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Gomez Out, Notes from RFK

Hey guys, filling in for Goff this week as he heads down to Costa Rica, my father's native country, for a vacation before Wednesday's qualifier. Goff said he'd say hello to my family for me, and I in turn promised to keep this blog updated.

The biggest news out of RFK today is that Christian Gomez is out for tomorrow's game at New England with a subungal hematoma, more commonly known as a toe bruise (bruised toe?).

The toe injury, which occurred last weekend, bothered Gomez this week more than the club initially expected, and so he'll miss tomorrow.

Also out is Ben Olsen.

A quick observation upon departing the stadium was that Milos Kocic was dressed in travel gear as he left the locker room today. Presumably, that means Kocic and Josh Wicks will be traveling to New England, and Louis Crayton again will not be in uniform.

I'll leave it at that. I'll have more to come late tonight online and in tomorrow's paper on Wicks, so stay tuned.

By Paul Tenorio  |  May 29, 2009; 12:44 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Avery John Called Up by T&T


Welcome Paul. Look forward to 'spending time' with you.

I guess it would be hard to send a clearer signal that the goalie merry-go-round is over. With Gomez and Olsen out, and Moreno struggling last week, the youth movement will be in full swing.

Tal Ben Haim is available...

Posted by: fischy | May 29, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

no its not a bruise, its bleeding under the nail . . . and if you find the dentist's drill scary imagine one pointed at your toe nail to "relieve the pressure" . . .

Crayton is getting screwed. The club is going to regret this.

Posted by: OWNTF | May 29, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

@OWNTF: How exactly is Crayton 'getting screwed'?

He came into the year as the starter. He didn't do well - he just did OK. That's the problem - he just did OK at a salary NINE TIMES HIGHER than that of Kocic.

I believe he's gone in the summer unless Wicks and Kocic have a major meltdown.

Posted by: mmathai1 | May 29, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

'Subungal' means under the nail, right?

He must have taken a stud on the big toe and gotten a purple toe nail in the process.

Can't they drain those to relieve the pain/pressure under the nail?

Posted by: ErickSp8 | May 29, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

In my opinion, he's shown that on a consistent basis he's the best keeper of the three. Wicks' great game is offset by horrible efforts early in the year. So when Crayton's third on the depth chart, he's getting screwed. And I think he's been treated shabbily by Soehn in the press. If the club is relying on Wicks and Kocic for a play-off push, I think they're making a mistake. I guess we'll see, I hope I'm wrong.

My instinct would be that with a keeper, like a quarterback, you pick one, and then you ride him, and you don't mess with his head.

And if we're looking to get rid of unproductive salary, I wouldn't start with Crayton.

Posted by: OWNTF | May 29, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"unproductive" is the wrong word -- Crayton's salary is not the most disproportionate on the team relative to contribution and to what's available on the street . . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | May 29, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Really? Christian is out because of that? All he needs to do, is stick a needle that is sterilized under his toe naill, to let the blood drain, and that will relieve the pain, and he will be able to play! It didnt stop me a couple months back! I just kept the nail in place, and it acted as a shield.

Posted by: BolivianDCFan | May 29, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Maybe anyone who hasn't seen Gomez' injury should refrain from expressing themselves about it...

Posted by: fischy | May 29, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Paul. It flatters us that the writer whom Goff considers to be the most interesting man in the world will bring us soccer news for the next several days.

Posted by: Mastodon_Juan | May 29, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Toe injuries and FieldTurf don't mix as well as toe injuries and a natural surface might. Perhaps NE's field played a role in United opting to keep Gomez out this weekend.

So this just means likely more time for and reliance on Quaranta and/or Pontius this weekend -- and I'm fine with that.

Posted by: tab5g1 | May 29, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I agree with OWNTF. I still think he's the best of the three, regardless of salary so you need to start him or at least keep him heavy in the rotation. Has anyone heard if the team has even approached Crayton about staying on at a lower salary? He seems genuine in his happiness here and he's already shown to be a solid professional.

Posted by: combedge | May 29, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey Paul, since you're a fellow Tico-American maybe you can convince Rodney Wallace to play for the US over Costa Rica!

Posted by: mercedeskk | May 29, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Rodney Wallace is a long way from being ready for the US national team. I'm not saying he won't ever reach that level, but he's not even close now. He could start by developing a right foot. He's no Preki, so he'll need 2 feet -- besides, I'm not sure a Preki would crack the US team these days.

Posted by: fischy | May 29, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

United has depth at midfield this year, so no need to run out Christian this weekend if he doesn't think he's ready to go. Gives the younger guys more experience and keeps Christian fresher for the late season run.

Posted by: CrippledKeeper | May 29, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for nailing the Gomez injury, Paul. And thanks for toeing the line while Goff is gone. It's great that Goff's replacement is so well-heeled in soccer.

Posted by: joedoc1 | May 29, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Get well soon Gomer. Congrats to A. John.

TG it's such a weak opponent on tap, although DCU somehow always manages to play down to their level. Let's hope some serious blood thirst is in effect.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | May 29, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

jd, put a sock in it. ;-)

Posted by: DadRyan | May 29, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Leaving Christian out to heal is a good idea for this week, with all the hacking and stepping on folks that NE does, plus the turf. Besides, they can better defend him, I think, than some of the other non-Christian-led midfield formations we've put out this year.
I think the one that might work best is Barklage in to disrupt Shirlie Joseph, and Quaranta or Pontius further back running the show from the outside.

I was hoping (with Gomez) Quaranta would play up top, but without him, I'd put Pontius either up front or in a deep midfield spot, and Tino outside. I might stick in N'Silu up top instead - I'd still sit Jaime until the second half.

Posted by: dcufan | May 29, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Dadryan, you have no sole.

Posted by: joedoc1 | May 29, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Crayton is rarely in the correct position, comes off his line far too frequently, punches at the ball when he should catch it, and kicks the ball all the way to the other keeper when he should pass it to an open defender to play the passing soccer DC is known for. Get rid of him. Why is it so difficult to find a quality keeper?

Posted by: TheDane1 | May 29, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

jd - your comments are definitely digital age. Keep us on our toes....

Posted by: fischy | May 29, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who is arguing that Crayton has played better than Wicks did against Salt Lake doesn't remember correctly.

That said, I hope Wicks continues to play this way, especially when peppered by more prolific shot takers.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 29, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

@OWNTF and @combedge: I guess we just disagree on Crayton's contribution. He's a good pro and conducts himself well. I just don't believe his contributions have warranted his salary.

He's too adventurous for my liking, and is almost guaranteed to be out of position on a handful of shots a game. I don't need that aggravation from my keeper.

I'll grant you that there's no guarantee that Wicks can continue to play the way he did last week, but I will say that Wicks at his best was far superior to Crayton at his best. There's really no comparison. And when you throw relative salaries in there, it becomes a no-brainer.

Posted by: mmathai1 | May 29, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

With the unpredictability of the keeper merry-go-round, I don't even know if it's 100% safe to assume that Wicks is the other keeper traveling.

I do agree with OWNTF that, if forced to pick one of these keepers in a hypothetical vacuum, I'd take Crayton. However, his form this year has (to me) looked markedly worse than his contribution last year. When you add in that he was not exactly brilliant last year, and his salary, it becomes hard to see how he stays (I have my doubts as to how much of a pay cut he'd take). To go one step further, if he's on the way out, what would then be the point of playing him (which would be both undermining our other keepers' confidence and denying them added development)?

mmathai1 makes a good point that what Wicks offered up last week was better than anything Crayton has delivered in a DC shirt. However, I have to say that it was not perfect. There were at least 2 times where Wicks started to come for a cross he had no chance of getting, and then doubled back. On neither occasion did anything actually happen (I believe our defenders won the header both times), but what happens when we don't win the header and Wicks is in no man's land?

I think the big thing here isn't necessarily which of our current keepers is our best hope of winning trophies. For me, it's whether we can possibly win trophies with any of them. If you told me today that this DC United team would be playing in the MLS Cup final in November, I'd bet that our keeper on the day would be someone not currently with the club.

All that said, I hope Wicks proves me (and virtually everyone in the DC fanbase) wrong and continues to improve. Or Kocic, or Crayton. I don't really care. I'm just tired of having to be slightly worried about any cross or shot or pass even near our goal.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | May 29, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Oh, also...


I agree that we play down to teams, but the Revs are starting to figure it out a little bit. I'm not saying their current available best XI is great or anything, but they looked better at Toronto than the 3-1 scoreline indicates. I doubt they'll offer too much ambition going forward (considering their current midfield consists of 3 guys who were defenders in college and a wide man known more for application than inspiration, while their frontline is all midfielders), but they might get a few minutes out of Twellman. If they can get him in, that means Joseph can push back into midfield, and all the sudden you're looking at a different animal.

Ideally, we'll hit them for a few goals before Twellman gets in and ride out the surge that would follow the morale boost they're supposed to get from his return.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | May 29, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Fischy, that was a callus thing to say!

Posted by: bdwooton | May 30, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Wicks really did have a fantastic game last week, the main reason we salvaged a point. However, that was the first time he really stood out. He made a critical error that cost us a goal in Chicago. Let's see how he does over the next few weeks, before leaning too far either way. I like Crayton, but he hasn't played enough to justify his salary. Though I'm not convinced he's been given enough of a chance to get into a rhythm.

Posted by: IrishCR | May 30, 2009 12:57 AM | Report abuse

If you had told the Post about some local college basketball players working out, you could have gone to Costa Rica instead of Steve, Paul.

Posted by: sitruc | May 30, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

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