Q: Will DCU make or lose money this year?
A: Most MLS teams lose money. Without its own stadium, DCU loses a lot of it.
Q: How many players can DCU protect in this year's expansion draft?
A: I assume the rules will be the same as last winter when San Jose re-entered the league. In which case, 11 are protected.
Q: Any word on why Christian Gomez is on the outs in Colorado?
A: From what I hear, they're not happy with his work ethic and fitness.
Q: Where and what is Eddie Pope doing these days?
A: He works for the MLS Players Union in Bethesda, Md.
Q: Any truth to the rumor that MLS teams may play in the Copa Libertadores, starting next year or 2010?
A: Just what MLS teams need -- another tournament. In theory, it would be nice to have MLS involved in such a prestigious event, but the reality is that MLS rosters are not good enough or deep enough to handle so many non-league competitions.
Q: When will DCU update the injury situation for this Saturday's match, particularly the status of Fred, Emilio and Peralta?
A: We will know more after Friday's training session.
Q: How tall is Ibrahim Koroma?
A: I don't know. Does it really matter? He's a developmental player; height is the least of the club's concerns.
Q: Rod Dyachenko: Why?
A: Now that's just not nice. That siad, I would be surprised if Rod returned next year. A lot of potential, just hasn't fulfilled it after many opportunities.
Q: Any word out of MLS HQ on scheduling adjustments for next year?
A: Garber has indicated the league will examine the scheduling issues that have caused so many problems this year. We'll see if they take action.
Q: Likelihood that the two DCU new signings see significant time in the next 2-3 matches?
A: Hard to say. Depends on the health of the roster. Since he's been training with the team, Khumalo could see time right away. First things first: He and the Sierra Leone defender must receive their work visas.
Q: What is your feeling about the future of promotion/relegation in American soccer?
A: Won't happen anytime soon. Businessmen invest in MLS as a whole so their team(s) can compete in this specific league. Relegation would send investors fleeing.
Q: What do your sources or you personally believe to be the next expansion cities?
A: I haven't heard anything specific, but the usual suspects continue to be mentioned: Miami, Portland, St. Louis, Montreal, Vancouver, New York, etc.
Q: What are your thoughts on the El Salvador national team?
A: They're on the way to the final round. Frankly, I am not very impressed with their players, but to their credit, they have performed well in a weak group and are looking at a second-place finish behind Costa Rica.
Q: I know your blog is popular and all but have you ever been stopped on the street and asked if you were THE Steve Goff?
A: Ack! No! That's why I use that outdated photo at the top of the blog ;-)
Q: Who is to blame for the poor turnout for the qualifier in Chicago?
A: I don't know if there is anyone to blame. I did hear all the excuses, though: Wednesday night, non-Latin opponent, too many international games in Chicago this summer, blah blah blah.
Q: What steps is the ownership group taking at the moment (and/or the offseason) to resolve the DCU stadium situation?
A: I have not heard a word, and that's kind of scary. Just commit to PG County and get it over with.
Q: Speaking of the Champions League, given that the preliminary rounds were less than greatly attended (save Montreal), what can we expect in terms of the group stage games? How long will it take for this product to grow in terms of stature to where an ESPN would bid for TV against FSC?
A: It's a tough sell. I think fans are worn out by all the tournaments this year -- Champions Cup, SuperLiga, Open Cup. From what I understand, tickets aren't cheap. The opponent will dictate attendance at MLS stadiums.
Q: Now that we have all but clinched a spot in the next round, do you think Bradley and Nowak can teach one of the 17 holding midfielders to become the field general the USMNT so badly needs?
A: I don't see any of those guys as field generals, do you? They are what they are.
Q: With their sharper performances as national team games progressed over the past several weeks, do you think Beasley and Dempsey will be able to get significant playing time with their respective clubs going forward?
A: National team and club are completely separate. I doubt club coaches change their opinions of players based on performances in qualifiers.
Q: If I plunk down 35 bucks to see the Nats next month, am I more likely to see youngsters like Edu and Cooper or old hands like Ching and Johnson start?
A: I think you'll see many of the same players from the first three games. While it's all but certain the Americans will advance, they have not clinched yet. And the last thing they want to do is take the Cuba game lightly, end up with a loss or tie, and then feel some pressure to get a result at T&T a few days later.
Q: I need a new forward or two to replace the ones who are injured on my team, the New England Revolution. Who should I be looking at as realistic, impact transfers before the roster freeze date?
A: I think the Revs will be fine. Maybe they won't make any moves before the roster deadline.
Q: Provide some criticism of Bob Bradley. Where do you think he is misguided (player selection, positioning, strategy, etc.)?
A: Like many of you, I am a bit surprised he has not implemented young attacking players sooner. He has gotten defenders into the team (Wynne, Orozco) and added midfielders (Kljestan, Edu). Perhaps we will see Altidore soon. And maybe Cooper as well. Adu needs to start playing regularly with Monaco to warrant national team consideration.
Q: What, if any, is the rule on outside jobs for MLS players? What would keep a player from being "hired" to turn-on the automatic sprinklers for say $500,000 to get around the salary cap? How about endorsements?
A: I can't imagine such a scenario.
Q: Break down Ireland's group in WCQ. With Montenegro clearly playing well above its seed, it should be a barnburner. Who do you see coming out?
A: Tough group. Italy will win it, Ireland will finish second.
Q: MLS playoffs -- Who ya got?
A: Dynamo. Period.
Q: Who do you expect the Washington Freedom will draft next week?
A: It's not a draft; it's an allocation. The players listed their preferences and the teams/owners will decide where to send them and keep a competitive balance. It will be interesting to see if Wambach returns to Washington. Carli Lloyd told me several months ago that DC was second on her list behind NJ. I imagine Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach and UVA) will end up here.
Q: Is it me or does Bob Bradley, when mad, look like a siamese cat?
Q: Should I plan my next vacation in Trinidad or Tobago?
A: Definitely Tobago. I've been to Trinidad; it's okay. But Tobago is supposed to be breathtaking.
Q: Sounds as if Ryan Cordeiro is impressing, is he pushing ahead of others on the roster?
A: He has shown some potential and might have a future in the league.
Q: When is there going to be a SI Happy Hour hosted by The Goffmeister?
A: Mojitos on me!
Q: Does a nice field make that much difference?
A: Absolutely! Cuba's field was bumpy and mostly crabgrass...and then it rained heavily for a couple hours.
Q: Where will United be playing their home games in 2011?
Q: Any Galaxy-related boardroom/managment or player news, rumors, whispers you've come across recently?
A: Reliable sources tell me that the Galaxy is not good.
Q: How did you get involved with soccer/ soccer journalism?
A: In college, at American University, soccer was the big fall sport. My sophomore year, the team went to the NCAA championship game against UCLA. I then took the unwanted college soccer beat at The Post (back before MLS when we covered a lot of college soccer) and things took off from there.
Q: Who are your sources? Just to keep things secret, you may withhold first names.
A: Ha! Most of my sources are not public figures, so neither first names nor last names would reveal much. Nonetheless, I'll continue to conceal their identities. ;-)
Q: What major changes do you see happening to the collective bargaining agreement?
A: The players union would love many changes. Not sure how many they will get.
Q: When can we expect DCU's front office to finally admit they don't care about the SuperDraft?
A: They care. They just haven't had much success lately with early-round picks. If this were the NBA and a team drafted poorly, it would be a major problem. But in MLS, there are many avenues to acquire players (foreign signings, supplemental draft, free agents, discovery claims, etc.).
Q: Chances the two new pickups from Africa get time, or were they mainly for depth?
A: With all of DCU's injuries, they need healthy bodies. So it depends who is available on a game-by-game basis. And DCU will have a lot of games over the next six weeks.
Q: What does the team think about the McTavish situation? He seems to belong on the field but not as a CB.
A: Devon is a quality defender and he's going to get better. They need him to perform well because there aren't a lot of options at central back.
Q: Coach Bradley will likely phase in a few new players to the WCQ pool in the upcoming match against Cuba at RFK. Can you give us your best guess as to who might be in and who might be out?
A: As I said earlier, I don't think you will see too many new players for the Cuba game.
Q: Do you see Convey getting called up to MNT anytime soon?
A: No. He's in the player pool, but not at the forefront right now.
Q: Taking off your reporter hat (or your journalist hat) and putting on your fan hat, what has been your own favorite DCU moment over the years?
A: I'm just not a fan of the subjects I cover. I have no emotional attachment to players/teams/games.
Q: What's your view on the newest pipeline of imports from Africa?
A: There's good, cheap, young talent in Africa. It's about time MLS turned in that direction.
Q: Is Bob Bradley at least aware of the extent of unhappiness with his ultra-defensive formation and refusal to cycle different players through the USMNT?
A: I'm sure he is aware that fans have strong opinions about roster selections and formations, but I really don't think he cares. He must be doing something right: Six straight shutouts overall and a perfect mark through three group matches. Of course, the truer test will come next year in the final round.
Q: Will the MNT roster be completely overhauled for the rest of qualifying? Or just a few new faces?
A: It's not over yet. They need to beat Cuba in order to clinch. Training camp in Washington will open 5-6 days before the Cuba game. I imagine Bradley will call in a large group of players, but end up relying on most of the same personnel as the first three matches at RFK. If they beat Cuba, as they should, he'll probably turn to the younger players and new players in camp for the T&T trip. The finale is in mid-November against Guatemala in Denver. By that time, all MLS players except those involved in MLS Cup will be available.
Q: What's the best city you've traveled to to cover a soccer match?
A: Hmmm, great question. I love Hamburg, Berlin, San Jose (Costa Rica), Paris, Montpellier, Amsterdam, Shanghai.....
Q: Will Howard University soccer (athletics in generally really) do what it takes to field a competitive team?
A: Indeed, that question could be asked about the entire athletic department. The Bison soccer team was dreadful in the season-opening D.C. College Cup. The future is grim.
Q: Why can't they find more than 12,000 fans for a qualifier in Chicago?
A: Good question. Very disappointing.
Q: Was this year's investment in Gallardo worth it?
A: 1.9 million dollars? No. He's a good player when healthy, but that's an awful lot of money in MLS.
Q: Why do U.S. fans believe we are Arsenal and can go through qualifiers winning 4-0 in places we have never won before?
A: Good point. I think the program has made progress -- it no longer approaches games in, say, Guatemala in search of a tie. They feel like they should win, and last month, they did. Cuba was a weak opponent and the difference between the teams is immense. A one-goal victory was underwhelming, but those games happen.
Q: What are the chances that the likes of Marta, Prinz, et al. end up in WPS next year?
A: I think you will see many world stars in the league, some on loan, some under full-time contracts.
Q: Which players have surprised you the most this year in MLS?
A: Hesmer, Cristman, Conrad's five goals!
Q: How do you see Tommy Soehn rotating his roster for the upcoming weeks?
A: Depends who is healthy. He might not have a lot of options. At this point of the year, MLS should be the priority, but certainly the club sees Champions League as another opportunity to make a mark internationally.
Q: Should the Philadelphia MLS club's name more resemble something traditional like DC United, Toronto FC, or something more like other US sports, such as Kansas City Wizards or San Jose Earthquakes?
A: My guess is that it will be a traditional name, but I have no insight into the matter.
Q: Reserve games -- critical, useful or wasteful for developing players?
A: In theory, the reserve division should be a vital component to player development. In reality, the rosters aren't deep enough to support it and, when not postponing scheduled games, teams end up relying on guest players.
Q: After the attendance disaster in Chicago last night, can Washington redeem US Soccer with, say 30,000 or more, or is that unrealistic?
A: I wouldn't call it a disaster. Disappointing, yes, but not a disaster. The RFK game has a lot going for it -- the first USA appearance in a long time, an intriguing, if not good, opponent, a Saturday night date. I'm guessing 20,000 to 25,000.
Q: Does Bob Bradley actually think he's building a 2010 squad by trumping out dinasours like Eddie Lewis when we're up by 3 goals?
A: Not at all. He's doing what he needs to do to win that particular game. He said he is planning to bring new players into future training camps, particularly the big one early next year before the final round of qualifying begins.
Q: In retrospect, how close was the deal with Veron to getting done?
A: From what I understand, it was very close and DCU thought it was going to get him.
Q: If United doesn't make the playoffs this year, who gets sacked (players, coaches, f.o. personnel)?
A: The first to go would be Soehn.
Q: Which current DCU player is the next guy to get transferred to Europe...if any?
A: I can't think of any. Maybe Crayton will get homesick and return to Switzerland ;-)
Q: Odds of seeing Freddy @ RFK next month?
A: Not good, unless he starts seeing more playing time in Europe.
Q: Who's the next DCU captain after Moreno retires (and assuming that Olsen's career is more or less done)?
A: Gallardo? Namoff?
Q: Why isn't Simms on the USMNT?
A: Good MLS player, but not international caliber. Besides, Bradley has enough defensive midfielders.
Q: Were you for Wells before everyone else turned against him?
A: I thought he would be a good player for DCU. I was wrong.
Q: What's your gut tell you about Gallardo at this point?
A: Good player, but not worth 1.9 million. I'm sure he'll play a pivotal role the remainder of this year and be back next year.
Q: How do you qualify success for a US coach? Reaching the World Cup? Past first round of World Cup? Dominating Mexico series?
A: Good question. Qualifying for the World Cup is a requirement. Success in big tournaments (Gold Cup, Confederations Cup) is important. Integrating a new generation of players should also be weighed. That said, it's much too early to pass judgement on Bradley. Let's see how he does over the next year.
Q: What are your feelings on Santino's future?
A: He's having a good year for DCU. The club is pleased with his contributions and, more importantly, believe he has turned around his life.
Q: Did you see yourself on the usoccer.com post-match video, quizzing (and possibly confusing) Michael Bradley on his goal-scoring technique?
A: Must've been someone impersonating the Insider ;-)
Q: Do you think MLS and their scheduling committee will drop SUPERLIGA (for next year) so MLS teams won't have so many games to play?
A: No. It's a money-maker.
Q: Do you agree that United is the greatest football team?
A: Newcastle United? Yes.
Q: If you were commish of MLS, what would be the first couple of things you would change within the league?
A: Increase the senior roster size from 18 to 24. Go to a single table and have every team play each other twice (home and away).
Q: Why can't UEFA figure out a way to schedule the Champions League final game on a WEEKEND rather than during the week?
A: I imagine it's scheduled for midweek to avoid possible weekend scheduling conflicts with teams from leagues that are still competing.
Thanks for all the questions!
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