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United Wins in Trinidad

First, the basics.....

Christian Gomez's first-half penalty kick lifted D.C. United to a 1-0 victory over San Juan Jabloteh on Tuesday night in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago -- United's first win in the CONCACAF Champions League in two years.

At the midway point of group play, United (1-2) remains in contention for a quarterfinal berth in the international tournament, with Marathon coming to RFK next week. The Honduran club (2-0) faces Toluca (2-0) this Thursday.

In the 14th minute, Gomez converted into the lower left corner, just out of goalkeeper Cleon John's reach, after a handball in the box against Jabloteh (0-3). United, playing without several injured or resting regulars, ended a 10-game winless streak (0-7-3) in the Champions League.

Jabloteh had several chances to tie in the first half, but Milos Kocic made three saves, Julius James cleared a shot off the goal line and Jason Marcano hit the left post. United had superior possession in the second half. Luciano Emilio narrowly missed from 30 yards, Gomez's close-in header was saved and reserve Tiyi Shipalane faltered one on one after being set up by Gomez in added time.

Okay, now a broader view.....

What a bland affair on a patchy pitch against a terrible opponent in front of maybe a couple hundred spectators. An artistic success, it was not. But given United's personnel issues, it was a satisfactory way to cap its brutal stretch of 10 games in 31 days and keep things interesting for the second half of the Champions League slate. With no league match scheduled this weekend, United is now off until Marathon's visit next Thursday.

PLAYER RATINGS
Kocic 5; McTavish 6, James 5, Simms 5, John 5; Szetela 4, Wallace 5, Jacobson 4, Pontius 6; Gomez 7, Emilio 5. Subs: DiRaimondo 5, Shipalane 4, Allen 5.

By Steve Goff  |  September 15, 2009; 10:31 PM ET
Categories:  CONCACAF Champions League , D.C. United  
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Next: Wednesday Kickaround

Comments

I would take Goff's ratings and subtract two points from each player.

Posted by: Juan-John | September 15, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Wow so much negativity after a win. With the way some are talking on here I would have guessed we lost.

Posted by: UnitedFuryForever | September 15, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I've got no issue with the ratings, I'd even bump up Gomez by one for not strangling any of his teammates. Then again, it's a long flight home.... Well put - they are keeping things interesting if nothing else.

Szetela didn't give Soehn much to go on tonight. He served up a gorgeous cross on that late dead ball, but whiffed on that golden chance served by Gomez.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | September 15, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

"Wow so much negativity after a win. With the way some are talking on here I would have guessed we lost.

Posted by: UnitedFuryForever | September 15, 2009 10:45 PM"

Same was reflected in the squad's body language at the final whistle. Hardly a wild celebration. Enjoy the break, lads.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | September 15, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

zzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: alan19 | September 15, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

J. James made the play of the game with the overhead volley clearance off the line. That was even more important than the PK, he deserves more than a 5.

Posted by: DC0071 | September 15, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

I sure would like the guys to somehow get into the next round. Congratulations to the boys for the road win. 3 road points in this competition are very hard to come by.
Vamos United!

Posted by: DadRyan | September 15, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

I have to say I also disagree with these ratings. I laced into Jacobson for his hackish defending in the 1st half, but he was driving the attack in the second half, along with Szetela and Gomez. Not really sure why he was subbed out - at least not to put in a marginal defender like DiRai. Jacobson sent a few balls over the defense, to kick-start attacks. Not his fault that DC can't finish. As for McTavish getting a "6" -- when he was going forward and crossing the ball, he was a 6. When he was defending, he was more like a 2 or 3. He made the worst defensive mistake when he got stripped from behind while facing the goal...at least until James' clunker of a turnover. McT was toasted throughout the first half. 6 is probably kind to Pontius, not that he was bad, but he didn't do much.

Emilio - well he looked good scoring that goal, but he was inexcusably offside. If he had made sure he was onside, that's a goal for our side. But, his near miss was probably the best shot he's taken this year, and DC really missed his holding play when he came out. Shipilane either forgot to jump for headers, or he has a vertical leap of 0". Plus he blew a 100% opportunity. He might be a good flank player, but he doesn't belong up top.

Rodney Wallace is probably short-changed here. He played a pretty solid game -- nice to see what he can do against a team that is below MLS' high standards. Also, despite missing a golden one-on-one chance on goal, Szetela deserved better than a 4. Not sure why you would give John a better rating, when he kept sending long crosses to nowhere and did such a fine job of defending that I saw several plays where midfielders tracked back chasing the play as the last line of defense.

Posted by: fischy | September 15, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

I am in virtually complete agreement with SG's assessment and ratings, save giving Pontius a 5 instead of a 6.

Kocic continues to look shaky on his decision making. Marcano hit the post with a slow roller because Kocic was apparently doing his best to remind us of Louis Crayton. San Juan's first chance came on a shot from Guerra on the left that completely fooled Kocic but went mercifully wide. Still, he did keep a clean sheet, so giving him less than a 5 seems wrong.

Defensively, we didn't give up anything in the run of play in our box, which is usually a good sign. However, the defending on set pieces was abysmal; on another night, Lawrence goes home with a hat trick. I know he's 6'5" and we had no one even close to that size available to mark him, but the bigger problem was that he was not even being challenged. It seemed like James had the job of marking him most often, but just couldn't do it. He continues to make big plays only to also make big mistakes (like that giveaway in the 86th minute that nearly gave up a breakaway). I'd prefer less noticeable performances from my center backs.

In a game where San Juan's central midfield is not very good, you'd like to see Jacobson and Wallace impose themselves more. Wallace was adequate, but Jacobson was just too quiet. We needed one or both of them to burst forward more often, but in Wallace's case you at least noticed the tackling when San Juan did occasionally try to possess the ball.

Szetela is wasted out on the wing. He's not speedy, and he's not a dribbler, so what's he doing out there? I'm sure everyone noticed that his first look is to play the ball into our central midfield, then his movement to follow is also towards the middle. He does a decent job defensively on the wing, but our version of a 442 requires our wide players to skew towards attacking. His abilities are best used in the middle. Against Marathon, moving him wide in the middle of the 1st half was smart because McTavish was absent and isolated; the defending from Szetela was better, and we weren't attacking much in either case. In this formation, though, we need someone better suited to move up the wing. If Soehn keeps playing him wide, he'll keep having mediocre, quiet performances.

Finally, Shipalane...dude. Hit that shot first time! It got worse with every action: 1. Should have one-timed it, but didn't. 2. It can still be salvaged with a good touch and shot, but the touch was poor. 3. It should still end up an ugly goal if the shot is hard, but it was weak. Our fans are already going into games prepared to be angry at the end; on your debut, you have to finish your 1v1s in the box with the keeper having no time to close you down.

(Ir)Regardless, an away win's an away win. We get some confidence back. Hopefully Marathon doesn't put us back to square one again.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | September 15, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm posting this on a braille keyboard, as I stabbed my eyes out trying to watch the game.

Szetela would make a fine Reserve team player, except we don't have that anymore.

Maybe he can start in an over 40 league. Running isn't the entire game, but it is somewhat important, and he doesn't.

Posted by: JkR- | September 15, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Other comments: Wallace had a poor night by his standard, but covers so much ground, and is so involved.

Pontius, not so much.

Chest said what needed to be said about Kocic. Only the coaching staff knows if he had potential, but he made some errors. Yes he did.

Saw some good from James, but also the Erpen like bad we've seen. Still, more good, about the same amount of bad.

Avery John was shocking in the slow, bad giveaway, brain-fart area. I don't expect him to be Usain Bolt at this point in his career, but some demonstration of veteran savvy would be nice.

McTavish seemed to cover all the ground Szetela didn't. Hard to be unhappy, once you know what to expect from him.

Jacobsen. Hmm. I didn't see the bad, but certainly saw little good. I had higher expectations.

Wow, Jablowme can't do much in the final third. Thankfully.

Posted by: JkR- | September 15, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

DCU was playing a glorified pub side tonight. We are not good.

Posted by: ATPDC | September 15, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

On a broader view . . . . .

approximately 188 days until United's first 2010 league match!!

Posted by: Curious99 | September 15, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

I think we were watching different matches.

No, Szetela didn't set the match on fire, but he at least attempted to create attacking opportunities, rather than continuously back-pass like Gomez. He also hit a better free-kick than I've seen from Gomez all season.

I thought Gomez was horrible with the exception of his PK.

Emilio should get a 1. The only reason it's not a zero is because he took a shot that wouldn't have been stopped by a newborn child in a bassinet (had it been on goal).

Kocic 5 - Butterfingers, mediocre distribution, but at least he didn't get megged for a goal...

McTavish 6 - Solid match considering we haven't seen him at RB in years.

Simms 5 - He was more at fault for that mix-up that nearly led to a goal than Kocic, but still didn't do poorly

James 5 - Made a poor pass to the other team, but tracked back and made a brilliant tackle. Also dangerous on set pieces.

John 3 - Absolutely dreadful. SLOW. Weak passes, crosses that were lobbed with so much loft the recipient could have done a suicide sprint to the endline and back to receive the ball before it landed.

Szetela 5 - Obviously his game isn't crisp from rotting on the bench the last month+
Emilio is also a poor target for the kinds of passes he tries to make.

Wallace 5 - Didn't hurt us, was largely invisible. Should have been playing on the left wing instead...

Jacobson 4 - Lost possession frequently, made poor passes, slow to 50/50 balls.

Pontius 6 - Looked to be the best on the pitch, but was pretty marginalized playing on the wing with John behind him, and only Emilio up top to work with.

Gomez 4 - And that's being generous for not flubbing the PK. I think whatever Fred has is contagious, and Christian has picked it up.

Emilio 1 - I think my 67 year old father runs a quicker 40 than he does, and would have put more heat on his 1st attempt on goal as well.

subs: DiRaimondo 5 - Sharper than Jacobson was.

Shipalane 3 - Blew an easy one, someone should tell him not to follow the teachings of Emilio. Definitely not the right player to have up-top by himself either.

Allen NR - only in for a minute.

Posted by: alecw81 | September 15, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

I think we were watching different matches.


Yeah, we were...

Posted by: JkR- | September 15, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

MLB put out its 2010 schedule this week; why couldn't MLS do the same?

-----------

On a broader view . . . . .

approximately 188 days until United's first 2010 league match!!

Posted by: Curious99 | September 15, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Juan-John | September 16, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

I'll start by saying Vamos United! A road win in the CCL, no less. Something to celebrate!

Okay, on the down side, SJJ was terrible. For the first thirty minutes they looked less interested in the game than our starters against Toluca. They made Gomez look good, but - sadly - Emilio still looked like Emilio.

This reserve squad looked like they had something to prove, although I have to wonder what it is they do in practice that has the defense so woefully unprepared for games. (Maybe it has something to do with our offense?) We had some nice chances that didn't pan out; we got lucky on defense a few times. On the whole we played slightly better than SJJ and the scoreline reflects it.

Posted by: wichne | September 16, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

okay, it's an away win against a mediocre opponent, but DC United is 2-5-7 on the road in the US this year. I have to get them some credit for going overseas and winning a match, even if it was against FC Jabba the Hut.

At this point in the year, if I were the coach, I'd play whoever shows the most positive effort. After this year, I (the coach) and most of the senior players will be gone, so I might as well play whoever wants to win the most and is in the best current form. If that means keeping all of the 'star' player on the bench then do it. If that means playing 18 year olds in goal then do it.

The writing on the wall is clear. This could very well be the last year in DC for: Tom Soehn, the rest of the coaching staff (Simpson), Luciano Emilio, Fred, Christian Gomez, Jaime Moreno, Ben Olsen, Josh Wicks, Danny Szetela, Marc Burch, etc.

Who cares about the players' feelings at this point - play whoever displays the most effort in regards to DC United succeeding.

Posted by: diego_r | September 16, 2009 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Because MLS has the international calendar they have to schedule around. Remember, world cup is next summer. It's not as simple as you may think. MLB only has themselves to worry about

RE: MLB put out its 2010 schedule this week; why couldn't MLS do the same?

Posted by: Juan-John | September 16, 2009 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: dcu4life1 | September 16, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Because MLS has the international calendar they have to schedule around. Remember, world cup is next summer. It's not as simple as you may think. MLB only has themselves to worry about...
------------------------------------------------------

Well, that, and the fact that some teams share stadiums with American football teams. Like it or not, MLS has to wait months for those teams to finalize THEIR schedules. I don't think MLS worries too much about the international calendar. Besides, it's even easier this year, because there will be no "international" dates to worry about. Just the World Cup -- and MLS plans to play through.

Speaking of international competitions:

Wouldn't you think the folks at Fox Soccer Report would know something about how the Champions League works, especially since they are covering it wall-to-wall...and basically staking the channel's future on their coverage and ratings?

So, how come they kept showing a picture of the Besiktas coach's dismay at Man Utd.'s goal against the run of play...and saying that he knows that giving up away goals will hurt his team? They kept implying that away goals actually have some special significance. The Besiktas coach was upset because his team blew a chance at taking a point (or maybe the full 3 points) from the group favorite. It's group play, not a home-and-home elimination.

Posted by: fischy | September 16, 2009 1:57 AM | Report abuse

Also -- I'm grammatically opposed to "giving up away goals". The away team scores away goals. The home team does not allow away goals.

Posted by: fischy | September 16, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Screw it. Three points.

"Well then I guess there's only one thing left to do. ... Win the whole f*cking thing."

Posted by: JoeS3 | September 16, 2009 4:32 AM | Report abuse

Szetela played better than Fred in his first game as a starter even playing among reserves and in an away game. So technically (and obviously) he should be starting for Fred or at least be a sub.

For you nay-sayers that say Szetela doesn't play better than Fred, look at Goff's objective ratings of the two players recently. Or, just watch each of them play. And it seems by the comments posted here that people are also pleased with Szetela's debut.
(-Please Inform Tom Soehn-)

Posted by: redskinsux | September 16, 2009 4:39 AM | Report abuse

Good thing is that the sponsors of these regional "Cups" (which one is this again? Superliga? CCL? Who knows and who cares) are soon to realize they are money-losers and pull the plug on them. To that I will say, good riddance.

Posted by: Ron16 | September 16, 2009 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Good thing is that the sponsors of these regional "Cups" (which one is this again? Superliga? CCL? Who knows and who cares) are soon to realize they are money-losers and pull the plug on them. To that I will say, good riddance.

Posted by: Ron16 | September 16, 2009 6:18 AM |

Although I would certainly not miss them, these regional competitions are going nowhere. Similar competitions are played all over the world. If these competitions died out then, they would simply be replaced by another. Certainly there are kinks to work out but they are here to stay.

Posted by: croftonpost | September 16, 2009 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Finally, a win on international soil.

This year's team has quite a knack for doing just well enough to keep your interest but not well enough to be taken very seriously. Ugh!

Posted by: croftonpost | September 16, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Goff: I'm a little surprised at your cynicism lately. I mean, I don't expect you to be a total "homer," but I always saw you as the calming voice of rational thought when others are rending garments over the latest DCU death-knell.

That said, everyone's entitled to their opinion, and frankly you're entitled to your fair share and more since you do the bulk of the heavy lifting.

Szetela, who I must remind everyone is only 22 years old, looked pretty good last night even if he was playing out of place. This was Wallace's second straight game in which he's shown he might be able to be a midfield engine for this team. Sure James made some mistakes, but that's gonna happen in your defensive third. I like the guy's speed. Even DiRaimondo and Jacobson had their moments (or at least they didn't have any head-scratchers). Pontius already looks like and plays like a vet. Throw in Khumalo, Jackovic, Allen, maybe Shipalane, and all of a sudden we have a pretty decent core of youngsters to go with guys like Tino, Namoff, Simms, Burch and McTavish, who are tomorrow's veteran leaders. Say goodbye to Luci, Fred, Moreno, Gomez, Benny. This is what next year looks like.

Posted by: loosek | September 16, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

fisch, that's pathetic -- and didn't Sullivan say that recently, about some DCU CCL match?

Posted by: Reignking | September 16, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

The root of my cynicism last night came from the fact that DCU was playing a truly terrible team. Other than Gomez, no one made a difference, took hold of the match or made things difficult for Jabloteh. Two hours of bland CONCACAF futbol in an dreary atmosphere.


Posted by: Steve Goff | September 16, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

@loosek,

I'm not surprised by the cynacism. The club has failed to trot out a team in the last 2.5 years that resembles one that moves the ball fluidly. Creates dramatic action going forward leading to at the least chances on goal and really is lacking a player who can MAKE a difference consistently. I know I'm spoiled because I've followed the club since 1996, but the ball movement and style of play have really underwhelmed me of late.

That said, I'm glad the team won the match last night and was able to prove to itself that it can slug out results away from RFK and with a different set of players. I'm also glad that the club is still in contention for MLS Cup Playoffs and CONCACAF, however, this team will need to show some of the discipline and fight it had back in March and April if it wants to have anything to play for after October.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | September 16, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Gomez looked, well, thicker than I recall. Has he put on ten pounds?

Posted by: DCUSince96 | September 16, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

A win is a win, but against the team we played last night, we don't have a lot to be bragging about !! For those Szetela fans who say he played better than Fred, I totally agree, but that still is not much of a compliment to Szetela ! I have seen 13 year olds that can outplay FRED !! Regardless, it was nice to see some younger talent on display, however James' one good play does not make up for his other brain F---rts. And Shipalane??? Obviously not a finisher, he looked a little like Emilio on a breakaway---straight to the keeper !!
Anyhow, good win boys see you at RFK !

Posted by: patrick18 | September 16, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Don't think I've seen such disagreement about player performances after a match. Put me in with the group thinking Gomez was overrated. If our playmaker was so good, where was our offense? DCU maintained posession well in the 2nd half against a team that looked half-dead, but there was no push to expand the lead (which will come back to haunt DCU if they are lucky enough to win the next two CCL matches and have to rely on a tie-breaker to move on). Gomez did two things well - the PK and the set up for Shipalane. James on the other hand was underrated. Yeah, he had a bad giveaway...name someone on DCU who didn't? I do know this - the match would have been a draw without James's save at the goal line. He otherwise seemed to be the most effective defender, certtainly worth more than a 5.

Posted by: BillyBob4 | September 16, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I can't wait to see who our starting forwards will be next year, because it can't possibly Emilio. I have heard from inside the stadium that he is gone. He is pathetic up top. He can't hold the ball because he can't dribble and he makes 0 runs. He doesn't do anything to separate himself from defenders.
The defense defended okay but they gave the ball away with terrible passing. They all made those mistakes.
I think the criticism is a bit harsh on Jacobson. He is slow and he gave it away a bit but nobody was moving. He was the only one on the field trying to pass the ball forward last night. He kept having to dump it over th etop or pass back because Gomez was covered and Emilio was picking his nose the whole game. I liked Szetela getting up the wing. I think he tired out though by the 60th minute and he should've been subbed out instead of Jacobson.
Pontius played well. He would've finished off Shipilane's weak attempt.
Was I the only on who was rooting for Shipilane to come in and light it up so they can start him next to Moreno immediately while Emilio watched?

Posted by: jsm3 | September 16, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

It was nice to see some team speed on the field for a change. And some of these guys -- Szetela for one -- must be lacking match fitness. Simms' positioning was better. He seems to be learning. DCU was fortunate that SJJ couldn't finish its chances. Whatever, a win is better than the alternatives.

Posted by: runningcloud | September 16, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

On the bright side, we got an away goal which is extremely important in the group stage.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 16, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Let's be fair, Jablohmeh stinks. Any rating or comparison to other United players needs to have that taken into consideration.

Having said that, Stetz should get the start opposite Tino.

Posted by: delantero | September 16, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Glenn Beck said there was 50,000 people at the game :)

Posted by: knape1 | September 16, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

"Say goodbye to Luci, Fred, Moreno, Gomez, Benny." -- that seems to be accepted here, although I would bet Olsen will be back, and still playing; anyway, that means we need a new #10 playmaker and a new striker (or at least dependable poacher). (I think Khumalo is fun to watch but I don't think he's going to be knocking in all the goals we need.) It's going to be hard to get both of those at once, isn't it? If we get another Gallardo and/or Doe-O'Niell etc. disappointment, 2010 could also be a dreary season.

And I know we should have a pile of money to spend, but we spent a pile on Gallardo and look where that went.

Maybe we can search for a #10 + striker pair who are already playing on the same team, and scoring, and hire them both.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | September 16, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm feeling like the our biggest problem is the lack of a decent striker. Emilio is good for scraps, but he's a poor target and has no speed.

If we had serious speed up top, suddenly Gomez and Moreno could actually spring an attack. If we had a decent target, those crosses from Quaranta suddenly connect...

All of our midfield strength fizzles on the finish and makes everyone look bad. Adding a dangerous striker would go a long way towards improving the whole team.

Sorry Emilio, you've got one trick and everyone knows it.

I'd start by handing the start to Pontius. He's the best we have at the moment.

Posted by: -rke- | September 16, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Because of all the free time they have sitting around waiting for someone to hit a ball over a wall and calling it a "highlight".

Posted by: rmontcal | September 16, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

That short guy on the SJJ sidelines that FSC kept mentioning as Terry Fenwick is not him! LOL! Those FSC guys are epic.

Posted by: Charisma_Man | September 16, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

On the bright side, we got an away goal which is extremely important in the group stage.
Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 16, 2009 9:14 AM |

Glenn Beck said there was 50,000 people at the game :)
Posted by: knape1 | September 16, 2009 9:42 AM

Two hilarious comments back to back. Love it.

I'm not sure what anyone saw in Szetela to say that he deserves to start opposite Quaranta on the wing. The only compliments about Szetela that I've seen are to suggest that he might do better in the middle

Posted by: DCUMD | September 16, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Considering he's a central midfielder, yeah. :)

Posted by: B_A_ | September 16, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the general "cynacism" above, but I saw two positive notes. First, Gomez seemed to have a bit more in the tanks last night, which was good to see. Its been said before on this blog that when he and Moreno are out there together they spend too much time playing the same position and defering to each other. Each should play a half for the stretch run.

Second, if we view this match as an opportunity to view these guys without the regulars around, I think we learned some things.

1) James has serious potential. Great athletecism and speed, and I love his intensity. His decision making needs work, but he's a keeper. I don't aree with the comparison to Erpen - yes both had issues with decision making, but Erpen was slow.

2) Simms is learning how to play the back and take charge. He and James were better coordinated than last game. Should never be his first position, but its a nice option.

3) Pontius needs creative players around him to make him hum. Nothing wrong with that, but good to know. Wallace, by contrast, is going to make his own plays regardless of the circumstances.

4) Emilio can't score against a bad team either.

5) Szetela and Jacobsen -- didn't see much from them, but its hard to get a good perspective on what happens away from the ball on the tele, which is important potentially in both of their roles. Most telling perhaps is that neither seized the moment to stand out. Same true of others not mentioned here.

6) McTavish - love him. Great reserve because he is so versatile and you always know he will play with heart.

Posted by: regularfan | September 16, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

IF, as predicted here by many, Fred, Jaime,Gomez and Emilio are gone by season's end, THEN we can see what the younger guys can do. Right now there is too much deference to the older "stars" with whom they work daily in practice. I would predict that Q. CP,et al will see a burden lifted off their shoulders.Put Szetela and Simms as DMs; try Shipi as WINGER ONLY where he can show his speed on right side, Wallace on left, Quaranta and Pontius on top and you will see more movement, more commitment,etc. This is not a final line-up but it would be more fun to watch. But you can't do that with the old stars looking over their shoulders. For reference just look at other pro teams with ageing stars; once they are gone, a blossoming of the younger set is at least possible.

Posted by: bechtoldpk | September 17, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

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