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Soehn Speaks

Coach Tommy, on the decision to drop Franco Niell: "We're going to look to make a change in the [summer transfer window]. We brought him in with pretty high expectations to push for a starting spot and unfortunately it didn't unfold like that, so we are always looking out to make ourselves better and that was a situation that we felt like we needed to move on."

Soehn said the roster replacement for Niell will not necessarily be a forward.

Soehn, on the noon start Sunday: "I'm still discouraged by the time at which the game is played. I don't know if there are any teams in the world that prefer to play at 12 noon in 90 percent humidity, 90 degrees. I think sometimes our scheduling needs to be consistent to making sure that performances are all set up to be attractive soccer."

The reason for the noon kickoff is a rare opportunity for national over-the-air network coverage and an intriguing doubleheader with the European Championship at 2:30 on ABC.

Was it a wise decision by MLS to schedule the game at this time, knowing it would receive valuable national exposure but, at the same time, likely subject the players to D.C.'s notorious summer weather?

By Steve Goff  |  June 27, 2008; 12:39 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Gallardo's Weather Forecast


Replace Payne

Posted by: DK&Players | June 27, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm not so sure it will result in increased exposure. MLS fans will watch, of course, but I doubt if many non-MLS fans who follow European soccer will decide to tune in 2.5 hours early just to see DCU v the Beckhamites. A Saturday game might have made more sense.

Posted by: Dave | June 27, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Since when does MLS care about exposing the players to bad summer weather? If they did, they wouldn't have put teams in KC and Texas.

Anyway, didn't MLS forefit certain scheduling rights when ESPN took over the responsibility of broadcasting and promoting the league (e.g. Thursday night matches)?

Both teams are playing in the same weather, which should (theoreticaly) favor us.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | June 27, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't be any worse than last years game in KC around July 4th when it was BLAZING hot! (and we won too!) :o)


Posted by: Triple J. | June 27, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

The question is, will Beckham drop the long sleeves?

Posted by: dwbpnm | June 27, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

He didn't lose em in the heat @ the world cup. why would he on sunday?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm fairly confident no one will drop dead.

Just play the game and don't complain.

Posted by: scott47a | June 27, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Noon? Humid? Who? Try every Mexican international match at Azteca

Posted by: congguy | June 27, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I would prefer MLS drop all day games in the summer. Most of the 3 pm Sunday games are snooze fests.

Just as egregious, however, is the notion of taking a West Coast team and flying them east across 2 time zones for a noon game. I find that outrageous. MLS teams travel poorly (won loss record wise) to begin with, don't they?

Posted by: JkR | June 27, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

so why wouldn't MLS schedule the game for 5:00pm (or 6:00, to account for extra time & pk's), you've still got your doubleheader and these guys wouldn't be playing at midday.

i guess the dropoff in quality would be more evident to people who watched both games if the MLS one was second though.

Posted by: pat | June 27, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Any news on the rumors of Viduka coming here during the transfer window? I read about it here

Posted by: Charisma_Man | June 27, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

While I'm normally happy to criticize MLS scheduling, this one is the right move. It's going to be warm tomorrow afternoon - no doubt about that. But about 87 at kickoff with 50% humidity, not quite as bad as Soehn makes it out to be.

This is a great opportunity for the league to showcase it's most watchable teams in a nice time slot, on a major network. No brainer. At least they'll be playing before the t-storms roll in.

Posted by: Kev | June 27, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

so why wouldn't MLS schedule the game for 5:00pm (or 6:00, to account for extra time & pk's), you've still got your doubleheader and these guys wouldn't be playing at midday.

Posted by: pat | June 27, 2008 1:24 PM

While the lead-in from the final would be nice, I think you answered your own question - extra time would make it impossible. Plus that bumps in to the evening on ABC - so no chance. And the weather will be much worse at 5 or 6 than it will be at noon - and you run the risk of a thunderstorm delay.

The league made the right choice.

Posted by: Kev | June 27, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing somewhere in the thought process would be a) if folks went to church, they'd be getting home during the 1st half, b) if people had a long night the night before they'd be up and recovering by then, c) it'd be easier to watch some MLS (even the folks coming on early and just catching our 2nd half), followed by the Euro final, than seeing the Euro final followed by MLS and having the drop off in level of play (no dis to MLS, just where we're at these days). Plus the 5-7 range cuts into dinner time, middle America and all that.

Who covers Becks on Sunday - Fred or Tino? And who's stuck on Landon - Simms? The rest I'm not so worried about.

Posted by: e | June 27, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Here was the thought process...

ABC: We can squeeze in one of our contractual MLS telecasts between noon ET and the final of EURO 2008. What do you think?

MLS: Tell us where to sign

Posted by: Kev | June 27, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

What's wrong with a prime time (8pm) kickoff? There's no way the european final will last from 2:45 till 8pm.

Besides, I am not sure having the MLS game lead in to the final is a good idea. Wouldn't it be better if the MLS game (which has a lower rating) follows the european final? Why do you think Fox schedules weaker shows right after American Idol?

Posted by: Bart | June 27, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I hope the humidity makes Beckham puke all over Donovan's boots!
Vamos United!

Posted by: Dadryan | June 27, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

What's wrong with a prime time (8pm) kickoff? There's no way the european final will last from 2:45 till 8pm.

Posted by: Bart | June 27, 2008 1:52 PM

No way Disney/ABC puts MLS in primetime - not even in the summer - not even with Becks. That's just how things are.

I guess we've come a long way that people can even discuss this.

Posted by: Kev | June 27, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

MLS is ridiculous to schedule any day games during the summer. Maybe San Jose or Colorado could host an early game, but certainly not cities like Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Columbus, Washington, New York, or Boston. I imagine the same can be said for LA, Chicago, and Salt Lake City too.

Not only are the games less attractive, but fans are uncomfortable in the stale humidity of a stadium.

As for putting the game right before one of the most popular soccer finals in the world, only goes to show how far the US has to go to be considered a "Soccer Nation." Regardless of Disney/ABC/ESPNs desires to put David Beckham on television, MLS has got to put their foot down out of shear common sense and respect for the game.

Unfortunately, MLS had to "sell" their decision making capabilities along with their cojones to Disney along with the television rights.

After all, we are a Mickey Mouse league, right?

Posted by: TCompton | June 27, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Here was the thought process...

ABC: We can squeeze in one of our contractual MLS telecasts between noon ET and the final of EURO 2008. What do you think?

MLS: Tell us where to sign

ABC: Make sure to bring Beckham.

This (gametime/date decision) was likely more Disney's decision than the league's.

Posted by: Hey | June 27, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Come on, guys. This one was a no-brainer. It's the best showcase opportunity the league has had in a long time.

Posted by: Stan | June 27, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

This (gametime/date decision) was likely more Disney's decision than the league's.

Posted by: Hey | June 27, 2008 2:03 PM

Of course... let me share some other leagues that have their matches scheduled by television networks...

English Premier League (Sky)
NFL (CBS, FOX, Disney, NFL Network)
NCAA everything (Anyone with the $$$$$)
Spanish Primera Division (see NCAA)
Argentine Primera Division (TyC)
NBA (Disney, TNT)

I could go on

Posted by: Kev | June 27, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me that they should have had the DC United Game start AFTER the Euro final. Fans would be even more likely to stay tuned in to an MLS game after watching Euro rather than start watching early so they could see the MLS game.

Posted by: Sean G | June 27, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

No question: 12 noon in the summer in DC is not a good time to play soccer, but the league still did the right thing in setting up this double-header. MLS needs all the exposure it can get. We MLS fans need to just swallow decisions like these and remember: good business now leads to better soccer later.

Posted by: Jeff M | June 27, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

It is a great showcase but I still feel disrespected. They should give this "big" game a primetime (7:30PM) slot.

Will LA fans really wake up at 9AM to see their team on a Sunday morning? No.

Is it easier for DC fans to see their team play at noon rather than 7PM? No.

Will the players on the pitch perform at their best? No.

Are local kids who play in Sunday leagues given the opportunity to see DC United play? No.

Will the game be broadcasted by ABC? yes.
HOORAY! Let's celebrate...

ABC is the only winner.

Posted by: Dan | June 27, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Anyone remember the '94 world cup? ALL games, barring one or two, were played under midday summer sun (in places like Orlando) so they could be televised in prime time in Europe. It world be nice to always play in the evening, but let's be realistic here. I, for one, am really looking forward to Sunday's doubleheader...

Posted by: Slugger | June 27, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

No problem about the weather. It's going to be raining, with lightning and thunder, which should cool things off a little...

After all, last week's rainless match was a one-time experience for this season.

So the monsoons will return Sunday.

Posted by: seahawkdad | June 27, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Both teams are playing in the same weather, which should (theoreticaly) favor us.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | June 27, 2008 1:06 PM


Think we'll see United pour it on and don the white shirts and make Landycakes, Goldenballs, et al wear the navy blue?! That'd be sweet.

Posted by: DE | June 27, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't be a bad idea DE.

Posted by: AlecW81 | June 27, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

The more pertinent question is not the timing or the role of ABC here -- those are givens MLS must work with for the opportunity for a national showcase -- but whether the league match should have been scheduled in DC. Does it make more sense to have a Chicago, Colorado or a San Jose host the Galaxy, assuming that Beckham was a must?

So, the question is, did MLS screw up by having this match in DC, which is very hot and humid mid-day at the end of June?

Posted by: J | June 27, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Does it make much of a difference with the new, high-tech, insta-dry, clima-cool fabric? Can't wait for a nano-engineer to come up with thermal-powered nano-fans in the jersey.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | June 27, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

by the way, for all those who want the game to follow Euro...have you watched Euro lately? and watched MLS? even the two most entertaining teams in MLS (DCU and the Gals) can't possibly compete with the intensity, passion and brilliance we might see on Sunday in Vienna. you want to watch Fabregas, Torres and Schweinstieger for two hours then still be interested in Emilio, Becks and Edson Buddle? there's a reason the JV always plays before the Varsity.

Posted by: northzax | June 27, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I agree that the MLS game after the EURO finals is a bad idea. I couldn't even stay to watch the entire United/Wizards(?) game that followed the USA/Uruguay friendly several years ago. Granted, DC United was terrible back then, but the speed of play and talent of the field wasn't even comparable.

Posted by: TCompton | June 27, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Generally speaking, the hottest time of the day is 2 PM, not noon. The one other thing I will say for noon is that it is too early to expect a thunderstorm, those usually strike around 3 to 6 PM :-)

As for Dan's comment, I would like to know how many youth teams are still playing Sunday games on June 29. AFAIK, all the local area travel and rec leagues, except Super Y, ended in early to mid June. Most of his points seem makeweight to me

Posted by: Paul | June 27, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

The Galaxy will be at a disadvantage in our heat. But we will be at a disadvantage because Wells will be in the nets for us.

Posted by: Alan | June 27, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Really? People are complaining about getting a network TV spot before the Euro Final. MLS is coming out of the dark ages in terms of television exposure, and headed back to it if quality of play and ratings don't improve. Everyone should stop complaining and hope for a good game.

Posted by: Zim | June 27, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

This noon game is what it is -- a warm-up act to the Euro final.

But the idea of the DCU - LA match being a national showcase does not even pass the giggle test. At noon eastern time, this thing is going to get minimal viewership on the east coast. Its on at 11am Central, 10m Moutain, and 9 in the A of M on the west coast.

Some national showcase. 2/3 of the country will still be asleep.

Posted by: Ron | June 27, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised anyone is surprised. There have always been mid-day summer games in MLS. Most MLS teams play in places that are uncomfortable during the summer. If MLS is offered a game on national television, it has always said yes and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

In an ideal world, we would see MLS schedule this game in prime time, when the weather would be closer to reasonable. Of course, in an ideal world, our new USA international keeper in the preseason would have been Tim Howard, and our Argentine playmaker would be Riquelme.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | June 28, 2008 1:01 AM | Report abuse

12 noon on a Sunday? Great. Only one team is playing at what feels like 9am in their heads.
National TV - ABC, right before Euro2008 final? Awesome
Heat? Much, much worse at 3pm than noon.
Most people I know that aren't working will be laying on the couch/bed channel surfing around noon. Too hot to go out. Too hot to cut the grass. No, I don't want to go to the mall.
This is a superb deal for DCU, LAG, MLS and all of us......especially those like me that can't attend the game for whatever reason.

Posted by: marksman | June 28, 2008 4:52 AM | Report abuse

@Posted by: Dan | June 27, 2008 2:40 PM
Dan you are 100% right. I live in LA and am planning on sleeping in as much as possible on Sunday. Surely I'll be up by 10am (barring a heavy bar night on Saturday) but I'm setting no alarms to watch this.
Granted, I'm a Fire fan but I do catch pretty much every MLS game. This one won't be one of them. Noon eastern time is a BAD time for everyone. Even the NFL kicks off at 1pm eastern for that very reason.

Posted by: papa bear | June 28, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

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