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Monday Kickaround

*Despite being the reigning tournament champion, D.C. United must play its way into the U.S. Open Cup this year because it missed the MLS playoffs in 2008. The Insider has learned that United will host Dallas in a preliminary-round match -- probably on a weeknight in April and probably at RFK Stadium. The survivor will face New York or San Jose in May in the next stage of qualifying. MLS's top six teams based on last year's regular season automatically qualified for the Open Cup.

*United is finalizing plans to play the NCAA champion Maryland Terrapins this Sunday in College Park. Details to come.

*Seattle Coach Sigi Schmid, commenting on the artificial turf at Qwest Field, the Sounders' home grounds: "It's for sure the best turf surface in the league. The surfaces in Toronto or Giants Stadium aren't even close to comparable. This place is as close to grass as you can [get]."

*A Home Depot Center crowd of dozens announced as 9,160 watched Sean Franklin's own goal and red card, Eddie Lewis injure his hamstring and the Los Angeles Galaxy fall to South Korea's Suwon Bluewings on penalty kicks, 4-2, after a 1-1 tie in the Pan-Pacific Championship final. Bring on SuperLiga.

*The Beckham update is here.

*The WPS will unveil its team uniforms tomorrow.

*Soccer on TV:
England, Hull City-Spurs 2 p.m. Setanta

*Raul's one-timer during Real Madrid's 6-1 rout of Real Betis:

By Steve Goff  |  February 23, 2009; 9:07 AM ET
Categories:  Beckham , D.C. United , MLS , Spain , TV , Women  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Americans Abroad
Next: Video: Franco Niell's Goal

Comments

After that match, LA should just let Becks go on a free.

Is it "The WPS" or "WPS"? I know how upset some people get at "The MLS"...

I'm sure Real Madrid fans still aren't happy, despite the run that they are on, and Barca still losing...

Posted by: Reignking | February 23, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

what is tailgating like in college park? is it even possible?

Posted by: bonghits4gomez | February 23, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Goff,

Yesterday's Post ran a letter to the editor in the Metro section opposing a publicly funded DC United stadium in PG County.

Prince George's Stadium Plan Merits a Yellow Card:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/21/AR2009022101421.html

In the Sunday "dead tree" version of the Post it's clear that the letter is written by a Colin Helmer of Bethesda. But in the Post's web version no authorship is mentioned which makes the letter look like an "official" Washington Post editorial spelling out the paper's policy.

Although I disagree with Helmer's viewpoint I have no problem with him making his case with a public letter to the Post. But the Post website should make it clear who wrote the letter.

Maybe you can get the Washington Post website designers to tweak their designs so that letters to the editor are properly attributed to their authors?

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | February 23, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

You can burn couches.

Posted by: Reignking | February 23, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Everybody should take a look at the Fulham vs WBA highlights from this weekend and wonder where that Clint was during the MEX game--he plays up a storm for Fulham.

Posted by: glfrazier | February 23, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Make him buy his own contract out if he wants to stay there. He has the money.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | February 23, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if Sasho requested a no leg-breaking rule before scheduling the match. Then again, I don't see United as having a present-day Hristo on its roster.

Posted by: joedoc1 | February 23, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

so what do we think? are we taking the Hunt Cup seriously again this year? (personally, I think this is a competition we should always take seriously, as should other MLS teams, but I know that isn't going to happen anytime soon) Still, let's make sure the cup looks right at home at RFK (or Largo, whatever) that game against Dallas could be fun, there are a lot of U-20s on FCD that might be entertaining to watch.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | February 23, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Goff and Other Insiders,

As the expansion issue becomes as newsworth as where Mr. Beckham will be after March 9, I'm really curious about the developments and what if any insight Steve has on the subject.

Miami - looked to be a lock with Barca - but maybe they are seeing Miami to be as unsure as MLS did in the last economic downturn.

St. Louis - history and geography say yes. One less pro sports franchise to eat up ticket sales. Big money makes one worry.

Portland - great owner - great prospects for atmosphere and support - itty bitty market.

Ottawa - no thanks

Montreal - cold weather forsaken - Aberdeen anyone? - what's going on up there is exactly what MLS needs. Another city where tickets sell and the atmosphere will produce more collateral benefits for the league than making sure it's putting it in a more weather friendly market. If Montreal has to play a couple of games indoors or even invest in putting a dome around Saputo but keeping grass - then I'm all for it.

LESS Community America Ballpark - MORE packed stadiums.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | February 23, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Everybody should take a look at the Fulham vs WBA highlights from this weekend and wonder where that Clint was during the MEX game--he plays up a storm for Fulham.

Posted by: glfrazier | February 23, 2009 9:29 AM
-------------------------------------------
Oh, come on, it was West Brom - the Galaxy of the EPL. Any team that makes Joey Zamora look that good deserves to be relegated...

Posted by: throwin | February 23, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to hear that we are adding another fake turf stadium to the league. Soccer should be played on grass.

I understand that turf is less expensive to maintain than grass. With the rainy weather during part of the year in Seattle, maybe grass is just too tough to maintain there.

On the flip side, the ball plays pretty naturally off of the new field turf stuff. However, I think it is still harder on the joints than grass. In addition, prepare to lose some skin on slide tackles.

Posted by: footiefan101 | February 23, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Notice Fulham's ascension times nicely with Dempsey's PT? I was shocked to see they were 8th.

Who is Colin Helmer?

Posted by: Reignking | February 23, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Of course I'd love United to play right on into the Open Cup fold, but if it's a question of that or concentrating on league play and taking their chances in Champions League seriously, I'd take the latter. They are in fact going to have to *play in* to the CCL as well... What a pain that they won the cup and they still need to play back in to the tournament... Not to mention their prize is getting to play into the stinking CCL? Stooops.
The game in College Park would be open to the public right? Sounds like a fun opportunity for us scare-dee cat Virginians to prove we're not scared of PG county...;-)
I see Sigi is wholeheartedly sluggin' the Rave Green Koolaid. Now how's the Swede's rehab going, and how's he like the turf?
Beckham? So glad his stupid drama is getting more ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz'z than DCU's stadium progress these days:-)
And last but far from least: Please tell me there will be photos of Heather Mitts in her new kit all over the interwebs tomorrow!
I'll take Hope Solo too, if I must...

Posted by: DadRyan | February 23, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

As the expansion issue becomes as newsworth as where Mr. Beckham will be after March 9, I'm really curious about the developments and what if any insight Steve has on the subject.

Miami - looked to be a lock with Barca - but maybe they are seeing Miami to be as unsure as MLS did in the last economic downturn.
_________________________________________

I was just about to ask whether anyone had seen what the NYT was reporting about Barca/Miami:

http://goal.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/20/barcelona-rethinks-bid-for-mls-expansion-club/

Also, the Montreal investors withdrew from the process several months ago, so there is really no point to even talking about Montreal, unless something happens to cause them to reverse themselves.

Posted by: universityandpark | February 23, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I just read the letter to the editor - and while Mr. Helmer is certainly entitled to be skeptical - he's plain wrong in his association between a soccer stadium and FedEx...

"Before Maryland officials consider whether to support this project, they should commission an impartial third party to analyze the economic costs and benefits of the public investment in FedEx Field."

Umm, what? First of all, FedEx Field was privately built and owned. Certainly the County invested (infrastructure, roads?), but this was a cheap, quick and dirty project executed by the Cooke family. Now owned by Daniel Snyder. The Maryland Stadium Authority was not involved in its financing or construction. FedEx was built to completely satisfy the needs of the team, not the County (with the exception of the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex thrown in to the deal).

Also, a soccer stadium and FedEx are quantitatively and qualitatively different animals. A United stadium would not be surrounded by surface parking, divorcing it from the community. To some chagrin, tailgating would not be as common, pushing fans into potential bars and restaurants.

If the letter writer is so curious about comparisons, he should probably stick to projects that have been financed by the stadium authority. Like Camden Yards, the Ripken and Southern Maryland minor league parks and M&T Bank Stadium. That's where the state money has gone.

Posted by: Kev29 | February 23, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

dadryan: Why would any Virginian go to support UMd soccer?

Posted by: Reignking | February 23, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Is it "The WPS" or "WPS"? I know how upset some people get at "The MLS"...
_________________________________________

Just spell it out. How does "The Women's Professional Soccer" sound to you?

Posted by: universityandpark | February 23, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

@universityandpark,

You sir, are correct that the Saputo's pulled out. However, most of their deal was that they didn't want to dump in the $40 million in one fell swoop to move up and cost their fans more considering the move would also likely call for Stade Saputo to get up to 20,000 in capacity.

A fair statement from them to anyone in a time when capital costs are to be analyzed rather than spent whilly-nilly. However, momentum and fan support are there for the team and with Barca's drop, unless MLS truly believes that inclusion of Vancouver, Portland, St. Louis is the best option and makes up for leaving out a standing and growing club.

I actually believe that MLS has kept them around for contention despite them balking originally.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | February 23, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Here's a link to the on-line version of the opinion piece, with comments from Soccer Insider regulars (Yakuza?).

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/local-opinions/2009/02/yellow_card_for_stadium_plan_i.html

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 23, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Reignking: Ha! I really can't get it up for ANY college sports, or their following. I'm an equal opportunity hater. It's all about United for me baby! With the club's first matches less than two weeks away, it sounds like a great reason to get out of the house... Don't worry though, I'll be sure to stop at the ABC store to get my flask filly in Virginia:-)

Posted by: DadRyan | February 23, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Screw the regular season results, the winner of the Open Cup should get an automatic return to the playoff round. Not that the Cup is as important than MLS play, but still. It would be nice to repeat as champions. I would however like the team to at least advance out of the play-in round in the Champions League. New England's loss to Joe Public last year was just embarassing.

DCU v. UMD? I'm so there. Can't wait to hear the details.

Posted by: DCUMD | February 23, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Fairfax, VA, April 10 (AP) -- A 23-mile chase involving 12 Virginia State Police cruisers and nine police officers from Fairfax County resulted in the arrest of a Virginia man apparently heading to a D.C. United soccer game.

Dad P. Ryan, a homemaker and recent father, was arrested without incident after being pulled over on Interstate 66 in Fairfax. Police said they found an assortment of flasks filled with alcohol, although Mr. Ryan easily passed a breathalyzer test at the scene, police said.

"Mr. Ryan apprarently never heard the sounds of the 21 police cruisers chasing him at high speed with their sirens turned on and lights flashing," police spokeswoman Natalie "Natty" Boh said. "He said it may be because he was signing Bob Dylan songs with his child, who was in the back seat."

Mr. Ryan, dressed in clothing made entirely of hemp, was later released when police learned he was "just heading to log 8 at RFK to join in the pre-game festivities," Boh said. She added, "Silly soccer fans."

Mr. Ryan could not be reached for comment.

Posted by: joedoc1 | February 23, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

DCUMD: I initially shared your opinion until I considered that The UEFA Cup and World Cup champions don't get automatic bids either. I guess that's part of what makes it an open cup competition.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 23, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Raul is the greatest finisher of the past 20 years. objections?

Posted by: bobbyoshea | February 23, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Barca is wise to re-evaluate the purchase of a franchise in Miami. Although a partial Barca ownership would be a boon to MLS, if you look closely at the Miami market you see alot of problems. The per capita income for the S. Florida metro area is much lower than comparable sized Metros. Plus the housing crash has hit that market very hard. I am convinced that even with a Barca stamp on a Miami franchise, the immigrant communities there will not immediately support a MLS franchise. Similar to the Mexican immigrants here, they follow their home country teams and will only come out in numbers when they play a friendly or cup tie. We saw this same phenomena with the CCL. DCU fans were outnumered last year against clubs from Costa Rica, Mexico and Honduras at RFK! Where are those country nationals at MLS games? Houston may be the only exception to this.

Posted by: sbg1 | February 23, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

DCUMD: I initially shared your opinion until I considered that The UEFA Cup and World Cup champions don't get automatic bids either. I guess that's part of what makes it an open cup competition.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 23, 2009 11:23 AM

Yep - rules are rules. If a League One (third tier) club happened to win the FA Cup, they'd be right back in Round One the next season, while the top two league clubs would still enter in Round Three.

I find it odd how the federation places MLS teams into the Cup, but what are you gonna do. They also play league matches and important qualifiers simultaneously - there are bigger fish to fry.

Posted by: Kev29 | February 23, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

That Raul guy can kick a ball.

Posted by: Str8Red | February 23, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

bobbyoshea:


Haven't been following the game nearly that long, but I have no quarraels with what you say. And if you ask me, his other goal, a one touch chip after running onto a through ball to the far post, was just as good as this one.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | February 23, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

And since there's no "edit" button on here: Maybe it's cause I'm not Spanish, but I'm a very happy Madrid fan today. I'm thrilled with the prospect of being only 7 points back with Barca still having to come to the Bernebau. Especially considering they scored all 6 goals in the first half, without Sneijder OR Robben, and Guti made his first appearance in months and looked fresh and on his game. Hala Madrid.
(Vamos United)

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | February 23, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Raul would sell a lot of United jerseys. And signing another 30+ year-old player would exponentially increase the number of Soccer Insider comments.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 23, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

It's becoming clear what The Post's agenda is regarding a DC United stadium. They saw fit to run that letter both on the 13th and again this Sunday. Sunday's print version had a 5 X 7 picture accompanying it. Very useful to draw a reader's eye to the letter.

At least the print version this Sunday identified it as a letter from a reader, unlike washingtonpost.com.

So what else? David's evenhanded piece in Metro was co-located with Fisher's screed. The next day came the editorial. That was followed by the first printing of the letter, which was repeated Sunday.

It is time for us to write our own letters to The Post putting out our and Maryland's side of the story.

If we don't do this quickly we may wind up in the same place that RSL did when they didn't immediatly counter the clear anti-stadium agendas of the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News. Checketts ultimately had to threaten to move the team to get political action on the stadium. That isn't going to work here.

There are valid, positive points to be put forth regarding the main question that has been raised by all The Post's pieces: are the revenue projections to be believed? But we've got to make them and get them before the public.

Now.

Posted by: seahawkdad | February 23, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

seahawkdad is right. Lot's of very intelligent DCU fans with ability to make that happen. I can't do much more than hurrah in a comments section, but I'm down!

@joedoc: hilarious, but even I can't picture myself in head to tow hemp. Unless of course that 3rd jersey ends up being made out of it... Wait a second, I think I've got an idea!

Posted by: DadRyan | February 23, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Why hasn't Payne been looking to trade for a defender in MLS such as Dasan Robinson? I know it is unlikely that the Fire would trade him, but there are other defenders in MLS. I do not understand why he is fixated on acquiring a foreign defender.

Posted by: no_recess | February 23, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Sigi's been known to be an enthusiastic backer of whatever the party line happens to be (remember his referring to a trip to the then-new HDC as a "pilgrimage" and essentially telling soccer fans that they weren't soccer fans unless they made said trip?). "As close to grass" is still pretty far from grass, and an unacceptable surface for MLS Cup. I wish MLS was in the position to force Seattle's hand, and tell all future expansion bids that it's grass or you're out of the running.

Tailgating in College Park is only allowed for MD football. However, there are bars within walking distance (10 minutes, give or take). They're all within site of the corner of Knox Rd. and Rt. 1. Word of advice: only go to Bentley's if you want to fight or see Scott van Pelt.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | February 23, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

-The in-house crowd at the HDC was about 1,500-2,000, but it was the first bonus game for season ticket holders, hence the larger number. That means that LA has somewhere around 7,500-9,000 full season ticket holders so far.

As for Miami; they were a lock only in their own minds. You could tell from their attitude that they had no idea how the economics of MLS work, that they though they would just throw money around and bring in their young players and not have to build a team the way the rest of the league must, a la Chivas or Ruud Gullit. Add that to the likely crappy stadium revenues FIU would have alowed the club to take home, and BarcaMiami was looking to be a bigger and bigger waste of time.

Also, considering that the soccer club with the most fans in this country, Chivas Guadalajara, couldn't draw flies with their brand in LA of all places, what makes anyone think that the Barcelona FC brand would do FA in Miami?

Posted by: EricB1 | February 23, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

@Chest_Rockwell

The Crew generally tailgate before games in Lot 1. And besides Townhall or Franklins in Hyattsville (where I had some fantastic pulled-pork on Saturday) the bars are not a particularly good call.

Posted by: M__N | February 23, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Real Madrid 6, Real Betis 1

For you NFL trolls, that's 42-7.

Posted by: joedoc1 | February 23, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

@joshuaostevens

Pretty sure United are entering the Open Cup, not the Hunt Cup which involves horsejumping for the Judge Smails-set in Northern Baltimore County although Laurel is in PG County so maybe there is a tie-in.

Posted by: IamAM | February 23, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

"Tailgating in College Park is only allowed for MD football. However, there are bars within walking distance (10 minutes, give or take). They're all within site of the corner of Knox Rd. and Rt. 1. Word of advice: only go to Bentley's if you want to fight or see Scott van Pelt."

...I tailgated multiple times in Lot 1 before Maryland games. Nothing says fun like concrete soccer.

Posted by: Colm1 | February 23, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

A Jay Nolly sighting as he and Vancouver get ripped by Seattle 4-0 yesterday:

http://web.mlsnet.com/news/mls_news.jsp?ymd=20090222&content_id=219254&vkey=news_mls&fext=.jsp

Posted by: Reignking | February 23, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

@joshuaostevens

Pretty sure United are entering the Open Cup, not the Hunt Cup which involves horsejumping for the Judge Smails-set in Northern Baltimore County although Laurel is in PG County so maybe there is a tie-in.

Posted by: IamAM | February 23, 2009 1:33 PM

actually, no, DCU is attempting to play their way into the Lamar S. Hunt US Open Cup.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | February 23, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Tailgatting before Terp soccer games is pretty standard, at least for my freinds. A good bet is to grab a couple of pizzas to go near campus, and a cold case of brew and head to lot 1. Never had any problems with that during the season, especialy on a Sunday.

Posted by: jjfooty | February 23, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

We will never get a single table MLS. There will never be promotion/relegation involving MLS (not that the majority of us even want that). We may never get much more than over the hill pseudostars to come be our DPs.

But could we at least ask US Soccer (who runs the Open Cup) to organize a decent cup competition. How hard is to organize a 64 team competition with regional bracketing that would allow for every (American) MLS, USL 1st and 2nd division, plus some of the top amateur clubs to participate.

If done right, MLS clubs would meet some of the same lower division clubs on a semi regular basis for competitive matches. This would make the cup interesting and some character instead of just another set of fixtures to be bothered with.

Posted by: bluesfan1 | February 23, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

toe not tow...

Posted by: DadRyan | February 23, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Sure, having the LHUSOC formatted more like that would be cool, but is there any evidence that there is any demand for "improving" said tourney (outside of us interwebs geeks)? Also, is there any evidence that making it more FA Cup-like would make the Open Cup more of a success? Plus, many big-time clubs look down on their domestic cup, even in Engerland.

Posted by: EricB1 | February 23, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

The point is that USL clubs and yes us hard core supporters take it seriously. No one else does.

It would be great if we kept meeting the same handful of lower division teams with some regularity (Charleston for instance) to breed familiarity and rivalry between divisions.

With the way it is bracketed, who blames MLS fans, coaches, and FOs for not giving a rip. If every pro club participated then they would have the beginning of something to play for.

Of course national tv and decent prize money would be needed as well. O hell. Just kill the darn thing!

Posted by: bluesfan1 | February 23, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Ah. So that's what LHUSOC stands for. I thought it was internet for Laughing Hard Unintentionally Spit Out Coffee.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 23, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

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