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DCU's Mixed Messages

After a 3-1 loss to Toluca on Aug. 26 in the CONCACAF Champions League, the fourth of D.C. United's 10 matches in a 31-day stretch, Coach Tom Soehn emphatically declared:

"I want to put something to bed: We keep talking about games. You know what? It's no different than we've had every year. It's a reality. We have games every three days, so 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 that that's not even an idea. It's reality."

Seventeen days later, after the 2-1 loss to Seattle on Saturday that dropped United's record to 2-5-2 in this busy period, Soehn addressed a question about Fredy Montero's go-ahead goal and DCU's defensive effort by saying:

"This is our third game since we played them [in the U.S. Open Cup final]; they've been resting [without any games in between]. Our team has been playing every three days for the last month and a half, and it's going to take tolls that some guys are tired some days and [it] takes away from your sharpness."

There are two issues here: First, obviously, is Soehn's contradiction. Second and more importantly, is whether the busy calendar has had a severe impact. With players shuttling in and out of the lineup, physical fatigue shouldn't be a big part of it for most regulars. But with players coming and going -- and often playing different positions from game to game -- Soehn seems to have undermined any chance of establishing rhythm and continuity.

United boasted about its depth this year. However, injuries to Khumalo, N'Silu, Barklage, Burch and Jakovic left fewer options, and, for whatever reasons, Soehn has not fully utilized Szetela, Shipalane, Habarugira and DiRaimondo. If they are not good enough to contribute during the busiest time of the year, why are they here?

Your thoughts are welcome.....

By Steve Goff  |  September 14, 2009; 12:33 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Comments

sohen is just plain bad, Id like to give props to the BaRRa Brava tho they are always ready to cheer and suppot win or lose how about you guys do something and make tifo about firing sohen, just a thought ...... You are the heart in this team and need to put pressure on the FO to make some changes , if it taking sitting and not chanting for a half or the whole game well then so be it,

Posted by: starvingstudent | September 14, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

. . . and also why is C Gomez on the bench and you're starting Olsen and Wallace as central mids?

Posted by: OWNTF | September 14, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

coachspeak

Posted by: Reignking | September 14, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

The real problem is that Tom Soehn is not good enough to be DC United's coach.

Posted by: DCUSince96 | September 14, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"If I lost Walter Cronkite I lost middle America." attributed to Lyndon Johnson

"If I lost Steve Goff I lost DC United fans." attributed to Tommy Soehn.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 14, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

When is Lawson Vaughn eligible to play? He's a pretty decent outside defender if I recall.

Posted by: Charisma_Man | September 14, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Id like to give props to the BaRRa Brava tho they are always ready to cheer and suppot win or lose how about you guys do something and make tifo about firing sohen, just a thought ...... You are the heart in this team and need to put pressure on the FO to make some changes , if it taking sitting and not chanting for a half or the whole game well then so be it
---------------------
As a member of La Barra Brava, I think your idea that we should display anti-Soehn tifo immediately after saying that we support the team win or lose is contradictory. How is a public message of "Fire Soehn" when the team is in a playoff race in support of the team?

Posted by: DCU_Rick | September 14, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

If it looks like a turd, smells like a turd...

Posted by: DadRyan | September 14, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Did someone say "messages"?!

"Just a castaway, an island lost at sea
Another lonely day, noone here but me
More loneliness, than any man could bear
Rescue me before I fall into despair

I'll send an SOS to the world
I'll send an SOS to the world
I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
Message in a bottle..."

Posted by: joedoc1 | September 14, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Goff, I very much appreciate your recent criticisms of players, coaches, and the front office. Thank you .

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | September 14, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh, that missing-section-idea worked so brilliantly before...was it a missing section or people sitting?

Posted by: Reignking | September 14, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Soehn's words are contradictory, but I don't much care. It was obvious to me that when he first said the number of games didn't matter that he was making sure his players understood that they weren't to look at the fixture congestion as a built-in excuse for failure.

I think it's obvious that fatigue has played a part in our recent record. I wonder just what Szetela did to not even get a chance on the field.

Posted by: mmathai1 | September 14, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

My thoughts? This team is underperforming; the coach is overmatched; the front office has made bad personnel decisions; and, it's gonna suck when fans start refusing to show up and our crowds look like Dallas, KC or NY.

I can handle rooting for a team that just isn't as good as other teams (the Nats) or that gets to the playoffs and falls to a rival (the Caps), but I am so disappointed in how little DC United is doing to stop the death spiral of the last 18 months. As my physical therapist said this morning, "United used to be the best. What happened?" If only the FO would ask themselves this same question and invest time, energy and intelligent analysis into getting an answer.

Posted by: sec133row5 | September 14, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

My thoughts? Fire Soehn. Then let creative destruction commence.

Posted by: entropy13 | September 14, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I think the failure to use some new additions is probably a factor of lack of practice time--when you're playing every 3 days you don't practice much. So I don't jump on Soehn for some of that. Additionally, the two comments--some of that "may" be a case of saying at the end of a match something your team needs to hear. That said....Soehn has been guilty of some JCO-itis. He's especially flip-flopped a bunch of youngsters (I think of Wallace and Pontius especially) into different positions and roles that I don't think helps them.

At this point of the season, you make a decision and go with it. Either you play Christian Gomez (which means you play a 3-5-2: you've got to with Christian) or you play a 4-4-2 and you sit Gomez. Those are the options.

Posted by: JoeW1 | September 14, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Soehn is lost and done.

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | September 14, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

" If they are not good enough to contribute during the busiest time of the year, why are they here?"

I like it Goff. I wholeheartedly agree with it.

OWNTF-

". . . and also why is C Gomez on the bench and you're starting Olsen and Wallace as central mids?"

I think the real question is, why does Fred continue to start? I think they could easily make some arrangements with the formations to accommodate Gomez. Gomez has been a true starter pretty much the whole season and during the most important stretch of the season, Soehn benches him for most of the game. This is entirely speculation but I'm guessing Gomez had a "thing" with Soehn. And this is the way Soehn is responding.

Posted by: redskinsux | September 14, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

for most of the game(s). Plural.

Posted by: redskinsux | September 14, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

The first quote was to motivate players, the second to explain the situation to the rest of us. Just like Belichek [sp] didn't tell Bruschi [sp] he was a perfect player till after he'd retired.

And regarding SzeShipHabDiR, the implication is that they're worse than everyone else, dangerously worse . . . think of it.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | September 14, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Goff, I very much appreciate your recent criticisms of players, coaches, and the front office. Thank you .

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | September 14, 2009 1:07 PM

****

ditto, big time, not necessarily because I think the team deserves more critical coverage now than some other times, but because sometimes in the past the coverage has not been as critical as it should be, and I'm glad to see honest hard hitting criticsm where it is deserved. So thanks Steve.

As to now . . . ok, coverage should be pretty critical. Sitting in the stands on Saturday was actually depressing. Soehn should give up on Emilio and Fred, except as subs. Gomez and Moreno should play every game -- for one half each. Olsen should play as much as possible. This season would be a much worse disaster if not for his gritty, knowledgeable play.

So with all this, what's the right formation? Forget Concacaf -- focusing on MLS two weeks from now, and hoping our missing defenders are ready:

Wicks
Namoff - Jakovich - James - Burch
Simms
Olsen - Gomez (Moreno)- Wallace
Quaranta - Pontius

Posted by: regularfan | September 14, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

DCU's front office wants to go for it in every game. In reality, you can't go for it all the time when playing that many games with a roster lacking depth. Soehn is in a catch-22 situation and he is doing his best to keep his job. You have to feel for the guy to an extent.

That being said, a little honesty and less coach speak would be very refreshing and buy him some credibility with the fans. The same is true for the front office.

Posted by: therealfootball | September 14, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

At the game Saturday the first thing that struck me from my view in Barra Brava was the obvious speed advantage Seattle had. It was also painfully obvious that every team in this league knows how to defend Emilio: Put one body on his back and another defender close by cause his first touch is so bad that the off defender will take the ball away before Emilio can respond. Its really, really pathetic to watch this time outrun, outhustled and outthought on the pitch. This combination of players isn't working. Moreno is my hero but he cannot beat anyone. Can't we find a striker who can move! By the way, Seattle fans are obnoxious yuppies. Insufferable!
And thank you Goff for finally telling it straight - Emilio does not add anything to this team. He must go!

Posted by: dcpsycho | September 14, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

This team needs to be blown up in the off season and rebuild up the spine from back top front. It is obvious that Moreno, Emilio and Gomez can no longer play at the speed necessary to compete in this league. Having one of them on the field at a time is okay, but having all three of them on at the same time brings our attack to a snails pace.

I despise Soehn as a head coach, I believe he is in way over is head, but he can't be completely blamed since he simply doesn't have the horses to be competitive in MLS.


Posted by: MBUSA | September 14, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Goff's coverage has been more critical (and rightfully so) in the past few weeks.

Szetela, Shipalane, Habarugira and DiRaimondo haven't played in forever. Why keep them on the roster if you don't think they are good enough?

Posted by: tundey | September 14, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I like Soehn but he has had his chance and he has failed. He inherited a championship team and perennial playoff contender and now we have this...a struggle each and every summer to get even a single good result.

The schedule is, of course, a perfectly reasonable excuse but it is not the only reason. (I also blame MLS schedule makers and whoever decided to cut the reserve league.) But bottom line is that Soehn has to go. Emilio has to go. Gomez has to go. And Moreno needs to either take a big pay cut to play another year or retire this season as one of our legends.

Overall the coach and front office's failure to do anything about the obvious weakness we have up top is reason enough. We should all hold DC United to a higher standard. This simply is not good enough so we will find someone else that can get the job done.

Posted by: AtlantaMLS | September 14, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

It's time for a new coach. His assistant did a good job when he was out with "swine flu symptoms" and Mark has done a fine job with the goalies. I have been coming alot of years and I can't remember when we have had two good goalies at the same time. One thing I question is putting the Academy goalie that we just signed on to be the backup for our next game. He has had no practical experience at all.

When we won the first three trophies we went thru two or three years where our guys got the stuffing knocked out of them and we had a lot of injuries and new people. This sounds like a repeat. I don't want Onafalo either. We know how to defend, it is just going the other way.

On a lighter note, it sure was nice to see LA get the stuffing knocked out of them when we came home from the game.

Who cares if Szetela is any kind of case. If he is able to dress and move, use him. Someone else might get a breather.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | September 14, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

all i said is that you guys need to pressure the FO about the sohen situation, sitting for a game will show them that their most loyal fans arent happy with the situation, i know the supporters groups are there to support the team but you also have to show disconfort to the team so that they can focus on making things better. We are all tired of this situation but who better to show it than you guys!

Posted by: starvingstudent | September 14, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Emilio scores most of his goals off service. Same story since he arrived here. But we don't even try to serve the ball, despite having Wallace and Pontius on the wings, 2 guys with pace and decent foot skills. That's a coaching issue. Soehn must go.

Fred, heck I don't know what's wrong with him. Crack?

Posted by: Matte | September 14, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

If I had to choose, I'd rather see this roster blown up than Soehn fired.

Posted by: Reignking | September 14, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

How about getting Marco in here to coach the team? With Diaz Arce as his assistant and Moreno as the goalkeeper coach.lol the last one was a joke but it is about time for moreno to hang the boots.

Posted by: Norteno4life | September 14, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh and btw, when I spoke to Kevin Payne briefly on Saturday, I directly asked him about Szetela and why he isn't playing. This is roughly what he said, "Danny isn't playing as well as the others". If that's the case, with some of the players that we're starting we're in deep sh*t.

Posted by: redskinsux | September 14, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Goff, is there any chance that maybe you could actually ask Coach Soehn about his contradicting statements?

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 14, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Tommy countdown at 41 days (if DCU falls out of the playoff picture).

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 14, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Fred, heck I don't know what's wrong with him. Crack?

Posted by: Matte | September 14, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse


Has Fred really ever fit in with DC? I don't think he is a bad player, but he has been played out of position from the time he got here, and for whatever reason ($$$), has been allowed to continue even with months of poor showings. His effort is weak at best, and appears to be getting worse by the week. The bummer is that he really might be a good CM, but we will never know since he never gets more than a sporadic half or two to play that spot. I think the best case scenario for DC would be to find a team to trade him to (Colorado usually are suitable rubes) for draft picks in the offseason.

Posted by: VTUnited | September 14, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Why does everyone want ex-players to coach United? Past success on the field is no guarantee of anything (Diego, anyone?)

Can we stop the new coach now bs? We have 4 games left. We have to be behind this team until they are officially out. There's no other choice. I'm sure those that have Soehn on the outs will have their day.

Posted by: delantero | September 14, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Goff. We are paying a coach who can't coach and players who don't contribute or who don't even get the chance to contribute. Soehn must go, but the people who do the recruiting and scouting (yes, I'm talking about you Dave Kasper)need to be replaced with competent and knowledgeable people

Posted by: santi1 | September 14, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

As we all know DC has only relied on Luci upfront. I dont think is Luci's only battle here. In order for a Striker to score he needs midfielders to provide him passes. If you are aware Luci's goals have come on his own struggle and opportunism. We shall call this season LUCI AGAINST THE WORLD.. I believe that in order for a striker to score he should have a good partner upfront. I would also like to mentioned our defense should improve for next year. We need a leader in the central def and a left back role, someone with plenty of experience. Also another central Midfielder and add another forward...

Posted by: ajs101 | September 14, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

My thoughts? This team is underperforming; the coach is overmatched; the front office has made bad personnel decisions;

=======
I agree on the last two points, but as far as the team goes, I think it is performing to exactly its level of skill, athleticism, and drive. DC needs a better coach and it also needs better players. And you know, for all the justified complaints about the attack, the real problem with this team is the defense. DC is tied for the lead with 39 goals scored, but for the second straight year the defense is wallowing at the bottom. Only NY, Dallas, and SJ are worse.

I'd like to see the FO clean house defensively. Jakovich is the only back-line player who should be spared.

Posted by: ashleybone | September 14, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see the FO clean house defensively. Jakovich is the only back-line player who should be spared.

Posted by: ashleybone | September 14, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

NAMOFF????????

Posted by: starvingstudent | September 14, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Namoff hasn't earned a spot? 2 GW headers, not enough?

Posted by: redskinsux | September 14, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"I'd like to see the FO clean house defensively. Jakovich is the only back-line player who should be spared"

I agree, except I would keep Namoff as a sub. He's half way decent even if slow, and if we keep playing 3 games a week the team will need decent subs, not untested rookies.

Posted by: santi1 | September 14, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

It's time for the "FIRE THE COACH" sign. I haven't seen it in years. Probably not since Hudson days. I know somebody still has it. Dust it off & bring it out.

Posted by: dculoyal | September 14, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I agree, except I would keep Namoff as a sub. He's half way decent even if slow, and if we keep playing 3 games a week the team will need decent subs, not untested rookies.

Posted by: santi1

Namoff is a perfectly fine MLS caliber RB, and his contributions to the team are a bargain when compared to some of the $200K+ part timers on the roster.

Posted by: VTUnited | September 14, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Goff is getting critical and suggesting we rip the coach a new one. Is that what this blog has come to? It's funny when the players don't perform and the GM holds on to aging players, it's the coach's fault. Soehn has done as well as anyone in the situation. All things considered, we are right where we should be. Middle of the road team with aging players competing for a playoff spot. Seattle has put us in our place twice now.

2-3 years ago these players were on top of their game. Now they are not. When Tommy or the GM recognize we need to get rid of the old (Gomez, Benny, Moreno) DCUHeads go nuts.

It's never one thing. It's a combination of things: too many games, injuries, aging players, new players not stepping up, GKing woes, and coaching decisions.

Posted by: RicoSuave4 | September 14, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

My thought watching some of the old lions Saturday night . . . wow this reminds me of watching Brianna Scurry trying to play in WPS this year. Thanks for the great yearsm but you gotta recognize when it is time to go. Some of our old guys were too slow to FOUL Montero, much less to actially defend him. He was gone before they could even grab the shirt or sweep the legs. And that was one of my more charitable thoughts, because those old guys were trying hard.

Posted by: OWNTF | September 14, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Holy Crap, Namoff as a sub??? He has been one of the most solid defenders we've had in the past couple of years. He, sadly, is very under rated as a player. With how DC's been playing, he deserved a spot on the All-Star team.

The biggest thing I've noticed the past couple of years is the team is lacking heart. I think Wicks's blowing up is due to the fact that many of the players don't seem to care.

And, seriously, have Moreno as player coach? Bring in "El Diablo" as coach? I can't tell if that's a serious comment or a joke.

Posted by: dogboy | September 14, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

When you're battling back hard against Seattle late in a tied game, creating some decent chances for a winning goal, why oh why (if you have to make substitutes) do you bring on two at the same time? Olsen and Moreno come out for Jacobson and Gomez at 83', and Montero scores at 84'. That's kind of what happens when you blow up the midfield. What kind of coaching decision is that?

Posted by: dccal | September 14, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Simple solution: Fire Soehn. He's almost done and hopefully on his way out if we don't win MLS Cup. Even making the playoffs won't secure his job next year.

Ashelybone, have you not seen Namoff play at all this season? He's done enough to help this team stay in games. Don't complain about something you don't know because you just got Namoffed!!

Posted by: zizou1972 | September 14, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

@dccal - on the play before Olsen was subbed, he had an attempted slide for a shot in the box, and came up quite gimpy. I couldn't see if Jacobsen was already up to go in or not, but it was a necessary move considering Ben had trouble even making it back to the other box. I think it was just another case of unfortunate timing for Soehn and the team.

Posted by: VTUnited | September 14, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Simple Solution #2: Bring in Sasho Cirovski. The man at Maryland is a genius and he builds championship caliber teams not inherits them like someone we know (Soehn)

Posted by: zizou1972 | September 14, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Kind of a rediculous idea, but I think we should re-focus our efforts on the CONCACAF Champions League. If we make the playoffs, then Sohen will retain his job, and in the meantime we will be eliminated in the first round and back with the same problems next season. While the domestic leauge should obviously be the most important priority to any club, the team is not going anywhere even if we do make the playoffs and it will require missing the playoffs to force the kind of changes necessary to "right the ship".

Miss the playoffs, try to make the knock-out stage of the champions leauge and start again next season with some younger, faster players and a coach that might be able to get everyone on the team to play like they give a damn. It's a long shot, but pulling six points off of San Juan Jaboleth or however you spell it might give us a chance in the last two group games. (assuming that Toluca takes care of Marathon twice as well)

Obviously the best outcome would be if we made the playoffs, qualified for the knock-out stage of CONCACAF and still replaced Sohen and some of our underperforming players with people that can help us out in the long run. Assuming that Emilio is gone at the seasons end, we have two DP slots that should be filled if the FO gives a damn anymore.

Again kind of an crazy idea but if we make the playoffs then the FO will go on like nothing is wrong. I'm not happy with simply making the playoffs and we will not win another trophy again until some serious rebuilding is done. In the meantime though I am not going to shy away from coming to games or singing my butt off because I am pissed off with how things have turned out..

Posted by: rademaar | September 14, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

It's really ridiculous to suggest that we should fire Soehn immediately. Technically, we're still in the playoffs if the season finished today. And we still have a good shot at making the playoffs with some pretty good matchups remaining. Replacing our coaches right now would not be smart, and Soehn deserves the chance to finish what he started. The question though is what the team needs to do in order for Soehn to keep his job after the season. For me, just making the playoffs won't cut it. The team needs to make it to the MLS Cup, or at the very least maybe to the Eastern Conference championship.

As for the contradicting comments, Goff might have been a little bit too harsh with his criticism. I think the comment "With players shuttling in and out of the lineup, physical fatigue shouldn't be a big part of it for most regulars" is inaccurate because many regulars (Wicks, Namoff, James, Simms, Quaranta, Emilio) have played 70-90 minutes for the last three or four matches in a row. So its not unreasonable to suggest that fatigue might be a factor. I'm definitely interested to see what Szetela, Shipalane, and Vaughn can do in the CCL match this week. And I think JoeW1 makes a great point when he says that these players haven't had a chance to prove themselves yet because the team hasn't been practicing as much when they play a match every three days.

Slightly off topic but still related to the roster... Let's not forget that Ange N'Silu will be off the DL and eligible as of our next MLS match. The team is going to need to make a a move.

Posted by: DCUMD | September 14, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

@ rademaar - DC shipped that 2nd DP slot back to Colorado in the infamous Christian Gomez credit default swap deal.

Posted by: VTUnited | September 14, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Simple Solution #3: Try to convince Thierry Henry to sign with DC United instead of the NY Scumballs when his contract at Barca ends in 2011. I know this won't help us immediately but it's just wishful thinking :)~

Posted by: zizou1972 | September 14, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"Simple Solution #2: Bring in Sasho Cirovski. The man at Maryland is a genius and he builds championship caliber teams not inherits them like someone we know (Soehn)"
I would love to see Cirovski coaching DCU. Unfortunately it's not going to happen. Not unless he agrees to a 50% salary cut.

Posted by: santi1 | September 14, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Officially in the Tom Soehn may not be the right guy for this job.

However, I'm not even sure who you begin to bring in to replace him.

Tom's best year was with Peter Nowak's roster and produced an almost similar record.

I realize that there have been massive changes to MLS in that time span. We've seen DP's, David Beckham, 3 new clubs, 2 ownership changes, failed stadium resolutions, a great corporate partner, and a swelling number of games played in each year.

The league isn't helping the club by improving pay ranges and roster support, but other clubs are managing to get through these myriad constraints with varying degrees of success.

I think Tommy is a great guy and I will support the club no matter what, but in our effort to improve tradition, we've stayed the course a little too long and held fast to past success instead of being the innovative club that brings something new to the table and uses it's institutional core to move up.

It's also not all of his fault. 30+ year old legs are 30+ year old legs in any league. And asking Jamie Moreno, Ben Olsen, Christian Gomez, etc. to carry DCU farther on 20 extra games a year and increased international travel is a bit much. Maybe our managerial answer lies in Moreno putting on the coat and tie and being joined by Ben Olsen? Perhaps we need Gomez to help the club establish new ways of judging talent in the western hemisphere? And maybe we've really failed to make the most out of Fred and Emilio by moving them before they reached their Sell By date.

Either way, playoffs or no playoffs, the club might benefit from some fresh air and the league and club together may benefit by finding a way to risk growth through calculated investment in players broadly instead of specifically in the DP sense.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | September 14, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm not drinking enough.

Posted by: sitruc | September 14, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

At least you ARE drinking right now. I could go for a Sam Adams or better yet a PaceƱa right now.

Posted by: zizou1972 | September 14, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

From another thread, but more relevant here.

Report from Miami.

Coming back from Key West yesterday transferring through Miami we saw several young men dressed in United gear. We figured they must be heading to San Juan for Tuesday's match. Now, I'm very good at face recognition -- and despite being a Mancosnob I am an avid and loyal DCU fan-- but I will tell you I didn't recognize a soul. Hope that means we are focuing on the league and sending the unknowns to San Juan.

Sorry, 270, there will be no juicy report from the Miami Herald crime report.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | September 14, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | September 14, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Did someone say beer?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 14, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Yup. Cheers to Soehn getting the can or better yet the BOOT!

Posted by: zizou1972 | September 14, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

okay. let me stop ranting about Soehn before I get the BOOT at work! haha

Posted by: zizou1972 | September 14, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Emilio has had plenty of service, he just fails to convert those opportunities. He had 2 very good chances in the Seattle game and he whiffed on them both. He had the ball in a scoring position and he botched it.

I really think it's time for an overhaul of this team. The old, tired legs are killing us. Unfortunately, in professional sports the coach takes the brunt of the punishment and that means Tommy has to go after this season. I honestly don't think we are going to make the playoffs, but I will cheer until my lungs bleed for United.

Posted by: strago | September 14, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

sOEHN IS A bad coach......

Posted by: godpere | September 14, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

WOW Goff, watch your back in the DC locker room, Tommy is going to have it in for you!

Posted by: Springfie1d | September 14, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I would have posted something BaRRD, but I blew out my flip-flop, stepped on a pop-top, and cut my heel had to cruise on back home .

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 14, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

"injuries to Khumalo, N'Silu, Barklage, Burch and Jakovic left fewer options..."

Don't forget Janicki (ducks).

Posted by: Section117 | September 14, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

@ VTUnited- Forgot about that. Oh well, maybe we should sign Usain Bolt as our DP. That would at least solve our speed problems...

Did Colorado even use their slot to sign a DP?

Posted by: rademaar | September 14, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

If Wikipedia is right, Vaughn has played about 48 games in 3 seasons. Now how does that make him fit to start or even play?

Posted by: VirginiaFan | September 14, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

the "I'm officially done watching Emillio moment" for me came when he found himself dribbling free toward Keller from the left, with Olsen and Pontius(?) clearly open on the backdoor and he chose to shoot directly at keller (and a half-hearted shot at that). I was glad to see Pontius show his frustration at the play because it was a selfish move by the poacher, and he deserves to be benched for it.

Posted by: VTUnited | September 14, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Yeah. Emilio needs to go or at least shine the younger lad's boots as an apology.

Posted by: zizou1972 | September 14, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Head-scratchers from this thread:

1) "The team is underperforming"

- no, it isn't. This is a slow, old soccer team playing about as well as its over the hill stars and cheap, warm-body, mediocre younger players can. Which isn't very good.

2) "Olsen should play."

OK, he should play, but not for DC United. Charleston Battery maybe, or Richmond Kickers, or the UNC Women's team, but he is WAY TOO SLOW to do DC United any good. Benny has had a great career for DC United and I applaud him for that, but the injuries have taken their toll, and the sad fact which many of you guys refuse to see is Benny simply can't move anymore. He slows our offense, and he is no better than the rookies defensively. Emilio is Usain Bolt compared to Benny. Sad, but true. Thanks Benny, but its time to hang 'em up. Now.

3. "Fred might be a good CM".

Been there, done that. He wasn't that good when he has been tried in that role out of necessity numerous times. Now, he is just slow, and his skills have vanished. Fred can no longer play no matter where you play him. It happens to soccer players. Happened to Etcheverry. It has happened to Fred.

NEXT!

4. "Fire Soehn."

Well, OK, not much argument from me on this one. But what good will it do to fire him now? WE DON'T HAVE ANY PLAYERS. Let them all finish out this lost cause of a season, and then clean house. But if it has to be one or the other (i.e., players vs. coach), give me some better players. You can't get blood out of a turnip, and Guus Hiddink couldn't get anything more out of this group of has-beens and likely-never-will-be's.

Posted by: Ron16 | September 14, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I've been in the give Soehn the benefit of the doubt camp for a while, largely because I've never believed that he had all the personell he needed. I see that argument a lot above, and I sympathize, but at some point the coach needs to win with the players he's got, and if he doesn't like what he has, he needs to influence the FO. If he can't influence the FO, and he can't win with what he has, at some point he needs to go.

I actually think Soehn has done decently well this year with the talent and schedule he was given. I'm not in the camp that thinks he should have played the same 11 every game for continuity. Our main guys are too old for that.

So is this the time for Tommy to go? I've become ambivalent about it. I'll be sorry if he is shown the door, in that I like him, but I won't be pissed about it like I would have been a year ago when we all were having this same debate.

Whether Soehn goes or not, I agree that the time has come to blow up the roster, get rid of the old guys (except Olsen, who still is teaching the young guys what "work rate" means), and frankly get rid of a lot of the "talent" that, as Goff observed, couldn't even play its way onto this team. I think we have major needs at playmaker and forward. I like Quaranta and Wallace as outside mids, and Pontius up top. I like Simms. I like Namoff and Jakovich. I go back and forth on Burch but really, seeing the chaos without him, I would not make replacing him my highest priority. I like James as a project, because I liked his effort on Saturday, particularly at the end, but he makes too many mistakes to be a regular starter. I like McT as a versatile reserve. I like Boyyz for his speed. I'm ok with Wicks, so GK is not a top priority. Everyone else? Good luck to them.

Posted by: regularfan | September 14, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Technically, we're still in the playoffs if the season finished today.

Posted by: DCUMD | September 14, 2009 2:39 PM |

Well, that's nice condering if the season "ended" today we'd have played more games than other teams, thus been given more opportunities to get more points.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 14, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

It has been past time for a coaching change.

Posted by: ejharrisjr40 | September 14, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Resoponse to two comments:

Wow, Goff is getting critical and suggesting we rip the coach a new one. Is that what this blog has come to? It's funny when the players don't perform and the GM holds on to aging players, it's the coach's fault. Soehn has done as well as anyone in the situation. All things considered, we are right where we should be. Middle of the road team with aging players competing for a playoff spot. Seattle has put us in our place twice now.

Posted by: RicoSuave4


As a member of La Barra Brava, I think your idea that we should display anti-Soehn tifo immediately after saying that we support the team win or lose is contradictory. How is a public message of "Fire Soehn" when the team is in a playoff race in support of the team?

Posted by: DCU_Rick |


Soehn has been coach for three years of mediocrity. One year> Not his fault. Three years? Time for him to go. "Three generations of mediocrity is enough"

As for showing love for the team -- I could love my country and still say last year that the president has to go because he has run the country into the ground. So, it is is the same when Barra Brave and SE are ready to put their passion on the line that way, they WOULD be showing real support for the team.

Posted by: DCUSince96 | September 14, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

@VTUnited: My complaint is two substitutions at the same time. If Olsen had to come off, take him off -- but not Moreno as well! Bring the sub in, let the team adjust. It looked like chaos in the midfield in the short buildup to the Montero goal.

BTW, excellent point on Emilio not laying it off to the wide-open Pontius. Forgivable only if you find the back of the net yourself.

Posted by: dccal | September 14, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe we are having this discussion. Wasn't Soehn at one point working under Peter Nowak BEFORE he came to DC while playing/coaching for one of our main rivals the Chicago Fire?! Soehn is sabotaging us!!! We miss you Peter!

Posted by: zizou1972 | September 14, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Yo Reignking, I noticed you talking about CL fantasy league stuff in a previous thread. Are we starting up a Argy Bargy CL fantasy league somewhere? I've registered a team at ESPN.com. Where are you talking about?

Posted by: DadRyan | September 14, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

@ dccal - I believe the sub for Moreno had already been put in to the 4th official, and Gomez was waiting to enter when Olsen came up lame. Not sure if Soehn could have altered his decision at that point or not. I do agree that the Montero goal was a result of the confusion following the double swap.

Posted by: VTUnited | September 14, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Soehn should be fired immediately. The fact that United is in playoff contention, tenuous though it may be, is irrelevant. Teams in all sports have fired managers/coaches in mid-season or before the playoffs, and had post-season success. Sky Blue FC anyone? Or how about Michigan basketball back in '89?

DC United is a mediocre team, but luckily for them, they are in a mediocre league. Unfortunately, the coach is less than mediocre. His game plans are excessively conservative and timid. He lets his emotions and personal biases cloud player selection. He refuses to update his tactics and has no clue how to make adjustments mid-game. And he gets worse in these tendencies the more the pressure mounts. These last few regular season games are big from a playoff qualification standpoint, which based on past track record, guarantees Soehn will come up small.

If this club is squeeze even an ounce of lemonade out of this year's lemon, he must go. Now.

Posted by: cmjhawk86 | September 14, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Goff,

I like it. Get fired up!

Does anyone else think that Soehn may be the one with the attitude problem? Maybe the players are correct?

Posted by: UniteforDC | September 14, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Soehn clearly is tactically deficient and needs to be replaced. But how responsible is he for personnel decisions like who to sign and who to drop. Was it his decision to bring in last year's failed Latinos? Was it his decision to go this year with aging players in the attack and midfield? Who decided to bring in this year's cluster of bench-warmers? If those decisions were his, he absolutely must go. If those decisions were made higher up, then sacking Soehn won't solve DCU's growing mediocrity. For the team to improve, the front office also needs to go if it made the various personnel decisions. We are verging on becoming the next Metrostars/Red Bull.

Posted by: runningcloud | September 14, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I dunno. I've been a steadfast proponent of allowing Soehn to finish out the season all along, but some of you are starting to convince me. Wouldn't it be a legendary story in MLS history if Olsen or Moreno was to pull a Jason Kreis and retire mid-season and take over as head coach, and then guide DC United back to MLS Cup?

Posted by: DCUMD | September 14, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Yes I agree. Let's give the reigns to our former DCeeeeeeeUuuuuuuuniiiiiiited Goalie Mark Simpson!

Posted by: zizou1972 | September 14, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

John Harkes, now.

Posted by: ddd001 | September 14, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

DCU_rick,

Do your really think United is in the playoff race. I don't.

You need to look at the other teams and the number of games they have in hand. In addition, our form is so awful if by some chance we slipped into the playoffs we would be bounced immediately.

Take a look at the CCL roster if you want a good laugh.

DC United is supposed to be setting THE standard for teams in MLS. Instead we seem to be setting the standard for the PDL.

Posted by: dcufan53 | September 14, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

My thoughts?

Approximately 189 days until United's first 2010 league match.

Posted by: Curious99 | September 14, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Soehn you are a complete moron. You havent done jack crap with this team and we are underperforming at every turn. This is the reason why i didnt renew our season tickets. Because I knew that you absolutely sucked as a coach and would botch the season again.

Posted by: vthokies1 | September 14, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Goff's comments indicate that blood is full on in the water folks and it's about G$DD@#* time. This is a positive sign that change is coming, Payne can do it. Oh yes he can.

Posted by: SoehntheExit | September 14, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

It's really ridiculous to suggest that we should fire Soehn immediately.

Posted by: DCUMD | September 14, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

People were saying the same thing last year at this time and look where the team is 12 months later. Seems to be in about the same condition:

On the edge of not making the playoffs
Complete CCL fiasco
Luckily DCUN didn't qualify for the Super Liga or we would have had to stomach that embarrassment again.

Posted by: SoehntheExit | September 14, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Once again, any discussion of Soehn's dismissal must include a similar consideration of Kasper. He supported hiring Soehn when Nowak hit the road and has supported all of his personnel moves, adding a few of his own. This team was built by the GM and managed by the head coach. Either get rid of the players who have underperformed or clean house at the technical management level. One way or another, big change is the only solution to the mess that this once proud team, an organization whose tradition was built on the sacrifice of those who were part of the team's launch in 1996, has become.

Posted by: lgm6986 | September 14, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Goff should be the next DCU coach!!!!

Posted by: fedster | September 15, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

I also love the idea of bringing in a coach with the view toward building a long-term solution. Cirovski would be worth the investment.

Maybe he can help get us a stadium in College Park, too. Joking here, but we're not going to have a coach to kick around if we don't settle the stadium issue soon.

Posted by: rcdwriting | September 15, 2009 6:10 AM | Report abuse

No, Emilio does not get service. I didn't see the Seattle game, but when he touches the ball it is always with his back to goal. Admittedly, he's terrible at that. He's never going to score that way because he can't create his own shot. He's not Drogba. But when you can get him quality service, from the flank, running at goal, he can score. Our typical attack runs from the flank at about 35 yards, straigt into the top of the 18. Straight into a line of 4 defenders. We try to play one or 2 cute passes. We lose the ball and get countered. We have the personnel to carry the ball to the end line and then serve it. If we made a concerted effort to do that, Emilio, our highest paid forward, would be more effective. Would that solve all our problems? No. All I'm saying is, you gotta at least try to play to the guy's strengths.

Posted by: Matte | September 15, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I greatly appreciate Goff's honesty, but it probably is NOT helping him get team (or coach) inverviews. I think it is painfully obvious that TS has LOST this team. He keeps putting Emilio and Fred out there, and making the rest of us and the team suffer. Let's face it, they are TERRIBLE and should NOT even make the 18 roster. Gomez, Benny and Jaime still have a lot to offer, but they need some "Sparks" around them. Pontius is filling this role and Wallace is working toward that goal. We need at least two or three more forwards who can move, have desire to win and go for goal, not with their back to goal. Having Emilio as our highest paid player is following the GALLARDO line of thinking, " pay them a lot and watch them do nothing" !!!
Good work if you can get it !!

Posted by: patrick18 | September 15, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Matte - since you did not see the Seattle game you don't know this, but a lot of the frustration bubbling over with Emilio is precisely because he did have the ball, running at goal, twice in a ten minute span, both times with looks that are better than one usually gets in this league. His first shot was a pathetic near whiff that dribbled to Keller. The second time was a bit better, but any decent forward has to score on at least one of those chances. And we've seen it before from this guy. Whatever he had, he's lost it.

Posted by: regularfan | September 15, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I cut Soehn some slack for the case of Seattle. Seattle is an exception - a well rested, deep team. I hope after tonight's loss (just sayin'), we'll see a new mentally and physically fit team. We can still make the playoffs.

Posted by: bspence11 | September 15, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

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