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DCU-Columbus Aftermath

A few quick observations from United's 2-1 loss to Columbus at RFK:

*Luciano Emilio's finishing touch is not the only problem. His speed of thought is slow, he can't maintain possession when under pressure and seems uncomfortable with the ball at his feet. Is it an aberration or is he truly in decline? I tend to think it's the former.

*Guillermo Barros Schelotto was the best player on the pitch -- his touch in tight space, his vision in the final third, his composure. Argentine compatriot Marcelo Gallardo was very good as well, but in a different way: pinpoint long balls, subtle touches to escape danger, orchestration. Too bad his teammates failed to finish the opportunities.

"We found openings, we just didn't finish our chances and that seems to be the saga the last few games," Tom Soehn said.

*The wear and tear of a grueling three weeks took its toll on United. The second half was lifeless and incohesive -- the sign of a tired team.

Player ratings: Wells 5; Namoff 6, Peralta 4, Martinez 6, Burch 5; McTavish 5, Simms 5, Gallardo 7, Fred 6; Moreno 4, Emilio 3. Subs: Niell 4, Dyachenko 4, Quaranta 4.

My full match report with quotes should be available soon on washingtonpost.com.

By Steve Goff  |  April 18, 2008; 12:02 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Morning Kickaround

Comments

I hope Emilio wakes up soon ... he's gonna miss the bus & have to walk to school!

Posted by: grumpy | April 18, 2008 12:45 AM | Report abuse

What did Peralta or Niell do on the positive side to earn 4s? I guess Peralta did have that one shot. And Niell did draw a foul when he first came on. Still, they didn't do much to earn more points than Emilio, who might have had a goal if he didn't head it right at the keeper. I think that these ratings undervalue Namoff each week. I think he's been DCU's most effective player in each game. But, what do I know?

Posted by: FIsch Fry | April 18, 2008 12:48 AM | Report abuse

What do you all think...Is Soehn not brave enough to bench the former MVP? My friends think it's because there are no other options.

At this point, I say bench Emilio to show him that he is not guaranteed a spot in the lineup. We are obviously thin but we can't get much worse.

Most of his goals last year came right in front of the goal (Thanks to C Gomez, B Carroll, B Olsen, Fred). He is not in decline, he has always been bad. This year he is not finishing at all. Point blank header at the 6 and hits it right to the keeper.

Biggest difference I've seen so far between Gallardo and Gomez is that Gomez attacks the goal a lot more. Gallardo is a true midfielder and needs strikers that can finish.

We're paying Emilio nearly 300k. Wish we would have given that money to Christian.

Posted by: N. Daknow | April 18, 2008 12:52 AM | Report abuse

At this point I can't imagine Doe would do any worse than Emilio.

Posted by: ahelms | April 18, 2008 1:15 AM | Report abuse

The Good:
Gallardo
Martinez
Namoff
---------------------
The Bad:
Emilio receiving the ball with his back to goal.
United without Moreno.
---------------------
The Ugly:
MLS scheduling

Posted by: andrew | April 18, 2008 1:41 AM | Report abuse

Our defense held us together in the first part of the season.

With our starters we've enjoyed consistent, solid defending. In our recent losses they've looked weak, allowing goal scoring chances out of nothing (Peralta) and stabbing at balls 35 yards from goal (Namoff on Rogeres miss)

Our only goal comes from a defender, Namoff , who scores off a deflection while our forwards and mids can't finish a ham sandwich served on a toasted bun from Gallardo (Moreno's chest trap looked worse than an over 40 league) and Fred (Emilio, need I say more?)!!!

We're failing all over the pitch.

Posted by: delantero | April 18, 2008 2:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad that I was working and couldn't watch the match.

Bennie needs some super-stem-cells injected into his ankles a'la Christopher Reeves in South Park.

I'm definitely in the camp of those who feel Emilio should ride the pine for the duration of the next match, hell, don't even have him dress, put OTC in a Jersey and sit OTC on the bench just to show Emilio that last year's success doesn't mean a damn thing this year.

Posted by: AlecW81 | April 18, 2008 2:37 AM | Report abuse

I wont lie, after watching the first half I gave up and went to the local bar. I am so upset that we lost to the crew. I have always been a United fan and I always will be but I watched the Emilio/Bobby Boswell video of him singing Your Beautiful before every game but I am beginning to thing he is done. And Wells makes me angry. I think he could have dove and stopped the own goal. Can we sell Emilio, put Tino up there and buy Perkins back? I know I am asking a lot but we have just lost to two of the worst teams in MLS.

Posted by: Mark | April 18, 2008 2:42 AM | Report abuse

Wells stopped what should have been a Schelotto goal in the first half, mind you.

Posted by: Glaucon | April 18, 2008 2:45 AM | Report abuse

things aint looking so hot for united right now, I must admit. on the bright side though, the team gets a nine day break to regroup and come up with something better than the last few performances. the pachuca win/loss last week was a hard pill to swallow and then the rsl and crew loss right on its heels... Tom Soehn, this is where you can show everybody that you want to keep your job and make the decisions thats gonna put United back at the top of the table and winning their games. Vamos United!

Posted by: black & red blood | April 18, 2008 2:54 AM | Report abuse

If Morellai is still interested in Emilio I say sell now while we can still get a decent price and push hard for a DP striker. is palermo available? hell, with our colombian connection even caniggia might serve in (for) a pinch.

I guess Colorado wouldnt be interested in an Emilio for Gomez trade would they (we'll throw in dyachenko if you insist)?

Emilio is Conteh at 4 times the price and 1/4 the community service.

thank god it's wizards playoff time or i'd be really miserable.

Posted by: Pindar | April 18, 2008 3:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm remaining calm. No need to be desperate this early in the season. We started off bad last year and had 1 point from the first 4 games. We've started off bad again but have 3 this time.
We'll start jelling. Just give it a bit of time.

Posted by: andrew | April 18, 2008 4:13 AM | Report abuse

So many matches in three weeks - Wah Wah

These guys are professionals that are supposed to be at their peak. Truth be told, they stink. Peralta looks lost, Emilio looks like he's washed up, Dyachenko is infuriating with his touch, Niell seems more comfortable on the pitch, Moreno is old and weary. You have to wonder just how much a healthy Ben Olsen brings to the game because the rest of the team (Gallardo aside) is sleepwalking.

Posted by: bristol | April 18, 2008 6:38 AM | Report abuse

I forgot to mention Gonzalo Martinez. Easily the best defender we've had since Ryan Nelsen. It's easy to understand why he played for the national team.

Zach Wells needs to communicate better. Maybe put a pocket English/Spanish dictionary in his net

Posted by: bristol | April 18, 2008 6:40 AM | Report abuse

It is tough when a team plays a. 5 2 2 1. Against you in the first half. Move to a 7 2 1 then finish with a 9 0 1
Whatever happened to the beautiful game
Moreno just has our number
Dc looks just lousy right now just plain lousy

Posted by: vasco | April 18, 2008 6:55 AM | Report abuse

"Emilio is Conteh at 4 times the price and 1/4 the community service."

I don't care who you are, that's funny.

Posted by: Joe Doc | April 18, 2008 7:14 AM | Report abuse

we are being hurt by the following:

1. our lack of team speed both physically and mentally. Due to this; our transition from midfield possession to attack is glacial.

2. Our lack of leadership is hurting us. This team very badly needs the kick in the butt that Ben Olsen would deliver.

3. Cohesion: we have made so many changes in personel that as the season wears on both cohesion and leadership will hopefully improve.

The largest questions would appear to be: does the roster have solutions to these problems. I hope so, but I am fearful that the answer is no.

On specific players:

1. As Steve has posted: is Emilio finished or just in a slump. He looks glacially slow.

2. Is it time for the club to no longer see Jaime as an everyday first 11 player. His possession and vision are wonderful, but at the position he is playing, the club needs more. His vision and possession with speed and intense desire to get to the goal and score. In other words, Jaime of his youth which of course can't happen without another younger player.

3. Was Burch a first year flash in the pan. He does not appear to contribute much at present.

4. Is it time to give Kirk a run with the first team? As others have posted, is it time to sit Emilio and give Tino a solid consistent opportunity to play at striker?

A quotation I heard once many years ago from a baseball personality ( I think it was Paul Richards, a past manager of the Baltimore Orioles ): " you are never as good as you look when you win and never as bad as you look when you lose "

hang in troops

Posted by: rob | April 18, 2008 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Spot on as always Goff.

The bigget gripe I had last night is that they kept playing the ball to Emilio while he tried to hold it up. If he actually could corrale the ball with his first touch without giving it away, he would give it away on the ensuing pass. I couldn't believe United kept force feeding the ball to him only to lose possesion.

He had some decent service in the box and he needs to do much better. Emilio has looked off his game since he arrived in camp. He looked hefty there and still does.

Gallardo looked great.

Posted by: strago | April 18, 2008 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Watching last night's game, I'm not convinced about Gallardo. Watching Schelotto, I feel like we got the wrong Argentine.

Martinez was money, for me. Fred was very busy and useful. Moreno and Emilio were both pretty useless last night. Let's hope that's not a trend.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | April 18, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Sign Doe, sign whoever and BENCH Emilio. Get him off the pitch now!!

What a disgusting performance. Gallardo was really good and when the rest of DoDos United evolve enough to learn how to play with such a talent then we shall be fomidable.

I hope the FO is seriously thinking about using tha DP slot that is going stale by the minute. Soehn better grow a pair and start benching some people, otherwise those posers he's starting are going to get him fired.

I am so ticked right now.

Posted by: Kosh | April 18, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

I know that I am in the minority, but I thought that was a great, great game. Watching Columbus play is like looking in a mirror. That is the first time that I have seen a team that plays like us both offensively and defensively. When you look at that and the fact that everybody is raiding South America (particularly Argentina) for impact players, DC United's success is definately being copied (with success) throughtout MLS. I know this stinks for DC fans, but it is great for American soccer.

Posted by: Great Game! | April 18, 2008 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I am still in pretty good shape if you want to give me a call.

Moreno was just as bad as Emilio. I like Gallardo better than Gomez because he isn't a little whiner. Are we sure he really grew up in Argentina??

Would have like to see Quaranta the whole game in place of McTavish but he surely should have been brought ina t the start of the second half. Dyachenko is horrible. Give him a mullet and call him Filomeno.

Posted by: Roy Lassiter | April 18, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Good Commentary Steve, but I have to disagree on the Namoff rating. I assume the 6 rating is mostly for the goal. He was soft in marking Moreno on both goals, failing to beat him to the first. Were it not for Peralta's Big Bird impression, Moreno would have easily scored the second given Namoff positioning.

Posted by: BillyBob | April 18, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

No way DC should lose to teams like this at RFK.

Posted by: FC | April 18, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Last year Vanney, Boswell, McT,Namoff, Perkins gave up 34 goals in 30 games !!! We trade away, spend a ton of money on big name players and give up 9 goals in 4 games.Doesn't sound like an improvement to me. This losing thing is getting disgusting!! Gomito please come back !!

Posted by: Mike | April 18, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Emilio's been terrible. But for those who want him benched, who on DCU's current roster would you use instead of him? (Cue Jeopardy music now while posters think real hard). 30 seconds are up. The answer...What is NOBODY? There isn't a better alternative on the current roster.

Posted by: BillyBob | April 18, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

BTW, with 9 days to recover before the next game, what will be DCU's excuse if they lose to RSL next Saturday?

Posted by: BillyBob | April 18, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I would like to look through DC United's vaunted vault of video (hey, that's good!) . . . . to see if somewhere they have film of Niell in an upright position inside the 18. I've watched 6 games live or on TV and haven't seen it yet.

Wells yells (I'm on fire). But I don't recall any of his defenders turning around and screaming at him when he got beat near post. One thing I always liked about Perkins was that he didn't get pissed like that.

Posted by: WNT fan | April 18, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Goff,

Any news on why Bruce Arena was in the owners box watching the game last night?

This season reminds me of something...
2007
First 4 games
@ Rapids - loss
KC - loss
@ Columbus - loss
NE - tie

Emilio = 2 goals

2008
First 4 games
@ KC - loss
Toronto - win
@ RSL - loss
Columbus - loss

Emilio = 1 goal
Maybe it just takes Emilio a little while to warm up?

Last night did have some bright spots and in addition to Namoff and Martinez I thought Burch played a pretty good game and made some excellent feeds into the center. He was a little off on defense at times but at least he always came back.

No matter how great a Gallardo or Gomez is they still need someone to feed it to who can actually shoot the ball. I think Namoff is the only one up for the challenge. All three of our subs also looked lost on the field and really did not contribute much to the match.

Posted by: Southeasterner | April 18, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Emilio's been terrible. But for those who want him benched, who on DCU's current roster would you use instead of him? (Cue Jeopardy music now while posters think real hard). 30 seconds are up. The answer...What is NOBODY? There isn't a better alternative on the current roster.

Posted by: BillyBob | April 18, 2008 8:19 AM


It is not always about having someone better, a lot of it is sending the star player a message that although you may be better than your backup, when you play only at 50% your capabilities, well, you aren't.

I'm almost of the mind to start calling Luci "feet of stone" pretty damn soon if he doesn't improve. Rocket Roy had a better first touch. There, I said it.

Posted by: Matthai (not to be confused with the other Matt) | April 18, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Another problem for Luci is that he keeps getting the ball with his back to goal. He was more or less being tightly marked the whole time so when he did get the ball he needed to move it faster.

But that is a problem the entire team is having. Guys are all taking way too many touches. Tommy needs to get them playing one and two touch soccer. Fred just puts his head down and bulls his way ahead.

Wells made one awesome save. But otherwise he looks completely lost. He comes out when he should stay back and he stays back when he should come out. The second goal was caused by his rash decision to charge the guy with the ball.

Martinez is still the man. He is my new favorite player.

I thought Gallardo was OK, but he has got to shoot the ball when he gets in range. A 7 is too high for him. He disappears from the game far too often.

Posted by: Glenn | April 18, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

I don't know everyone. I think I was a little less impressed with Gallardo. I am thinking specifically of a time in the second half when he had the ball on the eighteen, Columbus was hunkered down and had a bunch of guys in box defending and Gallardo had nothing. He actually stood there for a second almost as if he had no ideas of what to do. Listen, Gallardo was brought here to make up for the creativity that Gomez apparently lacked. This is exactly the situation where 5 times the cost should have come into play. I really think that was indicative of the problem with Gallardo. I don't see him taking guys on. He's very quick to pass it off (albeit usualy spot on passes). And he isn't leading the guys to goals.
Emilio - WOW. I told my buddy to let me know when Emilio ever does anything positive when his back was to the goal. Why is he posting up? Last year, he was great running onto the ball looking forward. This year, he's posting up and he's not very good. He looses the ball way too much. Having said that, there have been two occasions at RFK when he was set up with a nice through ball on the run and instead of one-timing it into the net, he dribbled and was dispossessed. He needs to straighten up.
Should we be worried about the defensive lapses or will this solidify?

Posted by: moreno4prez | April 18, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Failed finishing; sloppy defense. Totally explains the outcome. Can't blame just one person. As for signing Doe and playing him over Emilio, be careful what you wish for. There are good reasons he is no longer with NYRB.

Posted by: Larry | April 18, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I only caught the last 15 min of the game...good thing. It's really tough to swallow a loss at Estadio RFK to an Eastern Conf rival like the Crew.

As 'Great Game' states above, DC United has used South American talent with much success and other clubs are buying into the same idea. As much as I would like to see DC United ROLL over EVERY other MLS team, we have to realize that just because the FO believes its made the right personnel moves in the off season, there are 12 other teams that have also made improvements. I exclude the LA Galaxy as their FO (Alexi Lalas) has notified everyone that they will be the whipping boy for this year.

The season is a long ONE! Something is not working right now, that's obvious. Still, I'd love to see the squad play well heading into SuperLiga (2 months away) and then really ramp it up into the last 1/3 of the season for the playoff run and the beginning play in the CONCACAF Champ League. Let's be honest, we really don't need a 15 game unbeaten streak to start the season...only to coast home to the end and get eliminated from the playoffs once again this year. I think I speak for everyone when I say - I want to see DC United win some hardware this year!!

Posted by: Redd | April 18, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the comments about Namoff - other than the goal, he was weak, especially in the defensive half. Even beside his part in the Crew goals, he seemed to struggle against Rogers when they were 1v1.

With 9 days before the RSL game, the excuse of "we have not played a competitive game in a while so we were a bit rusty" hopefully will not be heard.

Hopefully, speedy Doe shows something in today's reserve game and gets signed - we have no speed up top, especially Emilio/Moreno as well as Niell.

Posted by: Diego Sonora | April 18, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

It is not always about having someone better, a lot of it is sending the star player a message that although you may be better than your backup, when you play only at 50% your capabilities, well, you aren't.

I'm almost of the mind to start calling Luci "feet of stone" pretty damn soon if he doesn't improve. Rocket Roy had a better first touch. There, I said it.


Posted by: Matthai (not to be confused with the other Matt) | April 18, 2008 8:35 AM

Matt - My question remains unanswered, only this time I'll frame it in your terms - What forward on DCU's current roster is better than Luci at 50%? I agree Luci's been awful, but isn't it better to let him play out of it (like last year) than bringing in...well, who? Niell, who doesn't stay upright and is not a target for balls lofted in the box? Dyachenko, who if you count reserve game appearances may have cracked the half dozen goal mark in more than two seasons? Are we hanging our hopes on Francis Doe? John Doe?

Posted by: BillyBob | April 18, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I used to think DCU needed another forward to have a shot at winning anything. Now I think DCU needs two forwards. Whether Emilio's form is an aberration or he is in decline is not important to me. What is clear is that he is not effective and needs to be replaced. Maybe he will turn around, and frankly, his play has to turn around for DCU to have a chance to win anything because DCU will not be able to acquire two quality forwards in the next few months. I applaud DCU's management for not extending Emilio's contract this past off season. Emilio is on his way out after this season. There is no doubt in my mind.

Posted by: therealfootball | April 18, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I actually though the the Defense and mid field did a pretty solid job last night. I'm not saying mistakes weren't made but overall they held on pretty well. I would also like to point out that I think McT did a very nice job during the first half even if he came out a looking a bit worn in the second.

Despite giving up two goals that game was in our grasp the whole time. The fact that the boys in up top seem to refuse to take shots from positions at the top of the 18 is frustrating as hell. No one can really be expected to give you 5 touches inside the arc either.

I would love to see more shot in the 18-25 yard region from everybody, particularly when dealing with a meatwall of 9 guys crowding the top of the box for 20 minutes.

Watching the defense get up

Posted by: Wilhelm | April 18, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I posted this on the last thread, but it needs to be said again...

I want to preface this by saying I play keeper on three teams and have coached goalies at different levels. I say this not to toot my own horn; nor do I think that I would be a good goalie professionally, I just feel I have insight that others may not have on the position.

Everyone is missing the point. Our weakest link is Wells. On both goals, he was in awful position. His control of his defense is negligble. I know that there is a language barrier but he should still be able to set up marking assignments. There was one point in the second have when Martinez was trying to have him come get the ball and he wanted Martinez to clear. Martinez was in the right on that play. Wells should have gone to get the ball.

On the second goal, there was no reason for him to come out of his area like he did. Yes, there should've been more D on the ball, but he went out uncontrollablly and left his defense out to dry. I'm forgetting the first goal at this moment, but I vaguely remember saying to my friend that he was out of position there too. There was a great save in the first half that shouldn't have had to be. The ball was crossed into the area, on the ground slowly, and he should've pounced on it. He was caught flat-footed and had to jump in front of the Crew player shooting. He got a lucky save.

Yes, we are having trouble finishing, but our real problem starts and ends at keeper.

Posted by: Q | April 18, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

That first goal was the result of 7 players ball watching while Moreno ran into a big empty box for a shot on goal. That is not acceptable anywhere. Martinez was closest to Moreno so that was his man. I can't remember who gave up on the Columbus player that took the ball to the goal line. Wells might have saved the second if he was between the freaking goal posts!

Either Emilio is really upset about his financial status after last season or his in a major funk. Hopefully he can play out of it because we don't have anyone better on the bench.

Where is Kirk? He needs a start or a sub at this point when the coach is clearly experimenting.

Niell, dude is on his butt too much. He's too short and light for MLS.

The DC United that was so good with keeping possession in previous years has not shown up. How many times did we lose the ball due to someone holding it too long then being pressured to make a lousy pass? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, same thing last year and we won the supporters shield.

I'll say it too, we desperately need Benny. He's the true captain of this team.

Posted by: peridigm | April 18, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Ummm! Has anyone thought of playing Fred in his natural possition of center mid? We have yet to see that experiment since they got him.

Throw Gallardo out to the right and make him rum for some balls and maybe get some better service into the center. Soehn really needs to start experimenting more and driving home a point if these guys aren't going to play hard.

Last night was garbage in, garbage out. If they can't get things together by June, I say it's cleaning time!!

And to those who call this a panic, I call this the real deal when your the best franchise in MLS to date! Don't feed me that line of garbage! People need to call these guys out!! This is unacceptable plain and simple. Poor product on the field = criticism and angry fans!! That's true Football!

Posted by: DC U Fan! | April 18, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

On the bright side, DCU teams that start off like this tend to make up for it.

It is a very different team than last year -- they need some time to gel. I'm not ready to write off the season just yet.

Posted by: RK | April 18, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I'm normally a pretty big namoff fan but I thought he was terrible in this game. Like when robbie rogers spun him around early on - would have been an easy goal if the shot had been on net. Maybe I'm being unfair on that play - maybe he was coming over from the right to cover and got wrong-footed, but it just looked awful. Peralta was pretty bad for the second game in a row. I would actually like to see what a defensive partnership of Martinez and McTavish would look like. Martinez, as everyone is saying, is really good.

Posted by: stairs | April 18, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Certainly agree on comments regarding Emilio and Wells, who are real problem right now, but what is more concerning is that the team seems to have no idea about how to go forward quickly or execute any kind of combination play. The chemistry characteristic of past United teams seems to have disappeared. Maybe it will return, as some have suggested, but I think it will take another midfielder working with Gallardo and a forward they can spring.

Posted by: Ruthie | April 18, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Why am I paying to watch Emilio? I'd rather watch Kirk or Quaranta.

If Emilio were at least in shape I'd be more patient, but he looks like he's on the Clint-Mathis-Fast diet plan.

When Emilio does play -- moreno4prez got it, him back-to-the-goal isn't working. He needs through balls. Gallardo needs to see lanes the way Adu did and send brilliant balls through defenders for a running, wheezing Emilio . . .

Posted by: gringo | April 18, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

"Dyachenko is horrible. Give him a mullet and call him Filomeno."

Ohhhh, that's rich! :)

Posted by: grumpy | April 18, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Last night was the first time I really focused on Gallardo and he really did some great stuff. Agree with Goff about good service no finishing. Gallardo hit Jaime in the chest at the penalty spot and Jaime's first touch went right to the keeper. Moreno circa 2004 (or 98) easily traps and finishes. As someone else said, Gallardo really does need some finishers to get the ball to and Luci, Niell, and Moreno aren't getting it done. Having said that, it's a long season and I think this team needs to figure out how to play (or player needs at next transfer period) before the champions league. Hopefully they'll pick it up to get into the playoffs and maybe jell by Superliga.

Posted by: soyinocente | April 18, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

FYI highlights are on soccernet.com

Posted by: RK | April 18, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

On the bright side, DCU teams that start off like this tend to make up for it.

Posted by: RK | April 18, 2008 9:18 AM

Yes, and then they lose in the first round of the playoffs.

Posted by: Not a good trend | April 18, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Through four games last year - we had one point. This year we are two points better. We've played two of the better teams (at least given the current form early in the year) so far. Face it - Columbus and the Wizards are better clubs than they have been in the past and could make noise as they go on.

We've played one game on narrow and miserable turf right after a gut wrenching exit from the CCC. We've only won their once ever as well (IIRC).

We gutted our team from last year and our out of the three big leaders (Moreno, Gomez, Olsen) - We only have one.

While you can nit-pick form and speed and touches and other things - this team is lacking a heart and a soul right now. It lacks imagination and it's lacking creativity that can only come from a stronger cohesion.

While I was so disappointed in the form of the team last night that I left with 3 minutes left, I will not give up on this side. If others want to, that's their choice but there's good talent in this team and the movement at times shows what it's capable of. It's timing. It's organization and direction from the keeper. It's language issues. And it's time for this club to use the next 9 days to get healthy and not wallow in these first four games.

There are 26 more rounds to go and a team really only needs 16-20 wins to be "dominant" in the league. There are still 3 trophies out there for us to win and while I hope the results turn around sooner rather than later - Chicago showed us last year and the Galaxy showed everyone in 2005 that you can miss 1/2 - 2/3 of the season and almost/lift the cup.

There is no Gomez and Ben's hurt. There's no use in creating the "What if's" and "Regret" situations. This team needs to come together and drive itself and not wait on production that is on the sidelines in a walking boot. To use that second DP slot we're talking about a transfer fee and likely seeing a pair of our higher paid boys leave only to be replaced by a seasoned player and 2-3 reserves who likely will be out of the league before they're ever in it.

C'mon United - 26 Matches and 3 More Trophies - Go out and Take Them.

Posted by: Virginia Blue Blood | April 18, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Goff right on...I've been saying that about Emilio since the end of last season. I think he's a little overrated, a typical good forward who becomes great in the United system. See Diaz Arce and Lassiter. I wonder what we could get if we traded him?
Anyways, a typical United start to the season, I have faith we'll turn it around. VAMOS UNITED

Posted by: DCDan | April 18, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Failed finishing; sloppy defense. Totally explains the outcome. Can't blame just one person. As for signing Doe and playing him over Emilio, be careful what you wish for. There are good reasons he is no longer with NYRB.

Posted by: Larry | April 18, 2008 8:40 AM
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I don't buy that, Larry. The MetroCows had Jaime and did not know how to utilize him. You know their ineptitude to get the best out of their players does not directly relate to a given player's capabilities. Plus right now we need some speed, and Doe will give us that. If anything, it will free up "A TARTARUGA" to at least get something resembling shot off on goal.

I agree that one new striker is not going to cut it. But one should do wonders for us right about now.

And Q you may be onto something there. Wells appears to be highly overrated. He does seem to be out of position a lot. On the first goal - the pass into the six - Wells was off his line but no where near the ball (that was crossed in the six). So where the hell was he? Second goal? Well Q nailed it above.

Posted by: Kosh | April 18, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

at least i found the good beer stand...hhhmm my head.

Posted by: mizage | April 18, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Four thoughts:

1) In defense of Emilio (did I just type that?) I thought he showed more energy, held the ball better and connected more passes than he has in any previous game. Problem is that isn't what we pay him for. Of course, the slow transition didn't help him or anyone up top. The Crew back line had plenty of time to get organized. All that aside, he should sit one out.

2) Namoff played his cleats off. He had a couple of missteps, but he was everywhere and on top of far more than he missed.

3) Martinez looked slow. He continues to be one of my new favorites, but he was definitely not up to his usual energy level.

4) Wells...what is the "language barrier" thing? Soccer Spanish is very straightforward, and the things you need to express when a ball is coming towards the goal are very simple. Derecha, izquierda, a tras, marque numero ____, and a couple of choice modifiers. Not that hard.

Posted by: LD | April 18, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Q above. I think Wells is a big problem. With Perkins in goal, we win ugly last night 1-0.

Emilio has scored 21 goals in 33 MLS games. That's a pretty good strike rate, and everyone is ready to replace him? Really?

The problem in my opinion is that the team is still trying to play the same way as last year. But Gallardo is not a straight replacement for Gomez.

Gomez played higher and more offensively. Gallardo comes back farther and starts plays farther from goal. That means that both Moreno and Emilio have to come back further. Problem is that does not play to Emilio's strength. He is not a back-to-goal player.

I really think Soehn and the rest of the team needs to figure out a completely new way of playing and not rely on what worked last year.

I'd actually like to see some form of a 3-5-2 where Simms, Gallardo, and Fred are the the central mids. McTavish, Tino, Burch, Kirk, and Olsen eventually can play on the wings. That would allow Emilio to play much closer to goal that he currently is, and give Moreno some support.

Just a thought.

Posted by: isaac101 | April 18, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

In my opinion Zack Wells needs to communicate better with his defenders (Martinez,and Peralta). I am very disappointed with Emilio he really needs to wake up and improve better if not he should be benched and Niell should replace him. I think GM Dave Kasper and coach Tom Soehn should've offered a contract to Brazilian foward Cezar rather than getting the Liberian foward Francis Doe. Is it to late to acquire Cezar?? Whats your opinion Goff??

Posted by: Jeff | April 18, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

>I agree with Q above. I think Wells is a big problem. With Perkins in goal, we win ugly last night 1-0.

How does he stop the own goal?

Posted by: RK | April 18, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

"The MetroCows had Jaime and did not know how to utilize him. "

He was on injured reserve for most of that year, and when he was available he was immobile.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | April 18, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I think a 3-5-2 formation may best play to DCU's personnel. Fred can be the attacking CM and can play like Gomez, which plays to Emilio's strengths, Simms is the holding CM and Gallardo can do whatever as the playmaking CM. With Namoff, Martinez and Peralta, we have three solid backs (Martinez clearly anchoring the backline) and we have options out wide that we can mix and match as the season progresses and based on opponents. I think Santino becomes a full-fledged starter in another month or so and Moreno gravitates to the bench. Return Niell to Argentina Juniors. Hopefully DCU kept the receipt!

Posted by: therealfootball | April 18, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

It is not always about having someone better, a lot of it is sending the star player a message that although you may be better than your backup, when you play only at 50% your capabilities, well, you aren't.

I'm almost of the mind to start calling Luci "feet of stone" pretty damn soon if he doesn't improve. Rocket Roy had a better first touch. There, I said it.


Posted by: Matthai (not to be confused with the other Matt) | April 18, 2008 8:35 AM

Matt - My question remains unanswered, only this time I'll frame it in your terms - What forward on DCU's current roster is better than Luci at 50%? I agree Luci's been awful, but isn't it better to let him play out of it (like last year) than bringing in...well, who? Niell, who doesn't stay upright and is not a target for balls lofted in the box? Dyachenko, who if you count reserve game appearances may have cracked the half dozen goal mark in more than two seasons? Are we hanging our hopes on Francis Doe? John Doe?

Posted by: BillyBob | April 18, 2008 8:55 AM


I wouldn't say that any of them are better than a 50% Luci, but rather that they are just as effective meaning they have produced just as many goals as he did, a big fat 0 for the last two games.


Its not so much "we can do better without you" as much as "Frank O'Neill ;) can score 0 goals too, if we wanted 0 goals we don't need you running around in slow motion with a stone first touch, we can have just as many goals with the quick little hobbit running around and falling down all over the place instead."

Posted by: Matthai | April 18, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

In my opinion Zack Wells needs to communicate better with his defenders (Martinez,and Peralta). I am very disappointed with Emilio he really needs to wake up and improve better if not he should be benched and Niell should replace him. I think GM Dave Kasper and coach Tom Soehn should've offered a contract to Brazilian foward Cezar rather than getting the Liberian foward Francis Doe. Is it to late to acquire Cezar?? Whats your opinion Goff??

Posted by: Jeff | April 18, 2008 10:06 AM


Did you ever see Cezar play or is it just because he is Brasilian?

Posted by: Matthai | April 18, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

>I agree with Q above. I think Wells is a big problem. With Perkins in goal, we win ugly last night 1-0.

How does he stop the own goal?

Posted by: RK | April 18, 2008 10:10 AM
--------------------------
By...

a) staying on his line OR
b) attacking the player more aggressively

I don't care what league you play in when you come off your line you better bring it...or you're going to get roasted alive. Plus I'm just not sold on his positioning. Great shot stopper (mad props on that 1 on 1 with GBS early on), but horrible anticipation and positioning (the two goals, his gaff with Martinez on clearance gate...that goal in Pachuca, yes I am still not over that yet).

That said, was it just me of did Simms let that Crew kid go way to easily to the line on the second goal? I mean Simms had a great night but I do remember being pissed at him on that play.

Posted by: Kosh | April 18, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

In addition to Fred and Gallardo, I thought Simms had a good game last night ... some well-placed touches in the midfield.

I groaned when Rod D entered the game.

How slow was that United attack last night? I know they're tired, but boy, they did a lot of standing around.

Too early to panic, though.

Posted by: United fan in TN | April 18, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Jaime needs to start. Luciano needs to come off the bench right now. We ARE in panic mode people! Tom Soehn is on notice. If we can get someone bigger and better, like say Mourinho, or even Bruce Arena, I say pull the trigger. Tom Soehn was a "fill in" coach anyway caused by Nowaks untimely departure.

Posted by: Alan | April 18, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Boca Juniors-1
River Plate-0

Varon screwed us. We need him.

Posted by: Alan | April 18, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

There was one point in the second have when Martinez was trying to have him come get the ball and he wanted Martinez to clear. Martinez was in the right on that play. Wells should have gone to get the ball.


Posted by: Q | April 18, 2008 9:12 AM

Q,
I have to disagree, I play keeper also in an old fart league. Unless I call for the ball NO defender better think I'm coming to get it. Period. Should Wells have called for it....probably. But if he didn't then Martinez needs to clear the thing out of there.

Posted by: boda united | April 18, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Apparently, I'm the only one who thinks DM is one of our biggest problem areas. I thought Simms had a terrible game. Of course, I watched it on TV, so I didn't have a full view of the field.

Posted by: Terp | April 18, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Last night when I was watching the game and saw how ineffective Emilio has become, I came to the realization that if in fact he does not regain the scoring touch from last year, I can almost bet that the Front Office brass will take a trip down to Buenos Aires and throw some cash in the face of Martin Palermo. Do I think he would be the answer? Not quite sure, but with our front office so enarmored with everything Argentina these days, it makes too much sense not to try and sign a over-the-hill has been such as Palermo and give him the DP money, when it fact they should seriously pursue a European striker. Also, Peralta, man he is definitely no better then Facundo Erpen. Bad move by our scouting dept. and front office.

Posted by: DC United Fan | April 18, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that everyone's going so easy on Namoff - he got outworked on both goals. And, let's face it, the goal he scored was a bit lucky. He's a good player, but I really thought he was bad last night.

Posted by: Jeff M | April 18, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I love the fact that we DCU fans are still postive and havent jumped on the "The sky is falling" bandwagon! Smart fans realize it's a long season. I'm going to check out the BS boards, anyone got the suicide hotline number for the crazies over there?

Posted by: boda united | April 18, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I think Namoff is very underrated. He's never going to be the best defender on any team, but he's solid. Not only is solid on defense, but he's solid beinging the ball up the field. He and Burch do a good job on their respective sides to get the ball out of their end. Burch has a much crisper and targeted cross, but I think Namoff does well to get up the field.

Though: Gallardo is having to come back and get the ball about 10 yards into the defensive half. Shouldn't we be looking to get him the ball 10 yards into the offensive half of the field. With him on the defensive side, then Moreno and Emilio are coming up to midfield to help possess. That is way too far towards middle to be looking for our forwards.

Posted by: moreno4prez | April 18, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that everyone's going so easy on Namoff - he got outworked on both goals. And, let's face it, the goal he scored was a bit lucky. He's a good player, but I really thought he was bad last night.

Posted by: Jeff M | April 18, 2008 11:29 AM
_____________________________________________

It looked like his goal was going wide until it clipped the defender. That was pure luck. I say United lost 2-0.

Goff, was the VW logo on the ESPN score line
coincidence? I don't watch enough ESPN to know if they are a regular or not.

Posted by: peridigm | April 18, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Is there cause for concern? Yes. But there are reasons for optimism.

In a way we've had 10 ½ returning players from last season up to this point (Olsen out, Moreno hurt). With that much turnover it was never likely we'd jump out of the gate looking too great even if we consider all our acquisitions upgrades or additional depth. Three starting midfielders aren't there (incl. Olsen), 2 starting defenders and new goalies. Let's be realistic, will they start playing better as they get to know one another and the new guys adjust to MLS? Yes.

Gallardo is playing well and may well get better. The guys he's feeding are off right now. Once they get going we'll start seeing goals resulting from his play.

Gonzalo Martinez is already looking very good. There is no question he's an improvement to our defense. Our defense is why we didn't go further in the playoffs last year.

Staying on that note, who would you want Peralta, Boswell, Vanney or Erpen? Okay, he's made some mistakes but I'll bet 80% of you would pick Peralta. So we've made another upgrade to our defense.

Emilio's starting slow. Hey, it's' just a slow start, he'll play through it. I don't understand seemingly everyone wanting to throw him under the bus because of this. I'm not saying you have to be happy, just exercise a little patience.

Moreno's been hurt. It's going to take a little while for him to work his way back into match shape. Sure he's getting older but we can certainly expect better play ahead from him this season.

It's going to be awhile but at some point we're going to get Benny back.

Clyde Simms' game this season is the best we've ever seen from him.

We finally have some size on the field in Peralta, Quaranta & Burch. I think you need a few big guys and now we have them.

Saying we've had lot of games in a short amount of time isn't an excuse, it's a fact. No MLS team has the depth to go through this many games in great form. Hell, teams typically lose their second game when it's a short weak. Our schedule returns to normal starting today.

I'm going to allow myself one negative comment and that's that I'm with Billy Bob, it's our goalkeeping we need to worry about.

Posted by: Kire | April 18, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

To Boda United,

I agree with you about you're the one calling for it and not the defense. Most times, field players have no idea about how to play goalie. My only problem with him not getting the ball from Martinez was that there was a lot of time to get the ball. He put his defense in a bad spot. I guess that the point that I was trying to make was that he does not have good command of his D, or his position.

Also, about stopping the own goal... If he were in position, he wouldn't have had to stop the goal because he should've had the ball already. He came off of his line to the side and whiffed on the ball. He should've stayed where he was. Where he was before he came was better (not good but better) position than coming out.

Posted by: Q | April 18, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I strongly disagree with whoever criticized Dyachenko's touch. In fact, aside from Moreno and perhaps Quaranta, he has the best touch of any of our "forwards." Also, he is the best of them all in playing with his back to the goal. (Witness today's reserve match.)

Posted by: Hedbal | April 18, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Chest Rockwell, where are you? These people are going nuts! We need an intelligent posting!!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

@ Kire

The sky's not falling and we're not throwing anyone under the bus. BUT it just does not sit well with me that a second year, MVP winner looks so bad and out of shape especially when he KNOWS WHAT IT TAKES TO SUCCEED IN THIS LEAGUE. I know he and Fred joined the team late, I'm not sure of the circumstances, but that bahavior had an unprofessional aroma to it. I think Emilio just needs to sit out a few. This funk he's in is kind'a deep and while I understand allowing him to sort it out, I can't stand for him doing that at the cost of games and points, which could hurth the overall team morale.

And I still think we need some kind of speed up top, something to earn the attention of at least one of the seven players marking Emilio out of the game.

Posted by: Kosh | April 18, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

@Koah

I agree with you Emilio is in a deep funk. He'll work his way out though.

I'm also very much in agreement that we need someone/something to earn the attention of at least one of the many players marking Emilio out of the game. Funk or unfunked, we need for this to happen.

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

@ Kire

The sky's not falling and we're not throwing anyone under the bus. BUT it just does not sit well with me that a second year, MVP winner looks so bad and out of shape especially when he KNOWS WHAT IT TAKES TO SUCCEED IN THIS LEAGUE. I know he and Fred joined the team late, I'm not sure of the circumstances, but that bahavior had an unprofessional aroma to it. I think Emilio just needs to sit out a few. This funk he's in is kind'a deep and while I understand allowing him to sort it out, I can't stand for him doing that at the cost of games and points, which could hurth the overall team morale.

And I still think we need some kind of speed up top, something to earn the attention of at least one of the seven players marking Emilio out of the game.

Posted by: Kosh | April 18, 2008 2:59 PM


I think with the 9 day break until the next game unless he just does awefully in practices, Emilio should get another run out there to work it out. If he plays like this again then it is time to sit him for a half or game to think about what it takes to start in this league and what dedication he will need to get back to top form.

The good news is we have RSL at home for the next game which should mean a United win***. What better way to get healthy as a player and team than to host them?

*** I caveat this with the knowledge that United's last two home results vs. RSL haven't been so impressive in our back to back SS seasons. 1-1 in 06 and 2-1 in 07 which occured during our super hot 10 game unbeaten streak where we crushed NYRB, NE, Dallas (@Dallas) and Toronto and beat CD Guadalajara at RFK.

The moral being they always play us tough aside from their inagural year. RSL is 3-1-1 vs. United from 2006-present, one of the few teams that can claim that kind of dominance during this run.

Posted by: Matthai | April 18, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

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