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D.C. United Will Play.....

The local ballclub has been patiently awaiting two announcements today: the results of the CONCACAF Champions League draw and the U.S. Open Cup round-of-16 pairings and sites.

On the domestic front, as expected, United will host the winner of next week's second-round game between Real Maryland (third-tier USL2) and the Ocean City (N.J.) Barons (fourth-tier PDL) on Tues., June 30 at Maryland SoccerPlex in Montgomery County. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. I like the possible scenarios: a local derby of sorts against a club in its second year or a David/Goliath meeting with an ambitious amateur side. Something different. Your thoughts?

Internationally, CONCACAF is still in the process of finalizing the two-leg preliminary stages in late July and early August. UPDATE: DCU will play Chalatenango of El Salvador and, were the club to advance, it would enter a group that includes Toluca (Mexico), Marathon (Honduras) and either a T&T or Panamanian club. Full details here!


*More on Cristiano Ronaldo's imminent move to Real Madrid. Individual tickets to the DCU-Real friendly at FedEx Field on Aug. 9 will go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m. through TicketMaster.

*Freddy Adu says on the Twitter machine that he "just got good news from my agent about possible destinations. Im hoping for spain because i like the style of play alot."

*We need to talk. Seriously. Live online chat at Friday at 1:30 p.m. Submit questions, follow along, read the transcript.

By Steve Goff  |  June 11, 2009; 3:31 PM ET
Categories:  CONCACAF , D.C. United , Q&A , Spain , U.S. Open Cup , U.S. men's national team  
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Yeah, I was just reading that twit. I'm not sure if I'd rather see Adu in the Segunda or on a lower team in La Liga.

Maybe he can play for a certain Mexican coach in Almeria :)

Posted by: Reignking | June 11, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if the Freedom beer garden will be open for the Cup match . . . .

Posted by: OWNTF | June 11, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Goff! I won't believe the Gooch->Fulham rumors until I hear it from you.

Posted by: glfrazier | June 11, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Freddy really shouldn't be hung up on leagues. He should be concerned entirely with whether the team he's going to actually needs him to play a real role for them. If they're a Spanish club, great. I'm afraid he and his people will be thinking about who has the brightest lights, when they should be thinking about how to get him on the field.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | June 11, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Steve, while tickets go on sale for the Real Madrid match tomorrow to the general public, they are on sale only as part of multi-game packages. Single game tickets to the Real Madrid friendly only go on sale to the general public on June 17.

Posted by: jofij | June 11, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the DCU teamstore just went live:

Posted by: DadRyan | June 11, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Just wish they'd sell a hat that doesn't come with a pre-bent to hell and back bill on the dang thing. Can't they get some Hot Fitted's or what? Or how about a United cycling cap? I'd buy 5 of em.

Posted by: DadRyan | June 11, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Agreed with Senor Rockwell. If some Dutch or Belgian team wants to build their attack around Freddy, he should take it. Spanish football is lovely, but if he ends up like Jozy (or, well, Freddy again), then it's pointless.

Can't wait to see how the moves play out this summer, plenty of folks needing playing time.

Posted by: eadc | June 11, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Judge Smails responds to Freddy Adu and his desire on where to play:

Posted by: rick1977 | June 11, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I still want the red training jersey.

Posted by: Reignking | June 11, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Chest I disagree. He needs a style of play that is technique based and Spain will work very well in that regard. He should find a team within Spain that he will get playing time, but if he just wanted to play he could of stayed in the US.

Posted by: bighungry | June 11, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad Freddy likes the play in Spain "alot." I understand you have a very good view of the game from the bench.

Posted by: griffin1108 | June 11, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Oddest item in the web store .. The "DC United Freightliner" . . I just hope it doesn't have Missouri plates.

Posted by: delantero | June 11, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Just wish they'd sell a hat that doesn't come with a pre-bent to hell and back bill on the dang thing.
Posted by: DadRyan

You're new around here. The bent bill is for Virginians. For a few bucks extra you can get tobacco stains and toothpicks in the mesh.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 11, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Which scarf to go with...

Or do I get the t-shirt jersey? Which color? Do they come in names and numbers? Long/short sleeves? Who is DC playing in the CCL. At first I thought I'd go to the Madrid game, but then decided I live to far away to be worth it.

Those are my thoughts on the posts throughout the day I cared to speak about.

As you were.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 11, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish

EBay. Look for a Wings Down Jersey--the original, they come up now and again and, depending on quality, will sell for the same price as a new one, sometimes more . . Pope went for $225.

Posted by: delantero | June 11, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

delantero: That's why I want the t-shirt jersey. It's 20 bucks, and that's about my budget for such things. 225 is about out of my range, as is the 70 they sell for on the site. I have a Braves "Franceour" one, and it suits my needs just fine, and I'd be happy to get a Party Boy or Moreno one to go along with it.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | June 11, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm with BigHungry. Freddy's more likely to play in Spain than in a lot of other more physical and less technical leagues. Of course, we might have said the same thing about Portugal and Benfica. Hopefully, this works out better. Freddy's not a teenager any more. Maybe, he's ready for it.

Posted by: fischy | June 11, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse


So going to Spain and watching more games from a prime seat would be better than actually playing in, say, the Dutch league?

Here's the thing: Small, highly technical players succeed in every league in the world. Sure, Freddy is better suited to La Liga than the Premiership. However, in La Liga his technical gifts aren't high enough at this point to base an attack around. That means he won't be first choice. Considering his history with being 2nd choice (in MLS, he complained; in Europe, he's stayed quiet but also hasn't ever fought his way into steady minutes), I'd say that's a recipe for more sitting. Wouldn't it be better for him to be good enough to be the playmaker at a smaller club in a decent league than spend another season sitting?


You bring up one of my points for me: The Portuguese league is supposed to be more technical, and Freddy was way down the bench. Part of the problem was that he was at Benfica and not a smaller club, but another part was the fact that his skill, while high, wasn't anything special in the upper echelon of that league.

Like I said, I'm thinking he needs to find the right team, not the right league. If I had to pick leagues that would have a higher percentage chance of having a team in the right situation, I'd think of places like the Netherlands, Belgium, or possibly Turkey. I'd also think of a return to Portugal, but at a team possibly contending for Europa League places (rather than a team demanding a title).


With Adu now out of the way...

This is a decent draw for DCU. Salvadoran clubs are not all that strong, and Chalatenango has no one in the current El Salvador squad. However, as we learned last year, MLS teams showing up and playing poorly or disinterestedly will be punished, even by teams that are obviously inferior. It won't be easy, but anything less than qualification would be a huge letdown for us.

NY also got off easy, with W Connection. The real tough draws went to Costa Rica: Herediano, after getting into the draw thanks to Nicaragua's stadium issues, draws Cruz Azul. Meanwhile, Municipal Liberia drew Real Espana, who I thought would be the worst team to draw from the bottom pot. Pachuca and Olimpia look well placed, having drawn Panamanian opponents. Puerto Rico is almost certainly going to get a rematch of the USL-1 final against Vancouver, unless Toronto beats Montreal by 5 in Montreal next week.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | June 11, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Assuming DCU advances to the group stage....

Marathon will be a challenge -- they beat DCU last time out, as Milton Nunez carved up the defense -- but maybe United could sign away one of their top players, before the tournament starts.... Of course, DCU did not field a first-rate line-up (Thompson, Dyachenko, Khumalo, Wells and Doe all got starts -- only Boyzz is still with the team).

And, Toluca won the Apertura last year in Mexico. That means they'll be a formidable challenge. They have several national team players, including Sinha, Santana, and 2 strong imports in Paraguayan da Silva and last year's Golden Boot winner, Hector Mancilla from Chile.

Still, hope springs eternal. Vamos United.

Posted by: fischy | June 11, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse


Funny you should bring that up....Jean Luc Picard says the same thing. ;)

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | June 11, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

W Connection looked incredibly bad against United. Looks like the Red Bulls may finally play a team they can beat.

Posted by: fischy | June 11, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Chest I think you are under rating the importance of the training Adu would get at a first rate club in a first rate league. Even if he is the number 2 guy I think playing with and against a higher level of play, from the bench and in practice will be more benficial then a league that is only marginally superior to the one he left to go to Europe.

Posted by: bighungry | June 11, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse


I think you're right about the group. It's tough, but I think it's less tough than last year (with Marathon, a top Mexican club, and Saprissa...really, you couldn't make a much harder group in CONCACAF). Toluca is probably the 2nd best club in the region at this point behind Pachuca, so that'll be really tough. I think our losses to Marathon were down to poor defending and fielding the bottom of our bench more than anything else. We gave them goals left and right. I think this year's team will be better equipped to at least split that series. I think Toluca will win the group, and it'll be us or Marathon taking 2nd. Then again, if Toluca follows the example of other Mexican clubs and plays reserves in the group stage, we might be able to snag some points against them. Hopefully their visit to RFK will resemble their last trip up (1998 CCC final).

NY will probably screw things up against W Connection and make things very difficult. If ever there was an MLS club that could find a banana skin and slip on it, it's them. Columbus is also not ideally placed, since their group will have Saprissa, a hungry USL-1 side, and probably Cruz Azul (meaning, basically, half of our group of death from last year). Houston should be able to get through their group, since I think they'll be able to impose their style of play on both Metapan and Olimpia or a Panamanian side.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | June 11, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse


He hasn't benefited that much practicing for Benfica or Monaco. It's not like those are no-name clubs in useless leagues. The training at, say, Valencia will probably be better, but not by that much. His development curve is barely better than a plateau; I don't see that changing if he keeps going to great practice sessions and attending matches in street clothes.

He's not that much better than he was when he left MLS, and you can attribute at least some of that to getting older. I don't see how continuing not to play real matches will improve him at the rate he (and the US, with our dearth of playmakers) needs. No training session in the world replicates real games; hence Man. United loaning out their gang of future stars to Royal Antwerp or Championship clubs. You've got to play to improve.

I guess we'll be agreeing to disagree. I don't see how more top-notch training will make him the player he aspires to be. If he's signed by a top club and loaned to a lower side, I'd be fine with it. By 20, many top Euro prospects get loaned somewhere, get time, and prove they can do the job. Right now, Adu hasn't proven anything in a match on European shores, and that's all that really counts.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | June 11, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone actually read his Twit? I'll admit I did, and the most striking thing is Adu talking about hitting the weights. They all should be doing it. Especially "little guys". I understand that investing too much in bulking up could take away from other things but enhancing what you're working with is ALWAYS helpful.

I just want to see Freddy PLAYING.

And YEAH! The draw doesn't look nearly as hellish as it was last year. Let's do dis!

Posted by: DadRyan | June 11, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

@I-270: It comes from playing baseball. You don't sculpt another man's bill. That's a god given right with a cap. If everyone in the state of Virginia wants their hat shaped by an 8 year old in China the darn tootin' have the right. I'd prefer a fitted New Era cap or something classy from Stall & Dean, or a similar haberdashery...;-)

Don't tread on my brim.

Posted by: DadRyan | June 11, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

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