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United Rewind

Well, that turned into more of an adventure than I thought it would after the first 20 minutes.

United came out aggressively and looking to assert itself right from the start, and there was no question which was the better side for much of the first half. D.C. moved the ball well, was dangerous moving forward and quickly establish a two-goal lead.

But things kind of fell apart after that.

United struggled to finish a number of opportunities, and despite going a man up early in the second half, struggled to close out. Harrisburg should have tied if only for an inch on that shot off the crossbar late in the game.

A little disappointing that United doesn't assert itself for a full 90, when it is clearly the superior squad.

My game story is here. My Gold Cup preview is here.

Player Ratings: Kocic 6; John 5, Janicki 5, Namoff 6; Fred 6, DiRaimondo 5, Jacobson 6, McTavish 6, Barklage NR; Khumalo 7, N'Silu 5. SUBS: Wallace 6, Gomez 6

By Paul Tenorio  |  July 7, 2009; 11:41 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , U.S. Open Cup  
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Next: Wednesday Morning Kickaround

Comments

Thanks for your reportage, Paul.

Interesting to read of Fred's excellent services on corner kicks -- and Jacobson's two strong headers. Maybe, DCU found something tonight. Certainly, the team's corner kicks have been next to useless for the last 2 or 3 years. Maybe, it's time to let Fred take them -- and, if Jacobson improves on the other parts of his game, maybe he finds his way into the lineup and provides DCU with the target man they've been missing since Boswell left. Or not...

Posted by: fischy | July 8, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Also -- great story on the Gold Cup. I like the focus on how some 2005 performances led to big roles in Germany '06. Good reminder, and well-written. You've been a busy boy today.

Posted by: fischy | July 8, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't really take any positives from this match.

Khumalo was unmarked for his goal, and Jacobson was allowed to roam on that corner.

Fred may have provided good service on corners, but he still has the finishing abilities of Brandon Prideux.

For $250k I want someone who's primary value isn't his corner kick abilities. I also don't believe that he brings anything from the flag that we can't get from Burch on the left and Gomez/Moreno/Quaranta on the right.

Hell, serving up a decent corner isn't really THAT difficult, it's having someone who's able to find space and get a head on the ball that's the hard part.

This game also showed that Avery John is WAY past his sell-by date. Pretty sure he's gone from curdled milk to full-blown Gorgonzola status.

Meaning, Wallace should be the outright starter at Left-mid, and United need to sign a solid LB this summer. I'd prefer a wingback capable of making overlapping runs with Wallace. So that really means a Brazilian, Mexican, or Italian, since nobody else tends to utilize wingbacks. With the money freed up by dropping Crayton, and hopefully moving John and Fred, we should have over 300k in salary to spend on that player. Really just 150k since they pro-rate the salaries at this point. Maybe someone who's team was recently relegated to Serie C or who failed to gain promotion from C to B.

Maybe Alessandro Birindelli, former Juventus left back. Now at Pisa who were just relegated to Serie C. He's unfortunately 33, a bit older than I'd like, but wouldn't be a bad addition for the rest of the year and maybe 1 more.

Then there's Vanderson Scardovelli of Campo Grande (Brazil's 3rd of 4th division), who was on loan to Treviso. He's only 24 and looked good in the few Treviso matches I saw last season.

I also think Vlado Smit, a Serbian also with Treviso who mainly played left mid would make a good wingback in MLS.

Those are just a few of the players who's teams are being relegated. I'm sure there are guys in Serie C who wouldn't mind the move already.

If anyone from United is reading this, I'd be happy to become a scout :-)

Posted by: alecw81 | July 8, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse

@alecw -- We can be fairly certain that United is looking at LBs and/or maybe a CB. The other pressing need is a goal scorer. If Barklage is down for the count, that might mean some thought being given to midfield depth, as well -- but Fred isn't going anywhere this year. Without Crayton and John, DCU might have as much as $100k to spend for the rest of the year -- of course, that's just a guess. I suppose there's always a chance of moving someone like Fred or Emilio in the transfer window, but I wouldn't get your hopes up. That should have been done last year -- their value is way down now.

I've posed this before, though -- why not do the equivalent of what the Crew did with Schelotto? Bring someone in at a smaller salary for the rest of the year...promising a big payday (maybe even a DP salary) for next season. To an extent, I suppose that's what they did with Emilio (except he didn't sign midseason), so I guess I'm saying they find someone even better now.

Posted by: fischy | July 8, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Well anyone we bring in for the rest of the year would be getting paid for half a season, so maybe get someone willing to play for 50K for the rest of the year, with bonuses for achievements. I'd dump Fred at the end of the year if nobody will take him in a trade, or hope he gets scooped in the expansion draft.

Anything to open up some cap-room.

Posted by: alecw81 | July 8, 2009 2:04 AM | Report abuse

I agree with alec. Fred has not shown he's worth the 250K. I thought he had been improving over the last year or so but that has not been the case. If he doesn't make a major mark in the playoffs or in the rest of the season, I agree--drop him.

Posted by: redskinsux | July 8, 2009 3:09 AM | Report abuse

Anybody know how long Emilio's contract is too?

I'm under the impression this is the last year of the contract, since the DP experiment isn't "guaranteed" to extend beyond this season.

Why do I ask?

Even when healthy he just doesn't seem to be the answer for United up top. I'd prefer to find someone that can successfully partner with Pontius.

Posted by: alecw81 | July 8, 2009 3:36 AM | Report abuse

Paul: no offense, but your rating for Khumalo is insane. He and N'Silu were the two worst players out there for DCU, regardless of the goal he scored. The entire match, like several other matches recently, was a flood of him getting into dangerous situations and then doing just the wrong thing to squander the opportunity. That he got absurdly lucky with a defensive gaffe one time doesn't make up for the number of times he was one-on-one against the keeper and sent the ball to Maine.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | July 8, 2009 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | July 8, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

My ratings:
Kocic 6
Namoff 6
Janicki 6
John 5
DiRaimondo 5.5
Jacobson 5
MacTavish 5
Fred 3.5
Barklage 5
Khumalo 6.5
N'Silu 5.5

Subs:
Wallace 6
Gomez 4

Posted by: GoUnited | July 8, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Quick question about tonight. The US Game kicks off at 9:00 pm? For some reason I was thinking 8:00.

Thanks
Sam

Posted by: SamDCU | July 8, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

arrrgy bargy

Was hoping to alter my TdF lineup this morning, but the deadline has passed despite the race not starting yet.

Posted by: Reignking | July 8, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse


Alexi Lalas played for Padova from 1994 to '96 and New Jersey native Giuseppe Rossi, the son of Italian parents, played for Parma and joined the Italian national team. He now plays for Villareal in Spain.

Psst....VillaRreal :)

Posted by: Reignking | July 8, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

@fischy I agree that United hasn't been effective on corners, especially last year, but I think it's more of a problem that we aren't great in the ait. Gomez and Moreno are both capable of good service off of dead balls. Who do we have that is a power house in the air, Emilio is OK, he is accurate when he connects, but doesn't get far off the ground. Moreno, no, midfield no, CB's are decent. I didn't see Fred's service, so he might be better at corners than the other two, but I'd say we need some big men that can jump before we can expect to score off them consistantly.

Posted by: bighungry | July 8, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

From what I heard on WTOP, McT had a very good showing at outside mid, good to see him getting some time and using it well. I think we had 40 shots total in the last two USOC matches and only got 4 goals? There in lies the problem....finishing.

Posted by: boda-united | July 8, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I've been frustrated by Fred's performance for a while and he seems to have no killer instinct in front of the net.

If he was a throwback to El Diablo and just preferred an assist to a goal that would be one thing, but he take plenty of shots and makes a mess of them.

Posted by: M__N | July 8, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

"But I think this is definitely a chance for me to prove to Bob or to whoever else that I can help the team." Robbie Rogers.

Whoever else? Is he talking about us?

Nice work Señor Paul.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | July 8, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Any update on ticket sales to the friendly that is lining the Club's, I mean Danny Boy's, pockets?

And more specifically? How many of the purchases have come from Redskins holders who will line Danny's pockets and fleece others as well?

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | July 8, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Another half-filled SportsPlex partially thanks to the insane $25 ticket price.

Posted by: beach3 | July 8, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Belated thanks to psps23 and ChestR for the eggs-planation* of defensive formations on a previous thread.

* definitely over-huevoing the meringue.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | July 8, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Mexisnob!

Posted by: Reignking | July 8, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

pretty lenient ratings for a squad who apparently sucked for 70 minutes.

I don't know what it is about the Open Cup, but teams get up for it. Hopefully in 10 years, when the MLS becomes better and better, it will become reminescent of the FA Cup, giant killers will become the norm.

The U.S. game is at 9pm tonight, with the Haiti/Grenada game at 7pm.

Posted by: adamsunited | July 8, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

[accidentally posted on the match night thread]

I have a friend in Madrid who gives me occasional, cynical, comments about Real Madrid. This one seems appropriate.

... in the 2 hours after Ronaldo's introduction, the official store opened for 2 hours, and sold 2.000 shirts with his name, and yesterday 15 every minute. The price, according to the official website is $132.58 (US). Profitable? The toughest down side is that the money to pay for Ronaldo's trade was loaned for the most part by a Credit Union from Madrid, controlled by the local government, that is not supporting small companies and home buyers with loans because of the crisis.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | July 8, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

"Was hoping to alter my TdF lineup this morning, but the deadline has passed despite the race not starting yet."

Just snagged mine last night . . but maybe I should have read the rules . .. anyways, it'll be Cavendish, Cavendish, Cavendish, then the mountains . . .

Posted by: delantero | July 8, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

OT, NYT on WPS.

"Indeed, the largest group tuning into the league’s games on the Fox Soccer Channel are men who also watch men’s games, said David Sternberg, the chief operating officer of Fox Cable Networks.

But getting men to attend games in appreciable numbers is another story. Doug Logan, the former commissioner of Major League Soccer who now leads USA Track and Field, said team sports were “fundamentally tribal” and that women’s sports leagues have struggled to develop that kind of support.

“Success at the gate has to have a tribal following and not just a van of soccer-playing kids who come to one game a year,” Logan said. “If your business model depends on youth soccer, it won’t be enough.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/08/sports/soccer/08league.html?_r=1&hpw

Posted by: OWNTF | July 8, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

From what I heard on WTOP, McT had a very good showing at outside mid, good to see him getting some time and using it well. I think we had 40 shots total in the last two USOC matches and only got 4 goals? There in lies the problem....finishing.

Posted by: boda-united | July 8, 2009 8:47 AM
***************************

And McTavish may have been the worst shooter of the lot. He had a couple comical/groanworthy efforts that looked like they were trying to escape the Earth's atmospher into orbit. I think McT had a decent game otherwise, but shooting is not his specialty!

DC's reserves played with a real chip on their shoulders at the start of the game and seemed like they were really out to prove themselves. I thought the starting lineup was too heavily focused on reserves but they proved me wrong.

The 2nd half was disconcerting as Harrisburg was much better in the final half hour with only 10 players than they had been in the 1st half.

Gomez greatly improved the team's offensive fluidity in last week's Open Cup game v Ocean City but he had little positive impact as a sub last night. At one point he gave up a bad breakaway by initially showing for a pass but then making a halfhearted effort to get to the ball - he was yellow carded for intentionally fouling the Hburg player that took advantage of him and was racing toward DC's goal.

Kocic was much better last night than a week ago when he seemed to give up more rebounds. Milos made a great leaping save on a quick HBurg restart that surprised everyone else in the 1st half.

The team played mostly reserves and advanced to the Open Cup semifinals. It wasn't perfect but I don't think we need to embark on a fantasy shopping spree for Euro talent either.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | July 8, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

People are being too harsh on Fred, John etc. Fred is returning from injury. Did he have several good scoring chances? Yes, did he miss them, yes. This is nothing new from Fred if you have been watching him since he was signed in 2007. All of our veterans are going to need to step it up in the last half of the season. If they don't perform than they will be dropped or replaced.

The USOC has always involved experimental rosters for the MLS teams. In the first half last night, Harrisburg was either intimidated or half dead because they looked bad. When they went down to 10 in the second half they caused alot of havoc -they were all over the place and our defense lost its shape. Their goal came on a Janiki give away in our defensive 3rd. We missed many scoring opportunities last night this game should have been 4-1 United.

Posted by: sbg1 | July 8, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Indeed, the largest group tuning into the league’s games on the Fox Soccer Channel are men who also watch men’s games....

Posted by: OWNTF | July 8, 2009 9:49 AM

Well that explains the commercials for hair replacement, body building, and, um, enhancement products.

Whatever happened to Bob? I miss the way Bob's toaster used to pop up on cue and how Bob's office clock always stood at noon. And Mrs. Bob... one happy woman.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | July 8, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

First, the player ratings were ridiculous for a team that plays that badly at home against a team 2 division below it and has only ten men. If fact, Harrisburg almost came back from 2 goals down playing a man down.

Second, Its clear that United has huge problems finishing up top. NSilu has to go. He is my first cut and I don't have a clue why he is taking up a roster spot.

Boyzz also really struggled but at times at least added something to the attack.

Third, If DCU want to charge close to full price for these games at the Metroplex it better start putting out something approaching its best team. United is either playing this competition as if it were a joke, or we have huge personnel issues.

I'm sure others noticed but these were by FAR the lowest attended games at the Metroplex involving United. And much to my surprise the turnout last night seemed significantly lower than the previous round's game. A lot of people were asking where is everybody. Even the SG had barely 30 people and were in a tough struggle with the "Sons of Ben" from Philly/Eastern Pa.

What a beautiful evening for a game and what a massive waste.

Posted by: dcufan531 | July 8, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Just got back from the dentist... Talk about Aaaaaaargy Bargy...

Who's in the lead group? I think Tom "Blackout Blow PartyBoy" Boonen will win a stage or two soon. Probably today if he's in that group.

Posted by: DadRyan | July 8, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Dang it, I've got Voeckler on the bench!

Posted by: DadRyan | July 8, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

dadryan, I blew it -- I was going to redo my team this morning but the deadline went by. Looks like I'll be going as far as Cancellara goes.

Posted by: Reignking | July 8, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I just watched Voeckler win his first stage win of his career and he's sitting on my bench.... Aaaargy Barrrgy! really under-egged the pudding right there.

Posted by: DadRyan | July 8, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Hope some of my guys are good in the mountains -- I really have no idea :) Just picked a lot of guys I recognized from playing last year.

Posted by: Reignking | July 8, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

@ BlackandRedRedDevil

In the new commercial, dozens of Smilin' Bob's female co-workers line up to sit on his lap (he's Santa at the Xmas party). His popularity among women was so... ummm... large that he won the governorship with 100% of their vote. However, he took numerous trips to Argentina so that the women there could "go hiking in the Andes." Ergo, no more Mrs. Bob. She's currently on a book tour.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | July 8, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Hope some of my guys are good in the mountains --
Posted by: Reignking
====================

Smilin' Bob got their vote too.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | July 8, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Looks like I'll get points for Feillu and Farrar.

Posted by: Reignking | July 8, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I don't know why everyone is so worked up about ticket prices and attendance last night. I didn't go because I made the trek to the 'Plex on Sunday to watch the Freedom and a trip that takes over an hour on Sunday could take God knows how long in rush hour. Add in the Gold Cup match tonight and that's a great deal of soccer spread over a relatively small fan base.

$25 for a ticket is a meh. If the tickets were $10 attendance might have been a couple hundred more. A USOC match is a "niche" event -- the diehards will be there for $25, the casual fans won't show up if it was free.

Posted by: griffin1108 | July 8, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

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