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A Few Minutes With Quaranta, Olsen

Santino Quaranta, on Christian Gomez's first day back with D.C. United: "It seems like the feeling of a team again, like it used to be around here. There is no animosity at all, everyone is really upbeat. Once you have a relationship like we had together, you just pick right back up. I told Tommy [Soehn], 'It feels like it used to be around here again' and that's a good thing."

On Gomez's impact: "When you have a guy like that, you just want to find him when you can and just start running. Our attack is going to be something else, but as we've seen before, we have to try to steady this defense first before we try to win games 4-3. We're trying to start from the back and go to the front, but our attack looks pretty good right now."

Ben Olsen, on why he wore a No. 10 Rapids jersey to RFK.

"I woke up this morning and remembered Christian was coming today, so I went into my stash of jerseys. I thought I had one of his. He just laughed when he saw me."

What is your reaction to Gomez's return?

"I'm pretty excited. To have a guy who does things no one else does in this league is really refreshing. He is a game-changer and he makes us a better team. Christian is a very complete player and makes people around him better. I'm excited for a lot of these new guys to learn his tendencies because he will make them better. ... It's a big step for us going forward and hopefully the chemistry is still there with everybody. He's the type of guy who is an unselfish player who can hurt you with his passing, vision and scoring."

How did you get injured last week? (Olsen suffered a concussion, but practiced today.)

"I got knocked out by a rookie [Rodney Wallace]. I wasn't happy about it," he said in jest. "I actually sat him down and said, 'Don't tell anyone you knocked me out, especially in College Park.' I played through practice and thought I was okay. I got a head to the jaw. I shook it off, played, and then I went home and was feeling a little tired. I picked up a book and couldn't read the [correct] side of the page. I was like scanning over from left to right. I got my bell rung and had to sit out for four days. I think I played today; I'm still a little hazy with the whole situation."

By Steve Goff  |  February 13, 2009; 3:28 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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What's up with this team and concussions? And a rookie doling it out . . . is that good or bad?

Just so long as the ankle is ok . .

Any word from the players on the Stadium situation or are they following the party/team line?

Posted by: delantero | February 13, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Any word on the Beckham decision? I thought 3:00pm was the deadline that AC Milan had. What's the deal?

Posted by: RedskinAddict | February 13, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

last year, hamstrings and hernias, this year concussions .........

Thanks for all the info and passing along the quotes, somehow I missed that Olsen was injured (in a different way than his ankles).

Posted by: dcufan | February 13, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I realize players will usually try to appear upbeat in interviews, but I get a strong feeling that last year things were not good in the clubhouse. Was it the change in general last year? or was it a particular player or players? Seems like no one is saying "I miss Marcelo."

Posted by: griffin1108 | February 13, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The Times of London reports that AC Milan is planning face-to-face talks next week, presumably in the US....

Posted by: fischy | February 13, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

One does get the feeling that, at the very least, the South Americans that joined last year were a bit of an island to themselves. There's the quote from McTavish that someone posted here about no one knowing what Martinez would do, and Quaranta has said a couple times that the team is more together since their departures.

I imagine that, rather than actually being a fractured locker room, there just wasn't the camaraderie that existed in 2007. That isn't much of a surprise; a very popular player was essentially replaced by a guy that made as much as the rest of the matchday squad. It would have taken a very special personality to overcome those circumstances, and Gallardo struck me as somewhat withdrawn.

Hopefully Tino's quotes point to a more united United (sorry, had no choice). The locker room is full of big, happy personalities: Olsen, Emilio, Fred, Crayton...that's a good sign.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | February 13, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Chest, you remember the problem that Wells had communicating with the defense -- well, at least that was the theory for the shoddy goalkeeping, early on.

Posted by: Reignking | February 13, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

If nothing else, perhaps United will once again become dangerous on set pieces.

This past season I can't really remember more than one or two goals coming directly from a set piece. It got to a point where corners and free kicks were just a big yawn. Shame.

Even if his legs are gone, Gomez surely still has his dead-ball ability.

For all of Burch's power, he never really seemed to develop the finesse to be really deadly on free kicks.

Add to that, he won't need to 'time to learn the system.' Rather than rely on outside backs to get up and down and help deliver from the flanks, we might once again be able to use Gomez as the anchor playmaker in the middle. Gallardo seemed a bit all over the place. With Gomez's age and fitness, I am sure a large burden of work will be heaped on Simms shoulders. He will basically have to do the dirty work in midfield.

I was not keen on this move before, but I admit it is growing on me, especially for the mental aspect. Last season the exasperation in the quotes was evident - almost like they did not know what to do or how to fix the problems.

Now we just need some quality in the back...

Posted by: ErickSp8 | February 13, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

My take on Burch was that the team didn't really give him a chance until late -- other than the Open Cup games (where he was quite deadly). I seem to recall he did deliver with an assist on a corner kick in one of the last games. But, prior to that, Burch wasn't being given the chance on dead ball kicks. Feel free to dispute me on this...

Still, he could never be Gomez' equal on dead ball kicks.

Posted by: fischy | February 13, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Erick, Gomez didn't score a goal from a free-kick in 2007.

Posted by: alecw81 | February 13, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse


I thought that Gomez hit one in CONCACAF play before the regular season started in 2007 -- against Emilio's former club, perhaps? It's escaping me now...

Posted by: iammrben1 | February 13, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

He did setup Emilio's sweet volley off the crossbar.

Posted by: redskinsux | February 13, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Erick, Gomez didn't score a goal from a free-kick in 2007.

Posted by: alecw81 | February 13, 2009 4:47 PM


I tried posting several YouTube clips -- but blocked. Goals against Morelia, Toronto, KC, Houston. There may be others.

Posted by: fischy | February 13, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

FYI: 2008 schedule now available as a .csv download. The page include instructions on importing into Outlook

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 13, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I cant be the only one to re-read Olsen's quote about having a stash.

Posted by: Gavinmgraham | February 13, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Someone on Big Soccer said he had 6 free kick goals going into 2007. I found video records of 3 MLS regular season free kick goals for Gomez (plus the one against Morelia) -- though the one against Toronto may not have been credited to Gomez.... I wouldn't be surprised if 2007 was Gomez' best year with free kicks.

Posted by: fischy | February 13, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Did Olsen buy the jersey at Dick's Sporting Goods?

Posted by: jake77 | February 13, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Re : Burch and free kicks:

His drive off the crossbar against Galaxy was one of the hardest kicks I've ever seen. It didn't go in, but, wow...

Roberto Carlos-esque

Made me want to see him try at least a few more...

Posted by: JkR- | February 13, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Seems like it was more than just Marcelo . . . don't forget Peralta, Niell, Wells etc

While individually they may have been fine, anytime you bring in 4-5 new starters things can get crazy . . here's to some Unity on United . .

""Seems like no one is saying "I miss Marcelo."

Posted by: griffin1108 | February 13, 2009 4:14 PM ""

Posted by: delantero | February 13, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

FYI: 2008 schedule now available as a .csv download.

And for those who want it in iCal form, here's the handy script I used to convert the .csv and import it to my calendar:

Posted by: edgeonyou | February 13, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Burch is only dangerous on FKs if he can just blast away at goal. If it takes placement, forget it.

Posted by: BKMD | February 14, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

I miss Ivan Guerrero.

I really liked that player, and I was glad to have a winger with speed and skill. I was fond of Fred and Ivan on the wings, with Emilio up top. Woulda been sweet to have:


Posted by: WorldCup | February 15, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

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