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D.C. United news & notes

*My profile of D.C. United Coach Curt Onalfo will appear in Saturday's print editions but is available online now. The story traces his roots in Brazil, his parents' influence on his career, his battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma and his approach to his second head coaching job.

*Expecting rookie goalkeeper Andrew Quinn and defender Jordan Graye to officially join the roster soon. United was awaiting their contracts to be approved by MLS.

*Onalfo said no decision has been made yet on whether No. 2 keeper Bill Hamid, who has a minor shoulder ailment, will be on the game-day roster for the home opener Saturday night against the New England Revolution.

*Josh Wicks update: He is still rehabbing his injuries in California, but with Quinn signed, he appears on the way out. When the players were introduced at the kickoff luncheon Thursday, Wicks was not mentioned. One source tells me that some lower-division clubs have expressed interest in signing him.

*Ticket sales are approaching 15,000, club officials said, and with a good walk-up from the Salvadoran community expected, a turnout in the upper teens seems likely.

*Non-DCU note: Aaron Pitchkolan, a 6-foot-2 defender who played four years with FC Dallas before being picked up by San Jose last year, has lined up trials in Poland next week, the Insider has learned.

*Club owner Will Chang was in warm-up gear at RFK Stadium, getting in an exercise session on a gorgeous spring morning. Asked if he planned to sign himself as a designated player, he responded: "I can't! Curt just cut me!"

For pregame comments from Onalfo and midfielder Santino Quaranta.....

Quaranta, on putting aside last week's 4-0 loss at Kansas City: "It's been very good. We have a very talented coach who teaches us how to put things in the past. That was last week, we move on, there are a lot of games left. ... The mentality has been very good. It's been chippy this week. The guys have been really focused. A lot of stuff came early in the preseason and we had a lot of success. We are going to take what happened last week as a positive and try to move on."

Quaranta, on adapting to his central midfield role: "It's hard to judge it by last week because Kansas City had five in the midfield and caused us a lot of problems. I couldn't really get into the attack a whole bunch. I am still learning, trying to understand. Going forward is natural for me. We've been going over a lot of it -- offensively and defensively -- in training this week, and I think I have done it. I am getting better every day."

Onalfo, on learning from last week's result: "You have to pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes and make sure we are ready for what is going to be another dogfight against a very tough New England team that traditionally plays very well as a team with a very good team concept and competes hard and looks to get a lot of service into the box."

On team focus this week: "As I have said from the beginning, we have a very young team, we've made tremendous strides. It was our first step backward as a group, and you are going to have those throughout a long season. Unfortunately, it happened in the first game, but we are going to use it as motivation, we are going to learn from it and make sure we get things right in moving forward."

One player who is not young is Juan Manuel Peña, 37, who is likely to make his MLS debut by starting in central defense Saturday. Said Onalfo: "He was a big part of our success the last couple weeks of preseason. He brings a calming influence to our team. He is a very good passer, so when you are playing against teams that drop off and play low pressure, he is a guy that can really help in the back four in terms of playing quickly, playing balls over distance and breaking down low pressure. He just brings an experience that our young team needs. We have added some quality, experienced players in the last week, and it's just a matter of incorporating them into our team properly -- that takes time. Juan and Carey Talley bring those leadership qualities that our team needs."

On the Revs' approach: "I expect them to probably pick up pressure a little further back, but that doesn't mean they are not pressuring. They are still very hard to play through. It's going to be a game where we are going to need to move the ball quickly, it's going to be a game where we are going to need to make the game as fast as possible."

On United preparing for Shalrie Joseph, who is questionable with a hip flexor injury: "With or without him, they have a real galvanized approach. They have a way of playing on both sides of the ball, so with or without Shalrie, we know they will come with similar things. Obviously, if Shalrie plays, he brings a different dimension. He is, if not the best midfielder in the league, certainly in the top five."

By Steve Goff  |  April 2, 2010; 1:02 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , MLS  
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Next: Lopez signing, Ching injury, D.C. United updates




We got this one. 2-0.

Posted by: OhBoyOhBoy | April 2, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Nurse: "He's not himself right now, his uncle has Hodgkin's."

Larry David: "Yeah, but it's the good Hodgkin's."

Nurse: "I didn't know there was a good Hodgkin's."

Larry David: "I'm not saying it's a great Hodgkin's, It's a good Hodgkin's."

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | April 2, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I wish I shared OhBoyOhBoy's optimism. 1-1, courtesy of a very late United goal from a corner.

Posted by: Kenobi | April 2, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Disclaimer: I have not compared DC's average age with every other team in the league. I dont have the time to do those numbers right now, I will do that later tonight.

I don't understand why everyone thinks this is a young team. I don't get it.

The average age of players on DC of the 20 players who are going to play this season is 26.45 years old. Throw out the 4 outliers (Moreno, Pena, Hamid, Najar) and you're still left with 25.1 years old.

However, I do have the average age of each Bundesliga team from 08-09 (last season). Werder Bremen was 24.7, Wolfsburg 25.1, Hamburg 25.9, Schalke 25.5. Munich is one of the oldest teams at 27.6. Hoffenheim was the youngest at 23.5.

I really don't buy this argument that we are a "young" team.

Posted by: strago | April 2, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I just hope Wale plays my old favorite: Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe!

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | April 2, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

For Jews, jokes are the Joga Bonito of language, If you're not Jewish..... ;)

Posted by: fischy | April 2, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Fischy, now you're just over-egging the pudding.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | April 2, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I understand learning from bad games, but taking what happened last week as a positive? That's pushing it.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | April 2, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

@strago: young can also mean "inexperienced." An analogy... or similie... or hyperbole... or metaphor... if you will.

The Bundesliga players probably didn't spend four of their formative years in college, as many of the United guys did. Thus, in terms of professional experience, United could be considered young.

Or not, metaphorically speaking.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | April 2, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I think I put too many eyes in simile.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | April 2, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Maybe somebody mentioned this earlier, but, with Ching going down...

Edson Buddle?

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | April 2, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

If they let Wicks go it is going to be a bad season. At least he can stop them.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | April 2, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Parking info for tomorrow

Limited parking in Lot 8; Fans will be re-directed to Lots 3 & 7

Posted by: emanon13 | April 2, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"If they let Wicks go it is going to be a bad season. At least he can stop them."

I don't know. Sounds to me like Wicks is burned out.

Posted by: RIP-21 | April 2, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | April 2, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

The United opener, the Nats v. Red Sox, or the Final Four? With Wale opening it's a no brainer. Vamos Los United!!! Can't wait, the weather is going to be perfect for tailgating.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | April 2, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Hooters is sponsoring Kicks for Kids at United games??? I would think they'd be a MUCH better sponsor for the Fantasy Seats!!!!

Posted by: dsheon1 | April 2, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the bad parking news Rand-al!

Seriously, it's much better to find out now than an hour or two before gametime. Anyone who uses Lot 8 or comes into the parking lots from 395 or Independence Ave should read the linked announcement.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | April 2, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I didn't buy a parking pass yet this year. Not sure that I will. I'm trying an experiment on Saturday. I'll let you all know how it works out...

Posted by: fischy | April 2, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

i had the opportunity to meet jordan graye on his way to practice one day a month or so ago (he was decked out in dcu gear so i asked him if he plays for the team as i did not recognize him. it appears as if he lives around the corner from me). he was very friendly and didn't treat me like a fool for not knowing who he was at the time. glad to hear some news about him and that he's gonna be playing with the big boys. i wish him the best of luck.

Posted by: jayemzee | April 2, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Wish I was in town so I could drown you in the river PowerTroller. Then again, it might be a little tough with the water wings, life vest, and the tard helmet....

Posted by: DadRyan | April 2, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

@fischy: Riding your bicycle to the stadium? Vamos!

Posted by: DadRyan | April 2, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

I find Quaranta's comment on KC "playing 5 in midfield" a little disconcerting. First, they weren't playing with 5 in midfield; that was a 433, with Kamara and Smith just tracking back as appropriate.

Second, many MLS teams are playing with either a 4231, 4141, or 433, crowding central midfield with 3 players. Seattle (list Ljungberg as a forward all you want, I know a guy playing attacking midfield when I see it), Chivas, Columbus, and Dallas appear to be going with that as their first-choice formation, and LA used a 4231 in last night's game against Chivas as well.

It might be tougher to play against, but if Quaranta is going to succeed centrally, he will have to overcome this phenomenon on a regular basis. What made KC seem tough to play against was that they were running and fighting, and we were simply standing nearby.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | April 2, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Just to echo the sentiments, I've been running a variant of a 4-3-3 in Trophy Manager lately that's gotten me great results (4defenders, 2CDMs, 1CAM, 3 strikers). You give up the flanks to the opposition, but with 4 defenders and 2 CDMs, those flankers aren't able to do much with that superiority, and when you counter with direct play, those 3 strikers and 1 CAM are able to shred the opposition who have spread themselves thin.

Posted by: alecw81 | April 3, 2010 2:41 AM | Report abuse

RE: age of the team. Maybe we should look at the median instead of the mean.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 3, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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