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DCU News and Notes

Just a bit of rain the last two days, eh? Reminds me of Foxborough on Oct. 20, 1996, and RFK on Oct. 26, 1997. DCU supporters remember those days fondly.

With the grass training grounds turned to mush, United moved practice to the adjacent turf field for a 90-minute workout in the pounding rain.

You should know that.....

*The club is finalizing a deal with Liberian forward Francis Doe to fill its final senior roster spot. Doe, who scored twice for New York last year, has been on trial for the past week but missed practice today in order to gather his belongings in Minnesota. He still must wait for a work visa, a process that typically takes a couple weeks.

"He's got explosiveness, and we hope that will give us a different dimension from the guys we have," Coach Tom Soehn said. "He's just different than what we have and any time you evaluate what roster you are going with, having as many options as you can is important."

*Defender Gonzalo Peralta sat out training after taking a knee-on-knee knock last week against Columbus. Midfielder-defender Devon McTavish rested to recuperate from a sprained foot. Both are expected back in the coming days.

*Soehn, on the early-season problems: "We are an easy team to play against right now and that has to change. Hence, all the goals we are letting in. If you don't solve that problem first, you don't have to worry about the rest because you'll be chasing the game all the time."

*Soehn, on the congested schedule: "I wish we might have had an easier schedule than we had, and the same holds true for Houston. We didn't have a bye week during this time, and a bye week goes a long way when you have to address things."

*Our thoughts are with Gordon Bradley and his family. Bradley, 6974, coached Pele and the Cosmos, the Dips, and later George Mason University's program before serving as DCU's color commentator. In his latest column, John Feinstein mentions Bradley and soccer's challenges in America.

By Steve Goff  |  April 21, 2008; 1:06 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Comments

Says Soehn (aka Li'l Madden, aka Captain Obvious):

Er, we keep playing teams that score more goals than we do. -BOOM!- Der, ah, it is pretty, ah, tough to win a game like that, you know, when the other guys keep scoring.

If we figure out how to -BOOM!- score more goals than the other guys, ah, we might can win a game.

So our gameplan has gotta be score some goals and stop goals getting in. Er, ah, yeah.

If we can score one or two -BOOM!- and stop the opponent -BOOM!- we can, ah, grind out a win.

Posted by: Erick | April 21, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Sad to hear about Bradley. That is really difficult for all involved, my thought go out to his family.

Posted by: Matthai | April 21, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Wow that is sad about Gordon Bradley. A soccer man through and through, and yes one of the reasons the US has a league again.

Posted by: Ron | April 21, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

well said erick!!!!

Posted by: chris | April 21, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I seriously just soiled myself. Feinstein wrote a decent article about soccer. Is Frank Deford next? My heart, and underwear, can't take it!

Posted by: Hoost | April 21, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

If you are not in possession, get in position!

I attended an awards dinner honored Gordon years ago and remember his remarks about the hooplah surrounding Pele's arrival in the states. Amazing stuff.

Posted by: Tweaked | April 21, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Gordon Bradley is one of two soccer personalities enshrined in the RFK Hall of Stars.

I moved here long after the NASL folded, but I always enjoyed his commentary on DC United games.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_Bradley

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | April 21, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I seriously just soiled myself. Feinstein wrote a decent article about soccer. Is Frank Deford next? My heart, and underwear, can't take it!

Posted by: Hoost | April 21, 2008 1:44 PM
=========================================

Huh??? How can you compare Feinstein and Deford? Were you around when Feinstein was covering the Diplomats, and doing a very good job of it?

Posted by: tri-village | April 21, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm a newcomer to the Blog so I don't know how much has been discussed about Emilio but doesn't it seem like we could be saving tons of money on him and stick basically anyone in there. Why not give Niell the start and see that the attack would flow better without emilio holding the ball and not taking 20 minutes to decide what to do with it. Having Niell hold the ball with his back to goal increases chances of free kicks being called since he likes to fall quite easily.

Posted by: dcchilidog | April 21, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Why hasn't GMU long since named its stadium for Bradley?

Posted by: tri-village | April 21, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

You know it's bad right now for DC United when they're picking up rejects from the red bulls!

Posted by: Johnny | April 21, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Very sad to hear about Gordon Bradley's illness. He is a towering figure in the history of soccer, both locally and in the country as a whole.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | April 21, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Wow, what a great article by Feinstein! Some of those memories really took me back to when I was 8 years old and would do anything to watch an NASL game on tv. When we first got cable and WOR and WGN, plus the contract the NASL had w/ the USa Network, I was in heaven.

Great job John!

Posted by: Mark | April 21, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Easy Johnny - Jaime Moreno's current tenure commenced when we picked him up from the TFKAM (modern day Red Bulls)?

Posted by: Mickey | April 21, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I attended a soccer camp in the Poconos - early 1970's - Bradley was still with the Cosmos. I recall he told us how he would motivate his son with little incentives, i.e., set a new mark for juggling, get a pair of goalie gloves. His advice to us was to constantly improve technical skills by setting goals and exceeding them.

Of course I changed my jersey numer to 14 after the 1974 World Cup. Teaching my son now to chop the ball behind his body - I still call that move the "Cruyff."

Posted by: Domino95 | April 21, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

As i Remember when we picked up jaime from the stars we were in pretty bad shape, or atleast starting to leave the cellar of the league.

Posted by: dcchilidog | April 21, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

AH, I went to Gordon Bradley's soccer camp at GMU when I was young, not even knowing who he really was (outside of coaching GMU). What a pleasant, approachable person...years later, when learning his background, I couldn't believe GMU had landed (and kept) him!

Posted by: RK | April 21, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Francis Doe = George Weah 2.0!

Probably not, but any help in scoring would be welcomed.

Posted by: wmsiii | April 21, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

gordon bradley...any relation to the bradleys bob and michael?

Posted by: fbfc | April 21, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

The bar has been set high for Doe in terms of eclipsing the performances of prior DCU senior roster reserve forwards - Kpene, Addlery, Walker, Filomeno, Ssejjemba, etc. - hopefully Doe can do it as the team could use some speed up top.

Posted by: AJ Wood | April 21, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Why did Feinstein wait until 2008 to tell us that story from 1980 about Cruyff's arrival at the airport? Better late than never, I suppose. (I was in the stands the night that Cruyff burned the Seattle defense. I can understand why he sat on that story, at least while he was still working for Solomon.)

Posted by: tri-village | April 21, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I was fortunate to have interviewed Bradley a number of times with GMU and the Washington Stars. My brother played for Gordon at GMU in the early 90s.

One of the friendliest, dearest men I ever met. The time I spent talking with him, whether it was about soccer or life, was a real blessing. Our beautiful game is better because of him.

Posted by: Joe Doc | April 21, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

As i Remember when we picked up jaime from the stars we were in pretty bad shape, or atleast starting to leave the cellar of the league.

Posted by: dcchilidog | April 21, 2008 2:32 PM

++++++++++++++++++++++++++
DCU picked Moreno up in the pre-season of the 2004 Campaign - the last MLS Cup won by DCU.

Don't intend to overstate my case here. Doe is likely no Moreno but DCU needs a spark on the front line at this point and securing Doe at this point is better than leaving the senior spot unoccupied.

Posted by: Mickey | April 21, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm a newcomer to the Blog so I don't know how much has been discussed about Emilio but doesn't it seem like we could be saving tons of money on him and stick basically anyone in there. Why not give Niell the start and see that the attack would flow better without emilio holding the ball and not taking 20 minutes to decide what to do with it. Having Niell hold the ball with his back to goal increases chances of free kicks being called since he likes to fall quite easily.

Posted by: dcchilidog | April 21, 2008 2:10 PM
----------------------------

Things are rough, oh yeah, but seriously Niell as a target/holding forward? Look I'm all for giving the guy a shot, as right now, we are in "all hands on deck" mode - BUT Niell's gotta work on holding himself upright enough for me to trust that he can stand on top of a ball in MLS for more than...oh, 2 sec. We should utilize Niell's (and Emelio for that matter) sterngths and use them properly and not modify thier game right now. Niell's speed combined with Doe's should force those bunkers to rethink their strategy.

RIP Gordon Bradley, you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

Posted by: Kosh | April 21, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Goffer. Were you hiding under an umbrella at Estadio de SoccerPlex? A sparse crowd but not bad considering the flood warnings. I thought I saw you typing on your latop in rhythm with the salsa music.

Feinstein will come around, eventually, when Goffers web hit nos. surge past him. Great article nonetheless. We will have to do something special for GB at the May 8 match when they announce the new local Hall of Fame inductees at halftime.

Posted by: MR Caretaker | April 21, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Were you hiding under an umbrella at Estadio de SoccerPlex?
-----

Ha! No, couldn't make it. Will get out there one of these days.

Posted by: Goff | April 21, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

that is very sad news about Gordon Bradley. Just the other day at the reserves game I was thinking "if you cannot play on this field, you cannot play."

Posted by: Glenn | April 21, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Niell would be a great holding forward.

After all, he doesn't shoot.

Posted by: RK | April 21, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

" He's got explosiveness, and we hope that will give us a different dimension from the guys we have," Coach Tom Soehn said. "

--Is that Emilio and Niell I hear choking on their gatorade?

(Is it spelled Niell? Once he starts scoring I'll look it up)

Posted by: gringo | April 21, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

If Doe is fit and mentally sound (from what I recall, he was cut loose by NY because he showed up for preseason out of shape), this is a good move. Doe's speed will be a very good match with our current style of play. One of the reasons people are pounding on Emilio right now is because we're asking him to chase through balls from deep far too often. Emilio is at his best when we have possession very far upfield. With a faster player available, we can play these early balls more often and with better results. Niell usually has the speed to get there but is too easily muscled off the ball.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | April 21, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

My brother played for Gordon at GMU in the early 90s.
Posted by: Joe Doc | April 21, 2008 2:57 PM
==============

Bro Doc?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | April 21, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Emilio chases through balls? Really?

We have been hammering him for being slow, so perhaps we expect to much. For sure, he playes like he has a Cool Hand Luke ball and chain attached to his feet.

However, Emilio's sickening tendency to hold the ball too long - whether facing goal or with back to goal - having nothing to do with speed or lack thereof. Unless we speak of mental speed.

He is indecisive and slow. Whether played at inside forward, striker, withdrawn forward, outside right, libero, whatever...he would be just as lethargic and indecisive. (Conversely, Josh Gros displayed a tirless motor and workrate regardless of position on the field.)

Wasn't it Freddy's job to be played out of position and then provide a dismal showing because of it? Emilio is an experienced professional. One should expect more from him.

Niell is built to be a "chaser" while Emilio is ostensibly a "striker." His job is to but the ball in the net, whether chasing it, receiving it of Hand-of-Godding it. He has not done that and currently looks incapable of doing so.

Posted by: Erick | April 21, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Emilio needs to lift his game, but that's a tangential point. My point was that a fit and hungry Doe will be a very good option for the team. However, since it's on the table now...

I'm not saying Emilio has been good and it's everyone else's fault. He's definitely not sharp and seems less fit than last year. All I said was that we're putting demands on him that are outside his game and that we didn't put on him last year. With Gomez playing so close to the front line, our build ups took place closer to goal. Where Emilio had the option to play a 1-2 and be in on goal last year, or take a touch and shoot from the top of the box, this year he finds himself too far out to make these things happen. The way we've been playing avoids his strengths, and his lack of sharpness on big chances (early headers vs. Pachuca and Columbus) has made it seem worse. I also think his recent indecision is down to confidence. Emilio doesn't cut the same smiling figure as last year, where he believed he was going to score every single game. He's questioning himself, and it's hurting his all-around play as well as in front of goal.

Bringing in Doe provides Emilio with competition for his spot on the team. We have no other true, lead-the-line strikers, so Emilio now needs to look at himself in the mirror and find out how to work with Gallardo and the new style of play. I'm not saying he will get benched if he doesn't score a hat trick Saturday, but competition should really be a positive force for him and for the entire team. How can you rest on your laurels when the reigning MVP now has a new guy after his job?

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | April 21, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I would love to find a reliable source for injury reports across MLS.
Does one exist?
MLSnet.com sucks.
Goff does well with the heads up on United but is there a good leaugue wide source?
I am just sick of getting burned by these crappy injury reports on the MLS site.
Some of you folks have to be all up in that fantasy world so where's it at?

Posted by: dadryan | April 21, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Steven,

I believe Mr. Feinstein is still missing the boat on Soccer's progress in the US.

I think he is really overestimating where soccer was with the NASL. There was absolutely no underlying infrastructure for the sport back in the 70s and 80s.

And by contrast he is underestimating how far soccer and MLS have come in 13 years. The base of the soccer pyramid is must stronger than in those NASL days.

Soccer is somewhere between "surviving" and "thriving". I would call it steadily, if slowly, growing.

Posted by: Nick from Big Soccer | April 21, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Feinstein's article reminds me of the Diplomats' slow start in 1980, and in particular how ineffectual Cruyff was. It took about half a season to tweak the lineup and find the right people to get on the other end of his passes. (Does anyone remember Tony Crescitelli?) The situation with Gallardo may be a case of deja vu all over again; then again, maybe not.

Posted by: tri-village | April 21, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

World class player whose balls no one yet rides...
Hmmmm.
Who said something about Gomez being able to play down to United's level?
I just hope someone figures how not to get beat at home again this weekend...
Quaranta if you get in SHOOOOT!
I wanna see everyone shooting this week.
Not just Peralta, Martinez, and Namoff...

Posted by: Dadryan | April 21, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I believe Mr. Feinstein is still missing the boat on Soccer's progress in the US.

I think he is really overestimating where soccer was with the NASL. There was absolutely no underlying infrastructure for the sport back in the 70s and 80s.
=========================================

Michael Wilbon, who succeeded Feinstein on the Post soccer beat back in that era, has also failed to grasp this point.

Posted by: tri-village | April 21, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

"I really want to like soccer again.

Every spring I make a vow that I'm going to make my way to RFK Stadium to watch D.C. United play. I stop channel-surfing and watch for several minutes at a time when I find a Major League Soccer game on television. I read Steven Goff, who has covered the sport so well for years now in The Washington Post, to get a sense both of the MLS and what's going on in the sport around the world."

Mr. Goff, it is time for you to drag Mr. Feinstein's butt to a match, don't you think?

Posted by: seahawkdad | April 21, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

If Emilio scores 11 goals this season, is he successful? Do you expect him to score 20 per season? OK, I agree he hasn't performed well this season but is the bar set so high that his not scoring has resulted in calls to start some Red Bull cast off? Please, he has scored 1 goal and had 1 assit; by the way matching his 2007 assist total; in 4 games. If he only scores 10 and 4 or 5 of them are game winners, I'll say he has had a fine season. By the way, 11 goals places a player among the league leaders each of the past 5 seasons. I also noticed the Angel has yet to score in 2 games. How many do you think he'll score? Remember DCU fans, the sky is falling.

Posted by: Randy | April 21, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

If Emilio scores 11 goals this season, is he successful? Do you expect him to score 20 per season? OK, I agree he hasn't performed well this season but is the bar set so high that his not scoring has resulted in calls to start some Red Bull cast off? Please, he has scored 1 goal and had 1 assit; by the way matching his 2007 assist total; in 4 games. If he only scores 10 and 4 or 5 of them are game winners, I'll say he has had a fine season. By the way, 11 goals places a player among the league leaders each of the past 5 seasons. I also noticed the Angel has yet to score in 2 games. How many do you think he'll score? Remember DCU fans, the sky is falling.

Posted by: Randy | April 21, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

"Quaranta if you get in SHOOOOT!
I wanna see everyone shooting this week.
Not just Peralta, Martinez, and Namoff..."

No doubt. The slowness of the attack has been my major beef (forgetting the lack of communication in the back line).

While everyone and their grandma has to take a touch before anyone shoots the ball, the other team is loading the box with defenders, midfielders, plus their own grandmas. The window closes.

Posted by: Joe S. | April 22, 2008 2:41 AM | Report abuse

Feinstein wrote a nice piece there. Thanks for pointing it out to us, Goff.

I did find one part to disagree with, though. Beckham IS playing, unbeknowst to Junior, I guess......."how long Beckham will hang around, and whether he will ever actually play very much."

As for Emilio - my thoughts are not geared to how many goals he will score, rather its how many he is preventing DCU from scoring this year. His touches, posession and passing are terrible. He now resorts to 30 yard blasts that have no hope of reaching the back of the net.....not all his fault, I know but, his overall game is lacking right now. Maybe a little shot of Benny is all he needs.
Don't we all???

Posted by: marksman | April 22, 2008 3:25 AM | Report abuse

(Is it spelled Niell? Once he starts scoring I'll look it up)
Posted by: gringo | April 21, 2008 3:50 PM
--------
He already scored game winning goals the hardest team, Pachuca. He will score. Tom needs to keep him on the field rather than a couple games. He is much better than Emilio at this point. He runs fast, he holds the ball and he draws a lot of fouls.

Posted by: td | April 22, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Randy,

You can squeeze stats all day long. So if you want to argue stats, there is only one that truly matters in futbol - goals. Emilio has not produced them. Period.

I am not one to squeeze stats like Gospel. There are subtleties to Emilio's game that stats cannot describe and are currently lacking in his play.

If Emilio were playing well, creating chances, and striking at goal, I would be happy. If he had hit the woodwork half a dozen times, I could say "unlucky" and be content that his aim will be refined.

However, his play has been utterly shambolic. Slow. Indecisive. Inaccurate. Useless in that his wasted chances are chances not taken my his teammates. They can only expect to get the ball in the opposing 18 so many times. When your golden boot striker misses multiple chances in the six, something is up.

A goalkeeper's job is to keep the ball OUT of the net. If he can't do that, he is not a goalkeeper. Likewise, a striker's job is to put the ball IN the goal. If he can't do that, he is not a striker.

If you like the stats, consider this:
1 Goal, 1 Assist, 13 shots (only 6 on goal), in 319 minutes of play, 0.25 goals per game in 4 games played. Not very inspiring.

So our Brazilian striker has produced fewer goals than a former reserve from Winchester, VA. He gets one shot off every 25 minutes and in has less than a fifty-fifty chance of even being on frame.


Chest,

Your points are well taken. However, I wonder if Emilio was truly feeling challenged by last year's backup strikers. Consider that every single on of them was released by the club in the off-season. They were released because they basically stunk (yes, they had their moments, but in the end were unable to score goals with regularity).

Does Emilio really need partner to play off a 1-2? Moreno might not help him there as he is a step slow. I would have though that Niell would be very useful to disrupt the back line and create time and space for Emilio, but that has not happened either (Niell does disrupt the defense, but Emilio has seemed unable to capitalize...or, having Niell only play the last 20 minutes in a match is too-late as Emilio is already gassed). It might be possible that Gallardo plays too far back to provide quick triangles for him. However, perhaps Gallardo plays further back because he does not fully trust the backline or Simms.

At a minimum, I would question his fitness. He looks thicker and slower than last season. I would also question his adjustment, or lack thereof, now that MLS defenders are on to his game.

I would like for Kirk to get a run. The kid is a U-20 player...must have some skill. Then again, after the way DCU mismanaged Arguez, I cannot hope to get a look at a potentially promising young player.

Posted by: Erick | April 22, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

did anyone see soehn on FFF last night?

Posted by: mizage | April 22, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I want to retract my "RIP" reference to Gordon Bradley - he is not dead. It's quite clear that I did not read the article at the other end of Goffinho's link. He and his family are definitely in my thoughts and prayers. I just wanted to set the record straight.

Posted by: Kosh | April 22, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Erick-

It seems to me that Emilio lacks the dynamic element needed to play without a partner (and I don't mean he lacks it right now...it's just not there and never has been). I do think he and Niell could form a useful partnership, but at this point I still see the team having no idea what to do without Moreno. Niell seems to have some decent ideas, but the players around him haven't fully adjusted to what he's going to do.

Gallardo has always been a deeper-lying playmaker. Not Guardiola or Pirlo deep, but he does like to play in the center of the field rather than just underneath the forwards. I don't think there's a trust issue, though Peralta's last 2 games might provoke one.

I do agree that we should be seeing Kirk soon. McTavish has performed admirably at right midfield, but I think people have figured out that he's not going to beat you with speed or on the dribble. All you really have to do to shut him down is not allow a cross and mark him when he's making the back post run. Kirk's speed, at the very least, brings a different element. I think he'll also stay very wide, which will help stretch RSL's rather narrow midfield this weekend.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | April 22, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

It's late and the topic is old but Mr. Rockwell your analysis is solid again.
It would be interesting to see kirk out there soon. Saw him in Richmond trying to make something happen with Ben's future looking more sour it'd be wise to start giving some other's some playing time and see what happens.

Posted by: Dadryan | April 22, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

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