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United, Freedom News

*Despite their official status as "questionable", I am hearing that defender Greg Janicki and midfielder-defender Devon McTavish probably won't play Saturday against the Fire. If that turns out to be true, my guess is that a three-man backline would see Bryan Namoff returning to the right, Dejan Jakovic in the middle and Marc Burch on the left.

Perhaps a midfield of Thabiso Khumalo, Clyde Simms, Ben Olsen, Christian Gomez and Rodney Wallace? And what to do about Luciano Emilio, Chris Pontius and Jaime Moreno vying for two slot up top? Or should Pontius start on a midfield flank?

Who would you like to see in the lineup?

*Early word out west is that attendance for the WPS inaugural match between the Washington Freedom and Los Angeles Sol on Sunday at Home Depot Center (6 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel) will surpass 10,000 -- a healthy start for a league that needs to average at least 5,000-6,000 this year. video production from yesterday's Freedom media day at Maryland SoccerPlex:

By Steve Goff  |  March 26, 2009; 10:03 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , Freedom  
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Next: World Cup, NCAA Style (Regional Finals)


namoff jakovic burch
olsen simms
khumalo gomez wallace
emilio pontius

jaime, jacobsen come in in the 2nd half

Posted by: jezz | March 26, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Wow. I didn't even realize that the WPS started Sunday.

Can't believe Montero won GOTW. Seattle vote-stuffing.

Posted by: Reignking | March 26, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Well -- Tommy might want to give it another try with Jaime on the bench -- especially with a thin back line, he might want to feature younger players who can still run. I'm going with a hunch that he gives Moreno the start. Pontius starts on the flank, instead of Khumalo, who may be the most effective player off the bench. No point in trying to keep up with Chicago -- they've got horses and DCU doesn't. A solid possession game -- United football.

Posted by: fischy | March 26, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Emilio and Pontius up top, and have Moreno sub out Olsen after 60 minutes. (That is, as long as no other player gets his head split open....)

Posted by: Juan-John | March 26, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I'm excited to see Khumalo and Gomez together. I think Khumalo is going to end up a very fine addition to the team.

Posted by: jleppig | March 26, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to see Pontius start and see if he can match or surpass his play last week. Maybe he will even get to remain a forward. Remember when Marc Burch was a forward?

Posted by: JoeS3 | March 26, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

What about Doe vying for a spot up top? I thought Sohen was very pleased with Doe's pre-season performance.

Also... Ms. Wambach... I don't think my potential has been tapped either.

Posted by: WorldCup | March 26, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for all of the updates.

Posted by: sitruc | March 26, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

A couple of bad omens for the game Saturday night. Showers are predicted. Also, Earth Hour begins at 8:30 p.m. That's when we're asked to turn off all our lights and powered devices. I'm hoping that the folks at RFK don't heed that call....

Posted by: fischy | March 26, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Earth Hour? I'm incensed that these tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, recyclo-vegetarians think that they can pull this crap on soccer fans. They wouldn't dare try this during football season. At 8:30 PM I plan to watch my electric TV and eat red meat. My only regret is that my fireplace uses natural gas instead the fruits of deforestation.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | March 26, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I think Jaime needs to start. His quotes after the LA game sounded pretty disgruntled and I think it is worth starting him for harmony's sake. And he does make people around him better with his calmness on the ball. Maybe let Luci ride the pine.

Chicago is way better than LA. And we struggled against LA for some pretty long stretches especially in the first half.

Posted by: fedssocr | March 26, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

@I-270 -- I have granted a special dispensation for all soccer fans. Also for any college basketball fans if, and only if, their college or alma mater is playing at that hour.

Any other, non-essential use of power is to be frowned upon.

Posted by: fischy | March 26, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Bench Emilio, give Jaime and Party Boy the start.

Posted by: delantero | March 26, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

""I'm excited to see Khumalo and Gomez together. I think Khumalo is going to end up a very fine addition to the team.""

So long as he plays defense and doesn't let the opposing wing drive in uncontested crosses . .. like the one that Landycakes put away . . . I'll be fine with it.

Posted by: delantero | March 26, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Pontius is not a wide player in any sort of 352. The only scenario in which I could see him going wide would be a late, in-game adjustment being made because a) we're down a goal or b) we're down a man and have no more subs.

Without knowing what's happening at practice, the only spot that's up for grabs is that 2nd forward spot, since Party Boy did so well on Sunday. I think our best bet to beat Chicago is an emphasis on possession and outsmarting them, which is why I'd take Moreno (but only if he's fit to run for an hour; if not, Pontius starts by default).

I worry a bit about Khumalo defending his flank (Mapp might be lazy and inconsistent, but like most players he struggles a lot less if you just don't defend well against him). I also worry about Rolfe, whose quickness and runs off the ball have always caused us problems. On the other hand, getting them without Soumare and Segares gives us a real chance to get things going in the attack. Hamlett is already inexplicably trying to juggle their back four (experimenting with Conde in defensive midfield), so perhaps the number of adjustments will leave them vulnerable. I highly doubt we'll face a weaker version of this Chicago team this season, so taking the 3 points Saturday is vital.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | March 26, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse


Didn't you see the article on NBC4's web site yesterday. According to the author United fans are all a bunch of hippies. Us hippies are supposed to embrace such things. ;-). I like mine medium rare.

Posted by: blackandred777 | March 26, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

NBC4 apparently will have Party Boy on tonight @545 according to this:

Congratulations to WPS for getting some tickets sold out west, too bad about the Freedom so far. Hopefully some better weather and some more marketing(?) will help?

That Wonkette dorks article calling soccer fans hippies was ridiculous hope everyone told him so... Did anyone invite him to go hang out with the Barra for a tailgate and match to see how hippyish it is?

---Luci-------Party Boy--
Jaime Super Subs in for Gomez, Luci, or Pontius.
We could really use a Healthy Fred right now...
Jacobsen could be subbed in to the midfield, possibly even for Gomez...Right...?
Thanks STeve.

Posted by: DadRyan | March 26, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Oops that BTB change while I was typing the above craziness. Looks like Pontius will be on tomorrow night

Posted by: DadRyan | March 26, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Just grind mine up raw and serve it on black bread with chopped onion.

Posted by: Curious99 | March 26, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"My only regret is that my fireplace uses natural gas instead the fruits of deforestation."

Yeah, b/c breathing clean air and having it replenished by acres of trees absorbing C02 is such an irrelevant matter.

As is pushing up CAFE standards, reducing dependence on foreign, particularly Venezuelan oil, and using sustainable energy. Screw the earth. Me first.

Posted by: delantero | March 26, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Fossil fuels? I use dead hippy baby fat to lube my bike chains!

Posted by: DadRyan | March 26, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I got mine Jack. Who cares about future generations, or my old age. I probably won't live live 40 more years, so I don't have to worry about the coming droughts that will have the Pacific Northwest residents as worried about water as Californians are now. I certainly won't worry about those in other parts of the world. The fact that much of the Sahara desert was fertile land 3-5,000 years ago? Doesn't trouble me. I ain't gonna live that long.

Posted by: fischy | March 26, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

It will be one less thing for soccer fans to worry about. In 40 years, grass fields will be either too expensive or illegal, like golf courses.

Posted by: fischy | March 26, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

There's a real quandary here. On one hand, neither Jaime nor Gomez can go 90 minutes. OTOH, they need to be on the field, with energy left, at the same time. If you don't start Jaime, you almost might as well not start Gomez, because the two of them are a unit. With Jaime not on the field, Gomez is half as effective as otherwise. Putting Jaime on late, when Gomez has no gas left or is subbed out himself, isn't so helpful.

All of this presumes that Gomez and Moreno still have that telepathic bond, of course. I dunno if that's true.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | March 26, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure how grass even grows at RFK. They must re-sod it every week.

Posted by: Reignking | March 26, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Nope. They sod it before the season, and then water it...a lot.

Posted by: fischy | March 26, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

RFK uses Anacostia River water, which contains massive amounts of nitrogen that escape the coffee filters they use in the treatment plant, thus allowing all that great sht to make the grass happy.

Posted by: billq1 | March 26, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Namoff JaKovic Burch
Olsen Simms
Khumalo Gomez Wallace
Moreno Emilio

Posted by: ThE-BaRRa-BrAvA-KiD | March 26, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

With Fred and Quaranta out AND rain coming through, I don't think we're going to be seeing pretty soccer. If Ben, Jaime, and Gomez start, its almost guaranteed their legs are gonna be mush by the middle of the second half. The wet turf can't be good for Olsens ankles either, I wouldn't be surprised to see Jacobson and Simms start in the mid-field.

Posted by: Springfie1d | March 26, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse


I say try some new blood out there, and bring on the vets as needed. Emilo was sluggish the first game and he needs to feel someone nipping at his heels.

Posted by: Wiggan | March 26, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

WTOP had a nice interview yesterday with Kevin Payne. It was nice to hear a pro stadium voice for a change. Here's the link:

Posted by: blackandred777 | March 26, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see:


considering all the injuries.

Posted by: Konoha7 | March 26, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

A couple of those interviewed Freedom players have moustaches they need to do something about.

Posted by: Ron16 | March 26, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse


I would argue that Gomez is better than you're saying without Moreno. I do agree that Gomez is at his best with Moreno, but he also combines well with the other experienced players (Olsen and Emilio, for example). Basically, he just needs to be surrounded by other players who get by more with their brains than their legs. This explains a lot of why Colorado didn't want to use him; lots of hard-working, fairly dim players. If you're not on Gomez's wavelength, it's hard for him to use you.

From the LA game, I saw evidence that Olsen, Emilio, and possibly Pontius have that kind of cerebral approach that will ensure a good understanding with Gomez.

We'll need to have at least 2 players that can control the tempo on the field from the start. If we roll without Olsen and Moreno, for example, Chicago will have even more success than normal with their preferred "kick whoever's good on DC" strategy. Our game will be reduced to a blue-collar style that we are not really cut out for, and Chicago does that better than us anyway. If Chicago gets us away from playing possession soccer, we will almost certainly lose.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | March 26, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Ron -- you didn't go there, did you? I was going to make a joke about the coach's clean-shaven look, but I held back....

Posted by: fischy | March 26, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

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