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United Rewind

Ten days ago, D.C. United was on the verge of crashing out of the CONCACAF Champions League for the second straight autumn. Now, with a home victory against winless Jabloteh next Wednesday and a Marathon loss to visiting Toluca the next day, DCU would secure passage to next year's quarterfinals. The only way for Toluca not to advance is by losing by at least seven goals in San Pedro Sula and then falling by three goals at home to DCU on Oct. 20. Will the Mexicans bother to play any regulars next week?

Toluca 4-0-0, 12 points
DCU 2-2-0, six
Marathon 2-2-0, six
Jabloteh 0-4-0, zero

Because United and Marathon split the two legs, the next tiebreaker (goal differential in those matches) is implemented. United is atop at plus-one. Even if Emilio hadn't scored in the 71st minute for a three-goal lead, DCU still would've been ahead of Marathon through the third tiebreaker (away goals -- 1-0).

As for Marathon, the exhausting trip here (six-hour bus to Guatemala, four-hour flight delay, flight to Miami, connection to Washington, sleep at 3 a.m. Thursday) was just too much. "We only had 45 minutes in us," the coach said. The team can't get back to Honduras until Monday.

Looking ahead to Jabloteh, Moreno (red), Jakovic (yellows) and John (yellows) are suspended. Burch is close to returning but Namoff's timetable is unclear.

Factoids: The victory margin was United's biggest in 38 official matches this year. The club hadn't scored three goals in a game since a 4-3 loss at Houston on Aug. 1.

Why was Shipalane removed late in the first half? "Offensively, he is a real threat. Defensively, he still has to learn positioning," Soehn said. "I sat him down and I said how happy I was for him. He caused a lot of problems. He is a prospect I look forward to coaching and molding because I think there is a lot there. He's a real coachable kid."

Read my match report with quotes.

Wicks 7; Vaughn 7, Simms 7, James 7, John 7; Shipalane 6, Olsen 7, Wallace 6.5, Quaranta 7; Pontius 6.5, Emilio 7. Subs: Moreno 6, McTavish 6, Jakovic 6.

By Steve Goff  |  September 25, 2009; 12:54 AM ET
Categories:  CONCACAF Champions League , D.C. United  
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Next: Friday Kickaround


How did Moreno get a red card? From the highlights all I saw was a yellow...did the ref accidentally pull out the wrong card?

Posted by: PEddy | September 25, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Moreno got a second yellow/red for, I believe, continuing to argue the call. In between, a Marathon player got served with a yellow, as well -- either for berating the ref or being too confrontational. It's possible the ref dished out yellow to both those guys for confronting each other while the ref was still trying to get the game restarted, but I saw Jaime repeatedly question the ref about the first card. I haven't seen a close up replay, but it still looks to me that Jaime was just trying to bump the guy back with his own rear end and, if anything, the guy ran into Jaime's arm.

Posted by: fischy | September 25, 2009 1:32 AM | Report abuse

Anyway...I agree with the ratings here, kind of. As I wrote in the other thread, I didn't think Shipilane was all that great -- he made some questionable positioning decisions -- and I wasn't totally surprised by the sub. I also think John's rating is too high. He did get the first assist, which was vital, but he blew up some other attacks and I thought he was the weakest link on defense -- I'd knock both of them down a little. I did really like what I saw of Vaughn, though.

I might even bump Olsen up from a 7. Despite an idiotic observation offered in the last thread, this was probably his best game this year. He pressed forward, made himself available --even delivered a brilliant one-touch outside of the foot pass to lead Emilio on the break for the last goal. If John gets a 7, Olsen deserves an 8. Also don't see how you can give out so many 7s, and only give Emilio a 7. Sure, he might have done a little better with his shots in the first half -- but that was his most effective half in a while...until the second half, when he earned the MOTM.

One other quibble -- I'd also flip Quaranta and Pontius. The rookie played his best game in a while -- took some really dangerous shots and the game really opened up for DC when he shifted to the wing. Maybe Marathon was too winded, but I'd give Pontius, Moreno and Emilio some credit for that, too.

Posted by: fischy | September 25, 2009 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Before the typesetter sets the story in print, you might want to change "G?mez" to Gomez...

Posted by: fischy | September 25, 2009 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Moreno deserves a 9 for that sweet goal all by itself. Sweet goal!

Posted by: delantero | September 25, 2009 1:41 AM | Report abuse

"Moreno got a second yellow/red for, I believe, continuing to argue the call. In between, a Marathon player got served with a yellow, as well -- either for berating the ref or being too confrontational."

From my perspective (FSC) it looked like Moreno was immediately apologetic after the foul. He went over to the Marthon player and tried to help him. But then a barrage of Marathon players decided to take it personally and began instigating it like they were going to take matters into their own hands. All this and Moreno still tries to plea his intentions in a peaceful manner to the angry Marathon players. It's really a shame because it shows that if enough players protest and demand something with enough persistence--they can get it.

Posted by: redskinsux | September 25, 2009 1:46 AM | Report abuse

(It's really a shame because it shows that if enough players protest and demand something with enough persistence--they can get it.)

Referring to the ref.

Posted by: redskinsux | September 25, 2009 1:48 AM | Report abuse

Tommy's comments about Shipalane's substitution don't address how Shipalane was furious about being pulled when he was, and (it looked to several people watching at RFK) flipped Tommy off before stomping to the other end of the bench. That doesn't seem like being a "real coachable kid."

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | September 25, 2009 3:15 AM | Report abuse

It'd be nice to see Tommy try to use a similar line-up for the next MLS game. Would be nice to see some continuity from a productive line-up.

Very nice job by the black-and-red. Makes me proud to rock the DC jersey out here playing soccer on the weekends.

Keep up the good work. Who knows, they may save Tom's neck.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 25, 2009 3:22 AM | Report abuse

Gotta agree with Fischy. Partyboy was the engine that drove the team forward, especially in the second half. I'm glad for DC, but I admit I feel bad for Marathon. They've gone thru alot the last few days. Not to get too political on here, but despite our problems in this country, I'd still rather be here in the US than anywhere else.

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | September 25, 2009 3:33 AM | Report abuse

Just curious...if we go with the Marathon coach's reasonable comment that the team had only 45 minutes in it, what would the ratings have been for the first half? I had Shipilane and Pontius as the most dangerous attackers and Emilio doing very poorly.Have we been blinded by the second half, and the delightful outcome, into thinking that DCU was better?
How would we rate,say, Dallas scoring 6 goals @ the Galaxy vs. an entire season's performance? I say that the jury is still out; we'll know more after Sunday vs.SJ

Posted by: bechtoldpk | September 25, 2009 3:55 AM | Report abuse

Christopher: if shipalane really flipped Soehn off (and this is all I have heard of it) that was an insanely stupid thing to do for a marginal player plucked by said coach from the ranks of a usl team into the 'bigs' I mean it's nice to see passion, but it's a short bus ride back to the offseason...

A nice win. But I still think Marathon has the edge in advancing, I don't see Toluca sending starters to Honduras...

Posted by: joshuaostevens | September 25, 2009 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Makes no sense to pull the guy 2 minutes before half-time, Soehn seems to like to make a point to the players. Solid sign that he has a huge ego problem to go along with his masterful management skills.

Posted by: SoehntheExit | September 25, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse


I follow with you and would say it's hard to say. How many times has DC been the team that's really only had 45 minutes in them? I would say we saw that team a lot last fall at RFK.

While they didn't finish the chances in the first half, they did CREATE them. And they played with some heart and energy. I was encouraged because I felt like this was the first match in awhile where United was attacking and being dangerous. I've seen this club over the last two years field too many teams that dominated possession and seemingly had a control on the game and give up a couple of bad goals and lose or draw. Last night, they were the team that braced when they had to and were quick to try to make something positive happen in the attacking third.

While I don't want to read too much into it - it's a good sign. I'll hope that the energy and creativity carry over to the weekend and next Wednesday. The first of our next 4 game stretch was a good result.

I'm now wondering if the FO and Soehn have told Emilio that he may be too expensive to keep unless he improves his output.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | September 25, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Does the rating scale now used by the Soccer Insider range from 6 to 7?

Shipalane, and McTavish don't get 6's. McTavish is a little high, and Shipalane is way high.

Give credit to Emilio for a productive second half, but don't neglect is horrible first half.

Game should have been put away by halftime.

Posted by: kolbkl | September 25, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

This team is just too dramatic this year. Emilio, where the hell did you come from?

Still think changes are needed, but if we make it out of this schedule in two tournaments, I'll be grateful. And thouroughly confused.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | September 25, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Pontius deserves a higher rating - he started numerous plays, including the one that led to the first goal. If Emilio finishes that easy chance in the first half, Pontius gets an assist, too.

Posted by: jsm91 | September 25, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

With the Gamecocks beating an overrated opponent, The Office on, and my new favorite show FlashForward, it was tough to keep an eye on this match. But it was nice to see splashes of creativity from Shipilane and even Emilio.

Soehn's comments on Shipilane remind me of someone playing in Portugal...

Posted by: Reignking | September 25, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

6s and 7s all over? Did United bring a quality product that has been so sorely lacking to RFK last night? I shoulda been there instead of coaching my U14s.

And interesting note regarding Emilio - note how inclusive he was after his second goal. He's long been criticized as being more self-absorbed after scoring a goal (as in not including teammates in the celebrations). This was very different last night....a harbinger of change?

Posted by: 22206no1 | September 25, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Shipalane has great 1v1 skills and needed to get the ball more, which is partly his fault but more the fault of his teammates. Can't wait to see him more for DC.

Finally someone exciting who can actually dribble and take defenders on has been added to the roster.

Hopefully Soehn doesn't turn him into yet another winger who loses his confidence and only passes the ball backwards.

Posted by: GraciasRiquelme | September 25, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse


Let's get real here. We beat a team that was exhausted before it ever got on the field and we're patting ourselves on the back with 6s, 7s and 8s. DC played no different than it has all year (ordinary). We just looked "good" because we were up against patsies.

Posted by: Ruthie1 | September 25, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm hopeful they'll make it out of the group but if we don't it's nice to see the team will go down fighting.

Posted by: DCU-ATL | September 25, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Is there a fanbase in MLS that would be so unhappy with a 3-0 win over a non-Caribbean CONCACAF opponent?

Look, Marathon was not very strong last night (maybe not as weak as Ruthie1 implies, but certainly not at their best). In the past, we've found a way to let teams in that situation have an easy go of it. As VBB points out, last night was different. Throughout the game, our attacking movements came with speed and, most importantly, constant movement. The use of the wings helped spread the field, and it seems that we spent the entire week off focused on off-the-ball play, and it paid off.

Approach it this way: MLS teams are not going to clog the middle with as many men as Marathon did last night, and we still should have had at least one more goal for the volume of good chances we had. If we can attack with that kind of quality movement and without bogging down in the middle, we have the skill to create at least 7 or 8 real chances in MLS games. That's a recipe for success, weak opponent or no.

I'd be curious to hear more about Shipalane's reaction, since I wasn't looking there after he came off. I sometimes wonder if Soehn realizes how demoralizing being hauled off before halftime can be. Maybe as a player he was able to ignore that and deal with it, but most players see it as humiliating. On the other hand, Shipalane will not help himself at all by going nuts. His speed and 1v1 ability could become a big positive for us if he improves his defending and his approach when he's not involved in the play.

As for the officiating, I thought it was good until the last 10 minutes. If you watch the game on FSC, look for the single replay of why Berrios (#19) was booked. He goes in, with his leg locked straight, and hits Wallace's knee with his heel studs. If you asked me how to end someone's career, that would be the first thing I'd say to do. Petrescu was on top of the play, and somehow didn't send him off. It was one of the worst tackles I've seen in a long, long time. From then on, the game got out of hand. Moreno's elbow didn't appear to connect, but in the confusion he got sent off. Perhaps he swore at the ref for the 2nd yellow? There's no way to know, but Moreno should be aware that in CONCACAF you're always a heartbeat away from being sent off in confusing fashion. There was also a late elbow to Quaranta's face that did definitely connect and drew no card whatsoever. Par for the course, I guess, but if Wallace is completely fine then he is the recipient of a minor miracle.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | September 25, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Clearly the Marathon keeper can't go to his right.

So Moreno gets a card called against him for throwing an elbow after the Marathon guy swipes him twice in the back and legs. Sounds about right for MLS/CONCACAF refs.

Posted by: Tweaked | September 25, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

*Moreno deserved red because he took an ultra-cheap elbow shot at the dude's face. Is it yellow because he missed? I don't think so. He connects, and that guy's nose is re-arranged, or worse. And the retaliation against Q should have been booked too.

*Chest was spot on in pre-game predictions about Emilio lighting up the Honduran teams.

*Sullivan was making sense to me last night. Pontius and Q on the wings is "energy plus".

Posted by: OWNTF | September 25, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

My ratings would come out pretty similar to SG's. I might bump Wicks up 7.5 since he came up with a couple quality saves when Marathon did manage to attack. The back four did a good job of shutting down Marathon's attempted counters. James might deserve a 7.5 or 8 for putting Brown in his pocket for the entire game. I guess Marathon didn't get the book on James, because they tried to beat him through athleticism rather than forcing him to make decisions.

Olsen I'd bump to 7.5 for clearly being the best central midfielder from either team. Wallace would drop to a 6 for me. He wasn't poor, but he didn't seem to have the impact to merit more than a 6.

Up front, I think Pontius should get a 7 for his play in midfield in the 2nd half, and Emilio should get a 7.5. A lot of people seem to want to bury him for that early miss, but I think you're completely missing the point. Emilio is all about confidence, and that early miss usually would leave him sulking for the entire game. Instead, he shrugged it off (even the greatest strikers miss sitters sometimes) and continued to be a constant danger. If you look at his other 1st half misses, they're much more forgivable than it seems most believe:

Chance #2: Audacious attempt at a no-look volley to the back post from a corner barely goes over. That would be a wildly difficult thing to pull off, and he nearly did.
Chance #3: Obelar makes a great save from a somewhat tricky angle. Emilio did a pretty good job with that one, and hit it hard, but Obelar made the big play.
Chance #4: This one looked easy at first glance, but with Norales and Beata (I think) sandwiching him, it was going to be very difficult for Emilio to shape his hips for a shot towards the post. If you don't believe me, go try it in your next game. I expect better from Emilio, but this wasn't quite the sitter it looks like at first glance.

Despite all that, he finished with 2 goals and looked quite a bit like the 20 goal Luci of 2007. I guess a lot of this backlash on a guy that scored 2 critical goals for us is the same blinders-on, he's-a-DP-so-he-should-score-8-every-game mentality, but I think that's a bunch of nonsense. He played well all night long, scored twice, worked hard...what more do you want? Judge players on what they did on the night, not what they did a month ago or last year. On the night, the only player who can say he played as well or better would be Olsen.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | September 25, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Moreno was the victim of his own skill. If he had lost the ball at any time while being hacked, play would have stopped. Instead he was baited into both cards. I don't fault the ref for that.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | September 25, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Marathon's coach had plenty of excuses available for a poor 2nd half. His team was sooo tired they could only commit violent, career-threatening tackles toward the end of the game after they fell behind by 3 goals.

The Honduran league games have been postponed this weekend due to the political turmoil - so they had no reason to save themselves for this weekend.

We know Pando Ramirez shoots wildly high shots ONLY after he's been on an 18-hour bus ride where he spent most of the time pushing the bus uphill by himself...

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | September 25, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I was so please to see Olsen's performance tonight and think he deserved an 8 or 9 in the ratings. He showed what hustle and heart he has for the game. He's a true leader on this team, and played as if he was 10 years younger. He was running more than kids half his age, and involved in almost every play. His tackles aren't always the prettiest, but he is always in there fighting and hustling for each play. Really impressive.

Posted by: starrss | September 25, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

@OWNTF - Sullivan was making sense to you? Does that mean you were speaking Spanglish? Did you find the worm in the tequila last night? ;)

On Officiating: In this region, some of the officials aren't as skilled as we would like. However, the way the officials handle some of these delicate late game situations is maddening!

Last night - I watch the official get bumped, have hands put on him, looked like he was about to let chaos ensue without ANY PROTEST. UEFA, the FA, you pick the acronymed-body would have launched a MASSIVE investigation over the reactions of the Marathon players. If the officials want to have respect in their run of the mill calls, they need to handle near disaster scenarios a little better.

Quickly round up the guilty parties, or step off the field during the protest. If anyone gets in the way of that or places a hand on the official - automatic red. You can't let those protests go on like that, on either side.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | September 25, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Please, nothing more about protests! I was up until almost 2 am this morning because of protesters and assorted police outside my hotel. Ugh.

Good to read about the win last night. While I was dodging K9s, pepper spray and slackers with nothing else to do, United was showing some fight. Great stuff.

Posted by: joedoc1 | September 25, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

How much tequila did I drink last night?
It's really anybody's guess.
I poured them so fast,
I couldn't keep them in the glass,
But this morning I sure am a mess.
My head is four or five times its normal size
And i got this big old cactus stuck between my eyes.
I can't recall a single thing I did or said
Or the names of all these people sleeping in this bed.

Tell me how, tell me how, tell me how, tell me how,
Tell me how much tequila did I drink last night?

Posted by: OWNTF | September 25, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

This may be over-reading a fine result, but it looked to me like maybe Soehn has figured out how to turn our fine though slow midfield possession game into a dangerous attack in the final third, where we have been dying all season. Principle No. 1 is not to feed Emilio long square balls at the top of the 18 with his back to the goal. The service was excellent last night. When's the last time you could say that?

Posted by: dccal | September 25, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

"He's a real coachable kid" - is it wink-wink at Danny Szetela, who is "not coachable"? I missed any news on him, btw, anybody can share an update?

I sympathize with Hondurans hardship, but what we to do? Feel sorry for them and not take advantage? On what planet?

I am happy with the result, and most importantly: with guys playing with desire and hunger, and fire in the eyes (useful cliches, right?). If they can stay charged as that, we have a chance to see more good soccer from them.

Posted by: Tolik | September 25, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Pando? I hate that guy from the WCQ we had down there in Guate when he tried to kill half of our players.

Posted by: Reignking | September 25, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what others witnessed, but when Shipalane came off the field I clearly saw Soehn shake his hand and sit him down on the bench for what appeared to be a very encouraging pep talk that ended with a pat on the head. Shipalane seemed fine and Soehn's demeanor was consistent with his quoetes in Goff's story.

Posted by: MountPleasant | September 25, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

regardless of whether shipalane reacted poorly or not after coming off, it's pretty insulting to get taken off 2 minutes before halftime. he wasn't playing so poorly defensively that it warranted that, just make the switch at halftime. soehn has no tact.

Posted by: joe_hill | September 25, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Early release day? Everyone watching the U20?

Posted by: Reignking | September 25, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

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