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United Rewind

Show of hands, who remembers the last time D.C. United won a game?

Sorry, the second leg of the Firpo series doesn't count; it was officially a tie. You can forget checking this month's schedule -- with a tie or loss Saturday at Chicago, United will be 0-for-August. (Now you know what it feels like to be a Red Bulls supporter.)

Way back yonder, on July 21, United survived a scare from the second-division Rochester Rhinos for a 2-1 -- gasp! -- victory.

And consider this: United's only victory over a first-tier opponent in the last 2 1/2 months was against Colorado at home.

If United were in decent standing in MLS, I would say that it could still make a run at one of the top two slots in Champions League group play. But with a league playoff berth in jeopardy, it's probably time to abandon the international scene and concentrate on the final eight MLS games plus next week's U.S. Open Cup.

On the bright side, Olsen, Gomez, Emilio, Wallace and Jakovic are refreshed and ready to go Saturday. Danny "Doghouse" Szetela should be well-rested too ... if he makes the trip. He has been left off the game-day roster four straight times.

Read my match report with quotes. Watch the video highlights.

PLAYER RATINGS
Wicks 5; Habarugira 4, James 5, Burch 3.5, John 4; McTavish 6, Simms 5, Jacobson 4, Allen 3.5; Pontius 6, Moreno 4. Subs: Fred 3, Quaranta 6.5, Namoff 5.

For bonus quotes.....

Soehn: "I want to put something to bed. We keep talking about [all the] games. You know what? It's no different than we have had every year. It's the reality: We have games every three days. I don't want to hear it as an excuse. We won't use it as an excuse. It's reality. We're going to move forward and make sure that is not even an idea. It's a reality."

Quaranta: "Everywhere around the world, you play Saturday-Wednesday. We're professionals, we have to deal with it. You look at the Champions League, they do it every week. Everybody has to be ready on any given day; we weren't tonight."

Toluca Coach Jose Manuel de la Torre, on DCU's odd starting lineup: "I was a little surprised not to see some of the players on the field." That's the second time DCU's watered-down lineup has drawn such a response after a Champions League game; a Firpo player reacted the same way in the preliminary round.

By Steve Goff  |  August 27, 2009; 1:01 AM ET
Categories:  CONCACAF Champions League , D.C. United  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Matchnight: United-Toluca
Next: Rough Night for Crew

Comments

Is Steve one to post a link to an interview with him?
Probably not right..
Prost America's take with SG:
http://www.prostamerika.com/soundersfc/goff/

Posted by: DadRyan | August 27, 2009 1:14 AM | Report abuse

I mean SG interview.

It is weird that DCU is surprising their competition by attempting not to compete at home.

Posted by: DadRyan | August 27, 2009 1:16 AM | Report abuse

Goff-

You have Seattle beating us in the final?! Everyone seems to be losing faith in DC these days...

Posted by: redskinsux | August 27, 2009 1:22 AM | Report abuse

"And consider this: United's only victory over a first-tier opponent in the last 2 1/2 months was against Colorado at home."

I'm going to consider finding a nice tall bridge to jump from...

Posted by: VTUnited | August 27, 2009 1:29 AM | Report abuse

"PROST AMERIKA: How much will home advantage be an advantage to DC United?

STEVEN GOFF: I think it will because in this case they’ll be playing on grass and not on turf, and DC obviously had some problems with the turf in Seattle. DC’s undefeated at RFK this year, not only in league play but they tied Firpo in champions league, and they’ve won all their Open Cup games at either RFK or at the Maryland Soccerplex, so out of their 16 competitive games overall at home this year they haven’t lost any. So they’re very comfortable there, the fan support helps, and it’s been a difficult place for visiting teams for the past 13 years."

Not after tonight.

Thanks for the link DadRyan.

Posted by: spikeman | August 27, 2009 1:29 AM | Report abuse

Sigh.

Posted by: B_A_ | August 27, 2009 1:30 AM | Report abuse

Doghouse . . . nice.

Posted by: UVAtoRFK | August 27, 2009 1:31 AM | Report abuse

In response to Toluca's coach--

You see? This tournament is a tournament of "champions". It makes NO SENSE to have rookie players recently signed, start and play significant minutes. Either we're in it all the way or not at all--this should be the attitude entering this regionally prestigious tournament. For example, would it make sense for a European team to play its reserves in the UEFA Champions League? No, not at all! This is why Payne should've have the maturity and leadership to withdrawal and allow another MLS team to take our place. Clearly, we are not in position to make a bid in an international tournament when we are struggling to qualify for the significantly prioritized MLS playoffs.

Personally, I think the CCL is MORE significant than the MLS Cup. If we win the tournament, not only are we crowned champions of N. America and Central America, but more importantly we are given the chance to compete and prove ourselves among the best teams in the world, e.g. Europe, South America, etc.

Why be champions of North America (MLS) when we can be champions of North America AND Central America? And have the opportunity to be crowned champions of other parts of the world such as South America, like we were in 1998. This trophy is the most significant and important trophy any MLS team has ever won. This is what brings MLS's image and standard up! Playing reserves in such a tournament is an ABSOLUTE JOKE.

Posted by: redskinsux | August 27, 2009 1:48 AM | Report abuse

This was an odd game from the start. The press in Mexico had brought up Toluca's tough schedule as a probable cause of fitness concerns, but what I saw was a team that was in better shape than DC (and for all of the failings of this United squad, physical fitness doesn't seem to be one of them). In the first half, I thought the most significant thing was Toluca's ability to pressure and get men around the ball both defending and attacking. There were times where it seemed like we had 10 men and they had 13 or 14. Of course, we were complicit by sending out a midfield that was unambitious, somewhat listless, and technically lacking. 3 defensive midfielders and Allen? Even in space they wouldn't cause too much attacking danger, and under the kind of relentless pressure Toluca put us under, getting into halftime at 1-0 down was something of an achievement (even if the miss from Duenas was extraordinarily lucky). Moreno was our only player with any good ideas, and he was often going 1v4.

After halftime, we got a brilliant goal thanks to what has to be the best cross any DCU player has hit all year. After that, things were actually going well. Toluca's pressure dropped off, they stopped seeming so sure of themselves, and we weren't just chasing shadows. At 1-1, a good buildup saw McTavish cross for Fred, whose shot (if you can even call it that) was a massive disappointment. The miss seemed to simultaneously take the wind out of our sails and spark Toluca. Their superior fitness took over, and in the end 3-1 is more or less fair, even if it took Burch being cut to pieces, Wicks not saving something he got a full hand to, and an unlucky deflection gifting Mancilla the third. Actually, we caught lucky breaks keeping it closer (the Duenas miss, and John somehow not being called for a PK).

The positives to take out of this game are the play of Quaranta, Pontius breaking his goal slump, and James playing pretty decently throughout. The negatives are that Habarugira was dominated by Marin, Wicks had a poor game, and the fact that, if we're resting starters, we just don't have the firepower to have much hope against the top clubs in CONCACAF.

On one hand, I don't feel too bad about this, because Toluca could go to any MLS stadium and win 3-1. Sinha, Mancilla, and Romagnoli would be all stars in MLS. They're easily among the favorites to win the CCL. On the other hand, we weathered a poor first half, got even, were arguably the better team over the 20 minutes that followed our goal, and then Fred's miss killed us. If a miss like that sparks our opponent, fine, that's out of our control. However, we have to be strong enough to fight that renewed energy, rather than basically go flat again (aside from Tino, who was a man among boys for us). We will miss chances, but you can't miss and just stop playing.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | August 27, 2009 1:48 AM | Report abuse

Wicks - 3.5; Habarugira - 3.5, James - 5.5, Burch - 4.5, John - 4.5; McTavish - 5, Simms - 5, Jacobson - 4, Allen - 4; Moreno - 5.5, Pontius - 6. Subs: Fred - 4, Quaranta - 7, Namoff 4.5

Oh, and before everyone breaks out their pitchforks and torches, it could be worse. Columbus basically performed a cover of our 2005 5-0 loss at Pumas. Different Mexico City club, but there were plenty of similarities (dumb red card, for example). Actually, it might have been worse than ours, because I recall Esky hitting the post when we were just 1-0 down; the Crew never got that close.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | August 27, 2009 1:51 AM | Report abuse

Ladies and gentlemen, if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck then it's a duck. They simply aren't that good right now. It's time we stop kidding ourselves. For those of you that think the answer is to fire Soehn, you need a reality check. The answer is far more complicated than that.

On a bright note, if you are a football fan or a hockey fan then the seasons are right around the corner.

Posted by: croftonpost | August 27, 2009 1:55 AM | Report abuse

crofton-

I'm in luck! I'm a HUGE Redskins fan!

Posted by: redskinsux | August 27, 2009 2:01 AM | Report abuse

As I said earlier:

Come big or stay home........I agree tonight's efforts and results will go far in determining the outlook on the rest of the tourney. And at some level, the rest of the year. Much like last year.
I expect a first eleven line-up and will be disappointed with anything else. It's time to walk the walk.

Posted by: marksman37


So, 3 d-mids? A keeper that hasn't worked much with the back line he was given? A bunch of new guys with no knowledge of each other? All at home?
Toluca was right to be surprised.
At least I don't have to waste any more money on this team this year.
A big raspberry to those in charge - phfffftttttt!!!!!!!

Posted by: marksman37 | August 27, 2009 2:05 AM | Report abuse

crofton - I'm starting to see that that its more complicated too. I'd thought it was Soehn all along (esp after the 07 playoff debacle), but for the past two seasons, we've seen the FO come up with mid season band-aids like DH, Greg Janicki, Joe Vide, and Ely Allen, while teams like Houston are going out and adding DPs for the stretch run. These poor moves completely negate brilliant early season ones like bringing in Jakovic, or drafting Pontius. the Szetella ordeal just seems to be the icing on the cake at this point.

Posted by: VTUnited | August 27, 2009 2:10 AM | Report abuse

I think Chest is on to something. In fact, DC played well for a period in the second half and I actually began to think DC could win the game. Instead, DC imploded and couldn't close out a game.

I can't understand how DC has no clue how to close a game out. A tie would have been fine by me at the 75 mark. Once the second goal went in, it was all down hill from there and 3-1 seemed fair.

Forget the fact that Habarugira was dominated defensively, he can't even pick a pass out. He lacked any composer on the ball, and really had a terrible understanding of spacing in the offensive part of the game. (The first Toluca goal was a bit unfortunate so I wont criticize him for that.) For those who wish to see what I am talking about go to around the 34 minutes of play and watch him panic his way into shanking the ball at the Toluca coach, when a composed half turn and putting the ball on his preferred right foot would have allowed him to play out of trouble.

Posted by: grubbsbl | August 27, 2009 2:15 AM | Report abuse

Goff, you need to stop giving Fred a "3". It's lowering his trade value!

Posted by: BarraPuta | August 27, 2009 2:21 AM | Report abuse

grubbsbi-

To me it seems Habarugira played like two completely different players; in the Marathon game he showed confidence and brought a boost to the team. Unfortunately, in this game it was quite the opposite. I say let him play a few more games before we start frying him. I was impressed with his performance against Marathon.

Posted by: redskinsux | August 27, 2009 2:31 AM | Report abuse

@Chest_Rockwell that was a terribly underwhelming shot from Fred in the 2nd half and may have been the turning point, as you're saying. The difference that I noticed with the Toluca attacking players is that they really made the most of such chance.

@redskinsux I agree with you. DC United needs to come full force into these matches or don't come at all out of respect to your fans, opponent and the competition. The Crew seemed to put their No. 1 lineup onto the field in Mexico City last night against Cruz Azul (not that it did much good for them....)

Posted by: billindmd | August 27, 2009 3:54 AM | Report abuse

Redskinsux-If you're a fan then you should really change that moniker. :) Hail! Habarugira's inconsistency is typical of a young player. I'm with you. Patience is needed.

Grubbs-How many times this year have we seen an inconsistent performance where they look competent/good for twenty to thirty minutes and then ordinary/miserable for the next twenty to thirty minutes. Too many times to avoid any conclusion that isn't troubling. At this point I would say inconsistency is the expectation or the mark of this team. It is likely to be how we remember this season.

VTUnited- I agree wholeheartedly about the mid-season bandaid. The announcers were praising DCU for these moves but I think they are indicative of a team scrambling midseason to cover the offseason gaffes.

I'm not suggesting to grab the pitchfork and torches as I don't think all is lost. In my opinion there are definite building blocks to work with on this team. I just don't think there are enough in place for DCU to do any better than a possible USOC repeat.

Posted by: croftonpost | August 27, 2009 3:57 AM | Report abuse

Any analysis- - preseason, in-season, CCL, USOC,etc.--must include all three areas: Front Office, coaching staff, and players. The players' roster is unimpressive and has been to all but the most blinded fan: 4-5 aging core players plus a group of young and mostly untested fringe players. Did you not notice that Wicks, James, Allen, John were essentially claimed off waivers as happened last year with
Guerrero and Vide? Contrast that with earlier years when DCU TRADED for players. If you compare rosters around the MLS, we are not even average; note that no DCU player has made the all-star team for 2 years.(or anyone's national team). I don't blame players for aging-- we all do, but they must be phased out and replaced with comparable value
Second, Coach Soehn has clearly "lost" his players; from my own coaching experience in 2 countries it looks like the players no longer listen to him, or lost respect, or something. This happens in other leagues and with other teams, but usually is followed by a change.
Third, Kevin Payne today is not acting like KP of a decade ago. Is that b/c of his health or is he under instruction from the ownership?
I have had a sneaking fear that management started to reassess the DCU situation once McFarland sold out after the stadium situation became untenable(for him). Is Chang committed to staying here? Was SG teasing us when he wrote, months ago, about moving vans? Could it be that picking up essentially free players and keeping an underperforming coaching staff is just about cost-cutting? Is the FO committed to keep DCU here, and to returning the "model franchise" to where it was? or are they just playing out the string, much as the team has on the field?
To me, this is not just about pessimism or getting worked up over giving up bad goals-- yes, I hated to see that ,too-- but I have almost come to expect it.
Those who think that the recent moves are all about prioritizing the MLS playoffs: I hope that you are right, but I am not convinced. Right now we are not among the 8 best teams in MLS, and if we sneak in, it will be lucky and we have little reason to expect that we can pull a NYRB
performance of last year.
Any thoughts?

Posted by: bechtoldpk | August 27, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Goff's highlight link took me to RSL-CHV. This one works for me:

http://web.mlsnet.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=6314575

On Soehn's quote, I guess I'm glad he's not using the Wednesday-Saturday schedule as an excuse. That seems reasonable, given that he's trotting out two different teams every week and the Saturday lineups can't get a win either.

Posted by: benonthehill | August 27, 2009 7:14 AM | Report abuse

The KP of a decade ago had Bruce Arena. On the soccer side, what has he done of any note since Bruce left?

Posted by: olddcufan | August 27, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

One other question in light of comments about needing to abandon the CCL to focus on the playoff race: Seriously, what would that look like? How could it possibly be different from last night's lineup?

Janicki for Burch? DiRaimondo for Pontius in a 4-5-1?

Posted by: benonthehill | August 27, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

bech, I think you're correct in the need to evaluate all.

this team - top to bottom - is hardly inspiring. it feels like the FO is getting a lot of our guys off the clearance rack these days, and soehn doesn't quite know how to piece things together.

looks like another offseason of rebuilding.

Posted by: nairbsod | August 27, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Since last night was one of the most pathetic performances I've seen in years (and I'm a long-term season ticket holder), here are a few thoughts for team --

1. STOP PLAYING A DIFFERENT LINEUP EVERY GAME! It was clear that the players were not familiar with each other and could not anticipate what they were going to do.

2. TAKE SOMEONE ON! We are way too predictable - we get the ball near the box and instead of taking it toward goal, we hold up and pass back.

3. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT! TAKE SOME CHANCES! Creativity? Try it, you'll like it.

4. PLAY AT SPEED!! If they can't keep up (physically or mentally), then don't start them.


Posted by: carnack | August 27, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

@ Chest_Rockwell

You gave Allen a 4. He was subbed out before halftime. How does that warrant a 4?

Posted by: no_recess | August 27, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

This match really reminded me of the Mexico US game at Azteca because DCU did not possess the ball, turned it over at MF numerous times, and were chasing the ball all game long. On the other hand like their Mexican National Team, Toluca was well spaced, defended in numbers, and was efficient in possession. I really think that US coaches (sans Arena and maybe Preki) are tactically challenged. Toluca may not have big, strong athletes, but they have excellent technique and understand how to position themselves on the pitch.

Posted by: no_recess | August 27, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Agree with Carnack. We are way to cautious in the attacking 3rd of the field. You score goals by going forward, NOT back passing. Recent arrivals of Habarugia, John and Allen VERY disappointing, and obviously not the answer to our defensive problems and last night, were the cause of them. A different line up every game doesn't help either. Some of our players are playing next to someone they have known for 4 days which doesn't allow much time for knowing their abilities or lack of them ! That game was (like the last several) hard to watch !!

Posted by: patrick18 | August 27, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I watched for a bit, then went to the Arsenal-Celtic match, which I recorded. A much more enjoyable game.

Years ago I had season tickets to DC United. Even when they lost, their style of play was enjoyable to watch. Possession, skill, passion... all of the things THIS team is significantly lacking.

I haven't been to a game this year, and I have no intention of doing so. It's simply a waste of money. This DC United time is a deficient product, and I will not pay to watch them.

Posted by: joedoc1 | August 27, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

I still feel that this team is better than last year's team by a country mile.

However, this team is still plagued by the same things as last year's team - it's TERRIBLE going forward. Pontius and Wallace did well early, but as they've gone throughout the year and had a focus drawn to them, there's be dwindling support and creativity from Fred, Gomez, Moreno, Emilio.

I felt bad about missing the match last night, but seeing how the result ended up, I was actually less furious because I didn't go.

To my ticket rep: I will not be picking up the Marathon or San Juan Jabloteh ticket package. No result on Saturday will also likely mean I won't have to worry about that Playoff Package either.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | August 27, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

"abandon the international scene"? This is not the nfl or nba...This is an international sport. The mls league does not compare to the Champioins League which leads to international prestige and a ticket to the big tournament. I would take the Champions league any day over the mls league...and I think a lot of people would also...

Posted by: dc_emp | August 27, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I think united should do what bayern is doing for their suffering fans:
http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=671033&sec=europe&cc=5901

It's the least they could do..

Posted by: mizage | August 27, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

This team is in trouble. Pardon my ramblings here.

First, I guess you could have called me a Soehn supporter for a while. To steal a phrase -- players play. I was thinking that maybe Soehn was doing as well as he possibly could with what he had. I mean he started out well, and we were happy. We just failed in the playoffs. Do I think it is time for Soehn to go? Probably, but I'd be curious to see how he does with a younger team that doesn't fade down the stretch and without him outsmarting himself in dealing with our roster issues.

The core of this team is pretty much the same. OLD core.

Fred 30
Gomito 35
Benny 32 and playing on gimpy ankles
Emilio 31
Moreno 35
Namoff 30

OLD and slow. I feel for Soehn having to manage minutes for this bunch. Of course they are going to get dog tired down the stretch and fade. It has happened the last 2 years and is happening again. We will NOT make the playoffs. I'm not being a hater, I'm being a realist.

Our defense really is not that good. Namoff has been great, and Jakovic has played pretty well, but the others, you can have them.

Wicks -- I don't know what to say about Wicks. Sometimes I think he has great potential, and other times, I'd be happy without him.

We need to get faster (which means younger) (with touch) at key positions, and we know what those are. We have some good young players. Tino, Party, Rodney, Szetela, Jakovic. We don't need to blow up this team, it just needs a few replacement parts.

I'm going to use Wed./Sat. as a fact as why we are sucking, not an excuse. It is because we have OLD players. They are tired, and breaking down.

MLS teams in general are not going to do well in these extra competitions until they raise the salary cap and expand rosters. The worst thing was losing the Reserve league where these fringe players could get some time. Do we really expect these fringers to play well when they get shoved in the lineup when they are not ready? Comparing this Concacaf to the UEFA champs league is ridiculous. Apples to Oranges.

I will say this. I think right now, the priority should be the Open Cup, not because I think it is super important, but because of all the crap we are going to hear if the Sounders beat us, at home. After all the banter between these clubs and fans, if we don't show well as a crowd and in the game, we will never hear the end of it. I was pretty stoked about Seattle at the beginning of the year, but I've about had it with their crap. WE HAVE TO WIN THAT GAME!!!

After that, we focus on getting in the playoffs. it will be a long-shot, but it could be done. I don't think we will go far, but that will be a small victory if we can get in.

I'll shut up now.

Posted by: torrey151 | August 27, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

www.firesoehn.com

Posted by: supamars11 | August 27, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Hmmmm, maybe Bayern shoulda singned Donovan when they had the chance.

Posted by: DadRyan | August 27, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

@supamars11: Please tell us that you are yanking our leg or were in a hurry to get to work and didn't have any time to write anything more. or that you were already at work and you balied when your boss came up from behind you only to find you posting about soccer, AGAIN.

The current failure is WAY bigger that Soehn.

Posted by: yankiboy | August 27, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

@torrey151

I agree with you, but Namoff does not belong on that list. He may be 30, but he is still in the prime of his career and is probably one of the most underrated players in the league. The other four all get paid more than 200k and eat up a large part of the cap space.

Posted by: no_recess | August 27, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Yo!
I'm under the impression that teams can only have 5 foreign players on their gameday roster in the Open Cup.

I know Emilio has a green card now so does he not count against the limit?
My real question is directed at Chest or anyone else who may be clear on foreign player status of DCU's roster.

Is Rodney Wallace foreign? I assume Fred and Gomez are. Kocic?
Jakovic? Who will our 5 be?

We're less than a week away, and I think winning the trophy again should be the biggest priority right now. I know the club "needs" points in Chicago, but they've "needed" points all month with very meager results. In fact this August is our last years July.

Posted by: DadRyan | August 27, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

the latter, yankiboy

Posted by: supamars11 | August 27, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

WTF was that last night. If United isn't going to bother to try to win then why should the fans give a damn anymore. That starting line up was crap. Ok so Soehn played a 4-4-2 but his back line was just simply crap, his midfield was devoid of creativity, and his frontline lacked any teeth.

Soehn has to go, I've been in his corner for 3 years, but last night pushed me over the edge. What is United playing for because they don't seem to be getting results in any competition.

Watching the Toluca fans chant, cheer, and dance last night after the game pissed me off because this is our house. No team (from anywhere) is supposed to leave here with a smile.

Soehn, get it sorted out or get out. I'm tired of this sh*t and you should be too.

Posted by: emjay613 | August 27, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I don't know but it seems like quaranta is trying to tell tommy to send out his best team, just like they do in other countries, but he added the quote "Everybody has to be ready on any given day; we weren't tonight" to cover it up. The truth is we will probaly rest players for every game from here on out and we will probaly miss the playoffs and stink it up in the champions league again. Maybe Tommy should understand that rotating players is a great idea IF YOU GET THE RESULTS, and we are not geting them in any tournament and by resting players all the time we have lost our cohesivness to even win a game. Resting 1 or 2 starters is one thing, but you rest 5 players and have 3 starters play 45 minutes what type of result does tommy want. The least you can do tommy is respect your home turf, but I guess that means nothing to tommy. Say what you want about Novak, but he would never stand for this. he always went out there to win, not matter what.

Posted by: Norteno4life | August 27, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I've got it -- the real Danny Szetela is involved in a case against organized crime in Italy; that's why he had to leave Europe, and it's also why the "Szetela" with United is an impostor and of course doesn't play. The real Danny is playing in South America with a fake mustache and an assumed name.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | August 27, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

A 5 for Josh "watch the ball go by me" Wicks is a little high. He was at fault for the first goal, waved bye bye at the second and was slow to react to the third. While I am not saying he could have gotten the latter 2, his effort was poor. Honestly, I think he needs glasses as he just doesn't see the ball well, traffic or not.

Posted by: delantero | August 27, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Come on Chest, you've got to make this rhyme:

"Of course, we were complicit by sending out a midfield that was unambitious, somewhat listless, and technically lacking."

Unambitious
Somewhat listless
Technically . . . malicious? Not delicious? Like fishes?

Posted by: fallschurch1 | August 27, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

REBOOT

It won't happen before the season ends but it will happen and it should after the season is concluded.

Soehn should be fired first, and Kasper along with him.

Next should be the entire training staff.

Payne should be given an by Chang to turn around the the team's fortunes in 2010...or else.

The new manager should be installed as quickly as possible - no waiting until the end of the calendar year. That manager should have free range to purge the roster as he sees fit. I agree there are some future core players worth retaining anyone outside of that core must be put under the microscope and if they are found wanting, cut.

This franchise has become appallingly tolerant of mediocrity, and now it is slowly sliding towards something even worse, something called "Redbullocrity." That's where United of 2010 will be if radical changes are not made. IMHO as a 12-year season ticket holder.

Posted by: cmjhawk86 | August 27, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

For some reason the word "ultimatum" disappeared from my sentence about Payne...i.e.,

Payne should be given an ultimatum by Chang...

Posted by: cmjhawk86 | August 27, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Last night, Moreno looked slow and lazy. Yes, when he had the ball he worked hard to make something happen, however, soccer is not a game of standing around. I saw a couple of times Allan made a pass that Moreno just watched, because it wasn't at his feet. As much respect as I have for Moreno, he's no starter anymore.

Namoff, has been solid all year and it's a travesty that he was not called up for the All-Star team. Jakovic has been solid in the CD spot, though he's had some issues, he's done more good things than he has bungled things.

I do agree that we have an old team. Riding on the shoulders of Moreno, Emilio, we are not going to get anywhere. Personally, I think that Moreno would be a great holding mid. There, he can play that lazy, walking style and choose to make runs.

I haven't fully given up on this season, as of yet, but......it's close. I am losing confidence in Sohen's ability to manage the game. Certain subs he makes doesn't make much sense and disrupts the flow of the game.

We've got a lot of work to do and I think that work needs to start with the FO.

Posted by: dogboy | August 27, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

No_recess. I wasn't trying to imply that Namoff is old and slow. i was just pointing out he is in his 30s. Later in the post I said he has played great. He is a keeper, at least for a few more years. So my apoloigies for the misunderstanding.

Posted by: torrey151 | August 27, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Twenty really good minutes bookended by 70 really bad ones.

Posted by: Juan-John | August 27, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Well said, torrey151.

DCU's age is showing. Even when they are rested, the over-30 set -- Namoff excluded -- are a step slower. They have trouble playing a full 90. This is a natural aging process. A team can afford having one or two such seniors. But five of them in key attacking positions? DCU fans are seeing the results. And these guys are only going to get more worn out as the season progresses.

Don't blame Soehn for fielding second-teamers. With two games a week, he has no choice, except totally wearing out his first-choice 11. The only way his seniors could have started last night was to have been rested for the Galaxy last Saturday. They can't play full time with three days rest. Rest them last Saturday, play them last night -- and they are ready for no more than a half of decent play against Chicago. Soehn is bowing to the reality of two-a-weeks and prioritizing the MLS. I wonder if the Toluca fans screamed when their manager started only four of the players who played last Saturday. He too was facing reality. He just had more talent available to cope with it. Mexico doesn't have the roster/pay restrictions faced by Soehn and the other MLS managers.

DCU's age was showing a year ago. It's glaring this year. The big question is whether the seniors will be around in 2010. With luck, all their contracts expire this year, allowing DCU to offer them thanks and take their pay to invest in younger talent above the level of good rookie prospects like Wallace and Pontius.

DCU needs a major remake. Is Soehn the manager to pull this off? If he isn't, then perhaps he needs to leave sooner rather than later to allow his successor to begin putting his stamp on DCU. Osorio is available. Sure, he bombed in NY/NJ. So did Bruce Arena, who seems to be doing quite well in LA.

Posted by: runningcloud | August 27, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

@torrey151

No it is my fault for not reading the entire post. I agree that DCU is up there in age with a few of the core players that are not producing consistently.

Posted by: no_recess | August 27, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

this year is deja vu from last year, except we don't have gallardo to scapegoat this time.

Posted by: joe_hill | August 27, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

man would it be funny as hell to bring Osorio here and for him to be successful.

I'm not sure I want him, but that might send the RBNY fans into plead innocent by means of insanity territory...

Posted by: torrey151 | August 27, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

@torrey151: No. No it would not be funny to bring Osorio in here. It's not funny at all. I wouldn't want him to go coach the Puerto Rico Islanders if Colin Clarke gets a better gig. Not funny, Bro...

Posted by: yankiboy | August 27, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

If I'm DCU I would aggresively go after Sasho Cirovski. We don't need retreads.

Posted by: croftonpost | August 27, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

In the team's early years, DCU played a hefty August schedule caused by CONCACAF and USOC. They succeeded then, getting to the USOC final in '97 and winning the CCC in '98. The schedule was no less crowded then as it is now. The difference may be found in two critical areas:

1. DCU had better players then. Why did they have better players? Because the people running the technical side of the team then knew how to get good players (Wegerle for Rammel; Lassiter for Wegerle - brilliant moves). This techical team doesn't know how to get good players (James? John? They combined nicely last night to allow that simple cross to go through to Mancilla for a tap-in.)

2. The head coach then knew how to manage a team through any challenge. Witness his success at the national team level and now with LA. No coach in DCU's history was more prepared or better organized on a daily basis for challenge or opponent. He never got too high nor too low. The current coach is disorganized, tempermental, immature, disingenuous, and totally overmatched against opponents on all levels.

The DCU culture is not one that will currently breed success. Future success will occur only when upper management scorches the technical-side earth.

Posted by: lgm6986 | August 27, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

In addition to Eddie Pope, why hasn't Bruce Arena been nominated for the team's hall? I feel both are more worthy than either of this year's nominees whom I really don't wish to disparage but I think the body of work just supports my notion.

Posted by: croftonpost | August 27, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

croftonpost: I disagree about Cirovski. He is a college coach who has been a FABULOUS recruiter, from Twellman to Wallace,etc. But he is not a tactician. Controlling undergrads is different from paid professionals from different countries. Leave him at UMCP where he is doing great and get
Preki, if possible. He is done a LOT with very little material.

Posted by: bechtoldpk | August 27, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

@crofton: I got nothing but love for Ciroski but I think that would be a huge mistake.

A) I am not sure that he could be able to make the jump to the pro level. Not because he isn't a good coach but when you are a college coach you have a lot more control and power so that you can impose your will on the players. Just ask Spurrier or Pitino. Leanard Hamilton. It's not as easy as a move as it looks.

B) Sasho might be completely content to stay at Maryland where he is established and entrenced. he could have 4 or 5 .500/mediocre seasons (which ain't gonna happen) without losing his gig. In some ways, he's almost got more job security than Gary or Fridge could say that...

B)

Posted by: yankiboy | August 27, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Last night should have been $2 domestic draft night.

Posted by: J_S_F | August 27, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

yankiboy.

I said it would be funny as hell if he came here and was successful. I really have no desire to have him here at all.

but come on, tell me you wouldn't laugh about it to any NYRB fans you know. again if he were and say won an MLS Cup.

again. let me be clear. I don't want Osorio. I just thought it would be kind of comical if that happened.

Posted by: torrey151 | August 27, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I hear you guys about college to pro failures. However, there have been numerous successes as well. Here are a few, Bruce Arena, Jimmy Johnson, Dick Vermeil, Larry Brown, Dick Motta, and even the Fridge went from coordinating a college offense to coordinating a pro offense with success. Personally, I think the ability to motivate and lead is far more important with regards to success that tactics are. I give you Norval Turner.

Posted by: croftonpost | August 27, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I've seen enough of Natalie Imbruglia or Hamburgesa, or whatever dudes name is, that I need to see. Time to dump that catch back in the ocean.

Same goes for Jacobson, John, Allen, Soehn, and a cast of others.

It's rather sad that the last time DC had a legitimate win, I was actually in Maryland. Sad, sad times.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | August 27, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Wicks - 4
Habarugira - 1 (he's lucky he doesn't get a negative rating)
James - 6
Burch - 3
John - 2
McTavish - 5
Simms - 5
Jacobson - 3
Allen - 4
Moreno - 5
Pontius - 6
Fred - 3
Quaranta - 7
Namoff - 4


If I was building a team (no I'm not a GM and no I haven't stayed at a Holiday Inn in a while) I'd only keep a small handful of players on DCU's current roster. Again, sad, sad times.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | August 27, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Well once again burch played the best game of his life. The coach is lost and seems scared.

I'll go buy the orange cone in case burch needs a break next game. It’s hard to watch D.C United play any games this year.

Next year can we get SKILLED soccer players and not just tall athletes! We can get train fitness but not skill in this team. So let’s just get unfit skilled player and get them jogging.

I'm done with this coach and staff.

P.S
If you work for D.C United can you do me a favor a PUNCH burch in the face. Thanks.

Posted by: Ivanovich84 | August 27, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

If you can't see the talent and potential in Habarugira, you have no business rating soccer players.

#1. He just turned 21
#2. He's a LEFT BACK whom Soehn continues to play on the right.
#3. He's the only fullback on the team with anything approaching what I'd call "pace".
#4. I lost track of the number of times he dispossessed an attacker last night.
#5. That goal was all on Wick's. He should have stayed in the goal or come out sooner and much stronger.

Also, Jacobsen is looking better as the year goes by.

I don't think anybody not in the United Front Office thought Avery John would be a worthwhile pickup, and Allen is obviously way out of his league.

Posted by: alecw81 | August 27, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

@torrey151: I find the idea of Osorio coming here---under any circumstances other than as assistant--to be about as funny as a case of appendicitis.

Even if he lead us to glory and it gave us more ammo to clown Cursed-Is-Us/Energy Drink FC...

Man, but you are right: how utterly bitter would they be???

Posted by: yankiboy | August 27, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

@ivanovich84: Whooah, Killer. Sure Bruch got schooled. The Chilean broke his ankles--but a punch in the face??? Ouch! So does this mean that you won't be accepting any tickets for next weeks USOC final if Burch tried to reach out to you--in the desire of alieving your great disilusion and hooked you with a couple comp tickets at the will call???

Posted by: yankiboy | August 27, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Concerning a different part of the game day experience, my friends and I, who sit in section 230 (which is supposed to be all DC United fans) were berated the entire game by Toluca fans, including having beer and shirts thrown at us. My friend wrote his perspective on it on his blog. I am not trying to gain publicity for the link, rather just get people's opinions on this occurrence. I will write my own account later. Here is the link: http://futbolnation.blogspot.com/2009/08/fans-prove-that-azteca-etiquette.html

Posted by: dosacero | August 27, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I looked the whole second half for an armband on a United player and I didn't see one. Did I miss something? Is this okay?

Santino comes in for Jaime - give him the armband. He produces and he recently did a stint with the USMNT. He's been through Hell and came out stronger. He's been with this team since he was 16. The boy bleeds black. Give him the armband.

Clyde Simms has worn it, but I didn't see it on him either. Namoff came in - ditto.

WTH? To me it seemed symbolic of the fact that there is no there there when it comes to United right now.

Posted by: weliveindc | August 27, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Namoff is indeed 30, but he isn't slow. In fact, he won the 40-yard dash at the preseason camp. Not that that means he's a burner, as we don't have a particularly fast roster.

Posted by: b18bolo | August 27, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Dump Emilo. Use the money on someone who can either run or win a header in traffic.

Have Fred and Wallace practice 1000 crosses a day until they can get the ball in around the 18yd line instead of over the end line.

Keep Tino and Pontius in the starting lineup, they linkup well together, they are young and creative, and that is a partnership to invest in. Add Fred and Wallace to the mix and now you have a good start (assuming they can learn how to cross).

Work on Burch's defensive game, but retain him for the longball he serves up.

Namoff has earned a spot.

Wicks is fine in my book. Just keep playing him.

Simms has heart, but he needs to work on his passing game. It is not enough to hustle and make turnovers. He has to have a strong transition game.

Moreno is good for 20 min, and is a real leader. Pay him to lead the recruiting hunt to find his protege to fill his shoes.

Put Ben on the coaching staff somewhere.

Put the fear of God into the rest and make them compete for their positions next year. Look at loan deals to give younger prospects playing time in other leagues, and see who develops.

Posted by: Wiggan | August 27, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

@yankiboy- you seem to think that its a one time thing with burch getting beat like that! I would accept the tickets but I would also use the opportunity to Punch burch in the face!

@Wiggan - are you talking about the 1 in 40 or so longballs that actually reach a D.C United player? Dump burch.

Sept 2nd better be a good game (WIN)!

Posted by: Ivanovich84 | August 27, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

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