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In Other DCU News.....

*United Coach Tom Soehn's reaction to Marcelo Gallardo's departure: "I think it is something he wanted to do. Obviously, we know the difficulties we had last year -- we wanted him on the field more. But it's his desire to finish over there, and you can respect that. He has a long history there. ... He is going to move on and we are going to move on."

*On the possibility of Fred becoming the playmaker: "He has done it in the past. To set Fred up to succeed, he has to be in a position to spend time there. We have a pretty deep team and when we get everyone in, we are going to evaluate who suits us in what spots."

*The club is finalizing a contract with Brazilian defender Roger, who passed a physical. As for his apparent back problems, GM Dave Kasper said he was sidelined for about three weeks last fall and has had no further problems. "One of the most intriguing qualities about him is his leadership," Soehn said. "You talk to so many people we have attachments to in Brazil, and the same thing came up over and over again: what kind of professional he is and what kind of leader he is, a first-class pro. He's left-footed and he can play in the middle or wide, but the experience is something we desperately need."

So much more on the continuation of this thread.....

*Midfielder Andrew Jacobson has agreed to a contract and will join the senior roster once his paperwork from France is set. "We're happy to get him back, but like everybody, he is going to have to earn his respect and earn his time," Soehn said.

*Goalkeeper Louis Crayton is still having problems with a shoulder, which he injured late last season. He will soon travel home to Liberia, where his mother passed away, and "we are optimistic he will resume training" upon his return, Kasper said.

*United is in contract discussions with rookie goalkeeper Milos Kocic (Loyola College-Baltimore) and "I think we will get something done," Kasper said. Kocic said he had an opportunity to sign last month with Red Star Belgrade -- his boyhood favorite -- but wanted to remain in the States.

"I don't see myself as a rookie. I feel like I can play," said the 6-foot-4, 200-pound 23-year-old. "I am going to compete. I don't care who is behind me or who is in front of me. You've got to beat me to be the starting goalkeeper. That is why I chose America before Serbia because there are so many other things besides soccer [in Serbia], and I think here, who is the best is going to play. That is why I am here."

*United has had no recent communication with rookie defender Lyle Adams, who is pursuing European opportunities.

*Trialist Kyle Veris, a 6-foot-4 central defender, will continue workouts with the club in Florida next week.

By Steve Goff  |  January 30, 2009; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gallardo Is Gone
Next: Goodbye, Poplar Point?

Comments

Fred in the middle? That could be the silver lining to all of this...

Posted by: Reignking | January 30, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Good stuff Steve - I hope the coaches had time to train the players instead of feeding you so much good information :-)

I like Kocic's attitude - and Tommy's quote makes me feel a little better about Roger :)

Posted by: dcufan | January 30, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Great stuff SG.

It alarms me a bit to see Fred being discussed as a playmaker, but then Soehn brings up a good point that I hadn't thought of: his times playing in the middle have always been thrust upon him, rather than after an extended period of training there. I'm talking about in-game adjustments. That is a significant factor (though I can't help but note that, given the option last season, Soehn chose Quaranta there).

I hope Kasper's comments on Roger are true. The fact that the back injury was short term, rather than long term as had been rumored, is a great relief. If he's really the leader and the good pro we're being told he is, this could really pan out.

Kocic has a great attitude. He should legitimately believe he can come in here and have a shot at starting; why not? At the very least, he should put Wells under severe pressure as the backup. Plus, for once a draft pick of ours turned down a Euro offer, which is nice.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 30, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

What's Jacobson's natural MF role?

Posted by: benonthehill | January 30, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Great Caesar's Ghost! What an explosion of information!

Thanks for the knowledge SG!

Posted by: JkR- | January 30, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I dunno Reignking, Fred in the middle scares the daylights out of me. He coughs the ball up way too much and then commits dumb fouls when trying to win the ball back. I know he played that position in the A-League, but with all due respect, MLS is way faster, tougher and a much more tactically mature league.

Calls for Tino in the middle scare me too, as he also coughs the ball up at some of the worse possible times. I would like to see Jaime take that spot until someone else comes along. Asking that of Jaime is a bit much also, with the way this team moves the ball, but its all we have right now.

I am liking this Kocic kid though. He sounds like he is coming to TAKE what is his! I like that mentality. I wish we were deep enough everywhere to create that kind of mentality across the board. Oh well, someday I suppose.

As for Jacobson, TS said it all. He's gonna have to earn the love and the respect. He ditch us for more money last year (can't say I blame him) and now he's going to have to earn that team spot and the love of the faithful (which is really not hard to do around these parts - show some passion, work hard, love the fans and we will love you back. Scoring on NY, LA, NE and Cowlumbus? A HUGHE PLUS!!)

Posted by: Kosh2 | January 30, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Goff! Outstanding week! Keep up the good work.

Posted by: TCompton | January 30, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

If the club dumps Gallardo's salary (done), signs Jacobson and Roger (about done), draftees look good, saves money and makes progress on the stadium (zzzz)... I'll be satisfied as a fan.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 30, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

We could sign Ronnie O'Brien and have lots of change left over with the money saved on Gallardo. Sure, he's not a CAM, but he would like to play more inside (even forward), but as a great crosser from the outside he could allow Fred/Tino to play more centrally. I don't think we have to assume that with Gallardo gone we absolutely must sign another CAM. There are other ways to skin a cat.

Posted by: b18bolo | January 30, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"we are optimistic he will resume training"
----

Yikes! I didn't know Crayton had any kind of lingering injury. This is scary, unless Kocic really comes through to take up the slack.

Posted by: jealousmuse | January 30, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

benonthehill:

Jacobson is a defensive midfielder, but is supposed to have pretty good technique and should be able to join the attack when the situation allows it. He should offer a contrast with Vide (while Simms is probably somewhere between the two in terms of player type, though ahead on overall ability).

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 30, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm being the cynic here (and if so, prepare the slings and arrows!), but it seems to me that buzz words/phrases like "One of the most intriguing qualities about him is his leadership", "what kind of professional...leader he is" and "a first-class pro" often can be translated into "we know he's lost a step, but we've reached the bottom of the barrel and need SOMEONE in that spot." Does the name Greg Vanney ring any bells?

Posted by: throwin | January 30, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Baré? (I probably won't cease advocating the player until 2012.)

OK, I don't know why I'm commenting, but I logged in, and I don't want to waste that effort so...

Let's try Fred in the middle.

Posted by: B_A_ | January 30, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Jacobson didn't just ditch us for money...he left to go play for a rising Ligue 1 club. Taking a shot at playing on a first division European club is totally justifiable. Lorient actually surprised a lot of people in France last season...it just didn't work out for him.

Posted by: combedge | January 30, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

So what does a possible starting line for United look like?
Crayton
Namoff - McTavish/Janicki - Roger - Burch
Quaranta - Fred - Simms - Guerrero
Moreno - Emilio

Moreno tends to float in a withdrawn role usually these recent years.

So as of right now, is this United's Best XI or have I missed something?

Posted by: douglasquaid | January 30, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, I'd love to have Ronnie O'Brien. Is that a pipe dream? The soft turf might help his knee.

How fit is he? Is there anything beyond a snowballs chance that it is even possible or is that internet rumor mongering?

Posted by: JkR- | January 30, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Is Roger a left/right back or center?

Posted by: Kev29 | January 30, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I love Milos' attitude. At 6' 4!! Here's hoping his talent matches his physical attributes.

Posted by: delantero | January 30, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Answered my own Roger question - wiki says left back...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Machado_Marques

So?

--------------Crayton------------
Namoff - McTavish - Burch - Roger
---------------Simms-------------
Quaranta-----------------Guerrero
---------------Fred--------------
------Moreno-----------Emilio----

Unfortunately, looks a lot like the team that didn't make the playoffs last year.

Posted by: Kev29 | January 30, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, looks a lot like the team that didn't make the playoffs last year.

Posted by: Kev29

But a full season of Crayton.

Posted by: Reignking | January 30, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Crayton's lingering injury and the unfortunate death of his mother may have opened the door for Milos..

Posted by: BurchFan4 | January 30, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

You sure about Burch in the middle, Kev29? Over Janicki, at that? Burch in the middle (of D) scares me more than Fred and Tino in the middle.

I did not mean to suggest that Jacobson went to France JUST for the cash, but you cannot think that the money didn't play a significant role in the choice, do you?

Posted by: Kosh2 | January 30, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Based solely on who we have on the roster at present and their ability to get and stay healthy (with Olsen and Jacobson and the rookies as "wild card"), I think the primary issues are:

1. Emilio getting in form, working well off the ball (remembers those runs he made the first couple months of his first season?). A hot goal scorer covers up a lot of ills. It allows you to win a lot of games against the run of play or when you're outmanned (Ruiz in top form was a perfect example of that).

2. Not having the confluence of injuries and game congestion as last year. I think we're probably deeper than last year. We certainly won't have as many games.

3. Defensive organization. We didn't have an organizer last year when Peralta was out. Wells just destroyed the confidence of our defenders--they played afraid and expecting things to fall apart. So Roger and our GK (assume it's Clayton) are critical here. Are we organized defensively? Does our GK command the area and talk to his defenders in adequate time? If so, we're a totally different team.

4. A coherent presence in central midfield. Maybe it's Fred. I've never been a big supporter of him as an A-mid. But on the plus side, we've never had an A-mid who is as willing to win balls, defend, and play with a nasty streak as Mr. Fred does. Moreno surprised me how capable he looked there last season (though we can't count on him as the primary A-mid). Maybe we deal for Gomez. Maybe we get someone else. But we need something more than "central midfield by committee" of sometimes Quaranta, sometimes Moreno, sometimes Fred, maybe Jacobson as a late-game sub, sometimes two D-mids (Simms and Vide).

Those questions/issues get resolved and the other assumptions I stated and we're a very strong team.

As for Ronnie O'Brien, he's a terrific player but here's all you need to know--everywhere he goes, his teams don't do well (other than one year with FCD) and for some reason people don't seem to miss him when he's gone. Think of him as the white Cunningham (except he scores a lot fewer goals). For a team that had cohesion and chemistry issues last year, adding someone like Guevara, Ruiz, O'Brien are all "just say no" in my way of thinking.

Posted by: JoeW1 | January 30, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I'm gonna play "let's pretend Ben Olsen's healthy" for a sec.

--------------Crayton------------
- Namoff - McTavish/Janicki - Roger
---------------Simms-------------
Fred-----------Olsen--------Guerrero
---------------Moreno--------------
------Quaranta-------Emilio----

What I like is that 1) it compensates for lack of depth in the back, 2) gives Jaime freedom to create and join the attack, 3) takes attacking pressure off Simms.

I don't like the defensive pressure it puts on Fred, but Olsen could provide some cover there.

Well, fun pretending anyway.

Posted by: benonthehill | January 30, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

D.C. government officials confirmed moments ago that Clark Realty Capital, the development firm that was to partner with the city to develop 110 acres at Poplar Point in Ward 8, has been dropped from the project.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dc/2009/01/developer_dropped_from_poplar.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 30, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

JkR:

Pipe dream. O'Brien's headed to the UK. For what it's worth, I always got the impression that he had a strong dislike for DCU (broke his leg at RFK, general anger towards Kovalenko, urged his teammates to celebrate a goal directly in front of the Barra/SEs, etc). Plus, his knees make Convey's look like they're made of steel.

Kev29:

Roger has played centrally over the past 2-3 years after a career as a left back. I'd imagine it's a good way to prolong your career (not everyone is Cafu). I would be utterly shocked, given our total leadership void in central defense, if he's being brought in to do anything but play as a center back for us. Shocked and angry.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 30, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

I should have put that statement in quotes so it doesn't look like plagiarized from one site on WaPo.com and brazenly posted it back on another.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 30, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

My understanding is Roger played left back when he was younger, but the last year and half or two years he has been a CB. I'd expect him to slot in as a CB for DC considering we are very thin there.

I am NOT sold on Gomez. It would be a bad move to take him on for anything more than $150k-200k a year.

NO Appiah please. His knee is died and he has all sorts of contract problems with Fenerbache in Turkey.

Our team probably will look something like this:

Crayton
Namoff - Janicki/McTavish - Roger - Burch
Olsen/McTavish - Simms - Fred - Guerrero
Emilio - Moreno

Tino can fill in anywhere up top. That would be my best guess. I'd prefer we went after an (28ish) year old CAM from Brazil or Argentina and pay around $300k...

Posted by: strago | January 30, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

@JoeW -- Let your mind drift back to 2007, What do you see? A slashing, darting Fred, driving defenses crazy, and a punishing MVP finisher up top, with Emilio. Then, reflect on 2008, and the ineffective Fred and Emilio. What's the difference? No Gomito in the middle - the engine that made it run. Not to mention adding in -- was it 10 goals? A strong free kick that was lacking with DC in 2008.

Yeah, he's not young, but he's only a year and change older. There are no guarantees, but these players seemed to fit together beautifully in 2007. Except for the late-season swoon, it was probably the best MLS team ever.

Posted by: fischy | January 30, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Maybe something different, Hoffenheim attacking ball, ping it quick, push up, let's score one more than they do. Field a mobile team that will work their *** off, let 'em roll.

Posted by: OWNTF | January 30, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Here's a couple big "ifs" to consider:

If Olsen is healthy enough to start does it look like this:
--------------Crayton------------
Namoff - McTavish - Burch - Roger
---------------Simms-------------
Olsen-----------------Guerrero
---------------Fred--------------
------Moreno-----------Emilio----

or this:
--------------Crayton------------
Namoff - McTavish/Janicki - Roger
-----------Olsen---Simms---------
Quaranta-----------------Guerrero
---------------Fred--------------
------Moreno-----------Emilio----


If United brings Gomez back, does it look like this:
--------------Crayton------------
Namoff - McTavish - Burch - Roger
---------------Simms-------------
Fred---------------------Guerrero
--------------Gomez--------------
------Moreno-----------Emilio----

or this:
--------------Crayton------------
Namoff - McTavish - Burch - Roger
---------------Simms-------------
Quaranta-----------------Guerrero
---------------Fred--------------
------Gomez-----------Emilio----

Posted by: Kenobi | January 30, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

If memory serves, the reason DC struggled at the end of '07 was the injuries to Moreno and Emilio. We had no one else up front who could stretch out the defense. Gomito was practically a one-man gang during that furious rally.

Yes, there were defensive breakdowns in the playoffs -- but it was injuries to our strikers that really did in United. The FO totally overreacted to the team's early playoff exit. It's not too late to fix it. The team might not be quite as good, without Gros, and a hobbled Olsen, but it can still be quite good...with Gomez.

Posted by: fischy | January 30, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

strago,

Appiah's has officially been out-of-contract for a while and impressed on his trial with Tottenham.

It doesn't seem that he would be a possibility for DCU at this point, but Fenerbahce and his knee are not the primary reasons why.

Posted by: B_A_ | January 30, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

@Kenobi -- Roger may start off outside, but as Wallace develops, he'll probably slide into the left center back position, where he's spent most of his career, I believe.

Posted by: fischy | January 30, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

my name says it all.

Posted by: getanewnumber10 | January 30, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

51 days to United's first game!

Posted by: Curious99 | January 30, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

No one else sees Guerrero playing left back behind Fred? If Benny gets healthy and can free up Tino to slide either center or up top and let Jamie drop back, a left flank with Guerrero behind Fred could make some noise.
It leaves Burch on the bench, who can come in and replace either left side player or let Fred slide in to spell Jaime if he gets hurt/tired. It leaves us a bit thin on the Right side if Benny goes down again, but Kuhmalo or one of the rookies need to step up at that point (Pontius in and Tino back on the right?)

Posted by: joemybro | January 30, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

"He has done it in the past. To set Fred up to succeed, he has to be in a position to spend time there. We have a pretty deep team and when we get everyone in, we are going to evaluate who suits us in what spots."

We have a pretty deep team? Seriously? What is Tommy smoking?

Posted by: lastort1 | January 30, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

This is what I forsee

-----------Crayton-----------
Namoff--McTavish--Veris--Burch
-------------Simms------------
--Quaranta--------------Fred--
--------Moreno----Gomez--------
-------------Emilio------------

Subs: Doe, Khumalo, Roger, Kocic, Wallace, Zaher..

Veris will earn the starting spot

Posted by: AnthonyTheGreat | January 30, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I wish we would take some of that cash to try and sign Adams. I've gone on and on about him on these threads, but I'm telling you there is something about him. He was great scoring off corners and set pieces in college and just amazingly athletic. Tall, tough in the air, and fast. He'll be special somewhere.

Oh well, I guess he's gone.

Posted by: JaimeSegundo | January 30, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

We need David Stokes at Center Back, Steve Guppy as attacking wide mid, and a little Frankie Niell up front.

That's clearly a ticket to becoming a Super Club.

Posted by: delantero | January 30, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

""If memory serves, the reason DC struggled at the end of '07 was the injuries to Moreno and Emilio. We had no one else up front who could stretch out the defense. Gomito was practically a one-man gang during that furious rally.""

True, and I haven't seen that rectified this off season---unless our draft pans out or our newly found DP money is spent on someone . . or the Honduran . . .

IMO, That hand ball on Gomez in the playoff was crap. He fought the player, ball went off his back onto his shoulder!! That is a goal and we're off to overtime.

McTavish got called for a handball in Superliga when he went for a header with his eyes closed and a Galaxy player backing into him.

Goldenballs puts into away against Perkins and vaults into the media for a few days.

Posted by: delantero | January 30, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

@Delantero

TOTALLY CRAP CALL

I can still remember the place going nuts and then the guy behind me saying "uh oh I think we are getting screwed"
I will never get the beer I threw back.

Posted by: rockotodd | January 30, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

If we don't have a clear #10 and we have a dearth of midfielders I can potentially see us moving to a 3-5-2. Both Fred and Guererro are the types of wingers required to play the wing in a 3-5-2. If we had Namoff and Roger as the outside backs and either Janicki or McTavish in the center it might work out. We could struggle against teams who attack well on the flanks (NY, NE, Columbus), but most teams aren't that strong on the flanks.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | January 31, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Kyle Veris is an absolute joke of a soccer player. I pray that we do not sign him

Posted by: GoUnited | January 31, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

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