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Matchnight #2: United-Fire

Greetings from RFK, the 14th home opener in D.C. United history.

Misty, cool, dreary day along the banks of the mighty Anacostia. Beware of Lot 8 potholes.

You should know that, more than three months since Navy played a college football bowl game here, there are faint outlines of yard lines/marks and scuffed patches in midfield in front of the team benches. Terrific.

We're not expecting a big crowd for several reasons: murky weather, not much buzz about the home team and, of course, World Cup qualifiers on TV, including USA-El Salvador at 9 p.m. The biggest turnouts for a home opener were 35,000 in both 1996 and 1999, 28K in 1997 and 24K in 2000 and 2004. The smallest: 15,000 in 2002 and 17K the following year. Last season, the figure was 20,161.

Reminder: No standard TV coverage tonight. You'll need to purchase Direct Kick through your cable/satellite provider or watch online.

Back soon with DCU's starting lineup and reserves.

DCU LINEUP (3-5-2): Wicks; Namoff, Jakovic, Burch; Pontius, Olsen, Simms, Gomez, Wallace; Moreno, Emilio. Subs: Kocic, Peters, Barklage, Jacobson, Khumalo, Doe, N'Silu.

As usual, you've come to the right place for pregame, in-game and postgame discussion.

By Steve Goff  |  March 28, 2009; 5:45 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Matchnight: USA-ES


I thought I heard that mlslive was going to be free this year?

Posted by: laur84 | March 28, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

MLS Match Center (what it is called now I think) is 19.95 which isnt bad and is much better than DK if you live out of area (like me). Seems the quality of the video has gotten better this year also.

Man... that parking fee! uggggggggggggg!! *thump*

Posted by: FatSickBoot | March 28, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

But if you live in area- can we watch todays game of get blacked out?

Posted by: laur84 | March 28, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Parking last year was $12. It was $10 the year before that.

I don't mind paying extra if it will help DC pay for the new stadium at Poplar Point. Oh... F-Fenty

Posted by: J_S_F | March 28, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

J_S_F beat me to the punch. A 50% price hike in 2 years. I'm surprised someone from the city government doesn't stand along the entrance to Lot 8 egging cars or mooning people.

The bit about the field still looking post-bowl game despite the amount of time that's passed is not encouraging. I thought that RFK's upkeep couldn't get worse.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | March 28, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I know Goff mentioned you could get Direct Kick to see the game but don't bother. It is on a station that no one in the DC area is getting due to some mix up at inDemand. Comcast is working on it but after seven (yes, seven!) calls to their service center I would say that my confidence is extremely low that they will have it fixed before 7:30.

Wish I was at RFK...will be watching the Match Center feed instead. :-(

Posted by: lageftic | March 28, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Janicki, not Jakovic?

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | March 28, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

well we are going to be there...pizzas are done, beers down, now for a 20 minute walk to RFK.

Posted by: mbetka23 | March 28, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

The USL online package is free this season, not the MLS one.

Posted by: beach3 | March 28, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

they do have blackout rules but where i am (upstate NY) ive never been subject to them for a DC game. aside from the national ones (ESPN, Telefutura and FSC) blackouts sound like they are regional based on your IP address.

Posted by: FatSickBoot | March 28, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

They really, really, really need to move that EagleBank Bowl to Nats Park.

Posted by: evwill | March 28, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Feeds anyone?

Posted by: redskinsux | March 28, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Chest, that's gotta be an error - Jakovic should be starting in the middle.

Posted by: combedge | March 28, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

My bad -- wrong J defender

It is Jakovic

Janicki isn't in uniform


The Twitter alert was accurate ;-)

Posted by: Steve Goff | March 28, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

so i bought the $5 day pass, but it now looks like this game is not shown? whats up with that? Anyone know for sure if it will be available on

Posted by: qwerty652 | March 28, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

nevermind, there it is

Posted by: qwerty652 | March 28, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

no other feeds? I didn't see any on

Posted by: StewartDC8 | March 28, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Here's a radio feed:

I clicked on Windows Media Player workin good.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | March 28, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Goal Luci!!!

Posted by: 9Nine9 | March 28, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Where was THAT last year Emilio?!??!

Posted by: edgeonyou | March 28, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Does Olsen get an assist since he gave the ball away and then recovered his mistake by sliding tackling the ball to Lucho?

Posted by: delantero | March 28, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

What are the rules for getting into playoffs this year?

Posted by: 9Nine9 | March 28, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse


I'm watching on Direct Kick (Comcast).

I don't remember paying.

Posted by: B_A_ | March 28, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

The goal is listed as unassisted on MLSnet matchtracker.

Posted by: ncguy | March 28, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

20 minutes in, no shots for Chicago.

Posted by: Reignking | March 28, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

ahhhh B_A_ ! You're lucky!

Posted by: StewartDC8 | March 28, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

is this a chicago team annoucing the game? i can believe what that idiot said about olsen. he is the team captain. of course he has something to say

Posted by: hiro_pro1 | March 28, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

just spent $5 to get the second half via mlslive or whatever its call - really clear screen, nice audio stream...and they update the picture every 4 seconds. This is crp. Is it just me or is it this way for everyone?

Posted by: TheOtherRK | March 28, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

TheOtherRK, It's the same for me. The first half the picture was fine; after half-time it scks.

Posted by: buck-bass-goal | March 28, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

hmm - the stream is working fine for me

(although I didn't really need to see Chicago score a goal . . .)

Posted by: emanon13 | March 28, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

How soon until Crayton is back? Wicks becomes more of a liability as the game goes on...ugh.

Posted by: kjcoop | March 28, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Chicago announcers on mlsnet just referenced DCU #99 as "the Colombian".

Posted by: buck-bass-goal | March 28, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

on a positive note, the mlsnet stream is much improved over last far

Posted by: qwerty652 | March 28, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I may have missed it...why not Crayton in goal? He's not even on the bench.

Posted by: buck-bass-goal | March 28, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Doe, wide left...Namoff, wide

Posted by: buck-bass-goal | March 28, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Guzan, Hejduk, Bocanegra, Califf, Pearce, Kljesestan, Beasley, Ching and Donovan starting against El Salvadore. No yellow cards yet and the match is only 30 mins away. ; )

Posted by: 9Nine9 | March 28, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

this "stream" sucks

Posted by: TheOtherRK | March 28, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Wicks muffs the save and hussles back to knock the rebound shot by McBride over the bar. Hang on for the tie please...

Posted by: buck-bass-goal | March 28, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Ok, brightside. A 1-1 draw missing five starters against the odds-on favourites to win the league. I'll take it.

Some notes: burch is awful, is he this year's dyachenko? Party boy had another nice game, and Wallace keeps looking better. Wicks is an improvemet over Wells, for sure. We have no one capable or willing to shoot from 20, we need to work on that. Still, I am not disappointed, overall.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | March 28, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Man, those Chicago announcers were horrible. I wonder if they even know that it is Nyarko and not Nyanko, as they pronounced it all night long.

They absolutely hated Benny Olsen and loved, loved, loved Brian McBride. I felt like I was watching a couple of casual Chicago Fire fans - with very little knowledge of MLS or even soccer - call the game. Makes me so glad that we have our team of announcers - even when Thomas Rongen says "thanks for coming" at least ten times every broadcast.

Posted by: combedge | March 28, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I didn't think Burch played all that poorly. Certainly not Dyachenko-like!

Posted by: combedge | March 28, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

That was the tale of two halves.

It must be a free preview weekend for DK. I am watching Seattle v RSL at the moment.

Wicks is the new Wells. The only difference between them is "ick".

Benny is hilarious. He needs to be a little more careful when he already has a yellow though.

When did McBride turn into such a crybaby? Was he always like that? I don't remember him whining to the ref so much in the past.

Once Pontius figures out that Moreno and Gomez are not nearly as fast as he is he will be pretty dangerous. Those balls he played for them to run onto were hopeless.

I am actually a lot more hopeful than I was before the season started. If we can get guys healthy and once everyone is on the same page we will be a very good team.

The only glaring weakness is GK. And even Crayton can be a pretty big liability at times. We need Perkins back.

Posted by: fedssocr | March 28, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Anyone knows what channel is Direct Kick on Fios in Arlington Va?

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | March 28, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

DK is on 758-760 on Comcast Arlington

Posted by: fedssocr | March 28, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

oops,sorry. I misread that. Isn't there some sort of program guide on FiOS?

Posted by: fedssocr | March 28, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Thank you. I don't think they carry it. It says PPV coming soon on Ch 1490-1499 but there is nothing there. I wanted to watch Seattle game. Oh well. I don't want to buy that MLSnet thing. It's such a shame that we can't even get a game to watch never mind willing to purchase the package.
I am shocked to realized Comcast dumped the game too. Disgusting. Maybe it deserves it the way DCU played.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | March 28, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

""Once Pontius figures out that Moreno and Gomez are not nearly as fast as he is he will be pretty dangerous.""

Uh, once Gomez and Moreno figure out that Pontius isn't as slow as they are, they might look for Pontius on the run . .

Looks like Emilio figured it out as Party Boy made a great run, but Gomito tossed a slow roller to Lucho or was it to the Chicago D . . . with Pontius alone and with two steps . .

Posted by: delantero | March 28, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

OK, here's the unpopular yet I believe "tough love" and accurate post for this evening: DCU was completely outcoached tonight. Why? Both Blanco and Rolfe started on the bench this evening (even though we're talking about the top two Chicago Fire goal producers from last season) because neither one was ready to go 90 minutes. As a contrast, Moreno should have been subbed at halftime because he was completely ineffective, and both Olsen and Gomez should have have been subbed out by 60 minutes because they were both clearly out of gas at that point. Our best players were Wallace and Pontius. and Jacobsen should have been subbed in for Olsen. Loyalty is a wonderful thing--unless it keeps us from winning...

Posted by: dcarmy | March 29, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Personal highlight for me was when Olsen completely leveled Blanco. It was away from the ball and he just knocked him flat. Blanco just had this stunned look on his face.

Posted by: jmingus | March 29, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse


we clearly lack speed and our core players are old and slow. what does it say for us if both moreno and gomez are subbed out before Olsen. was it strategic? doubtful.

this is going to be a long year methinks.

Posted by: torrey151 | March 29, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

jmingus, I am pretty sure that was dive.

I really like pontius and wallace. Great additions to the team and through the draft no-less! Jaime is not having the kind start to the season I was hoping, lets cross our fingers and hope 35 years didn't catch up to him in the offseason. At this stage (which is early) he is a super-sub, work it out so that he and gomez manage their minutes with one starting spot.

This team is a completely different animal with benny in the line-up, It scares me to think what we will ever do without him (besides miss the playoffs and not win our last dozen games of the season).

Lets hope crayton's first start is a clean sheet so we can firmly shut the door on the wicks experiment. He's not terrible, but I thought he should have positioned himself better on the goal.

Posted by: The_Dude_Abides1 | March 29, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse

I was there, and it feels like I watched a totally different game. Jakovic made TWO horrific errors, one of which resulted in the goal for Chicago.

Everybody else played fine. Benny came SOOO close to scoring a goal off a header.

Posted by: Juan-John | March 29, 2009 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Once Fred and Tino come back... maybe let Moreno come off the bench and put Pontius up top with Emilio?

Oh, and what a co-eenk-e-dink it was that on the day the US has a game that the Galaxy have a bye?

Posted by: FatSickBoot | March 29, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

My report from RFK -- responding to comments above: Burch actually looked really good out there -- he even stuffed Blanco when he had a one-on-one. Jakovic not so much, but he was a victim of DCs inability to hold pssession in the second half.

They had 2 decent moments in the 2nd half. First -- when Moreno dropped a perfectly weighted pass on to Pontius chest (just before Soehn mysteriously subbed out Jaime -- Jaime was our best player). #2 was when Doe got behind the defense and sure seemed onside to us. Other than that, and one smart play where Doe dropped back instead of going up for a head battle but got the ball when the defenders heavy touch came out to Doe, Doe was just horrible. His touches were awful. I admire what he achieved in that last home game a year ago, but he is not very skilled.

Pontius, on the other hand, is skilled. He will be fun to watch as he grows. Wallace, as well. Some smart movement, but his teammates did not understand.

Overall, the team looked good in the 1st half, but not at all in the 2nd half. Very slow. And old. Emilio disappeared. I would have subbed him off before Moreno.

Blanco did dive. Plain as day. Did not see what happened between him and Burch to get the yellow for Marc.

Wicks... Now I remember why I did not think he was very good at LA. His hands are not so good.

Gomez has to do a lot better. DC needs him to drive the attack. He did not do that.

Considering how good DC looked in the first half, it was a disappointing result. Considering how bad they looked in the 2nd half, it was probably a fortunate result.

Posted by: fischy | March 29, 2009 1:28 AM | Report abuse

I watched the United game and the Rapids/Wizards game on Match Center and had zero trouble with the feed. Pretty crystal all night. Those that had trouble, who is your provider? I'm with Verizon FIOS, which is why I'm watching on Match Center. FIOS hasn't yet contracted with DirectKick.

Posted by: croftonpost | March 29, 2009 1:52 AM | Report abuse

Lets hope crayton's first start is a clean sheet so we can firmly shut the door on the wicks experiment. He's not terrible, but I thought he should have positioned himself better on the goal.

Posted by: The_Dude_Abides1 | March 29, 2009 12:46 AM

I was sitting at an angle behind the goal watching that play unfold, and it really did seem like Wicks made no effort to get low for the block. I'm not a keeper, but it would have seem to me he should have gotten lower to the ground, rather than try to stay upright.

Posted by: VTUnited | March 29, 2009 1:57 AM | Report abuse

Agreed with most of Fischy's comments, esp. regarding Emilio. Hooray for the goal, but where was he the rest of the game? I feel like we need a striker to step up, to be that "go-to" guy when the going gets tough and we need someone we can count on for goals, and it pains me to say it, but Emilio increasingly doesn't look like that guy.

And I also must say: a lineup featuring Emilio-Pontius up top with Fred and Tino on the wings in an exciting proposition. I can't wait to see it in action (hopefully!).

Posted by: VercengetorixII | March 29, 2009 2:02 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure the yellow to Burch was for an altercation with Nyarko away from the ball. I'm a Hokie and loved Patrick as one, but that was some Blanco-esque acting. He kept elbowing and nudging Burch around midfield and Burch would step up for position. Then Nyarko acted like he got hit in the nose. He didn't, but a few minutes later Burch got the card.

Posted by: sitruc | March 29, 2009 3:44 AM | Report abuse

Re the stadium conditions, the pitch, Lot 8, the concessions service, the beer ...all substandard. It is pretty easy to see Fenty's Administration could not care less about the one professional team that is actually affordable for the community. At some point, this is going to start affecting the team, if it hasn't already.

Posted by: jnel | March 29, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

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