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D.C. United's Busy Schedule

Careful what you wish for. Yes, D.C. United won a preliminary series it was supposed to win. Yes, it is now in position to redeem itself after last year's winless effort in group play and make a bid at a regional championship. Yes, the club gets to sell tickets to three additional home matches.

But by defeating Firpo on Tuesday night, United also increased its work and travel load for a large portion of the stretch run in a very competitive MLS Eastern Conference. Here's how it looks after Sunday's friendly with Real Madrid:

Aug. 15: at Toronto
Aug. 18: at Marathon (Honduras)
Aug. 22: vs. Galaxy
Aug. 26: vs. Toluca (Mexico)
Aug. 29: at Chicago
Sept. 2: vs. Seattle (U.S. Open Cup final)
Sept. 5: at Dallas
Sept. 9: vs. Kansas City (rescheduled because of Madrid game)
Sept. 12: vs. Seattle
Sept. 15: at T&T or Panama club

That's 10 games in 31 days, including five road trips. The calendar thins out from mid-September until the end of the regular season in late October, but you get the idea.

Does DCU have the depth and personnel to handle the domestic and international demands? Or is the club heading for a late-season fall? Your opinions are welcome.

By Steve Goff  |  August 5, 2009; 1:09 PM ET
Categories:  CONCACAF Champions League , D.C. United , U.S. Open Cup  
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Comments

This is why I don't understand the need to participate in all of these tournaments. DC United is an MLS club. Wouldn't it be better to just focus on the league and maybe do these tournaments at another time? Looking at that schedule, we're at a severe competitive disadvantage when compared with other clubs in the East.

Posted by: stwasm | August 5, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

That first week of travel is brutal...

Posted by: Reignking | August 5, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Dammed if you do, dammed if you don't.

Posted by: OhBoyOhBoy | August 5, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

After watching the horrible passing in midfield and the absolute pitiful finishing attempts last night I'm not really sure it matters how this will affect the stretch run.......

I could not believe the constant balls being played directly to opposing players last night and the number of shots taken that weren't even close to being on frame

I can understand and live with these things during my over 35 league games and from a youth team, but come on you are "pros" all you have to do is practice shooting from 20 yards, for pete's sake (Or Soehns sake) make the keeper make a save, heck last night I would have been happy if they just hit their 20 yard shots into the keepers chest instead of the 8th row!!!

Posted by: PineyO | August 5, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

That 8/18 game in Honduras is going to be a team of reserves parking the bus and hoping for an away point. Ugly ugly ugly. Though I can't say I blame them.

Posted by: asfoolasiam | August 5, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

As I've said before here and elsewhere: this is why I wanted us to punt on CCL. I do not think we can survive this. With Boyzzz, Simms, Barklage all out and N'Silu looking like he's headed the Louis Crayton route, I've got to hope beyond hope that Allen and the other new guy that we're still trying to sign come in and shore things up in a massive, massive way. Otherwise, we can kiss the playoffs goodbye.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | August 5, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget, the only thing that matters is the match this weekend. Right, DC front office?

Posted by: Hoost | August 5, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Its possible that they can survive this. Simms coming back healthy will be a plus. What the club needs though is for players like McTavish, John, Janicki, etc. to step up now. They need to prove that they belong on this team. They have had matches in the open cup, started in some big games, and will play some good minutes against madrid so im hoping they are prepared.

Posted by: totalfootballer | August 5, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Other pro leagues can do it, why can't we? Oh, yeah, that's right... the whole salary cap thing. I yearn for the day when our domestic teams can at least rival the region's spending. I'm not looking for Real Madrid or Manchester City levels of stupidity. I would just love for the MLS to be financially secure enough that teams could increase their spending on more and, hopefully, quality players.

Posted by: freeholdsouth | August 5, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

That 8/18 game in Honduras is going to be a team of reserves parking the bus and hoping for an away point. Ugly ugly ugly. Though I can't say I blame them.

Posted by: asfoolasiam | August 5, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse


Over/under on the reactions for that one?

Posted by: Section117 | August 5, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

@stwasm,

Correct, but football as it's played around the globe features leagues that run concurrently with various tournaments that tax all of their entrants.

However, the one thing that is seemingly missing from ours is the financial gain from success and hence the need to do well. Just ask Arsenal or Liverpool what it means if they don't get Champions League money one year. Just ask Aston Villa or Everton what it would mean if they did!

I cannot recall if it's been mentioned here, but I'm not sure what the various pay-outs for success in the CCL or USOC are. I assume the USOC is next to nil. I would also assume that right now the CCL is in the same boat as it lacks broad appeal and a big television contract. One would hope that over time, CONCACAF can invest in its leagues and familiarities will breed a drive for success. But that would depend on Jack Warner diverting the profits from tour packages from South Africa to somewhere other than his pockets.

The other aspect, MLS wants its teams out there and participating. However, given the way the cap works, participating clubs will not be able to spend extra on players or anything else that success should buy.

SO - the league really has to grow as a whole in order to compete and be successful internationally. Right now, individual successes are more an abberation than a rule.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | August 5, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Unrelated: Jozy to Hull on loan is official. I think it's a good move. Granted, anything other than his Spanish debacle will seem good by comparison.

Posted by: HWLongfellow | August 5, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I for one am excited. I am not like the above mentioned negative posters. Man Utd won three trophies last yr and competed in 5, that is right 5 competitions. So what? DC has to pack it in a couple of games. Lets go out and show why we are the best team in MLS history.

And for the poster who said "DC United is an MLS club. Wouldn't it be better to just focus on the league and maybe do these tournaments at another time? " When is another time better? In five yrs? Should MLS be the only league in the world that has no interest in playing in regional/international play? To win the MLS Cup all we have to do is qualify for the playoffs. We don't have to have the number one seed. No one is THAT good.

I don't know about you but this is one of the reason why I have pride in being a DC United fan. Our success at all levels of CONCACAF makes us better then every other MLS club.

First week, though, absolutely brutal.

Why are we all always so negative! We aren't the New York Red Bulls people!

Posted by: grubbsbl | August 5, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

That schedule is over-egging the pudding

Posted by: rockotodd | August 5, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

@VirginiaBlueBlood: I believe the CONCACAF play out is very small. I think I read someone where on a not allowed to mention blog that the payout is 200k. Though, winning the CCL qualifies you into the Club World Cup -as I am sure you knew that- and just finishing last in that gets you a pay out of 500,000 of either dollars or euros (not sure). I believe too that every CONCACAF team has finished better then last place so they usually get more.

So while it is not the astronomical numbers just qualifying to the group stage of the UCL, which I think is close to 10 million pounds, it is still some good money for an MLS club.

Posted by: grubbsbl | August 5, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I confused by comments above that only the MLS clubs are taxed in this competition. The Mexican League is underway so I know they're in the same boat as MLS clubs. What about the Central American and the Caribbean leagues? Are they in season or off season?

Posted by: croftonpost | August 5, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Goff, any news on the Anderlecht prospect? Considering this schedule, DCU absolutely NEEDS to fill that roster spot.

Posted by: hoyanick1 | August 5, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

We could win all these regional tournaments by 8-0 scorelines, but if we crash out in the MLS playoffs, the angry mobs will be out in force here and elsewhere demanding TS's head together with the scalps of 2/3 of the players.

Posted by: Ron16 | August 5, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Aside from the injuries DCU had last year, I don't see much difference between the 2008 season and this one, except for not being able to send the reserve team down to Panama/wherever for the last meaningless group game once we've already been eliminated like last year at Saprissa.

Posted by: Juan-John | August 5, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Where Joe Doc when you need him?

Jozy's on a vacation far away
Come around and talk it over
So many things that I wanna say
You know I like my girls a little bit older
I just wanna use your love tonight
I don't wanna lose your love tonight

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 5, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be better to just focus on the league and maybe do these tournaments at another time? Looking at that schedule, we're at a severe competitive disadvantage when compared with other clubs in the East.

Posted by: stwasm | August 5, 2009 1:15 PM

*******************************

We don't have a choice to "do the tournament at another time". But, yes, it will be tough.

We will need significant contributions from the whole roster all the way down to Di Raimondo, Ely Allen and Mr. Habanavillage. I'd prioritize the MLS schedule but still mix and match starters w reserves in all, or most, games.

The team can recalibrate it's emphasis as the situation develops but clinching a playoff position is more important than qualifying for the next stage of a tournament that won't happen til our next preseason when the roster may be a work in progress.

Unfortunately for DC the 2 most important CCL games may be the first ones in August, getting points at Marathon and winning at home vs Toluca would go a long way towards getting us to the next round.

I hated the teams performance (mostly the apparent indifference by the front office) before the Firpo home game. I'm proud of their determined performance last night.

Take it one week at a time and hope we don't get struck down by excessive injuries. DC, with good play and some luck, can both make the fall MLS playoffs and the quarterfinals of the CCL in the New Year.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | August 5, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

If an MLS team were to win the thing and face off against the UEFA champion in single elimination finals of a world-wide tournament, that would be something worth far more to MLS than whatever the immediate $$ pay-out is.

Posted by: OWNTF | August 5, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

When Jozy comes home
So good
He's the pride of the neighborhood
He's the raw flame
The live wire
He prays like a roman
With his eyes on fire

Posted by: OWNTF | August 5, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

@croftonpost: Have you seen the size of the rosters in Mexico? I'd also bet that their salary cap if they have one at all is much higher.
No idea about the other clubs, can say with confidence that the Mexican clubs have the clearest advantage in the tournament at this point.

I'm with grubbsbl on this one, while I'd love to see DCU put another star on the shirt, I like our chances much more this year and welcome the competition. Last year was a joke with the CONCACAF Champions Cup, SuperLiga, Open Cup, and new CCL. When they put all the eggs in Gallardo's basket we were doomed. This year is better and as totalfootballer pointed out, now more than ever the reserves have a huge opportunity to step up.

These guys are pros, and it's time for them to do their jobs. Some will not be able to continue next year, and this may be their last chance for glory!(Benny, Jaime?)
Vamos United!

Posted by: DadRyan | August 5, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Overcoming great obstacles results in great achievements.

Posted by: carnack | August 5, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Never mind twitter... aren't you guys facebook friends with Jozy?
"First game vs Chelsea if the work permit permits
lol fingers crossed. thanks for all the love and support"

Posted by: DadRyan | August 5, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

DCU played close to 50 matches in CY 2008, and didn't even make the MLS playoffs. I think MLS mildly stretched out their regular season this year, but that's still ridiculous. Players need more money/incentives, and someday a union.

"Aside from the injuries DCU had last year, I don't see much difference between the 2008 season and this one..." (above)

Then you must be blind. Payroll is MUCH lower, and DCU will be in position (assuming they have the will) to create massive headroom under the salary cap this offseason and plug holes and obtain depth at forward and GK.

The team was extremely fortunate (and smart) to pick up four outstanding new players under 25 (Jakovic, Wallace, Pontius, Szetela).

Problems linger one year on, but no one has a right to be surprised by that, and the remaining issues actually look fixable.

If they win something this year, great. If not, no need to panic. Better days, much better, lie ahead. The outlook last year was nowhere near this positive.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | August 5, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Last year DCU played 47 games (by my count). This year, by virtue of making it to the group stage, having play-in rounds in both CCL and Open Cup, and the Madrid friendly, DCU will play 46 games (again, by my count). This does not, of course, include the playoffs. And we have a smaller, albeit deeper, roster this year.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | August 5, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Hull's Bull!

Posted by: Reignking | August 5, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

@Godfather_of_Goals

A Union - they have one. But those do no good. For ANYONE.

Also, MLS players need a union only in dealing with MLS - as they could easily take off to other leagues around the world for employment in their given trade. The only guys who really need a union are the developmental guys - the ones who are making minimum wage.

Players should have enough incentive to compete given the non-guaranteed nature of their contracts.

The difference in spending is that when DCU is missing guys at the back - we bring in Greg Janicki. Our competition brings in a kid who's capped for his C. American country or is an up and comer with plenty of solid skills and hopefully a future for their national team who needs games and a good vein of form.

MLS Rosters have always been Good or OK in regards to their starting XI. MLS gets KILLED when you need to depend on 12-24 for long stretches or as a coherent unit.

I hate to pick on Janicki - he's gotta be beating himself up enough and goodness knows he could go do something else and get paid better. The cap situation with rosters of that size mean MLS rosters look for bargains on the bench and over achievers every year. It's why so many rosters turn over and so many players move about the league and other countries looking for their chance.

Also, not sure about your massive headroom statement. I'm pretty sure Jamie and Christian are guaranteed even next year and not sure how much allocation money the club will have to buy down their cap impact.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | August 5, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

fixture congestion... meh. they can handle they're big boys. no pain no gain. we've had too many recent embarrassments in continental play time to show what we can do. besides, doing well continentally helps us attract better players and participating helps us scout (how else do yall think we found emilio).

Posted by: PindarPushkin | August 5, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Hull is across the river from that S*thorpe team...

Posted by: Reignking | August 5, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone have a link showing the Altidore to Hull City move? Not saying I don't trust everyone on this blog, I like to read it myself and I can't find anything on Skysports, the Telegraph, or BBC. I could be having a brain fart though as it is probably on one of these sites.

Posted by: grubbsbl | August 5, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

the argentine league is being put on hold indefinitely? sounds like it is a good time and swoop up some players.

Posted by: joe_hill | August 5, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Aaaa nevermind, I found one. Still think its a good move, only because it is a loan move. So once Hull gets relegated Altidore isn't stuck there. Hope he gets some playing time, which I think he will.

I heard that Chelsea team is pretty good. Anyone know anything about them?

Posted by: grubbsbl | August 5, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Part of being a "big MLS" club is competing at a high level both in our domestic league and in international competition. This sets the benchmark of really how good you are. This is what our front office has also preached. Its an accomplishment to get to the group stage of CCL especially after last years mess.

This year to Soehn and the FO's credit, we are consistently using 20 or so players who are getting big time minutes. Some people would call many of these reserves. This year more than any year I can remember the line between reserves and starters is blurred.

Crapping about using reserves against Firpo at home makes no sense since at any one time or another, Moreno, Emilio, Fred have been "reserves" depending on the game/rest siutation. We are going to be using "reserves" for significant minutes the rest of the way this season. Get used to it. Soehn has more horses in the stable this year and in my view has used them pretty well.

Obviously we need points at home and vs MLS opponents we have achieved that so far. The regional clubs are a different animal, different style of play, tactics and skill sets. I give us a 60-40 chance of advancing out of group play if we don't get hit by a rash of late season injuries.

Posted by: sbg1 | August 5, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Chelsea is a girl's name. They can't be good.

Posted by: Reignking | August 5, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

If we hadn't won last night, I would say the late season fall had already begun! You can't win trophies if you don't compete. Bring it!

Posted by: Senor_Funk | August 5, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Chelsea is a girl's name. They can't be good.
Posted by: Reignking
============

Georgia is a girls name too.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | August 5, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

The 1990 World Cup team just called and said to stop complaining about playing too many high level professional soccer games IN THE UNITED STATES. They would have posted on the blog, but they didn't have Internet service then.

Posted by: IamAM | August 5, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

http://soccer.fanhouse.com/2009/08/05/jozy-altidores-twitter-indicates-hull-city-move/

Setanta
Saturday, August 15
07:40 am
LIVE Barclays Premier League
Chelsea vs. Hull City

Posted by: Kev29 | August 5, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Judging by last night's performance, we don't have the depth to play ONE game! Where are those transfers???

Posted by: srose13 | August 5, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

When Jozy comes home
So good
He's the pride of the neighborhood
He's the raw flame
The live wire
He prays like a roman
With his eyes on fire

Posted by: OWNTF | August 5, 2009 2:38 PM

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

Bingo.

Posted by: fischy | August 5, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Joel_M_Lane:

You raise a good point about our first 2 CCL games. Getting a draw at Marathon gives us a point, and more importantly denies Marathon 2 home points. If we're going through, I suspect it will be at the expense of Marathon and not Toluca (who should be among the favorites to win the whole thing).

***

I'm of the opinion that this is not the end of the world. When you do well in soccer, you get more games. Would you rather be, say, Dallas with 30 league games and 1 USOC loss for your entire season? Great, their players will be fresh as can be come November...too bad they'll be using that extra energy on the golf course.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | August 5, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Juan-John | August 5, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

maybe Setanta will do a free preview that weekend for Jozy's debut?

Posted by: Pedalada | August 5, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

The thing about our roster depth is that this year we have 14-15 or so players who are worthy of being in an MLS starting 11 (the 14 guys who saw action last night, plus Simms, and maybe McTavish). So it's not necessarily a decision between starting our best players in MLS versus CCL. We can blend the lineups through both competitions.

All of this international experience for our starters (and plenty of reserves too in all likelihood), really should make us more competitive when (if?) we finally hit the playoffs. Right? As long as everyone stays healthy, our players should really benefit from this experience, and it should serve them well in MLS too.

Posted by: DCUMD | August 5, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

While I would like to complain about what the Champions League does to teams, I really have a hard time substantiating it with support.

In the end, Houston managed to make it through the Group phase last season and make the playoffs.

DC United's season was over essentially after they won the Open Cup, despite being allowed to compete for the final playoff spot up until the final weak of the season.

2009 will be different of course with the Champions League because three of the possible four teams in the group phase are also in the tight playoff race. Last year, Houston was alone on that page.

In the end, although I would like to see United focus on the USOC, Supporters Shield (which is quickly falling out of grasp), and MLS Cup, I am still happy that they're in the Champions League.

Posted by: TCompton | August 5, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Chelsea is a girl's name. They can't be good.
Posted by: Reignking
============

Georgia is a girls name too.

Posted by: I-270Exit1

And Virginia. And Mary-land.

Posted by: Reignking | August 5, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Well, I think that DC United should play in all these tournaments and I think its crucial for player development, for the organization to make its mark and for US soccer as well. More of a reason why need to make changes though. Fred, Jaime, Emilio and Gomez have worn out their welcome. 3 years is the max in Europe, and then there is a turnover. I blame the front office and Tom Soehn for not being smart enough to pick a good selection but rather picking some slackers and more importantly, MLS needs to expand roster and salary cap if we are going to compete with Mexican/central American teams. Get rid of the Beckham rule, its hurting teams right now.

Posted by: godpere | August 5, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

@godpere - I'm not really sure the term "worn out his welcome" should ever be applied to Jaime Moreno. Now the other three you mentioned, go for it. but never #99.

Posted by: VTUnited | August 5, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Georgia is a girls name too.

Posted by: I-270Exit1


Which is exactly why the Gators keep beating them in everything!

That and why all our pro sports teams are "Atlanta (Some Bird)"

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | August 5, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Florida is a girls name too

http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0021608/

Posted by: Kev29 | August 5, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Interesting move for Altidore. Hopefully it works out well for him.

I doubt he'll play more than a few minutes, if at all, against Chelsea. Not after flying back from Mexico City two days before the game.

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | August 5, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

And Florida is Spanish for flower. Even worse.

And the Carolinas...Washington DC is probably the most manly geography around.

Posted by: Reignking | August 5, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

@Kev29

Don't tell Flo Rida that.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | August 5, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I doubt he'll play more than a few minutes, if at all, against Chelsea. Not after flying back from Mexico City two days before the game.

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | August 5, 2009 4:18 PM

Yep, probably not. He might not make it into the squad for week 1. But (thanks to our old friend fixture congestion), Hull have 5 matches before the end of August. Chelsea, Spurs, Bolton, League Cup TBD and Wolves. He should get a chance early on.

Posted by: Kev29 | August 5, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I yearn for the day when our domestic teams can at least rival the region's spending. I'm not looking for Real Madrid or Manchester City levels of stupidity. I would just love for the MLS to be financially secure enough that teams could increase their spending on more and, hopefully, quality players.

Posted by: freeholdsouth | August 5, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

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

Hopefully, the new CBA which is being negotiated will help make some of this stuff come true. I don't think it will get there fully, but I think things will improve.

Posted by: beach3 | August 5, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Nope, Seattle has the most manly geography around.

Posted by: DadRyan | August 5, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

@godpere - That's got to be one of the dumbest comments I've ever read on this blog. Jaime Moreno can play until he is 60 and he still won't have worn out his welcome. And Christian Gomez has been our MVP this season by far. We would be in last place without the four guys you mentioned. Some are too harsh on Fred and Emilio, but at least I understand some of the criticism there. But criticizing Gomez for his play this year is totally off the mark.

You blame Tom Soehn for picking too many slackers? The only slacker that the team picked up this offseason was maybe Ange N'Silu. Are you saying that Pontius, Wallace, Szetela, Jakovic, and Barklage are all slackers?

Posted by: DCUMD | August 5, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Dadryan. I was in the middle of a rant and couldn't get to that in time ;)

Posted by: DCUMD | August 5, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone understand why DCU is sitting arounding waiting for a player like Habarugira? They need depth during the next couple of months. Why is Heath Pearce not up for consideration? I think he would be an upgrade over Burch and allow Burch to play some MF also. It's just a thought, but sitting around waiting for a player with possible potential is just stupid when almost twenty % of your roster is injured.

Posted by: no_recess | August 5, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget the Carolina sisters. Isn't Dakota often a girls name?

Posted by: 9Nine9 | August 5, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

@no_recess - wouldn't Pearce's potential national team duty make him less attactive if DC is looking for depth? He's probably played his way off the Nats roster, but if he does well for DC, he'd be right back on it.

Posted by: VTUnited | August 5, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I love the Champs League. To me (I know I'm dreaming) a World Championship should be the ultimate goal. The CCL is a means to that end. I don't want United to play Real Madrid until the World Club Cup. We just gotta suck it up!

For Sunday's friendly against Real Madrid: We should let the RFK beer-guys play. I will be verrrry PEEEEEED OFFFFF if any United players are hurt in a friendly.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | August 5, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

1. Can anyone tell me why there is even a salary cap in MLS? To ensure parity. Maybe that was a good idea at the beginning of the league. Now it just seems to hamstring teams that want to grow and get big. It's nice to have becks and donovan together. ...but what if you had becks/donovan/and zidane for one year? Or this way players 12-22 on the roster would be more solid.

All i'm saying is, if someone is willing to pay them, the league shouldn't stand in their way.

I think that MLS has done a good job at the slow burn and it overtook NHL due to strike and popularity of soccer, but i think its time to take the training wheels off and be a big boy league.

Posted by: wordup1 | August 5, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

This is simple. There's a salary cap to control costs.

Posted by: Reignking | August 5, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

DCU has no way to sign Heath Pearce:

1) Pearce hasn't decided if he's coming to MLS yet.
2) Even if he did decide to come to MLS, since he's a national team player returning from abroad, he's subject to the allocation order, which we are now at the bottom of thanks to Szetela. Every team in MLS would have to pass on him for us to be able to sign him.

Posted by: the_slammer | August 5, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

A big boy league like the NASL?

Only someone who didnt live through that disaster would suggest getting rid of a cap. While it may hamper the overall quality of the league, at least there are matches to watch, refs to complain about, and a place for our younger players to start out. I'd trade the current MLS for the days of MISL-only soccer in the US any day.

Posted by: hacksaw | August 5, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I think I meant I "wouldnt" trade.... ah well... it's late...

Posted by: hacksaw | August 5, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Reignking/hacksaw: Thanks for the follow up. Yes, there is a cap to control costs. However, control costs for who? The mid market teams? So what if the Galaxy could have a payroll of a million dollars higher than the rest of the league. If the soccer for that team is better and people come out in droves to see not one but maybe 3 (former) international stars, i dont see how that is a problem.

2. True enough, I was born in 77, so I didn't really endure the NASL days. Although, I do have a sweet DIPs jersey somewhere around. But I'm kinda glad DC did not replicate the top hat and costume cane logo.

3. There are plenty of leagues that run just fine without a salary cap. Are we afraid of a big 4 between LA, DC, NY, and some texas team if we have no cap/ a higher cap. Big disparities in talent levels on teams should not necessarily be viewed as a huge negative. EPL for example has big disparities in talent and is still awesome to watch.

4. Is there no middle ground though? I want more stars, deeper benches, and better marketing. I think that MLS leaves a lot of money on the table in the way they market their league and players.

I alluded to this in another post...but take for instance the approach to getting a new stadium for DC.

First of all, we should just play at RFK forever. A lot of history there and there is already a transportation infrastructure, etc. I live in arlington and I see people in jerseys heading to the metro on game night and getting back without driving at a reasonable hour. Can any other location provide that?


And why dont we open up the top tier for 10 dollar tickets. and once a year sell dollar tickets. tickets could be viewed as a loss leader knowing that you could sell beers, etc. You could easily fill the staidum with a few tried and true marketing gimmicks and try and build a fan base. Even if they take a slight monetary hit, it will be worth it in the longer run.

Posted by: wordup1 | August 5, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

grubbsbl: You said it. This is what it's all about. Time to step up.

Why the whining? Yes, it'll be tough, but instead of seeing obstacles, we should be seeing opportunity. How sweet would it be if DCU could take a couple of trophies this year? Yes, the odds are steep, but they're a hell of a lot steeper if you're not playing.

This is why they play the game for chrissake. And this is why we watch. Now they gotta go out and bring us home some hardware.

Posted by: RIP-21 | August 5, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

"Yes, the club gets to sell tickets to three additional home matches." --Goff

Does D.C.U. pay for each game it uses at RFK? If so, wouldn't 3 extra games be a bad thing?

Posted by: redskinsux | August 5, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

DCUMD and VTUnited,

On the jaime thing, off course it came out the wrong way. I don't mean to compare him to the others in the same way. But my take is on the whole organizational change we need to compete in MLS, CCL and other tournaments. I have to seriously ask what have we done other than just getting into the playoffs and lose since we won the cup in 2k4? I know we went to the semis in 2006 but man, after that only a US Open cup victory over a second division opponent? Give me a break, its not the same as consistently winning or even making a bid to appear in the finals.

I do like our young players: Pontius, Wallace, Szetela, Jakovic, and Barklage. ADD Kosic to that. I think Kosic is the future Troy Perkins, I do like Wicks but I really think Kosic has the ability to be a National team keeper as long he works hard.

But we need to make better decisions on the coaching front. Switching players around in 4 different positions breaks rhythm and Chemistry. All those guys I mentioned above (Fred, Emilio, moreno, Gomez and add Olsen) Can be replaced. Sometimes we need to move players around in order to win. I believe this is one of those times. I'm also not fond of Jacobson's decisions on passing and taking long-distance shots, people might say great LD shot but has he scored any goals?

If Soehn can balance things out, I'll give him credit, if not and if we are down the same path as last year where we fail to make an impact on the CCL, don't make the playoffs, then I think we need to look elsewhere (onalfo) for a coach.

Posted by: godpere | August 5, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

im sorry i have to disagree. the top hat and cane logo is really cool.

Posted by: PindarPushkin | August 5, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

I like Etcheverry as the Head coach and Olsen as the assistant. The reason--Etcheverry would bring a faster game to the team.

Posted by: redskinsux | August 5, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

wordup just made the skin between my toes hurt with that post.

Seriously.

For someone over 30, you sure have the foresight and business acumen of a 7 year old, lemonade-stand operator.

Posted by: alecw81 | August 6, 2009 1:10 AM | Report abuse

Soehn and Kasper are specialists in wanting to have it both ways, regardless of how shameless they appear. They preach how important it is to measure the team's manhood against international competition and when a heavy match schedule brought about by those committments causes them to faulter in MLS play, they go woe-is-me, look how many games we had to play. The bottom line is that those two are just plain too stupid to understand the consequences of what they do.

Posted by: lgm6986 | August 6, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

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