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United's season officially over

Well, that sure was an up-and-down game for D.C. United and its fans. So much so that I ended up writing four versions of the story, at least the top, throughout the contest as the trajectory changed time and time again.

The most important news, though, is that about two hours after the final whistle had blown, the team learned it had been eliminated from playoff contention when the Seattle Sounders downed FC Dallas, 2-1, in Seattle.

The result not only left D.C. out of the postseason for the second consecutive season but also likely will result in wholesale changes this offseason, and could spell the end for United Coach Tom Soehn.

In the locker room after players were subdued, disappointed...and also understanding of what the result means. Especially the team's veterans, who understand the history of this team and that two straight non-playoff seasons likely won't be tolerated.

The most telling quote was from Ben Olsen:

"This organization is not used to [missing the playoffs two years in a row] and if that's the case we all have to hold our hands up and take part of the blame, it's that simple," Olsen said. "Every one of us, we've all failed the organization at some point this year and we're all in this together and we'll move forward. You can't make the playoffs every year but two in a row is alarming and we'll certainly look to remedy that next year."

United wasn't bad. I don't think they got enough out of the forwards up top -- I expected more from Pontius -- but they gutted it out and nearly had a win.

To think, they were only inches away on a last-second shot from a playoff spot. Of course, you can always point to something like that, but not without ignoring a season full of missed opportunities.

Player Ratings: Cronin 7, James 7, Jakovic 6, Burch 6; Wallace 6, Gomez 6, Szetela 5, Simms 6, Fred 6; Emilio 5, Pontius 5.5. SUBS: Moreno 6, Olsen 6, Khumalo 5.5

What are your thoughts on the game? On the season? On who will be back next season and who has played their last game in a D.C. United jersey?

By Paul Tenorio  |  October 25, 2009; 1:35 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Comments

Just Curious: How many days till United's first home match?

Posted by: UVAtoRFK | October 25, 2009 1:45 AM | Report abuse

So sad for United fans, but not unexpected. Off the top of my head, I can see 11 players off the roster coming back. Others like Fred, Moreno, Gomez.... older guys that take up major cap space, will more than likely be shown the door. The rest will have to earn their way to a roster spot.

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | October 25, 2009 1:45 AM | Report abuse

How did the Red Bulls do Goff? Care to make a snide comment?

Posted by: whoshotsam | October 25, 2009 1:48 AM | Report abuse

I was hoping we'd play you guys in the playoffs. I guess we'll just have to settle for the U.S. Open Cup. It's great that we kicked your butts in the U.S. Open Cup, and ended your playoff chances. RFK is great for the rats, but at least you have a new stadium on the way in St. Louis. Don't forget to take the trophies with you. St. Louis United! We win trophies!

Posted by: AlbinoSounder | October 25, 2009 2:00 AM | Report abuse

"and SHOULD spell the end for United Coach Tom Soehn."

Posted by: redskinsux | October 25, 2009 2:04 AM | Report abuse

It was a very disappointing year, although DCU did better in the CONCACAF Champion's League than last year.

We didn't seem to have the team speed that I've seen teams like Seattle display.

I thought Cronin played well the last three games. We also have unearthed some young talent, like Pontius and Wallace. We need to clear out 10-12 players.

Posted by: billindmd | October 25, 2009 2:10 AM | Report abuse

Last game for DCU?

Soehn?
Assistants?
Emilio?
Fred?
Moreno?
Gomez?
Olsen?
Habarugira?
Allen?
Khumalo?
Vaughn?
Wicks?
Jacobson?
Cronin?
Kocic?
James?
Burch?
Barklage?
Szetela?
Diraimando?
Janicki?
John?
McTavish?
Shipalane?

Wow, what a longer-than-expected list. Serious re-tooling may be coming.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | October 25, 2009 2:11 AM | Report abuse

To the seattle fan, atleast we don't have the poor-man's version of Bob Barker as our owner..............

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | October 25, 2009 2:14 AM | Report abuse

He's a very minority owner, and he'll be watching the playoffs, while you do whatever with poop. I'm guessing you live in RFK with the rats.

Posted by: AlbinoSounder | October 25, 2009 2:16 AM | Report abuse

Posted this on the bottom of the last thread, but it's no less relevant in this one:

OK. Two seasons ago I bought (non-season) tix to DCU games because they were a winning team and the atmosphere at RFK was awesome.

Last season I bought a half-season-ticket plan because they had just come off their second straight Supporters Shield-winning season.

This season I bought a full-season-ticket plan because I wound up going to just about every home game the previous season, even with a half-season-ticket plan.

After tonight's game, there's not much of a reason for me to buy another season ticket package, but regardless of whether DCU makes the playoffs, I'M STILL BUYING SEASON TICKETS FOR NEXT YEAR.

DCU has three trophies to work for next season:

US Open Cup
Supporters Shield
MLS Cup

I became a fan of DCU because of its winning record (at the time that I started paying attention), but now, I admit it:

My Name Is Juan-John, and I'm a Soccer Junkie. :-)

Posted by: Juan-John | October 25, 2009 2:20 AM | Report abuse

May your Sounders last as long as your Sonics!

Posted by: prokaryote | October 25, 2009 2:32 AM | Report abuse

I'm not saying we deserve to be in the playoffs: the second half of our season was an atrocity. But if it weren't for Twellman's bs PK in the final seconds, we'd be in. That's worth keeping in mind.

Posted by: asfoolasiam | October 25, 2009 2:46 AM | Report abuse

Our Sonics lasted a very long time- 39 years. D.C.United should be so lucky...

Posted by: captainwierd | October 25, 2009 2:55 AM | Report abuse

So what exactly happened to Toronto? At least we had a game with KC and left with a point on the road it sucked being a DCU fan this year but is nothing compared to what Toronto fans must be feeling in what was supposed to be a breakout year for them.

Posted by: Southeasterner | October 25, 2009 2:56 AM | Report abuse

Lot 8 DR?

Posted by: SoehntheExit | October 25, 2009 3:20 AM | Report abuse

Way to stay classy, AlbinoSounder.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | October 25, 2009 3:25 AM | Report abuse

Finally, this mess of a season is over. Based on performances we did not deserve to make the playoffs or advance in the CCL. Blow the team up yet again.

Posted by: uknowmeas-GQ | October 25, 2009 3:38 AM | Report abuse

Soehn needs to be fired, and if there's any way to lure Arena back here then that avenue needs to be pursued. Other than that I don't know who's available, but DC deserves a class act in the technical area. We should not be settling for mediocrity and freaking cluelessness for two seasons running, it boggles the mind.

Until there is a competent manager in place it doesn't make much sense to talk about what players need to stay or go. But before we kick Fred off the club I would like to see him get a string of games in the hole behind the strikers in the CENTER of the pitch. He won an mvp in the Australian league at that position, his game seems suited to it, and I can't for the life of me, figure out why he hasn't had more than spot duty there in 3 seasons here, particulary this last one when there wasn't a big name ahead of him at that position.

There's talent all up and down the roster, we need help up top, but with a competent manager and one good forward this is a top club again.

Posted by: uranderson | October 25, 2009 3:45 AM | Report abuse

@Poopy_McPoop you're hilarious. I'd buy you an $8.00 cup of beer at RFK if we had another home match left this season!

It must really suck to be a Toronto FC fan. To lose 5-0 to the worst team in the league in a must-win game...what the heck was going today with them? They must have really pressed after they were down by a goal, and it got worse from there.

I can't imagine Mo Johnston survives this debacle, can you?

Posted by: billindmd | October 25, 2009 3:53 AM | Report abuse

Brief aside:

I've seen, both today and in the Open Cup aftermath, people lamenting our lack of team speed when compared to Seattle's.

While we obviously are lacking in overall speed, it's not a cure-all. NY began this season with the fastest team in MLS history, and if not for Richie Williams they'd have also been the worst team in MLS history. Seattle has respectable speed, but the real key is that their players think fast and move intelligently. Montero and Ljungberg appear to be as fast as Zakuani, but in actuality they see where the places to be on the field will be earlier than their opponent does. We need more team speed, but we just as badly need more speed of thought. We regularly start too many players (Emilio and Fred in particular) who lag behind in terms of anticipation, which bogs our attack down more than any slow older players do.

As for the game and season, I'll try to keep it short. We got what we deserved. There were very good things about this game (make sure you don't forget James, playing out of position and with only one good leg, managing to score what would have been our biggest goal of the year), but we were undone by the perfect test of defensive focus: Set pieces. We haven't been that bad on set pieces this year, but we've been awful in terms of individual focus defensively, so to have our season end due to missed marks against a team with only one legit target should not come as a surprise.

This season gave us plenty of bad luck, sure, but ultimately you don't lose 3 games out of a 5 game homestand in MLS and get into the playoffs. The fact that Wallace's shot was about an inch from clipping the post and going in rather than bouncing out doesn't obscure the unacceptable finish to the season. We took just 12 points from our last 10 games. We came away with draws that absolutely should have been wins (thus wasting the early-season games where we got points when on the verge of defeat). We gave up 44 goals. We were among the most wasteful teams in MLS in terms of finishing.

What needs to change? Soehn seemed to lose the team from July or so. Everyone knows he's gone, so that's not even worth spending much time on. Defensively, we're still far too weak. We can't afford to attack the way we do with players like Burch and James starting, and we definitely can't get away with it when our keepers don't seem to know when to come off their line and when to stay home (if you didn't yell at Cronin at least 5 times over the course of this last game, you were not paying attention). We can go on and on about our attacking veterans, but the biggest problem with this team is that we can't consistently defend well.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | October 25, 2009 5:29 AM | Report abuse

Amen, Chest. Very nice.

I haven't watched the game yet. But by the looks of it, this game symbolically represented our season as a whole.

Posted by: redskinsux | October 25, 2009 6:20 AM | Report abuse

so where's the article in the dead tree edition? am I missing it? did it not make it in time for 'burb deliveries?

Posted by: nairbsod | October 25, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

About the players: there really isn't much that can be said beyond what Olsen said. They are all responsible and face the consequences of bad team performance. Quite honestly, to me only Jankovic should be completely "safe" from being shown the door. Maybe Quaranta, Wallace,and Pontius too.
The difficult decision is not about the coaching staff either. Soehn will bear the brunt of the responsibility for the team's slide to mediocrity. Being a nice guy just isn't qualification enough. Clearly the team needs a new direction from its technical staff.
The really difficult question, the gut-wrenching question, is this: does Dave Kaspar bear ultimate responsibility for the team's poor performance and should he exit along with the bulk of the team he assembled. This is not meant to take anything away from the contribution he has made to the team over the years. He is DCU as much as "El Diablo," Jaime, Harkes, and the other founding forces of the squad. But, if players and coaches must share the consequences of "just not being good enough," shouldn't the same standard apply to Kaspar. In fact, I would ask, how can the team really move in a new direction if Kaspar is still at the helm?
Now is the time for leadership from the owner. He needs to make an extremely hard, but necessary, decision about Kaspar's fate. The fans deserve nothing less.

Posted by: rcdwriting | October 25, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

nairbsod - my paper copy has an article, just about the tie, on page 4 of sports; it mentions that the Sounders-Dallas game was too late for press time.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | October 25, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Entire coaching staff goes. Emilio, Gomez and Fred go. The fate of the rest shall be decided on by the new coaching staff. Let it be written.

Posted by: bigwave | October 25, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

It's easy to say "if only that shot off the bar had gone in" but the reality is, given the number of ties this team bled points all season. Games we should have won, we tied. Teams we should have beaten, we lost to. 3 consecutive home losses (none of them to outstanding teams--no slam on Seattle, just look at the second half record and road record), that's deploring.

Yes, Soehn is gone. Let's hope that NYRB continues to make dumb decisions and Richie Williams is gone. I'd love to get Arena back but I don't see that happening--not unless we are willing to wait a year.

We've got some big decisions. Olsen wants to return. I think there's a good chance Nowak would take him if we expose him. You have to ask: is Emilio simply not good enough or did Soehn fail to bring out the best in him? When he arrived, he made tremendous runs off the ball, worked hard and was basically a version of Twellman, getting an occasional beautiful goals but a ton of hard working, opportunistic goals. And that meant we won some points we didn't deserve to win or against the run of play--but that's what a great finisher does for you (as NE fans about that!). They're rare--so you don't give up on Emilio automatically until you answer that question.

Here's the issue with Gomez--it's not about the salary. To be effective you've got to play a 3-5-2 with the man (even if he was playing for MLS minimum). So you've got to decide if you want a player on your team that you need to play a 352 for--even if he's your reserve A-mid. And I suspect the answer is "no" and thus Gomez is gone regardless of salary. And no, I don't see Fred as the answer either. Getting it done in Australia with their sloppy marking isn't the same as doing it here. He's still a resource and it was a tough season for him what with the death of his Dad and the child health issues, injuries and never getting regular PT.

This team continually failed to "get it done." We couldn't close down a game and keep a lead. We couldn't consistently win with the run of play. We couldn't beat the teams we were supposed to beat. And this was not an untalented team.

The marks of a good coach are:
--a sharp team that wins the games it's supposed to win, doesn't hand points away, makes the opposing team earn their victories.
--puts players in positions to show their strengths while minimizing their weaknesses.
--has the TEAM performing better than the sum of the individual parts.
--brings out the best in the better players, gets most of them playing well (rather than playing poorly)
--adjusts tactically or anticipates (which relates to the "puts players in positions to show their strengths).

Unfortunately, I'd grade Soehn poorly on most or all of these categories. I don't know but I suspect that he hasn't brought out the best in Szetela, Burch, Fred, and Emilio.

Posted by: JoeW1 | October 25, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

It was a rollercoaster of a season.
So much to say but its behind us now. Hopefully the Front Office has learned its lesson and will make the necessary changes to the club so that we can improve. Although we did improve from last it is just not the same when you bow out from so many competitions.

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | October 25, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

For me, last night's game encompassed the entire season. Lots of grit, a few decent plays, numerous unfinished chances, a defensive let down, a fight back and a handball in the box. The season started with one (phantom) and ended with one (accidental.)

Oh, and Ben losing his cool, even for just a half second. Don't get me wrong, I still love Ben.

Nothing else really to say. It may be a long winter for a few people. I wonder if a few are going in today to clean their offices.

Posted by: spata2 | October 25, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

uranderson, are you serious or are you making fun of what a bad player Fred is? MVP player of the Australian League means he might be a starter on my over 30 team!

Posted by: markt6 | October 25, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Seattle can and should eat a d*ck.

That is all.

Posted by: Kev29 | October 25, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Seattle is so desperate for just one of its teams to win that they think the USOC is like winning something. They might riot in the streets if they win a supporters shield.

Posted by: zosodave | October 25, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Seattle is so desperate for just one of its teams to win that they think the USOC is like winning something. They might riot in the streets if they win a supporters shield.

Posted by: zosodave | October 25, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

We need new blood - John Harkes for 2010. He knows the history of the club and would bring much much needed passion. I have to imagine he'll connect with the boys more than Soehn ever has.

This message has been approved by the Harkes for 2010 campaign.

Posted by: ddd001 | October 25, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Fire Soehn and his budddies, I mean, assistants;

Fire Kasper

This is a results business.

Posted by: mightymax | October 25, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

You guys are all idiots. Go coach your under 8 girls team and worry about getting your first win and quit worrying about how DC should be run. VIVA SOEHN!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: markt6 | October 25, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

You guys probably think Goff could coach. He is the biggest idiot of them all. A reporter for a newspaper has all the answers? Okee Dokee Wait, your right, hire Harkes as head coach. He has had so many offers to coach the past 3 years but is holding out for the DC job. Why not Wynalda, or maybe Max Bretos. Alexi Lalas is available!

Posted by: markt6 | October 25, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I don't blame the players. I blame the management who thought this team had any chance whatsoever. They clearly are out of touch with the speed and conditioning needed to win consistently in the league.

Isn't it strange how Kevin Payne is the first to take responsibility for our victories, but he disappears after our failures? What kind of leader does that?

The fish rots from the top down. It's time for Chang to take out the garbage.


Posted by: dsheon1 | October 25, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Harkes is a terrible choice for coach, unless we want someone who does a good Jim Carrey and can make wise cracks in press conferences (Hudson?). Better choices: Those with actual expereience: Onalfo, Williams (if he doesn't get the nod in NJ). If consulted Bruce will get the chance to annoint the successor as KP thinks he walks on water. Forget about him or Sarachan; life is too good in SoCal.
Prediction: Soehn ends up in Philly with Nowak.

Posted by: mightymax | October 25, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Our key to success is to get rid of the age. We don't have any capability to get behind defenses quickly. Emilio, Fred, sadly Moreno all need to go.

It's time to free the cap space up and get some youngsters in there. We had a hell of a draft this year, but it's time we repeat that a few years instead of going for instant gratification. We aren't a horrible team, just lack a true center half duo, and dangerous fast striker.

Posted by: adamsunited | October 25, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the insight Tommy . . . er, markt6.

Seriously, I don't totally disagree, though I don't like your vitriol. Fans have the right to sound off and judge, even if incorrect. We pay for the team. But we know from the Redskins that ultimately having a fan make the calls is a bad system, so I'm happy leaving the real decisions to Kevin Payne. He has got it right more often than anyone else. I like the idea of Harkes emotionally, but its true you have to wonder why he never got an offer. I'd love Richie williams but with out luck NYRB will finally make the right decision.

Seattle fans, most of you, congratulations. Good luck. Your team is exciting and I'll be pulling for them with as much enthusiasm as I can muster with my team out. For those graceless few of you who have posted unkind comments here today, when chestbeating over a downed opponent can only be seen as poor sportsmanship, well, every team has some like you, and its not the team's fault, or the fault of the other fans.

Today I'm going to be sad. I'm going to be sad I missed that last game at home and so perhaps the last opportunity to see some of the great players ever to wear the uniform. I'm going to be sad at the probable fate of players and a coach who've spirit I have admired, and an owner who is a serious fan but overules the part of him that no doubt whispers darkly to him that he can do better than management (the same voice that long ago seduced Dan Snyder). I wish him luck in resisting it, beyond making the hard choices he must at least consider about his senior most management.

Tomorrow or the next day, or next month, time enough to look forward to next season, and rebuilding. Time enough to reboot with new enthusiasm. But for now, thanks United, for making it interesting, right to the end. And thanks Julius James, for that goal, which will live in our hearts even without the result.

Posted by: regularfan | October 25, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Soehn has to go, it shouldn't have taken him an entire season to figure out what a competitive lineup is. Anyone that watches nay soccer knows that Moreno should have been coming off the bench, not starting. Not recognizing Gomez's talent still baffles me. Playing him one half some times? Soehn has to go. Also Soehn has a personal beef against Szetela, are you kidding me? Szeltela should have had a lot more playing time. Soehn lets things get personal and that not how you run a team, ie see Quaranta not getting to play against Real Madrid as punishment because he was in Soehns doghouse at the time. Soehn needs to be fired as soon as possible.

Posted by: DCUwbma | October 25, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I agree that Kevin Payne needs to take some responsibility and Chang should needs to seriously access whether he stays.

There is a reason why no one picks up John Harkes. He receives no player respect and failed substantially as Ass. Coach in NY.

Let' see, our defense has been struggling since say - they pushed Bobby Boswell out because they could not control him? I am not sure if that was Payne's work or Soehn but we lost one of the best defenders in MLS and have suffered for it ever since.

Posted by: ronwright | October 25, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

@ Goff

There's plenty of blame to go around.
1. Match Officials - 7 points lost by bad calls.
2. Players - In ability to hold a lead in how many games?
3. Coaches - I doubt we had the same line-up two games in a row this season.
4. Front Office - We have some good young players. Let them grow! Some (not all) of our age was showing its lack of production.
5. Coaching - Seeming inability to adapt to changes during the game.
6. Players - Playing at speed?
7. Players & Coaches - Predicable tactics and strategy

Posted by: carnack | October 25, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I love duck -- one of my favorite foods.

An amazingly juvenile thread. Especially love the posts from the guy who shoots down suggestions that no one is making. Brilliant debating technique. You must be a right-wing Republican.

What would I like to see? In the spirit of the indomitable Francis Doe (we keep wasting these late heroics), I nominate Julius James to be our great experiment at striker next year. Seriously, though, he might be better up top than he is as a defender. Whoever decided he's a defender may have done him a disservice.
ch of new players.

Posted by: fischy | October 25, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Here's my question, an elephant in the room no one's addressed: what's up with Bryan Namoff? Just how bad is his concussion? He was having a stellar year, and was our most consistent defender through most of the season. Not having him in the back line over the last month or so certainly hurt us badly, and would do likewise in 2010.

Posted by: JamesDougan | October 25, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

That should read: I'd like to see "a bunch of new players."

A new DP. A new CAM, a new striker (seriously -- give James a look) new LB, new CB -- Also, a healthy Namoff, Cronin, Wicks and Hamid, Pontius, I guess Wallace (almost pulled that out), another rookie or two at the level of those two, Quaranta, Jakovic, Simms, Barklage and Coach Preki.

Posted by: fischy | October 25, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Hey pigmentless pounder, I guess you're a real tough guy. Why don't you prove it and give me your real name?

Tom Faulkner

Posted by: GrillMaster | October 25, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

The bottom line is that 40 points isn't enough in this league with parity so entrenched. Many of this year's ties were last year's losses, just not enough quality on either side of the ball to get the results we needed during a congested schedule and long season. I still feel like we have a core of solid squad players to build on but getting the big performances our of marquee players just didn't happen this year. Defense was weak again, look how many defenders we went through during this season alone.

Next year we concentrate on MLS and USOC no international games, probably what we deserve after not being able to get critical results (USOC final, late home losses especially Chivas) this season. In the end we just weren't good enough. Plenty of blame to go around the results speak for themselves.

Posted by: sbg1 | October 25, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

*sigh* -- Back to the juvenalia...

This was once a decent blog for adults.

Posted by: fischy | October 25, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Retire: Moreno

Cut/Trade: Emilio, Burch, Wicks, Janicki, John, Jacobson, N'Silu, Hamburglar,

Keep: Jakovic, Pontius, Wallace, James, Cronin, Simms, Namoff, Olsen, Szetela, Tino, Hamid,

Fence: Gomez, Fred, Vaughn, McTavish, Khumalo, Kocic, Wicks, Barklage, Shipalane

Posted by: delantero | October 25, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Needs: Left Back, Striker, Attacking Center mid, and Outside mids . .

We do not need a new DP! Please. Get a bunch of quality 100-300 K players, not a 700 K elephant like Emilio or a 1-2 million failure like Gallardo.

Posted by: delantero | October 25, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

IF Soehn is not fired after this season, it may never come to pass.

Unless he goes around shooting people with a super-soaker filled with his own sweat.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | October 25, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

To keep:
G: Cronin (if we can sign him), Kocic, Hamid
D: James, Jakovic, Namoff, Vaughn
M: Wallace, Gomez, Olsen, McTavish, Barklage, Szetela, Simms, Jacobsen
F: Pontius, Quaranta, Moreno, Shipalane, Boyzzz

(I know the last two are kind of questionable, but I like the potential both of these guys have shown. Under a good coach, I think they can grow and flourish).

To cut:
D: John, Burch, Habaruigra
M: Allen, DiRaimondo
F: Emilio
Coaching staff: All, minus Tom Soehn

To File Restraining Orders Against:
G: Wicks
D: Janicki
M: Fred
Coaching Staff: Tom Soehn

Posted by: kdiff813 | October 25, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I love duck -- one of my favorite foods.

An amazingly juvenile thread. Especially love the posts from the guy who shoots down suggestions that no one is making. Brilliant debating technique. You must be a right-wing Republican.
Posted by: fischy | October 25, 2009 10:42 AM

Fischy, you'll have to admit the delicious irony of accusing people of being juvenile and shooting down suggestions that no one is making, while following it up by suggesting people are "right-wing Republicans," which had absolutely nothing to do with anything in the thread and further is a pretty immature/shallow characterization of people who don't agree with you.

You continue to bring politics into a soccer discussion. It's tired. Let people commiserate about DCU's failures without bringing political beliefs into it.

Posted by: j01usna | October 25, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Deadline passed for putting a deposit on my seats for next year. It's a tough decision to make, unless I sense some real changes I'll probably skip my renewal. Anybody else? (Juan John exempted sine I know u r renewing for sure)

Posted by: DCB23 | October 25, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Fans don't have the answers. Period.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | October 25, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

a new striker (seriously -- give James a look)

Posted by: fischy | October 25, 2009 11:02 AM

DCU is all for trying to make forwards into defenders (see Burch), so why shouldn't the team try to reverse the process and move James up next season :)

Posted by: emanon13 | October 25, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

...
...
...

...I'm going to come back here in a week. I expect Chest Rockwell to be MLS Commissioner, and Johan Cruyff to be Manager of DCU.

He -- and our new General Manager Isiah Thomas -- will be away on a scouting mission in Indonesia. We will have rumors that Bambang Pamungkas will be signed as a DP.

Emilio will stay with our club as a 5th string GK (Wicks, Kocic, Hamid, Cronin) , who will inevitably start 14 matches for us next season.

We will draft a 12 year old target striker that makes Andy Najar look like Franco Niell.

Someone will see a defensive mistake as a sign we must sign Shaq Phillips the next chance we have.

...Or I will be very disappointed.

Posted by: B_A_ | October 25, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Is Christian's foot broken?

Posted by: DadRyan | October 25, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Olsen was right to say how the players have to put their hands in the air, but don't forget: he is playing with house money. The players will never be "fired." Many will be off-loaded and should be, but the coaches and management will and should pay the greater price.

What has to happen is the Kasper has to go as well as the coaches. Soehn does take personally issues involving the players and has off-loaded players in whom he has lost confidence (Boswell, Carroll, Erpen, Perkins), but Kasper has enabled these moves by approving them and has been responsible for the terrible replacements brought in. The situation at DCU is viral and it won't go away until and unless the entire technical staff is sent packing.

Posted by: lgm6986 | October 25, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

o by the way,
Juan-John reveled himself to the world on facebook.


:gasp:


I should do the same at a game, wear a black shirt with my s/n. see if anyones picks up or get a jersey with the name on the back.

until next year, i guess!

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | October 25, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Well, early in the season there was a lot of potential for players to gel and develop, but by July or August it seemed like it wasn't going to happen. We still have a nice core of young guys who could be monsters in a season or two, and with some smart movement to bolster the D (is this our 2nd or 3rd year running towards the bottom for GA?), and moving out a handful (but not all) older players, there's a good base going into next year.

Thanks for your time here, Tommy, I wish you luck in Philly.

Posted by: eadc | October 25, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

j01usna

+1

Posted by: mbyrd28 | October 25, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

VAMOS United!!!

Should be an interesting off-season.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | October 25, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

DCU has to make tough personnel choices for next season involving popular players. Look at the salaries and ages for Moreno (355K, 35 years) Gomez (320K, 34 years) and Olsen (225K, 32 years). All three are aging and injury-prone players who eat up tons of salary cap. All three will be at best part-time players next season who will be spending plenty of time on the bench or in physical therapy. If we're going to bring these guys back next year, it only makes sense if there are substantial cuts in guaranteed salaries.

Posted by: DeliBelly | October 25, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Christmas is coming.

It's time to start gift-wrapping. Emilio needs to come with a REALLY decorative bow.

Posted by: BarraPuta | October 25, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The season was a great success in spite of being bounced out of the Concacaf Champions League, losing the Open Cup Final at home, and failing to make the playoffs for the 2nd consecutive game.

Back before football season, when more people were watching, we were able to hold Real Madrid scoreless INTO THE SECOND HALF!! So we won the coveted beauty contest runner up tiara.


Ahhh!

It feels good to release some pent-up bitterness. In fairness, last night's game was very exciting and the team played with plenty of heart in the past week - beating Columbus, tying at Toluca and at Kansas City. The results and lackluster effort before that is what did us in.

The team needs new management and, depending on who is hired, there will be major changes. The iconic highest paid vets - Jaime, Olsen, Emilio, Gomez, Fred should all be considered for release unless they take significant reductions in salary.

No need to release many of the younger lesser-paid players unless we have suitable replacements lined up. It's easy to cut the Jacobsons, Barklages and McTavishes on the team - but that doesn't accomplish much unless those positions are upgraded.

Getting rid of some of the bigger salaries will allow the team to shop around for some talent and hopefully we can get a few other new good contributors via low cost foreign acquisitions, the draft and USL talent pools.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | October 25, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

And I hope Bryan Namoff can continue playing like he has up and til his recent concussion problems.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | October 25, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@SoehntheExit: :-)
Tough season. There is promise in there somewhere. A new coach?
No Kasper? Brazilian fat being trimmed? A third jersey for international play... Oops, we won't need that next season.
I don't know if I can afford a season ticket next year but I'd love one. Very little fixture congestion to worry about next season and if the right moves are made, I think DCU will have a very good chance at the SS, and the MLS Cup. Newbs like Seattle will be stretched in their extra matches, and these Scrounging knobs will spend less time coming over here and flappin' their fish lips.

On the bright side, the team stayed interesting till the final whistle. That can hardly be said for the "big 3" in DC. That I can be proud of. Going for a bike ride in the city with a DCU jersey on. Give me a wave if you see me.

And yo curious! How many days till DCU's first match of 2010!?!
Vamos United!

Posted by: DadRyan | October 25, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

A couple of people have referred to Tenorio's print article, but apparently no one has produced the corpus delicti:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/24/AR2009102403085.html

Posted by: universityandpark | October 25, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Is i just me or do any of others think Simms is a liability, too defensive and always breaking momentum by passing backward.

While Jacobson is still raw he at least had some offensive spirit, Szetela as well. When he played there McT also wet forward. Simms seems always to be looking to play it back.

Posted by: RRP1 | October 25, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Well one thing I know. Hope the Sounder's tank. Tired of the fans on DC's fan space.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | October 25, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

To all Seattle fans, you made the playoffs. Congrats! In the big picture without winning the big cup, you've done nothing. You're a new team. There's plenty of time for failure and you will most certainly go through it. If you win the Cup this year I'll be the first to congratulate. But if not please continue to help control the US population and off yourselves.

Posted by: sire1 | October 25, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Simms did play too tentatively this year -- on offense and defense, but he's still better than anyone else we might get for the position...except Veron.

I concur with Joel's comment.

Posted by: fischy | October 25, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

United should do nothing for at least a couple of weeks. The best thing they could do at this point is to put the season behind them and then evaluate everything with a fresh mind. Emotion is not a good thing in these situations.

Posted by: croftonpost | October 25, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Remember the first game of the season when Narrufo helped out the Galaxy with a non existent PK and people wondered if that would come back to haunt us?... Well...

Posted by: StewartDC8 | October 25, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Having trouble logging on to DC's website. Maybe they fired the IT staff.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 25, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

j01usna: make that +2 (and that's coming from a lefty).

all the folks talking about who stays and who goes need to remember that who goes needs to be replaced by someone. I imagine gomez and fred go, but I'm a little worried about who can pick it up. I'd like to see moreno stay with a pay cut, but we better roll out the honors if he goes. he's done too much for too long to just get a phone call telling him he's been cut. and olsen? please do stick around, but get some anger management counseling. and everybody in the black and red? strengthen those hamstrings in the offseason.

I didn't get to the area until August, so I just got individual tix. but I'm thinking season tickets now. I was awful d*mned proud of the BB folks I saw on tv having made the trip.

Posted by: troy6 | October 25, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Soehn has to go. Whatever else we do, he has to go. The past 3 years with him has been unproductive. Unfortunately, I don't see any surefire coaching candidate out there. Arenas is a pipe dream, he ain't coming back. Would you leave LA for a DC team that plays in old, rundown RFK?

Posted by: tundey | October 25, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

We need team defense. We give up too many goals, pure and simple. We score plenty--we were tied for second in the league in goals scored. But we were minus one on goal differential. The highest total of "goals against" for any playoff team was 35, and we gave up 44. We need defense.

We need a serious, stable keeper--Cronin looks like he would work out. We need more mature defense in the center, and more defense from the mids (which probably means younger ones). I worry that the old guys will all crash out up front, but goal scoring isn't our problem.

And we need a new coach. Arena rebuilt LA from the back, Beckham excitement not withstanding. We won't get him back (as someone else wisely noted, leave LA for RFK?) Soehn is over his head, players don't respect him.

But we need defense. All the yak yak about grit and determination and spirit takes attention from our bleak statistics on defense.

Posted by: macheath | October 25, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Thankfully this season is over and there has been nothing to salvage except a few good players. Im quite glad we didnt win the Open Cup this year, make the playoffs or advance in the CCL. We need changes all the way around and now they will hopefully come. We needed these changes last year but I think the Open Cup bought some people another year.

Have we traded away our first round draft pick for this year yet?

Posted by: FatSickBoot | October 25, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

A couple of people have spoken of firing Kevin Payne. My understanding is that he has equity in the ownership group, so that would be difficult to pull off.

I agree that Will Chang has a tough decision to make about Kaspar.

@regularfan

Thank you for your thoughts, which echoe mine. I wish I attended the final home match, and I really appreciate the fans who showed up on that cold evening, when we were coming off three straight losses at home and somehow beat Columbus. It would have been good to see the players one last time who won't be wearing our shirt next year.

I also thank Julius James for the goal last night and for making the second half very exciting, even playing on one leg!

Seattle Fans:

Good luck in the playoffs. You've created an exciting environment at Qwest Field, and your team has done well this season. I look forward to continuing the rivalry next season, even though we're in different conferences and are 3,000 miles apart.

Chest Rockwell:

I agree with you about speed of thought versus physical speed. Well written by someone who knows the game.

Posted by: billindmd | October 25, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

In other news, Maryland lost to Wake Forest last night. Did anyone else see Liverpool-ManU earlier today?

Posted by: universityandpark | October 25, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

A couple of people have spoken of firing Kevin Payne. My understanding is that he has equity in the ownership group, so that would be difficult to pull off.
__________________________________________

Why would that be the case? Payne probably has a token stake at most, which can also be said of most baristas at Starbucks. Chang can easily buy him out, if need be.

Posted by: universityandpark | October 25, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

@BillinMD:

Goff made it very clear that Will Chang owns 100 percent of the team. Unless United is SO good that it goes up to 111, there is no room for Payne to own any part of the team.

Posted by: dsheon1 | October 25, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey Goff,
Is Soehn fired yet?

Posted by: bigwave | October 25, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Goff made it very clear that Will Chang owns 100 percent of the team. Unless United is SO good that it goes up to 111, there is no room for Payne to own any part of the team.

Posted by: dsheon1 | October 25, 2009 4:42 PM

That may well be true, although I don't recall ever hearing that Chang bought out Payne's shares (and we did hear about MacFarlane, Laettner, and the others). Recall though that MLS is still a single ownership entity and that Payne is a member of the Board of Governors. He may or may not be good for the team (I would suggest that he is a net benefit), but he's not going anywhere. So expend vitriol elsewhere, people.

Posted by: vivzig | October 25, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

dsheon1: Now we're Nigel United?

Posted by: ldmay | October 25, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Some of you must have missed the part about Goff taking a break for some family stuff. Hence Tenorio posting for the last few days.
Funniest of all was the D-bag talking about people thinking Goff should be the coach...

Posted by: DadRyan | October 25, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

We need a good defensive coach to come in a build this team from square 1, offense is great but if your defense sucks your offensive will not save you. The only good thing about missing the playoffs is the hope that next year can't get worse than this year.

I think we should add Ben olsen to the list who needs to retire, there is not reason to try to hang on to something that is no longer there. Ben is a great guy, but his body is not able to play futbol above 70% anymore.


by the way we would have been out of the playoffs regardless of seattles result, new england is winning in the 90 minute

Posted by: Norteno4life | October 25, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

woops, Goff is back, but still quite a colorful thread.

Posted by: DadRyan | October 25, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Exciting game Sat. and Julius James, legendary showing. It was bringing back memories of MLS cup '96 sans the win. Gritty showing but as others on here have pointed out, in much more detailed fashion, it seemed to encapsulate United's season as a whole: Sputtering offense, shaky defense, missed chances and enigmatic line-up. In the words of the all mighty pub punk rockin' yobs The Strangles "Something Better Change."

Posted by: SoehntheExit | October 26, 2009 3:12 AM | Report abuse

To be honest we got screwed out of at least two matches b/c of poor officiating. It would have been nice if the ref would have missed just one PK against DCU. We lost 2 points to LA on the first game b/c of a bogus PK. We lost another 2 points against Chivas b/c of an offside call that was missed. Where is the justice?

Posted by: no_recess | October 26, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I recall all the talk early this season about our depth. We seemed to have several great players at each position, but injuries are so common, and proven veterans disappointed so frequently, it wasn't enough.

On thing that makes me sad is thinking about our relatively big-name veterans and how they failed to shine. I can't recall a game where any of them had an awesome game and really stood out. It's like they were reliable to have either a descent or poor game. Great players find a way to shine when you need them - Moreno's consistent penalty shooting, and one of Gomez's free kick goals is about the only times I can think of big names stepping up to do big things when called upon. Too bad.

Also a bummer that USA national team isn't playing any meaningful games over the winter either, so there is little to look forward to in terms of soccer for me. European soccer is pretty to watch on TV, but I can't get passionate about those teams in the same way I can about 'my' United and USMNT.

Posted by: WorldCup | October 26, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Can Comcast Sportsnet come up with another analyst then Thomas Rongen?????? I tuned into the match after the Capitals game and after listening to Rongen in the first 5 minutes of the second half immediately turned the channel.

Posted by: mlewis31 | October 26, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Rongen's not so bad after listening to the FSC guys.

As to the team, I'm with Croftonpost. Let the emotions settle for a while. No need to rush.

Posted by: regularfan | October 26, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

So which college coach can we lure away to coach United?

Posted by: Wiggan | October 26, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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