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DCU-RSL Aftermath

Some quick thoughts (and player ratings) before I get a few hours' sleep and catch a flight home.....

*Why start a young, back-up goalkeeper in his first MLS match on the road on that field? Remember what happened last year with Jay Nolly? I'm not comparing Jose Carvallo to Nolly and, other than the second goal, Carvallo had no chance to stop RSL. But the situation was almost the same and the result even worse.

*While I understand the club has played a lot of matches in a short amount of time, I don't see how the 1.9 million-dollar man, Marcelo Gallardo, did not play a minute. If Jaime Moreno can endure the pounding on the turf, so can Gallardo. Very strange.

*The three-man backline works ... when Gonzalo Martinez is back there covering a lot of ground. Domenic Mediate is a nice utility player, but not in this formation. That said, Gonzalo Peralta had a howler.

*Rod Dyachenko played so poorly in a starting role on RSL's cement last year, he was pulled just before halftime. No one gets benched that early unless they are injured; he got pulled. So tonight he got another start in the rock quarry and did not show much.

Player ratings: Carvallo 4; Namoff 4, Peralta 3, Mediate 3; McTavish 5, Simms 4, Dyachenko 4, Burch 4; Fred 5, Emilio 4, Moreno 4. Subs: Quaranta 4, Niell 5, Stratford no rating.

Match report available here.

By Steve Goff  |  April 13, 2008; 12:36 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: The Good, The Bad, The Coyote Ugly


I was prepared for a letdown. Just not quite this much of one.

To go along with your question about Carvallo, Goff, here's another:

Why experiment with a offensive-minded formation that requires high pressure when you're
A) playing your third game in 8 days
B) on the road
C) in a stadium where you haven't played well over the past few games
D) on horrendous turf, and
E) starting several reserves?

Call me crazy, but that seems to me like the time to go a bit more conservative.

Posted by: Kenobi | April 13, 2008 1:23 AM | Report abuse

All points addressed in your match report. See what I get for posting before I click the link?

Oh, yeah. First.

Posted by: Kenobi | April 13, 2008 1:26 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: longfellow | April 13, 2008 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Once again, it shows that thanks to the salary cap, even the better teams in MLS have the roster depth of a shallow puddle.

That being said, we lost to RSL the last wo years too, and the season turned out alright, so since we lost to them twice as bad this time, we should do twice as good this season, right...?

Posted by: savannahfan | April 13, 2008 1:39 AM | Report abuse

The longer I do this for, the more I come to realize that I hate United almost as much as I love them.

Damn them.


Posted by: Goose | April 13, 2008 2:02 AM | Report abuse

What exactly was United trying to do?

Posted by: sitruc | April 13, 2008 2:12 AM | Report abuse

United just hasn't wanted it on the road this season. The only one who puts forth a hint of tenacity is O'Neil. Boy I can't wait to get Benny back.

And I'm surprised no one has used the altitude as an excuse. . . .

Posted by: Glaucon | April 13, 2008 2:45 AM | Report abuse

RSL is also a much improved team this year. Don't forget that. The blowout was probably not indicative of their improvment, but they really are a coherent, smart team, and I expect they'll make the playoffs this year (especially with the new 3/3/2 system. They were unlucky not to be Chicago in the opener, having dominated the game, and the loss to Chivas was not as bad as the scoreline.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | April 13, 2008 2:49 AM | Report abuse


I'll bet you donuts that Gallard basically told management: "Ni en puta juego en esa cancha!"

I can totally picture the Argentine being paranoically afraid of that dastardly surface and either telling mgmt he would not set foot on it, or he pulled up with sudden injury or muscle cramps on the flight out.

Posted by: Erick | April 13, 2008 3:08 AM | Report abuse

@Posted by: Erick | April 13, 2008 3:08 AM

I can also imagine management saying "STFU we are paying you $2 million to win games, get your a** out there" if he did.

Posted by: rick | April 13, 2008 5:22 AM | Report abuse

To me, this is a throwaway game due to the horrible field. I support the idea of resting several regulars. Concede the 3 points and focus on more important games.

Posted by: FC | April 13, 2008 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Is it too early to say "Fire Soehn"?

Has he won The Big One yet? United seem to choke under his tenure and one must wonder whether it's his decision-making. Remember they won the Supporters Shield with what was Nowak's team. Similar to Thomas Rongen winning the MLS Cup with Bruce Arena's team and then stunk up the joint.

How many more bad decisions - poor game management, tactical lineups, odd substitutions - will we take before we call for his head?

Of course, I will give him the first month as benefit of the doubt since Emilio is a ghost, RSL's pitch is awful, and their CONCACAF games should not be run during MLS preseason. But excuses will start running out soon.

Posted by: bristol | April 13, 2008 7:32 AM | Report abuse

DCU has a fine team, but the depth just isn't there. The team should have learned that when it played its reserves against Richmond last month and got plastered. (And the pitch in Richmond is beautiful, much less so in SLC).

A Richmond Kickers Fan

Posted by: Anonymous | April 13, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Of all games, this is one that should have been buried deep in the section rather than put smartly up front on Sports 01.

The layout editor hates United.

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

ahhh, another satisfying night watching "Bruce Arena-Thomas Rongen-Bob Bradley-Tom Soehn" lets-pass-the-ball-all-over-the-field-and-accomplish-nothing futbol. Clueless. When do we get a coach who understands that this is not 1996 anymore? DC United, for the 13th straight year still does not run triangles, and is constantly outhustled by lower paid players who know what the game is now all about: moving to open triangles and causing chaos with speed forward. United wouldn't know what a triangle is, except when they pass back to the goalkeeper. If we had a real forward like Twellman, we would have had at least 2 goals last night. Which two?: the two that requires a coach who teaches his forwards to retreat 2 steps backwards when in the box, thus fooling the defense who naturally keeps moving towards the net to protect the keeper. How juvenile Niell and Emilio looked last night as perfectly served balls (one by Tino) were put two steps back into space for a real forward to smash home. Instead of doing their job, our fowards throw their hands up in the air in disgust because they should be afforded the opportunity to walk the ball across the goal line because that is what Bruce, Thomas, Bob, and Tom said they should do. Good luck United. Your branch of soccer is dull and uninspiring. Enough of the excuses for artificial turf, tired players, rookie goalkeepers.....this is soccer folks and it plays the same way everywhere (except at 14,000 feet ((sorry Bolivia))). Professional players should do better than that. They simply don't have a good teacher to explain that nobody cares about time of possession anymore. Wake up United. You are getting beaten by 3rd rate teams on a regular bases when it counts: the playoffs.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 13, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Ugh. I agree with top post. 3-4-3 works because of certain individuals. When they are not there you should adapt. Why is Dyachenko thought of as a number 10? Why not use Moreno in that role and save his 34 year old legs? Team had a howler, so did the coach.

Posted by: RRP | April 13, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

A lot of lineup tinkering. Peralta seemed lost w/o Martinez. The team needs to get better results when the Spanish Armada is not sailing together. We shall see how they react after sailing home shattered to more comfortable waters.

Posted by: MC Caretaker | April 13, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

goff dyancheko showed alot i thought. you just wrong here.

Posted by: wrong | April 13, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse


Every year I forget that I hate watching games in SLC. That field makes for some unappealing soccer.

Field aside, we looked like a whole bunch of suck. I think playing the bench is an ok idea, but not three of them, new formation, and a field where we tend to do poorly.

It's a long season. I'm still assuming that Emilio will find his touch, Gallardo will click better with the team, Tino/Fred look better and better, and that we'll find someone to take Niell off our hands (100K?!?!?!?).

Posted by: e | April 13, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I agree with you in principle, but the I would not say "concede the three points." I would have said go after one point.

If Soehn is going to rest starters (fine by me) then go back to a defensive posture with a 4-5-1 or 4-4-2 and make Salt Lake come after us. Tired legs don't respond well to a turf surface.

""To me, this is a throwaway game due to the horrible field. I support the idea of resting several regulars. Concede the 3 points and focus on more important games.""

Posted by: delantero | April 13, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse


Continue going after the ball even if there's a poor pass. Throwing your arms up in the air, especially when we could pressure just outside their box, reminds me of the old Tino. We don't like the old Tino.

And I know Rimando is your friend, but laughing as you chase him and the ball down and then trying to grab him as he runs by is not funny for us fans. Play hard for 90 or say bye bye.

Posted by: delantero | April 13, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

As long as we have slow, big salary players taking up A-Mid positions, and a DP who has shown little by way of threatening soccer, we're doomed. This team is not capable regardless of the coach. Broken record here, but when do we find it permissable to question management decisions?
1) We trade Gomito for a DP position that we're not using.
2) We scout an aged Argentinian World Cup midfielder without realizing the impact on the team of his slow pace. We hire him for 4x the cost of our previous #10. And for whatever reason, we feel the need to rest him in a league match.
3) We openly commit to building a team that can compete seriously in international tournaments. We don't deliver.

If I'm the ownership group, I'm not sure if I suspect Soehn or Kasper or Payne, but I sure would be looking to admonish one or all of them.

Posted by: David | April 13, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

The combination of factors already mentioned, field, lineup,formation changes and a motivated opponent all contributed to the debacle. Yes, you can question some of the decisions last night but all teams have let downs. We expect better of this team and and they dropped a bomb last night. Some of the comments above such as "They simply don't have a good teacher to explain that nobody cares about time of possession anymore" are absurd. Last night there were no interior passes in the final third and long ball defensive lapses. Lets just get over it and move on.

Posted by: sbg | April 13, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

early in the season...a huge loss Wednesday..Big game coming up on Thursday...I think the RSL loss will be no big deal when united lift the MLS Cup again. Tommy rightfully rested the work horses.

Posted by: bobf | April 13, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

How many people would trade Gallardo for C. Gomez straight up right now? Let Chang cover the difference in salaries.

Ill give you a night off when you are performing well, but not before you show me something. At least come on at halftime and try to get one back. Pathetic.

Posted by: are we there yet | April 13, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

PACE. I think that pretty much sums it up. Where is it. I love our possession style football but do we have anybody that can run at and pass the defense when teams put 8 or 9 men behind the ball.

Posted by: Outoftwnfan | April 13, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Where is Nani? Wenger is acting all nervious and put Lehman in goal line.
I will never trade Gallardo for Gomez. Not in a million year.

Posted by: pk | April 13, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Maybe a better approach towards the draft and youth development would be better.

Posted by: Dave Lifton | April 13, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Frustrating but expected.
RSL gets up for this. DCU - not so much.
3-4-3 maybe with the same guys and maybe at home. Not on the road in a trap game and not, as Mediate said at half, after not even practicing it this week. WTF?
I would have looked for one pt, which bores the crap out of me but, was the right thing to do last night.

Posted by: marksman | April 13, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Have we ever won a game that Dyachenko started? How can you expect the forwards to score when the service is being provided by Burch, Dyachanko and McTavish? I knew we were doomed when I heard the starting lineup.

Posted by: ff | April 13, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I gotta say this-i would rather win the supporters shield than the mls cup.

Posted by: pigman sweet | April 13, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Does Soehn ever check the SI?
Someone tell him to give it a peek, almost every move he made in Utah was a mistake.
Gallardo better get used to playing on turf once in awhile, that's just the way it goes here.
Feeling sorry for Carvallo, but most of those goals he really couldn't have done much about.
That back line was a joke.
Made Peralta look like a giant retard.
Too many dissapointments, but I blame the coach all together.

Posted by: Dadryan. | April 13, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Soooo at least we got that out of our least we've got that going for us, right now. I know that I am angry, at least my brain is trying to tell me that, but I am so empty right now that I am coming off more or less like a Vulcan.

It's early days and all and I'm not calling for anyone's head or anything (at the moment), but that lineup, those selections...that is one heck of a brain scratcher.

We are not deep, at all. You know maybe. just maybe, if we respect the draft just a tad bit more than we do now, maybe we can turn up one of them gems that everyone else seems to find every now and then.

Oh well, live long and prosper, I guess.

Posted by: Kosh | April 13, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

After reading the hand-wringing here, we should:
1. Trade Gallardo for a used jockstrap
2. Fire Soehn
3. Fire Kasper & Payne

why not make it a quinella and:

4. Demolish RFK
5. Give the Sons of Ben a present - relocate DCU to Philly.

It's one game -- get a life. But then again, with the attitudes expressed here at times, I'm not surprised by the Post's story this morning about the telemarketing company that waterboarded an employee as a "team building" exercise, because "that is what Socrates did to his students." (When poor Socrates wasn't confused that waterboarding was a type of water skiing.)

Posted by: griffin1108 | April 13, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Goff, I completely agree. I wanted to see Gallardo and Martinez both in at halftime, instead we get Quaranta, who - despite his great form recently - just wasn't on his game. I think we could've salvaged a point if we played a stronger squad on the field and not make bone-headed plays in the back (cough cough, Peralta...)

Posted by: Andy | April 13, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

That field was simply horrible. I couldn't bare to watch after the first half. And not just because DC was behind.

That aside, I don't know if I agree with the "lets-give-up-the-3-points" philosophy. If that's the idea, why not just skip the trip to Salt Lake? I think a very defensive formation would have been appropriate. Would that have gotten us a point? Maybe not but at least we won't have lost by 4 if we had 4 (or 5) payers in the back.

Posted by: Bart | April 13, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Amusing that some posters seem to be trying to blame this on Gallardo. How does that work? No, this on is on Tommy's shoulders. Let's hope he got a good look. Not move on...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 13, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Surprisingly - no mention on this board of the notorious absence of Emilio thus far this season. Could it be the MVP curse? I recall Gomito had the same tendency to disappear for entire games during the beginning of last season (i.e., after winning MVP during the prior campaign).

Posted by: Mickey | April 13, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I think keeping Martinez out was wise. He came up a bit lame near the end of the Pachuca game. Looked like a groin strain or maybe an abdominal. He also makes a lot of sliding tackles. Using him on that cement pitch would have made little sense. Let him get a rest.

Gallardo get hacked and knocked down a lot as well. Do we want out 30-something playmaker having to pick himself up off of that ground too many times?

It was a throw away game. If we play that poorly against this team at RFK in a couple of weeks then we can start panicking.

Dyachenko is a joke. He just a big clod out there. How many totally un-subtle fouls does he commit in a game? He was lucky he didn't get sent off last night.

It's still very early in the season. I think we will be fine as things go along. The season lasts a very long time.

Posted by: Glenn | April 13, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I hated the game last night.

It's rough watching "my" team get plastered by a perrenial league doormat, but I can't say I was surprised by the scoreline, as Salt Lake just seems to be a place where United doesn't play well.

I can't track with the blame-throwing, though.

Much has been made about the number of games that United will play this year. And much about the number of new faces on the team, and how it will take some time for the team to gel - for the players to get to know one another.

One way to prepare for the long season is for ALL of the players to get some playing time, regardless of whether the short-term results might suffer as a result. Likewise, with so many new faces on board, we can't possibly know - nor can the coaching staff - which players will play well together, nor what formation, or formations, will enable the team to utilyze it's talent to the fullest. Finding the answers to some of these questions can be pretty - as last week against Pachuca - or UGLY - as last night against Salt Lake.

I'm willing to wait for the answer to these questions because, in my crystal ball, I see really good things happening in the future for this team.

Posted by: DCUInWheaton | April 13, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

You know who I blame? I blame Gallardo's mom for having the stones to even get pregnant with Gallardo! If it weren't for her, he wouldn't have been sitting on the bench in Salt Lake City and causing us to lose by 4 goals!

The nerve of that woman!

Posted by: Hoost | April 13, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Bruce Arena come home!

Posted by: Alan | April 13, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Bruce Arena come home!

Posted by: Alan | April 13, 2008 5:58 PM

You must own an all-you-can-eat restaurant.

Posted by: Hoost | April 13, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

There is no such thing as an MVP curse. Those "curses" are just excuses for crap play.

Teams are figuring out how Emilio (same goes for Burch) plays. He is a one dimensional player. Great finisher,nothing else. If i recall correctly, he got 1 assist all last year. 1 assist to 20 goals!

As much as i love Burch (I started a Marc Burch Fan Club on Facebook), he needs to try something new. He needs a right foot, he needs to work on his crosses.

Posted by: Garret | April 13, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

deep breath. Long season. Marathon not a sprint.

Thursday will be better.

Posted by: JSF | April 13, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Earlier today Toronto defeated the Galaxy, 3-2. One of the LA goals was a penalty that Donovan took. One wonders to what extent the game was lengthened because Donovan, not Beckham, took the kick.

Posted by: tri-village | April 13, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Might I remind you, Gomez never won in RSL. I actually like that he sacrificed this game to the gods. We do not do well in Salt Lake. He rested those who needed it for a long season, and gave starts to those on the bench who we will need salted ( pardon the pun) later. We are still 3 points ahead of last season's point total. If we lose on Thursday, then I will be worried. But if we win, then he looks like a genius.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 13, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Might I remind you, Gomez never won in RSL. I actually like that he sacrificed this game to the gods. We do not do well in Salt Lake. He rested those who needed it for a long season, and gave starts to those on the bench who we will need salted ( pardon the pun) later. We are still 3 points ahead of last season's point total. If we lose on Thursday, then I will be worried. But if we win, then he looks like a genius.

Posted by: dcaustinite | April 13, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

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