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Sunday Kickaround

*D.C. United has narrowed its list of head coaching candidates and, from I've been told, former Kansas City boss Curt Onalfo remains in contention but Richie Williams, the Red Bulls' interim coach, is out. United has approached numerous individuals, ranging from the college ranks to Europe and is apparently hoping to make a decision this week.

*The men's College Cup is set:
Friday's Semifinals in Cary, N.C.
No. 2 Virginia vs. No. 3 Wake Forest, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 1 Akron vs. No. 5 North Carolina, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

For the second straight year, three ACC teams are represented. Appropriately, the semifinals and final will be played in the heart of ACC country. (Last year, they were held in Frisco, Tex.; next year, UC Santa Barbara will host.) Despite the heavy ACC presence, the favorite is Akron (23-0), which will attempt to become the first program since Howard in 1974 to win the national title with a perfect record. The Zips last reached the final four in 1986 and lost to Duke in the final. Virginia, which has registered 11 straight shutouts and is unbeaten in 14 straight after the 3-0 victory over Maryland on Friday, won at Wake during the regular season and beat the Demon Deacons on penalty kicks in the ACC semifinals.

*With Maryland eliminated, goalkeepers coach Rob Vartughian will resume negotiations to join the Philadelphia Union coaching staff. Vartughian, who has spent seven seasons with the Terrapins, worked with Union Coach Peter Nowak on the USA under-23 national team in the build-up to the 2008 Olympics and served as a U-15 national team assistant. Philadelphia's interest in Vartughian has been well known in college circles for several weeks, but when reached to comment last month, he declined to discuss the opportunity publicly until Maryland's season ended.

*The women's championship will be decided today with North Carolina facing unbeaten Stanford (1 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

By Steve Goff  |  December 6, 2009; 12:58 PM ET
Categories:  College Soccer , D.C. United , MLS , Women  
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Um...why exactly has Richie Williams been excluded from the search? All he's ever done in his short stints as coach is be successful...

Plus he has DCU ties. But no, let's give him to Red Bull New York Metro Red Bull Stars of Harrison, New Jersey!

Posted by: kdiff813 | December 6, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

GO ZIPS!!!!!

Posted by: kasdc | December 6, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

@kdiff -- It's pretty clear that Williams would prefer to stay in NY/NJ. If they offered him an assistant's job, I bet he might even be tempted. So, DCU isn't leaving him to NY. He's waiting to hear from them. That might be why he's off the DCU list -- the might not want to wait for NY to make their decision. Pure speculation, but plausible. Or, Williams' stature is working against him, again. Certainly, Onalfo is more impressive physically. Shouldn't matter for a coach, but I bet it does. Or, his interview didn't go well.

Posted by: fischy | December 6, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

In other words, all we know is that Williams is off the list. We don't know if DCU took him off, or if he took himself off.

Posted by: glfrazier | December 6, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Interesting offside call in the Stanford-UNC game. With UNC up one, it appeared Stanford had tied the game on a cross that went through the box and in to the net, as the goalie was frozen. The goalie held her position as a Stanford player tried to get her foot on the pass -- a Stanford player who was ruled offside.

Posted by: fischy | December 6, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Richie to Europe? Becoming a Yank Abroad? That's fantastic -- and he doesn't have to worry about playing time.

Posted by: Reignking | December 6, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

We don't want Curt Onalfo. There is no way he would raise our level of play. Look at Kansas City. Are we really licking our chops for that kind of mediocre play?

Posted by: UnitedDemon | December 6, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

there was some onalfo stuff at the dcu sale yesterday. clearly no demand for it.

I don't know if Vartughian had anything to do with the current GK of the u-15 bracket, but that kid Pina (imagine tilda over the "n") was fantastic each of the last two nights. brazil should have beat us by 3 or 4, but the kid came up big.

Posted by: troy6 | December 6, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

There is some explanation for why so many UNC players wear numbers normally associated with throwball players (47, 76, etc.), but I forget what it is.

Posted by: universityandpark | December 6, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

STrange that DCU would propose to make a decision before the College Cup is even decided.... unless all the top college coaches rebuffed them as well.

Also I assume Williams is under contract in some capacity with NY, meaning DCU is in no position to determine his future there, especially with no firm offer to Williams and no compensation offered to NY.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | December 6, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Godfather_of_Goals -- My understanding is that Williams is at complete liberty to go wherever and do whatever he wants. His contract does not pose any of the obstacles you mention.

And I agree with kdiff813 about Steve maybe saying more about why Williams was taken off the candidate list.

Posted by: fret44 | December 6, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I had a hard time believing that William's past with DCU was going to override any opportunity to continue with the Red Bulls.
The coaching job, stadium situation, and general appearance of having lost their way in DC is not very attractive from a neutral's point of view.

The link to this camera has been posted before, but it doesn't take a long look to recognize the potential here:

Posted by: DadRyan | December 6, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

The Akron coach is being recruited by Notre Dame as Charlie Weis' replacement.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 6, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

What I'm seeing here is that several posters are treating the idea that Williams and others have all turned the job offer down. This assumption is based only on the fact that they're not under consideration for the job.

I know hoping for logically thought-out conclusions on the internet is tilting at a very large windmill, but come on. It's not at all likely that Williams interviewed and didn't impress? Not a single thing has been said about the interviews, save that they happened. It's silly to make conclusions either way.

Moving on, I'm not thrilled that Onalfo is still involved. His KC teams were terribly inconsistent, he failed to address his team's defensive woes, and he was lacking tactically. Sound familiar to anyone? Onalfo looks to me like yet another MLS coach that is, at this stage in his career, a natural assistant put in a positon he's not ready for.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | December 6, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

From what I've been told, Sasho Cirovski is on his way to DC (not much of a trip). He told his GK coach to seriously consider any pro opportunity that is given to him considering Sasho has been leaning towards signing with DC United. Seems like a dream come true!

Posted by: zizou1972 | December 6, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey zizou1972, where did you here that? I haven't seen or heard anything about him as a candidate.

Posted by: Unitedfury | December 6, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Sacho coming to DC would be the best news we've had in years. And I believe it would also mean management has agreed to give him what he wants in terms of a long leash for player acquisition.

I seriously doubt this is happening but would only be happy if Zizou is right.

Posted by: dsheon1 | December 6, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Novak wants Vartughian, and made it known some time ago. I think perhaps some are leaping to the conclusion that Sasha has "released" his assistants because he's becoming the new DCU coach. The one doesn't lead to the other. It's much more likely that Cirovski won't stand in the way if one of his assistants can go to the pros.

Posted by: b18bolo | December 6, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Womens' final was, to me, a let down. Stanford had two pulled out of the net on offside calls, but I don't think one could argue with either of them. Nor can Stanford argue with the red to O'Hara that left them one down.

Maybe a combination of poor weather, Stanford team illness, and two games in 3 days. I think NCAA should re-think the latter. I understand the "final 4" hoopla, the marketing and now the tie-in with the ECNL youth league . . . but they are not putting on their best show in the final.

And this favors UNC year after year. With unlimited subs, they can keep throwing subs at you, high pressure, and they are deeper with athletes than any other college team will be as long as Dorrance is there.

Which is not to say they weren't the far superior team today. They were. Again.

Posted by: OWNTF | December 6, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

It's much more likely that Cirovski won't stand in the way if one of his assistants can go to the pros.

Posted by: b18bolo | December 6, 2009 7:01 PM

Yeah, after all the players he's lost with eligibility remaining over the years, he can certainly cope with losing an assistant coach or two.

Posted by: universityandpark | December 6, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I am glad Richie Williams is off the list. I am sure he will be a coach in MLS at some point, but I just dont see him being good enough to be coach of DC United, nor being able to bring us back to the playoffs next year. I would prefer Onalfo to Williams hands down...

Posted by: alan19 | December 6, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't think we should assume that past performance is the only thing that the DCU front office is using to make their coaching decision. There's probably a lot of discussions that go on during interviews as to what that potential coach would do with our team and what he thinks he could improve. If Onalfo gave better answers than Williams, then I have no problem with Onalfo still being a candidate and Richie being "out". I'll give the front office the benefit of the doubt until we hear more.

It does seem weird to me that Caleb Porter is still one of our top candidates, and that a decision could be announced this week. With Akron still in the College Cup, those two statements don't seem to add up...

Posted by: DCUMD | December 6, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

@alan19: "I would prefer Onalfo to Williams hands down..."

Based upon what?

Posted by: mmathai | December 7, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

@mmathai "Based upon what?"

Onalfo took a dreadful KC team that missed the playoffs two years in a row to the playoffs two years in a row. Mmm. Missing the playoffs two years in a row has a familiar ring doesn't it?

He also turned around Eddie Johnston who at the time had pretty much washed out. That in itself was a huge feat (ask anyone who knows in MLS) and resulted in a pay day for MLS and well as Eddie. You lose your top weapon (along with several other vetern players who were sent packing by the TD Vermes after the first year)and still get your team to the playoffs the next year. Some would say that is impressive.

He also did it with players who were picked for him by TD Peter Vermes. He had no control over that. Funny that KC was around 500 when he was released and PV went 3-6-3 with the players he, PV, selected. Even more revealing is statements made after the season by PV indicating a massive overhaul was needed. In effect, an inditement of player selection on PV's part and a clear indication that maybe Onalfo actually helped that group to overachieve.

Posted by: williamdelaney1 | December 7, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

@williamdelaney1 Just to play devil's advocate though, DC United finished with more points than Kansas City in every season but one that Onalfo was HC. And if Onalfo can be credited for turning around a washed up Eddie Johnson, can't we also credit Soehn for turning around a washed up Santino Quaranta? I agree with you that Onalfo is probably a better coach than Peter Vermes, but it doesn't prove that he's better than anyone else DCU is considering.

My point though isn't to say that Richie Williams or anyone else is a better choice than Curt Onalfo. My point is that I don't see Onalfo as being an upgrade over Tom Soehn. We can do better.

Posted by: DCUMD | December 7, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I am not excited about Onalfo, but I am glad Richie is off the short list. His qualifications, as put forth by his apologists on this board are:

1) He has DC ties.
2) He won a few games as an interim coach in NY.
3) Some knowledgeable posters liked Richie better than other names that were floated for nonspecific, subjective reasons.

That, my friends, is hardly a scintillating resume.

Now, if somehow Onalfo can get dropped, this coach search might start making some progress.

Posted by: Ron16 | December 7, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

williamdelaney1 is correct and insightful in his analysis of Onalfo's work at KC. He basically tookthe bag of rocks Vermes handed him and made somehting out of those guys.MLS should thank him as well for maxing the $$$s they got for Eddie Johnson, who was a head case if ever there was one. He is well known by the players to be a a "players coach," and seriously knows his stuff.
As to any college coach we may be looking at, I think it should be remembered that lots of these guys are "succesful" because they are good recruiters and have COMPLETE control of their programs. That is not going to be the case here. MLS experience is absolutely essential for a coach to be successful here and I for one would be right pleased to have Onalfo leading this team.

Posted by: Ruthie1 | December 7, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

UEFA Champions League

Posted by: bgfgf402 | December 8, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

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