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D.C. United News & Notes

*Following Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Dynamo, D.C. United remained in Houston on Sunday for a conditioning session before flying to San Salvador today ahead of Tuesday's Champions League match with Firpo at Estadio Cuscatlan (10 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel). DCU will advance to the group stage with a victory in regulation, a tie in which it scores at least two goals, or a PK triumph after a 1-1 draw.

United's record in official international competition in Mexico/Central America is 1-7-1 with seven goals scored and 21 conceded. The only victory was 4-1 at Olimpia (Honduras) in the first leg of the 2007 Champions Cup quarterfinals.

*Why wasn't Luciano Emilio, who scored twice in the second half against Houston, in the starting lineup? The obvious answer is that Coach Tom Soehn was preparing to start him in the do-or-die game against Firpo and didn't want to exhaust his Brazilian striker in oppressive conditions Saturday.

But when asked by a Houston-based reporter about Emilio's reserve role, Soehn said: "That's a decision we made. We'll keep that to ourselves. [pause] Thanks for asking." Usually, you hear those types of comments when discipline is involved. I do not think that's the case in this situation, but Soehn's vague response does make you wonder.

*GM Dave Kasper said that negotiations with Belgian-based defender David Habarugira are continuing. If a deal is reached, he would fill the final roster opening, a senior position. Midfielder Ely Allen was given the only remaining developmental slot last week. These moves would mean United will carry just two goalkeepers instead of the club's usual three. In case of injury or suspension, Kasper said the club would call up an MLS pool goalie. (With Donovan Ricketts hurt, Los Angeles requested Kevin Guppy to back up Josh Saunders on Saturday against Barcelona.)

For Bryan Arguez news, keep reading this post.....

Former DCU midfield prospect Bryan Arguez, who was sold to Hertha Berlin in early 2008 but hasn't made a long-term impression with the Bundesliga club, has begun a trial with Charleroi in Belgium for a possible loan. Arguez turned down an offer from FSV Frankfurt earlier this year.

By Steve Goff  |  August 3, 2009; 11:44 AM ET
Categories:  CONCACAF Champions League , D.C. United , Germany  
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Next: Adu, Toronto, Freedom, Baltimore

Comments

Great. Now he's giving him the Crayton treatment. That worked out well.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 3, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

dear MLS: please add me to the goalie pool. Thanks!

Posted by: diego_r | August 3, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how much money it would take to hire Kinnear away from Houston.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 3, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Who does Soehn think he is? Bill Belichick? Bruce Arena?

Surly responses to seemingly innocuous questions are only effective when the people who ask think you're a great coach. "Thanks for asking." What a $#@!.

Posted by: DWE4 | August 3, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I don't care why Emilio didn't start the Houston game, all I know is his play was FAR better than it has been recently and he's now more or less rested for Firpo. I don't always agree with Soehn, but if Emilio is the difference-maker in San Salvador, Soehn deserves some credit.

Posted by: TassieTiger | August 3, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Soooo, assuming we actually WANT to win this game tomorrow, what does the lineup look like?

----------------------Kocic------------------------

--Namoff-----Jakovic------Janicki------John--

---------------------Olsen--------------------

--Quaranta------------------------Wallace----

---------------------Gomez-------------------

----Emilio---------------------Pontius-------


That seems like it might be reasonable. Four man backline seems like it might be the wave of the future..Benny only played 45 on Saturday (but can he handle the two way responsibilities of being the only d-mid? Maybe Szetela goes there instead). Wallace should be fresh after missing Saturday's game, Gomez and Emilio only went 45 each. That leaves Fred, Szetela, Moreno, Jacobson on the bench as likely subs.

Can't say I'm too optimistic about this game, honestly.

Posted by: the_slammer | August 3, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Totally off-topic, but i just watched the Galaxy-Barca game and I really don't want either Beckham or Donovan to leave MLS anytime soon. They played with the kind of savy that MLS has been missing since the early years of the league, even if the league is more stable, (maybe) more competitive, etc. I miss crisp passes and pinpoint long passes; Burch is no Etcheverry.

Posted by: TassieTiger | August 3, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

and don't hate me because I want them around...for god's sake they're clearly good for the league.

Posted by: TassieTiger | August 3, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Agree with tassie. Also wondering if parity is best for growing MLS. Why not have a couple or three stacked MLS teams that could better carry the flag into Champions League etc. England, Spain and Germany do OK without parity, why not here?

Posted by: OWNTF | August 3, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

No hate here, Tassie. But it is quite clear that Landon is playing well above MLS standards right now. It's as if the Confed Cup sparked something in him that says "hey, I am just as good as those guys if not better". To watch the attention he was getting in the Barca game (and how Everton was watching him in the ASG) and to see how he ran at multiple people and took the physical contact head on - I think Donovan is ready to leave and make an impact where ever he goes. He has stepped it up, big time.

Posted by: Kosh2 | August 3, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

In America we need parity. We don't have enough die-hard fans to run a successful league in this country. Too many band-wagoners.

If we had two or three super clubs, it would only be a matter of time before the other guys are ran out of business. Heck we have parity now and still some teams (like one in a southern state) can't sell out. We have a defending champ in first place that can't sell out their stadium.

Posted by: Kosh2 | August 3, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"That's a decision we made."

Maybe it's because of Emilio's ridiculous on field discussion with Gomito about the San Jose PK taker.

Posted by: delantero | August 3, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

why not here?

Posted by: OWNTF | August 3, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

-------------------------

Because here in the U.S., most of our sports fans hate losers. In those other countries, soccer is so ingrained into their respective cultures that having a hometown club to root for is enough to satisfy fans.

If we had two or three super clubs and a bunch of Readings and Burnleys (and remember, even the dregs of the first divisions in other countries get relegated to 2nd div and start winning against the lesser competition as they work their way back up to the top flight), people would stop going to the games and the clubs lose money...eventually relocating or folding (see Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Rams, NASL).

I don't mind having certain limitations in place (salary caps, etc) to maintain some level of parity in the league, but the current salary cap is so stringent it just kills MLS clubs when they have to go up against international competition. The cap needs to be high enough to provide enough flexibility so a savvy and creative front office can succeed with some consistency (see New England Patriots, Detroit Red Wings, etc.)

Posted by: combedge | August 3, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I'd start Jacobson at D-mid instead of Olsen. I don't think Benny can be the lone d-mid in a 442 and I've been hearing that Jacobsen did much better in the 442 at Housten.

Posted by: laur84 | August 3, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

The counter argument is that US general sports fans also aren't going to come out in numbers to watch minor league sports, parity or not, which is what MLS is (a feeder system for the national team and Euro pro teams). Current attendance bears that out.

On the other hand, if there were a credible argument that MLS team(s) could compete on a big stage (and by that I don't mean they could beat Firpo), then people might come out to watch those teams roll through their town, even if they beat up on the home team.

Relegation would certainly spice it up; and there wouldn't seem to be much argument that a Puerto Rico or Vancouver can play evenly with the Red Bulls.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 3, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Relegation would certainly spice it up; and there wouldn't seem to be much argument that a Puerto Rico or Vancouver can play evenly with the Red Bulls.
Posted by: OWNTF
================

Or W-Connection for that matter.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 3, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Fred's goal is a GOTW candidate.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 3, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Who says DC wants to win tomorrow? I thought we were saving all of our resources for the Greatest Club Team of All Time game verse Real Madrid!?

Donovan, I would like him to stay, but he is far too good for our league right now.

Beckham, I give him 4/1 odds he returns to Old Trafford and not Milan or Chelsea. Sir Alex, will make the same deal he made with Henrik Larsson 3 yrs ago. United will the be propelled to, and again lose to Barcalona in the UCL final and we will all complain about FSC not broadcasting it in HD in 10 months time.

Posted by: grubbsbl | August 3, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Who says DC wants to win tomorrow? I thought we were saving all of our resources for the Greatest Club Team of All Time game verse Real Madrid!?

Donovan, I would like him to stay, but he is far too good for our league right now.

Beckham, I give him 4/1 odds he returns to Old Trafford and not Milan or Chelsea. Sir Alex, will make the same deal he made with Henrik Larsson 3 yrs ago. United will the be propelled to, and again lose to Barcalona in the UCL final and we will all complain about FSC not broadcasting it in HD in 10 months time.

Posted by: grubbsbl | August 3, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

What has DC become??? DC was the face of MLS. Setting the standards in 96. Now, theirs so much wrong with DC. The defense is horrible. They panic, commit stupid mistakes, allow teams to get back in the game. DC needs to stop picking favorites and re-boost the D. Now, the offense... DC can't scout... They can't pick out talent... Pontius..well he can't keep he's composure... He blasts the ball hoping it will go in... Emilio... Take about cheap!!! Moreno...He's not getting any younger...

Posted by: rigs88 | August 3, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

...The defense is horrible. They panic, commit stupid mistakes, allow teams to get back in the game. DC needs to stop picking favorites and re-boost the D. Now, the offense... DC can't scout... They can't pick out talent... Pontius..well he can't keep he's composure... He blasts the ball hoping it will go in... Emilio... Take about cheap!!! Moreno...He's not getting any younger...

Posted by: rigs88 | August 3, 2009 2:16 PM
_________________________________________
OMFG, the sky is falling!

Posted by: schmuckatelli | August 3, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"Now, the offense... DC can't scout... They can't pick out talent... Pontius..well he can't keep he's composure... He blasts the ball hoping it will go in... Emilio... Take about cheap!!! Moreno...He's not getting any younger... "

I thoght DCU led the league in scoring?

Posted by: LWPA | August 3, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I can't imagine why Arguez has a pic of him in a DCU jersey on his Wiki page. I mean, why use that fuzzy photo when there is this available to you:
http://www.herthabsc.de/index.php?id=17446

In any case, I wish him the best. Playing time, lads, it's all about playing time.

Posted by: nairbsod | August 3, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

FSC broadcasts in HD in Seattle.

Posted by: DCUMD | August 3, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Judging from the poster's name, he's 20-21... I'll leave it at that.

Pontius has been a GREAT draft-pick.
Name the last 1st Round pick United made that actually played more than 10 matches in his entire United career?

This year we have 2: Wallace and Pontius. Both have shown tremendous promise, and have played more than admirably.

The defense is in shambles, that can't be ignored. Which is quite odd considering Soehn was a defender himself.

Namoff is our most consistent player, and you really can't hope for much better from a RB in MLS.

Jakovic is pretty solid, and would be even better in a 4-man line with another decent CB next to him.

I had high hopes for Janicki, but he seems to be lost on far too many occasions.

Burch simply can't mark effectively and is too slow to be a LB with the sort of offensive tendencies that he likes to employ. He also doesn't seem to have the mental ability to play CB effectively. He's trade-bait for someone like RSL, RBNY, Colorado, or TFC (aka the most incompetent traders in the league).

John is finally starting to find his feet with United, but he should only be here as a sub and spot starter in less-significant matches.

Wallace could be the future of DC and the USMNT at LB (in a 4-4-2), but he's needed at LM and occasionally DM right now. Especially in a 3-5-2, since Fred just doesn't have the defensive capabilities at LM.

McTavish is our jack-of-all-trades, but master of none, who's quite valuable to have on the bench, since he can slot in nearly anywhere but #9,#10,#11.

Additionally, DC could really use a burner up top, someone who simply has tremendous pace and the ability to put the ball on frame.

And then there's the one move that could solidify a whole lot for this team: Veron.

He took his side to a Libertadores win, and now might be the time to bring him in.

Posted by: alecw81 | August 3, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

My interpretation of Emilio starting on the bench while Soehn otherwise sent out the best available team was mainly an effort to shake him up. His recent play had betrayed selfishness and irritability, while lacking the desire to score no matter what else is going on. The performance we got from Emilio in the 2nd half was someone who put aside all his other concerns and just wanted to score goals. The goals he scored were the exact kind of goals we need Emilio scoring. First, he puts in a deflected shot after a) putting himself in a situation where his marker was the weakest defender on the field and b) escaping that marker. On the second, he beats everyone from both teams to a loose ball after a scramble. Consider the fact that we had several shots blocked after scrambles against Firpo; I can't help but wonder what happens if the Emilio we saw Saturday is on the end of those shots instead of Gomez, Wallace, or others.

I don't know for sure that Emilio wasn't just being rested, and that Soehn's answer just sounds more cryptic than it is. However, if it was a motivational tactic, it definitely worked in the short term. Hopefully, it didn't wear off over the past couple days, because we'll need Emilio at his best if this season is to be a good one, and not just an above-average rebuilding year.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | August 3, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey alec81 watch what you say about us 20-21 yrs olds! Just joking. Glad you brought some sanity to the debate. I am not one of those fans who thinks the sky is falling. I mean come on people, its the MLS. If you get into the playoffs then winning the MLS Cup is really a crab shot. DC has shown that it is good enough to compete with anyone this yr.

Mr. Rockwell, I think your speculation on Emilio holds water. I have been critical of him this yr, but his play in the second half was reminiscent of his first yr. Not to over exaggerate one half but if we get that type of play out of him from here on out DC drastically improves.

Posted by: grubbsbl | August 3, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

@alec81 again. I second the need for some pace somewhere in our offense. Boyzz was that pace, but lacked any ability to finish. Yet, so do 3/4 of MLS strikers.

Posted by: grubbsbl | August 3, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

"They panic, commit stupid mistakes, allow teams to get back in the game."

Are you referring to Jakovic's slide tackle? From what I could tell by the replays, that tackle was as clean as a whistle. What a shameful dive by Oduro, and what a hasty call by Salazar.

http://web.mlsnet.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=5873621

Check it out. Oduro catches his right foot with his trailing left, and Salazar doesn't even think twice. Consult your damn linesman, at least.

Posted by: keepunitedindc | August 3, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Name the last 1st Round pick United made that actually played more than 10 matches in his entire United career?
Freddy Adu

DC didn't make a first round selection in 2005 or 2008 and Justin Moose just missed your qualifications after being drafted in 2006. There has been more than enough Bryan Arguez talk on SI for a year today.

Posted by: sitruc | August 3, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

@DCUMD: Keep it thorough. ;-)

Posted by: DadRyan | August 3, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

My interpretation of Soehn's chippy response to the reporter is that he's aware that he's not capable any more of getting a good performance out of a squad that should be capable of winning when we score 3 goals. It's taken him all last season, 4 months of this one, and getting hosed in Houston by 3 goals in 3.49 minutes for him to realize that this 3-5-2 formation is not defensively solid. I doubt that our veterans are getting any inspiration from training with the guy, and the young guys are getting accustomed to being average. Our players are better than this, Coach Soehn isn't and should get out now.

Posted by: gooner71 | August 3, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I think we can do better than Soehn, especially since we all know that Olsen, Moreno, and Gomez can't last forever, and Emilio isn't a spring chicken, either.

We need a new direction, Soehn is clearly no better than an assistant coach. Which he was, under Nowak.

We need someone who can hone and focus players, not slop them together and claim victory if it doesn't completely clapse.

When a man does just enough not to fire him, it doesn't mean you shouldn't be looking to fire him. Especially when he's a coach.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | August 3, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

DCU's problem isn't salary cap or talent. In MLS, they're doing about as good as is possible. Top level vets, excellent rookies like Pontius. The only problem is with a mediocre coach. It's clear that players don't know what's expected of them and are frustrated.

It's never going to be possible to assemble a squad like DC's 96-99 teams. Arena figured things out quickly, and easily took advantage of other, more desperate teams. If MLS decided to go with a free market system, then a team could buy its way to success, but there won't be another situation like the one that allowed DCU to basically own the league for a few years.

Posted by: Mastodon_Juan | August 3, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Looked like a pretty standard Soehn answer to me. Good work creating interest and posts though.

Posted by: googlio | August 3, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Completely agree with Chest re Emilio. During the SJ game I yelled at my tv to get Emilio off the field after 25 minutes; he seemed disinterested, his passes were worse than usual, did not get himself open,etc.In a EURO league he would not have lasted until halftime.He is not the first "star" player who has to sit to get the message. Now we'll see tonight if the second half in Houston was the beginning of a turnaround or an aberration.

Posted by: bechtoldpk | August 4, 2009 6:05 AM | Report abuse

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