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Early Saturday Kickaround

*My feature about USA defender Jonathan Spector, who witnessed the scene inside and outside Upton Park last week when West Ham and Millwall supporters mixed it up.

*Paul Tenorio's story about D.C. United's delicate state heading into Saturday night's match at FC Dallas.

*Coverage of Maryland's 2-0 loss to UCLA before a record crowd in College Park. On Sunday evening (7 p.m.) the Terps will host Cal -- which defeated Georgetown, 2-0, on Friday -- and UCLA will visit the Hoyas at 2:30.

*Only four matchdays remain in South American World Cup qualifying. Today's schedule (points in parentheses):
Colombia (17) vs. Ecuador (20) in Medellin
Peru (7) vs. Uruguay (18) in Lima
Paraguay (24) vs. Bolivia (12) in Asuncion
Argentina (22) vs. Brazil (27) in Rosario
Chile (26) vs. Venezuela (17) in Santiago

*Key Euro matches:
Hungary vs. Sweden
Denmark vs. Portugal
Switzerland vs. Greece
Poland vs. Northern Ireland
Slovakia vs. Czech Republic
Spain vs. Belgium
France vs. Romania
Take a look at the group standings.

*In Africa, Ghana and Ivory Coast are on the verge of clinching World Cup berths.

Kansas City at New England, 7:30 (Direct Kick)
D.C. United at Dallas, 8 (Comcast SportsNet/DC, Direct Kick)
Toronto at Colorado, 10 (Fox Soccer Channel)

*Today's complete TV schedule.

By Steve Goff  |  September 5, 2009; 6:14 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , College Soccer , D.C. United , MLS , TV , U.S. men's national team  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: USA News & Notes
Next: WCQ Matchnight: USA-El Salvador


"The front office dealt with goalkeeper Josh Wicks, whose meltdown on the field -- his second in as many games"

--Paul Tenorio


Great work in the last few days. By reading many blogs in the last few days, I think it has become a general view that Josh Wicks indeed had "two meltdowns".

I respectfully disagree; the Sounders game was more intentional and deliberate, dirty. the Chicago game was more of Josh trying to take a leadership role and trying to pump the team up in the last final minutes of a VERY important game.
Two different incidents which unfortunately look the same to a casual observer.

I've made it clear to all the nay-sayers of United's playoff hopes, that it's not over and believe we will actually make a run in the postseason. Here's my take on why I think D.C. will make the playoffs.

1.) The 4-4-2 works. This was blissfully demonstrated against Chicago. Here's who should start the games for the rest of the season:

Pontius - Emilio*/Khumalo

Gomez - Simms - Olsen - Quaranta

Burch - McTavish - Namoff - James


Usable Subs: 1. Jacobson, 2. Wallace, 3. Habarugira, 4. Moreno and 5. Emilio* (if and when Khumalo is healthy), These guys should be the strongest candidates for subs. Keep Fred on the bench. Emilio could prove to be a good substitution.

My top 3 picks for subs: Jacobson + Moreno + Emilio

Wallace and Habarugira will come in handy if a starting player is injured or suspended for yellow card accumulation.

2.) D.C.'s veteran leadership is the best in the league. Moreno, Olsen and Gomez--They all play with tremendous heart and have proved themselves in this league.

3.) Of the seven remaining league games, 5 are at home. This will be the x-factor that will boost United in the playoffs. As Seattle Sounder's fans admit, The Barra Brava sets the benchmark as best supporter group in the league.

I am counting on Quaranta's comments to make a positive difference. If Soehn would just be receptive to his players being noticeably frustrated with the 3-5-2 formation! I think this is (among other things) what lead to the Quaranta outburst and perhaps even the Jakovic injury? (Very coincidental timing for Jakovic to get it right after the Open Cup loss and before the crucial final stretch).

Anybody else agree or disagree with the formation?

Who is your starting 11? Who are your go-to subs?

Posted by: redskinsux | September 5, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

I forgot to mention Namoff as another proven veteran leader on this tem.
Sorry Namoff! (if you are reading this ;)

Posted by: redskinsux | September 5, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

My starting 11 does not include Gomez, Emilio, Moreno, or Burch. The first three are old and slow, and Burch is young and slow. Slow = losses in MLS. I wouldn't put Fred back in the lineup for the rest of the season. So my starting 11 are: Kocic, James and McTavish as central defenders, Wallace and Namoff at left and right back respectively, Simms and Jacobson as central mids, Olsen and Szetela out wide, Pontius and Tino up top.

Posted by: dcarmy | September 5, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

@redskinsux I agree with you on a lot of points. Fred should not be a regular starter anymore, although he might be able to contribute off the bench in the 70th by running at tired opponents. And I agree that Pontius-Emilio should be our default starters at forward.

But here's where I disagree:
1. Your backline is kind of mixed up. Neither Namoff or McTavish has played CB for us all year. I wouldn't mind seeing McT get a chance in the middle until Jakovic returns, but I think we're more likely to see John-Burch-James-Namoff for the next 3 weeks, and then Burch-Jakovic-James-Namoff after that.

2. Do you mean for Gomez to play on the wing in midfield? He would be way too much of a defensive liability there. And I'm starting to lose a bit of faith in Olsen as a regular starter too. How about a diamond of Wallace-Gomez-Simms-Quaranta

I also think people are discounting the fact that we've got 5 home games remaining. We're still undefeated at home in MLS this year! Also, RSL and NE have very tough remaining schedules. We definitely have a good shot at finishing 7th or 8th.

Today I'm rooting for a DCU victory and a Toronto/Colorado tie!

Posted by: DCUMD | September 5, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Vamos United!
Wish me luck replacing my kitchen sink faucet!

Posted by: DadRyan | September 5, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

If the coaching staff fails to see the advantages of the 4-4-2 and uses a 3-5-2 today, it is my hope they are not on the sideline for Wednesday's game.

Posted by: carnack | September 5, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see the Terps lose...

Posted by: Reignking | September 5, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

FWIW: Soccer Hall of Fame in New York is closing its doors.

Posted by: Becks_for_prez | September 5, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Not sure where some of you guys are coming up with starting line ups.

Before his injury, Khumalo failed to show anything that merited a starting spot. He only played paltry minutes in USOC matches anyways.

If not Burch at LB, that likely means Avery John . . who is a big hack and worse than Burch.

I would like to see McT and James at CB, but if he goes for a 4-4-2, Soehn is likely to revert to Janicki and James.

God help us if he goes for a 3-5-2 without Jakovic.

I still don't understand why McT has been relegated to the bench. He's played CB for us before and did well enough.

Posted by: delantero | September 5, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I still don't understand why McT has been relegated to the bench. He's played CB for us before and did well enough.

Posted by: delantero | September 5, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Coaches decision.

Posted by: spikeman | September 5, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I think Soehn may put out a 3-5-2 on the pitch tonight to demonstrate that he's in charge and knows better than we do. That would include Wicks (no disciplinary action for Wednesday), McT, Namoff, Burch in the back, Gomez, Olsen and Simms as center mids, Pontius and Fred on the wings (Tino goes to the sideline for his "rebellion"), Moreno and Emilio up top. I've seen Dallas play a couple of times in the post Cooper era. They repeatedly use the route one express to Cunningham, which will eventually wear down our three in the back. I hope I'm wrong, but Soehn is Soehn.

Posted by: dcarmy | September 5, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Great atmosphere at the MD game last night. We had an unfortunate result but the effort was there. We should have def been up 2-0 oe even 3-0 at the half which would have changed the complexion of the game. I was not really impressed by UCLA and was glad to see the supporters came out. Hope the energy remains there all season. VAMOS TERPS!!

Posted by: terptilldeath | September 5, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Hungry-Sweden and Denmark-Portugal, if the home teams win then Portugal and Sweden are as good as done.

Posted by: RedDevil1 | September 5, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Enjoyed the feature on Spector.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 5, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Re: McTavish. Soehn has lost confidence in him as a central defender after his shocker in Guadalajara in 2007. Soehn never forgets bad performances and forever holds grudges. That's why DCU no longer has Carroll, Perkins, and Boswell, to name a few.

Posted by: lgm6986 | September 5, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Dcarmy: with respect, you say speed is what's important and then have Benny in a speed role? Does not compute.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | September 5, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I think Soehn continues to play the 3-5-2 because he wants Benny in there for leadership, but with his health he is tough to put on right mid. I think this is what he should do tonight:


After we have a 2 goal lead, drop in Simms for Olsen and Moreno for Gomez to hold the ball.

Posted by: perrii | September 5, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse


After we have a 2 goal lead"

I like your optimism, but Olsen hasn't impressed with his play either centrally or out wide. Not questioning his effort, but his touch has been hard to find. Like Moreno, I fear he's becoming a 20-30 minute player.

Posted by: delantero | September 5, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Delantero - I hear what you're saying, which is hard to admit as a huge Olsen fan...however, there is much more grit and determination when he is on the field, even if his individual touch is off. He was also our closest chance in the Open Cup before all the madness started. I think his craftiness is going to pay off - if not in league play, he is crucial to CCL, I think.

Posted by: perrii | September 5, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I pretty much refuse to pay attention to MLS on intl fixture dates. Especially one with so many big matches. I'd add Cyprus-Ireland to the list of big matches. Big road game for the boys in green (with Italy coming to Croke Park next).

What a great shame it is that all soccer fans in America don't have easy access to Argentina-Brazil alongside US-ES.

Posted by: Kev29 | September 5, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Anyone notice that DCU NEVER attacks down the sideline? Few overlaps, no runs to the corner flags. We are totally predictable; we always attack in the middle and never spread the defense. The league has us pegged.
I am aware we don't have much speed... but Khumalo or Wallace could do it...or Santino if he was coached properly.
That, and the 4-4-2 lineup might get us through, although it is very late for a coaching revelation and management needs to get us a couple of new international caliber players. Our top guns are aging.
There is still a glimmer for this year.

Posted by: lemovs1 | September 5, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Goff/Tenorio: Please tell us a bit about Jon Brand. Will we be seeing more of his reporting in coming weeks?

Posted by: universityandpark | September 5, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Doubleheader at GMU later today:

The Sunday matchup with Cal at Ludwig looks like a doozy, too. Are people planning to see that?

I've made the pilgrimage to Oneonta twice. I would normally say that I highly recommend it, but under the circs that would be pointless. I hope they straighten things out.

UNC women blow out Notre Dame, allegedly the second-best team in the nation, 6-nil.

I don't know whether anyone has previously posted a link to this Steinbog piece:

Posted by: universityandpark | September 5, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Help, i know its a wierd place to ask, but could someone with some compassion call (703) 216-0883 and ask jennifer that her husband needs her ASAP. i am without a phone and without a car please anyone i would really appreciate that.

Posted by: Norteno4life | September 5, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Got you Norteno2life. Just spoke to her. Delivered the msg.

Posted by: redskinsux | September 5, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse


I sent you an email back, if NAU has you on one of the new gmail accounts, check your spam folder, that's where yours was.

Posted by: Josh8 | September 5, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse


In my mind, there are certain spots that should be easy picks for Soehn. The back four should be, right to left, Namoff, Jakovic, James, and Burch. That's simple; if these 4 are available, they must start. In the midfield, I want to see Quaranta on the right, Simms at defensive midfield, and Wallace on the left. The other central role will be taken by Gomez or Olsen, depending on the opponent and whether we're home or away. Gomez may not defend much, but if the other 3 midfielders with him are Tino, Wallace, and Simms, we should be alright. Up top, we need to start Pontius so we have some speed and athleticism up front. Here's where we can get away with a rotation, with Moreno, Emilio, and Gomez all cycling in and out depending on how they're feeling, their form, and our opponent.

As for what subs I'd use, it's hard to limit yourself. I can say I wouldn't use Janicki unless he proved in practice that he had regained his ability to make proper decisions. I would also tend to not use John, unless Wallace was needed in midfield and Burch was out. Even then, I might lean towards Habarugira instead.


I hope, amongst your tools, you have the most vital home repair tool of all: a 6 pack of something good.


That's not at all how I remember the departures of Carroll and Perkins. We switched to 442, and Carroll is not very good playing as the sole defensive midfielder. It forces him to be more physical than is in his nature. Simms had taken his starting job, and it would have been foolish to protect Carroll at the expense of someone else in the expansion draft. No one forced him out due to some bad game.

Perkins, similarly, did not get chased away by Soehn. Valerenga made an offer. DCU accepted it and made a nice bit of money for a guy that cost us nothing to sign.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | September 5, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

If the wire reports are correct, Kakha Kaladze has scored TWO own goals for Georgia - they trail Italy at home, 2-nil.

Posted by: Kev29 | September 5, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

If the wire reports are correct, Kakha Kaladze has scored TWO own goals for Georgia - they trail Italy at home, 2-nil.

Posted by: Kev29 | September 5, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he is so used to playing with all the Italian players that he's forgoten which side he's on.

Posted by: spikeman | September 5, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse


That's what I'd run with tonight. I don't think Benny will be fit to start again so soon, sure we'll see Gomez or Fred for Jaime at some point, and if we're chasing a goal, swap Jacobsen for Emilio.

Posted by: alecw81 | September 5, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Good spot in NoVa to simultaneously watch US and Brazil games? Thinking maybe Summers, they're charging $20 per person at the door b/c Brazil is PPV (ouch). Maybe Babylon or Velocity Five? Any thoughts on a bar that would actually facilitate a good viewing experience???

Posted by: speculation | September 5, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Good job on the Spector piece. But, it's deep-seated, not deep-seeded.

Posted by: Lucius2 | September 5, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

dcarmy "I think Soehn may put out a 3-5-2 on the pitch tonight to demonstrate that he's in charge and knows better than we do. "
Although I expect 4 in the back, with James available. And even if Soehn plays 3, he is still the only professional coach in the area so probably does know more than most bloggers. I'm just sayin'.

Also, Perkins wasn't ever forced out of town, DC allowed him to sign with the new club b/c it was a great option for Perkins. It was not a great option for DC United, as it left us with no viable GK. We are paying for that now I believe.

Anyways, I'm excited to watch DC get back on track tonight in Dallas - a win tonight, followed by 5 home games where we're unbeaten in MLS play.

Posted by: sevnshvn | September 5, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

From Goff on twitter:

"Several Salvadoran players robbed at team hotel in Provo -- very upset, sure to affect them tonight. #usmnt
18 minutes ago from web"

"unofficial...not in uniform for usa tonite: casey, onyewu, findley, demerit, goodson, clark. i also hear no ching in starting lineup #usmnt
29 minutes ago from web"

Posted by: spikeman | September 5, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

thanks redskinsucks. you really saved my day..

Posted by: Norteno4life | September 6, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

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