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Notes from RFK...x2

It was a busy day out at Estadio RFK this morning, with D.C. United practicing on the main field and the U.S. National Team over on the auxiliary fields.

Thankfully I know the back way to the practice fields (its a quick drive around the stadium...) and thus have notes from both sessions for you.

From the U.S. MNT practice, Benny Feilhaber, one of the seven additional players allowed the U.S. team after an extended stay in South Africa for Confederations Cup, was at practice today and is available for Wednesday's game,

Also, Clarence Goodson has a knee contusion and did not participate in full team training today.

I'll have a preview in Wednesday's newspaper, until then ...

A quick sound bite from coach Bob Bradley: "Honduras is still a good team and there's a few guys that we know from previous games there are players that were part of Olympic qualifying. So in that respect, [there is] still talent and in our group this is now an important game in terms of establishing who is going to finish first."

From D.C. United practice, just some quick quotes from the two players who went the full 90 two years ago in a 1-0 loss to Harrisburg, Clyde Simms and Marc Burch.

Said Burch of that '07 loss: "They did a good job of making sure we didn't have any easy chances. I remember we had a couple and we just missed them and when you miss easy chances then teams have a chance to shut it down and that's what they did and they did a good job at it. A big win for them and every team is going to play like that when they're playing an MLS team."

What are the keys to preventing the upset this time around?

"Matching their intensity I think is the biggest thing," Simms said. "And then I think the first goal also in these games means a lot. If they get a first goal it's going to be tough. I feel like it's a lot of pressure on us, I feel like they don't have a lot to lose going into the game. And so if they get that first goal, it's tough with the pressure and you feel like you should win the game and then them sitting in and making it hard for us to get back into the game."

By Paul Tenorio  |  July 6, 2009; 1:52 PM ET
 
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Comments

So what's the lineup for tomorrow, considering all the missing players and that we just played on Saturday?

-------------------Kocic----------------------
-----McTavish------Janicki--------John--------
-----------Jacobson-------DiRaimondo----------
---Khumalo---------------------------Wallace--
-----------------Barklage---------------------
--------Pontius--------------N'Silu-----------

Forward is obviously the weak point, hopefully Party Boy and N'Silu can go again after playing on Sat...having Gomez & Fred in reserve can hopefully give us some late game punch if we need it.

Posted by: the_slammer | July 6, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Not Avery John.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | July 6, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I like Boyzzz' energy, but asking him to do anything but chase the ball is beyond his scope, as far as consistency goes.

If he's gotta play, and he does at some point, then put him up front. Pontius is a better 2 way MF than Boyzzzz.

So, Paul, what's on your iPod? Where's the Twittering?

Posted by: JkR- | July 6, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Hola, Paul.

Look forward to your reports.

I can see why Bradley would want to get another look at Feilhaber -- give him a chance to run the offense against a team that isn't Brazil. I'm sure Beckerman will get most of the action during this tournament, but Benny and Coach Bradley need to a little more work together before the Mexico WCQ. Don't keep him too long, though -- he'll need some time with his club team, to get into that system, too.

As for DCU -- I noted in a prior thread that Harrisburg has a half dozen players who played in that game 2 years ago. It should make for an interesting match. I guess the crowd will be a little thin, with most local fans aiming at the Gold Cup game, but I hope we get a decent turnout. It seems the Freedom had a great crowd, 24 hours after the USMNT were on TV. I realize that the Freedom's fans are a somewhat different group than DCU and USMNT followers, but we can hope for a better crowd than last week.

Posted by: fischy | July 6, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

the_slammer brings up a point -- what's the status of DiRaimondo? Is he recovered from last week's injury?

Posted by: fischy | July 6, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Well, I would hope that if Quaranta is not going to start against Honduras he will be allowed to play for DC in the Open Cup.

Posted by: teo_68 | July 6, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

@VirginiaFan - I'd play John not for his defense, but rather because he gives us an advantage in the crucially important "number of first names" department.

@fischy - I forgot about DiRai (maybe he can channel DeRo?)'s injury. I guess Simms probably would get the start then, or Pontius or Wallace would slide back to defensive mid and Fred would come in?

Posted by: the_slammer | July 6, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

These guys have such a big break that I really hope they put out everyone who's bounced back from Saturday. I understand this should be an opportunity to give a couple guys some chances, but being embarrassed by the Islanders should be avoided at any and every cost. N'Silu sucked on Saturday, and I think Fred should start if he's up for it.

How about:

-------Kocic---------
--McT--Janicki--John--Wallace
-----Jacobson-Simms------
--------Barklage--------
----Boyzzz----- Fred----
--------Partyboy------

Posted by: DadRyan | July 6, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I thought Khumalo did well on the right flank of the midfield against Columbus, and much better there than he's been up top. It's worth exploring further. And I know everybody's been down on Fred lately, but I think he's shown promise as a playmaker from center mid. We could use more options there.

Posted by: dccal | July 6, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Play Fred in the middle and all is fine.

Boyzzz on the right is slightly better than Boyzzz up top.

teo raises an interesting idea, but I'd imagine he's playing wednesday.

Off topic, but for Reignking and others familiar with Atlanta: Could we put a stadium on the north side of Atlantic Station? Like where they do Cirque d sole (or however you spell that). There's the land there, and then just a bunch of trees. Why wouldn't that make sense. You have loads of parking there as it is, it's accessible by Marta, and seemingly plenty of room for stadium and a couple of more lots for days when the Station is busy and tailgating and all.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | July 6, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Or maybe next to the Georgia Dome, where there's just some ground level parking lots?

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | July 6, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

N'Silu looked better Saturday than vs. Ocean City last week so in my book he deserves another chance. We are so thin right now I would expect Pontius and N'Silu to start up top. I expect a difficult game given that we just played on Saturday, we will play several reserves and these guys (Harrisburg) have nothing to lose. Getting an early goal will be as always, important.

Even though I have Gold Cup tickets for Wed. That venue in Boyds is great and I will be there. We should draw better than last week but probably not by much.

Posted by: sbg1 | July 6, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

From what I recall, that land is owned by...GT?

There's tons of room around Atlanta. It is the cost that matters.

Posted by: Reignking | July 6, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

The Open Cup match is tomorrow(Tuesday), sbg1.

Posted by: sitruc | July 6, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Well, I thought of the Atlantic station area as I drove through today, and google mapped it after I typed that, and there seems to be a neighborhood there, but the space next to the dome seems primo.

And also, as we all know, Uncle Arthur is the one that wants the team, and when Uncle Arthur wants something, he gets it done. He'd be able to buy out some parking lots fairly easily, he may even own them already. Plus, and this is where I reveal I've though of this maybe a little too much, Coke is a huge sponsor of soccer as is, and I'm sure they'd be down with getting in on a project that would have their world headquarters visible from a stadium that maybe they'd put their name on, or a shirt deal or something.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | July 6, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

The USMNT can't even get on the main practice field? Can't they "pull rank" on United?

:-)

Posted by: rss317 | July 6, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey Paul,

Think you can get some quotes from Goodson and Beckerman as teammates now, after spending about 9 or 10 years beating up on each other as youth club players?

Posted by: joedoc1 | July 6, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

WOW. Go to marca.com -- I think they sold out the Bernabeu for CR's debut.

Posted by: Reignking | July 6, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"it's accessible by Marta"

then you better start marking her!

alternately...

that alone makes the site good for 5,000+ attendance per game.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | July 6, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Paul,

Thanks for the update. I live nearby. Can an ordinary Joe walk into USMNT practice just to watch? And when is practice scheduled?

Posted by: benonthehill | July 6, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I watched games less filled than that.

I just can't wait til they sign Gooch, and that place has people hanging from the rafters to get in to see his jersey presentation.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | July 6, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Crystal Palace exhibition next week @ Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf. Which is Charles not PG, for those who are still shunning PG. Not Real Madrid, but then it's $14.

http://somdbluecrabs.com/news.cfm?newsID=345

Posted by: OWNTF | July 6, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

$14? Come to Lancaster, Pa, and watch Crystal Palace play Harrisburg for $12! Side benefit, you can stop at Lancaster Brewing Company and get a sixer of Strawberry Wheat Lager. http://lancasterbarnstormers.com/news.cfm?newsID=468

Posted by: lrg1231 | July 6, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | July 6, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

If DCU wins on Tuesday, when would they play again? Or do they get another full week-plus off until the Colorado home match?

Posted by: Juan-John | July 6, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

@lrg1231

at the risk of starting an ever popular "beer war", strawberry and beer have no place in the same sentence let alone the same bottle. that HopHog IPA sounds good, though.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | July 6, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Paul - what is your gut telling you on whether Bradley will start Tino on Wednesday?

Posted by: Beckster1 | July 6, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Nice chair, but no cup holders.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | July 6, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I'd love to see 'Tino play, but who gets pulled? Adu? Davies? Rogers? Holden?

Would (should) 'Tino get the nod over Feilhaber? Does he get time before Ching (if he's good to go)?

I'm not so sure. I hope he gets minutes, but I'd rather see the first 5 (Adu, Davies, Holden, Rogers, and Benny) together and see how they perform. But if Tino takes one of those spots, I hope it's Holden's.

Posted by: psps23 | July 6, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Also, I was pondering this today, but what are people's thoughts on transitioning Rogers to left back? He's young enough to not be set in any one position, and he's certainly got the physical attributes to succeed there. On top of that, left back is clearly the weakest and least deep position on the team. Would it be worth testing at some point? I could see him as an Alves, Lahm, Maicon, Ramos type player -- an endline to endline wingback that can be very effective in creating mismatches. He won't be taking too many minutes from Donovan or Dempsey to begin with, so it's not like we'd be losing a starter in this experiment either.

Of course, he'd probably need a club investing in him at this position to truly make the transition.

(And please don't be put off by the Beasley experiment. Beasley was just bad -- at any position -- when they attempted it. That's not indicative of what a normal midfield-to-defense transition would look like).

Posted by: psps23 | July 6, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Rogers may have done well on Saturday against "Just Grenadine" but he still sucks. I'd pick Tino over him any day of the week. Sorry psps23, are you impressed by Roger's at Qwest, or something he does in Columbus? Or?


Posted by: DadRyan | July 6, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Yikes, sorry dude, I only read your first post about Roger's and then I guess you added on while I was crapping on him. I liked some of what I saw last year, but have been unimpressed lately.

Posted by: DadRyan | July 6, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

If DCU wins on Tuesday, when would they play again? Or do they get another full week-plus off until the Colorado home match?

Posted by: Juan-John | July 6, 2009 4:20 PM

The USOC web site says the semifinals will be played July 21 or 22 with the final on Sept. 1 (yes, September!).

Posted by: DrBeaker | July 6, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

JkR:

I've got to disagree about Khumalo. Against teams that are going to pack it in, we need to bury our chances. Khumalo has the energy to defend a flank adequately in these circumstances, but he lacks the sharpness in front of goal to make Harrisburg pay. Given the choice of being better up top or on the right, I'll choose up top in these (and most) circumstances.

psps23:

Rogers is a pure winger. He's much more attack-minded than our normal flank players, who are always taught to defend as much as they attack. He's actually something of a unique specimen as far as American wide players go. In the eyes of many coaches, he'd actually be more of a forward than anything else.

Not every offensive player is a conversion project; you've got to have the right mentality. Albright, for all his flaws, was always a hard worker, athletic, and showed the mentality of a worker rather than a star. Having watched Rogers at Maryland and now with Columbus, I see no evidence that he is interested in this transition at all. Rogers is an individualist on the field. He is one of MLS's best on the dribble (a skill that requires flair and self-confidence), and he knows it. When people talk about how a striker should be arrogant, I think you can apply the same thinking to a player like Rogers. He's isolated on the wing, he doesn't track back much, and he seems mostly interested in using his teammates for wall passes back to him, or decoy runs to give him space. That's not a criticism; if you asked me to pick out a left winger for his attacking characteristics in MLS, I'd take Rogers first.

Converting him to left back will mean his primary job (defending) concerns his weakest skill set, and one he's not even particularly interested in, while simultaneously making it more difficult for him to use his strong points (dribbling and shooting).

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | July 6, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Well, then disagree we must. I seem to notice him watching his team mates defend which I find unconscionable in a MF. He clearly has the energy to defend, but seems to forget that it is his responsibility to actually do so far too often.

I'd love to be wrong about that.

I do agree his finishing has been dodgy, but I'd still rather he be up front where his defensive forgetfulness doesn't put you in a hole.

I also recall he and N'sulu terrorizing a moribund Red Bull back line in the US Open cup play in game. Of course, all that gets you is a free slot in the Argy bargy fantasy league....

Posted by: JkR- | July 6, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

My comment was purely speculative, as I'll admit it first, I don't follow the MLS even close to religiously. All I have to go off Rogers is his performances, however brief, with the National Teams (both full and youth), as well as his play coming from UMD.

Having said that, when I've seen Rogers play, two thoughts keep coming to my head:

(1) He could be a very dangerous striker.

(2) He could be a very dangerous wide-back.

Judging by some of the responses, as well as by what I've seen, it seems as if Rogers is fueled by running at players into space. One thing that I've noticed about Rogers as a wide mid, he almost never takes the proper angle of approach when entering the final third. He'll push the ball to the corner flag instinctively, possibly because he sees space there and would rather take the path of least resistance. It leads to very erratic services, which is what plagued him at the Olympics and the U20s. From what I've seen, he's not adept in tight spaces, and he's not particularly creative in combination. As a wide player in the midfield, you must have the ability, and the willingness, to beat players centrally, or you must be David Beckham in service. From what I've seen, Rogers is neither.

As an attacking wing-back, your primary responsibility is not defensively (as odd as it may seem). This is why sub-par defensive players like Alves and Lahm continually earn roster spots, even for top teams. Their primary responsibility is to take space and provide an added dimension to the attack that the opposing defense must account for (and subsequently, must force themselves to detract from their attack by keeping their players deeper in the defense). There are two primary attributes that an attacking back must have to be successful:

(1) An ability and willingness to make the defense pay for providing space and time on the ball.

(2) An ability and willingness to run endline to endline, with speed to make up ground, for as long as you're on the pitch.

continued...

Posted by: psps23 | July 6, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

continued...


As a wingback, you're subject to much more time and space on the ball. When Jonathan Bornstein or Carlos Bocanegra has it, the opposing defense doesn't worry much. They give it to him and dare him to make a play. When someone like Rogers has that time and space, someone who's willing to carry the ball as far as the defense is allowing, as well as someone that isn't afraid to overlap if and when the opportunity presents itself, that situation becomes much more valuable.

In fact, the way Chest described Rogers is almost verbatim as to how you could describe Alves.

Now, I can't speak for Rogers' mentality, but the opportunity to play for the USMNT is a humbling experience. He must be willing to go endline to endline. The way people are describing him is as a "selfish" player that seems to only care about attacking. If that's the case, then Rogers wouldn't fit. But something tells me he would take the chore if it meant he got more time on the field. And he certainly has the ability to do it.

This is purely to develop Rogers into a situation player here. In the US' counterattacking game, Rogers obviously wouldn't be a first choice defender because of the amount of time we'd spend in our own half. But as a spark plug substitute when the US has a team on its heels, I think Rogers could be very dangerous in that position.

And again, I could be wrong in my evaluation of Rogers. I haven't seen him extensively, only with what I've seen in his national team days.

Posted by: psps23 | July 6, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Chest on this one. Rogers is not the answer at left back. Rogers is probably a natural forward, but he does very well on the wing. He could play in the Davies role, or supplant Dempsey or Donovan from a midfield role -- pushing whichever one up top. Or, he could be a great super-sub, with pace and skills. Something the USMNT has lacked. Tino has an interesting skill set -- he has vision and can really create chances for others. However, I'd say the US has greater need for someone like Rogers, who can beat defenders on his own and can finish his chances.

Posted by: fischy | July 6, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Fischy-

Although I'm 15 mins from Germantown, I'm still contemplating the $20+ ticket fee. Someone mentioned it on another thread...the FO should reduce the ticket prices for a game against amateurs. How do they expect us to pay the same (or more) for a game (mostly unimportant) at the Soccerplex?

They should have a marketing plan to help United defeat their opponent by offering free or half off tickets for season ticket holders and supporter group members. I probably won't go to the game--unless to pick up my Real Madrid tix. ;-)

Posted by: redskinsux | July 6, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

C. Ronaldo was introduced to Real Madrid and 80,000 fans showed up!

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | July 6, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

@redskinsux -- I agree. The prices are crazy, given the opponents (and given the lineups DCU is using). If you're a planholder, call 'em up in the a.m. -- you can get tickets for $20. (It's not half off, but 20% isn't something to sneeze at) -- and I'm pretty sure non-planholding Barra Brava members can get a discount, too. I haven't gotten my tickets yet -- I've been laid low by a G-I infection -- hopefully the antibiotics will have me feeling better by tomorrow morning. I really don't want to watch the game on my computer screen.

Posted by: fischy | July 6, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

@fischy, I hope you feel better soon dude. I felt crappy just reading that sh*t.

I won't claim to have provided the spark or anything...but you guys sure can lay it out real nice. Great analysis from you guys. I guess it's just the homer in me that wants Quaranta to start at RFK. If he doesn't, what was the point of calling him up? We could use him in the Open Cup ya' know? I'm normally one to believe that Bradley is trying to do the right thing, and win every single game, but not giving Tino the shot would be pretty bunk.
I'm actually considering going to the Gold Cup game if I could believe that Quaranta will start. I've been looking at Craigslist, are tickets available at the gate?


Posted by: DadRyan | July 6, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Rogers is not someone who could become a left back. Ever. Period. End of discussion.

Posted by: alecw81 | July 6, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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