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United Travel and Radio Changes

D.C. United Coach Curt Onalfo and assistant Kris Kelderman had initially planned to scout in Brazil this week. Instead, Onalfo and General Manager Dave Kasper are headed to Argentina and Uruguay, Onalfo told the Insider.

Meantime, good news for those who understand Spanish, bad news for United supporters who have enjoyed English-language radio broadcasts the past seven seasons.

The club has discontinued live play-by-play coverage in English in order to "refocus its resources into expanding its digital media operations," United spokesman Doug Hicks told the Insider. Since 2003, United bought air time on an English-language AM station.

Tony Limarzi, the voice of the club for seven years, has been retained to contribute to an upgraded online presence, which will include extensive live action and behind-the-scenes access. Details have yet to be finalized by United and MLS, which is in the process of launching major media initiatives.

Meantime, the club's radio coverage in Spanish will move from weaker AM signals, including longtime partner Radio America, to WDCN (87.7 FM). The station, which will produce a one-hour pregame show, will pay the club a rights fee.

By Steve Goff  |  January 20, 2010; 6:28 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  
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Next: Thursday Kickaround

Comments

QUE?!?!? No mas ingles?!? Ay, que triste!

Posted by: Juan-John1 | January 20, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Is there someone who has actually enjoyed Limarzi? Really?

Posted by: very_clever_username | January 20, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Give Limarzi the TV gig or but him back on radio for play-by-play. It is what he excels at and he has built a loyal following for DCU in that role. Steinberg can cover what the players ate for lunch.

Posted by: LostinPotomac | January 20, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

man 87.7fm has been stomping on El Zol's for that past months and now they get DC United coverage for Spanish with Castillo set to play in the 2nd largest Salvadorean population.

GOOD FOR THEM!!!

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | January 20, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Improving their digital media makes a lot of sense. I hope they take a look at what the Caps have done, they have a pretty awesome website.

Fan of Insider hopes Insider gets well soon, and before he infects Son of Insider, Wife of Insider or Pet of Insider. :-)

Posted by: KireDCU | January 20, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I suppose that if this means they will have online coverage of ALL DC United games -- at least the ones not on all cable systems -- then it's a fair trade -- but, it shouldn't be either/or. I like being able to listen to the pregame as I'm driving up, on those days I drive. I wish the signal were stronger, so that I could better listen to the post-game. The idea should be to expand the DC United experience for everyone -- those at home, and those at the game. Really, the online efforts should be a supplement. If it means there will be games that are not broadcast in any format for English-language fans not in front of their computer, it's not a step forward.

I would say that DCU probably has not been getting their money's worth out of the English-language radio. For my money, that's primarily because they weren't investing enough -- to get a stronger signal that reaches the entire area (admittedly harder to do in this area because of the hodgepodge of lower-powered stations). I hope they haven't given up on radio forever. Maybe I'm wrong about this, but I think that there is an audience for soccer, even on the radio. When the team has a bigger audience, there will be a radio audience, if there's a station that reaches them.

Posted by: fischy | January 20, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

The English radio coverage (via online streams) was very nice for those fans outside of the DC area . . . guess I'll have to settle for watching the limited games shown on mlsnet, espn & fsc.

Posted by: emanon13 | January 20, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

So, who are we trying to sign from Uruguay and Argentina? Attacking Mid and Striker? Yes, please. We have a ton of cap room and a DP spot (if we choose to use it)

Posted by: strago | January 20, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

emanon's comment has me seeing a degree of confusion. I realize that you're reporting the details have not been finalized. The "extensive live action" had me thinking there would be continued English language play-by-play....online. If they're eliminating all English language coverage beyond the incomplete coverage provided by Comcast, FSC and ESPN, then I think it's a serious folly.

So, Goffino -- any clue on this? Will out-of-towners be able to find English-language online coverage of United games (beyond MLSnet)?

Posted by: fischy | January 20, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

66 days until United's first 2010 league match!

Posted by: Curious99 | January 20, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

IN connection with this scouting trip -- mls-rumors had this tidbit:

The following information comes to us via a trusted source close to the operations of DC United. Their name, and personal details have been withheld by request.

“They’ve got one more big signing they are working on but I can not elaborate just yet. Will let you know more in the future.”
-----

I'm not sure that Castillo and Allsopp count as big signings. I'm hoping for something a little bigger than a Salvadorean who was on the bench in Mexico and an Australian on the downslope. There's potential there to fill holes, even improve on the players they're replacing -- Fred and Emilio -- but, they're not big signings. They've barely been noticed, even in MLS. I guess Perkins counts as one big signing. It would be great if hte trip south brings another signing that might have a similar impact on the team. Since they're visiting Argentina and Uruguay, I'm hoping the come back with at least two new players. Of course, there's always the upcoming trip to Costa Rica...

Posted by: fischy | January 20, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Come on United! You better have live video feeds for all the Open Cup matches if you aren't going to be offering a play by play in English. Or strike a deal with Comcast to broadcast the games live and in HD!!!
Or drop the price on Open Cup tickets!

Posted by: DadRyan | January 20, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Radio on the radio=good.

Radio on the internet=bad.

I'm saddened by these developments.

However, if DC United had decided to drop Comcast as it's TV broadcast partner, I'd have no problem with that move. I'd much rather pay for Direct Kick and receive all out of market broadcasts than be subject to whims of the Capitals playoff games and the Redskins preseason.

Then again, I just view this as one more link in the chain that eventually drags this franchise to St. Louis.

Thx,

Jay!

Posted by: jayrockers | January 20, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

We've had serious issues with Argentine defenders in the past. Hope this doesn't prove to be the same (it's not worth it if he's awful). I'd be very interest in a playmaker, however.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | January 20, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Onalfo brought three well-known Argentines to KC and all 3 have been pretty disappointing there: Claudio Lopez, Santiago Hirsig, and the long-gone Carlos Marinelli.

Meanwhile, nobody there knows who Javier Morales is, but he's one of the best Argentines in MLS at the moment.

So...bring back HOMBRES, Senor Onalfo, not NOMBRES.

Posted by: Shmenge | January 20, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

necessito Ingles!!!!! Por Favor...at least I can understand the numbers 1-10..I should be able to know the score at least.

Posted by: godpere | January 20, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Lame.

Tony was great to listen to when I couldn't watch the match.

Posted by: alecw81 | January 20, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Here's hoping that Onalfo knows that Chilivert retired and he already signed a goalkeeper.

Posted by: spata2 | January 20, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

We probably can't afford Messi so I guess I'll have to settle for Tevez.

Maybe Facundo's Mom can hook them up.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | January 20, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

that's a drag, I liked listening to Limarzi when I couldn't get to a game, or if it was away and I couldn't get a video feed. The guy definitely has a passion for the team and for play by play, and regardless of joking about the speed of his speech, it makes for great listening. Time to brush up on my Spanish, or maybe they can figure out a way I can stream it to my phone? One can dream...

Posted by: eadc | January 20, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

This is all bad. Everything has been negative for the last three years. It won't continue like this. Hello Baltimore United...

Posted by: jbfromfc | January 20, 2010 11:44 PM | Report abuse

At the Draft a die hard United fan/employee let me know to expect something big within 10 days. Sounded like a player signing. Unless he thinks alsopp is that big player signing then we could be seeing something coming up shortly.

Posted by: Norteno4life | January 21, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Kasper has annually taken these Latin American boondoggles which have amounted to nothing more than a personal vacation for him so it's no surprise that he's glommed into what should be a coaches' bonafide scouting trip. Let's review the results of his recent "business" trips: Gallardo, Veron, Los Dos Gonzalos. This is a results business and KP shouldn't let him anywhere near an international departure terminal.

Posted by: lgm6986 | January 21, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

What's the deal with the trips to South America for scouting purposes? For the last three weeks I have heard rumors about trips to scout in either Brazil, Costa Rica, or Argentina and now this. Why is there no sense of urgency with our front office? First they take forever to announce a coach. Now they are taking forever to sign a couple of players. I wish they would stop dragging their feet because I believe the pre season camp begins next week. It would have been nice if they had made the acquisitions they needed before the camp starts. Hopefully we will hear some good news and get a major acquisition or two. From the rumors it seems that the scouting trip will be to shore up two areas. I think they want a central defender who communicates well, but I do not see how they will find one in South America since English is not the native tongue. The last time I checked Jakovic, Namoff, Burch, Wallace, McTavish, and James predominately spoke English. Also it would be nice to have a central midfielder that could be the creative or maestro role. I hope that is another objective of this scouting trip because we are badly in need of someone with Gomez like skills before he turned 33.

Posted by: no_recess | January 21, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

@ curious99
66 days until United's first 2010 league match!
---------------------------------------
And we're still scouting for players. Scouting, mind you, not signing.

Posted by: seahawkdad | January 21, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

People make fun of the forigners that havn't worked out for United. But what about the ones who worked just fine.

Marco Etcheverry, Raul Diaz-Arce, Christian Gomez, Ryan Nelson, Luciano Emillio, Fred (to some extent). That guy from Bolivia, what's his name? Oh, Jaime Moreno...he's pretty good.

Posted by: 9Nine9 | January 21, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

The bottom line on the English-language radio is the bottom line: if the broadcasts were getting the ratings DCU needed to make them at least somewhat of valuable resourse, then they would continue. Minister of Propaganda Hicks's statements about the move being the product of some vague "refocus" are disengenuous.

Posted by: lgm6986 | January 21, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

9Nine9: Most of your examples were acquired pre-Kasper; also, Nelsen was an American collegiate draftee; Fred was scouted by video from Australia. That leaves Emilio and Gomez whom I will give you. Where's Emilio now and didn't Soehn run Gomez off in 2007 when they reached a contract impasse and Christian lost interest?

Posted by: lgm6986 | January 21, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I think they've showed plenty of urgency. They've picked up a world class GK and a 100-goal scorer in the past few days. At the moment, they still have the link to Gomez as a fallback option at CAM; Gomez 2010 may not be Gomez 2006, but he'd still be the most skilled player on the team...

They have yet to fill every single hole, but would you prefer to see the level of haste they showed after 2007, when they blew up a Supporter's Shield winner and rebuilt it as a red-in-spewing doormat? Frankly I think they've done a good job building on the positive moves from last year.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | January 21, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

VIDEO : Castillo meets fans/press at a restaurant after the PC : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqBtW5l7CxQ

Posted by: ESFan21 | January 21, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

lgm6986 I was going to add that I don't know who the GM that picked them. Point is foriegners are worth persuing.

I assume (hope) these trips are for negotiations/SIGNING talent, not for FINDING talent.

Hope so anyhoo!!!

Posted by: 9Nine9 | January 21, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

IN connection with this scouting trip -- mls-rumors had this tidbit:

The following information comes to us via a trusted source close to the operations of DC United. Their name, and personal details have been withheld by request.

“They’ve got one more big signing they are working on but I can not elaborate just yet. Will let you know more in the future.”
____________________________

Isn't this the sports equivalent of the daily horoscope? What team can you not predict they they have "one more big signing"? Odds are, this "rumor" is correct for every sports team during their off-season.

Posted by: DrBeaker | January 21, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

OT, but how many current/ex-DCU players will be representing their countries in SA?

Posted by: jleppig | January 21, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Here's hoping that Onalfo knows that Chilivert retired and he already signed a goalkeeper.

Posted by: spata2 | January 20, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

--------------------------

That, and that Onalfo knows the difference between Paraguay and Uruguay!

Posted by: combedge | January 21, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I caught an EPL game on the radio the other day (Sirius), and I couldn't believe that I actually enjoyed it.

I'm outside of DC, so I'm only concerned about the games over the internet. And I'm never going to listen to games on the internet. Booooring. Plus, the ratings were non-existent. It's the right move.

Glad to see Limarzi still involved -- he's a great talent.

Posted by: Reignking | January 21, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

There's no way any games airing on AM 1050 would have received measurable ratings, the station's signal strength was just too weak. I assume DCU just didn't want to pay out the money anymore.

Posted by: evwill | January 21, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Back in the Glory days we had Marco Etcheverry (Bolivia)and Raul Diaz Arce(El Salvador). Call me crazy, but I wouldn't mind having a new generation of the best Bolivia and El Salvador players in the team.

Posted by: Monguita | January 21, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm just glad to see that the team is getting paid by a station for the broadcast rights instead of paying a station to broadcast their games. 1050 AM was an unfortunate choice of station - I couldn't pick it up when I lived in Virginia, and I couldn't pick it up in the District, even - heck, I couldn't pick it up in the parking lots of RFK to listen to the post-game show while waiting for traffic to clear! I'd love to see English radio make a comeback, but if we get our website to the level of Seattle's in short order, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make until we can get a solid radio deal.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | January 21, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I'll miss Limarzi's calls, but not the static-filled mess of an AM station. Hope to hear him continue calling games in a different context.

Looking forward to an announcement of signing a #10 and a #11. Wouldn't be surprised to see DP money go to one of them. (I also would be happy to keep Gomez around -- he seems difficult to deal with at contract time, but I always like his work on the field.)

To bolster defense, I'd rather see some digging into undrafted Americans or mining unsung European talent.

Posted by: -rke- | January 21, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

"I wish they would stop dragging their feet because I believe the pre season camp begins next week. It would have been nice if they had made the acquisitions they needed before the camp starts."

What's it been, like 2 weeks since everyone got back from their holiday break? Most people weren't even back in their offices until the 4th. Not to mention they needed to see how things play out in the draft. Just because camp starts in a week doesn't mean jack. The roster is less of a question mark coming into camp this year than last. We also know for a fact that a lot can change in a couple more months. Everybody still thought Crayton was going to be our keeper down in Charleston last year...
I know these are anxious moments, but in my opinion they've already made some Major Moves in the last month and am expecting more soon. Three players have essentially been replaced that got the most complaints last year. Have any other clubs really made as much noise other than PHilly?

Posted by: DadRyan | January 21, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

@DadRyan
"Just because camp starts in a week doesn't mean jack."

I agree with you to a certain extent. However if you are new to club you need time to get acclimated and develop chemistry with you new teammates. This is especially true if you are a foreign to the country you will be playing in. I am assuming this because of the scouting trips to South America. Also I am anxious because over the last 2 years or the players we have foreign players we have acquired have stunk (Peralta, Gonzalez, and Gallardo). My final point is that our staff is new and I wonder if they really have time to assess the talent on the roster and what is needed. However you could be right because when Gomez was acquired it was not until later in the season.

Posted by: no_recess | January 21, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

fischy:

I disagree about Castillo. In MLS, signing a player that's one of the top two or three players on a CONCACAF team that made the Hexagonal round is a big signing. Plus, we've all seen what he can do against national team right backs.

Shmenge:

Your point is reasonable, but I have a couple of quibbles with the details. Lopez as a DP was a bad move, but before last season he dropped to a deal around what Fred was getting. At that price, he's a decent signing. Also, Javier Morales played in Spain. He's not a nobody in Argentina.

Godfather_of_Goals:

I'm more in line with that kind of thinking. How can the team be showing a "lack of urgency" when we're the busiest team in MLS right now? 3 signings, when you look around the league, is a flurry of moves by comparison.

I can't figure out the expectations here. Every signing is supposed to be perfect and be reported as a done deal before this evening's rush hour. When has that ever happened in MLS?

DC has fixed their keeper situation, signed a promising left midfielder (and in doing so, improved left back with Wallace moving back), and brought in a forward that has at least a chance of working out to some degree. Each move has addressed an obvious need. In MLS, that's a pretty decent job at this point in the offseason.

If these are all the signings, being upset seems reasonable. If guys like Castillo and Allsopp are failures, being upset is going to be a uniform condition. Being upset now, though, seems like not even giving people a chance.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 21, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Kasper has annually taken these Latin American boondoggles which have amounted to nothing more than a personal vacation for him so it's no surprise that he's glommed into what should be a coaches' bonafide scouting trip.

-----------------

Ummmm.. . . . no. Just because Kasper hasn't had a great record with international scouting doesn't mean you should be putting that responsibility onto your Head Coach, who has enough on his plate. I myself have argued the coach should be able to 'green light' signings, but he shouldn't be the guy traipsing all over the globe trying to find them.

Posted by: stancollins | January 21, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

If these are all the signings, being upset seems reasonable. If guys like Castillo and Allsopp are failures, being upset is going to be a uniform condition. Being upset now, though, seems like not even giving people a chance.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell

I thought having logins would reduce the idiocy.

At least the Fire Payne idiots have decreased.

Posted by: Reignking | January 21, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

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