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Friday Kickaround

*Defender Mamadou "Futty" Danso, who was released from D.C. United training camp recently, has returned. Injuries forced the club to find more healthy bodies for the Carolina Challenge Cup, but the move also allows United to take another look at him as the season approaches. Veteran midfielder Dominic Mediate also remains in camp, although it appears all senior slots have been filled. Perhaps a last-minute roster change? United plays the Charleston Battery on Saturday night.

*Still awaiting official word on the MLS All-Star Game opponent. Negotiations with Spanish club Valencia continue and some details have yet to be worked out.

*With the hiring of his 26-year-old son, Kurt, Seattle Sounders Coach Sigi Schmid now has three assistants, a goalkeeper coach and a fitness coach. (Insert jokes here.) Kurt was a college assistant coach for three years.

*Your first opportunity to see the Washington Freedom comes Saturday at 2 p.m. at Maryland SoccerPlex for a friendly against Sky Blue FC (New Jersey). Tickets are $10 and $15. WPS teams must be down to 24 players by today. Final rosters (18 senior players, four developmental) are due March 25.

*Having already clinched a U-20 World Cup berth, the USA under-20s will face host T&T tonight in the CONCACAF semifinals. Others to qualify for the tournament in Egypt this fall were Costa Rica and Honduras. And what about Mexico, one of the qualifying event's favorites? Last place in Group B with a 0-2-1 record.

*Americans abroad yesterday:
F Marcus Tracy was in the 18 but didn't play in Aalborg's 2-0 UEFA Cup loss at Manchester City

*Americans abroad today:
GK Luis Robles and Kaiserslautern host F Matt Taylor and Koblenz
D Gregg Berhalter and 1860 Munich host FSV Frankfurt

*Soccer on TV:
Mexico, Chiapas at Tecos 10 p.m. Galavision

By Steve Goff  |  March 13, 2009; 10:24 AM ET
Categories:  CONCACAF , D.C. United , MLS , TV , U.S. men's national team , Women  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Greetings From Annapolis
Next: A Few Minutes With Jeremy Hall


Great. More patches and jury-rigging. This team is beginning to resemble a beta from Microsoft...

Posted by: throwin | March 13, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Anybody have a link to Blatter's MLS remarks?

Posted by: Juan-John | March 13, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Should we expect a big crowd in annapolis on tuesday??

Posted by: Norteno4life | March 13, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Find Blatter's inanity here:


I would ignore these remarks.

Posted by: JkR- | March 13, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: mark_fitzhenry | March 13, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

A Kurt in Seattle?? The Sounders fan club must sing this before day games:

"With the lights off, it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us"

Posted by: IamAM | March 13, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Futty is back because our defense sucks. Not for any other reason. The FO is getting desperate after our initial preseason results were so scary.

Posted by: Matte | March 13, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

pretty good remarks by blatter.

Posted by: gode | March 13, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

What a tool that guy is.

Posted by: Matte | March 13, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Any idea where Greg Berhalter wants to go in MLS? That is, if he does want to come back. I like him alot.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | March 13, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Bad news on the Mexico front. Not that I don't love to see them get spanked, regardless of the age group, but we need them to get their S*&% together or we are going to have no competition at all in CONCACAF.

Posted by: hacksaw | March 13, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Blatter is simply wrong on these comments. yes, ideally, MLS would play a fall-spring schedule. but then, ideally, there would be no teams north of the Mason-Dixon line. Figuring that it's not reasonable to play soccer outdoors below about 40 degrees on a regular basis, the MLS winter break would have to be from December 1 to mid-march to accommodate northern cities.

the following MLS cities have average DAYTIME temperatures around or below 40 for the months of December-February (meaning gametimes at night lead to even lower averages:

Chicago. Columbus. Boston. New York. DC, Toronto, (soon: Philly), Salt Lake, Kansas City. pretty sure that's about half the league. The sports openings in the US are in the summer, when there is more time and more leisure going on. Americans don't want a league that takes breaks, that has two off-seasons. Anyone check the weather in Toronto today? it's 23. it is April 14th before the average low even gets to freezing. nobody plays soccer under those conditions. anywhere. Because of the currents in the Atlantic, Europe (and England where this schedule was set) have significantly milder winters than the same latitude in the US; you want to see players running around in shorts in that kind of weather? you can wear long sleeves, but imagine a team running around with underarmor compression pants on under their shorts.

the thing that FIFA needs to understand is that soccer is a different beast in some places than others. In the US, it is still a secondary game, played in a different season from must of the world. but that's just how it is. even when every team has their own stadium, I don't see MLS playing a fall-spring season. I could see them taking August off and going a bit later or starting a bit earlier, but NO ONE wants to play in December-February almost anywhere MLS is established. As MLS rosters get a little bit bigger and deeper over time (which I hope will happen) then a more congested fixture list can be allowed to fit in better with FIFA dates.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | March 13, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

oh, and what is Mediate still doing here? shouldn't the club have gently suggested that they would 'help him find another club' as they did for Thorpe?

Posted by: joshuaostevens | March 13, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Futty is back because our defense sucks. Not for any other reason. The FO is getting desperate after our initial preseason results were so scary.

Posted by: Matte | March 13, 2009 11:38 AM

@matte -- Actually, it would seem that's not true. For those of us who watched the DCU feed of the TFC game on Wed., we were told that Futty was on the bench in DCU gear, apparently ready to go. It was surprising since it seemed the roster was filled out, but I guess it makes sense for all. Until Danso can land a USL slot, he can keep working into shape and maybe leave a good impression -- and DCU gets another warm body for workouts. It's always possible that there might be some other roster move afoot, but I'm guessing not. Anyway, he was already there, before the breakdowns against Toronto.

Posted by: fischy | March 13, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Joshiaosetevens why are you so adamantly opposed to a split schedule (of course only after all MLS teams are out of stadiums shared with NFL teams) like they have in Argentina. It would get us more aligned with the int'l calendar and avoid matches in the cold winter months and take pressure off of playing on international dates. Truth be told I have only just now really begun to consider the idea so I would love to hear other peoples thoughts.

Posted by: nyjer1 | March 13, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Weather or not Sepp want MLS to play a fall-spring schedule (get it? weather?), it cannot compete for TV time and advertising $ against NFL, NCAA-D1, NCAA-D2, etc.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 13, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

MLS to Blatter: Take a hike, son. Take a hike.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | March 13, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

good analysis joshuuastevens
MLS I think is also more concerned about butts in seats than player comfort. Many players have complained about the heat (think Dallas, Houston, DC in August)and would seem to prefer playing in the cold. But the average MLS crowd is not ready to deal with sub-zero temps. We just don't have the large die-hard fanbase yet that we see with the NFL (see: Bears at Soldier Field this past december - not an empty seat in the house and the temp never got above 3 fahrenheit). We will see larger die-hard crowds someday, but until then Blatter's comments are unhelpful and display a lack of familiarity with the US sports market and geography in general.

Posted by: Washago | March 13, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey everyone,

See below from United:

"Dear United supporters,

Earlier this week, Kevin Payne asked for your support in e-mailing and calling state and county lawmakers with messages of support for our stadium proposal in Prince George's County. You responded with a deluge of e-mails that has dwarfed anything Annapolis has ever witnessed. It is truly moving the needle for us and we'll forever appreciate the passion, the creativity and the effort you all continue to display in support of our organization on the field and off.

We're again asking for your support next Tuesday in Annapolis. While we know that many of you have work obligations, we're asking our supporters, that are able, to join us at hearings before the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. Our fans will gather at 12 noon at Annapolis City Dock, which is the harbor front park at the end of the boardwalk in downtown Annapolis. People should park at meters or the city garage on Duke of Gloucester Street. Typing Susan Campbell Park, Annapolis, MD into google maps will give you the exact location.

The hearing mentioned is the first and, perhaps, most important step as the state legislature considers the bills that will enable D.C. United to contract with the Maryland Stadium Authority to build a new stadium in Prince George's County. The hearings begin at 1:00 p.m. Our collective presence is hugely important.

Those wishing to travel en masse to Annapolis may gather at RFK Stadium. A caravan will leave Lot 5 at 11:00 a.m. 
In the meantime, please continue to send e-mails via this link. They do make a difference. We're also encouraging fans to write and call Governor O'Malley, Lt. Governor Brown, and the Secretary of State's office.

What: D.C. United Stadium Rally
When: 12 noon, Tuesday, March 17
Where: Annapolis City Dock, 1 Dock St., Annapolis, MD
Who: D.C. United stadium supporters

Thanks again for all that you do. D.C. United's great strength is the collection of players, staff and fans that make up our family. Together, we achieve great things.

Doug Hicks
Vice President, Communications"

Posted by: croftonpost | March 13, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

NYjer1: I think a split schedule (the Apertura/Clausura model) would be a major mistake for MLS. the only thing that keeps any attention on MLS over the course of a season is momentum. losing that momentum halfway through the year would diminish interest. Americans like a sport with a clear cut champion (look at all the constant whining about not having an NCAA football playoff) take a look at what happens to the NHL when they take a month off for the Olympics next year. interest tanks, and takes a bit to get back up to speed, and that's only a month. There aren't enough people in the US yet who are fanatical about MLS, it's not enough of an event, to afford to lose that momentum. (this is why reducing the number of mid-week games is also a good thing, rhythm is everything in entertainment.

you know that every sunday in the fall and winter, you can find an NFL game (well through January) you know that every saturday in the fall you can find a college football game. you know that every weekend in the spring, summer and fall you can find a baseball game, you know you can find an NBA game every thursday, saturday and sunday on TNT in the winter and spring. without that sort of rhythm, you lose the casual fan. and it's the casual fan who makes it profitable.

the split season works for places the don't have competition. Even with the stadium issue resolved, MLS has no interest in going head to head at the start of a season with the NFL, NCAA football and then the NBA and NHL.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | March 13, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

@joshuaostevens -- I agree and I disagree. Actually, I think the split season could generate additional interest. Whether it's done as two separate season, as it's done south of the border, or whether it's done as as an interrupted season, as it's done in Europe. The break allows teams to retool, and use the time to generate new interest, at a time when interest might be starting to fade, especially for teams at the bottom. I don't know how old you are, but there was a great sense of renewal in 1981, when baseball came back after a mid-season strike. Restarting the standings gave every team a second chance.

However, I agree that it's foolish to consider playing after Dec. 1, or before mid-March. It's simply too cold. Even Dec. 1 is too late for Toronto, NY, Chicago or Boston -- until and unless each team gets its own SS, with a retractable roof and environment controls (which is probably a good idea, and the league should look into this, when it can afford it).

We'll have to find our own way in this country. Playing in late July and early August might not make much sense either, at least not until there are enough Northwest or Canadian teams to play all games there (I could see a mid-summer period, built around an All-Star break, where all home games are in SJ, Sea., Portland, Vanc., Mont., Denv., Tor., Chi., and Boston -- and the early and late season games could be set for Dallas, Hou., DC, LA (2 teams), SJ, NY (2 teams?), Sea., KC, and possibly StL., or another southern team). Scheduling that way could stretch out the season by a couple of weeks to get us closer to the international schedule, but it's hopeless to try and match up exactly.

Posted by: fischy | March 13, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"Own SSS", not SS.

Posted by: fischy | March 13, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I've been confused about Mediate too. Even though he doesn't have a contract with United, I'm sure he's still earning a paycheck while he's with the team, so that makes a little sense why he'd stick around. But I would think it would be smarter for his long term career possibilities to try to start looking for another club with an open spot before its too late.

Posted by: DCUMD | March 13, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

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