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D.C. United hires Onalfo

Curt Onalfo, a former U.S. national team assistant who guided the Kansas City Wizards for 2 1/2 seasons before being dismissed last summer, has been named D.C. United's head coach, the MLS club announced Monday morning

Onalfo, 40, became the front-runner two weeks ago when Caleb Porter declined United's overtures and decided to stay at the University of Akron.

"Our first priority was to find someone who shares the club's long-standing philosophy of attacking soccer -- and Curt absolutely does," United President Kevin Payne said in a prepared statement.

Onalfo will be formally introduced at a news conference next Tuesday at RFK Stadium.

What do you think of United's decision?

By Steve Goff  |  December 28, 2009; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Comments

Did Richie want to stay in NY?

Posted by: VirginiaFan | December 28, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I'm rather upset that Chest Rockwell never got so much as an interview.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 28, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I am really having a problem wrapping my head around this one. DCU needs an attack minded coach and this looks like Soehn 2.0...

Posted by: DCU99fan | December 28, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

..and it seems our goal is to make the playoffs. What ever happened to the goal of winning the cup?!

Posted by: DCU99fan | December 28, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! He sucked at KC and we just want to retread. Terrible!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: BarraLoco | December 28, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The next Bill Belihcick.

Posted by: granadoskerry | December 28, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I'm rather upset that Chest Rockwell never got so much as an interview.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 28, 2009 11:46 AM

Agreed

Posted by: Kev29 | December 28, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Onalfo is a great choice and he will prove all the naysayers wrong. Sign me up for season tickets!

Posted by: IceNutz | December 28, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I'll give him a chance. What's the worst that could happen? We miss the playoffs and play uninspired soccer with a continually rotating lineup?

Posted by: nairbsod | December 28, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Another disappointing season? Probably.

I guess the FO was desperate to sign a coach instead of waiting, or maybe that was the best we could get. I dunno, but it doesn't give me the warm fuzzies....

*sigh*

Posted by: dogboy | December 28, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Soehn 2.0 is better than Soehn 1.0. Logically the apprentice of Bruce Arena is better than the apprentice of Peter Nowak.

Posted by: fedster | December 28, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I'm not excited by this. I'm personally in the camp that thinks our roster is good enough to succeed. Seems like I'm in the minority there. But look what Nowak was able to accomplish taking over for Hudson.

I'm not saying Onalfo = Nowak. I'm saying a poor coach can make an average side look terrible, and a great coach can make an average side look like world beaters.

Personally, I think Onalfo resembles Hudson more than he does Nowak. I don't think KC is that far behind us with regard to the roster, and Onalfo didn't really impress in KC. So we could be in for another long season. But I'm hoping for the best.

Posted by: Matte | December 28, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

..and it seems our goal is to make the playoffs. What ever happened to the goal of winning the cup?!

Posted by: DCU99fan | December 28, 2009 11:50 AM

Playoffs... Cup... WeWinTrophies.com... College coach... MLS retread... Nothing really matters until Chang figures out how to move this team into their own stadium. Everything else is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Posted by: Kev29 | December 28, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Well, I've had my say in opposition to Onalfo, but if he is our coach, he is our coach, and I support him. At least we didn't hire Richie. I can take solace in that.

Congratulations and welcome home Curt.

Now let's get after it.

Posted by: Ron16 | December 28, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Just glad its over. Im willing to give him full support. Hes motivated to succeed because if he fails he wont get another job in MLS. Who knows, it could turn out very well...

Posted by: totalfootballer | December 28, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

reposted from last thread, with emphasis on the stop whining:

Hey, you can't always get what you want. I think DCU fans as a whole already got their "let's whine till' it happens gift" when Gomez came back. Lotta good that did the team eh?

Time to shut up and get behind the coach. Dead weight needs to be dropped, some more players picked up. Let's do this!
Vamos United!
Welcome back Curt!

Posted by: DadRyan | December 28, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

BTW, can't wait to welcome Nowak back to the league next year.

Posted by: Matte | December 28, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Coaching career
After retiring, Onalfo continued to work with youth soccer in training, coaching, and technical director roles, as he had done throughout his playing days - for McLean Youth Soccer in Virginia, various teams in Ridgefield, CT, and for his own company, Curt Onalfo Soccer.

His first managerial job in professional soccer came when he was hired as assistant coach to Thomas Rongen - later replaced by Ray Hudson - at D.C. United, a position he occupied from 2001 through 2002. In the latter year, Onalfo left to become an assistant to Bruce Arena during the 2002-2006 stretch of Arena's tenure as coach of the US national team. In 2005, Onalfo was included among the final three candidates for the top job at the Colorado Rapids, eventually being passed over for Fernando Clavijo.

On November 27, 2006, Onalfo was selected by Peter Vermes, technical director of the Kansas City Wizards, as the new head coach for the team, replacing interim coach Brian Bliss. He has indicated that he will urge an attacking style as a coach for the Wizards,[11] who had finished poorly in their previous season and failed to make the playoffs. Onalfo's skill as a communicator, his natural leadership - as evidenced by his captaincy of several US youth squads - his ability at scouting opponents, and his experience in evaluating talent have been cited as important reasons for his selection.[12]

With the Wizards in sixth place in MLS' Eastern Conference with a 5–6–7 record and coming off a 6–0 road loss to FC Dallas two nights earlier, Onalfo was dismissed on August 3, 2009. He finished with a 27-29-22 record with the ballclub.[13] "Our shareholder group is thankful for Curt Onalfo's service over the last two-and-a-half seasons, but we felt a change needed to be made," Wizards president Robb Heineman said. "We are committed to developing high-performance and consistency around our club."

Posted by: DCU99fan | December 28, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Good for him.

Posted by: sitruc | December 28, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Since you asked (oh, god, did you HAVE to ask?), it's surprising and a little disappointing given the foreign talent available (see http://sports.yahoo.com/mls/news;_ylt=AnavRRPX0SaVf2TjIArHA6ykvrYF?slug=goal_the_targetman_deck&prov=goal&type=lgns ). But I don't think interviewing a fellow anonymous internet windbag would do any more to restore the old prestige.

I hope The Insider will get around to telling us what HE thinks...

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | December 28, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

So, if you read into his coaching bio, he could be just what the doctor ordered. I agree with DadRyan let's get behind this guy and think positive dude!

Posted by: DCU99fan | December 28, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

So many people are down on Onalfo because his time as KC's coach was not particularly successful. This is understandable because it's all we have to go on, but there are plenty of very good coaches who did not succeed at their first gig. A successful coaching stint is not 100% controllable by the coach. The players he is given and injuries play an enormous part, to say the least.

Hell, with 2-3 more impact players we'd all still love Tommy.

I'm going to give Onalfo a chance. He comes from the Black-and-Red family and he is now our coach.

Welcome home, Curt. Vamos United!

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | December 28, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"However, we all forget, he took over a team that was the worst in Major League Soccer after the 2006 season..."—In Defense of Curt Onalfo; http://wvhooligan.com/2009/08/18/in-defense-of-curt-onalfo/

Posted by: Egadman | December 28, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Not the most exciting decision, but I think he'll be an upgrade from Soehn. Either way he has my support and I wish him the best.

Posted by: jva1 | December 28, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Its done so now to reebuild. We need players and a fresh new kit.
Some glue to hold RFK together and more improtantly THE FRONT OFFICE to not #$@% up.

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | December 28, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

A disappointing outcome to the coaching search, but we will support him to the hilt and hope for the best.

Posted by: DCUSince96 | December 28, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Meh. I've got no strong feelings either way. We're all part of Onalfo's army, etc. etc.

Posted by: Senor_Funk | December 28, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Now its time for Kevin Payne and Dave Kasper to step up and get better talent, so Curt Onalfo and DC United can have a successful team in 2010.

Posted by: lgsrtraub | December 28, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't really undestand the level of vitriol against Onalfo. True, he didn't exactly shine with KC, but getting them to .500 was no small feat either. He wasn't my first choice (nor United's, obviously), but he's far from my last. He's got the DC pedigree and experience with Bruce, and he's got some MLS head coaching experience under his belt so he won't be learning on the fly. I say as DCU faithful, we quit whining and get behind our new coach. Buck up, people.

Posted by: RIP-21 | December 28, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

He's our manager now - and until he loses our faith, we should give the man his chance to either win or lose the supporters.

As in everything in life, perhaps Curt didn't really have the chemistry in Blue or perhaps despite the cost of living argument, playing at Community America Ballpark wasn't the right environment for the teams he was trying to build.

Now that we have lost Benny, hired a new manager, are getting ready for a draft and a new uniform in 2010.......

....stadium news?

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | December 28, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Welcome home Curt!

Posted by: wilson7 | December 28, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm tired of MLS teams constantly recycling the same crappy coaches.

I'll be surprised if he lasts more than 2 seasons, and won't be surprised if he's sacked mid-season.

Posted by: alecw81 | December 28, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Onalfo: "I fully intend to help bring D.C. its fifth MLS Cup.” That sets the tone and clarifies the objective. No lowballing expectations, a la "this is a time for rebuilding." Good for Curt.

Posted by: dccal | December 28, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a good hire when they didn't get their first choice. The biggest help for United will come the league starts playing the players a decent wage.

Posted by: ctsmithjr26 | December 28, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he will bring in EJ?

Posted by: DCUNITEDTRAVERS | December 28, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Our descent into mediocrity continues unabated.

Posted by: fret44 | December 28, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do. As I've said consistently, I don't think that we as fans are in the best position to make this kind of call or have too much of an opinion on things one way or the other, simply because there is too much going on behind the scenes that can factor into the decision. Players, of course, we can see more plainly, but coaching is a different animal.

I'm not thrilled by the decision, but I am without question excited about next season and thoroughly relieved to have a decision made. Now we can move on to signing talent and prepping for next season.

Incidentally, would anyone else be in favor of some kind of "fresh start" supporter-based campaign where we try to get the club to stop resting on the laurels of past glory? I'm thinking signs: "DC United Has Never Won MLS Cup" - "Fill Our Empty Trophy Case!" - maybe those of us with stars on our jerseys putting black duct tape over them for the season, etc.? Might be an interesting thing, and now is the time to do it with a new coach. I remember one time playing baseball and getting destroyed by 9-10 runs in the 4th inning, our coach pulled us over and said "It's a new game, the score is 0-0, go win it," and we did. Maybe a similar psychological trick could do this team some good!

Posted by: VercengetorixII | December 28, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

KC's fortunes took a dip last year, but Onalfo did a really good job is first 2 years there. I would say he's a pretty decent coach. What will make or break the team is not he coach, though. The question is what Kasper does to fill in the holes of an aging roster. If they bring Onalfo the right players, he will win.

Posted by: fischy | December 28, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I can't say that I'm blown away by his record at KC, but there were plenty of other variables in that mix. Let's see what he can do here. Clean slate.

Welcome Curt! Glad to have you with us!

Posted by: -rke- | December 28, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Typo corrected post:

KC's fortunes took a dip last year, but Onalfo did a really good job his first 2 years there. I would say he's a pretty decent coach. What will make or break the team is not the coach, though. The question is what GM Kasper does to fill in the holes of an aging roster. If they bring Onalfo the right players, he will win.

Posted by: fischy | December 28, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

There's a link to the Insider now on the main WaPo page, but it has Onalfo's name spelled as "Kurt." (Maybe there's another Onalfo no one knows about, and HE's the new DCU coach?)

Good luck next year, get after it and give me good soccer to watch. :)

Posted by: SportzNut21 | December 28, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I have one simple request of the Payne/Kasper/Onalfo brain trust:

Pay attention to the speed of players in the 50 yard dash. Have them run 10 miles then test them again in the 50. Anticipate where the rest of the league is on this. Then get at least a couple solid players who kick a$$.

Payne loves to say how much he creams over flowing attacking soccer, but you'd never guess that by the speed of the players he hires.

I know speed isn't everything. But with a central core of Olsen, Gomez, Emilio and Moreno, we looked more like a pick up team from Sunrise Assisted Living than to a exciting, flowing professional team.

What, they never kept data on Jaime over the years? Come on FO, you know the game is over when the gas tank reads "E."



Posted by: dsheon1 | December 28, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Payne + Onalfo = fail, again.

Posted by: benonthehill | December 28, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"Our descent into mediocrity continues unabated.

Posted by: fret44 | December 28, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse"

I think this is more or less the root of folks' displeasure with Onalfo. We have a superiority complex. For years, we and most of the rest of the MLS fan bloc have considered DC United as the class of the league. This hiring of a coach with a losing MLS record, and the manner in which it unfolded clearly shows we are not what we once were, and that's hard to accept.

Posted by: mrchuckles | December 28, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I think this has potential. As a former player, I remember respecting Onalfo and appreciating his style while he was at KC. Good managers have a certain something about them and I sense that in Onalfo. Now, he didn't get the best results with KC, but that team is crap and has been for some time. I think Onalfo can excel at United and am excited to move on to the season.

Now, can we focus on upgrading our roster?

Posted by: FAkeemail9875 | December 28, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm starting to hate American soccer fans. They are becoming like talk radio idiots, whining about everything.

Posted by: Reignking | December 28, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm not thrilled.

However, given that over the last couple years this team has whiffed on and off the field (playoffs and stadium, twice each), maybe expectations (of fans like me) are a little high for the reality of the situation.

Having said that, he's the coach and DCU is my team, so good luck Coach O. and go, United!

Posted by: CDRHoek | December 28, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm starting to hate American soccer fans. They are becoming like talk radio idiots, whining about everything.

Posted by: Reignking | December 28, 2009 1:52 PM

+++++++++++++++++++

Quoted for truth

Posted by: JkR- | December 28, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse


CDRHoek: "good luck Coach O." +1.

Now, somebody remind me: Who, during the Soehn wars, came up with the epic Soccer Insider line "Fuego el Coacho!"??

Posted by: dccal | December 28, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Well I'll give him a chance. Vamos United

Posted by: Ivanovich84 | December 28, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"I'm starting to hate American soccer fans. They are becoming like talk radio idiots, whining about everything.

Posted by: Reignking"

As opposed to Euro fans who think you're the next coming the week you win, and absolute rubbish 7 days later when you lose? Sports fans on either side of the pond aren't all that different.

Posted by: freeholdsouth | December 28, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!
This is a sideways move by United,
Onalfo had his moments @ KC but ultimately he is of similar or lesser quality than Soehn. Also United are burdened with old slow guys now and really need to re load w/ some quality like the classic United teams of the late 90's!!!!

Posted by: phatmusic | December 28, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

"I'm starting to hate American soccer fans. They are becoming like talk radio idiots, whining about everything.

Posted by: Reignking"

As opposed to Euro fans who

Posted by: freeholdsouth

No, as opposed to the level-headed discussion that used to be more prevalent.

Posted by: Reignking | December 28, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

OT: Garber is apparently no longer on the USOC headunters' radar:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/26/AR2009122601519.html

Posted by: universityandpark | December 28, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Make that "headhunters".

Posted by: universityandpark | December 28, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

As a United fan, I'll support Onalfo, but what I really hoped for was something better. I'm extremely annoyed that DC United & MLS keep picking from the same select group of recycled head coaches...other team's cast-offs. I suspect the FO put all their eggs in one basket, assuming Caleb Porter would accept a position if offered. Then they got stuck when they couldn't find anyone else, and found Onalfo sitting in the unemployment line. Bottom line: this selection does NOT make me more excited about next season, if anything it's let out some of the wind from my sails.

Posted by: ericruenes | December 28, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Now... make a list of three players to keep. Then get rid of the rest of them and rebuild.

Posted by: Ron16 | December 28, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Not exactly an inspiring choice IMO. Who knows maybe he'll work out OK. However, I doubt Bruce Boudreau is going to be rivaled by Curt Onalfo for best coach in town.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | December 28, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Wow the guy has been coach less then 2 hours and he has caught more grief from the Insider Cabal then Soehn did in 2 years. Go figure.

Ok so not the sexiest hiring but a good solid one, welcome back to the family Curt. Go-Go Onalfo. Vamos United.

Posted by: SoehntheExit | December 28, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

@Reignking -- "I'm starting to hate American soccer fans. They are becoming like talk radio idiots, whining about everything."

Even worse are those whiners who whine superiorly about the whining of others.

Posted by: fret44 | December 28, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

So he's coming from the Wizards. I didn't even know that he was hired after Eddie Jordan and before Flip Saunders. Basketball and soccer do have some of the same principles, so I guess he'll do okay.

Posted by: bkhoward | December 28, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Let's be honest, anything is better than Tom Soehn. I loved to boo that guy. Who will I boo now??? He's a horrible coach and I hope that Chicago enjoys him.

Posted by: pmtthree | December 28, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

It seems like the number one requisite for coaching at DC United is a willingness to be subservient in all things to Kevin Payne. Had Payne hired a tough established coach, say a Bruce Arena - his yes-man general manager Kasper would have been out of a job and he might have had to relinquish the decision making on players that has led United into this dark hole over the past several seasons. Who better for the job than a young college coach with no professional experience – but one wise enough not to jump ship for this job. So now we get a retread – a very nice guy but one who will be thankful for the job and will take what he is given without making waves as he did in Kansas City.

Posted by: congguy | December 28, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm more enthusiastic about signing Castillo than signing Onalfo . . . ah well, gotta go lace up for my Sunrise Assisted Living pickup game.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | December 28, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Good fit. DC does not have to play in the CCL this year nor Superliga - which should benefit the team very much (traveling and injuries). The fluency of spanish is also a positive for Onalfo. I mean seriously, the man did average with the WIZARDS...

I like how the man just nodded his head yes for the position and people starting to complain already. Vamos United!

Posted by: ManOfLaMancha | December 28, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

So the whininess comes from the few DCU fans who see the team as some sort of special shining beacon in MLS, the American counterpart of Barcelona, Man U, etc.

The days when that was even a partial truth ended more than a decade ago. United provided the blueprint for marketing soccer, with passionate fans and a neo-traditional identity.

Nowadays, DCU is a better than average team, drawing better than average total crowds with better than average passion, in an oddball league that tends towards the mediocre. Hell, even bad teams get hit by the salary cap... DC isn't even special in that regard.

Stop thinking you're special and give Onalfo a shot. He's nobody's yes man, he's really smart, and he knows how to work with American players.

I'll go out on a limb here and predict he'll get you guys into the playoffs, which would be a massive improvement from the last couple years. Right now, you should be satisfied with that, because 1996 to 1999 ain't coming back.

Posted by: Mastodon_Juan | December 28, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back Coach. Good luck and do us proud.

Posted by: Kosh2 | December 28, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Good luck Curt, but if you come out on day one with a 3-5-2 and starting Jaime and Christian I'll be the first person call for you to be fired. Go United.

Posted by: emjay613 | December 28, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

btw: headline on the front page says "kurt".

Posted by: PindarPushkin | December 28, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

OK. The goals for this year are the MLS playoffs and the USOC. So far, the team is pretty much the same, absent Benny. But Castillo seems really good - on youtube anyway. Without the CCL and Stuporliga, this should be a season of hope.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 28, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm really disappointed....at the "quality" of analysis by many posters on this issue. It kind of boils down to: he didn't make the playoffs with KC so that means he's Soehn 2.0. What crap.

I've stated publicly that I don't know for sure why Onalfo didn't get it done with KC so I can't say with great confidence "yep, he'll be the second coming of Peter Nowak with us--we'll win early and often with the Curt-Meister at the helm!". I truly admit I don't know for sure.

But here are some things I do know for sure:

1. DCU, under Peter Nowak our first year, was one of the worst teams in the league, with a losing record at mid-season....until we added Christian Gomez. Yeah, we hustled, some young talent (Eskandarian, Carroll) had emerged, you had to like how we looked on the field, Moreno was having an MVP season. But we still lost more than we tied or won. Until we added the right piece. If we don't add Gomez (and the front office wasn't flexible enough to go with the loan deal first--b/c Gomez wouldn't agree to an outright purchase until he'd tried us out for a year), then we don't make the playoffs that first year and Peter Nowak's history is a whole different story. I loved Nowak and how he operated from day one. But don't confuse being a good coach with winning.

Case in point: When EJ was at KC, Onalfo won and got a lot out of EJ. When EJ left, the team struggled to replace him and never succeeded (Lopez was supposed to be the replacement--instead he turned out to be a quasi-playmaker).

2. On a lot of other things, developing young talent, growing Americans, building a program, drafting wisely, scouting opposition and being tactically astute, Onalfo has a very good reputation. That's not on paper folks, that's based on what he's done and what others in the league say about him.

3. On paper, he's got an impressive resume. And when Rongen left, Payne was pretty upfront--the only reason Onalfo wasn't given serious consideration for the head coaching job was his combination of youth and lack of head man experience--he had otherwise impressed everyone else on the team with how he operated in an interim fashion, running practices, interaction with management and other coaches.

Maybe he'll work out, maybe he'll won't. But I want to hear someone offer some real analysis about why he was a "failure" at KC other than referring to the W-L record. B/c by that standard, if we'd had the chance in 2008-9 we would not have hired Bruce Arena to replace Tom Soehn: we'd have concluded that based on his WC performance and year with the NYRB, Bruce Arena was past it and a failure.

Posted by: JoeW1 | December 28, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Man, give the guy a chance! I wouldn't use Kansas City as a yardstick in anything other than maybe BBQ.

Welcome back, Curt. May you have much success!

Tchaka
UVa T&F '90

Posted by: 1fasthoo | December 28, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

My first bar for Onalfo to clear - beat Philly in the opener. Fans will be traveling en masse to the Linc, and they won't take kindly to getting beat by an expansion club... We could lose every other away game, as long as we beat Philly. What can I say - after the last two years, my standards have fallen...

Posted by: dcbird | December 28, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Hard to tell the difference between Big Soccer and Soccer Insider today.

Enjoy the rest of your vacation Goff, but please come home SOON!!!

Posted by: DadRyan | December 28, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey, for those who wanted DC United to hire a foreign coach, they did. Onalfo was born in São Paulo, so there you are.

Posted by: seahawkdad | December 28, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

dcbird, first game is at KC.

Posted by: Reignking | December 28, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what Onalfo sees when he looks at the roster - where is he most worried? where does he feel overstocked? How does he see the team lining up? I'm assuming Goff will be interviewing Curt when they both get to town, and am looking forward to it.

I'm with the majority here - not doing backflips, but not worried either. He's a fully capable coach - let's see how year one goes. He's also pretty young, so I expect has plenty of room to improve, too.

I think step one is sorting out the defense so we can quit being in the bottom 2 or 3 GA teams.

Time to order the season tickets and start focusing on the new season.

Posted by: eadc | December 28, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Let's see if he's got any balls!

He was a defender, so our back line should be beastly hard after he's done grooming it.

Posted by: the_lizard1000 | December 28, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

As a coach, Onalfo clearly falls within "normal limits," as the doctors like to say. Experience as a player and as a coach. Some success at KC. DCU could have done worse; remember Ray Hudson?

At the same time, the team's announcement reminds us that the front office continues to live in an alternative universe. If, in fact, Payne and Kasper hired Onalfo because he was "committed to the team's tradition of attacking soccer", they, once again, are demonstrating that they know little or nothing about building a winning soccer team. Style frankly doesn't matter; results do. Moreover, DCU has not played "attacking soccer" for some time. Rather DCU has played a cautious, slow style suited to the diminished physical abilities of Jaime and company. If anything, DCU's style has resembled basketball's stall-slow the pace, shorten the game and try to steal a goal, and then hang on for the win. Hardly a tradition worth maintaining.

Posted by: Jphubba | December 28, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

JoeW1: Putting fools in their place so I don't have to.

Posted by: spidergoose | December 28, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Can't believe I'm about to say this, but well said Mastodon!! :-)

Posted by: torrey151 | December 28, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I've said my piece here several times. It doesn't really matter now, and I hope I have simply underestimated Onalfo. Perhaps there were issues behind the scenes that prevented Onalfo's Wizards from becoming more than an also-ran.

On the plus side, we have a young, Spanish-speaking, attack-minded coach that doesn't stand pat with the same team when things are not working. He's got a past history with the club, and the national team. It seems safe to assume he will continue improving as a coach.

We also have, in my opinion, 7 players that would be quality contributors on the roster of a true contender (Namoff, Jakovic, Quaranta, Simms, Wallace, Moreno, and Pontius). We also have some young players that have the tools to join that group (James, Szetela). Castillo, if his play with El Salvador is closer to the rule than the exception, will also be in that group. There is plenty of work to do, but given some smart moves (dropping the salaries of Emilio, Gomez, and Fred, and finding quality starters at keeper and center back) we could be a team with real hope of winning things.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | December 28, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

While speaking Spanish is always an asset, I don't think it will greatly improve Onalfo's coaching skills. DC has won the MLS Cup with coaches who speak English, Dutch, Polish, and German (Novak). And all those teams had Latino players. Don't the coaches and players in Euro leagues have to be football-fluent in the host nation's language?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 28, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

A hearty welcome back to DC United, Curt! Looking forward to see how you will help the team.
Curt does indeed deserve the benefit of the doubt in a league (like other leagues) where tenure is short-lived. I believe he can make the team reach the playoffs again.
Success? If RSL can win the Cup (by doing what they had to do) then all is possible.
Many posters have already listed the areas where the team needs work. And as others, I plan to do my part and give DC United my fervent support.
"Tenemos que ganar!"

Posted by: DCU98_BestEver | December 28, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Welcome Curt............

Aguante United!

Posted by: francisco_11 | December 28, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Solid! Good job DC United. Curt Onalfo will be great! Thank god Richie Williams was not the choice. Onalfo will have us back in the playoffs this year.

Posted by: alan19 | December 28, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who beats cancer and returns as a player, can stand up to the "pressure" of being a coach. Good luck, Curt. Welcome back.

Posted by: griffin1108 | December 28, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Good move by United to bring in someone familiar with MLS's idiocyncrasies, american players and with a strong background as a former USMNT assistant and MLS head coach. I seem to recall that in Onalfo's first year in KC he was touted as an up an coming coach who garnered alot of respect from players. For those complaining about recycling of coaches in MLS, look at other bigger leagues and you will find that is the norm rather than the exception. I am looking forward to how he uses our talent tactically. At least he will won't have to deal with an impossibly congested schedule this year and can focus on getting MLS results.

Posted by: sbg1 | December 28, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

89 days until Unied's first league match!

Posted by: Curious99 | December 28, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

And welcome back Curt!

Now that we know who will coach, we can focus on other fun topics:

1) the collective bargaining agreement;
2) the draft;
3) training camp;
4) the development of DadRyan's kid;
5) designated players -- coming and going; and
6) a stadium.

And lets not forget South Africa.

More than enough to keep us going for the rest of the off season.

Posted by: Curious99 | December 28, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Curt.

I'm happy.Let's roll!!

Vamos United!!!

Posted by: Smitty68 | December 28, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

I think JoeW1 and Chest make good points. I still detest Kansas City's play, but I'll try to be positive until I see some more... will be interested on draft day.

However, if you see people complaining about a coaching decision destroying the glory of how the Club Used to be, DON't complain about those people on that same message board because of how THIS message board used to be. The second is, in fact, far more idiotic.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | December 28, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

i defintely think we could have done better but is there a stat that shows non-mls talent has done better in the coaching department? Arena, Rongen, Bradley, Nowak, Sigi Schimdt, Kinnear are all MLS guys pretty at least these are names I recall right off the bat. But I have to say that it is not the most important problem, I just hope the team(playes) respond positively and that the coach actually has a plan.

Secondly, I know the Onalfo has ties to the area and knows a bit about local talent and he has a understanding of Latin Players. Hopefully these are all positives he brings. Losing Olsen already means we lose a lot in the leasdership department, front office hasn't made the right moves with foreign talent (Kudos on the draft though) and no Stadium either so the coaching situation is not the worst thing right now.

Posted by: godpere | December 29, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Not sure if this has been said, too tired to read the other comments. But I feel like Benny has a better chance of being on the sidelines with Onalfo than most other coaches out there. That gives me some comfort in this decision. This is an underachieving team, maybe all they need is a different leader to help them succeed. Something tells me Soehn was a cancer in the locker room. I'm all for change and I think this could be good!

Posted by: kris77 | December 29, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

I don't think we should be complaining about the quality of the posting at all. Any board is going to have differences of opinion. On the contrary, I think it's great that so many people are showing an interest in the sport. It shows real progress and is a blessing as far as I'm concerned whether I agree with everybody or not.

As far as Onalfo is concerned, the bottom line is that the jury is out on this decision. He may prove to be another Belichick or he may prove to be another Dennis Erickson. We'll see.

One thing I do find troubling with DCU is I fail to see a clear sense of direction with this franchise right now. I wish I felt this franchise was going forward with a clear plan like the Capitals but I sense that this team moving more and more in the direction of the other three floundering franchises in town.

Posted by: croftonpost | December 29, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse

I think the management has got their head up heir ass. They want a coach that agrees with their "culture". Come on. Get the best players you can and play in a style that suits them. With salary caps and limited budgets it's silly limit yourself to players and coaches that "fit your vision" for soccer in the US.

Posted by: satchwinston | December 29, 2009 4:50 AM | Report abuse

re: "They want a coach that agrees with their "culture". Come on. Get the best players you can and play in a style that suits them. With salary caps and limited budgets it's silly limit yourself to players and coaches that "fit your vision" for soccer in the US."

Posted by: satchwinston | December 29, 2009 4:50 AM

Wrong. DC United has a culture and philosophy of playing attractive, attacking soccer. The front office is satisifed that Onalfo understands that. That has to be the starting point. I don't want some coach in here who is going to pack 11 guys behind the ball, or in other ways just plays bland soccer. MLS has too much of that, making to much of MLS soccer just wretched to watch.

Posted by: Ron16 | December 29, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Vamos United!!! Not a real 'sexy' pick but it is the pick we picked.

Hey Barca, watch out for DC United. This is the first step to the World Club Cup Championship.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | December 29, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

2010 MLS Cup Champs:
United 7 NY Pink Cows 1.

2010 US Open Cup Champs:
United 3 Charleston Battery 1.

2011 CONCACAF Champs:
United 3 Joe-Blow-Tech 1 on agg.

2012 World Club Cup Champs:
United 2 Sherrif 0 in extra time.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | December 29, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Onalfo's statement if Goff's story gives me pause: "It's a solid team, not a team that needs an absolute overhaul. There is something to build on, but having said that, we have a lot of work to do."

DCU is not a solid team. It falls short in goal, across the back line, in central midfield and up front. These are the very areas that need to be solid if a team is to succeed.

If Onalfo believes DCU is solid, we should worry about the future.

Nevertheless, I wish him luck. With Payne behind him, he'll need it.

Posted by: runningcloud | December 29, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Adu sent back to Benfica by the new Belenenses coach.

Posted by: Reignking | December 29, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Come on runningcloud, did you expect him to come in and say anything different in his first telephone interview with Goff? There are many gaps needed to be filled, but after watching the difficulty United has had in every meeting vs KC in the last couple season's I'd wager Onalfo is plenty aware of these gaps and instead of exploiting them, he'll now be employed to fill em'. I'm glad the club has found a coach who can put the stadium troubles, and general malaise aside and focus on the core of young talent on the team and build on it.

Posted by: DadRyan | December 29, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Adu needs to quite the twattering. It's really not helping the guy. Doesn't he have any ACTUAL friends he can vent to?

Anyways, I think I've be banned from SBI.

Posted by: DadRyan | December 29, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

quit the

Posted by: DadRyan | December 29, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

A thoroughly uninspired choice...but I'm happy that we now have a coach - especially before the combine/draft next month. Let’s see what roster moves Onalfo makes before we start throwing the 2010 season into the toilet. Good luck coach, I think you’re gonna need some!

Posted by: soccerman | December 29, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

One thing people might overlook about Onalfo is his ability to recognize talent. He's picked up some very good draftees while at KC: Michael Harrington, Roger Espinoza and Graham Zusi. Espinoza today is a regular selection for the Catrachos.

Sure DCU didn't do badly last year with the draft (Pontius, Wallce) but have people forgotten the wasted picks through the previous drafts? Van Sicklen ...

Posted by: Charisma_Man | December 29, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Come home, Freddy?

I think he should come back to MLS and get some playing time. He's still got lots of potential but the European experience seems to be hurting more than helping unless he's just there for the money.

http://www.record.pt/noticia.aspx?id=06169e33-2c98-4835-840d-611e83860227&idCanal=00000027-0000-0000-0000-000000000027

http://www.soccerbyives.net/soccer_by_ives/2009/12/report-adu-booted-by-belenenses.html

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | December 29, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Onalfo does bring attack minded soccer; KC were playing pretty entertaining brand of soccer until their collapse past the mid-way point this season. They even were able to sign Marinelli last year but he couldn't adapt in time for them to be sucessful.

Posted by: Charisma_Man | December 29, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

First, welcome back Curt. Bet you never had access to this many armchair GMs in KC :) No shortage of passion here. Hope you will consider posting once in a while.

Second,I agree with this post by Croftonpost:

One thing I do find troubling with DCU is I fail to see a clear sense of direction with this franchise right now. I wish I felt this franchise was going forward with a clear plan like the Capitals but I sense that this team moving more and more in the direction of the other three floundering franchises in town.
___________

My hope is that, rather than floundering, DCU has been doing things in order, and waiting for the new coach before making decisions. Letting the new coach help shape the vision that the team needs. That would be a positive. Time will tell.

Vamos United!

Posted by: regularfan | December 29, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Mark my words: DC United will never win the CONCACAF Champions League with Onalfo in charge.

Worst. Hire. Ever.

Posted by: doctortechie | December 29, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Mark my words: DC United will never win the CONCACAF Champions League with Onalfo in charge.

Worst. Hire. Ever.

Posted by: doctortechie | December 29, 2009 11:47 AM

Mark my words: DC United will never win the CONCACAF Champions League.

Thx,

Jay!

Posted by: jayrockers | December 29, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

So Adu could be coming back to MLS, and guess who holds the number 1 slot in the allocation order...

That's right, Peter Nowak and the Philidelphia Union.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | December 29, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm willing to give the new coach a chance... That said I also thubkthat all you negative fans should become redbulls fans!!! DCU doesn't need fans like you in the stands!!!
Vamos United!!

Posted by: ThE-BaRRa-BrAvA-KiD | December 29, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@JacobfromAtlanta-ish:

Thanks for making the point about Adu. Gave me a smile.

Posted by: Matte | December 29, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

The best soccer club in the US just hired a cast off from another club? WTF?

Posted by: TheSuperhoo | December 29, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

The attacks on and fears of Onalfo are really kind silly. It seems to me they are based on one thing only: that he was the coach in KC, and no one has ever really taken KC very seriously.

Of course, Onalfo did pretty well there -- took a team that hadn't been to the playoffs the prior 2 years (sounds like a team we know well), and put them in the playoffs his first two years. Yeah, they kinda sucked last year, but that wasn't all his fault --- and even good teams and good coaches have years where everything just goes wrong.

As for his style of play, I'm pretty sure the critiques come mostly from people who really don't know much about KC's play. Even the more sophisticated analyses probably overlook a really salient detail: KC's home stadium is really a baseball field.

Because of the pitching mound, KC is forced to play on a pitch that looks about as wide as some indoor fields, or junior rec league fields. As DCU discovers every time they travel there, you can't play possession-based attacking soccer because the midfield is all jammed up. It's just not wide enough to pass through the middle. It forces you to play a different game. His tactics with DCU will surely be different than they were with KC.

I like Onalfo's background. He seems well-prepared for the position. I doubt that DCU could have signed anyone better prepared. Will there be struggles? Take a look at the roster. Of course, there will be struggles. I'm not prepared to blame those on the coach just yet.

Posted by: fischy | December 29, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

portuguese press reports that belenenses is casting off salaries. the other player being returned to his club is a brazilian on loan from sevilla.

belenenses is already dead last in the league. not sure now is the time to be penny wise...

Posted by: troy6 | December 29, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe people are complaining that he was a "cast-off." By that standard, we wouldn't offer the job to Bruce Arena if he had an "out" with the LAG? We wouldn't have hired Frank Yallop?

I think Onalfo's comments were good at his hiring. Of course you don't want him to come in and say "we're cleaning house--everyone's job is in danger!" But Onalfo isn't a guy to tolerate crap or lazy behavior either--he's the guy who sent Santino Quaranta home from practice one day (when he was commuting from Baltimore).

Because he was a defender in MLS doesn't mean we'll play great defense--otherwise we'd have done so under Tom Soehn. And frankly, I read Payne's comments about attacking soccer as being perhaps a slight jab at Soehn (who at one point seemed to imply towards the end of the season/post season that part of the problem with DCU was the willingness to attack and instead we'd be better served by defending first and maybe just seeking to counter). I could have that wrong but my take is that Payne was trying to subtly say "there are some good coaches out there but we want one who will commit to attacking".

Again, maybe Onalfo will work out, maybe he won't. On paper he's a great choice. Maybe we'll find out he was terrible at man management with KC or his tactics and gameplans were too unrealistic or he can't coach to his players well--I don't know. What I do know was:
--when he was an assistant here at DCU, he was incredibly well regarded by staff and players.
--Arena is a good coach and Arena thinks highly of him.
--Organizationally and in-terms of a program, he got great reviews in KC.
--He always seemed to have our number when he was at KC, coming up with game approaches that surprised us (which to me reflects scouting and tactics).
--He got the best out of EJ (which is a real statement).

My personal guess on this is that he (Onalfo) did the best in a lousy situation, they never did find a true finisher (which can doom even the best of teams) and he had philosophical differences with the ownership and GM which cost him his job. Otherwise, he had one bad 1/2 season of soccer (last summer) and two playoff berths--with a team that has to be difficult to recruit for, was initially aging and had a lot of talent turnover while coming off a terrible season (when he inherited them).

Posted by: JoeW1 | December 29, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I am absolutly against this hire.
Prepare for at least one more season of mediocore soccer and prob no playoffs, probably two.
The only thing Onalfo has going for him that Sohen never did will be a much more managable fixture list. No super liga or concacaf champs league will ease the burden on the team and the coach. I think the team will see an upswing in results next season due mainly to that. Lets keep that in mind when evaluating at the end of the season, because I think no matter who coached the team this year they were looking at 2-4 more results due to a less congested schedule. That might be just enough to make the playoffs come to think of it, so maybe not all doom and gloom. A safe choice from a team that is looking for something to hang their hats on this year. Well at least he his a DCU alum worked with Arena.

Posted by: jjfooty | December 29, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Sooo, wait a second jjfooty, what's your final answer? :)

Posted by: DadRyan | December 29, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

@JoeW1: Really interesting point about Soehn and defending. You'll recall our last home game against Columbus, when we were up 1-0 at the half. Soehn came out in the second half and basically had the guys bunker to preserve the lead. It worked. It also (to judge by the comments made in the stands in the second half near where I was sitting) drove people crazy. They couldn't figure out what happened to our attack! It was a just little more than a week after that (after the tie at KC that ended the season) that Payne mouthed off about attacking soccer and unwatchable MLS games to Goff and got fined. I wondered then if he was also responding to the second half of the Columbus game and Soehn's decision to bunker. Sounds like that might have been an issue.

Posted by: dccal | December 29, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

UCLA complaining about the field after the half.

Posted by: Reignking | December 29, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

What were they complaining about? Soccer Lines?

Posted by: DadRyan | December 29, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Condition of it.

Posted by: Reignking | December 29, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

What was wrong with it? I mean they screwed it up last year, it's not even their field... maybe the DC SEC will listen to the complaints of lousy college football teams and replace the pitch...

Posted by: DadRyan | December 30, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

From what I understand, the fact that it was frozen.

So, when United finally gets that field built, some sort of heating system goes in.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | December 30, 2009 12:58 AM | Report abuse

From what I understand, the fact that it was frozen.

So, when United finally gets that field built, some sort of heating system goes in.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | December 30, 2009 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Reports say Gus Hiddink has agreed to become the new coach of Juventus. How did DC United let him get away???? I bet he was waiting for the DC job. Now that it's been given to Onalfo, Hiddink signs to coach Juventus. Obviously a major screw up by the DC front office..... I bet Kasper and Payne didn't even bother to contact Mark Hughes about the opening....What were they thinking???

Posted by: fischy | December 30, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse

87 days until United's first match!

Posted by: Curious99 | December 30, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

5 days until Steve returns

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 30, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

"5 days until Steve returns

Posted by: I-270Exit1"

Or at least until the Post axes their entire sports department and our beloved Goff is left... where? Gee, thanks Post.

Posted by: freeholdsouth | December 30, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

WTF are you talking about freeholdsouth?
Goff's on vacation after working tirelessly for the entire year.

Posted by: DadRyan | December 30, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Figured it out, Steve works for the Washington Post though, not the Times. The news on the Times has been out for nearly a month, so I was confused by your comment...

Posted by: DadRyan | December 30, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

@ I-270 Exit 1:

Nice!

Posted by: Curious99 | December 30, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I forgot to mention Roberto Mancini -- How could DC even consider guys like Porter and Onalfo, when Mancini was available. I'm sure he would have taken the DCU job over Manchester City....right? Now, Mark Hughes is in line to take over Bolton...how'd we miss out on these guys?

Seriously, though, in the real world....Bradley says Gooch should be back in training by March. Hard to imagine him getting into games, but at least he should be physically fit to play when te USA begins its Cup prep....

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/soccer/fifaworldcup/usa/story/2009/12/29/sp-davies-onyewu.html

Posted by: fischy | December 30, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Onalfo was not only the fourth choice (behind Williams, Porter, and Spencer), he was eliminated shortly before Porter stiffed them because Kasper finally, at that late date, did due diligence on Onalfo and learned about negative comments from the KC players. Only after Porter said no did Curt become a candidate again. Curt will not be a bad choice and he'll make a good coach. The only issues are Kasper's ham-handed mismanagement of the entire search process and the question of whether or not Curt will have to put up with Kasper's incompetence and unethical management style. Don't forget: more than any other coach with the possible exception of Sarachan, Curt is a product of the Arena school. No one who moves through that system of tutelage and finds himself on his own will put up with interference from the likes of Kasper.

Posted by: lgm6986 | December 30, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"Onalfo was not only the fourth choice (behind Williams, Porter, and Spencer), he was eliminated shortly before Porter stiffed them because Kasper finally, at that late date, did due diligence on Onalfo and learned about negative comments from the KC players.""

That appears to be a whole lot of speculation.

Posted by: delantero | December 30, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Picked up FIFA 2010.

Wicks looks like an Ethiopian Cab driver.

Plus, the first time I played, Burch let someone walk through him to take a shot on Wicks. No lie, The close up afterwards was of Wicks screaming at Burch.

Posted by: delantero | December 30, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Delantero:

You have no more reason to believe that it is speculation than you have to believe that it is factual. I would agree that you have no less reason to believe as such, but no more reason as well.

Posted by: lgm6986 | December 30, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

re: "Delantero:

You have no more reason to believe that it is speculation than you have to believe that it is factual. I would agree that you have no less reason to believe as such, but no more reason as well.

Posted by: lgm6986 | December 30, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse "

I have it on good authority that the above post is utter gobbledygook.

Posted by: Ron16 | December 30, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: lgm6986

Ain't sayin' it ain't true. Surely Porter was ahead of Onalfo, per Goffinho's reporting, whether or not the others were ahead of Porter may or may not be true. But I don't recall any reports of the other names in the press. For all we know Chest Rockwell was on the short list too.

Posted by: delantero | December 30, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Interesting breaking story from your friend Twitter...


ussoccer U.S. Soccer Board of Directors Votes Unanimously to Not Sanction USL or NASL for Division II Status in 2010 - W/Link... http://bit.ly/4oJXkc

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | December 30, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

"Wicks looks like an Ethiopian Cab driver."

That's funny!

Anyway, as for all the comments about us being whiners or having superiority complexes. Let's just say, the washingtonian fans expect superior teams. We do not accept mediocrity. Plain and simple. It doesn't change the fact that we're fans of the team and it won't stop the fact from us showing up to support our team.

The fact that many of us are a little skeptical about Curts success here is valid. This is a forum for us to express our opinions. And we all know what they say about opinions.....

Does it mean that we're going to stop watching or supporting the team? Hell no.

Again, as I stated earlier, personally, I do think that Curt was the best we could find. Either the FO got ansy and wanted to have a coach soon or all their options were closed. It's obvious that Curt was not their first option.

I remember when he played for DC. He wasn't a great player, but he was a decent player. All I can do is hope for the best, but I'm not expecting it. Who knows, maybe he'll be a huge surprise and bring us the 5th cup.

Posted by: dogboy | December 30, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like it could be 1970s lyrics!:

You have no more reason to believe that it is speculation
Than you have to believe that it is factual.
I would agree that you have no less reason to believe as such
But no more reason as well.

Posted by: lgm6986

--That was Foreigner, wasn't it??


Posted by: fallschurch1 | December 30, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Goff has posted several interesting items on Twitter (link at top of this page), including an update on the future of the WT sports section, and the possibility of a ex-DCU player not named Olsen returning as an assistant coach.

Posted by: universityandpark | December 30, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

A two-part post in the offseason? Really?

fischy:

You bring up a great point about KC's home field. That probably colored a lot of perceptions amongst United fans that only ever saw the Wizards play when they played us.

I agree that the "worst hire ever" crowd is baseless and silly, but I still don't see this move being one that ends with us as a real contender. I'm not kicking and screaming mad, but I am having a hard time getting pumped up for what the evidence available says will be our hot pursuit of 6th place. This move is far from the disaster some are treating it as; I just see it as more of the same.

JoeW1:

I think we disagreed once before on the idea of KC always having the jump on us in the past (if it wasn't you, then it was someone else here). Other than the home opener in 2007, KC's results and Onalfo's tactical battle with Soehn was nothing remarkable. To me, this is a myth that has somehow become accepted as fact.

Soehn's choice to start Simms and Vide in 2008 at RFK left Onalfo flummoxed (something that is often forgotten). In the other games, there were few tactical surprises and little between two run-of-the-mill MLS teams. So, at least to me, this alleged tactical superiority in the Wizards' favor was actually a draw.

He did get the best out of Eddie Johnson...for half a season. After that, though, EJ went back to his usual disinterested, unfocused self. Motivating previously shiftless players is a good quality, but keeping them motivated over a whole season (and subsequent seasons) is much more valuable.

dccal:

I read that game differently. We were simply playing poorly. It wasn't as much a decision to bunker as it was our dreadful late-season form continuing, and Columbus took the game over as a result. Maybe in the last half hour it became more defensive (any coach that sees his team leading but playing terribly would tend to go this way), but at least at first I think the idea was to improve on our execution of our usual gameplan.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | December 30, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

True Story: Lived with an Ethiopian cab driver named Baruk for a couple months when I first moved to Seattle in the mid-nineties... He was doing remodel work on a friend of mines house and he mentioned he had an extra room. He'd buy me beers at 7-11 and ask me to smoke him out... Funny dude. Wonder where in the world that guy is today...

I just got an HDMI cable to hook my 360 to my new HD tv, and boy that's an improvement! As much as I'd love to see Wicks stomping on Montero or yelling at Burch, I think I'm going to hold off for another month to get FIFA10...:)

Posted by: DadRyan | December 30, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

delantero:

FIFA Wicks going after FIFA Burch after the kind of mistake the real Burch would make? Priceless.

Of course, I suppose on the ensuing corner FIFA Wicks had to come for the cross, missed it, and we're down 1-0.

***

Let's take this conversation in a new, somewhat random direction:

What do you think of Julius James? I think he has the potential to become a high-quality center back, but that it will take excellent guidance, lots of extra work from the coaching staff, and proper advice from the veterans around him (specifically Namoff, Simms, and the experienced, reliable keeper that we don't have).

Someone of his athletic ability and bravery needs to be developed properly. A modest jump in his soccer IQ would look even bigger when paired with his speed, strength, and leaping ability. Marvell Wynne is a merely adequate defender, but with his speed it's difficult to take advantage of what holes he gives you. I'd like to see James, at the very least, reach the same kind of status.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | December 30, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

You have no more reason to believe that it is speculation than you have to believe that it is factual. I would agree that you have no less reason to believe as such, but no more reason as well.
Posted by: lgm6986
================

Foreigner lyrics? I thought it was the opening from A Tale of Two Cities. Or is it from The Hobbit? But I digress. Because this is posted on the internet by an anonymous person, I lead towards delantero's point of view.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 30, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Chest Rockwell has done a better job selling me on Julius James than video evidence has done Messi.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | December 30, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

@dadryan
my answer is I have been against hiring Onalfo from the begining, and I still think he is the wrong hire for what this team and its fans expect. I also feel that he will have some success this year due as much to the difference in the teams schedule than to his skill as a coach, or most other coaches for that matter. This could create a false positive of sorts in how we look at the teams results this coming season.
I hope he proves me wrong and the team runs away with the supporters sheild and the cup, but I aint gonna hold my breath.

Posted by: jjfooty | December 30, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

JacobfromAtl-ish:

Right at the end of the season, I was of the opinion we absolutely had to do bring in a veteran who could be as good (in a slightly different way) as Jakovic. That would still be a great move, but in the last couple weeks my stance has softened. Now, given the choice between an all-star keeper or an all-star center back, I think I'd take the keeper (which means banking on James to keep improving, which he did do during his half-season here). I also think I'd take a dangerous playmaker that fits the 442 over this hypothetical center back. It's not that I think James is definitely going to be dynamite next year; it's that I think he's closer to becoming a good player than Wicks, and that our attack would be better off with a quality playmaker over more of a two-way guy like Szetela.

Emilio, Gomez, and Fred leaving would free up like $800K against the cap. With that kind of cash, we should be able to sign 3-5 good players (I assume we will be after another DP to replace Emilio, so it'll probably be just 3 or 4). Dave Kasper has already made one strong move in getting Castillo, but he can't afford to rest on his laurels. As much as we've all argued over Onalfo, I think Kasper's work this offseason will be just as important to whether we get back to where we want to be in 2010.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | December 30, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

FIRST...of the day. WOO-hoo!!!

Posted by: 9Nine9 | December 31, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Happy New Year best wishes to Steve, Paul and everyone responsible for this great soccer resource. Best wishes to all DCU fans and foes alike. Welcome Curt Onalfo, please make my renewed season tic worth the investment :) Here's to a succesful MLS 2010 season with two new stadia. Here's to hoping we in DC can have hope for some good stadium news in the coming year. Buzzard Point!

Posted by: DCB23 | December 31, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Chest,
For what it's worth, I like James. He and Jakovic did not get much PT together last year, if I recall. Given some time, they could be a solid duo.

James will need to calm his propensity for cards though (per MLS 4 in 17 games played, plus he had a red in the T and T WC qualifier, too).

Our priorities have to be striker, and goalie followed by speed on the flanks and a left back (Burch is completely topped out. I mean, a pro soccer player who can ONLY use one foot is an embarrassment).

I'd like to see us pull a Revs move and get a Nyassi type player. IMO we have too many Barklage's, Szetelas, Gomez' and Moreno. All good with the ball, but no jets.

The big question, for me, is what to do with Moreno, Gomez and Fred. Emilio? Thanks for your service, bye bye.

Posted by: delantero | December 31, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I applaud the USSF in forcing the two idiot minor leagues to come together for one league.

Posted by: Reignking | December 31, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

on Sky Sports News, Andy Gray named Brad Friedel his keeper on his "Team of the Decade". nice.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | December 31, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Some FA Cup matches on Saturday and Sunday.

Happy New Year! May it be better than the last.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 31, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

86 days until United's first league match!

Posted by: Curious99 | December 31, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

delantero:

James is, shall we say, overenthusiastic in his tackling. It's one of the things he has to work on, to be sure.

As for our needs, my thinking is that Wallace will be our starting left back. I agree that Burch's time should be up. Both are roughly equal in terms of the mental side of defending, but Wallace is much faster, fits the role more naturally, and has the potential to become a much better left back than Burch will ever be.

I'm not as worried about bringing in a speedy winger as most people, it seems. Given the choice between Quaranta/Castillo or a Nyassi equivalent, I'd take the more skilled guys we already have. MLS has a ton of fast guys with average skill that play pretty one-dimensionally. Nyassi is one of the better versions of this MLS stock character, but it's still going to be tough to integrate that style of straight-ahead, uncomplicated wing play with the rest of the team. Addlery had a similar struggle fitting his approach to forward (which fits a very direct style) to our more indirect possession game. Getting a guy with that kind of speed who also has the skill to match our more technical players will be very hard, since those players tend to be out of MLS's price range.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | December 31, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

which Nyassi are you guys talking about? The chump on the Revs or the Chump on the Flounders? They're both pretty ineffective and are prone to one too many touches. Dribbling into the corners and do NOTHING with it just like Robbie Rogers.

I think Onalfo will have plenty to work with on the wings with Q, Wallace, Castillo, Pontius, Fred(ugh)... We need strikers!!!

Posted by: DadRyan | December 31, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, yeah, I suppose a Nyassi type of player, meaning with his speed and the ability to exploit teams with it, but with the skill and game knowledge of a (insert name). (Where'd Fred da Silva go from the days of the A-League?)

All seem to agree that Castillo is a great addition for the left.

Tino is skilled, but isn't fast enough to beat people to the endline and too often throws his paws up in despair.

The Fred of 2007 may or may not return, even if Fred of 2010 is back on the team.

Pontius is a possibility, but I still think he's more of a forward than a wide mid.

So that leaves Crazy Khumalo, Wallace (probably less offensive than we want), and Shipalane (really, an unknown). The others mids are skilled but not fast.

Posted by: delantero | December 31, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Veron was voted South American player of the year in a poll conducted by a Uruguayan newspaper:

http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/news?slug=goal-estudiantesstarjuansebastia&prov=goal&type=lgns

And, for the first time ever in the EPL, the game yesterday between Portsmouth and Arsenal had no English starters for either team.

http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/news?slug=reu-englandoverseas&prov=reuters&type=lgns

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | December 31, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

1st of 2010! HA!

LONDON (AP)—American forward Eddie Johnson has been loaned from Fulham to the Greek club Aris through June.

Posted by: delantero | January 1, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

85 days until United's first match!

Posted by: Curious99 | January 1, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

on Sky Sports News, Andy Gray named Brad Friedel his keeper on his "Team of the Decade". nice.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | December 31, 2009 12:45 PM |
----------------------------------------------------

For me, he is the top commentator on the sport - at least, in the English language. I also happen to agree with this selection. I've seen a couple of "Decade" selsctions on the BBC site and English newspaers, which picked Shay Given as the 'keeper. Given can be a spectacular shot blocker, but Friedel is the better goalie.

To those who are waiting for Goff's return to get their soccer news: As noted above, Eddie Johnson has been loaned to a Greek league club -- one that's sitting in line for a Europa League placing. There's a report that Freddy Adu may soon follow him. Also, Stuart Holden is still looking for a deal, but he's apparently agreed to go to Burnley for a trial.

Posted by: fischy | January 1, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The DCU signing of Curt Onalfo is not a step back for the club nor would anyone say it is a major step forward. He should be a steady (safe), solid influence & may in time mature in to a top level MLS manager. Granted it would have been great to see K. Payne go out & bring in a manager experienced in collaborating w/the front office to develop a vision for the club that includes an attractive, aggressive, proven style of futbol - that aligns w/MLS talent & available resources. That said that bigger concern today is not Onalfo,it is DCU leaderships inability to get things done of late. On the field the club is in major transition & DCU lacks cornerstone/signature players to build around. There are a few very nice complimentary players but no marquee talent exists on the roster today. As it stands there doesn't seem to be much in the mix right now to address that. In addition DCU still has no Stadium Plan or strategy to move forward and address this issue [2011 Inner Harbor (Balt.) United]. The club has no real infrastructure to leverage when recruiting potential players. There is no indoor training center, no club offices, fitness/rehab facility etc. DCU has fallen way behind other MLS teams in this regard & if you are a player looking at an MLS opportunity & you have choices why would you come to United? Yes the club has won championships in the past but what have you done for me lately is the challenge they face - that Onalfo faces. The question to ask DCU ownership in 2010 is whether or not it is time for a change at the top (K. Payne) & does the President still have the energy, enthusiasm and desire to run a Championship level club. Right now the answer seems to be that is no longer the case. Caleb Porter would have been a huge shot of adrenaline but a short term fix. K. Payne holds the keys to DCU's future & right now its very unclear where the club is headed in the new year. No Stadium, No major signings, no excitment about the new coach... New Year, New decade how about a New Club President!! P.S. Heres hoping Curt Onalfo doesn't adopt the UVA (G.Gelnovatch) 4-5-1 play for PK's approach to attacking soccer; if UVA had played anymore defense in the NCAA Final they would have had all eleven inside the box...disgraceful approach for a final. Go Zips!!

Posted by: Zipfutbol | January 1, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Obituary for a Terps and high school coach:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/30/AR2009123002857.html

The Damned United is playing at a repertory theater in Carlisle:

http://www.carlisletheatre.org/HOH.htm

Finally, a bit OT: Based on a previous thread some days ago, it appears that at least a couple of people are familiar with the British band Steeleye Span. These folks may find this article of interest:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/arts/music/31hart.html

Posted by: universityandpark | January 1, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Devin Barclay has been relegated to kickoff duty in the Rose Bowl.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | January 1, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, Barclay just kicked a short field goal to give Ohio St. a 10-0 lead. The other guy kicked the earlier extra point and was supposedly to going to handle all the kicking except kickoffs.

Never believe Brett Musburger!

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | January 1, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I just noticed that the Iranian satire Offside will be airing on the Sundance Channel several times over the next week, starting with tomorrow at 6:20 a.m. EST.

Posted by: universityandpark | January 1, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Great job, ABC producers for failing to mention the Tampa Bay Rowdies had folded, instead optioning to mention they are the Tampa Bay Mutiny.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | January 1, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Steve - come home now and all will be forgiven. There is no Internet w/out the Goff.

Posted by: glfrazier | January 2, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Guzan just stopped another penalty


His save rate must be like 92%. Ok, that's an exxaggeration, but, still...

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | January 2, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

84 days until United's first match!

Posted by: Curious99 | January 2, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

How long has it been [without Goff] . . . days, weeks, months . . .

Posted by: fallschurch1 | January 2, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Looooong time....

Posted by: redskinsux | January 2, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey, anybody tell Nowak the Philly Union that they might need more than 11 players for a season (& two of them are keepers)?

http://www.philadelphiaunion.com/Content3.aspx?cid=1.10

Posted by: the_lizard1000 | January 2, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Jacob, I think Guzan saved 4 of 5 PKs (1 or 2 might have been a "miss") at some preseason tournament that Villa played in. He has stopped a couple of others during Villa's Cup run or Europa games (the only times he gets to play while backing up Freidel).

His PK save percentage is not 92%, but I think it is better than 50%, which is phenomenal. He was pretty good at them while at Chivas too.

Tomorrow is the day the Prodigal Son (Goff) returns. I am usually more of a reader than a poster so I think we REALLY need some new news to post and read about on SI. This thread died days ago. My hope is that he returns with a wealth of news and info to share so that we can catch up.

Welcome back Goff!

Posted by: Golden_Child | January 3, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Curious, how may days until United' first match?

That should get us another post :-)

Posted by: Golden_Child | January 3, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Leeds just pulled off the big FA Cup upset winning at Old Trafford thanks to a 1st half goal. If you go for such things, Leeds is something like 42 spots behind Man U in the overall league but they didn't look overwhelmed today.

American Mike Grella didn't play but was listed on the subs bench pre-game.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | January 3, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Leeds just pulled off the big FA Cup upset..
Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | January

I watched. It was THRILLING.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | January 3, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Golden_Child, thanks for asking.

83 days until United's first match!

Posted by: Curious99 | January 3, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I love the FA Cup.

Looking forward the The Wolves vs Tranmiere at 1:00PM. Will Hanniman get the start in goal?

Posted by: 9Nine9 | January 3, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Ha ha, on FIFA 10 I just beat the 1st Team Red Bulls with my Reserve United squad 3-1.

They even bite in digital gaming land.

Posted by: delantero | January 3, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

DCU update:
Word is that the DCU front Office is conidering playing several Home matches at Towson University (John Unitas Stadium) to start gauging fan interest in Baltimore market. The other metric is "Will DCU fans travel North to Baltimore for an afternoon and/or evening of MLS soccer". Maryland Stadium Authority is preparing a plan to step up and build a Soccer facility with 18.5K - 21K fan capacity around Inner Harbor. Makes the commute to Philly easier for DCU v. Philly MLS matches...
Baltimore did well last summer hosting international futbol matches so the market has a voice.
Go DCU Go "Hon" & pass a Crab mallet sweetee

Posted by: Zipfutbol | January 3, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

@8Ate8 -- Who is Hanniman?

So, Freddy Adu is twittering again. Claims interest from Hull City. Sounds fanciful. Can't even guess how he could get an EPL work permit. Maybe he's projecting towards next season when Hull will be relegated....

Posted by: fischy | January 3, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Goff must Really like his vacation spot to pass up Johnson and Freddy's renaissance of club interest. This is too much.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | January 3, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Goff must Really like his vacation spot to pass up Johnson and Freddy's renaissance of club interest. This is too much.

Posted by: UnitedDemon
----------------------

Everyone deserves a vacation and certainly Steve deserves a nice, long one, but...where's WaPo's backup? These are pretty significant stories. I've been forced to find other futbol news sources. There are some good ones out there.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | January 3, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

where are these rumors about DCU testing the waters in Maryland coming from Zip? State your sources please.

Posted by: DadRyan | January 3, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

hmm sounds interesting re: Inner Harbor. would be pretty fun to have a train take fans there and back to Union Station. But I would certainly no longer be a season ticket holder.

Posted by: DCB23 | January 3, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

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