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Matchday: United-Firpo

Greetings from RFK. Not a cool evening.

At least 10,000 spectators expected.

TV: Fox Soccer Channel, Galavision, 8 p.m.

DCU LINEUP: Kocic; Jakovic, Janicki, John; McTavish, DiRaimondo, Jacobson, Szetela (playmaker), Wallace; Moreno, N'Silu. Subs: Wicks, Emilio, Pontius, Gomez, Namoff, Burch, Allen. (No Olsen, Fred or Quaranta)

Your pregame, in-game and postgame discussion is welcome.

By Steve Goff  |  July 28, 2009; 7:00 PM ET
Categories:  CONCACAF Champions League , D.C. United  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gulati Speaks
Next: United Rewind


Doesn't bother me that Fred isn't there, but does this line-up stink of "we aren't taking this competition seriously" or what?!?!?

Posted by: asocrlovr | July 28, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

J-eepers! Holy 80s bands, Batman -- Our back line is The Three Johns -- well, one John, and two Jays.

Szetela (playmaker) -- is that a position, or a prediction?

Let's see if Moreno can turn N'Silu into a real threat to score....

I'm on my way...

Posted by: fischy | July 28, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Will we be getting the Limarzi radio/Internet treatment?

Posted by: cow_pasture | July 28, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

I have to say, I don't agree with not having Fred either in the lineup or on the bench. We shouldn't be sending him away for these backup matches, we should be having him audition for his existence as a DC player.

I really don't like John.

As for Quaranta not being there, I don't get it. He shouldn't be too tired. Oh well. This midfield has heavy feet all around. We'll see how Szetela does.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | July 28, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

cow_pasture, DCU just tweeted that concacaf has prevented online radio streams.

Hoo boy, this looks like a give up lineup to me...Three regular starters. Do we need to remember that Chivas USA and New England got straight up humiliated in this preliminary round last year?

Posted by: the_slammer | July 28, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Then again, maybe I am over-estimating the strength of our opponent...

Posted by: asocrlovr | July 28, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

@UnitedDemon - maybe the audition is over already!

Posted by: asocrlovr | July 28, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Fred was limping towards the end of the game against SJ, so maybe there's an injury concern.


There's no way of knowing Quaranta's condition. Maybe he's got a knock. He did just fly to virtually every airport in the country in traveling with the Gold Cup squad. I'm not surprised he's out.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | July 28, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Maybe someone will show that they want to play tonight.
Over and out, off to the neighborinho's.

Posted by: DadRyan | July 28, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

DC is gonna waste the CCL to focus on the MLS cup.

Posted by: AnthonyTheGreat | July 28, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Heres a link to the game in espanol:

cant find it in english, but who would want to watch via FSC anyways? Max Bretos is an idiot.

Posted by: AnthonyTheGreat | July 28, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Good to see we are taking the international competitions seriously. Maybe this is the roster you put out if you are up 4-0 for the second leg... but for the home first leg, YUCK!

Posted by: Wyrm1 | July 28, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

FSC is always available as channel 21500 on the TVU Player - but true if listening on mute the language of the broadcast doesn't matter

Posted by: emanon13 | July 28, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

true if listening on mute the language of the broadcast doesn't matter

I listen to the radio on mute all the time. It's the only way to get real CD-quality sound...

Posted by: daggar | July 28, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Good catch - sigh, it's been a long day - guess "watching on mute" would be the more appropriate phrase to use

Posted by: emanon13 | July 28, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

DC not looking so bad so far

Posted by: AnthonyTheGreat | July 28, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Should be able to watch from this link. Scroll down to United match.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | July 28, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Vamos United!!!

Posted by: 9Nine9 | July 28, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Szetela standing out in the first 10 mins

Posted by: AnthonyTheGreat | July 28, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh dear. Namoff wouldn't do that.

Posted by: Cerealman | July 28, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Are we trying to lose? We look like a high school team out there.

Posted by: dpowellutkedu | July 28, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I put this all on the management. If you are going to play like you have depth, try and get some first. Janicki has never been the epidemy of talent has he?

Posted by: dpowellutkedu | July 28, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

oh man, our defense is horrible!! and mctavish looks like crap out wide

Posted by: combedge | July 28, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

and voila! mct is no longer out wide...

Posted by: combedge | July 28, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

When you have a salary cap you cannot afford good depth. What is Janicki getting paid anually? 20k tops?

Posted by: AnthonyTheGreat | July 28, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather see Jakovic in the middle. He doesn't lose the ball like Janicki did.

Posted by: Konoha7 | July 28, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

wow...i have never seen a DC team this slow. the speed differential is almost as bad as sunday.

Posted by: birdynumnum | July 28, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

good luck n'silu. good luck in the future.

Posted by: birdynumnum | July 28, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Good hustle by Wallace to draw the PK.

Posted by: Cerealman | July 28, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh boy, Wallace just got a gift of a penalty called on Firpo. It didn't look like a bad call live, but on replay it looks pretty bad.

And Jaime puts it in. Goalkeeper guessed right and almost got out there, but Jaime is too good.

Posted by: Hobes | July 28, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Well at least we can rely on Moreno's penalty kicks

Posted by: AnthonyTheGreat | July 28, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Wallace got tripped just inside the box. I hate PKs but that looked like the right call.

And if it was a questionable call, we're due from all the bad calls from CONCACAF officials during last year's tourney.

Posted by: Cerealman | July 28, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Jaime is to goalies as
street corner magicians are too the person about to lose his money willingly.

What cup is it in? Which way is he going to shoot? Even when you choose right, it doesn't matter.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | July 28, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

the least deserved 1-1 tie ever. wallace was good. the rest = crap.

Posted by: birdynumnum | July 28, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Can someone explain what happened with Szetela and the Firpo player at the end of the half? I'm watching the game en espanol.

Posted by: Cerealman | July 28, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Wow - is Firpo coach dressed for the CCL or to go clubbing after the game?

He looks like another pretentious fan in the stands and not the coach of a professional team.

Posted by: erichfeige | July 28, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Can someone explain what happened with Szetela and the Firpo player at the end of the half? I'm watching the game en espanol.

Posted by: Cerealman

FSC didn't zoom in, but looked like the player got hit in the throat by Szetela's arm/elbow

The Firpo player then got a yellow card for re-entering the field without permission

Posted by: emanon13 | July 28, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks. I saw the yellow and initially thought the Firpo player got it for diving, though that didn't appear to be the case from the across-the-field replay.

Posted by: Cerealman | July 28, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

It seemed like the card was given for some attempted retaliation once play resumed.

Second underway now.

Posted by: LukasWP | July 28, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

The radio feed is a minute behind FSC

Posted by: spikeman | July 28, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Janicki is going to drive me insane. Why did he just do the same move that he got stripped on earlier that led to the goal??

Posted by: Hobes | July 28, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Can't beat this group for creating tension...I have no clue what they're going to do next!

Posted by: soccerman | July 28, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

janicki is going to cost dc another goal any time now.

Posted by: birdynumnum | July 28, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

McTavish and Janicki make me nervous. Better from DC in the second half, though ...

Posted by: Cerealman | July 28, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

every 50-50 ball going firpo's way. too bad moreno had to come out just as they were getting into a rythm.

Posted by: birdynumnum | July 28, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Wow the changes are just baffling. Why take out Jamie just as he is starting to take some manner of control?

Posted by: SoehntheExit | July 28, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Janicki is awful.

Posted by: SoehntheExit | July 28, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Good call SoehntheExit, we've lost everything we were building since Jaime went off.

Posted by: Hobes | July 28, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

mctavish with a reach-around.

Posted by: birdynumnum | July 28, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

I think Emilio has looked good.

And does Jacobson ever actually hit the target with shots? So much worthless power.

Posted by: Hobes | July 28, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

that shot by jacobson was about 8 inches away from being a game winner, upper 90.

Posted by: FrancoNiell | July 28, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I think if you'd fart on the Firpo players they'd fall down.

Posted by: SoehntheExit | July 28, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

this team has less of a chance to win down in el salvador than i have in getting a date with kim kardashian.

Posted by: birdynumnum | July 28, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

This is what happens when you field nothing but utility players, have no real non-starting offensive threats, and only two defenders that we actually trust to defend.

We're going to fire Soehn one day. Why not get that off the checklist?

Posted by: UnitedDemon | July 28, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Cripes, that was awful, but somehow not unexpected

Posted by: the_slammer | July 28, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: joedoc1 | July 28, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: I-270Exit1 | July 28, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

All things considered, a reasonable result, given that we had our C team out there. Some very good chances in the second half that didn't quite get there. It seems like every game Jacobson is in, he hits one or two long-range rockets about a foot off-frame. If he could ever learn to tame those, he'd be quite useful. Szetla looked like a newcomer, decent enough but trying to get in synch with his new teammates. John is barely worth having. Janicki showed why we're probably better as a 3-5-2 than a 4-4-2 with him in the 4. As usual, our corner kicks lacked bite. You know who really disappointed me? Gomito. That's the kind of game he's got to step up and impose himself on -- he totally disappeared in the second half.

Blah. I expect to see our A squad win in the return leg.

Posted by: edgeonyou | July 28, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Working the softball games and following the twitter machine, it seemed like we were getting lots of shots off, just not connecting.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | July 28, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

wow if the club is gonna pick and choose which competitions they feel like competing in, then they better win those competitions. There putting more pressure on themselves to win the mls cup and us open cup.

Posted by: totalfootballer | July 28, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Dear Kevin Payne,

I will no longer be purchasing, or advocating to anyone else to purchase, tickets to Champions League matches. It's obvious that the club, and perhaps the rest of MLS, feels that the CCL is a distraction and an unfair advantage to clubs who are not participating. Perhaps you and others point to the Crew as your argument.

However, we have not played well internationally since beating up on the part-timers from Jamaica. I don't expect United to win every time they take the field. However, I didn't expect to see the "B" team take the field this evening. I know that there is league play, national team call-ups, injuries, fatigue, US Open Cup, Real Madrid, etc.

This charade needs to end. No more half hearted Champions League efforts. If the club really only wants the two domestic trophies, then lets turn our spot over to another club that would like the chance to compete for the regional title and perhaps gain entry into the Club World Cup. If you feel the club's hands are too tied, then I think it's time for a "Come to Jesus" meeting between MLSPA, MLS, The Owners, and Managers.

I hope that this is a temporary set back and the team really proves something on the return leg. Our record outside of the US borders is not good, however, but I would like to see this team return to regional and international glory. Then I will again consider purchasing additional tickets to Champions League.


The Commonwealth

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | July 28, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

clearly this competition is not something the team needs. If we made the group stage that's 6 extra matches plus all that travel....this team couldn't handle that plus compete in the league. So, ultimately I think we really don't appear to want to to advance.

Szetela abandoned the playermaker role pretty early to McTavish of all people!

Janicki was awful. Why was our center back Jakovic not playing center back????? John was useless with the ball on the wing. He got forward nicely and then crossed even worse than Burch.

Wallace was terrible in the first half especially.

We looked way too slow with the ball. There were a few open shots but one extra touch kept doing us in.

Gomez was pretty uninvolved when he came in. He put out some effort for a few seconds here and there but was invisible otherwise.

Pontius looked OK but didn't have much time. Luci had some good plays here and there plus some terrible first touches. Was he really offside on that great chance in the second half?

Posted by: fedssocr | July 28, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

@VirginiaBlueBlood: Well said

On a side note, I could have put together a better broadcast with a couple cell phones and two people off the street. I've seen some bad broadcasts on FSC but this one has got to be one of the worst. I guess the only positive was we didn't get a Max Bretos "NNNYYYYYYYYEEEEEESSSSSSS!!!!"

Posted by: addick | July 28, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

not really JfATLish. Jacobson is always good for sending the cannon wide. Closest I've seen to him making it count though. What a drag. If you're going to be a replacement for Simms or Benny you really got to make one of those before you get got rid of man!

Gomez almost had it though. Not much else to say except the usual... At least we didn't lose. That whole team looked like crap, but what did you expect from a bunch of guys who never play together. I just don't understand trying to scrape by here at home in this tournament unless they're really trying to just shine it. Maybe they feel like they have a much better shot at getting a handle on league play and focusing on the Open Cup repeat along with a post season appearance at Qwest?
Fine with me if it must be this way. I'd prefer to take Champions League a little more seriously, but...
Does DCU ever score without a penalty and do we ever not draw? Geebus. It's like groundhog day or something.
Vamos United!
We better go beat up on Houston this weekend.

Posted by: DadRyan | July 28, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

I no longer want to hear from DCU that this competition is important to them. A line-up of almost all reserves is not a line-up of a competitive team.

I feel the entire fan base has been disrespected by the rhetoric from the front office the past twelve months. This is not on Soehn, this is completely and totally on Kevin Payne. I'll likely calm down tomorrow morning but right now I want Payne's head on a platter. If they field a similar team in the next game or if they are eliminated due to the disrespect they showed to this competition tonight then I will never attend or watch another Champions League event that they compete in.

In the fourteen years I have followed United this is the angriest and the most disillusioned I have ever felt.

Posted by: croftonpost | July 28, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

@VABlueBlood -- you don't have to worry about people buying tickets to CCL matches. First off, the only United fans there are season ticketholders. Second, we're about to crap out of the CCL.

Actually, it was a nice game to go to, though frustrating at times. The Barra was in good form though I was distressed to actually hear La Norte's drumming for a little while. It had me confused -- normally you can't hear them over on the other side.

About the game -- worst player may have been Kocic. "Manos de Piedra" struck again -- like the first time we saw him -- as he kept fumbling balls. Also, he let three grass-cutters roll on by him and barely wide. If Firpo had anyone charging the far post, they were tap-ins. Second worst -- clearly Janicki. Seconds after I was cursing his skill-lessness, he got another chance on the ball and set up Benitez perfectly. He showed me, I guess.

Third worst was Dev McT. I was begging the entire first half for him to take the ball past someone instead of uselessly laying it off. Actually, he did it once, after Soehn moved him back on defense. It was a nice move, but risky for a defender. Would have loved to see it when he was on the wing. He also got torched by Firpo's attack over the last 20 minutes -- all those balls that just sailed wide. He did have some nice passes from the back -- all in all, I think I'd rather see him there than on the wing.....

Posted by: fischy | July 28, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

I just got back from the game.

For all practical purposes, tonight's result was a loss for DC United. Firpo didn't lose at home last year against better teams than us (tied Houston and Pumas) and they have the advantage of having scored an away goal so it will be an upset now if we go through.

The opening lineup was about strong enough to give the Ocean City Barons a competitive match. I don't blame Janicki, N'Silu or any of the reserve players for the loss. That responsibility lays squarely on the team's upper leadership whether it's Soehn, Kasper, Payne or Will Chang.

DC United's front office showed disrespect towards its opponent, this competition and the paying fans tonight.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | July 28, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Tommy's subs were all very good. Emilio changed the game almost immediately. I'm kinda hoping that's the last we see of Ange N'Silu -- he's a waste of space on the field and on the roster. Luci wasn't perfect, but I think it was probably his most effective game in terms of being a holding forward. Gomez nearly won it -- hard to believe he didn't find the back of the net. And Pontius added a lot of danger that had suddenly gone out of Moreno. He was sending listless shots wide, wasting good scoring opportunities. Tommy took him out not a moment too soon, and Pontius did very well.

Szetela started well, but his touch seemed to fade. He did a decent job getting ope on the wing, but I think he was better when he was playing centrally. Wallace is incapable of sending in a cross past the marking defender, but I'm sure he will set a record for corner kicks won by a player -- or a rookie -- if anyone keeps track of such things. He did earn that PK, though.

John looked pretty good, though he did misplay that 2v1 and gave Firpo a free kick in a dangerous spot.

All-in-all, a game United should have won -- but I'll be very surprised if they can pull out a win in El Salvador. I think this year we won't have to watch DCU spectacularly flame out in the CCL. They probably won't even make it into group play.

Posted by: fischy | July 28, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I've never felt more disappointed about United than I have tonight. They field a weakened side in a qualifier to the Champions League?

I saw better squads on the pitch for the US Open Cup. Is DC really putting more effort in winning a cup that gets little to no attention by its own organizer?

Even if they somehow had scraped a win tonight it would not take away the bitter taste the DC has left me tonight.

Posted by: RedDevil1 | July 28, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I suggest everyone that is as upset as I am (that appears to the vast majority) e-mail the front office and let them know exactly how you feel about the competition. I am going to do so right now!

Posted by: croftonpost | July 28, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

@fedsoccer -- Not sure which chance you mean. If you mean the one where Luci collected it all alone and then stopped -- he was way offside. If you mean the one he played through and then hit the post from 2 feet away, I thought he was onside by several feet.

Posted by: fischy | July 28, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

A few observations of tonight’s match.

Janicki started off pretty good, but he cost us this game. Two major errors in 10 seconds led directly to Firpo’s goal. Everyone makes mistakes on the field, but you just can’t do that. Know your limits is the advice I would give him.

Jaime had several opportunities for quality shots where he either passed it off or had very lame shots. I know he’s getting older and it was pretty hot out there but I was rather disheartened. Good game for him overall, but those missed opportunities were critical.

Pretty impressed with Danny Szetela for his first game with a new team. Definitely saw some miscommunications and a number of mistakes but me thinks we may have a playa. Okay, you can’t predict much from one game, but I have a good feeling about this.

Based on the US Open Cup games and tonight the verdict is in for me, Devon McTavish’s play has regressed a pretty fair amount.

Nick DiRaimondo was the worst player in what was generally a sea of mediocrity (at times worse) at the Soccerplex for the recent US Open Cup games. He did better tonight, and I appreciate that he’s hustles pretty well, but he’s still very much a weak link.

Overall I think the veteran’s played pretty well and a lot of the plays broke down with the younger guys. I don’t want to put to put fine a point on this, but I feel it’s fairly true.

Question, is there some CONCACAF rule the official for that organization was enforcing when he kicked the SE photographer off the side line? Or was he just playing at being a petty tyrant?

One final note, there’s a sign up for DC DCU tags on Big Soccer and the process is now moving forward. Yes, Big Soccer is chalk full of yahoos, I rarely go there anymore, but if you live in DC and want tags please pipe up.

We should’ve won this one.

Vamos United!

Posted by: KireDCU | July 28, 2009 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Janicki looking like Crayton out there.

Posted by: GoUnited | July 28, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, and if Jacobson had gotten off that 85th or so minute shot off quicker I do think we'd have a 2-1 win.

Posted by: KireDCU | July 28, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Pathetic starting lineup.

Pathetic performance.

Pathetic coaching.

Pathetic front office.

All they care about is the pathetic friendly against the Francoistas from Madrid at FedEx Field.

I'm disgusted with this team.

Posted by: lastort1 | July 28, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Just saw this comment on Behind the Badge. Apparently Quaranta was suspended for this game due to a red card in the last CCL game.

"What did you think of the match? With Clyde Simms and Brandon Barklage hurt, Santino Quaranta suspended (he received a red card in the final Champions League game last year) and a lot of players needing rest after two games over the last seven days (Open Cup semifinal last Tuesday and San Jose game on Saturday), what did you think of the lineup choices?"

Posted by: HarkesyRules | July 28, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse


I think you misread that adjustment. Szetela did go wide, mostly because McTavish was not really doing anything in either direction. McTavish, however, did not replace Szetela as a playmaker in any way, shape, or form. McTavish became our most defensive midfielder, with Jacobson and DiRaimondo pushing higher up. No one really occupied the space behind the forwards.


It'll take a lot of explaining to convince me that this was somehow more offensive than DCU under Ray Hudson.


I agree pretty much entirely with your 2nd post. In your 1st post, I have to disagree somewhat about Kocic. Yeah, he got lucky a couple times, but he also made some good saves to balance that out. I've been pretty hard on our keepers, and I don't think this was an awful showing. Janicki was, by a wide margin, the worst of a disappointing lot.


This was a bizarre game to say the least. We get sucker punched for a goal, and end up being the ragged team at the end of the game, despite facing an opponent in preseason. I don't think our fitness is a concern (note all of our late goals). Instead, we looked like a team discouraged by our flat showing against a team we should be able to beat with relative ease. Also strange was the fact that our best defender on the night was Avery John. Seriously, the last time a United player gave me a feeling like that was seeing Albright do well and score as a striker. Very confusing.

Janicki's struggles in a back three are to the point where I wonder if he's worth keeping. If we're staying in this formation, then he is simply not up to the required standard to stay aboard. This isn't just a knee-jerk reaction to one mistake; he's been pretty bad throughout the season, because he doesn't fit the formation.

All in all, this was a big disappointment, but I'm a little confused by the pitchfork-and-torches approach to some here. There's still a 2nd leg, and from what I saw of Firpo they are basically only good at bypassing midfield and hoping the ball ends up with Leguizamon. If we had shut him down, they'd have basically been just clearing and waiting for Janicki mistakes. Those are both things this team is very capable of correcting.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | July 29, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

""I've never felt more disappointed about United than I have tonight. ""

You must have missed the 2nd half of the Earthquake game.

Posted by: delantero | July 29, 2009 12:05 AM | Report abuse

It would be sad if we get bounced from this tournament so quickly, Tommy soehn cares more about the open cup then this game? WHY is that? is there something extra that the team gets if they win the open cup? maybe they get to play a cool tournment?

Posted by: Norteno4life | July 29, 2009 12:08 AM | Report abuse

There's some frostiness in here. For once, I'd like the team to concentrate on the US Open Cup, the playoff race and MLS Cup.

Playing the reserves in the CCL after a cross country flight with a second flight to a showdown in Houston looming in a few days . . . and coming out with a 1-1 tie . . . just doesn't seem that bad to me.

Posted by: delantero | July 29, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

10,000. Seems kind of low as I thought Salvadorans would have come out in larger numbers.

Posted by: delantero | July 29, 2009 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Ratings? Why not? I'm sure it will give plenty of people more reason to be as angry as if someone had killed their dog:

Kocic - 5
Like I said, good saves counterbalanced by a couple strange bobbled shots and letting balls through the box.

Jakovic - 4.5
Struggled a bit with the directness of Firpo, and with playing a different role. Lucky for us, he's better elsewhere.
Janicki - 3
Gave Firpo their goal, and nearly a couple more. He simply cannot be trusted to play in our back three.
John - 6
As usual, his passing was poor. However, he won most of his tackles and didn't do anything too stupid. Got unlucky to be booked (his man took a very clear dive once John got position on him).

McTavish - 4.5
On the wing, he didn't defend or attack. In midfield, he was mostly bypassed via Firpo's playing over the top. In the back, he may have been a slight improvement over Jakovic.
DiRaimondo - 5.5
Put himself about to decent effect. He doesn't give us much on the ball, but as a destroyer we could do much worse.
Jacobson - 5
The game mostly passed him by, with our focus on the left wing and Firpo going long. Did well to get into shooting positions, but couldn't make them count.
Wallace - 6
His best game in a little while. A constant problem for Firpo. Won a penalty and made Monteagudo very uncomfortable all night. If he learns how to cross, he'll be dynamite.

Szetela - 5
Strong start, but having to move wide to hide McTavish blunted his effectiveness. In the middle, he's very promising.

Moreno - 5.5
Scored the penalty, and created several chances, only to have them either blocked or to go for the pass when a shot was begging.
N'Silu - 4
Sadly typical N'Silu performance. I just don't think he's good enough for this level of play.

Emilio - 5.5
Held the ball well, created a couple chances for others, and made the Firpo back three nervous (hence him often being mobbed by 3 or more defenders). Better than his last couple games.
Gomez - 4
The biggest contribution Gomez made was that he got Jakovic a half of rest. Astonishingly quiet night. Should have buried late chance.
Pontius - 5.5
Threw himself into the fray with gusto. Couldn't make something happen, but nearly did a couple times.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | July 29, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

8,026 actually, Delantero. Low indeed.

Chest, saying John was our best defender is like saying that 395 is the best traffic in DC at rush hour. He didn't get abused to his usual level but his clearances and distribution from his left back spot were horrendous, in my opinion.

Sadly Janicki's night could have been much, much worse but he was bailed out a few times by his teammates or by Firpo's ineptitude. You never want to see your center back in a 3-5-2 sprawled on the sideline after a botched tackle as the opposing forward romps towards the endline but that's been Janicki's calling card for the Colorado match and now here.

Jakovic must have really needed some rest - I almost spit my beer out when I saw that he had been removed and not Janicki.

Oh, MLSnet match tracker also provides this illuminating statistic - 19 fouls called on United to 3 on LAF. Either the ref was buying into Firpo's laughable dive routine in the second half (certainly, and if it was like this at RFK we can only imagine how it'll be in San Salvador, eh?) or we were our own worst enemies in possession - not being dispossessed but rather giving the ball away thanks to foolish positioning, unimaginative passing and impotent shooting.

I think our starters are far better than Firpo's but with the way we've played on the road in CONCACAF I really find it hard to see us getting a result at San Salvador next week. I think the lineup we trot out at Houston will be indicative as to whether the club is (laughably) punting on this tournament - honestly I'd rather play this kind of lineup in an MLS game and give the return leg our best shot, but it's not up to me.

Posted by: the_slammer | July 29, 2009 12:27 AM | Report abuse

""Avery John was cautioned -- and might have been lucky not to be ejected -- as he broke up another Firpo counterattack at the top of the D.C. box in added time,""

Amazing how the same play from my TV looked like a slight bump and a dive. But the author, Charles Boehm a contributor to, thinks otherwise.

Posted by: delantero | July 29, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Nick DiRaimondo??? Somehow, I think that's not the first time someone here has morphed a certain former DCU goalie and a current midfielder.

@Chest -- Kocic did make some nice saves, and he wasn't to blame on the goal, but I'm surprised you didn't have the same reaction I did to those undefended grass-cutters that were either crosses or shots, or to the two balls he fumbled. A goalie has to be sure-handed, and he has to control his area better. It's not enough to be a shot-stopper. He made me nervous tonight. Perhaps, since there were three identical efforts that nearly beat him, this is something he can improve on...

I agree that John was our best defender tonight -- don't know how to feel about that. As you say, Janicki is really getting exposed in the 3-man line. Except for the handballs, his defending hasn't been that bad, but he makes terrible decisions with the ball.

I'm not dissing the lineup. With the exception of resting Namoff, this was what I expected. I'd rather have seen Namoff in, and Jakovic in the center, but otherwise, it's what I expected, In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly Soehn was willing to bring in the bigger guns. They weren't looking past this to Real Madrid, but they did want to leave a little in the tank for Houston this weekend. If not for Jankicki's blunder, this would have worked out pretty well. I haven't totally given up. If DCU can score in El Salvador, they should be in decent shape, but that's a big if.

Posted by: fischy | July 29, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Chest -- I agree with your ratings and comments, except that I think you rated Wallace a bit too high (compared with others), and Gomez too low. I thought Gomito was dangerous. Made a nice pass to Emilio which I think was wrongly whistled. And he came closest to scoring in the run of play.

As for Wallace -- "If he learns how to cross, he'll be dynamite" -- that's a big if. I've never seen anything like quite like it -- the number of blocked crosses from him. While I like the pressure he puts on defenders, and corner kicks are nice, he squanders too many good pushes forward. Yes, if he can find a way to create enough space to get his crosses in, he will be dynamite. Right now, he seems like he's fast and that's about it.

The rest of your analysis is spot on -- I give you an 8.5.

Posted by: fischy | July 29, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse

All the harsh comments are valid, BUT... Nothing really changes after the 1-1 result - DC could NEVER hold a 0-0 on the road, so a 2-1 win tonight wouldn't have helped that much. They need to score at least 1 on the road. 1-1 goes to OT, 1-0 puts DC through, 2-2 also qualifies. DC needs 1 goal on the road, seems doable as long as we don't play in Colorado.

Posted by: DC0071 | July 29, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse


We agree on his distribution, but on the main responsibility of his position (not letting the other team score or create chances), he did well. If I can give Emilio a 6 or 7 when he is virtually absent from the game but buries a difficult chance, I should also recognize other players who do their top priority well. Notice how our problems very rarely came from their right-sided players. Wallace gets some credit for being such a problem for Firpo, but John deserves to be recognized on a night where the rest of our defending was poor.

As for the foul disparity, I think it's an even split of the two points you bring up. On one hand, the ref gave them plenty of fouls that were absolutely not fouls. On the other hand, some poor touches forces us into avoidable 50/50 balls. I had realized the foul count was out of balance, but 19-3 is ridiculous considering what was on display.


Of the balls into the 6 yard box, I recall two that were simply too fast for Kocic to get to without having cheated off his near post (and with Leguizamon, I think he would have paid the price). On both, the best possible scenario would have been him palming the ball into the box and leaving the goal unguarded. There was another he should have done something about, but the Firpo players were well behind the play; perhaps Kocic had taken a glance and seen that? I could be forgetting something, though.

The 2 times he made me nervous were the low shot that he bizarrely popped up, and the rocket from Alas that he almost palmed into goal. However, it appeared that the Alas shot split the 2 man wall, which for me removes some of the blame from Kocic.

As for Janicki, you're right; it's not his 1v1 defending. It's when he's on the ball. In a back three, when pressed you have little option but to be able to move the ball to a midfielder. Janicki needs too long to make that decision and execute it, and everyone we play knows it. At this point, it's worth wondering who else we have that can step in when Jakovic is rested. McTavish? Simms? Possibly Jacobson (someone else suggested this, and I didn't like the idea, but desperate times call for desperate measures)?

This tie hinges on DCU scoring first away. I don't think they'll have the legs to chase the game. If we send out our proper back three and strike early, we can shake Firpo's confidence. Frankly, I expected them to be a bit less defend-and-counter-ish than they were. I think playing an attacking team will pressure their defenders on those long balls, and Namoff would cope with Leguizamon better than Jakovic or McTavish did. If those two tactical ideas work, we should be able to win there. There are big vulnerabilities in their team. The trick is to expose them without exposing ours, or handing them sitters, or getting sent off (DiRaimondo might be a bad choice there, for example).

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | July 29, 2009 12:57 AM | Report abuse

You know soccer has really arrived now that FSC televises reserve games!!

Posted by: LloydHeilbrunn | July 29, 2009 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Here are highlights (in Spanish):

Posted by: Juan-John | July 29, 2009 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Goff's gamer is up -- a nice piece, by a real pro. Apparently, Firpo was really surprised by all the DCU reserves. I guess they won't be protesting to the DCU front office.

Posted by: fischy | July 29, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse


Your point about DCU under Hudson is well taken.


My beef with DCU tonight is that they have spent considerable time informing the fan base that the CCL was an important competition to them. If this was so important to them then they did a terrible job preparing for it. I actually endorse the idea of putting MLS play ahead of this but their line-up went too far. Example: Why bench a young player such as Pontius for most of the game? His legs should be able to handle the short turnaround for a longer duration. Why play your second string keeper? Does Wicks need the rest?

I would have preferred a little more mixing of the talent between Saturday and tonight.

Posted by: croftonpost | July 29, 2009 1:02 AM | Report abuse

On TV, it does look like Wallace flopped. Didn't think so watching it live.

Can we get Alas? At least he can put a shot from distance on frame.

Posted by: fischy | July 29, 2009 1:21 AM | Report abuse

At the match I was applauding the ref on that play, delantero. I was sure he was going to call simulation on the Firpo player. I was shocked when he called John for the foul.

Posted by: sitruc | July 29, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

The problem with the well-reasoned complaints about DCU's interest (or lack of) in CCL matches is that if any of the DCU technicos claims that the MLS season is the highest priority, then someone is lying because the word from the top is that these matches matter and matter a great deal. Why? because throughout DCU's history, it has always been very, very important to KP that DCU calibrate its penis in terms of international competition. If Soehn/Kasper tanked last nights game in the interest of the MLS season, then they ought to be fired because that decision flies in the face of what KP, Will, and other on high have been spouting. They perform oral sex on MLS to get a league schedule that allows as much convenience to the team as possible for these international matches, so they can't have it both ways.

Posted by: lgm6986 | July 29, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

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