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DCU-Saprissa, the Aftermath

To answer the first obvious question, Zach Wells started in goal because, a) Louis Crayton has a sore knee; and b) Crayton is going to end up starting most games the rest of the year and needed a break.

To answer the second obvious question, Devon McTavish was red-carded for a late challenge. That's what Tom Soehn said the referee told him at halftime. GM Dave Kasper called the red card "an absolute joke." Don't believe me? Read comments from Dave, Devon, Tom and others by clicking here.

If McTavish had not been sent off, would United have won the game? Er, probably not. Saprissa had fewer roster concerns, seemed less fatigued, was better organized and attacked more fluidly. That said, with DCU down a goal, down a man and without several regulars against a quality opponent, the red card essentially extinguished its hopes.

On to L.A. and then straight to Honduras, back to Washington for two days and then to Dallas. Aren't you lovin' this Champions League/MLS scheduling?

Well, at least former DCUer Petter Villegas scored in Puerto Rico's 2-1 CL victory over visiting Tauro.

DCU RATINGS: Wells 5; Namoff 5, McTavish 4, Burch 4, Martinez 4; Khumalo 5, Simms 4, Quaranta 4, Thompson 4; Cordeiro 4, Emilio 4. Subs: Fred 5, Dyachenko no rating, Doe no rating.

Before we get to the video, here's the link to my Washington Freedom story.

Okay, roll the tape:


By Steve Goff  |  September 17, 2008; 12:56 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: 2 Live Cluj

Comments

Firstly, a big thank you to Goff for telling me the score of the Puerto Rico v. Tauro match. Now I can save myself two hours tomorrow and delete it from my tivo.

Secondly, I'm done, finished, kaput. The only matches I care to watch are DCU's and LAG's. Both teams have stunk it up so much this year that I am quite honestly, not watching any more MLS this season. Next season, I won't renew my Direct Kick package and I'll round file my DirecTV sports package to take FSC out of the picture.

The only matches I'll watch are of the SSFC. I've season tickets for the home matches and we've already got a TV deal that will let me watch away matches. Honestly, I won't watch another MLS match unless they are playing against SSFC, as I am duty bound to watch all our matches, regardless of our record. Otherwise, it would be adios to MLS.

Posted by: Gary B. | September 17, 2008 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Goodbye. No one cares.

Posted by: Dave | September 17, 2008 2:10 AM | Report abuse

Not only did Burt Convy play footy -- he scored for Reading Tuesday.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 17, 2008 2:13 AM | Report abuse

You record a game and dont want to know the score but go online to check out a popular soccer blog? You're a tool of the highest order. The world doesent revolve around you a-hole. Back on topic thoughthat red card was weak. However those were some nice goals that beat Wells.

Posted by: the guy above me sucks. | September 17, 2008 2:24 AM | Report abuse

Watching the highlights (or should I say lowlights?) again, I noticed that Burch just sort of stood there and watched the ball go by him for the first goal. No effort to kick it away or anything, just an "Oooh, lookit-da-balleee." Did he think it would go wide of the net? Did he think it was slow enough for Wells to be able to block it? He did NOTHING, just sorta stood there. For all I know it may have been a lot farther away than what the TV image showed, but it still looked close enough for him to at least lunge at it.

Then again, if his cross to Khumalo or either one of his free kicks had made it past that incredible Saprissa GK, I probably would have forgotten all the above. Or at least not said anything.

Posted by: Juan-John | September 17, 2008 2:36 AM | Report abuse

And am I the only one who, upon seeing Wells in goal (and not having heard anything about Crayton's sore knee), thought, "Oh, DCU must not really care about the result of this game?"

Shame on me for thinking that, because it looked to me like Wells did fine, and the goals scored against him weren't of the boneheaded-slip-through-the fingers variety.

Posted by: Juan-John | September 17, 2008 2:47 AM | Report abuse

time for plan Z gentlemen...we organize with big guns...

...Burch....Emilio.....Khumalo
........Fred......Quaranta.....


......CRAYTON....MARTINEZ.....

........Benny in the net sporting a beater and a no shin guards......

Thats all i got...

Posted by: new strategy | September 17, 2008 3:01 AM | Report abuse

What, no 7 for Wells?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 17, 2008 5:33 AM | Report abuse

So, their A team beat our B team. Frustrating, sure, but not suprising.
Formation was a bit strange. Cordeiro plays, but at forward?? Boyzzzzz plays, but at midfield???
And Emilio got no service? Really?
I didn't get it and still dont.
There was an opportunity to take that game. Better decisions before the game started sure would have helped.
The ref sure showed McTavish, didn't he? Seemed awful immature on his part. McTavish's actions did not warrant the ref's actions.
Burch is not a central defender - hence his shying away from a weak shot and watching it go in. That is a Forward's mentality.
Oh well, hard to imagine I'll be up for any more of these. Starting to see what NE was going through but, not nearly as embarassed as NE fans should have been.

Posted by: marksman | September 17, 2008 6:04 AM | Report abuse

So... Kasper reads comments on the internet? Sapir-Whorf and all that?

That said, I agree with the logic behind his statement. Horrible decision, really. Okulaja-level.

Posted by: B.A. | September 17, 2008 6:05 AM | Report abuse

Burch has a deadly left foot strike he will soon master it and will be vicious on free kicks

Posted by: DANGEROUS LEFT FOOT | September 17, 2008 6:06 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, a "deadly left foot strike" is not the only quality a defender must possess. I would say knowing how to defend is an equally essential characteristic, and, right now, Burch doesn't seem to exhibit this important trait.

Posted by: newhampave | September 17, 2008 6:41 AM | Report abuse

The only thing I could think of on the red card was that the referee was not capable of communicating with the player, so he took the easy way out and sent off McTavish. It certainly was not a foul you send a player off for in the 35th minute. If McTavish had been fouling up to that point, the ref could have told him to get a grip, but I'd guess he inept for that task. Pity, too, because I've seen him handle some very high-level Mexican league matches quite well. He just screwed the pooch on this one.

Posted by: schmuckatelli | September 17, 2008 6:57 AM | Report abuse

DCU needs to give up on either the CCL or the MLS playoffs. With all these injuries, they can't do both. A choice has to be made now. Send the reserves to the remaining CCL matches and hope that enough guys heal to make a playoff run.

I hope the Freedom get Marta.

Posted by: Ash | September 17, 2008 7:11 AM | Report abuse

re Gary B's odd rant above:

I know I should probably know this, but what on earth is the "SSFC"?

Just curious.

Posted by: Ron | September 17, 2008 7:20 AM | Report abuse

DCU needs to give up on either the CCL or the MLS playoffs. With all these injuries, they can't do both. A choice has to be made now. Send the reserves to the remaining CCL matches and hope that enough guys heal to make a playoff run.

I hope the Freedom get Marta.

Posted by: Ash | September 17, 2008 7:11 AM
___________________________________________

I think given the lineup last night it is obvious which one is their priority.

Posted by: HarkesyRules | September 17, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

re Gary B's odd rant above:

I know I should probably know this, but what on earth is the "SSFC"?

Just curious.

Posted by: Ron | September 17, 2008 7:20 AM
_____________________________________________

I think it is Seattle Sounders FC.

Posted by: HarkesyRules | September 17, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Can't DC just pull out of these no-win international competitions? Why waste resources and risk the few available healthy players on losing causes?

Posted by: Bart | September 17, 2008 7:44 AM | Report abuse

@HarkesyRules: I get your point but what about the risk to players like Clyde Simms, Burch, McTavish, Emilio? I say just pull out of the competition, pay the fine and focus on what's attainable: the MLS cup. How is DC expected to get fit with all these matches in so few days? Even if they don't play the regulars, what about the extra practice time that could be spent rehabbing and resting up? These competitions are a mockery of MLS.

Posted by: Bart | September 17, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

maybe DC United should save time and money and not show up for the second leg. Seriously - why should they show - what possible incentive could there me to travel and further wear out the team????
It is ridiculous to participate in a competition so close to the REAL prize - the MLS cup. Why should MLS teams field any real competition??

Posted by: bobf | September 17, 2008 7:55 AM | Report abuse

At this point buy Roy Keane a plane ticket and send him in our place to all our future Concacaf games. Also tell him where Warner lives.

Posted by: MN | September 17, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

I was up all night after the tauro-pr islanders thriller and can't wait for joe public-montreal barnburner.

The concept of the tournament is good but too many teams.

Posted by: pigman sweet | September 17, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else notice the American flag draped over the VW-house logo (presumably since VW is not a tournament sponsor)?

I am a BIG fan of Champions League, but the team should drop prices if they can't field a strong team. I look forward to a HEALTHY team making a run at this next fall (hopefully with less fixture congestion w/o Superliga).

Posted by: FC | September 17, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Why is it when DCU loses a game like last night, some of you overreact and want to trash everything in sight? The team made good choices last night on who played, given the injury situation and tight CCL schedule interwoven with crutial MLS games. That said, there's always those who trashed SuperLiga after we lost the first game and are trashing CCL after last night's loss, although I imagine these same folks have a newfound appreciation for the USOC after United won it. Yes, the schedule is crappy, and hopefully CONCACAF will space out these group games next year. There's nothing preventing them from playing some of these after the MLS Cup. Meanwhile, it is what it is, and isn't this what the team and its fans wanted after last season - more international competition and glory? Yes, Soehn has to look at the big picture and make the call to rest some starters last night. But it's no call for some of you to suggest that we take our ball and go home after we drop the first game of a competition. Besides, at least we didn't embarass ourselves like the Revs did.

Posted by: BIllyBob | September 17, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

maybe DC United should save time and money and not show up for the second leg. Seriously - why should they show - what possible incentive could there me to travel and further wear out the team????
It is ridiculous to participate in a competition so close to the REAL prize - the MLS cup. Why should MLS teams field any real competition??


Posted by: bobf | September 17, 2008 7:55 AM

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

To answer your first question,

DC United shows up because they agreed to participate in the tournament, and because not showing up would be dishonoring to he shirt, the league, and to the game.

Your second queston is basically moot in the case of DC United, who cannot field anything but a B- team in this tournament. Our reserves are likely to play out this tournament, together with vets who need to and are able to get minutes to pay themselves back into shape from injury.

The more basic underlying reality here will not go away, though. The structure of MLS team rosters, and, to a lesser extent, MLS scheduling philosophy virtually guarantees MLS teams will not consistently succeed in these Cups.

Posted by: Ron | September 17, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

"the shirt", and "play themselves into shape".

Sorry.

Posted by: Ron | September 17, 2008 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Why did you rate Quaranta SO low...although we played bad he was all over the field..he played like a man that wanted to prove something, like he was all season.

Posted by: Fulvio | September 17, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

and then you gave WELLS a 5...yo have got to be kidding me...

Posted by: Fulvio | September 17, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

These CCL games under the current scheduling idiocies and with the huge Salary Cap restrictions that limit bench strength are a waste of time and serve no purpose.

Once these two items have been addressed, then MLS team can take the competition seriously.

Frankly, the only outcome of this massive debacle is a loss of MLS credibility among fans, something that MLS has been fighting so hard to achieve.

Posted by: Nick from Big Soccer | September 17, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

i just watched the highlights, thats all i have on this game, but we could have taken this game, at least a draw, maybe even a win, soehn should know his rotation by now and figure which games to throw and which not to lose, but the team cannot play for draws or losses, he has gotta start coaching 'em up, cuz there's a few big doors in rfk and may as well be thrown out of one of 'em at the end of the season

Posted by: DCSharksFC | September 17, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I watched the game in fast-forward mode late last night. From the replays of Quaranta's stupid yellow, it looked like McTavish took a cheap shot at a Saprissa player. It didn't look that bad, but the Saprissa player milked it enough to draw the attention of the ref. Since the ref probably saw it out of the corner of his eye, he probably thought there was more to it, and thus, showed McTavish the red card. That doesn't excuse the rash call, but I could see why he did it... but after Wells' bizarre yellow early one, I knew the game was going to end this way.

Oh well. At least several young players got a taste of Champion's League play.

Posted by: TCompton | September 17, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Goff, any thoughts on adding a coaches rating along with the player ratings? Tactically speaking DC UTD seemed to be really unorganized and inconsistent last night until the final 20 minutes. This one can assume to be a result of coaching and player selection choices. The fact that ever game players seem to be in different positions just feels like aimless tinkering to me. How can there be any organized flow when roles change on the field like musical chairs. Perhaps this is designed to confuse the opposition but it looks like everyone is left confused especially the defense.

Coach's rating: 2

Posted by: Bsharah | September 17, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

So, their A team beat our B team.

Posted by: marksman | September 17, 2008 6:04 AM

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

Are you sure that was their A team? I thought the announcers said they were missing a few good men due to injury. More like a B+ team vs. our C team?

Posted by: edgeonyou | September 17, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

suddenly the other CL matches attendance and results don't seem so sad do they? hahaha excuses excuses goff

Posted by: dc sucknited | September 17, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I was at least glad to see that with a man down and losing, they didn't give up. They did what I think they should always do, move the ball up the field. Too many times do I see them move the ball up a little, hesitate, then kick back to someone, then move up a little, kick back, etc. They're too cautious sometimes.

It was nice to see that they were getting desperate and when they had the ball, they moved it forward and made what they could from it. In fact they had a number of good shots on goal, it's just that Saprissa's goalie was very good.

I saw them trying harder than I've seen them in the past.

Posted by: Himes | September 17, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Sh*t performance, sh*t crowd, sh*t stadium, sh*t ref... things are looking up!

Posted by: Kev | September 17, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

as a dc united fan (socer fan in general) its ridiculous to see so called fans talk about hey lets give up on this tournament, choose MLS playoffs or this tournament, we at least won open cup, all the injuries are why we lost, lets not over react, we almost tied. AM I the only fan that wants to have MY team, come out with the intention to win every match? I mean what is the sole purpose for a soccer team (sports team) TO WIN. I dont come to games thinking man a tie would be nice, or HEY THAT WAS A GREAT LOSS. These ---- are paid a yearly salary to play ball the whole year. thats its play ball, not work 2 full time jobs like some of us do. YES they are not making 1,000,000 a year SO WHAT, the majority of there salary is enough for them to survive, what else do you want. COME OUT AND DO YOUR ----JOB, PLAY HARD, SHOW PRIDE simple if you lose you lose, but lose trying. I WONDER SOMETIMES how a hardcore fan can take a loss and be satisfied with it, especially a loss at home like this. ITs time to call people out (namoff, Wells, Mctavish) and let them know we are not taking this ---- if you are not good enough, then play your heart out, if you cant do that then we need to look at another player to do your job that is HUNGRY to play. There are hundreds of USL players who make less than our players and would love to play for an MLS club, Look I am not pissed caused we lost, but pissed because its always the same ----.

Tommy soehn is like well we have injuries, (SO DOES CHIVAS USA) our top players our hurt. SO WHAT its your job as COACH to get the reserves ready to play, that is what a COACH does, Winning games because you have the best players is EASY, you dont coach those games you just tell people when they are getting subbed out. A REAL COACH, PRODUCES even through injuries, a REAL COACH Develops youth players, a REAL coach demands that our players give 110% for every game.

Now to all you so called dc united fans who say well that loss was ok, its the champions league, we are open cup champions, etc MAYbe you should stick to watching other sports who dont care about representing the jersey they wear. DONT TURN THE BEUTIFUL GAME into something you do just to give you a chance to go to a game and drink with buddies. DON'T drain out the passion in this game. ITS THAT PASSION THAT is the diffrence between this game and other sports. EVERY LOSSS BURNS, IF YOUR NOT BURNING then you've got the wrong sport. I hear golf is looking for some new fans

Posted by: dc united fans | September 17, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

QUESTION:
Match report shows McTavish was ejected for violent conduct. Does that particular ejection carry a three game suspension as opposed to the normal one for a red card?

Posted by: Andy In Asheville | September 17, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

The card is / was a joke. We made our first joke about the referee and how we were going to be screwed in the 4th minute.

Wells could do little with the goals. A 5 is a deserved rating on the Goff scale. Not sure what else anyone would give him?

Saprissa keeper was excellent down the stretch.

Posted by: JkR | September 17, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

If I was Soehn, I'da pulled my team the moment that idiot ref pulled out the red.

That was an absolute disgrace.

Posted by: Dogboy | September 17, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

LAst night was the 1st time I started thinking about Boycotting a match. Could you imagine 500 people for the match against MArathon, it would give a big --- you to Kevin payne for all the mistakes united is commiting on and off the field. You know a fellow United fan once told me that your there for your team during wins, losses, and ties. THATS TRUE, However your hurt the team, crest and tradition of our Team more by letting cheering for this team that comes out here with a losing mentality. As Norteno I come out every game to give United that extra bite, and fire that lifts them to a win. BUT WHEN you do that and they constantly coming out for int matches and having this pathetic losing mentality. ITS CLEARLY NOT WORKING, SO other measures are necessary to show the FO (who are lost on stadium and gallardo issues) that SOMETHING IS WRONG, WE WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS. EVEN DURING THE WRONGEN Era we did not lose this bad in int competation 4 games in a row at HOME

Posted by: LA NORTE | September 17, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm no DCU fan, but you guys got hosed by poor MLS match scheduling this year. Surely there will be wholesale changes in scheduling next year for these types of things (definitely in 2010).

Posted by: Moose | September 17, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

One more frustration thing to add is when our players have chances they can't finish. They hit straight to the keeper and makes the keeper look great. That's lacking the quality. See other teams finish..just inside the net but not straight to the keeper.

Posted by: td | September 17, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

all this whine is making me hungry for some cheese.
McTavish is a lovable guy, but he really makes some stupid tackles, and he should have expected Dracula to eject his butt for such a late, meaningless challenge. Although I would say the speed in which the player writhing around, and embellishing popped up was neckbreaking. I noticed Boyzzz throwing up his hands like WTF?We've all come to expect cheating in the men's game especially from teams in the Southern reaches of CONCACAF though right? Or at least poor sportsmanship. So I wasn't too surprised.
Anyone see the Pumas/SF Match? It got fairly ugly as well, not to mention the crazy Panamanian baseball stadium they were playing in... I thought KC Wizards had it bad.
The home crowd looked pretty awesome, they had an impressive beer shower themselves when they scored their goal...

Posted by: dadryan | September 17, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

maybe the FO should give the Imagination Movers a call to see if they can help with DCU's woes...

Posted by: dadryan | September 17, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Worst red card decision I've ever seen and it effectively sealed the result right then and there.

Posted by: Publius | September 17, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

As a Revs fan I feel bad for DC United, Houston, and MLS right now. I hope that you guys and Houston can hold on through this and be successful in the Champions League and MLS, but I have my doubts. That is not meant as an insult, but more of an acknowledgement of what lies ahead for DC and Houston.

If MLS teams continue to struggle on the field and at the gate in these competitions I would think MLS will try to do something so that teams and fans do not give up on this competition before it really starts? I hope things change for next year, but I fear we will have to wait until after the CBA in 2010. Could/would MLS teams and fans stand for another repeat of these performances, lineups, and results next year given an even more crowded international schedule (Gold Cup, Confederations Cup, World Cup Qualifying)?

Posted by: tsingletonvt | September 17, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprised by the acceptance of Well's performance. He made a great save on that one early corner kick and made a few other routine saves. But for most of the night he appeared hesitant and unable to make a correct decision (perhaps he spends all his time second guessing every decision). In the replay from behind the goal on the first goal, Wells was initially placed correctly and then inexplicably moves to his right only to watch the shot go flying past him on the left - a case of not staying in the right position. His hesitation to come out for balls made a few routine plays quite dicey and gave the defense fits about what he was going to do. And the classic corner kick, where Wells ran out on the near post only to watch the ball go soaring above him to the far post (direct from the kick and not a flick on). Not to mention the play, where he comes running out of the box only to not reach the ball and gets dribbled. Saprissa was not good on their finishing or else this game is 5:0. Wells could do nothing about that second goal and was consistently let down by his defense - but remember, Crayton with this same defense has been able to come up with a bunch of shut outs. And Crayton is an average MLS keeper.

Posted by: DCFan | September 17, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the person earlier who said that the scheduling and salary cap need to be changed if the MLS wants its teams to be able to compete at a high level in international tournaments.As for DCU, the coach should have found a better option by now for Burch and McTavish. Burch looks horrible in defense.He must get a bonus for sliding on the field because he does it almost every play and most of the time takes himself out of the play.Not to mention he can't time a header to save his life.McTavish just doesn't know where he needs to be.He is out of position or takes a wrong angle 75% of the time which usually results in a breakaway.They have played like this all year yet nothing has been done. I blame the entire staff on that one.As for Soehn, I think the head coaching job is too much for him. Too many players are not putting the effort out on the field. Fans have said it all year that you should be honored to wear the jersey every game and many are not. That lies with the coach. Unless we win the MLS Cup I say he needs to go

Posted by: kevin | September 17, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

You reap what you sow. Kasper, Payne and Soehn (The Unholy Trinity) all along claim that international games are their priority, thereby making the MLS season nothing more than an extended qualifying event. They have said nothing less than that this team was built to play on the international stage and it is the team's highest priority to measure itself against the best of the regions and then move on to the best of the world. That is why they said they brought in the likes of Gallardo (after they were left wanting when Veron 86ed them), Peralta, Emilio, Fred, Martinez, and even Neill. Well, the results speak for themselves. A club executive once said, "This is a results business," so who will be held to account for this total failure?

Posted by: lgm6986 | September 17, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Even with the dollar's value as low as it is, $1.9 million would go a long way in terms of paying reserves under the table. If the alternative is paying through the nose for some washed up, pudgy, oft-injured, miniature #10 with no pace...ratings for club pres. and TD? I give them a 3. Combined. Lesson learned: next time, don't panic when you don't get your first DP choice. Be patient until the next good option comes around. And who's in charge of making sure players are fit? We need a good trainer like Pierre Barrieu who can help minimize all the hamstring, etc. issues.

Posted by: Ben Bernanke | September 17, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Is is just me or did the Ref and the sideline refs all look like cousins of Dracula?????

Posted by: Matt | September 17, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

tsingletonvt: Your compassion is rare. Hopefully for DCU's sake we can keep our players out of Bob Bradley's thoughts. I would argue that if Quaranta continues down the path he's on he could earn a look and rightfully deserve it.
I do think with a little forethought the heads of MLS could alter the schedule to give their clubs every possible advantage, or at least a little more help than this year.

Posted by: dadryan | September 17, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Essentially all of United's shortcoming this season as well as the past two seasons is the defense and their organization. When you decide to put midfielders and strikers and ask them to play defense you know you have a problem. Look I am not dissing Burch or McTavish, but they are not good defenders. They lack speed, and have too many mental mistakes that have usually cost the team. I just don't understand why Payne and Kasper continue to ignore this. I guess they thought Perralta and Martinez would be enough, but obviously it isn't.

Posted by: DC United Fan | September 17, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

if there was slightly over 6K at this game, I hate to see what the attendence will be at the next Champ League RFK game. It's hard to dish out money for these extra games when you know you're going to see a tired B team.
Yes, DCU has been screwed with injuries, scheduling, and general bad luck (like the horrible straight red yesterday), but like I said - kinda hard to pay for tickets (esp for a family) when they put on that product on the field. I think DC won't be putting their all into this tourney given this loss. If I sense that, I'm sure others do as well. And why would we pay to see something substandard?

Posted by: downtown | September 17, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully MLS is getting the message on all the points mentioned here: 1. Thin rosters, 2. Scheduling nightmares and 3. Overall fixture congestion for the clubs like DCU competing this year in Champions Cup, MLS, USOC, Superliga, and Champions League. This is an impossible situation for the MLS clubs. I think all this blame game on Soehn and the front office is basically misplaced. Have they made mistakes? Yes, Could they predict all the injuries especially to Benny and Gallardo? No. Are the reserves "stepping up" well, given their lack of experience and relative youth - how much can we reasonably expect from them? You all know this season has been one of ups and downs and the team has been inconsistent all year. Real fans support their team even in the difficult times. Look at our situation objectively and you may be able to understand the results.

Posted by: sbg | September 17, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

@Bart -- I don't think pulling out of the tournament is the answer. How would it look for the MLS teams to just take their toys and go home when things are not going the way we want them to? I think Soehn is managing his players as best as he can at this point. Clearly the MLS playoffs are his priority, as I think they should be. I do understand your concern about some of the players, though. Hubby and I were just discussing last night who would replace Clyde Simms if anything were to happen to him? He has been rock solid and I don't think there is anyone that could do what he does in the middle.

On a different topic, the second goal last night was top-notch. However, the first goal was a bit soft. Wells reached with his wrong hand to stop it. If he had extended with his top hand instead of his bottom, he might have been able to at least get enough on it to knock it wide. That is a fundamental mistake he should not be making.

Posted by: HarkesyRules | September 17, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

" I don't think pulling out of the tournament is the answer. How would it look for the MLS teams to just take their toys and go home when things are not going the way we want them to?"

Not to mention that DC would be banned from CONCACAF play for doing so.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | September 17, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

ZZZZzzzzzzzzz . . .

When does the WPS season start?

Posted by: Girl Power | September 17, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Re: Attendence: Pathetic showing. But we've all seen poor attendence for non-league mid-week tournament games not included in the season ticket packages, so this should not be a surprise. Superduper Liga attendance was bad too except for the Saturday night game against Chivas because Chivas brought out their supporters. However, for the Concalaugh Champions (and friends) League, DC United and MLS had the entire season to market this and to include it as a part of the season ticket package. They elected not to do that and this is the result. The price of tickets is too high for the quality of the game and the team - cut the prices in half and perhaps it becomes worth it.

Posted by: DCFan | September 17, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

On the bright side, DCU probably won't be int he SuperLiga next year, right? Even if they were to make it in, I would hope that they would consider declining the invitation.

That will give everyone time to schedule July vacations, too.

Posted by: RK | September 17, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

There goalie was phenominal

Posted by: DiehardDCfan | September 17, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

You never did say who won the game. Did DCU lose?

Posted by: shirteesdotnet | September 17, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

This has to be the New England Revolution board, I've never seen this much whining from United fans.

Look, you can't complain about the CONCACAF schedule when they moved the tournament's start from our pre-season (which everyone complained about) to in season.

These problems are not with CONCACAF's schedule but MLS's which runs counter to every other league in our region.

These problems are not with salary restrictions (Puerto Rico Islanders and Joe Public have far less cash to work with and are getting it done) but rather with bad coaching, poor tactics and lack of heart from players.

Posted by: Dont hate the game | September 17, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

maybe the FO should give the Imagination Movers a call to see if they can help with DCU's woes...

Posted by: dadryan | September 17, 2008 10:23 AM
======================

The Wiggles could kick their butts. Henry at GK and Captain Feathersword as the attacking midfielder. Murray would be the target for set pieces.

Honk if you get this! :-)

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | September 17, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Actually, Concalaugh did not move the tournament from the Spring to the Fall, they expanded it. Instead of sending MLS teams directly into the quarterfinals in February, now we have to "qualify" through a group stage in the fall. If we actually get through the group stage, then we get to play the quarterfinals in February.

Posted by: DCFan | September 17, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

In other words they dropped the CCC, and started the CCL after the Euro version. You noticed that that started it's group play yesterday and today too, right?

HONK!:-)

Posted by: dadryan | September 17, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

HONK

Posted by: Himes | September 17, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Actually, DCFan, they did move it. There were earlier qualifying games in August (NE and Chiva-US were both knocked out in those games). But the group stage we are in now is exactly equivalent to the group stage we played in this past spring (which was part of the CCC, not the CCL).

As for Wells, I thought he made a few impressive saves and also made a bunch of his typical mistakes, wandering way too far off his line when there was a real chance an attacker would be in position to shoot past him. It was only luck that none of his many mistakes resulted in a goal -- both of the goals that were scored were not really his fault. But overall, I think a 5 is a fair grade for him for this game.

Posted by: Jon | September 17, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't think I got my money's worth last night.

I've been going since '96, and there have been very few games I felt this way, but last night was one of them.

So the price goes up, but then we can't field our A lineup? And I'm not talking about injuries, I'm talking about resting players.

To be clear - it's fine if CL is deemed not as important as MLS. That's cool, but then don't charge me the extra bucks.

And handing out big coupons at the game Saturday after I already bought my ticket was uncool. That's the way it goes, but I don't have to like it.

I guess this is more of a front office gripe than any problem with coaching decisions.

Whine over, go United. And be careful with LD's nose this time, he's very sensitive about it!

Posted by: Rob | September 17, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Actually Jon,the CCC had no group stage. It was a home/away knock out tournament. CCL has a preliminary (NE and Chivas in it) and a group (DC and Houston qualified directly) and then a knock out stage in Spring the same time period that CCC used to be.

Posted by: LW | September 17, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

While I generally agree that there is too much whining about this loss, one of Soehn's decisions puzzles me. Why have Emilio play the first half, and Fred the second half. It would seem to make more sense to have your best two players on the field at the same time.

Posted by: Mike | September 17, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind the losing (it sucks, but it's soccer and injuries/bad calls/bad luck play into every match). What kills me is feeling like the MLS head honchos somehow expect our league's teams to have any sort of impact on an international stage when those same head honchos are effectively crippling our teams with salary cap/roster size limitations that keep them from fielding quality teams.
If slow growth is the plan, then stick to the plan and don't act like our teams are ready to take on Superliga, Champs League, USOC, MLS Cup, and the regular season. It's insane. No team should be playing in both Superliga and Champs League.
p.s. I agree with the idea that Champs League could roll over past MLS Cup. There isn't a real need for it to be before. If they are worried about attendance cause it is in the thick of the other American sports' seasons or whatever, then just take a look at the attendance that we've had so far for this new league; it can't be any worse.

Posted by: elopingcamel | September 17, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Wait until Cruz Azul match. Concept of 6-nil and mexican fans out numbered United fans 5 to 1 is shivering to think.

Posted by: td | September 17, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Jon wrote:

As for Wells, I thought he made a few impressive saves and also made a bunch of his typical mistakes, wandering way too far off his line when there was a real chance an attacker would be in position to shoot past him. It was only luck that none of his many mistakes resulted in a goal -- both of the goals that were scored were not really his fault. But overall, I think a 5 is a fair grade for him for this game.

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

Wells certainly did not play better than his defense and being that he is actually being played in his position of choice (versus Burch, McTavish, and Martinez - all rated 4), I'd expect more from him than his defense. Hence, he'd get a generous 3 in my book.

Posted by: DCFan | September 17, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I liked it better when Goff wasnt so popular and the discussions were intelligent, unlike the ignorant, knee jerk, the sky is falling, Payne's a moron drivel that is spewed here now. If I want that kind on nonsense I go to BS.

We are an injured team, (yeah that's Payne's fault), playing a crowded schedule (Payne's and Soehn's fault).

Grow-up whiners or go away. If I wasn't a DCU fan, I'd laugh at how much crying is going on.....
A boycott?
Idiot
Not watching MLS or DCU anymore? Fairweather fans whom I won't miss one bit
FO are morons?
12 Trophies there genius'

We have the best franchise in MLS, true fans will cheer for them in good times and bad times. Suck it up and cheer for your boys, DCU, they need it now more than ever! They are struggling through this physically and mentally, you're drinking your beer making unfair uneducated comments.
I will now relinquish the soapbox to the next person.

Posted by: boda united | September 17, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I watched the match in it's entirety on FSC... the lineup for United was baffling. Why Soehn continues to keep Burch in central defense is baffling.

At least he finally figured out towards the end of the game to stick him out wide and bring Namoff in centrally for a 3-man backline.

Burch and McTavish were horrible.

Thompson was invisible.
Cordeiro was invisible.
Emilio received zero service.
Khumalo is not a winger.

United should really challenge the red card ruling, it was complete BS, as was Well's yellow. Although missing McTavish against Marathon shouldn't be the end of the World.

After this horrible showing, and given the excuse of "resting players for LA", we'd better spank them on Saturday Night, and then go down to Marathon and beat them like rented mules. I want a hat-trick from Emilio, a brace from Moreno, and another goal from Fred and Quaranta for good measure.

Posted by: AlecW81 | September 17, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

@I-270: Late HONK

I wonder where Dorothy the Dinosaur would fit in to this scenario? Maybe she'd ref...she'd do better than Dracula last nite...

Posted by: BerwynHeightsUnited | September 17, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I think DCU owes all the fans who turned out last night an apology. It was a pathetic display of soccer. Who in their right mind to pay to watch that that sort of effort put out for a "professional" team ? Don't forget these guys are paid to play soccer. There are no other excuses.

The only players who seem to have any motivation and tried to do something were Martinez and Khumalo. The rest just like showed up and took up space on the field.

Posted by: FarAwayFred | September 17, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I liked it better when Goff wasnt so popular and the discussions were intelligent, unlike the ignorant, knee jerk, the sky is falling, Payne's a moron drivel that is spewed here now. If I want that kind on nonsense I go to BS.

We are an injured team, (yeah that's Payne's fault), playing a crowded schedule (Payne's and Soehn's fault).

Grow-up whiners or go away. If I wasn't a DCU fan, I'd laugh at how much crying is going on.....
A boycott?
Idiot
Not watching MLS or DCU anymore? Fairweather fans whom I won't miss one bit
FO are morons?
12 Trophies there genius'

We have the best franchise in MLS, true fans will cheer for them in good times and bad times. Suck it up and cheer for your boys, DCU, they need it now more than ever! They are struggling through this physically and mentally, you're drinking your beer making unfair uneducated comments.
I will now relinquish the soapbox to the next person.

Posted by: boda united | September 17, 2008 2:29 PM

----------------------------------------
Can't really tell if you are being sarcastic or serious on the part about injuries and crowded schedule, but the truth is those are Payne's and Kasper's fault. As I stated, international competition is DCU's priority, so the directors of the club welcomed these additional games that crowded the schedule. They could refuse to play in them if they decided that the MLS fixtures were more important, but they didn't make THAT decision. So the crowded schedule is their fault and therefore so are the injuries that inevitably flow from so many games. What is troublesome is that the coach and general manager of the team are so stupid that they don't learn from the lessons of the past. This year is not the first season in which these issues have come up and affected the team's fortunes. The only difference is in previous years DCU had the talent to succeed in the MLS season. This year, Soehn gutted the team of talented and experienced players who were part of that success in the past, mostly from the Nowak era in whom he lost confidence (C. Gomez, Carroll, Boswell, Perkins, Erpen) and replaced them with HIS players who are not as good so the team's talent core is inferior.

Posted by: lgm6984 | September 17, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I appreciated Wells' visible frustration at his back line after the first goal.

Posted by: Dan in FL | September 17, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

lgm6984, if that is your name, that may be the case for Superliga, although I can not imagine an MLS team telling SUM they will not be in a SUM sponsored tournament(sort of like throwing yorself a party and then telling yourself you are not going to go to it), but refusing participation in a CONCACAF tournament may have repercusions for the team or league. I do not beleive that those tournaments are "voluntary". Anyone know for sure?

Posted by: LW | September 17, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

For me, it's gotta be the reserves from here on out. But they should give it their all. Guys like Zach Wells, Rod Dyachenko, and Quavas Kirk are all playing for their roster spots next year. If they can't show enough class to put forth a respectable showing in the rest of the CCL, then they don't deserve to be on this team in 2009.

Posted by: DCUMD | September 17, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

*The notion that the 13-14 United players on the field last night lacked effort is absurd.

*I can agree that Burch and McT are not natural defenders and frequently calamitous. But if you;re going to scream that they shouldn't be in there, you have have to follow that up with who SHOULD be in there.

*The idea that Soehn and Payne didn't do enough to deal with the hectic schedule is ridiculous. They brought in a number of players to provide both top level skill and depth. They have lost Peralta and Gallardo to long term injury, but went out and got Guerrero, Vide, Crayton etc. to patch up the sinking ambulance as best they can under the Roster rules.

It's not just the NUMBER of players that are hurt, it's that it's the specific players that can make a difference in a professional match all missing significant time for reasons beyond control.

Posted by: JkR | September 17, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

This year, Soehn gutted the team of talented and experienced players who were part of that success in the past, mostly from the Nowak era in whom he lost confidence (C. Gomez, Carroll, Boswell, Perkins, Erpen) and replaced them with HIS players who are not as good so the team's talent core is inferior.

Posted by: lgm6984 | September 17, 2008 4:27 PM

I do not miss one of those players (the exception may be Gomez...may be)Each of those players' "replacements" are all upgrades in my opinion. We are a better team this year than last year. We also have more injuries this year, that is the bottom line. Soehn had nothing to do with the scheduling, NOTHING.

Posted by: boda united | September 17, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

JkR:

Well said. I hope a lot of the people that commented before you read that and learn. Of course, I also hope for $20 million to pop up in a bag on my porch.

***

I was saying this game was a must-win, and it probably will prove to be. If we're to advance, we have to hope Marathon can grab points against Cruz Azul and Saprissa, while also showing poorly against us. That latter part, at least, seems reasonable if this trip to Honduras is anything like our last visit (4-1 win over Olimpia).

McTavish and Burch seem to be the hot topic, but I think people are missing some details. McTavish is not a bad defender, but he can't be the leader of the central partnership. Watch how he plays with Peralta (or even Namoff, who is also no center back but makes up for it with experience) and compare it to when he's paired with Burch or Pat Carroll. It's night and day. McTavish seems to have little confidence in Burch as a center back, and this usually leads to McTavish making mistakes he does not make when partnered with a wiser head. Considering Saprissa didn't have any notable size advantage, I think the mistake on Soehn's part was that he didn't play Namoff with McTavish in the middle (moving Burch to the left and Martinez to the right). Peralta is not a brilliant defender, but he makes our back four so much better because he's the organizer and has the experience that no one else on the team has at CB.

I also saw some people wonder why Simms played, if we decided to send out a B team. Very simple: No other defensive midfielders were available. Vide is out hurt, Olsen is injured, and 3 other candidates that spring to mind (McTavish, Namoff, and Martinez, who have all played there in a DC shirt at some point) were all playing in the back four. If I was religious, I would be saying daily prayers for the continued health of Clyde Simms, because if he gets hurt we are sunk.

Last night's game was not short on effort or even moments of class (Navas was forced into 3 brilliant saves; those same chances in an MLS match go in against most of the league). The fact that we made chances while down a man was encouraging. The problem was simply that a mix of tired starters and wet-behind-the-ears reserves are not as good as a mostly first-choice Saprissa side (other than Solis, who only played 10 minutes, those were all regulars from what I've read and what a couple Saprissa fans said after the game). Is this news? Our first-choice XI against Saprissa last night probably would have won, but it would have been a very tight game. The fact that about half our team was comprised of either true reserves, new guys, and Dyachenko, and we still weren't played off the field, is a good sign. However, you can't ignore the fact that we did deserve to lose and that this loss will be very difficult to overcome if we want to go through.

I'm holding off feeling too strongly about this loss one way or the other until after our visit to LA. The Galaxy have gone 12 games without a win. If we don't make it 13, I think all United fans would be in the right to be angry. Soehn's job is definitely on the line here. I feel like missing the playoffs, after last year being essentially a repeat of 2006, puts him in an untenable position. I can handle CONCACAF elimination if we make the playoffs and play well when we get there. Missing advancement in both is totally unacceptable, injuries or no.

Waiting until SG brings us the injury update is going to be tough. Fred and Emilio should be fine, but the biggest question for us at this point is Peralta.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | September 17, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Where was Guerrero last night, anyway???

Posted by: HarkesyRules | September 17, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

HarkesyRules: He's hurt (thigh contusion).

----------
I liked it better when Goff wasnt so popular and the discussions were intelligent, unlike the ignorant, knee jerk, the sky is falling, Payne's a moron drivel that is spewed here now. If I want that kind on nonsense I go to BS.

We are an injured team, (yeah that's Payne's fault), playing a crowded schedule (Payne's and Soehn's fault).

Grow-up whiners or go away. If I wasn't a DCU fan, I'd laugh at how much crying is going on.....

Posted by: boda united | September 17, 2008 2:29 PM
-----------
You know what's even worse than the whining? It's the whining about the whining.

Oh, wait....now I'm whining about the whining about the whining. Ah! I just whined about the whining about the whining about the ......

HELLLLLLLPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!

Posted by: Ash | September 17, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

ash: Thanks. I must've missed that last night.

Posted by: HarkesyRules | September 17, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

please

Posted by: Fire Soehn | September 18, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

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