that one, good luck.

Q: Any word on candidates for the Red Bull coaching position? (Emilio)
A: One source tells me that Osorio is still very much in the New York picture and that negotiations continue. We'll see what happens. As I reported first a few weeks ago, the Red Bulls approached Osorio, Preki and Peter Nowak.

Q: Are we going to see any USMNT games coming to the DC area in the future? (PKTaker)
A: Absolutely. Perhaps we'll see a qualifier here next summer/fall. Much too early to say which one.

Q: In my mind, Josh Gros was a subtly crucial element of an effective midfield over the past three years. Does the possible addition of Veron positionally account for his loss, or will United have to find another midfield player in addition to Veron? (Logan Circle)
A: Gros's absence will have an impact on United's options on the flank. His work rate and athletic ability will also be sorely missed. A word of caution: From all indications, Gros plans to retire, but nothing official yet.

Q: Any non-Veron related player acquisition rumors? (Sean)
A: I'm not hearing much. Very quiet at the moment. DCU folks have spent a lot of time in South America, so don't be surprised to see them sign Veron and at least one other Latin player.

Q: Could you give your quick thoughts on what a new stadium in suburban Maryland could mean for DCU's fans; DCU's overall attendance/profit margins; the chances for hosting future MLS Cups/Finals/USMNT games; anything else? Would those be much different from a stadium at Poplar Point? (I Prefer Poplar Point)
A: A new stadium would elevate Washington into the picture for friendlies, qualifiers, etc. - just like Dallas, Columbus, Home Depot Center, Denver, etc. Folks in Virginia - where a large percentage of the fan base resides - will not be happy about getting on the Beltway to see a game in PG County, but club officials are looking to build a facility near a Metro station.

Q: Will United ever obtain a world-class central defender or do we have to put up with late-season/playoff collapses again? One has to wonder if they would be CONCACAF champions had we purchased Kasey Keller when he was free. (Bristol)
A: I expect United to sign a foreign central defender or make a trade for an impact back. Keller? While there would not have been a transfer fee, his salary would have been the highest on United's roster. Do you really want a past-his-prime keeper making $500,000?

Q: What is the likelihood that this has all have been gamesmanship and that at the end of the day the folks at City Hall will find a spot for United in DC? 5%, 10%, 25%? (Morgantown Weeps)
A: My hunch is that they are going to Maryland, but we'll see what the city has to say as the Poplar Point process continues.

Q: Any word on the three way deal regarding Ruiz to LA, Donavan to SJ and FCD getting allocation money? I'm hearing it's done, what do you hear? (Tex)
A: Haven't heard that one specifically. Yes, though, there are rumblings that Ruiz and Donovan may be on the move.

Q: WP.com and the dead-tree version of the Post did a good job in 2007 in spending more resources to cover the beautiful game (expanded online coverage, WNT coverage in China, MLS Cup coverage). What are the Post's plans for 2008 - Olympics, WC Qualifying, CONCACAF, MLS, etc.? (Mickey)
A: Thanks for your kind words. I am planning to attend most every WC qualifier next year, although if the Americans stomp Barbados in the first leg of their two-game series, I don't think I can justify a trip to the Caribbean for the mostly unimportant second game. The Olympics will be covered by several other members of our staff (my trip to China was for the Women's World Cup).

Q: Your initial opinion of the Gullit hiring--supper club fiasco redux or wise injection of sophisticated tactical wizardry? (JoeW)
A: I don't think it will go well. He's not known for sticking around a club for very long and I question the effectiveness and adaptability of a coach with no experience working in American soccer.

Q: Is Altidore the future goal-scoring machine of America? (Adam)
A: I don't know if he'll be a scoring machine, but certainly has the potential to become a national team regular. I'm eager to see him earn a few caps this winter/spring and hopefully put himself into position to play quality minutes in the qualifiers and, of course, the Olympics.

Q: Where do you see Jamil Walker ending up next year? (NW FC)
A: Jamil suffered a serious Achilles' injury last spring, so I wonder if he will ever be the same. We'll see if he gets invited to United training camp.

Q: What are the odds that Omar Gonzalez leaves Maryland early? If so, is there any chance DCU trades up to grab him (I doubt he'd last long enough for us to just pick naturally)? (Chest Rockwell)
A: Great question. I've been poking around on that subject, and some observers believe he is ready to leave college - big, strong central defender with good instincts and finishing ability.

Q: Any chance Simms gets a look for the national team? Or are there just too many players at that position for him to get a chance? (TG)
A: A look? Maybe. Good MLS player, but not international quality at the moment. Maybe he gets called in for the January camp.

Q: Have you heard any of the results of the D.C. United Stadium Survey? Will DCU share the results or keep them close to the vest so as not to tip their hand in negotiations with potential site owners? (Soy United!)
A: Not a word. The results are for internal consumption only, I'm guessing.

Q: Is United showing any interest in Jay Needham? When do their rights to him expire? (Jared)
A: The club will hold his rights through 2008. I have not heard of any interest in him or whether he plans to play in the USL again.

Q: Can you confirm Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids) transfer to D.C.? (Mario Kempes)
A: Haven't heard that one.

Q: The press here in Buenos Aires are reporting that River is trying to sign Crespo in order to a) match Boca's signing of Riquelme, and b) help attract Simeone as the two are close. I understand Crespo is getting less playing time in Inter for whatever reason. Any chance MLS (and United in particular) would pursue Crespo as a DP? (Lost in BA)
A: I'm sure every MLS team would like Crespo. But could they afford him? Probably not.

Q: We were eliminated from every major tournament and have moved backwards in the hunt for a stadium. We've not made it to MLS Cup in several years. Any other ownership group would serve notice to management, but our top brass stays in place and gets promotions. What if anything has this ownership group done to let DCU management know this is not acceptable? (David)
A: Any other ownership group? In MLS? United had the best team in the league over the course of eight months, and you want them to fire the coach and general manager? Not going to happen. The club clearly must address several issues, but unless the team collapses next regular season, don't expect any coaching or front office changes.

Q: Other than Veron, who I think could be a Denilson-type signing, which other South American "names" is United looking into? Secondly, which "non-names" is United looking at from South America? (therealfootball)
A: If I knew, I would have already written about it. Look, the club has a database of Latin American prospects and has spent significant time down there this fall/winter looking for the right players to sign. They'll have many options.

Q: Is the Soccer Insider still keeping up on the number of visitors now that MLS season is over? And does this affect the Post's view on the coverage of soccer? (pc)
A: We've been getting between 10,000 and 18,000 hits per day since United's season ended, which maintains our status in the top 10 among all Post blogs most days. The day Sean Taylor died, the Redskins blog received close to 300,000 hits.

Q: Who's prettier, Bobby Boswell or Devon McTavish? (just dreamy)
A: Ben Olsen. ;-)

Q: Have you heard anything recently about United looking at players from China? A colleague of mine sat next to Will Chang on a flight from San Francisco to DC a couple of weeks ago and said Mr. Chang was flipping through a thick binder with information on Chinese players. (Mount Pleasant)
A: I think Will is more interested in purchasing a Chinese team than finding immediate help for United. The reality is, at this point in the country's development of the sport, Chinese soccer does not have much to offer.

Q: Any word on whether Patrick Nyarko is interested in coming to MLS after the NCAA tournament, or staying on with Tech for another year? (pat)
A: Great question. Everyone I have spoken to about him says he has the ability to play in MLS now. I wouldn't be surprised if he came out.

Q: Which Soccer Insider movie/show recommendation did Ben Olsen watch while he was recuperating from ankle surgery? (delantero)
A: Message from Benny: "Tell them that I read and appreciated all their picks for me. I watched mostly movies as I quickly figured out that watching daytime
television was more painful than the open wounds on my ankles. I watched a movie called Mr. Brooks, which had a lot of potential but I couldn't get pass Dane Cook as a serial killer and didn't buy Demi Moore. I thought Kevin Costner was good, though. For some reason I can't recall the other movies probably because of the pain killers. Ankles are doing good and I think the surgery went very well. Start jogging next week and been swimming as of late, which is not a pretty sight."

Q: What's Pia Sundhage been up to? (I-270, Exit 1)
A: The women will open a training camp in early 2008.

Q: Do we really need Veron? I am fully aware of his abilities and yeah I've seen most of his highlight reels, but I just can't shake the idea that he might be a square peg in round hole for this team right now. Is he really still worth the rumored 30 million dollars we're gonna pay? Plus we're already deep (by MLS standards) in the center mid position. Gomez, Olsen, Fred, Simms, Arguez, and Veron?? We have other needs more pressing. We could really use a solid center back, a replacement for Gros, or even another quality forward up top. Why doesn't the front office try to spread the love around? (Chris)
A: Veron is one piece to the puzzle. They like the idea of bringing in an internationally seasoned, Latin player who will bring some bite to the midfield. I fully expect the club to sign a defender and perhaps another forward.

Q: What expansion teams would you like to see in the league by 2012 and why? (timoteo)
A: St. Louis, Miami and either Montreal or Vancouver.

Q: Were MLS Cup TV ratings OK despite being handicapped by a ridiculous time slot (noon Eastern)? What are the chances that they will finally realize that if a decent Sunday time slot on ABC is not available (because of a NASCAR event or anything else), it is better to do it on a Saturday night on a cable channel (BSPN or BSPN2)? (22201)
A: As I recall, MLS Cup earned a 0.9 overnight rating, which was on par with past viewing audiences. MLS simply does not have a large enough national footprint to attract a bigger TV following. Because of the time of year, MLS will always have scheduling issues with the championship game. Do you want to go up against college football or the NFL? Do you want a cable audience or a coveted national broadcast?

Q: What's the deal with the two-legged ties at the beginning of CONCACAF qualifying? With teams like Granada and Barbados facing the US and Mexico in the early stages, it seems that the minnows will NEVER be able to progress through the qualification stages. Why not just put all the small nations in a group and have the winner (or two) advance into the first group with the major countries? (mangle)
A: The two-game second-round series is relatively new. They did it this way for 2006 and they will do it again this cycle. Actually, I think some of these small nations prefer the short series - better chance to pull off a surprise over two games than in, say, six-game group play. Obviously, the USA and Mexico opponents have no hope, but a minnow has the potential to knock off a mid-level team that received a bye.

Q: Have United and the DCSEC (city govt) signed a new deal to keep RFK as the home of (and base of operations for) United in 2008 (and likely '09 and '10, too)? (RFK Stadium)
A: Haven't heard anything, but fully expect a deal to be in place soon for 2008 soon.

Q: What are the odds of Harkes or Richie Williams returning to DCU with Bruce leaving the Red Bulls? How about Eddie Pope? (Steigs)
A: From what I've heard, Richie has a better chance of sticking around the Red Bulls than John. Of course, the new coach will have the final say. Can't see Harkes coming back to DCU in any capacity right now. Pope might join United's front office.

Q: Did you attend the 2007 DCU Academy Friendlies 12/1 and 12/2? Any reports out there on how it went? (hokie soccer fan)
A: No. Got nothing for ya.

Q: Love the blog, love your work......I hope this isn't too much of old hash...but the new Seattle team can play in a football stadium indefinitely? Since it will be relatively, if not completely, rent-free it is okay to play in a huge stadium that dwarfs the true attendance? Or does MLS still want (i.e. demand) the Seattle team in a soccer specific stadium? (Ashburn)
A: The financial situation at Qwest allows the new Seattle club to play in an oversized stadium. I don't think they are in a rush to build their own facility. I love that stadium - too bad it's too big for MLS purposes and has artificial turf.

Q: Do you think an American male will ever contend for world player of the year, and could he be playing today? (AJ)
A: Freddy Adu! No, not anytime soon.

Q: Which DC players do you see getting called into the Jan USMNT camp? How about other MLS players? (emanon)
A: Olsen is coming off surgery, so he's not going. Simms has an outside chance, I suppose. Maybe Burch?

Q: Justin Moose's MLS profile lists his height at 5'-8". What size heels was he wearing the day that measurements were taken? (Shatz/DCUMD)
A: LOL. Height is the least of Moose's problems. He's gotta make quite an impression at training camp to stay on the roster - and stay in the league.

Q: Is Kevin Payne behind the move for Veron or is this an ownership interest? (Tcompton)
A: It's an organizational decision - Chang (who is active in day to day stuff), Payne, Kasper, Soehn.

Q: How did you get involved in soccer reporting? Did you draw the short stick at the Post and then discovered your new passion? Or were you involved in soccer before? (ML)
A: Soccer was big in my hometown in New Hampshire, so I played the game constantly as a kid and followed the sport as much as I could. I began writing about soccer as a student at American University. As sports editor of the school paper, I oversaw the coverage of AU's run to the NCAA championship game against UCLA in 1985 (Bruins won in eight overtimes). At The Post, lack of interest from other writers perhaps opened the door for me to create a beat. And with the emergence of MLS, I've been able to stay with the sport for many years now.

Q: Has there been any desire from the league to strengthen/expand the reserve division at all, or are they relatively happy with the way things have been and the number of reserve matches? (Brian)
A: In some circles, the reserve division is a joke. Teams often have to scramble to find players in order to field a team. The idea is good, the execution has been shaky. Hopefully, improvements will be made because reserve players badly need competitive games.

Q: Have you heard any recent news regarding the development of the CONCACAF Champions League? (JC)
A: The plan is to start this coming summer with 24 teams (four from MLS - Houston, New England, DC and Chivas, from what I hear). The schedule would run from August/September 2008 until April/May 2009.

Q: Please critique the impending Veron signing. What do you think of it? (Kire)
A: I like it. Big-name player who will bring some bite to United's midfielder.

Q: Who is going to win the men's and women's Div 1 titles? Are you going to Cary to cover the men's finals? (Southeasterner)
A: UCLA women, UConn men. If Va Tech makes the final four, I might head down there.

Q: Do you know if there will be any European clubs including from Bundesliga (since they've established a relationship with MLS) coming to play games to the US and specifically at RFK any time soon before March? (td)
A: German clubs are busy until May, so don't count on any of them coming in the spring. Maybe this summer. However, with so many games and tournaments on the MLS docket, it's awfully difficult - and taxing - to schedule friendlies.

Q: The draft pick from last year, Bryan Arguez. How does he look? Does he crack the starting lineup next year? Was he a waste of a pick? What's up with him! (kennyisbigk911)
A: He's very young and he's very much a project. Starting lineup? No, no, no. Clubs usually give players two years to prove themselves, so he will need to make an impression in 2008.

Q: How is Asst. Coach Chad Ashton regarded by DCU management and players? I presume they are high on Tommy Soehn and Mark Simpson, but Ashton is a mystery to me. All I know is that he and Tommy once played together, but his record as a college coach was undistinguished and as far as I've seen he is noteworthy only for his astonishing profanity. (Hedbal)
A: Ashton and Soehn go back many years, so no surprise he was hired as an assistant. They seem to work well together. No other observations from me. Profanity?? What coach doesn't use it?

Q: I know that Bobby Convey is coming off a host of injuries, but I've seen him in his last two games and he looks lost. He can't seem to push the ball up the field. His crosses seem pointless and I don't think Doyle wants to pass him the ball anymore. Do you have any insight on Reading's happiness with him? (gomez4prez)
A: I'm not Reading's beat writer, so impossible for me to say. If Reading gives up on him, I'm sure he will find another opportunity in Europe.

Q: What team do you see making the biggest player moves in the offseason? Not as much big name players, but adding quality and depth to contend for a championship. (Landis)
A: Once New York hires a coach, I expect them to make several moves.

Q: How many DPs do you see getting signed this off season? The only rumor with any legs is that of Veron. Will anyone else step up? (DC4ME)
A: Maybe New York, if Reyna leaves. Dallas wants a DP to replace Denilson. San Jose could make a big splash. New England might need to finally sign a world-class attacker to solve their MLS Cup shortcomings.

Q: How is United going to improve their young, 2nd and 3rd string players? They don't seem to have been called up for U-23 camp or be on the Adidas tour of Spain, which is no surprise since they couldn't beat a USL-2 team in the Open Cup. Is United doing their own [remedial] offseason training with these guys or does the team have its sights set on some new meat? (de)
A: Good point, indeed. I think United was a bit disappointed in several of their reserves this year - Dyachenko, Moose, Nolly, to name a few. Kpene showed flashes but couldn't finish. If they are wise, they will be patient with him, IMO. Four players were waived last week and others might have trouble making the roster if the club identifies potential reserves this winter.

Q: Do you have info about when training camp starts? Also, can you disclose where and when? How much is open to the fans? (Friendship Heights)
A: Training camp will open around Feb. 1. No set plans yet, but United typically gathers in Washington for a week, then heads to Florida for training and exhibitions before CONCACAF matches begin. The team does not encourage the public to attend practices, but they're not going to have you arrested either. When I know the dates and locations, I will share them.

Q: Would love to get some more information about the clubs that DC Utd has announced a relationship with. I seem to recall a Brazillian club (Atletico Mineiro). Seems like there should be some tangible benefits of relationships with those entities - I've just never heard what they are. (PotomacBoater)
A: Yes, United has a relationship with Mineiro. It's mostly behind the scenes stuff, sharing ideas, exchanging information about players, etc., but don't be surprised if United sends players to Brazil for offseason workouts at some point. Mineiro, as I recall, offered a few young players to audition for United earlier this year. Perhaps we will see one here in a developmental role next season.

Q: Assuming the directors of Estudiantes spend money on reinforcements for Libertadores (a stretch, but possible) and Simeone does not leave for River but returns as coach for next season, why would Veron even consider coming to DC before next summer, after Libertadores has completed? Do you have any insight on the dynamics of the negotiations? (Nick)
A: As I understand it, Veron wants to live and play in America. That's why, if the money is right, he will join DCU in early 2008. Libertadores has nothing to do with it.

Q: Any truth to the rumor that Maradona is considering coming out of retirement to sign with DC? (Hacksaw)
A: He heard about Sasho Cirovski's Hand of God reference following the Terps' loss to Bradley the other day and decided he wanted to play for Maryland. Told he did not have any NCAA eligibility remaining, Maradona decided to sign with Real Maryland, the new USL squad. (I don't think Maradona could get into the country because of his drug issues.)

Q: When the designated player rule was announced, the league quite definitively stated that Ruiz, Johnson, and Donovan would be grandfathered for one year only. In the video of the presser on mlsnet.com, Garber quite definitively says that the Galaxy will have to work out the Donovan situation. But then Gazidis got up there and said that the grandfathering would continue. I had two big problems...first, he didn't explain this change of course, and second, he bs'ed and bluffed and said the league was always going to review this after a year. Total lie. What really happened? (David from Raleigh)
A: You guys have been following this league long enough to know the answer: MLS makes it up as they go along. Minor league, yes, but MLS remains very much a work in progress.

Q: Could you recap which tournaments DC will be competing in next year? I'm losing count. (wisc. ave.)
A: Let's see, from what I can tell, they've got the Champions' Cup starting in March, U.S. Open Cup starting in June/July, SuperLiga in July/August and Champions' League beginning in August/September. Let's hope they skip the ridiculous Copa Sudamericana next fall.

Q: With Seattle MLS putting tarps on the top sections of Qwest (a la the Oakland A's at McAfee), would DCU be inspired to do the same with the upper seats to pretty up RFK? (Rafael)
A: I don't see any reason to spend an additional tens of thousands of dollars at RFK just for decoration.

Q: Michael Parkhurst to Fulham? Is this a legitimate rumor? People keep talking about it like it is but I never heard any official interest from FFC. IF it is, what do you think, will Parky leave with only 1 year left on his MLS contract? (Andrew)
A: I have not heard anything definitive. Parkhurst is ready for Europe - what level, I'm not sure.

Q: With both the Wizards and Nats issuing condolences to the Redskins for the tragedy that struck them last week, why didn't DCU offer any words/statements? (Ted Debiase)
A: Good point. United was strangely quiet. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that it's their offseason and most of the front office has been in South America. Nonetheless, it would have been a nice thing to do.

Q: Besides insurance analysts, what other second jobs have developmental/low-salaried players in MLS held for extra income? (B.A.)
A: Youth coaching, clinics, etc. Some spend time taking classes.

Q: The current league structure makes the regular season virtually irrelevant. My suggestion is that the league go to a single table format with the team with the best record being declared champion. Then, to satisfy the 'American' fans (and commissioner's) desire for 'playoffs' have a single elimination league tournament at the end of the season. (Joe Biedenbach)
A: MLS has made progress on this front as the Supporters Shield winner goes to CONCACAF event(s) and conference winners are rewarded. Your point is quite valid, however. The problem with formally declaring the best team in the regular season as champion and then conducting playoffs is that the playoffs would then become irrelevant. We're in America, Americans want playoffs (are you listening, NCAA football folks?), I don't think it will change in MLS anytime soon. Saying that, the playoff system needs to change, whether it's by giving first-place teams a bye or awarding them the right to host a single-game elimination match.

Q: If I decide to go to the MLS combine to prepare for the draft, where is and when is it? (Dave Kaspar)
A: The combine is usually in South Florida or Carson, Calif., a few days before the draft. Still awaiting details. The draft will take place Jan. 18 at the Baltimore Convention Center. The public is welcome.

Q: What can we expect with the next round of collective bargaining? I have a feeling that it is going to be a very painful process with the players wanting vastly more, and the league trying to stay stingy. (LeesburgSoccerFan)
A: I whole-heartedly agree. It's not going to be pretty. The current deal runs for two more seasons. Hopefully, the sides can begin to make progress this coming year.

Q: You seem to be very well connected with the USSF and in particular Sunil Gulati. Going forward in time, do you think his position is one that should be held by someone who would make that his (or her) full time, sole job? Or do you think the role is small enough to take care of in spare time as is done now? Will anyone ever get to the bottom of what happened between Klinsmann and USSF that broke the deal off? (Matt)
A: I think the set-up is fine. The president is part-time (Gulati is an economics professor at Columbia, Contiguglia was a kidney specialist), while the day to day operations are overseen at USSF headquarters by secretary general Dan Flynn. From what I've been told, the Klinsmann negotiations collapsed because Juergen wanted control of not only his own coaching staff, but the youth national teams and coaching supervisors as well.

Q: Is setting up a Q&A in this manner a way to pad your blog hits/entries? If so, is there a financial incentive to do so? If so, in the spirit of full disclosure, how much is the Post forking over to you, oh noble soccer guru? Oh a real question: ummmm..... how about this one: What's your favorite journalistic soccer memory? What moment in your soccer writing career stands out and why? Or this: Do Mrs. Goff and the Gofflets like soccer? More or less than you? (Alexandria Dan)
A: Blog hits are important. But not as important as interacting with my loyal readers. Awwwww.......I get paid extra for live online chats; I do not get paid for blog Q&As. Wife is amused by Planet Futbol, son is beginning to appreciate it (they both attended the WC final in Berlin). Favorite memories are not necessarily the games, but the places they take me (Costa Rica, China, Paris, etc.)

Q: Do you think there will be a significant hike in the salary cap anytime soon? (read: the next 2-3 years) Is it being used as bargaining for the CBA? Any chance that it would pass the 3 mil mark? (Franklin St.)
A: Teams will be allowed to spend an additional $150,000 on players this coming season (not necessarily all salary cap, but through various means). Slow growth is the MLS way - I can't imagine any large spikes anytime soon.

Q: Leading up to the Women's World Cup, there was a lot of talk of a forthcoming women's league but after the WNT's collapse all talk has vanished. Are things still falling into place for that league or has support for the league diminished? (women's league)
A: The league is on schedule to launch in 2009. A strong performance by the Americans at the Olympics would certainly help the league build some momentum. However, this is going to be a small-scale league without realistically restrained expectations.

Q: Because of so many trades with draft picks I am a little confused as to where United will place in the superdraft. Does DCU have a first round pick (I know they traded one to TFC for Dyachenko) or even a second rounder still? (blackandredblood)
A: I'm confused as well. I've left a message with Dave Kasper and hope to have an answer this week.

Q: If Ruiz fell down in a forest and no one was around, would you still hear booing? (Rick in Ashburn)
A: Well played, Rick!

By Steve Goff  |  December 4, 2007; 1:08 AM ET
Categories:  Q&A  
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Next: Till Tuesday

Comments

nicely done! thx Goff.

Posted by: JSF | December 4, 2007 1:38 AM | Report abuse

I couldn't get this question in in time:

NY Times ran an article on the NJ Ironmen from the MISL with Pele in attendance. Two things struck me: 1) 13,000 fans and 2) Meola in goal. How could the Red Bulls draw so poorly and the MISL pulls 13000?

Posted by: from wyoming | December 4, 2007 1:57 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Copa Sudamericana, I disagree with you. I would much rather see United go all out for Sudamericana than the Superliga.

Posted by: Phillip | December 4, 2007 3:33 AM | Report abuse

Wow. I do believe you answered every question asked of you. :)

Posted by: B.A. | December 4, 2007 4:01 AM | Report abuse

Couple questions/points:

1. If you were sports editor when AU lost to UCLA, did you trash superstar Brady for being on the sideline getting cramps massaged? And whatever happened to him afterwards?

2. On the Chinese players, Benfica has a striker named Yu Dabao on the roster that they believe will be a star one day. Even with the recent roster purge, they kept him around. Is it possible that you are considering Chinese players the same way much of the world considers American players? (never heard of them so they must not be any good)

3. The tarps to cover up RFK sections don't have to just be a cost. They can provide revenue as ad space. Several thousand square feet of blank space could make a great soft drink/beer/website ad. Most stadia in Europe have such advertising on the seats (like a mosaic). The worse the seats, the higher the price, since they are less likely to be obstructed by people sitting in them.

Posted by: Troy | December 4, 2007 4:27 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the answers. One question. Why no chats till March? We obviously have lots of questions.

Posted by: m | December 4, 2007 6:45 AM | Report abuse

I completely agree with your sentiment about VA fans getting out to a game in PG County.

As a fan from VA, I know that I wouldn't even attempt it. Travel the Woodrow Wilson and then pay $15 for parking for take an hour and a half metro ride both ways? I'd rather just watch on TV.

It's a shame, since the game atmosphere is so much fun.

Posted by: Jeremy | December 4, 2007 7:49 AM | Report abuse

That's a lot of answers right there.

Posted by: Bart | December 4, 2007 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Ohhhh near a Metro station! Sweet! It already takes about an hour to get from Vienna to Stadium-Armory. Are we pushing a 90 minute commute each way for the PG site? Phenomenal.

Posted by: Todd H. (Chantilly, Va) | December 4, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

As for the African Nations Cup - watch out for Guinea. They will be the next Afican nation to qualify for their first World cup - maybe in 2010.

Posted by: Justin | December 4, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I think he answered the no-chats question obliquely above - doubt the Post sees the need to pay its soccer writer for online chats during what they think of as the off-season.

Little do they know! The sun never sets on football.

Posted by: Sean | December 4, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Goffinho, that was quite the Q and A session.

Posted by: delantero | December 4, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

RE: Omar Gonzales
He's very raw. He's only been playing central back since he got to Maryland. Against Loyola, all of the Greyhounds' counters (i.e., their entire offense) came up the middle when the big man was caught out of position. Half of those opportunities were after corner kicks, the rest on overplayed or misplayed balls at midfield.

Posted by: Kevin | December 4, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

What about the rumor of Shevchenko going to the Red Bulls? Any truth to that?

Posted by: DC United Fan | December 4, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Excellent questions, great responses. Thanks for keeping the faithful engaged and well informed. Thanks too to the Post for the support given to Goff. We really are very fortunate to have the best beat writer in our sport in our metro area.

Posted by: sbg | December 4, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Any chance you'll ever do a 7+ hour online soccer chat that breaks the Bill Simmons record set last week?

Posted by: silentbob | December 4, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

A comment on the Reserve League:

Has there been any discussion to put the MLS Reserve Teams into the DPL leagues? Would this even make sense?

Posted by: TCompton | December 4, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

"Let's hope they skip the ridiculous Copa Sudamericana next fall."

Oh shame! Shame! It is the one tournament I have any hope of seeing my beloved Black and Red in person next year! I am hoping Verón signs, and somehow gets to meet Estudiantes in the Copa Sudamericana!!!

Posted by: Lost in BA | December 4, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Yes, well done, Mr. Goff. Thank you.
You stated above "Can't see Harkes coming back to DCU in any capacity right now."
Were bridges burned? Is Harkes just not a DC guy any more? He seemed to be doing good things in the youth teams, etc.....so, uhhh, whu happin??

Posted by: marksman | December 4, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Steve. Your responsiveness to readers is exemplary.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | December 4, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

In the spirit of friendly blog rivalry I wanted to inform you that you just toasted Ives on Q&A turnaround. Good job!

Posted by: Nutmegger | December 4, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: td | December 4, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

"Two things struck me: 1) 13,000 fans and 2) Meola in goal. How could the Red Bulls draw so poorly and the MISL pulls 13000?"

1) Ironmen's first game piqued novelty customers. The owners hope for 8k average this season.

2) Location, location, location: the Ironmen play at the Rock, which you can get to from PATH, Newark City Subway, and NJ Transit trains (not to mention NJT buses). If anything, that should be encouraging to those who expect to see Harrison be a raging success (and discouraging to jealous DC fans who want to see RBNY struggle no matter where they play), as Harrison is on the next PATH stop, about a twenty minute walk from Newark Penn Station, and is actually closer to soccer-mad Ironbound and Kearny than the Rock.

If anything, it demonstrates that while the Metros/RBNY and Giants Stadium haven't yet galvanized the sleeping giant that is North Jersey soccer, Harrison will assuredly change things. Aren't you as excited as I am about it? Or will you be disappointed that RBNY will be operating in the black while DCU continues to hemorrhage money?

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | December 4, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Steve! Your patience with us astounds me. :-)

Posted by: DCAustinite | December 4, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

""Or will you be disappointed that RBNY will be operating in the black while DCU continues to hemorrhage money?""

And still losing year in and year out you mean . . . while we win Championships . . .

Posted by: Anonymous | December 4, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Steve:

One follow-up question/clarification to the following exchange:

Q: Could you give your quick thoughts on what a new stadium in suburban Maryland could mean for DCU's fans; DCU's overall attendance/profit margins; the chances for hosting future MLS Cups/Finals/USMNT games; anything else? Would those be much different from a stadium at Poplar Point? (I Prefer Poplar Point)
A: A new stadium would elevate Washington into the picture for friendlies, qualifiers, etc. - just like Dallas, Columbus, Home Depot Center, Denver, etc.
Folks in Virginia - where a large percentage of the fan base resides - will not be happy about getting on the Beltway to see a game in PG County, but club officials are looking to build a facility near a Metro station.

Here it is: What is that large percentage number, exactly? How do you know?

Posted by: Soy United! | December 4, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

"And still losing year in and year out you mean . . . while we win Championships . . . "

MLS is heading in a direction where ability turn a profit will have a direct effect on what you can put on the field.

RBNY is a mid-table team, basically a .500 team going back for seven seasons. It hasn't been pretty, but it's not like they're bad, and the advantage they'll have from a profit incentive will more than make up for your mumbo-jumbo about how a "tradition" (one championship in eight years, what?) will have a causal effect on future success.

Teams with a real tradition of success have lots of money. DC is a black hole of money, and there isn't even a MEDIUM-TERM plan to fix it. I'd take less pleasure in it if I didn't have to hear you folks imply that RBNY mediocrity (NOT suckitude) is somehow caused by total apathy and poor support (a lie), and how it will inevitably continue into the future.

But you want a rivalry, you'll get it: with current trends and cash flow, by 2011, we'll be in Harrison, have at least one MLS Cup win, while DC will still be at RFK, won't have won an MLS Cup and will have missed the playoffs at least once.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | December 4, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

If anything, it demonstrates that while the Metros/RBNY and Giants Stadium haven't yet galvanized the sleeping giant that is North Jersey soccer, Harrison will assuredly change things. Aren't you as excited as I am about it? Or will you be disappointed that RBNY will be operating in the black while DCU continues to hemorrhage money?

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | December 4, 2007 09:53 AM

LOL! Bitter, table of one! You're the one who sounds jealous. Almost like you did when you finally surfaced after DC United [again] stomped Red Bull...this time with 10 players. Yeah, the Red Bull organization is really excited about Jersey...that's whey they call the team NEW YORK. That's OK, when NYC actually gets a team in Queens, RB can go ahead and call the team Jersey. Sucks to always be thought of last, huh? Such is life in that armpit of America you call home, I guess.

Posted by: When will NY finally get an MLS team? | December 4, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

"Let's hope they skip the ridiculous Copa Sudamericana next fall."

This caught my attention too. Why is this touranament "ridiculous"? Doesn't it offer us a chance to play good teams from South America? It sounds more ridiculous to me to have both a Champions Cup and a Champions League in CONCACAF. I'd be more in favor of skipping the Open Cup -- we have nothing to prove against those teams.

Thanks also for a great Q&A.

Posted by: David | December 4, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

But you want a rivalry, you'll get it: with current trends and cash flow, by 2011, we'll be in Harrison, have at least one MLS Cup win, while DC will still be at RFK, won't have won an MLS Cup and will have missed the playoffs at least once.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | December 4, 2007 10:21 AM


Big promises from a little man. You have no manager, no direction, owners who are clueless to how MLS runs, and the biggest money hole in the history of MLS will always be TFKAM and RDBLL with its Giants Stadium lease and inability to draw fans. Your "fan base" is apathetic. They don't care. They'd rather see a friendly between Barcelona and Celtic than the Donkeys. All I have to say is, prove it, Troll. We hear this crap from you and your like all the time. Every year, same story. Same suck. Now, I'm sure your mom has got some chores for you to do...so get off the Internet, get our of her basement and do your chores.

Posted by: Look, a Jersey Troll! | December 4, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Where's Ryan Nelsen now, and why isn't DCU trying to bring him back?

Posted by: Art Amolsch | December 4, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

*Yes, the NJ indoor team drew 13,000 in their first-ever home game. So what? The MetroStars' home debut in 1996 drew 46,000.

*Sudamericana is nothing more than a distraction for an MLS team preparing for the playoffs. From an MLS point of view, the timing of this tournament couldn't be worse.

*Former AU star Michael Brady, the national player of the year in 1985, is the women's coach at his alma mater.

*The top Chinese players will go to Europe, not MLS. The marginal Chinese players probably aren't good enough to make an impact in MLS...yet. The American soccer development system is a lot more advanced than the Chinese one.

*United occasionally needs the upper deck for big crowds. I'm sure if a potential sponsor demanded a logo-stamped tarp up there, the club would accommodate them. However, I don't think that is a prime spot for a sponsor.

*No online chats until MLS starts up again. That's why I'm doing it here.

*Don't know the exact breakdown of DC/MD/VA fans for DCU. If DCU goes to Maryland, I'm sure they will lose some of their VA fans, but gain MD fans.

Posted by: Goff | December 4, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Ryan Nelsen starts for Blackburn and earns millions. He's not coming back to MLS until he's 40.

Posted by: Goff | December 4, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Nelson is captaining Blackburn to a fairly successful season in the EPL right now. A couple of bad games and a couple of red cards for Nelson should not put any doubt into how much he means to that team. Dude is never coming back to MLS, not to end his career, NEVER. I wish he was still with DC, but the league lowballed him on salary and it worked out great for him in england.

Posted by: dtd | December 4, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

What's the murder rate in PG County? Anyone know?

Posted by: Hoost | December 4, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Cool. Thanks, Goff. I'll have to add college women's soccer to my to do list next time I'm in town.

Posted by: Troy | December 4, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

re DP questions

From UK Press, so to be taken with a grain of salt - perhaps with a handful - but

Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko fears he is on his way out of the club and is ready to line up a move to America's Major League Soccer. (Mirror)

Posted by: emanon | December 4, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

What's the murder rate in DC, specifically in SE?

What does it matter? A new complex and renewal will bring added security.

Posted by: DirtyHarry | December 4, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"Dude is never coming back to MLS, not to end his career, NEVER. I wish he was still with DC, but the league lowballed him on salary and it worked out great for him in england."

MLS really lowballs its defenders, with two notable exceptions: Pope and Suarez. It sucks for them, and it lowers the quality of the league (especially the coherence of the back lines), but there it is.

Nelsen would be in my all time MLS First XI. An excellent player.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | December 4, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Goff, thanks for all the info.

I would encourage the Virginia-based fans to avoid a knee-jerk reaction to the Maryland stadium rumors. Fact is that if you're already driving/metroing to RFK, it's not actually all that much further to get to New Carrolton or Greenbelt. And you don't have to go across the Wilson bridge to get there. AND you're as likely to encounter traffic heading up 395 to RFK on a Saturday evening as anywhere else.

Having lived, worked, and commuted on both sides, I know that trans-Potomac sniping and griping is a favorite hobby in this region, but it's a bit petty to suggest you wouldn't think of going to at least weekend games.

Posted by: GDopplerXT | December 4, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

What's the murder rate in DC, specifically in SE?

What does it matter? A new complex and renewal will bring added security.

Posted by: DirtyHarry | December 4, 2007 11:30 AM

I care! I don't have a big-ass gun like you, Harry!

Posted by: Hoost | December 4, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

What's the murder rate in PG County? Anyone know?

Posted by: Hoost | December 4, 2007 11:20 AM

Well then, here's your answer. Lower than DC. Significantly lower if you further localize your comparison based on the proposed locations in Maryland vs. Polar Point or RFK.

Seriously, how many people have been murdered going to 'skins games?

I agree with dirty harry, though . . . it doesn't matter one way or the other.

Posted by: Prince George | December 4, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

The areas being discussed for the stadium are less rough than where RFK is now. Questions about murder rates are way, way over the top.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | December 4, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Goff wrote: I can't imagine any MLS teams sending scouts [to the African Nations Cup]. Honestly, many of the top players in that tournament are already accounted for, and any young players that emerge will receive offers from Europe. MLS can't compete with that.
---------------------------------------------
Not to disagree, but...

Of course the top players are already accounted for and mosts promising young players will be swallowed by the European leviathan. But you could say the same for any region in the world. By that logic, MLS shouldn't scout anywhere, since Europe will have already cherry-picked the top talent.

My point is that there is plenty of talent in Africa that may not be world class (and thus not of interest to Europe), but quite useful in MLS. What I'm suggesting is that if MLS (and particularly DCU) has been succesful in identifying "hidden" talent in South America (especially players in the 25-30 range, like, say, Christian Gomez) -- why not apply that scouting model to Africa?

BTW, here's a very incomplete list of past and present MLS players from Africa, many of whom have national team caps. Notable among them is the 2000 edition of Luciano Emilo, league MVP Mamadou Diallo:

Joseph Addo (Cameroon), Junior Agogo (Ghana), Daniel Amokachi (Nigeria), Stephen Armstrong (South Africa), Tenywa Bonesu (Uganda), Abdul Thompson Conteh (Sierra Leone), Bouna Coundoul (Senegal), Mamadou Diallo (Senegal), Sumed Ibrahim (Ghana), Daouda Kante (Mali),Kei Kamara (Sierra Leone), Guy Roland Kpene (Cote D'Ivore), Ivan McKinley (South Africa), Ishmael Mintah (Ghana), Mansour N'Diaye (Senegal), Ali Ngon (Cameroon), Joseph Ngwenya (Zimbabwe), Nkosinathi Nhleko (South Africa), Dominic Oduro (Ghana), Zizi Roberts (Liberia), Dipsy Selolwane (Botswana)


Posted by: edgeonyou | December 4, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Because of the time of year, MLS will always have scheduling issues with the championship game. Do you want to go up against college football or the NFL? Do you want a cable audience or a coveted national broadcast?
----------------------------------------

BSPN and BSPN2 now reach virtually every TV set in the land (even the small minority without cable/satellite in the home can always find a sports bar), so the distinction between "cable audience" and "national broadcast" has all but withered away. The college pointyball schedule on Saturday evenings tends to be fairly light.

Posted by: 22201 | December 4, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me while I brand GDopplerXT as a rationalist.

Posted by: Kim | December 4, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Christian Gomez and Luciano Emilio were not discovered playing at the national team level at Copa America. My point being, with limited wealth, MLS needs to identify players performing well under the radar in domestic leagues and youth tournaments, not at a major international tournament (African Cup) being watched by every big club in the world.

Is there African talent that MLS should be pursuing? Of course. And most clubs have scouts/agents keeping an eye on prospects. Could they do a better job? Surely. But spending thousands of dollars on a GM or coach to attend the African Cup does not make any sense, IMO.


Posted by: Goff | December 4, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

so with the Ruiz and Donovan rumors comes a question: does the salary cap grandfather exemption follow them to a new team or would they be DPs? and what is the Galaxy's opinion on this, since one their opinion matters?

Posted by: northzax | December 4, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

edgeonyou,

How can you possibly post that list and expect it to be taken seriously. The vast majority of the players named came from the American college system. I don't think there are too many players in the tournament that Goff was referencing that will be going to college in the US. Simply put, the players at that tournament can earn a much better return in Europe and will more than likely do so.

In no way was Goff saying that Africans wouldn't help MLS teams.

Posted by: Todd H. | December 4, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Wow Goff. Thanks for taking the time to answer ALL of our questions. You're setting a dangerous precedent here.

Posted by: Shatz / DCUMD | December 4, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"Let's hope they skip the ridiculous Copa Sudamericana next fall."

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

Count me in with the folks who would still like to have DCU take part in it. All the other international competitions would involve teams from essentially the same countries.

Posted by: Juan-John | December 4, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Barbados is not in the Carribean. It is in the Atlantic Ocean.

Posted by: Barbados | December 4, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Great Q&A. My only regret was the lack of warning. By the time I got home yesterday evening the opportunity to post questions had expired. Could you give us more warning next time? (Or did you and I just missed it?)

I remember watching the AU loss to UCLA on telivision. It made for a very early morning. A fair number of prominent local youth coaches came out of that team. Any possibility of an article (ok, a blog) on where they are now?

Posted by: Curious | December 4, 2007 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Is DC United going to be on the radio for the 08 season? I seem to remember the contract with WMET AM1160 was for two years ending after the 07 season. It was nice having DCU MLS games audio available via the internet.

Thanks for your excellent blog Mr. Goff (that's "Goff" with an extra "f").

Posted by: Tom in Gaithersburg | December 4, 2007 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Copa Sudamericana, I disagree with you. I would much rather see United go all out for Sudamericana than the Superliga.

Posted by: Phillip | December 4, 2007 03:33 AM

I strongly agree with Phillip. It is a great privilege for DCU to play in this.

Also, thank you Goff for answering so many questions.

Posted by: FC | December 4, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Goffer / Olsen 2008 !

Posted by: diego r. | December 4, 2007 10:31 PM | Report abuse

One more interesting note on Michael Brady, former AU player and now the coach of the AU women's team. Brady also was Michael Bradley's youth coach when Dad Bradley was assistant-ing at DC United......

Posted by: Paul | December 4, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Count me among those who think Copa Sudamerica is among the most important competitions we play in (when invited). It's quality competition on an international stage with a chance to increase the international profile of the team. It's the chance for players like Emilio, Gomez, Moreno, and Fred to be televised in their home countries.

1. Supporters Shield (League champion. International invites)
2. CONCACAF Cup (World Club Cup play-in)
3. MLS Cup (National television. International invites.)
4. Copa Sudamerica (International television.)
5. Superliga (Payday for winners.)
6. CONCACAF Champion league whatever (Who knows? It hasn't even happened yet. This could move up if there's big money involved.)
7. US Open Cup (Low money. Low profile.)


However, for the person who asked what we have to prove against US Open Cup teams: Unfortunately, we have to prove that we can beat them consistently. We've lost too many times to lower division teams.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

"Supporters Shield (League champion)"

Wrong.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | December 5, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

The Reserve Division has been a huge bust in MLS.

The belief of having this division to develop young talent is a joke. How is it possible to gain any experience when you only get to play 10 games with a makeshift lineup that changes every game and players that don't care of the outcome of the match?

You are going to see a majority of players jumping to the USL and other leagues where they can "play". Including some D.C. players...

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

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