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What's next for D.C. United?

Between the injuries and a suspension, D.C. United Coach Curt Onalfo has limited options, especially on the backline, for Saturday night's home match against the Chicago Fire.

Starting center backs Dejan Jakovic (red card) and Juan Manuel Peña (hamstring injury) are unavailable, leaving Carey Talley, Julius James and Devon McTavish to join left back Rodney Wallace. Though each has filled central and outside roles in their careers, the most likely combination is Talley and James in the middle and McTavish on the right corner.

Santino Quaranta's move to the right wing from the middle in the second half Saturday will probably carry over and Jaime Moreno, who didn't start in Philadelphia, seems set to pair with Danny Allsopp on the frontline. With Brandon Barklage uncertain because of a minor concussion, a midfield slot opens for Chris Pontius, who has been ineffective at forward. So who plays in the middle? Kurt Morsink in support of Andy Najar is an option.

"We're forced to make adjustments because of injuries and the red card," Onalfo said. "I don't want to comment much on it, other than the fact that we had a really good training session [today], good response. We are going to build on the response that we had in the game getting back from 2-0 to 2-2."

For more from Onalfo and captain Jaime Moreno.....

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Do you feel Santino is more comfortable out on the wing?

Onalfo: "We know that is his position. He has done an adequate job in the middle of the field and can also provide some excellent options for us wide as well."

What did you learn from watching video of Saturday's match?

Onalfo: "It was pretty clear that we gave up goals off set pieces [on the first and third goals]. The first goal we actually did a decent job of defending the initial free kick from a wide position and then were unable to prevent the service into the box. We got caught ball-watching with [Sebastien] Le Toux and they score. The second goal, it's our attacking corner, we have two chances to break up the play and we don't. And then we come back and totally change the game and I am thinking we are going to get a point, if not three, and then a very unfortunate call [Jakovic's foul and red card], which I don't want to comment on. Having said, it can be prevented -- the initial ball can just be cleared -- and then it's not even an issue, and we're sitting here with at least a point and things are looking a lot brighter as we go into next weekend."

You are a very positive person, but is it hard during a rough patch like this to convince guys to stay positive?

Onalfo: "I told them I am pissed. I am pissed off. We shouldn't be 0-3, and we are. The only way to get through it, you have two decisions: You can cry and whine about it and complain and make excuses and over-analyze it like everybody else is going to do, or we can actually get back down to business, continue to work and fight through it. We're going to get through it. I have all the confidence in the world."

Moreno, on the Philadelphia match: "We're not good enough. We know that. We can't keep making mistakes. We are tired of saying things. Basically everyone has to take responsibility and get the job done."

Moreno, on Onalfo keeping things positive: "He has done a good job doing that. Us, as players, have to react. It's very simple: We have got get results, learn how to win games. That's why we are here, trying to figure it out, to fix the problems. We have a good team, good guys. Unfortunately, we haven't gotten results. Now is time to do that."

Given the team's success in preseason, are you surprised how much trouble you are having now?

Moreno: "A little bit. We thought that we were that good, and we got a slap in the face. We all have to step up and do the job. We know that. I just don't want to talk anymore -- talk, talk, talk doesn't resolve the problems. We have to work and put it on the field."

By Steve Goff  |  April 13, 2010; 1:50 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  | Tags: D.C. United, Jaime Moreno, Juan Manuel Peña, Santino Quaranta  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: D.C. United's injury list grows
Next: Andy Najar's path to D.C. United and MLS

Comments

"It was pretty clear that we gave up goals off set pieces ..."

Wow. That's some incredible analysis, Curt.

Posted by: beach3 | April 13, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Ok, writing off this week's match already. I say bunker, bunker, bunker. A point is better than none. And don't talk to me about the beautiful game and "we don't lay back."

Posted by: delantero | April 13, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"I told them I am pissed. I am pissed off. We shouldn't be 0-3, and we are. The only way to get through it, you have two decisions: You can cry and whine about it and complain and make excuses and over-analyze it like everybody else is going to do, or we can actually get back down to business, continue to work and fight through it. We're going to get through it."

THAT'S what I like to hear.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | April 13, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Julius James=David Stokes.
We are in trouble on the back line.
Bunker down people!

Posted by: ussccr | April 13, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I'd laugh if it all wasn't so fracking sad.

Posted by: Section117 | April 13, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

""We got caught ball-watching with [Sebastien] Le Toux and they score"

"We" meaning Talley and Morsink. They were marking each other. This left Pena, who was with LeToux on the original free kick, forced to cover two Philly players. Pena went in hard to play the ball and the first Philly. LeToux walked in.

This has Zero to do with skill. It's simple defense and two vets just fell asleep.

Then again, I didn't see Perkins or anyone else taking charge.

Posted by: delantero | April 13, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The nice thing about this lineup is it puts players where they have the best chance of succeeding. OK, it relies on people who haven't really done much before or who haven't really shown themselves yet...but, it can work. If Najar can play like he did against Real Maryland, the attack will start to create more chances. Then, we'll get to see wither Allsopp is any good and whether Jaime can still score from the run of play in the regular season. The defense is scary, but if the offense does a better job putting pressure on the other team, the defense won't look so bad.

Posted by: fischy | April 13, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"What's Next?"

Well, jeez, let's start with firing payne, kasper, the coach, and all other personnel people in the front office. Kasper and payne should have been fired years ago.

Posted by: bestmick1 | April 13, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

What's next for D.C. United?

The #1 pick in the draft and hopefully a new stadium.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | April 13, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Moreno, on Onalfo keeping things positive: "He has done a good job doing that. Us, as players, have to react. It's very simple: We have got get results, learn how to win games. That's why we are here, trying to figure it out, to fix the problems. We have a good team, good guys. Unfortunately, we haven't gotten results. Now is time to do that."


+1

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | April 13, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

What about going with Cristman and Allsopp up top with Jaime in the "playmaker" role?

Posted by: wmsiii | April 13, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

he nice thing about this lineup is it puts players where they have the best chance of succeeding.

Posted by: fischy
------------

Agreed! It will be nice to see Quaranta and Pontius in the midfield where they belong. Hopefully, Najar steps up (crazy that our hopes lie with him!). Otherwise we reeeeally need to look at bringing in some fresh blood.

I'd love to shake the DP tree for a new spine: Striker, AM, CD. And they could all play in the new stadium in my backyard.

But in reality, we have to be thinking of something to bring some bite to this team, don't we? Certainly there's someone out there that can help?

Posted by: -rke- | April 13, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

But in reality, we have to be thinking of something to bring some bite to this team, don't we? Certainly there's someone out there that can help?

Posted by: -rke-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Vieira

Posted by: beergorila | April 13, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Next? It had better be a new stadium. If not, then get prepared for more of the same........

Posted by: blackandred777 | April 13, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

OT, @ DudeRyan: did you catch this story?

"Science's Holden Killed In Bike Mishap - 4/13 - Constance Holden, 68, a veteran journalist for the journal Science, was struck and killed yesterday while riding her bicycle near the Nuclear Security Summit. According to the American Association For The Advancement Of Science, Holden was hit by a truck providing support for the NSS in downtown DC at about 6 PM on Monday. Known to colleagues as "Tancy," she was also a painter."

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | April 13, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the best we could hope for would be the #3 draft pick, as the 2 expansion teams (Vancouver and Portland) coming in 2011 will have the #1 and #2 picks.

What am I hoping for against Chicago?

-------------Perkins---------------
Najar-McTavish-James-Talley-Wallace
--------Morsink----Barklage--------
Quaranta-------------------Castillo
-------------Alsopp----------------

Is it pretty? Hell no.
But maybe with 7 players committed to defense we can manage a shutout at home.

Posted by: alecw81 | April 13, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

But in reality, we have to be thinking of something to bring some bite to this team, don't we? Certainly there's someone out there that can help?

==========================

A veteran playmaker who enjoys leading a young team? And he's currently out of work too . . .

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/13/AR2010041302257.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: OWNTF | April 13, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

For some reason I am predicting a comeback win this Sat. No basis in fact; knowledge; insight...only a random scenario I worked out in my mind during many a long run this past winter. My scenario for this season was always an 0-3 start, comeback win, then unbeaten streak of mammoth proportions. Run long enough and entire games go through your head...

misc:

--What about Ben Olsen, what can he bring to the table in terms of getting this group to come together as team? He was a leader before...what about now?
--What about boyzz, he seems invisible all of a sudden. I've always liked him just wish he would step up.

Posted by: DCB23 | April 13, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

That is the scariest backline I’ve seen for United in years. Yes, maybe even worse than Los Gonzalos!

But honestly if we line up Quaranta-Najar-Morsink-Pontius in midfield and Moreno-Allsopp up top, we’ll have probably our most competent offensive unit of the season. Najar has been very impressive in reserve matches, and Pontius’s more active style will be an upgrade over what we’ve seen from Castillo so far.

The commenter that suggested Cristman and Allsopp together… That might be a good idea to use this year against some teams, but I don’t trust them against Conde.

What we really need most of all though is for Troy Perkins to make up for his performance last week by standing on his head in this one.

Posted by: DCUMD | April 13, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

success in preseason?!?!?! please do not read too much into preseason. cannot fall into that thinking.

Posted by: temuco | April 13, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Somebody earlier mentioned fielding the Academy team. Well, the United youngsters are doin' allright:

http://www.potomacsoccerwire.com/news/458/10750

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | April 13, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

DC United- We Win Trophies (Best Tailgate, Most Boisterous Fans, Best Local Bars & Restaurants etc).

DC United-Come for the Tailgate.......and why not stay for the game while you're there!

Posted by: croftonpost | April 13, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

"Do you feel Santino is more comfortable out on the wing?"

"We know that is his position. He has done an adequate job in the middle of the field and can also provide some excellent options for us wide as well."

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

Well, if you know Tino is a winger, why did you start the season with the intent to make him a playmaker? And if he's no longer the playmaker, then who is? Are you saying the experiment has failed already? Are you surprised? What's the contingency plan?

If this were the only personnel issue we had, I'd be frustrated, but we're weak in spots on the front line, midfield, and backline. And if Perkins keeps his form, our goalkeeping is crap, too.

Gonna be a long season unless we get some reinforcements.

Posted by: mrchuckles | April 13, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

didnt we have problems scoring in the preseason (minus jaime)?

If we're going to lose anyway give time to najar, at least there's a chance he'll develop. If not najar...not that he's done anything on the wing but what about castillo as play maker? He can't do any worse can he? And i'd rather see pontius at D mid than morsink. Maybe 3 at the back with Wallace and Talley as d mids? Wasn't that talley's orginal position? Or is he just too slow and out of shape to play midfield anymore? Granted we have no defenders at all, so he's not moving for the next couple games, just curious.

Posted by: Brian76 | April 13, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else think that last Saturday's central midfield combo of Morsink and Barklage is NASL quality or worse? I would have to think that finding a legitimate starting center midfielder has to be priority #1 at this point. And it doesn't necessarily have to be a traditional #10...

Posted by: marquezsucks | April 13, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Houston just announced a deal for a new 20k seat stadium.

Who'd have thought that we'd be among the last teams to get a new home, that is if we, in fact, get one.

Posted by: cfrazier91 | April 13, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Houston just announced a deal for a new 20k seat stadium.

Who'd have thought that we'd be among the last teams to get a new home, that is if we, in fact, get one.

Posted by: cfrazier91 | April 13, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Great news for Houston..........however I'm blue. Our area keeps whining that it's the economy. However, it's a statistical fact that we have been one of the strongest economic areas in this country during the recession. In fact, that's basically always true for our area. I don't want to see one more post about the economy and a SSS in our area. If the other MLS areas in this country can get it done then we should be able to as well. Garber is 100% right about this.

Posted by: croftonpost | April 13, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow, NASL is really a minor league. AC St. Louis started and played the game with 10 players for 37 minutes because a player forgot his ID at the hotel.

Posted by: Reignking | April 13, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

@Rand,

That's a bummer. I was riding around that very neighborhood on Sunday and the first thing I thought when I saw the crazy barricades they were putting up was that an already unsafe area to ride was going to get pretty bad in the next couple days. I personally avoid motorcades, and 5.5 ton trucks like the plague.

Posted by: DadRyan | April 13, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

In case you haven't had enough good news today:

"The Houston Dynamo have a deal in place for a new stadium to be built and ready for use in April 2012."

"Harris County commissioners unanimously approved an agreement Tuesday for a 20,000-seat stadium in partnership with the Major League Soccer team and the city of Houston. The proposal for the $95 million project had been approved last week by Houston City Council."

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gOWBLdwENrSP1MAZnJXYsWo4LumAD9F2BUQG2

Feel better now?

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | April 13, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

@Rand -- The U18s 5-1 win is nice, but the U16s beating Seacoast United by only 2-1 has to be a bit of a disappointment. They may be the best team in New Hampshire, but they shouldn't be able to compete with an Academy side. They usually lose big in the USYSO tourney against out-of-state sides. Still, as we're learning from the senior side, all victories are great.

Posted by: fischy | April 13, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone brought Morsink and Talley here to start everyday. They are, at best, experienced squad players, nice guys to have on the team when starters break down.

While neither has been better than adequate, I'm not going to blame them for not being up to standard. We should know they were not going to be up to standard and root for them to overachieve.

Castillo, SQ, Pontius, and to some extent Wallace and Perkins have far more to answer for.

Posted by: JkR- | April 13, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Wow, NASL is really a minor league. AC St. Louis started and played the game with 10 players for 37 minutes because a player forgot his ID at the hotel.

Posted by: Reignking | April 13, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

That's priceless. I needed a laugh.

Posted by: croftonpost | April 13, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

"Do you feel Santino is more comfortable out on the wing?"

"We know that is his position. He has done an adequate job in the middle of the field and can also provide some excellent options for us wide as well."

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

Well, if you know Tino is a winger, why did you start the season with the intent to make him a playmaker?

Posted by: mrchuckles | April 13, 2010 3:08 PM
===================

My thoughts exactly.

On a positive side, I guess at this point the only way for DCU to go is up.

To quote MJK, "Stuff adds up at the bottom." Okay he doesn't say "stuff" but you get the point.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | April 13, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think anyone brought Morsink and Talley here to start everyday."

I don't expect either of them to light it up, but putting a body on a player in the box isn't hard.

Re: Wallace. He has so far to go to become a solid outside back. He got forward well in the second half, but there's just something about his positioning and his lackadaisical attitude with the ball in our 1/3rd.

Posted by: delantero | April 13, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Onalfo was extremely clear that rebuilding this team is a long-term project. A 0-4 loss, then a 0-2 loss, then a 2-3 loss that included some long stretches where we controlled play -- sorry to say, but that looks like improvement, and is probably the best anybody could expect at this point. Given injuries and no Jakovic in back, look for a step back this weekend. My fond hope for this season is 12 or 15 points in the months of Sept. and Oct. combined, a good offseason, and back to the playoffs in 2011, which means get a lot of playing time now for young guys who look to have real potential.

Posted by: cronaldo | April 13, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't expect either of them to light it up, but putting a body on a player in the box isn't hard.

Posted by: delantero | April 13, 2010 4:17 PM
+++++++++++++++++

Must be harder than it sounds. It happens every weekend in leagues better than this one. If it didn't every game would be 0-0.

We can't play without them this weekend. This is the team for now.

Posted by: JkR- | April 13, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I actually feel more like giving Cristman a shot from the opening whistle, and let Allsopp crash the backline after they've been tired out by his more tenacious counterpart. I'd also like to see Pontius restart last year's experiment as a central midfielder, as he is stronger in his holdup and two way play than just about anyone at our disposal.

My starting lineup: 4-1-3-2

Moreno-Cristman

Castillo (the last chance)-Pontius-Najar
Morsink
Wallace-James-Talley-Mctavish
Perkins

I'd also like to know how Rice is doing, he'd be my defensive sub. Khumalo and Allsopp almost certain subs.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | April 13, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

My god, I forgot Quaranta. My head was full of problems forgot about a decent player.

Replace Najar with with Quaranta, the kid will be a valuable sub for Moreno or Castillo.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | April 13, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

A team ticket rep said to expect a team announcement that the parking lot situation is still AFU for Saturday. Haven't seen an "official" announcement -- what are others hearing?

Posted by: DCUSince96 | April 13, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Tino was worth a try as center mid, seeing as how Jaime (the only other ligical candidate)can't go the distance or cover the ground like Tino can with his engine, so 3-5-2 is the likely solution until we can land a #10. Jaime can play the more forward position, which he naturally does anyway and he will have cover behind him. Najar (he's just a kid so he is going to be up and down) can sub when Moreno tires and one of the wingers (tino and Pontius)can take the withdrawn forward position. I think Castillo would be better inside and Cristman might as well be called on to show if he has it as a forward. Risky in the back, but we don't have many options.

Posted by: Ruthie1 | April 13, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

No offense dude, but I seriously hope Onalfo isn't thinking like that. Castillo ain't got it. Najar does. Castillo might be more valuable coming off the bench. Plus, I'd rather see Pontius on the wing, for now. As poor as Q was in the middle, Pontius would be worse. Let's see what Allsopp can do, paired with Moreno, and some midfielders that are playing in their rightful positions. He's got to be better than Cristman.

Posted by: fischy | April 13, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

More on Najar. Nice story Paul - surprised tomorrow's news is up so early.....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/13/AR2010041302813.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Posted by: dsheon1 | April 13, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

@dsheon -- thanks for the link

@Tenorio -- Nice bit of reportage. I was wondering what had happened to Samir Badr. FC Porto reserves -- not bad.

I totally understand the desire to get a degree, and if you can play and study at UVa, like Zinkhan, you're doing pretty well on both counts. I wonder, though, if MLS couldn't offer a middle way.....(next post)

Posted by: fischy | April 13, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

A team ticket rep said to expect a team announcement that the parking lot situation is still AFU for Saturday. Haven't seen an "official" announcement -- what are others hearing?

Posted by: DCUSince96 | April 13, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse
-----------------

Its absolutely true. AFU is putting it mildly. I said months ago p[arkign will be snafu'ed especially considering the city has a $600m deficit coming up and didnt budget several hundred thousand dollars for repaving in this current budget.

get used to parking in Lot 7 peeps........

Posted by: Section107 | April 13, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Honestly I like Pontius in the middle, or even in benny's old spot, given the state of things. He's a good ball hawk (which is wasted up top) and can start the offense if you give him some burners on the wings. He won't get as many chances in the final third, but he'll have more space to exploit when he does.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | April 13, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I got an idea. Have the District build a new hospital and Chang can add on a stadium as an orthopedic wing.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 13, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Kurt Morsink & Andy Najar in the middle of the park - just 4 games in to the season?! Oh brother... shocking that our 35 year old central defender is on the bench 25 minutes in to the season w/a hamstring... There is no reason to think anything will change when you simply reshuffle the same deck of cards or is it House of Cards.
Payne & Kasper took the offseason "off" and it shows.
Perkins is a basket case
Pena is not fit & injured already
Allsopp is a no show - no threat
Christman & Barklage should be playing for the Rochester Rhino's
Onalfo has to turn to a 17 years old to prop up the midfield
Moreno is a class act and I feel sorry for him having to get through this campaign w/a "B" team supporting him. Payne & Kasper should be flushed by the All Star break if there is a soccer god in heaven
Chicago 4 DCU 1

Posted by: Zipfutbol | April 13, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

I got an idea. Have the District build a new hospital and Chang can add on a stadium as an orthopedic wing.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 13, 2010 9:50 PM

====================

The way they're playing, a geriatric wing might be more appropriate.

D.C. United: It Takes More...so the fans won't snore.

Posted by: hofbrauhausde | April 14, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Curt's observations are rather obvious. DC no longer has the excuse of playing in multiple tournaments to fall back on. I was concerned when Onalfo was chosen as coach. I think that a mistake may have been made when Onalfo was chosen over Riche Williams, under whose interim stewardship the Red Bulls beat Seattle at Seattle 2 weeks ago.

Posted by: Verdeball | April 14, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Richie Williams wasn't hired because he wouldn't bend knee in front of Kevin Payne where Onalfo will (and does). (Let's see, the coaches that won MLS Cups for DCU - Bruce and Peter Nowak - were very strong willed and got the respect of the players. See how LA and Philly are playing now).

Will Chang better wake up and smell an empty RFK if this continues. The last few years, DC United lived on its reputation and the Supporter Shields and 2004 win. Expect crowds around 10,000 if this type of play continues - and the happy talk from Curt Onalfo.

Posted by: ronwright | April 14, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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