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United News & Notes

After missing a couple training sessions as well as Saturday's match because of his daughter's illness, midfielder Fred will not travel to Kansas City and prepare for this weekend's game against Toronto.

Midfielder Ben Olsen will also skip the trip to rest his ankle. Defender Marc Burch has a sore ankle and will also skip the trip.

The traveling goalkeepers are Louis Crayton and Milos Kocic.

I will have much more about Fred's daughter later. And look for a story about DCU's goalkeeping situation in Wednesday's print edition (available online tonight).

Knowing all of this, who would you like to see in the lineup tomorrow?

By Steve Goff  |  May 5, 2009; 10:53 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Daniela: Ligaments, Tibia Damage

Comments

Is the game going to be on Comcast or is it the dreaded hockey game?

My lineup is:
----Emelio----------Quaranta
Wallace------Gomez-----------Pontius
--------Simms-----Jacobson---------
Namoff------Janicki--------Jakovic
------------Kocic-----------------

However it is likely that John may start at LB and even possible that McTavish will get the nod in Midfield. I don't see Jaime making the start on three days rest.

Posted by: no_recess | May 5, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

--------------Crayton--------------
-----------------------------------
---Jakovic-----Janicki----Namoff---
-----------------------------------
---------Jacobsen---Simms----------
--Pontius------------------Wallace-
---------------Gomez---------------
-----------------------------------
----------Quaranta--Emilio---------

Maybe this is the week that we first see John, but Janicki looked good against Dallas in USOC so why not go back to the same backline as the season opener? Figure with a game Saturday that Gomez and Moreno will both get partial games. I like Crayton back in goal, Kocic didn't show me he was any upgrade on Saturday.

Posted by: the_slammer | May 5, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Times like this we have to step back and remind ourselves that football is a game and in some cases a business, but there are more important things in life. My prayers for Fred and his family.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | May 5, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Jakovic has looked really good in the center of the defense lately. I think we keep him there for the moment, at least if John is fit to fill in for Burch (or, you know, take the starting job outright). If we need to change to a four-man back line, then I see Janicki slotting in. But for me, since the D is starting to jell as a unit, I vote for disrupting as little as possible.

In the midfield, I wouldn't be surprised to see Barklage come on for Gomez in the center of the park later in the game. I'd also expect to see Quaranta and Pontius trading spots up top and on the right wing throughout the game.

I'm not totally sold on Jacobsen, yet, though. He hasn't impressed me too much so far, but he's probably going to get the start in KC, so I hope he changes my mind. Hopefully he'll provide some of the fight we'll be missing due to Benny's absence. We'll need it to shut down and frustrate Davy Arnaud.

Posted by: TheAMT | May 5, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Re: TV

I think Versus has the Caps game tomorrow night, which means CSN will be able to show DCU... right?

Posted by: TheAMT | May 5, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Nothing has changed with TV situation: DCU on Comcast, Caps on Versus

Posted by: Steve Goff | May 5, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

My household's thoughts are with Fred. Positive vibrations for his whole family.

Whoever was doggin' him for missing travel last week is an idiot. Or feeling sorry for being so quick to judge.

Posted by: DadRyan | May 5, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Quaranta's versatility is really fitting nicely with the pattern of Moreno and Gomez (and Olsen) not going 90. Great to have guys who can shift from a withdrawn forward into the playmaking role, or vice versa.

Posted by: benonthehill | May 5, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

---- Quaranta -- Emilio ----
---------- Gomez ----------
Wallace ------------ Pontius
---- Simms --- McTavish ----
John ---- Janicki ---- Namoff
--------- Crayton ---------

Subs: N'Silu, Barklage, Jakovic

Posted by: DWE4 | May 5, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

4 teams with 2 games (and Colorado with none). Time for some fantasy MLS changes...

Posted by: Reignking | May 5, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

What's McTavish's status? I'd like to see him and Simms at DM to contain Arnaud and bring some cohesion to the MF in general.

Even in streets, I wish Olsen would make the trip. He can hop around and scream at people from the sidelines, and probably have more influence on the games than he has on the field lately. I hope, long-term, they start using him as a second-half sub where he can do some damage.

Competition on the wing has to open up at some point. Pontius and Wallace have really been mailing it in lately, and long balls out of the back are not going to cut it once DCU finally confronts a respectable team. We need Fred and Quaranta back in that mix, at least to pressure those guys to step it up and play like pros for 90 minutes.

Either one of the vets could also handle CM, giving Soehn the option of pushing Gomez forward if Emilio continues to dog it up front.

Meanwhile, Soehn has the luxury of several young, hungry, and able bodies to try-by-fire, and up until now, mostly very weak teams to break them in against. He's been making the best of it and I assume he'll continue to do so.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | May 5, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Why on earth would you take out Jakovic who is having an outstanding season so far. He is one of the primary reasons the team that was so suspect on defense at the start of the year has been in every game this season.

If you wanted to see Janicki in the middle then I might put Jakovic on the left. Unless you feel the need to rest him, Jakovic is close to an automatic starter on this team.

As to Crayton vs Kocic, I have to wonder if people think about what they write. If Kocic is the same as Crayton in performance, then why start Crayton? Crayton is supposed to be the seasoned veteran that is being paid a couple of hundred k more than Kocic. He is playing so/so and does not have a big upside.

Kocic is a young kid that is only going to get better with experience. His upside is huge. Unless the kid implodes, I would keep working on getting him the experience.


Posted by: dcufan531 | May 5, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

What is the word on Davy Arnaud? Is he fit to play?

Posted by: WalkingFumble | May 5, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"Why on earth would you take out Jakovic who is having an outstanding season so far."

Agreed. DCU has lacked a defensive anchor since Nelsen left; only Jakovic has even come close to filling those shoes. (Perkins was a good sweeper too, but that tended to distract from his goalkeeping duties)

"As to Crayton vs Kocic, I have to wonder if people think about what they write. If Kocic is the same as Crayton in performance, then why start Crayton? Crayton is supposed to be the seasoned veteran that is being paid a couple of hundred k more than Kocic."

I think you just answered your own question. I would add that KC is not Dallas.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | May 5, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Agree w/ Godfather on Jakovic. Re: Kocic/Crayton, it's exactly the risk of imploding that I want to avoid. Work Kocic in slowly, build his confidence against bottom-feeders, and let him adjust to the pro game before handing him the keys.

I do have to disagree with Godfather on Olsen, though. Benny's been a rock for us at D-mid. It took a couple of games, but he and Simms have been developing a good chemistry back there, and Olsen has been playing really well - breaking up the opposing attack before it develops, fighting for every ball, frustrating Cooper to the point where dude got booked for throwing him to the ground... The offensive numbers aren't there (though the GW vs. the Revs was huge), but they're not supposed to be when he lines up as DM.

Posted by: TheAMT | May 5, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious about McTavish too. I thought he was excellent in the OC game. But he can't even get in as a sub now. I am a bit surprised that Jacobsen seems to be preferred over him.

Posted by: fedssocr | May 5, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

This is the first I've heard re: what the "family emergency" was for Fred. Is there any more information re: what's going on with his daughter?

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | May 5, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

"I will have much more about Fred's daughter later."

Posted by: Reignking | May 5, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled Benny's on the field at all, just like everyone else. I'd never belittle his value as a leader, especially when he's sharing the field with the rookie mids. No question he earns every penny of his considerable salary. His "numbers" are totally irrelevant.

But there's a fine line between respecting a player's contributions (recognizing that physically it's just not a fair fight), and grading a player's performance on a curve. There's a fine line between a player being savvy and picking his spots, and a player being just plain spotty and disappearing for long stretches of a game.

As the season gets longer and the competition (one can only assume) gets tougher, the MF as a unit is really going to have to turn it up a notch. I hope DCU has the luxury at that point of compressing Olsen's fire into 30 minutes of solid burn rather than 60-90 minutes of inconsistency.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | May 5, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Don't start Jacobson. He's been unimpressive in a DM role. Quite a let down after Benny's fire leaves the pitch, not as much touch or quickness as Gomez, and he does a slow jog all over the field.

I'd start McTbone or Barklage with Gomez, Simms, Wallace and Pontius.

McTavish has to be ready by now. He's quick and can shot down Arnaud, etc.

Posted by: delantero | May 5, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

------------- Quaranta - Emilio
--------------------- Gomez
Wallace - McTavish - Simms - Pontius
------------ John - Jakovic - Namoff
--------------------- Crayton

The back three is really a choice between giving John his DC debut in a direct switch with Burch, or reverting to our opening day set with Namoff on the left, Jakovic on the right, and Janicki in the middle. Janicki has played well in all of his appearances, but Jakovic has done well enough to keep his central role. Namoff did well on the left against LA, but he's also struggled out there on other occasions. John is a natural fit there, and we didn't just sign him to sit the bench.

In the midfield, I would bring in McTavish over Jacobson. On KC's small field, I think it's more important to be solid centrally (in an effort to slow Arnaud, who is KC's key player) at the expense of the additional offense Jacobson offers. As I've said before, I think Jacobson plays the purely defensive role better than Olsen's more attacking version of the position, so I go with McTavish. The difference between them isn't that big, though, so if Soehn goes with Jacobson I don't think we'll be flirting with disaster. Gomez should be fit to play an hour or so, and with Olsen out and Moreno on 4 days rest, we'll need him.

Up front, unless Moreno is feeling as well as he was Saturday, Quaranta will partner Emilio. Moreno can be a sub later on.

In goal, Kocic left me unimpressed. In fact, I was surprised that people weren't gathering their pitchforks and torches (which has become standard operating procedure among our fans the moment a keeper drops a cross or does anything wrong). KC offers less of a threat to slam into Kocic and jar the ball loose, but they're probably a smarter and better coached team. I see KC adding the idea of trying to tease Kocic off his line and wait for the dropped ball as an element of their game plan. All that said, Crayton has been in worse form this year than last, and the difference between the two is pretty slim. They're both better than Wicks, but not by as much as I'd like.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | May 5, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

So far I have not seen anything fom Jakovic that impresses me. Janicki has made some really big stops. Obviously, I am seeing something different than some others. I imagine that it is virtually certain Crayton starts, as well. Kocic will play in the Open Cup...

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

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