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A few minutes with D.C. United's Kevin Payne

I will have plenty of D.C. United notes to share ahead of Wednesday's match against the Kansas City Wizards at RFK Stadium. But first, with United off to the worst start in club history, team president Kevin Payne addressed several issues following Tuesday morning's training session.

Explaining the defeats.....

"Three games in particular are virtually identical. We are the much better team for long stretches of the game. Certainly the New England and New York games, we were the far better team for long stretches and the other team didn't threaten and then we have breakdowns in the second half. We get casual on plays, we give up goals, we get punished badly. We are struggling right now to recognize .....

the important moments in the game -- either the moments when we have to react with urgency in the attacking end to get a goal and there were balls sitting in the box on rebounds the other day and no one attacking, or we are a little bit asleep on plays that look like they are not dangerous and before you know it, it's in the net. Regardless of who is on the field, the challenge for Curt and the coaching staff is to develop our players' mentality that they have to play hard for 90 minutes. There are plenty of other teams in this league that are struggling with injuries. Look at New England and the players they are missing. We have to adopt that kind of mentality. We have to go out on the field and fight on every single play."

But shouldn't that be expected from a professional soccer player?

"It's 90 minutes. They might fight on nine out of 10 plays. It's not that they willfully don't fight. They lose a little bit of concentration for a moment and -- bang -- you are punished."

But shouldn't that be an innate ability at this level?

"You would like to think so, but it's not. We discussed yesterday some things to try to get the team focused on results, no matter how ugly they are. Since I have checked the standings recently, we haven't gotten any points [in the standings] for style. We're not worried about that right now. If we get the ship righted and if we add a few players in the summer, maybe then we will try to go back to playing the kind of soccer we want to play. Right now, we just have to fight and scratch and claw and run, do all those little things to keep the other team from scoring goals."

Santino Quaranta alluded to that the other day.

"I don't think we have earned the right to play good soccer. It's a little more fun to play that kind of soccer. I don't think we've earned the right, and more to the point, it's not working. If it's not working, you have to try something else. I am not the one who sets tactics, but I think there is a mentality generally that we just have to become much harder to play against."

On the team in general.....

"We thought we had a very good core group coming into the season. We always thought that we were probably going to try to add a significant player in the summer. I know the fans want us to do it when our season starts, but really that's a hard time to add significant players because it's in the middle of the season in the rest of the world. There are a lot more guys available, a lot more available free of transfer, there's just a lot more to choose from in the summer. We hoped to figure out what we had and then try to address what we needed in the summer. We thought we would be a better team at the end of the year than at the beginning. Nobody expected us to start like this; we didn't. That has certainly added some urgency to the need to add players, but there is not a lot we can do right now. We can make some trades, we were fortunate to add Luci [Emilio] through a peculiarity. We are looking very hard. Chad [Ashton, the technical director] just got back from two weeks in Argentina. He is turning around and going to Europe and then after that, he is going to Africa. We are not leaving any stones unturned in try to improve ourselves. In the meantime, I believe we have enough talent in this locker room right now to be one of the better teams in this league. ... I don't think our problem is talent. We could use some more talent in a few spots, but that is not why we are 0-5. We are 0-5 because we haven't been as competitive as we need to be, collectively or individually. It seems like every game four or five guys don't show up the way you would expect them to."

That said, is the expectation of them to play at a certain level unreasonable?

"Maybe. There is a point with certain players which you have to say, 'Maybe this is it, maybe this is what we are going to get and maybe it's not as good as we think it is.' "

Are you getting that sense with some of these guys?

"I think you have to. You have to wonder about that."

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By Steve Goff  |  May 4, 2010; 12:25 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  | Tags: D.C. United, Kevin Payne, MLS  
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Comments

That said, is the expectation of Kasper and Payne to make personnel decisions at a certain level unreasonable?

"Maybe. There is a point with certain members of the front office which you have to say, 'Maybe this is it, maybe this is what we are going to get and maybe it's not as good as we think it is.' "

Are you getting that sense with some of these guys?

"I think you have to. You have to wonder about that."

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

There, fixed.

Posted by: EdTheRed | May 4, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

[Full Disclosure: I'm not a fan of DCU.]

Shouldn't Payne spend more of his time trying to get a venue for this team, and less time commenting on it's play? To me, everything else would be secondary to assuring his club's long-term and short-term viability.

Fixing this year's team might not be possible, unfortunately. And this being a World Cup season buys him and the rest of the FO some "cover" for the team's ineptitude. So why not spend EVERY WAKING HOUR trying to get a venue?

Payne has had 14 or so years to accomplish what Peter Wilt did in 18 months in a city that was every bit as opposed to soccer as The District is today. [Note the lack of Chicago in the "official" World Cup bid, for example.]

Again, I'm not a fan of DCU. But if I were, I wouldn't want to SEE or HEAR from Payne until he has a stadium announcement.

Posted by: khan1 | May 4, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

so he says he isn't the appropriate person to comment on tactics but he comments on tactics. (cue ominous music for Onalfo)

Posted by: troy6 | May 4, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Wow.

Posted by: nairbsod | May 4, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

It's going to take more than "trying harder" to fix this bunch...how about opening the wallet and bringing in talent...

Posted by: cidcamp70 | May 4, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

If we were the "much better team" in those matches, we probably would have scored a goal or two.

Posted by: DCU_Rick | May 4, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Chad Ashton has a pretty swell job

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | May 4, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps it's too obvious to mention, but building a winning team, particularly a team that wins over several seasons, is a long term process and that process is a function of basic front office policies.
DCU began the season with an amazingly weak roster. Payne may have been surprised by the poor results so far, but I doubt whether many long-term DCU fans were.
The roster was, and is, weak because the front office has failed to identify and secure good players in the draft. It has similarly failed in most cases to identify and secure other players from within the US, either undrafted college players or players from the USL or from other MLS teams. Similarly the front office has not put in place a coaching staff who can help young players improve. Even if the front office finds a player or two from overseas during the summer, DCU is several years away from fielding a decent team.

Posted by: Jphubba | May 4, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Here comes the sniping...

Posted by: Reignking | May 4, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, how many fans is D.C. United going to lose before this mess gets fixed? No stadium, the talent on the field is awful.

The last three years have shown that D.C. United needs change. And it is not the coach or players. Is the guy that selects the roster.

What happeneded to the "Tradition"? Did the the former Redskins' front office get hired by D.C. United?

Posted by: hardcoco | May 4, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

MLS is not a league where it takes a long time to right the ship. You can go from terrible to middling in one season, then contender the next.

Posted by: JkR- | May 4, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Read between the lines/Boil it all down:

1) The Chang-Gang has hamstrung the team.

2) The head that will roll when not enough blood is extracted from the DCU turnip: Onalfo's.

Oh, and this quote was telling:

"Nobody expected us to start like this; we didn't."

Well, nobody except for, well, just about everybody.

Posted by: Ron16 | May 4, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't Payne spend more of his time trying to get a venue for this team, and less time commenting on it's play? To me, everything else would be secondary to assuring his club's long-term and short-term viability. [...]

Posted by: khan1 | May 4, 2010 12:36 PM
_______________________________________

The 15-20 minutes he spent with Goff are not going to be what makes/breaks a stadium deal. The end.

Posted by: DCU_Rick | May 4, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"maybe this is what we are going to get and maybe it's not as good as we think it is."

The same could be said about retaining Kaspar, except fans all over were warning you that "(he's) not as good as (you) think (he) is," Kevin.

Hopefully Ashton bails everyone out of this, although I have little hope that his abilities are far above those of the people who have put this hot, steaming mess together.

Posted by: beach3 | May 4, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

hardcoco, I agree with your sentiment, but since, as you say, the "talent on the field is awful" the players need to change, too. First and foremost, I'd say.

Posted by: Ron16 | May 4, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Again, I'm not a fan of DCU. But if I were, I wouldn't want to SEE or HEAR from Payne until he has a stadium announcement.

Posted by: khan1 | May 4, 2010 12:36 PM
------------------------------------------
Khan, no I do want Payen to address the debacle on the field. I most certainly do. he hasn't made any real progress on the stadium issue so we had better see some tangible results of his labors.

How much time can the stadium failure be taking up of his time.

"[insert the name local municiplaity here], can we get you help with some funds for a new stadium?"
-KP

"No. Are you on crack?!?! There is a recession. When you are ready to pny up 85% with private funds, maybe we can talk"
-Municipality XYZ

The above conversations should not be taking up Payne's entire workday.

With the exception of the PG County debacle, payne hasn't sniffed anything other than a now diposed mayor in Baltimore trying to give him anything more than the time of day.

Posted by: yankiboy | May 4, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Feels like he's implying acceptance of slight culpability on his part, and shifting the rest to the coaching staff.

He implies culpability when he says "We thought we had a very good core group coming into the season." Implied text: "but we didn't".

and: "maybe [the ability of our players to play at a high level] is not as good as we think it is."

Some of the places where he shifts blame:
"I believe we have enough talent in this locker room right now to be one of the better teams in this league. ... I don't think our problem is talent."

and

"Regardless of who is on the field, the challenge for Curt and the coaching staff is to..."

So to paraphrase, he's saying "I picked the right talent, but the coaching staff is to blame for not developing the right attitude".

Bunch of baloney. We have neither the right players nor the right attitude. Good for Goff for pushing him to admit that the team he has helped select just isn't good enough.

Posted by: WorldCup | May 4, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

the talent is there, its the knowledge of the game, the speed its played, and the heart that seems to only be in the youth

Posted by: SexyOffender | May 4, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we could get another Post columnist to set up a Stadium Insider Blog.

Tenorio, heck, even Marc Fisher would be a natural. That might limit the Stadium posts here, when they're not relevant...

:)

Posted by: JkR- | May 4, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

To me, these comments dump blame on Onalfo's tactics, while asserting that the front office has put enough talent in the locker room. It other words, Payne's comments make it sound like this organization is falling apart. And Onalfo just hasn't been here long enough to have ruined it.

Posted by: hungrypug | May 4, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"I know the fans want us to do it when our season starts, but really that's a hard time to add significant players because it's in the middle of the season in the rest of the world. There are a lot more guys available, a lot more available free of transfer, there's just a lot more to choose from in the summer."
-KP

Hmmm, KP? New York seemed to do alright. Seattle did better than we did and they were an expansion side last season. Remember Seattle? That club that inspired you to running smack? They beat us on the field and off the field.

Enough...KP has more excuses than Larry king has had wives...

Posted by: yankiboy | May 4, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Ron16 predicted United to start 0-5? Ooooookay

Posted by: DCUMD | May 4, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm still hoping for 0-6.

Posted by: Reignking | May 4, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

i dont really have a problem with anything KP said. this club has talent, though much of it is injured. do you all think we would be 0-5 if Namoff, Pontius, Simms and Djak had started and played all 5 games? would we be 5-0? no. but we wouldnt be losing games because of mental breakdowns like we did against NYRB and the Revs.

Posted by: VTUnited | May 4, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

If Payne's throwing this at Onalfo's feet, he should probably consider that Kasper seemed to put his eggs into the Caleb Porter basket before settling for a retread, no?

Posted by: Section117 | May 4, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

yeah, the 20-20 hindsight with a lot of the comments is a bit unbelievable. sure there was a lot of hope that a DP or strong CAM would be brought in at the start of the season, but with Perkins coming back, Castillo being added on the left, Pontius and Wallace coming off strong rookie campaigns, Quaranta having a good season last year, Moreno looking good in pre-season, etc. there was plenty of reason to think DCU could at least be an average MLS team. there are good reasons to complain about the Front Office, the Coaching staff, etc. but is there a single player on the field who has played to their potential? i haven't seen every second of every game, but i'm pretty sure the answer is "no". these players have talent. yes some of them are old, some are young, some are injured and some are Kurt Morsink, but they can do better. they couldn't possibly do worse at this point.

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | May 4, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

my main gripe with CO, KP, DK is that a preseason castoff from KC (Morsink) somehow leads the team in minutes played. if he wasn't good enough for the worst team in the league last year, why would he be good enough for DCU?

Posted by: VTUnited | May 4, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

1) Steve, I hope you had a drink and a shower handy after that interview.

2) I have the sense that the FO *is* working overtime on the stadium "question". They're just afraid to announce the "answer": Baltimore. Fan revolt is only greasing those skids.

3) Remember 1996?

4) DCU did just fine in this year's draft IMO. Jordan Graye is a keeper, no doubt about it.

5) However, the roster is still cluttered with un-viable, un-tradeable players, all of whom were retained and even inexplicably extended by Kasper and Payne. I see the ghost of an admission of this ("maybe this is what we are going to get and maybe it's not as good as we think it is.").

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | May 4, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

KP: "We thought we had a very good core group coming into the season."

I'm trying to think of something he could have said that would be more damning of the FO's competence at player evaluation.

Posted by: benonthehill | May 4, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

It's going to take more than "trying harder" to fix this bunch...how about opening the wallet and bringing in talent...

Posted by: cidcamp70 | May 4, 2010 12:43 PM

Based on this season and the previous two, I have no reason to believe that the wallet is the problem. I don't think this front office recognizes talent and has shown a knack for spending its money badly.

do you all think we would be 0-5 if Namoff, Pontius, Simms and Djak had started and played all 5 games? would we be 5-0? no.

Posted by: VTUnited | May 4, 2010 1:24 PM

Although Simms stood out last game, it's a stretch to think DCU would be much better with the players you named. Pontius has shown little this season when he played. Namoff and Djack are DCU's best backliners, but that's pretty faint praise. Even if all injured players were availble, this team's talent level is such that they would be closer to 0-5 than 5-0.

Posted by: BillyBob4 | May 4, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

With Peter Vermes in town you should ask him what he thinks of Onalfo as a coach.

I read the articles and listened to radio shows in KC last summer when Onalfo was let go. Vermes was really pissed at Onalfo, and himself for letting it happen on his watch, at how out of shape the Wizards were when he took over.

He says his record with the team was not good when he took over last summer. He couldn't play his style of game with the Wizards because the team not able to play a 90min game and it was too late in the season to run pre-season type of training sessions. He had to ride out the season and start over this spring.

With all of the late game breakdowns, it sounds like this team might not be fit enough for a 90min MLS game either.
This could explain some of the injuries this season also.

Posted by: timmy6 | May 4, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Typical Payne...worthless

Posted by: LCR-54 | May 4, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

@BillyBob4 2-1-2 would be a lot better than 0-5, would it not? healthy DJak is miles better than Talley, and Namoff is better than anyone theyve trotted out at RB. again, wasn't saying theyd be 5-0, but the gaffes that have happend on the cheap goals conceeded probably wouldn't have happened. Simms is the key.

also, +1 on Graye, G_o_G

Posted by: VTUnited | May 4, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Did Payne really say, "I don't think our problem is talent."

If that is the case then why do you have a 37 defender past his prime starting? Why is your best player off the bench 35? Why did you have to sign a forward that was widely considered washed up last year?

This team needs talent on the back line, midfield, and forward. There are maybe two guys that could play for any other team in the league: Simms and Pontius (and I think I am pushing it with him). Payne is either dillusional or is covering for the fact that the owner is not willing to spend more on salary because the team is losing money.

We need at least three excellent additions in the offseason. I would say one right or left back, a central attacking midfielder, and a striker who can finish at a high rate. Even if that happens I still think this team is mediocre. Our goalkeeper situation is a joke because Perkins is not the answer and we gave up a lot for him.

Goff this is just a suggestion, maybe next time you interview Payne ask him to be honest and don't sugar coat things. I get a feeling the answers to your question will be quite different.

Posted by: no_recess | May 4, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Ron16, I don't think a single supporter of the club expected an 0-5 start.

Posted by: DadRyan | May 4, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Ron16, I don't think a single supporter of the club expected an 0-5 start.

Posted by: DadRyan | May 4, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

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

Maybe Caleb Porter did.

Posted by: OWNTF | May 4, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

There are a dozen coaches in MLS that could get more out of this somewhat-weak group of players than Onalfo does.

The clock is ticking. His tactics don't work. His lineups don't work (Santino in the middle? Morsink as a full-time MLS starter?)

Things won't get better until Onalfo is replaced with a better coach. If you doubt this, please ask any KC supporter the difference in sound tactics and defensive awareness under Vermes, compared to under Onalfo last year.

And if you doubt the importance of the coach, look at what Backe has done in New York and Arena in LA. Yes talent is important, but good coaches matter.

Posted by: scott47a | May 4, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Well in OWNTF, but EFF Caleb Porter. Hiring him would have been an even bigger disaster. Without Onalfo we never would have signed Kurt "diamond in the rough" Morsink. ;/

Posted by: DadRyan | May 4, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Re: ...do you all think we would be 0-5 if Namoff, Pontius, Simms and Djak had started and played all 5 games? would we be 5-0? no. but we wouldnt be losing games because of mental breakdowns like we did against NYRB and the Revs.

Posted by: VTUnited
----

Disagree somewhat. A lot of goals were conceded with Jakovic on the field. Bad goals were conceded with Simms on the field. Pontius didn't threaten the nets when he was on the field. And Namoff isn't going to be the one to "bulge the ol' onion bag."

The real concerning thing for me is this: Onalfo was presumably instrumental in bringing Morsink and Cristman onto the team. Kaspar and Payne presumably were responsible for the rest. On Saturday, in the middle of a floudering effort from the entire squad, Emilio and Stephen King (mid-week acquisitions) came on as subs rather than the guys who had been with the team since training camp.

Is Allsop a bust already (who cares if he played mid-week)?

Posted by: DWE4 | May 4, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

If Najar is any indication, they should just bring up the whole u-17 DCU Academy team and put the rest on the reserve squad or on waivers. I bet the the U-17s would battle for 90 minutes unlike most of these unfocused and clearly over paid players of a third tier pro sport.

Posted by: lovinliberty | May 4, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

@scott47a: well in.

Posted by: Matte | May 4, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Eh. I think you guys complaining about the stadium situation are nailing it. It all starts with our lack of a stadium and rolls down from there. We can't make money, can no longer afford to compete against the teams who can. Why should we expect Chang to endlessly pump money into the team just so they can WIN? The team needs a stadium. As much as it would hurt to see, I think United should pack up, change their name and move to a city where they can get a stadium deal.

Posted by: jva1 | May 4, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I and many posters on this thread predicted a terrible start and a terrible season. Unfortunately that is what is unfolding.

Posted by: Ron16 | May 4, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

We can't make money, can no longer afford to compete against the teams who can.
Posted by: jva1 | May 4, 2010 2:39 PM

MLS covers the salaries under the cap, so your statement doesn't make much sense. this isn't the MLB. everyone can afford to compete. the only premiums are the DPs, and those dont equal sucess (Houston, Columbus, and RSL all won MLS Cup without DPs on their championship rosters)

Posted by: VTUnited | May 4, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

No question about Kasper's future?

Posted by: fedssocr | May 4, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

2-1-2 would be a lot better than 0-5, would it not? healthy DJak is miles better than Talley, and Namoff is better than anyone theyve trotted out at RB. again, wasn't saying theyd be 5-0, but the gaffes that have happend on the cheap goals conceeded probably wouldn't have happened. Simms is the key.

Posted by: VTUnited | May 4, 2010 1:55 PM

I bow to your optimism VTU. Once again, saying DJak is better than Talley and Namoff is better than anyone else does not mean they are world beaters. I think 2-1-2 (yes, 8 points wold be better than none) would not have happened under any circumstances given the pathetic finishing thus far.

Posted by: BillyBob4 | May 4, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

That "interview" deserves more zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz's than all of the stadium questions/info combined.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | May 4, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm with no_recess. The "I don't think our problem is talent" comment is crazy. Payne and Kasper must have been the only people who watch MLS that thought DCU had talent anywhere but bottom to middle of the league.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | May 4, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

"What we have here is a failure to communicate."

Posted by: Hoost | May 4, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

KP: "We thought we had a very good core group coming into the season."

If true, it just shows how far off the mark the FO is in evaluating talent capable of winning today's MLS.

All the way through the off season, if you looked at the team DC had at the end of last year and this year's team, you could see how it didn't look to even match last year's team.

This point alone suggested we would finish in around 9 through 12th in the League.

If you then consider other teams improving, then the 10 to 14th table standing would not be unreasonable.

Finally add in some injuries to key players and coming into the very bottem of the table stares at you like a neon light.

This team is flat out not good enough. I just can't understand where KP/Kasper and Onalfo think otherwise....

Posted by: dcufan531 | May 4, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think our problem is talent."

No one should be surprised by this line. If KP fails to stand by the players in his locker room, he risks cutting his own throat and that of butt-boy Kasper if he says anything less. Kasper and he are responsible for the players who are there; they drafted/recruited them, signed them, tried them out, judged them with the coaches to be worthy of a roster spot. It's all on them.

Posted by: lgm6986 | May 4, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

@ Jphubba - and anyone else for that matter:

This whole commentary is more than a little ridiculous.

1) At the time DCU acquired Perkins, there was no reason to believe he'd perform as poorly as he has. In fact, he was coming off a strong run in Europe, a previously strong run in the MLS, and some high-visibility nods in the US National Pool. There was every reason to believe that DCU was making a sound choice when they pulled him onto a team w/out a strong GK - even if they had to sacrifice a draft pick to do it. While Perkins' recent performance has been troubling, it's faulty logic to assume DCU should have been able to predict that he was going to be bad - that's just unknowable. More than being unknowable, it's just silly - DCU's having a bad season, but that doesn't give us a right to turn off our brains.

2) Onalfo has had a bad run at the season - this is a no-brainer. Is he the right coach for the job? I suspect not. But anyone who claims that the team was in bad shape before the season started might require a head examination. DCU had a hell of a preseason. We won 4 games straight - including a win over Santos at home in Mexico (which is a very big deal if you know anything about soccer in Latin America), and wins against Toronto, Real, and Charleston. Now, the preseason is just that - a preseason - and it certainly doesn't take back an 0-5 record in actual league play. The only point I'm making is this: for all of you who feign clairvoyance that "DCU was amazingly weak when the season started!" or anything of the like, well, that's objectively false.

3) Pena is older, yes. But he's one of the few guys with serious international experience. Not every player on the team should be 22. Moreno and Pena have the experience to provide substantial leadership, and at the very least, they still play better than guys many years younger. Pena looked bad over the weekend because he's coming off a hamstring injury. He'll improve.

The talent of the team is not entirely the issue, and in fact, I believe it's the least of the issues. We've had some really strong performances this year - just not for the full 90. We have a team of good players with good credentials - this season aside. The fate of a team does not rise and fall on a shocking, but small patch of rough road. Look, there are many injuries, many roster changes, an all too frequently misinformed fanbase (as evidenced in the silly comments to Goff's posts), a confused coaching staff, and Front Office that gives poor direction. Until the team solidifies its expectations for the players' roles, I don't think we'll see improvement. What do I mean? Well, for starters, until we see better consistency in our lineup (less rotations, more stability in the defensive line, more stability in tactical style and strategy), then we're likely to continue on the rough road.

Posted by: break-away | May 4, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

My take on Payne's comments is very different from that of most of you:

1. He spoke publicly (rather than say nothing) which is an important PR thing to do.

2. He walked a fine line between saying "let's throw the players and coach under the bus" vs. "everything is hunky-dory and we're still on track to win the MLS Cup."

Given that the team doesn't want to trade away players like Wallace or Pontius or Hamid or the #1 pick, we don't have a lot to give up in order to get talent from another MLS team. We can't sign any foreign talent at this point (other than someone who is a complete free agent). So it's a mistake to brutally criticize particular players you can't replace at this point.

Posted by: JoeW1 | May 4, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

First question I would have asked him.

Who on this team can score a goal in a competitive match aside from Moreno's PKs?

After five minutes of silence I bet KP would get the point. Perkins can concede 1 goal or 100 goals but if we can't score a single one it doesn't really matter.

Emilio may be the answer if we could actually get a ball in the box for him to poach.

This is the exact same problem Onalfo had in KC, he can put together a solid squad but he just doesn't understand offensive tactics and eventually the defense gets warn down and makes stupid mistakes.

Posted by: Southeasterner | May 4, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

You can't say that you have outplayed the other teams when the only 2 goals you have scored ALL SEASON have been questionable fluke goals (from one game against the 2nd worst team in the league: Filthadelphia).

If he is not hiding anything in the interview, his incompetence only looks worse.

TRADITION. We Win Trophies!

Posted by: Palin-McCain2012 | May 4, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

you really need to get rid of that handle....

Posted by: DadRyan | May 5, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Is it irony or just appropriate that a handle of "break away" is the voice of reason? Perhaps you should retitle yourself "againsttherunofplay".

Posted by: vivzig | May 5, 2010 2:48 AM | Report abuse

We have to go out on the field and fight on every single play."

But shouldn't that be expected from a professional soccer player?

Could that question please be permanently retired? Anyone who has followed sports for more than a couple of years should know that the answer is NO. We've all seen lots of coaches announce "these are professionals in this locker room, they don't need me to get them motivated to perform." We've never seen one of those guys holding hardware at the end of their season (slight exception - Joe Gibbs in '91, but he'd had 10 seasons to mold the group and a lot of de facto assistant coaches on the field that year). Really playing hard 90 minutes a game is difficult, doing it every game is more so. Few players, and no team, can be expected to do that without outside motivation. If CO can't do provide it, blaming the players for making up for it is a mistake. Ben Olsen seems like someone who might even from an assistant role, but he may have a hard time wrapping his head around the thought process of people who don't, since he never seemed to have that problem.

Posted by: zimbar | May 5, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

I suppose it's impossible to reason with anyone who takes pre-season results seriously, but the signs were truly obvious that this was not a strong roster. Keeping Moreno -- a has been and a real anchor on the field. Signing a 37-year old and a 17-year old. Shifting to a 4-4-2 with a defensive midfielder who has spent nearly his whole career playing as part of a pair of defensive midfielders. And so on...All this and more was said before the season all over the internet.

Posted by: Jphubba | May 5, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Two things:

DC United plays in the most paternal league in the world.

Garber wants to move the team if they can't get out of RFK.


In a league that thrives on randomized match outcomes via a single entity that imposes mediocrity, one that controls a wide swath of club activities, one the majority owns virtually every club, and one that has no relegation:

Isn't MLS at fault here?

Donnie Football has stated his aim to move the club if a stadium deal can't be struck. To minimize criticism for this heavy handed move, he'd prefer to do this to a club that was bleeding support.

Without pro/rel, losing accomplishes that pretty effectively.

Will the most storied club in the modern era have to disappear in the dead of night before fans realize that the league holds all the cards here?

We let them randomize match outcomes, own teams, set miniscule caps. What's to stop them from rigging a move?

Posted by: soccerreform | May 5, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

[Full Disclosure: I'm not a fan of DCU.]

Shouldn't Payne spend more of his time trying to get a venue for this team, and less time commenting on it's play? To me, everything else would be secondary to assuring his club's long-term and short-term viability.

Fixing this year's team might not be possible, unfortunately. And this being a World Cup season buys him and the rest of the FO some "cover" for the team's ineptitude. So why not spend EVERY WAKING HOUR trying to get a venue?

Payne has had 14 or so years to accomplish what Peter Wilt did in 18 months in a city that was every bit as opposed to soccer as The District is today. [Note the lack of Chicago in the "official" World Cup bid, for example.]

Again, I'm not a fan of DCU. But if I were, I wouldn't want to SEE or HEAR from Payne until he has a stadium announcement.

Posted by: khan1 | May 4, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

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

Although I would like to hear from KP as to the talent on the roster, I essentially agree with this post. Kudos!

I do no not want to sound like I'm insensitive to the recession but.............I'm sick and tired of hearing it as an excuse for a lack of a stadium deal. We reside in possibly the most recession proof area of the country (and this recssion has been no different, check the stats) yet other areas that have been hit much harder than us get these deals done and we can't. I simply don't buy that this is just being tied down by the recession. That argument has grown tired.

Posted by: croftonpost | May 5, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

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