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United Wrap-Up

*D.C. United captain Jaime Moreno, MLS's career scoring leader who has been in the league since the 1996 inaugural season, says he wants to play again next year.

"I don't know where, but I feel like I still have it. I've been pretty healthy this year. I'm actually feeling better than a lot of years. Definitely, I'm not retiring. It would have to be a critical injury to retire, so my mind is to keep playing. I have to wait and see what happens. I am not going to close the door and say not in MLS, but that would be something very hard just because of all the years I have been in this organization."

What about playing for expansion Philadelphia for former DCU coach Peter Nowak? "I know Peter pretty well. I'm sure he has got different plans. Like I said, for me it's just basically to play in D.C. If not, I will have to look somewhere else."

DCU President Kevin Payne: "Whether he starts or comes on as a reserve, he still has quality that not really any other forward in the league has. We still value those qualities."

*Veteran midfielder Ben Olsen, who played most of the season after not knowing how well his troublesome ankle would hold up, said: "I'd like to play again, but that's not my decision. I'm sure the club is evaluating everything right now and I'm sure at some point I will be part of that discussion. I've been here my whole career and this is the place I love and want to finish."

*Luciano Emilio says he has not spoken to management about his future but expects to address it next week when the front office and coaches meet with players individually. The club must notify players by the end of November whether the options on their contracts will be exercised.

*DCU has an option to purchase on-loan midfielder Tiyi Shipalane from USL-2 Harrisburg but .....

probably won't make a final decision for a few weeks. Goalkeeper Steve Cronin was also on loan but on an emergency basis only after Josh Wicks's injuries. After his performance for USL-1 Portland this season, he might attract interest from several MLS clubs.

*The club plans to bring in trialists in the coming weeks, but given the time of the year, the only players available are unattached or from USL.

*Olsen, reflecting on what went wrong this season: "A lot of it seemed like it was mental breakdowns. We weren't, at times, professional enough to hold a lead or finish a team off. Those things, you can sometimes chalk up to youth and maybe we are not as mentally tough as we need to be. Could we have used a break here or there, a little luck? Yeah, but that stuff usually evens itself out. Saying that, everyone expects D.C. United to walk into the playoffs every year and be this dominating team. Some years there are going to be times where you need to fight it out and get into the playoffs. At times, we showed that, but overall, our commitment level and our understanding that every game is dire throughout the season -- you need 90 minutes of focus, you need 90 minutes of fight -- all that stuff was not as consistent as we needed it to be. And that's disappointing."

Comments from Coach Tom Soehn soon.....

By Steve Goff  |  October 27, 2009; 12:41 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Tuesday Kickaround
Next: A Few Minutes With Tom Soehn


Steve - how is the CBA affecting these decisions? Any word on negotiations?

Posted by: beach3 | October 27, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Would Moreno and Olsen each take $50K in salary? I think that's about what they're worth these days.

Posted by: Hoost | October 27, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

all about cash. each of them can contribute, it's just a question of whether they'll play for what they're worth. I'm guessing deals get done for moreno and olsen, but not emilio.

Posted by: troy6 | October 27, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

while olsen and moreno lack the pace to keep up in some games, they offer the veteran leadership this team needs on the field. they would need to take some sort of pay cut, but they are still very valuable to the team. and the idea of either of them suiting up for Philly makes me want to throw up. Emilio should only be kept if the DP tag is removed, but I think the team would be wise to go ahead and move on without him.

Posted by: VTUnited | October 27, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Is acquiring Cronin a possibility? By the sounds of this post, he won't be returning to DC.

Posted by: redskinsux | October 27, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Should Moreno and Olsen stay? Yes, but there has to be a drastic salary cut. Anything more than $100k a year would be too much. Until players like Pontius and Quaranta take the lead, they are the personality of the team. One more year to establish continuity would be a good thing. There is a solid base to build from, but they need veterans, even if they are coming from the bench.

The difference between this year and last year is that the core is solid this year.
However, the team didn't get any better. Yes we did slightly better in the league and in CONCACAF, but we also were not playing as many games because we weren't in the Super Liga. We won a trophy last year and didn't this year. We might not have gotten any worse, but it is hard to say we got any better.

That being said Emilio needs to go, as does Gomez. Wicks was not consistent enough, but I don't know where we will find someone better. Our defense could use a veteran defender, but he needs to be good, not just old. With another year of experience and the right additions the team will be solid. I don't see us dominating, but we could play quality, attacking soccer that is fun to watch and make the play-offs easily doing so.

Posted by: bighungry | October 27, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Critical question: If, as a result of the CBA, the salary cap is drastically increased (to, say, the often-kicked-around number of $4 million), then do Moreno and Olsen still need a salary cut to stick around?

Posted by: VercengetorixII | October 27, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Cronin will DEFINITELY attract interest from MLS clubs this offseason. Dude was strong in Portland and did a very good job coming into DC so late.

That guy might be able to move to a European club if he wants.

As far as Jaime and Benny go, they both can still contribute. I think Hoost is overexxagerating with the $50k bit but then again, after Eric Wynalda had seen his best days, that is reportedly more than he got offered by the league. That is why the guy got signed by the Charleston Battery (who along with Rochester Rhinos were the leading US based then A-League bidders).

Still, if they can demonstrate they are healthy and stay healthy (key), I can't see their salaries dropping off so sharply.

Posted by: yankiboy | October 27, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure anyone has disputed the fact that these guys can still bring something to the table. Moreno and Olsen are nice vets that can come off the bench to either calm a game down or ratchet it up. They can help any team in this league.

It's just at those prices? Probably not.

Emilio? definitely NOT (at his price that is). I'm not bashing Emilio and have had my few shares of arguements over the season about his lack of service vs. his just not having the tools to consistently succeed in this league. But when people compare him to Party that just proved my point. If you have to argue about your DP and a rook, well that tells you a lot, right?

Posted by: Kosh2 | October 27, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"Wicks was not consistent enough, but I don't know where we will find someone better."

I heard of this guy, I think his name is Cronin, some folks were talking about how his stellar play almost led a sub-par team into the playoffs.

Posted by: redskinsux | October 27, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Is Janicki gone or to they play to bring him back next season with new packaging? How bad is Julius James injury and when will Benny do anything but the bunny hop?

Posted by: VirginiaFan | October 27, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I would be astonished if both Moreno and Olsen weren't in uniform on opening day. Starting? Maybe, maybe not. If we surround Moreno with athletic, smart players like Pontius and Quaranta, he'll be just fine. My example would be how Columbus uses Schelotto. He supplies the genius, while Gaven, Rogers, Ekpo, Moreno, and Lenhart supply the effort and athleticism. They're all moderately smart players, so they can get what Schelotto will want them to do. They might not see the whole puzzle, but they see enough of it to not screw things up. We should look to do the same thing with Moreno.

In Olsen's case, it will be both who else is around him and getting on the right wavelength with the rest of the team. Benny was unable to get forward as much as he has in the past, and struggled with turnovers, because he seemed somewhat unsure about how to fit in with the players we had. Personally, I think he did better with the young guys than he did with Gomez, Fred, and Emilio. If that holds true, he should be able to improve next year.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | October 27, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

We went with lineups that changed every game. No wonder we had trouble.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | October 27, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I like keeping Jaime and Benny as 'off the bench, occasional starters as needed.' They still make good contributions - better than most off the bench MLS-ers - in skill and leadership.

That said, this team has no captain. There was no leader/organizer in defense (esp. at keeper) and no obvious leader in mid-field consistently controlling the flow or the team. Mostly, there were individual moments - but very few great team moments (or matches) this year.

That's the real shame of DC's DP experience. For the DP money - that person should be a leader of "men trying to make a living from this sport" (quoted from Ryan Nelson) or a play that brings overwhelming intangibles to the organization. Emilio's been a fine player but fails on this standard.

I bet the team keeps Wicks, although I hope they don't. The keeper doesn't have to be THE leader - but he needs to be a leader. Wicks went the opposite direction too many times unpredictably.

Frankly, I can handle the losses if it's a passionate, disciplined team I can believe in. DCU can and should do better. That's what 'Tradition' should be.

Posted by: inbetweenswims | October 27, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"Goalkeeper Steve Cronin was also on loan but on an emergency basis only after Josh Wicks's injuries. After his performance for USL-1 Portland this season, he might attract interest from several MLS clubs."

Yeah, like Portland. He'll be back in Portland for 2010, 2011, get the idea. Merritt Paulson will not let him go. Essentially, 2009 was Cronin's tryout year for the 2011 Timbers roster.

Posted by: PDXTimbers | October 27, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

This is where the exit strategy comes in for Jamie and Ben. Despite some fans' opinions on their age and contribution levels - this one included - I never want to see them in another MLS shirt. Do they have a benefit to the club in the dressing room? Yes. Do they have a place on the roster? Yes. Do they warrant the salary cap space they are occupying? Unclear.

Have these guys earned a good living from MLS over their careers? Without a doubt. Hence the need for an exit strategy. Whether in a coaching, scouting or other front-office capacity, that's where the bulk of their future earnings from DC United lies. As far as players, it is perhaps time to readjust their pay in order to help this team find some new blood from within MLS or from abroad.

Fred and Emilio are clearly not giving full value for their price. Fred, despite flashes of quality, has been a liability on defense, errant in his distribution going forward, and really seems to have declined in his effectiveness and his ability to keep healthy. Too expensive and not fit for MLS. Emilio - to his credit, became a better possession guy this year as he actually worked in the offseason and showed some real early promise. However, his goal droughts were long and his DP status is not in the spirit of what DP's should be in MLS. I'm not saying that because he's not Euro or older - Will Chang can spend almost a million a year better. Gomez - it wasn't a disaster brining him back from Colorado. He provided for DC this year but the pace and distribution is beginning to fade. Wouldn't be bad to keep around for depth, but at his price DC United is strapped in the cap.

In a perfect world - this core of guys would be winning titles and hopefully stepping away from MLS and the club in better terms. However, the decline from 2004 has continued. Injuries, forced retirments, transfers and age have plagued the side since its last title run. This year's rookies seemed to be good acquisitions. They need some veteran help next year but they also need a solid starting XI that will force competition in training and they need depth that will help them in times of heavy fixture congestion.

Perhaps it's a blessing of sorts that DC United will be out of international play for the first time in awhile next year. The number of games this club has competed in since 2005 has been incredible. It was a great run, but it's time to address the issue that you need to really rebuild over the next year or two. We're not chasing the one or two guys to make the difference against Chivas in the Copa Sudamericana. We're not looking for the goal scorer who's going to help us beat Pachuca in the Champions Cup. We did improve on results in the CCL this year while using some heavily rotated line-ups - but it was still a bigger issue than a couple of players solves.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | October 27, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Bring back Olsen and Moreno as Chest said.

Thanks for your service Emilio, Fred, and Gomez.

Posted by: strago | October 27, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I'd like them too, but like Hoost says, it's all about value. You can't change a team without cash on hand and both those guys didn't produce enough for their salary (nor Fred or Emilio, etc)

Plus, Jaime needs a decent off season conditioning coach to help him regain some speed and strength.

Posted by: delantero | October 27, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

When DC United is formated as an attacking team, then there would be no problem with Christian, Fred or Emilio. We spent most of the year without a midfield general. When you play two holding midfielders you get defense. Coach was defense and brought a defensive posture to DC United. He failed. Why did we have Wallace as the purported playmaker? He can't use the right foot. Was that supposed to be hands on training? He is excellent on left wing. Either mid or fullback. He is at his best and most dangerous. Tino had an off year. He stands and loiters. The team did well with getting young players, Jacobson, DiRaimondo, Barklage, Szetela. One got hurt and the others were out of favor. Let's make a change in Coaching. We have guys here that can perform. No one ever asks them their feeling because they are expendible. We have two good fullbacks, Namoff and Jakovic. If we really intend to get veteran players lets wait until Chicago has to put most of their team up. I could stand to get Conde or C.J. Brown.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | October 27, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I forgot Goalie. I like Josh Wicks. He is the most consistent since Nicky.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | October 27, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

The team needs to make a decision on head coach before making any decisions on players.

Posted by: DCUMD | October 27, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

""I forgot Goalie. I like Josh Wicks. He is the most consistent since Nicky.""

Yeah, consistently bad. He does not deserve to return to a starting spot.

Posted by: delantero | October 27, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Moreno reminds me of Bergkamp at the end of his career with Arsenal. I think Moreno has Payne's backing when Payne says the league still does not have forwards at the talent level of Moreno no matter Moreno's age.

Do you feel other teams might want to outbid DC for Benny's services? Would he want to open up Philly for the right price? I see his natural last call being there if DCU lowballs him and Piotr shows interest.

Posted by: dukestreetkid | October 27, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

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