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United Rewind

This was supposed to be the easy one for D.C. United: Defeat last-place San Jose, which hadn't won on the road since June 2008, and then take two of the final three matches to clinch an MLS playoff berth.

So much for that plan.

Santino Quaranta: "It's devastating, this loss. From here, it's tough to get over this one."

Tom Soehn: "I've got to go back and evaluate whether I had the right blend of guys on the field."

At the final whistle, "Fire Soehn!" chants and a chorus of booing.

Josh Wicks will have an MRI exam Monday to determine the severity of his dislocated shoulder. Rodney Wallace is on yellow card suspension next Saturday vs. Chivas USA. Still no indication when, or if, Bryan Namoff will return this season. After two goals against Marathon, Luciano Emilio regressed.

United earned one of a potential six points against the Quakes. In July, DCU blew an early two-goal lead in Santa Clara and settled for a 2-2 tie.

Read my match report with quotes.

Watch the video highlights.

PLAYER RATINGS
Wicks 5; Vaughn 4.5, Simms 4, James 5, Burch 3.5; Quaranta 4, Olsen 4, Wallace 4, Pontius 4.5; Moreno 6, Emilio 3. Subs: Kocic 4, Gomez 5, Khumalo 5.5.

By Steve Goff  |  September 27, 2009; 9:30 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Comments

Good teams take the points they're supposed to take. Giving away points to San Jose is really depressing b/c the Quakes are not a good team, not even close to it. At home, must win, coming off a big win, rested--and still can't get it done.

Posted by: JoeW1 | September 27, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

The team just looked listless. Lots of jogging, not much movement off the ball, sloppy passes. I don't remember United looking as good as they thought in the first half. I remember thinking "they get paid to do this, but no one seems interested."

Is that coaching, the lack of motivation? The lack of creativity? I'm not giving up yet, but it feels like the team already has.

Posted by: eadc | September 27, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

I remember that game in San Jose

It was the one Joedoc got arrested at for taking the ball and running.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | September 27, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Ever wonder who JMSea76 is on Madden online or PopsTSo2007 is on FIFA online well after today's games I think I know who I beat last week..

also I heard Moreno said this might be his last year. He said he cant keep up anymore. It was an in-game interview before or during the match with the Telefutura broadcast.

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | September 27, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

who was in goal for San Jose? You cant get more than one goal past that guy??

And the quote from Soehn is priceless.

The Barra got it right. I hope the Eagles and La Norte join in (if they havent already).

Posted by: FatSickBoot | September 27, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

man i miss the 2004-07 seasons, we had quality players and our bench was quality too, we had great depth. We always gave it our all every game, but now we aren't clicking as a team. I have nothing against these players but some of the players on the team don't deserve to be here and they've shown that, but I don't blame them. I blame soehn, man I miss Nowak...

Posted by: DCU11 | September 27, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with the rating of 4 for Quaranta. I thought he played extremely well the first half and served up some precise crosses that Emilio missed. I would give him at 6 especially for his effort and hustle.

Posted by: SoccerGuru | September 27, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Fire Soehn......how much longer can a proud club like united put up with this bufoon. He has destroyed the traidtion of our club, and any sense of pride in the players. GET HIM OUT NOW!!!!

Posted by: vthokies1 | September 27, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Emilio is absolutely killing us. Just killing us. Sure, two goals against Marathon, but the second was a gimme, and he squandered numerous other chances. We need to set realistic expectations for our strikers: if you're given eight good chances and convert two of them into goals, you do not deserve a pat on the head. You deserve a ticket out of town.

I also think Quaranta is no longer in the form he was at the beginning of the season. Good effort, good hustle, but too many giveaways on long-balls.

Posted by: jsm91 | September 27, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Dear Will Chang:
Please make this the year that the ownership finally holds the senior management responsible for the player decisions they make. This isn't just a Tom Soehn problem.
Our best week recently was the week we didn't play.

Posted by: dsheon1 | September 27, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

I dont know what people are talking about - but Quaranta played terrible. jsm got it right stating he is no longer in form. To many switch positions on the field going on between Pontius and Quaranta.

Posted by: ManOfLaMancha | September 27, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Just got home from post-game festivities (obviously not related to DCU's performance). I simply don't have the words at this point. That was VERY disheartening.

Posted by: KireDCU | September 27, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

I've been a season ticket holder for 13 years and the disgust in the stands on United's play was palpable. I was not surprised by the booing at the end of the game. I can't remember that ever happening before at such a level.

This is a team that doesn't deserve to make the playoffs. There are too many overpaid non performers on this team. The team needs a major makeover for next season.

Posted by: dcufan53 | September 27, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

My hopes in the next 4 months:

1)Fire Soehn
2)Hire Jaime/Olsen as interim player/coaches.
3)Qualify for next round of Champs League.
4)Steal Paul Mariner or someone equally as potentially by and far a better fit than Tommy the Pinhead.
5)Protect:Pontius, Quaranta, Simms, McTavish, James, Jakovich, Namoff, Vaughn, Burch, Olsen, Wicks?
6)Convince Charleston DCU is worthy of being invited back for the Challenge Cup along with Philly and Toronto.
7)Plan road trip back to Charleston.

Posted by: DadRyan | September 28, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Who are your candidates for permanent head coach? Fischy, Dad, Chest, Delantero, DCUMD? (Assuming you're still alive ;)

Posted by: redskinsux | September 28, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Tino was too harshly graded here, but the one rating that I take great issue with is the 4.5 for Pontius. Yes, he missed header that he should have put away, but he was the guy who made the offense go today -- the best game he has played in months...perhaps his best this year. For the first time since his good early-season run, I saw a future star there.

Wicks probably deserved better than a 5, too -- as he made some good saves. I'm also really unclear about Khumalo might have done to get a 5.5. He was lost out there.

The good news is that DCU might end up with one of the first 6 picks in the SuperDraft. Right now, I'm looking forward to seeing who the team picks up in the offseason.

Posted by: fischy | September 28, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse

I've never been a "fire Soehn" fanatic, but the time has come. He doesn't suck. He is, however, thoroughly mediocre. We need better than this. The players are frequently confused and disorganized, there is no consistency from week to week, and he never manages to get this team to be more than the sum of its parts.

Still hoping RBNY fails to understand what they have in Richie Williams, and we can grab him. He belongs back here in black and red.

Posted by: bselig | September 28, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: DadRyan

5)Protect:Pontius, Quaranta, Simms, McTavish, James, Jakovich, Namoff, Vaughn, Burch, Olsen, Wicks?

Burch!!!! Burch!!! your not a real fan!!

Posted by: Ivanovich84 | September 28, 2009 2:06 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: DadRyan

5)Protect:Pontius, Quaranta, Simms, McTavish, James, Jakovich, Namoff, Vaughn, Burch, Olsen, Wicks?

Burch!!!! Burch!!! your not a real fan!!

Posted by: Ivanovich84 | September 28, 2009 2:06 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: DadRyan

5)Protect:Pontius, Quaranta, Simms, McTavish, James, Jakovich, Namoff, Vaughn, Burch, Olsen, Wicks?

Burch!!!! Burch!!! your not a real fan!!

Posted by: Ivanovich84 | September 28, 2009 2:06 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: DadRyan

5)Protect:Pontius, Quaranta, Simms, McTavish, James, Jakovich, Namoff, Vaughn, Burch, Olsen, Wicks?

Burch!!!! Burch!!! your not a real fan!!

Posted by: Ivanovich84 | September 28, 2009 2:06 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: DadRyan

5)Protect:Pontius, Quaranta, Simms, McTavish, James, Jakovich, Namoff, Vaughn, Burch, Olsen, Wicks?

Burch!!!! Burch!!! your not a real fan!!

Posted by: Ivanovich84 | September 28, 2009 2:06 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: DadRyan

5)Protect:Pontius, Quaranta, Simms, McTavish, James, Jakovich, Namoff, Vaughn, Burch, Olsen, Wicks?

Burch!!!! Burch!!! your not a real fan!!

Posted by: Ivanovich84 | September 28, 2009 2:06 AM | Report abuse

re: "Is that coaching, the lack of motivation? The lack of creativity? I'm not giving up yet, but it feels like the team already has.

Posted by: eadc | September 27, 2009 9:46 PM "

It's lack of ABILITY on the part of the players. Our key players are too old and too slow. Our young players by and large aren't that good. The ones who are OK are never going to take the league by storm.

The time probably has come to let Soehn go, but as I have said before Guus Hiddink would not have gotten much more out of this worn-out team of has-beens.

I can understand the sentiments of those who want to clean house in the front office, but remember, Payne is part owner of the team, and also remember that Chang said he was going to be hands-on in terms of the day-to-day decisions of the front office. For example, Chang, by his own admission, was key in re-signing a fast-fading Christian Gomez, a player who couldn't even get off the bench for Colorado, and who had really not much of an impact here. So those of you who want to clean house in the front office would do well to confront the question of whether we have the soccer version of Dan Snyder on our hands, and what should be done about that.

Posted by: Ron16 | September 28, 2009 6:43 AM | Report abuse

"I've got to go back and evaluate whether I had the right blend of guys on the field."

Does Soehn think we take him serious when makes statements like this? The moron should have stuck with the lineup he played against Marathon. He has not stuck to the same lineup on consecutive weeks all season no matter if the team won, lossed, or tied. I do not understand why Jakovic did not play. I do not understand why you would expect Burch who had not played in weeks to go the full 90. I do not understand why you would expect Benny to go 90 in consecutive games that were only 3 days apart. He is a real moron! I think if the GK situation had been cleared up, we had a decent striker (Emelio has fallen off), and a replacement for that moron Burch we would be in good shape at this point. I think Burch alone has cost us at least 9-12 points because he does not know how to defend in the air, has no speed, and cannot pass the ball. He should have scored off of a set piece in the first half, but after all these years of playing soccer he still hasn't figured out how to put any bend on his shots. It's all power.

Posted by: no_recess | September 28, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Every good striker, besides doing it himself, has a setup man in the midfield. I say you got your problem right there. Tino and Party Boy tread water unless pressed to play. Tino in particular. We have a central mid in Wallace who passes side to side or to the backfield. Benny is too focused on going forward himself to pass to anyone. Your midfield is your problem. We have John DiRiamondo, Andrew Jacobson, Danny Szetela, Ely Allen, and Devon McTavish who languish on the bench or are not even dressed. I could be wrong, they could be hiding alot more guys back in the locker room that we don't know about. Christian Gomez very rarely gets on the field. By the time he does, the rest are wore out. I would really like to know just how many we have that have pissed off coach. I would like to have Richie Williams for coach. I also think his name needs to be put up with Marco's at the far end of the stadium. Maybe when the Fire has to sell everyone to keep Blanco, we can reinvent ourselves. We have good guys out there. We have had three years of a million guys in and out. It should stop this year. Just get rid of coach. Oh, we finally got decent goalies and I hope we protect both.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | September 28, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Soehn should evaluate Lawson Vaughn back off the field. The guy hasn't played an MLS match since 2008. Why take the chance of giving him his first start in a MUST WIN match? Why not the reliable Devon McTavish? McT may not be a superstar, but at least you know what you get when you play him.

Soehn will be fired if we don't make the playoffs. You can guarantee that. I don't quite see the hatred for Dave Kasper though. Kasper's moves this offseason brought us Pontius, Wallace, Jakovic, and Wicks. Can't completely rebuild a team in one year.

@redskinsux My phone aint' ringing. Hopefully Coach Rockwell will offer me an assistant position next year. Joedoc for head trainer!

Posted by: DCUMD | September 28, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

"I've got to go back and evaluate whether I had the right blend of guys on the field."

An intelligent comment after the first match of the season. But three matches from the end? This is all you need to know to understand why we need a coaching change.

Posted by: congguy | September 28, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

How did Vaughn earn a 4.5? He was absolutely dreadful. I'm hoping we've seen the last of him -- bring back McTavish until Namoff is ready to play.

I love Quaranta, but he did look listless in the second half. He seemed to give up on that game early -- thoroughly depressed by the 60th minute.

And Emilio? Sure he looked like his old self against the Hondurans. But every MLS team has him figured out -- he has been neutralized. He needs to move on to another league.

Overall a depressing match. I made a last-minute decision to go to RFK for this one -- should have saved my money and taken my kid to the park instead.

Posted by: -rke- | September 28, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

To the one who said he missed Nowak: Don't miss Piotr; the demise started with him and Soehn the Brownshirt just kept it going. The guys gave up on the little fascist with his relentless training and pedal-to-the-floor approach. They sparked a little at first under Soehn, but then the team was ruined by personnel decisions made by Kasper with substantial input from Soehn (Boswell, Perkins, Carroll gone; Gallardo, Paralta, Martinez, Donnet, Wells, etc.) The ones you should miss are Nelsen and Stewart; they made this group a team. Nelsen would have stayed if Kasper recommended giving him money similar to that which went to Fred, Moreno, Olsen, or Emilio before they made him a DP. Stewart, nothing could have been done about; he was going to retire after 2004. But those are the ones to be missed.

Posted by: lgm6986 | September 28, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Who'll win the sack race? Soehn? Zorn? Friedgen? Whoever does, it will be a deserved victory -- for the fans of his team.

Why doesn't Pontius start up front? Wasn't that where he was scoring from early in the season?

Why is James rated so high? It was his dumb foul that led to SJ's free-kick goal.

Posted by: runningcloud | September 28, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

@lgm6986 Not really fair for you to mention Gallardo, Peralta, Martinez, Donnet, and Wells without also mentioning Jakovic, Pontius, Wallace, and Wicks. Our personnel department had a terrible 2008, but they've had a very good 2009. And all those 5 players you mentioned were only here one season before we got rid of them. Meanwhile, the 4 players we acquired in 2009 will hopefully be here for a long time.

Posted by: DCUMD | September 28, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"I've got to go back and evaluate whether I had the right blend of guys on the field."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!

Should be the last thing he officially states as the coach of DCU, says it all.


Where's all that crow boyzzz?

Posted by: SoehntheExit | September 28, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Didn't Soehn and co watch the two SJ-Colorado matches? SJ is playing pretty good soccer; sounds like players and coach just underestimated SJ; which is stupid in this league.

Posted by: hacksaw | September 28, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Also, I hope it wasn't lost on anyone the first career win by Andrew Weber, another player judged by the crack DCU personnel professionals to be unworthy. But Zack Wells/Dean Moriorty was OK, so was wingnut Wicks, Carvallo, etc.

Posted by: lgm6986 | September 28, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

This was truly disappointing. I think the Quaranta rating was a bit harsh as was the Pontius rating. Agree with Fischy that Pontius was the only guy out there making the offense move forward.

The team was listless as was San Jose. You'd think that with the rest that they've had over the past couple of weeks and the importance of the game that we would have seen more spark.

Soehn should have been replaced a long time ago.

Posted by: Beckster1 | September 28, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

The worst thing about this game was that, in the first half, we showed how this game should have played out over 90 minutes. DC monopolizes possession, and SJ's chances come from a long shot and an offsides play (side note: I think people missed what the linesman was calling. The player offside wasn't Johnson, it was Leitch, who from my view had gone off before coming back on to receive the pass to set up his cross. Toledo gave the appearance that the offense was on Johnson by taking forever to notice and blow his whistle).

With the score only 1-0, you could be sure that Yallop would combine 2 messages at halftime. The first was that the effort so far was unacceptable, and the second was that the players needed to remember that it's still only 1-0, which means the game is still right there to be taken. SJ has many flaws, but the players have not given up on Yallop, so an improvement after halftime seemed inevitable. Somehow, this message didn't make it to our locker room, and we basically went out for a nice jog and to wait for full time. We did wake up after going down 2-1 to throw the kitchen sink at SJ, but the resulting siege looked an awful lot like last year's season finale in Columbus (a bad omen, in my moderately superstitious opinion).

The bottom line here is that this was an unacceptable loss no matter how the game went. We had to find a way to win this game, even if Toledo sent off one of our players at the opening kickoff. To lose in this fashion (utterly dominant 1st half, and giving away a lead) is that much more galling.

Three games into a five game homestand that will absolutely define our season, and this is what we've come up with:

1. A 1-0 win over a Kansas City team that were better than us in every category other than finishing. The Wizards could have scored 5.
2. A 2-1 loss to the most irritating team in the league. Here, we had taken control of the game only to give up a sucker punch goal to Montero.
3. A 2-1 loss to, by far, the weakest team left on our schedule.

Finally, possibly the most bothersome thing is the inconsistency. We faced a Marathon team that looked like easy pickings, and we still had the right mentality to produce a professional performance and get the 3-0 victory that met reasonable expectations. Yesterday, we did the same against SJ, only to take the 2nd half off. Did we learn nothing from the game against Marathon?

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | September 28, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

It's the coaching staff's job to get the team to play at the highest possible leve for a full 90 minutes. If the players thinks it has the game won at halftime and feels it can reduce its effort level over the second 45, then it is the fault of the entire technical staff, not just the head coach and they all should be held to account. Soehn is just part of the virus that has infected the organization. He is Kasper's selection and Simpson and Ashton are his. They all are equally culpable for ruining the flagship team of MLS, just as Rongen and Hudson were earlier this decade.

Posted by: lgm6986 | September 28, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Comment to lgm6986

"The ones you should miss are Nelsen and Stewart; they made this group a team. Nelsen would have stayed if Kasper recommended giving him money similar to that which went to Fred, Moreno, Olsen, or Emilio before they made him a DP. "

Posted by: lgm6986

As much as I would love to have it differently, there is absolutely no way that Nelsen was staying with DCU beyond another year after 04. The man is captain at BlackBurn...(and consistently viewed as one of the most underrated defenders in the Premier League).

Posted by: jnel | September 28, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"Why is James rated so high? It was his dumb foul that led to SJ's free-kick goal."

James was *dominant* in the first half. IMO his rating should have been higher.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | September 28, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

To jnel: Yes, that is true about Nellie now, but no one knew that in 2004 at the time when an offer that would have been considerably less that what he ended up signing for in the EPL would have kept him at DCU. He wanted very badly to staying in the US in 2004; he was engaged to a US girl and loved it here. He would have had Kasper/Payne not insulted him with a low ball offer.

Posted by: lgm6986 | September 28, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

One small observation during the game that spoke volumes was watching the bench players warming up during the run of play in the second half. SJ players looked intense, focused and were drilling really hard preparing to come in.

When we looked over at the DC players some were stretching out but most were leaning against the sideline barriers with head in hands watching the game.

Posted by: SoehntheExit | September 28, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

What we have here is a lesson in salary cap 101. We have a lot of money invested in 4 guys, Emilio, Moreno, Gomez, and Fred, who aren't contributing collectively at the level dictated under the cap structure. (Olsen gets paid a lot too but plays to his pay level)

The other guys aren't getting paid like stars, and we shouldn't be rating them that way. As an example, I thought Vaughn played pretty well for a guy that basically got picked up off the street. I think Pontius and Wallace continue to play pretty well for rookies in a league where rookies usually don't have much impact, especially late in the season.

If Burch had made the mistake he made yesterday in a game before his injury, half the posts here would have been about how he needed to go. But now we have seen what happens when he does go . . .

I think United made a classic mistake. Too many expensive guys who are gambles. Too many inexpensive guys as a result. Not enough "just right" guys in the middle, to use the goldilocks analogy.

When they blow up the team this winter -- and clearly they must -- they should look at the New England Patriots model of a few years ago. They need guys like James -- athletic, energetic, but some rawness -- supplemented with some steady veterans known for work rate and soccer smarts. And a coach who can mold them into an effective unit. Not Soehn.

And I like the idea of Richie Williams as coach. Same sort of idea as Russ Grimm for the Redskins -- well regarded as a coach in waiting by peers, and well-liked by fans who remember the glory days.

Goff, it seems to me that an interesting article would be one that tried to correlate success in the salary cap era with percentages of cap space tied up in, say, the 5 most expensive players.

Posted by: regularfan | September 28, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

When you look at the lastest signings for DCU, you have to wonder what did management expect? James (the fouler)
Vaughn,(can't read a play coming his way),
Shipalane (you want me to do defense too?)
A John,( I can foul harder than James)!!These guys have never played together before and TS lets them start??? Unbelievable !
Finally Fred rides the pines and we'll do better when Emilio is with him. Really, really disgusted with my team right now!!

Posted by: therealfan | September 28, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

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