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United Rewind

There's still some fight left in D.C. United, after all -- in more ways than one.

Josh Wicks freaks out on Marc Burch during a brief stoppage, Burch retaliates. Teammates intervene. All the while, Chicago is scrambling to take a corner kick and try to score the equalizer.

Can't say I've seen too many altercations between teammates over the years. (Remember when Hristo Stoitckov and Bobby Convey exchanged words at Chicago's Soldier Field in United's season finale in 2003?)

For comments from Burch, Coach Tom Soehn and Ben Olsen concerning the incident, click here. (Wicks didn't want to talk about it.)

Fact: First DCU league win since July 18.
Fact: First DCU victory of all kind since July 21.
Fact: First DCU road win since April 26.
Fact: First DCU away shutout.

The league's video highlight package cuts away from the incident.

Wicks 5; Namoff 8, Jakovic 7, James 7, Burch 5; Olsen 5.5, Simms 6, Gomez 6.5, Fred 5; Quaranta 5, Emilio 5. Subs: Moreno 5.5, Pontius 5, Wallace 5.

By Steve Goff  |  August 30, 2009; 12:47 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Matchnight #23: United-Fire
Next: Video: Wicks-Burch Moment


Can't forget about the infamous fight between Newcastle's Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer.

Great win, bring on the bile and blue from Seattle!!!

Posted by: addick | August 30, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Where can I watch a replay of the Wicks-Burch incident?

Posted by: BarraPuta | August 30, 2009 12:58 AM | Report abuse

BP - I'm sure it'll be everywhere soon. It'll be part of every highlight reel of this match because the cameras caught the entire thing

Posted by: gocaps2 | August 30, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

It was basically the same late last season with Carragher and Arbeloa as well.

Posted by: StewartDC8 | August 30, 2009 1:07 AM | Report abuse

How is Gomez a 6.5? He was invisible.

Posted by: GoUnited | August 30, 2009 1:15 AM | Report abuse

Burch and the entire line need to be held accountable right?
Good for wicks.
Hug it out and get this club back on track boys.
Vamos United!
Up NExt!?
An Orca Slaughter! Yeah!

Posted by: DadRyan | August 30, 2009 1:16 AM | Report abuse

Have we ever seen three players get the additional .5 before?

Posted by: sitruc | August 30, 2009 1:16 AM | Report abuse

""Remember when Hristo Stoitckov and Bobby Convey exchanged words ""

No, but my money and my house are on StoitcHkov winning that one . .

Posted by: delantero | August 30, 2009 1:16 AM | Report abuse

Gomez wasn't invisible. He took the ball out of traffic in our 1/2 several times. He played fine.

Posted by: delantero | August 30, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

I like James. Gives Jakovic much more room to maneuver intercetping balls and pushing forward.

Wicks is a spaz. He needs to throttle it back a bit.

Posted by: JaimeSegundo | August 30, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

""Up NExt!?
An Orca Slaughter! Yeah!""

What exactly is a Sounder, anyways?

Posted by: delantero | August 30, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Gotta give some credit to Gomez for the free kick to Namoff. If Namoff was taller than 5 feet he'd be as good as Onyewu on the free kicks.

Posted by: BarraPuta | August 30, 2009 1:25 AM | Report abuse

It's funny; we've played better on the actual soccer side and lost or tied numerous times. However, we haven't fought like that probably since 2007. In tough times, when our passing isn't quite there and the moments of quality are few, we've all too often had only a few battlers that won't take no for an answer. Tonight, every player on the field was desperate to win the game at all costs. Throw out Chicago's poor home form; we had to find points tonight, and we did by simply wanting it more. How often can we say that?

Ultimately, we were helped by Chicago failing repeatedly when the final ball or shot needed skill, but we also gave them no easy chances. Normally I love the philosophy of just being more skilled than your opponent, but we're not clicking right now as far as that goes, so you find another way to win games.


Wicks - 6
Chicago's shots on goal were all directly at him. Might like to see a bit more composure at the end, and of course the blowup was uncalled for. Point out the mistake, even with some anger, but draw the line.

Namoff - 8
Superb run to beat Thorrington on the goal, and Chicago more or less avoided his side of the field because it wasn't happening over there tonight.

Jakovic - 6.5
Brought composure to what could have been a hectic night defensively.

James - 6
Broke up a lot of plays; energetic. Left me worried a couple times, but all in all a good game.

Burch - 5.5
Chicago played way too narrow, so Burch had only a small impact tonight. Still, no real complaints.

Olsen - 7
That's how a leader plays. Olsen demanded that we take 3 points tonight, and the team followed him.

Simms - 8
At half, I had him down for a 9. Made about 3000 tackles. 2nd half wasn't quite to that level, but still one of the better showings by any DC player this season.

Gomez - 6
Great FK to set up the goal, and made several runs out of crowds to give us possession during tough times. I would have liked to see more influence in the attacking third.

Fred - 6
Not much in the way of attacking, but did a strong job of defending. However, I feel like he was one foul away from picking up a 2nd yellow for persistent infringement.

Quaranta - 6
Industrious, though his long pass was not on for the night. Nearly set up Olsen.

Emilio - 6.5
Rare showing where, with no service, he still made a big impact. Ran about as much as he does in 2 full games tonight, and mostly did so intelligently.

Subs: Moreno - 6 (composed team from entrance to around 85th minute), Pontius - 5.5 (Made it harder for Banner to get involved), Wallace - NR.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | August 30, 2009 1:44 AM | Report abuse

I say Wicks is in the wrong. I imagine the team felt that way as no one came up to Wicks after the final whistle. Wicks likes to yell and be direct, yet not everyone can handle that type of direction or leadership. You have to know your teammates and address leadership at them in appropriate ways -ways in which the person you are communicating with will take it in a manner that is positive and conducive to the team.

I also thought his screaming at James earlier was ridiculous. Yes, Wicks would have easily claimed the cross but I would prefer a defender who if, unsure clears the ball. Those scenarios happen all the time at the top level and usually the goalie has an understanding of the game and appreciates the defending. He then picks his defender up, slaps him on the back of the head and moves on.

I am willing to predict Wicks doesn't see himself as being in the wrong.

While I am making a big deal out of this it is most likely a non-issue in the locker room. Altercations happen all the time, as I am sure many of us know. I for one have seen/been involved in numerous practice fracases in my college playing days. You shake a hand and move on as men.

I thought Gomez was average, besides a brilliant ball.

This needs to be our starting 11 here on out. James bring some needed athletic ability to our back line. He also is not a bad player overall. I think he is a good addition to DC.

Posted by: grubbsbl | August 30, 2009 1:54 AM | Report abuse

I thought Gomez had a decent game today and played a few great balls but really Simms showed why we need him so badly. While his passing and control were decent his real benefit came when he was coming back on defense. Had it not been for Simms Chicago probably would have had 1 or 2 goals.

I think if you grabbed 10 top division coaches and commentators and you had them sit down and watch every minute of DC United soccer this year not one would have guessed that Emilio was our DP, especially when compared to the 6 other MLS DP’s. While Blanco was actually leading the Fire and taking control of the game for them, Emilio was sitting up front waiting to shank balls while his teammates did most of the work.

Looking at the stats (shots, shots on goal and assists) he really isn’t that much more productive than Pontius and a few more years in MLS and Pontius will start converting some of these shots on goal…and we pay him $36k! Goff so far this season you have even given Pontius better ratings than Emilio 10 times in the games that they both play while Emilio has only been rated better than Pontius 7 times.

Posted by: Southeasterner | August 30, 2009 5:19 AM | Report abuse

The league is nuts for leaving Wicks-Burch out of the highights package. You can bet NFL Films would have made it "the turning point of the season ..."

Posted by: granadoskerry | August 30, 2009 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Let's hope Soehn stays 4-4-2 and platoons Gomez and Moreno to get a skilled playmaker for 90 minutes. And let's hope that the Burch-Wicks bust-up doesn't carry deeper meanings for team chemistry. Yes, grubbsbl, it seems to speak volumes when teammates don't rush to congratulate a keeper for an away clean sheet. Wicks' post-match silence only adds to the questions.

Huzzahs to DCU for a gritty performance.

Posted by: runningcloud | August 30, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

they won, who cares about any altercation, give them some gloves and let them settle it.

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | August 30, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I really don't care if Wicks and Burch are hugging after the game. Burch takes plays off and Wicks emphatically pointed it out. So what if Burch's feelings were hurt? Look at the 1972 Oakland A's and 1978 Yankees, those lockerrooms were viper's nests and they won championships.

Posted by: griffin1108 | August 30, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Chest Rockwell.

Especially on Simms. The reason the 4-4-2 worked so well in this match was because Clyde was doing the job of two defensive midfielders.

Posted by: DCUMD | August 30, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

I dunno about wicks, szetela, or much else for that matter...but I do know that was one of the most entertaining games I've seen for a long time. Let's have this team show up on Wednesday.

Posted by: DCB23 | August 30, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Let's look ahead to Wednesday: Seattle's great strength is their team speed--especially in the attack--although they play better/faster on their home turf in front of their home fans. I don't think we should start Burch--remember how poorly he played in the first Sounders game. He's been logging lots of minutes lately and probably needs a breather. Who could replace Burch? Maybe it's time to give Rodney Wallace a look back there. The other three defenders from last night were outstanding. In central midfield I don't think it's reasonable to ask Olsen to play back-to-back 90 minute games within three days. I would pair Jacobson (if his ankle is good to go) or Szetela with Simms. Put Fred on the left and Quaranta on the right. Up top let's pair Emilio with Moreno for a half and Gomez for a half. I'm tempted to give Kocic the start (and Wicks a mental breather from lots of games), but Josh does have two shutouts in a row...

Posted by: dcarmy | August 30, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Actually I meant to pair Pontius with Moreno and/or Gomez. Emilio is another guy who is more effective playing just once a week.

Posted by: dcarmy | August 30, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Agreed griffin!

You know I keep hearing buzz words like "the American player" and its times like this I wonder what people mean by it. Some of the best goalies in the world call out some of the biggest names in the game - see the Peters, the Schemeichel and Cech varieties, Buffon, etc.

Sometimes you've gotta slap someone into the game. What's with the please don't yell at me or claims of temporary insanity? Wicks is taking a leadership role and keeping our part-time defenders in check - Burch is notorious for switching off, which he clearly did right before that play when Wicks was yelling to push the line up on the free kick. The D was literally sitting on top of him.

He yelled and Burch grabbed, for me Burch is in the wrong here. If this were Europe we would have reports of Burch being out of the line up for team reasons.

Keepers yell, well at least the ones who want to lead do, deal with it. Be a pro and deal.

The team gave us fire all over, I think that should be the crux of the discussion not amature psycho-analysis - who's to know why the team didn't come to Wicks at the end? Who cares? If they are pros they will work it out, if not then the little willy-pansies can implode along with our season.

Wicks is nowhere near the company of the great keepers I named earlier, heck he's noweher near our best keeper (and we have sucked in that department forever), but I have no prob with a dude, playin' a dude who's tryin' to be like another dude :-). He's managing the game, he's taking command of his back line. I have no beef with that.

You know I wish Timmy would get in some guys faces like that from time to time, that way we don't have attackers picking which corner they want to blast a shot in from 20 yards out, all while sipping a cup 'o tea.

I want our guys to have the mentality of professional football players, not American players. End rant!

Posted by: Kosh2 | August 30, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Fact: particularly with so many home games, DC is squarely back in the playoff picture.

Posted by: jake77 | August 30, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

@dcarmy - You really think it would be wise to give Wallace his first start at LB in our most important match of 2009? I don't think so. I also disagree with you on Emilio. Even while not scoring, he's had two great matches in a row against LA and Chicago.

The biggest question for me is 3-5-2 vs 4-4-2. Toronto did well to shut out Seattle last night (in Seattle), and I think our 4-man back is better than Toronto's. And if Simms plays like he did last night, we won't be losing much in the midfield. Our team has had some of its best moments this season with Quaranta and Pontius on the field at the same time, so I'm hoping to see something like this:

Quaranta-Simms-Gomez-(Wallace or Fred)

Posted by: DCUMD | August 30, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Haha I just went on the ChicagoNow blog to talk a little trash and they're all talking about firing Hamlett. So it's not just us!

Posted by: DCUMD | August 30, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

They showed several different replays of the altercation right at the time; but when the match was over and they were interviewing Wicks, FSC showed the altercation from an angle they hadn't shown earlier.

From *that* angle, it's pretty clear that the physical end of the confrontation is started by Burch: Wicks runs over and gets in Burch's face, and Burch responds with a swing/punch with his right that results in his arm across Wicks' neck. Then Wicks grabs Burch and Burch grabs Wicks.

This isn't the first time that Wicks has screamed at his defenders like this, and I'm not surprised to see this happen.

That said, he was absolutely right to be pissed.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | August 30, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

DCUMD -- they've been talking about firing Hamlett since last season.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | August 30, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I'll give props to Soehn for smart substitutions. I've always thought having Gomez and Moreno, at their current age and speed, on the field at the same time would have worked in the 1990s version of MLS. But not now. We can't afford the loss of speed for the increase in skills. Giving each a half works.

Posted by: dsheon1 | August 30, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse


"Burch - 5.5
Chicago played way too narrow, so Burch had only a small impact tonight. Still, no real complaints."

Burch gave up at least 2 dangerous free kicks in the game. That alone drops his score.

Posted by: redskinsux | August 30, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

DCUMD: Thanks for your response to my lineup suggestion. Emilio has definitely played more inspired football in the last few games and has earned the right to start. The question is can he go Wednesday and then Saturday against Dallas? I think either way we have to mix and match the front line with Gomez, Moreno, Pontius and Emilio in the next six days. I'm afraid that if we play Burch against Seattle their attackers will overwhelm him--as they did in the first match. I think Wallace can hang at left back--in fact that's where I would play him for the remaining CONCACAF matches.

Posted by: dcarmy | August 30, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I strongly agree with putting Wallace at left back for all four remaining Champions League matches. We're all but mathematically out of it -- let's see whether he can fill this spot for us next year.

Posted by: granadoskerry | August 30, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

You know I wish Timmy would get in some guys faces like that from time to time.....



As Chest noted, it was a strange game. Normally, it is DCU in the role Chicago played - lots of possession that does not produce anything. Last night, DCU was clearly the inferior team. They came out prepared to foul, foul and foul again...and it worked...thanks to beautifully executed free kick via Gomez and Namoff.

It was an ugly match played by a physically outmatched side, but it got the result that DCU has been missing. They won because they played with desperation, and because they had a very generous referee. I will be happy to see more results like that, but those yellow cards add up.

Posted by: fischy | August 30, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I was pleasantly surprised last night. Someone earlier had pointed out that points on the road in CHI were very possible with their form there.
What realy showed was the desire of every person to play well and win - together. Fred playing D, Olsen making mistakes and immediately recovering and taking responsibility, Wicks engaging with his defenders (not totally in favor of that and I see that his being a screamer has incrementally angered his backline over the course of the year), Simms playing out of his mind, Moreno adding quality in the last 30, Gomez doing good things for the 1st 45, James and Jakovic palying well together, etc, etc, etc.
This was much needed by DCU. I am encouraged and wonder what we will see on Wed night. The drive HAS to be there. The minutes have been managed fairly well over the last 2 weeks (still not happy with the 'C' line-up wed night) and the quest for a title at home should cary them thru.
After Wed, I'm not sure. This team seems inconsistent still. But, this hard fought, team effort may be the impetus to a successful rest of the campaign.
I'm once again interested to see how it goes - unlike I was TH morning......

Posted by: marksman37 | August 30, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

With all that smack talk went between Seattle and DC I don't want any b team out on Wed. I want full strength to grab that sucker to shut them off.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | August 30, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

With all the ads they've run, they won't be fielding a B team. I think the question is just how much we push Olsen's ankles etc.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | August 30, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Namoff for team MVP?

Posted by: vivzig | August 30, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Namoff for team MVP?

Posted by: vivzig

If the season ended today he'd get my vote. He's been our most consistently good player all year.

Posted by: KireDCU | August 30, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

What I thought these were United fans? How about when Stoitckov and El Diablo grabbed each other at midfield while the game was still going on. They each had their finger in the other's face. Can't remember who it was against, but if memory serves it was a mid-week game.

Posted by: restonhoops | August 30, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

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