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Revs, USL, Freedom, Marquez

*The New England Revolution signs a 19-year-old forward from Cameroon: Stephane Assengue Ombiogno. Yup, we'll need a pronunciation guide: steh-FAHN ah-SENG-gay ohm-bee-OGG-no.

*USL matches will be available live online for no charge.

*As expected, the Washington Freedom has finalized contracts with USA forward Abby Wambach and Australian forward Lisa De Vanna. Six others also signed. Terms were not disclosed.

* offers an insightful interview with Mexican defender Rafael Marquez. A must read.

*Don't forget to vote in the mock World Cup! Final four berths are at stake.

*Don't forget to join us on Twitter for first-alert updates!

By Steve Goff  |  March 26, 2009; 3:33 PM ET
Categories:  Freedom , MLS , Mexico , USL  
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Next: Friday Kickaround


That was an interesting interview, but it left me wondering even more about what he thought of the Mexican program and specific problems.

Posted by: sitruc | March 26, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else notice that the Freedom posters show an unidentified player in last season's kit? It seems to me that if things were done earlier, a recognizable player could be on the posters in her current kit. But I guess it's more important to debut the uniforms at fashion week in NY.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 26, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Mexico's camp is tense and feeling under siege. Yesterday, Nery Castillo really got it into it with the reporters at a press conference and seemed to be challenging one of them to a fight.

Like in lots of countries, Mexico's WC qualifying campaign, gets lots of media attention and some folks feel more pressure. But in the US we don't have as much of a problem as only hippies follow the sport while mainstream folks focus on more important events like televised poker.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | March 26, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

The Marquez interview was kind of interesting because he fully admits that Mexican soccer is "stagnating." But then when pressed to specify what he means by that and where the problem lies, he just makes vague generalizations about the media! Dude, the game is played on the field, not in the papers...

Posted by: edgeonyou | March 26, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Q - So are Sven-Goran Eriksson and this group of players the right ones to take El Tri to South Africa?
A - We have to be ourselves, that's for sure.

Real A - Probably not.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 26, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

The interview surprised me. I think it shows that, deep down, even they can't hide from their increasingly evident problems.

That said, I'm still not confident that he won't see red again. In fact, I think the fans might start fire-bombing if things get much worse.

I'm not sure the healing will begin until after they tank before or during the next world cup.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | March 26, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

So, I'm sure that this is new information, and I wouldn't have seen it had Kyle Sheldon not hipped me to it. Check out the info about cycling to RFK, the new bike racks, and bike route PDF courtesy of DDOT! I know riding home is the big problem most people will have, I know riding at night and after loads of beers isn't ideal, but this will make it easier for those of us who might ride in, and do some after hours tailgating waiting for the Metro to clear out enough to bring our bikes on the train heading back to Virginia!!!

I hope some folks get with it and ride this year!

Posted by: DadRyan | March 26, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

"I know riding at night and after loads of beers isn't ideal"

How bout you start a Pedicab/Rickshaw service? Just put a cooler with ice on the back and I'm in.

Posted by: delantero | March 26, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

(AP) CHICAGO -- Cuauhtemoc Blanco says this will be his last season with the Chicago Fire.

"My contract will be done, and I will leave happy because I have great teammates. It's a decision I made. I'm going to look for other options," Blanco said earlier this week, remarks reported Wednesday by the Chicago Tribune.

Posted by: delantero | March 26, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

From Payne on WTOP.

"We think that there was confusion about what the people were voting on . . ." Kevin Payne.

Can someone explain that? A)The 5 council members are dumb? B)The 5 council members didn't understand it, but voted anyway?

"The city asked us to build at Poplar Point."
Was this reported by Nakamura?

"We wanted to be in the middle of a new economic development."

So you could still build a STADIUM in DC but won't because Poplar is the only option to be a part of new development. Seems like someone has been saying that all along. It's not about a stadium, it's about our owners Real Estate deal. Caca de Toros.

Posted by: delantero | March 26, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Interesting pickup by the Revs. If this were 2008, I'd say that's the kind of signing we need. Now, we've got plenty of younger, unproven players.

Posted by: carmines757 | March 26, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Delantero, Mayor Williams asked DCU to put together some concepts for the stadium at Poplar Point back in 2000 or so. The city approached the team.

But, baseball and DC politics (including a change of mayors) really seemed to change the course of things.

Posted by: JkR- | March 26, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

delantero, Supposedly there was a back and forth and confusion with the MNCPPC plans being lumped in with the stadium study vote. At least one voted against because of lack of knowledge of that project.

Posted by: sitruc | March 26, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

@delantero. It's been no secret that the development aspect at Poplar Point was what attracted MacFarlane to buy the team. He's said so. AEG wasn't all that interested in that, but Victor was. As for abandoning the Poplar Point option, that did not happen when United and MacFarlane were cut out of ancillary development by Fenty. It happened within a week or 2 of Clark 's backing out their "winning" bid to develop the area.

Without that, there was no developer, and the other major bidders hadn't really included a stadium in their plans. There was no Poplar Point plan, and certainly none that included a stadium. The city announced it would revisit the plans in November. Who knows if that would include a stadium option, and even if there would be a developer ready to move?

As to the Blanco thing -- I haven't seen the Trib piece, but FSC reported that Blanco said he would consider options outside MLS, AND possibly other teams in MLS. We could speculate about what might mean. Dallas? Houston? Chivas USA? A new franchise -- Philly?

Posted by: fischy | March 26, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

@delantero: A pedicab crew would work great if there was anywhere within a reasonable riding distance nearby. I suppose you could shuttle people back in forth from the metro stop, but that'd be a waste of breath, time and money. What is ideal is a bunch of bars that people pregame in and postgame at.
I used to know a lot of folks that would work the pedicab gig in Pioneer Square in Seattle on game days, shuttling folks to and from the bars to the baseball/football/and now the real football games.
That at times was a good hustle.
NOw if they built in Poplar Point and you were to hustle people back and forth over the bridge so they could get back on Metro... Now that might work...
Or if they build a strip mall of bars and stuff near the new stadium I'll consider it. I'll just have to get some sort of bat cave to store all the cabs with my ivory tower built on top...

Posted by: DadRyan | March 26, 2009 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Well, that last caller to Mr. Payne on WTOP, while full of bitterness and vitriol, was sort of correct. There is NADA around that Morgan Blvd stop. And what might eventually be there will be a Reston of sorts, yikes. An informal poll of diehard fans reveals that after games they will get back in there cars and move on back to NOVA, etc. Or there Metro, or bike . .

No place for a pedicab there, either!

A stadium in DC will be worth WAY more for the team and the league than any other site. It will attract people to the game. If you don't think so, go to an EPL match. Then go to Frisco, TX.

McF, Payne and Co just don't get it!

"Hear me now, understand me later." SNL.

Posted by: delantero | March 26, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Dad -- Not that it matters, because they won't be building there, but there is a Metro stop right there on the Poplar Point side of the bridge. No pedicabs needed. But, that brings up an idea -- why not build on the north side of the river, by Nationals Park? That development is going nowhere fast, anyway. The few bars around there would love the soccer business.

Of course, it would mean that Metro stop would be even more backed up, if that's possible, when both teams are playing. Come to think of it, that's a pretty good reason for not building at Poplar Point, too. Not sure if the Green Line could handle 2 games with start times less than a half-hour apart.

Good thing they're sticking with the Blue Line.

Posted by: fischy | March 26, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey fischy, you are right as rain about the closeness of the Anacostia station to Poplar point vs RFK to Armory distance.

All your comments have got me thinking, looking at maps, and scratching my head as to why the club, District of Columbia, or any one would be looking anywhere other than, an in this order:Poplar Point. 2) in the Nationals Park neighborhood, on the Northside of the river, but further north and/or east to access South Capital Metro stop, or Eastern Market...3) something in Southwest... Tear down the ghetto on the SW side of South cap and build there... relocate everyone to some new development/condo's on M st SW...
Dude. I hope I didn't piss off anyone with my ideas that originated with fischy's *stream of consciousness* rants of the last couple weeks...;-)
Poplar Point still makes the most sense to me. Developing on the other side of the river is vital to tying the District back together. Yes We Can!!!!

Posted by: DadRyan | March 27, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Or keep trying to build in PG.. Just looking at google maps/ metro station maps, etc. Poplar point is prime. I don't know why it would be such a problem... Maybe they think they can get the skins to build on the south side of the bridge????

Posted by: DadRyan | March 27, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

As it true with lots of things, perception is the new reality.

A friend of mine who I find mostly sane and rational posted this on Facebook yesterday:

"Jack Johnson wants to cut school funds but supports building a stadium for a soccer team. stadium > kids education. Or am I wrong, anyone?"

I don't know about the school funding issue in PG, but anytime you pose the stadium issue in this sort of "one vs. the other" format, especially one involving schools & kids, that is very bad news. This sort of little "sound bite" sticks in people's heads despite whatever facts might be floating around.

And for some, any connection to Mr. Johnson is not a good thing, either.

United needs to get out some short, simple "stadium factoids" that can inform folks about the (perceived) benefits of the stadium and *especially* about the impact, or lack thereof (?), on taxpayers and other services.

Posted by: 22206no1 | March 27, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Or the heck with PG, Arlington STILL has not broken ground @ let's pop a stadium in there real quick-like!

Posted by: 22206no1 | March 27, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

The best *site* in the entire Metro area - let's face it - is the one where they play now.
DCU should buy the RFK site from DC, renovate or rebuild on it while they play at another local stadium for 1 or 2 seasons (Byrd, Navy, Georgetown, etc). They come out of that with ownership of the site and new facility with no strings. And they take ownership of the process instead of waiting for someone else to do it for them. And they commit firmly to DC, beyond the next political debacle.
All the other options are starting to look as foolish as they are unlikely.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | March 27, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Insightful? That's tongue in cheek right? A total softball Oprah-style platform for a disgraceful thug to attempt some public rehabilitation? Why don't you send Cobi Jones or Tim Howard to interview him. That's the insight I'd like to have.

Posted by: OWNTF | March 27, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

DCU can't buy the RFK site from D.C. as D.C. doesn't actually own the site. It's technically federal property.

Posted by: evwill | March 27, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

A stadium in Virginia??? No way. I wouldn't come to games anymore...


Posted by: fischy | March 27, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

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