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D.C. United news & notes

*D.C. United technical director Chad Ashton returned this morning from a scouting mission in Argentina after attending about 15 matches in a two-week span. He will head to Europe and then Africa in the coming weeks.

"There are a lot of good players -- the hard part is getting them out of there," he said. "The cost [salaries and transfer fees] in leagues around the world compared to our league is very different."

Once the Argentine season concludes in two weeks, United plans to speak directly with several potential targets. "Right now," Ashton said, "it's wait and see."

He declined to specify his European and African destinations.

For comments from Curt Onalfo, Santino Quaranta, Jaime Moreno and Mark Simpson.....

Looking ahead to the Kansas City match Wednesday night, Onalfo said: "There are no two ways about it, it's a crucial game. We never expected to be in the situation we are in, but we are, and we, as a staff and players, have to find a way to get out of it. We have to be able to combine 90 minutes of solid performance. We've put pieces of very good performances in. If you look at the last game, 45 minutes were pretty darn good, but that doesn't win you games. You have to do it for 90 minutes. ... It has to change, and it has to change quick."

Troy Perkins continues to struggle. Will you make a goalkeeping change Wednesday?

"I don't want to comment on that publicly yet. We are going to make a decision what we think is best to win the game."

The sense I am getting is that Bill Hamid might end up being the choice. (I am also hearing that Quaranta might not start.)

Onalfo, on the finishing: "We have to be more precise in the final third. Our decisions need to be better, our passes need to be more precise and we need to be more clinical with the finishing. We have addressed the issues [concerning] utilizing the width. We feel like we have remedied that. Now it's just a matter of putting those chances away. We have had chances all the way through. It would be more disappointing if we weren't creating those chances. At the end of the day, frustration is the key word. We are very frustrated and we have to get through it."

Quaranta, on the mood and confidence: "It's not a sense of desperation because the way Curt leads us and guides us, he instills his belief into us. Even with this much adversity, the guys have responded well. We stand behind him."

Moreno: "We're disappointed things keep happening. It's more frustration than urgency. Frustration makes you make mistakes and we have to learn how to deal with it."

Goalkeepers coach Simpson, on Perkins:

"In a sense, you don't want to be too hypercritical. He didn't really have a lot to do [Saturday], which is sometimes difficult for a goalkeeper because it doesn't allow you to get into a rhythm. Some games are easier when you have to make eight or nine saves because now you are like, 'I've stopped everything that has come to me and nothing is getting by.' We talked about the first goal. He is expecting it to come across and it gets a little unfortunate bounce. For me, it comes down to having the killer instinct to score in the 18 and having the will to defend in the other 18. You can be as pretty as you want between the 18s, but what it really boils down to is players making plays at both ends.

"Curt said to the group: 'We're not far off.' And I believe that."

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By Steve Goff  |  May 4, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  | Tags: Argentina, Chad Ashton, Curt Onalfo, D.C. United, MLS, Troy Perkins  
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Next: D.C. United's Onalfo disciplined by MLS


Two games in a few days -- sounds like a good time for Hamid.

Posted by: Reignking | May 4, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Goalkeepers coach Simpson, on Perkins:

"In a sense, you don't want to be too hypercritical. He didn't really have a lot to do [Saturday], which is sometimes difficult for a goalkeeper because it doesn't allow you to get into a rhythm. Some games are easier when you have to make eight or nine saves because now you are like, 'I've stopped everything that has come to me and nothing is getting by.'"

If allowing more shots on goal will make Perkins better, I think we have the personnel that can do that.

Posted by: BillyBob4 | May 4, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: OWNTF | May 4, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: SexyOffender | May 4, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Unless they are trying to keep Tino fresh and healthy, I don't see the point in benching a national team (fringe) winger who is in his mid-20s and scored the team's only goal this season.

Posted by: hoyanick1 | May 4, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks hoyanick1, you beat me to it. Tino is not the problem with this team.

Posted by: Matte | May 4, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

maybe since we played better without Quaranta in that Open Cup game it makes some sense for him to not start. Other than that one goal what has he done? His set pieces have been atrocious.

Posted by: fedssocr | May 4, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Has any DCU keeper improved with Simpson as his coach? I'm just sayin'

I cannot for the life of me figure out how sitting Quaranta will help. I think he's not been utilized at all well, and he's not played at a level that would be expected of him...but he does demand a lot of attentional by opposing defenses...which will now be free to concentrate more on other underwhelming players.

Posted by: teo_68 | May 4, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse least we won't get relegated.

Posted by: RetiredShark | May 4, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

1. Tino is "not the problem with this team" only in the sense that lots of other people on the team are playing pretty badly. But Tino has played pretty badly.

2. A fringe Nat? He was a fringe Nat in 2005. It's 2010 now.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | May 4, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

@christopher_a_metzler: He scored his first goal for the national team in 2009 ( So, I'd say he was a fringe player in 2009, at least.

Posted by: hoyanick1 | May 4, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Quaranta's awful game Saturday merits time on the pine -- I hope Goff is correct because that means Onalfo is putting some accountability on players if they don't perform. I also think Hamid should get a start, Perkins needs to sit and clear his head. Right now he's playing the position like those baseball pitchers who just can't throw striks anymore.

Regarding the earlier post on Payne's comments: the "best" player for DCU so far this year has been Morsink, followed by Najar -- a high school junior. That speaks volumes for everyone's skill as talent evaluators.

Posted by: griffin1108 | May 4, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't mind seeing Quaranta come off the bench.

At least three times Saturday he killed a possession by making a cross-field pass back to a defender, rather than to a more advanced player - and all three seemed to be out of indecision, or lack of confidence to make the more aggressive play. (this is not a criticism of playing the ball back in general, by the way)

Also, I think Simms did great, and whatever their faults, it would be nice to see the best defensive players be able to actually play a couple games together. I don't think Perkins has seen the same backline finish two games in front of him yet. Sorry for the "apologist" argument- I'm really disappointed by this team, too.

Posted by: CDRHoek | May 4, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Just to clarify:

I do think that competition for time at right-wing is good for Quaranta. It will force him to focus on improving his skill and leadership abilities--which he should be doing as a relatively young player anyways.

However, I don't think there is anyone on this remotely capable of replacing Quaranta's value on the pitch. The "statement" of benching Tino may help Tino find his form, but it certainly won't help DCU pick up points on Wednesday.

Posted by: hoyanick1 | May 4, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

If Tino is not doing anything going forward, and he's not, take him off as he's less than useless helping on defense.

Posted by: JkR- | May 4, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

hoyanick1: And that was 2009. In 2005, people were seriously talking about the possibility of his going to Germany; it wasn't out of the question until he went to the December 2005 camp out of shape. In 2005, despite his scoring at RFK in the Gold Cup, his performance in 2009 put him out of consideration. *No one* seriously talks about even the slightest possibility of his going to SA. He's not a fringe Nat now -- a fringe Nat would have at least a toe touching the edge of the rim of the bubble. Tino doesn't.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | May 4, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Another day, and On-awful is still employed. Oh, well, maybe tomorrow.

Posted by: hofbrauhausde | May 4, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

christopher_a_metzler - Tino gets called up for the B-squad Nats games. sounds like the definition of "fringe" to me. no one said anything about him going to SA.

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

"Curt said to the group: 'We're not far off.' And I believe that."

I needed a good laugh.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | May 4, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Onalfo, "we're not far off"... from being eliminated from the playoffs. Weds is a must win game.

Posted by: mbyrd28 | May 4, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I would say Rimando, Perkins and even Wicks improved their goalkeeping skills while at DC United (Wicks temperament was another matter). Not sure if Mark Simpson was the keeper coach during all that time...

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

Quaranta needs to sit and Wallace take his place. His set pieces and corner kicks look like high school. We need a consistent back line, Graye, Pena, McT and Talley. We have GOT to win this one.

Posted by: patrick18 | May 4, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

VTUnited -- again, this is 2010. Think Tino has a chance greater than 0.0000% for any call-ups this year? No? Then he's not a fringe player for the Nats. Maybe he was in the picture last year, before he played himself out of contention. Maybe he will figure prominently in the future; we'll have to see. Now? No.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | May 4, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Perkins needs to find the form he had before he left. He is young, and I have confidence he can find it.

We need someone good in the playmaker position in midfield. In the NYRB game it was obvious we lacked anyone skilled in that department. We had 2 defending midfielders, backpassing to the defenders who would lob long balls or counter up the wings. There was no real transition game through the middle. Scouts should be out there finding someone who can be playmaker.

We need someone with buisness savvy to negotiate a better stadium rental agreement, and get traction on a new stadium. It is depressing that the club continues to lose money and cant get decent players because of this present rental situation at RFK.

That recruiting mission also better find healthy players....guys who can get hacked and thugged up in MLS and play week after week. The injury situation on our roster is horrible. Examine other clubs who have lower injury issues and figure out what it is that they are doing, and emulate it.

Posted by: Wiggan | May 4, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Bench Tino?!?

I'm shocked, SHOCKED I tell you! He is one of the finest back-passers on the team!

Posted by: Ron16 | May 4, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

well we wouldn't want his left foot getting messed up by using it

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

FINALLY! Troy Perkins is just not good enough. Reaction is slow, can't organize his backline, and always looks dazed and confused. LET THE BILL HAMID ERA BEGIN!!! He certainly can't do any worse than Perkins has done so far. I would argue that Perkins this year looks worse than Zack Wells did for us.

Posted by: alan19 | May 4, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I think the scouting for United has been weak the last 3 years. Marcello Gallardo anyone? I don't think Perkins is the problem as much as a weak defense. Maybe having Santino come off the bench could give DC United some sort of spark. Overall its a huge mess and just does not look like it can get better anytime soon.

Posted by: Verdeball | May 4, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

re: Argentina trip...."There's a lot of good players...but it's hard to get them out of there..." - Chad Ashton

Dude - it's not hard. You pony up some cash and buy them a plane ticket. If you don't have the cash it takes, then don't waste your time down there. The "we'll just have to wait and see" approach is not a strategy for improving an 0-5 team.

Posted by: LostinPotomac | May 4, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Any chance DC United can sign Thierry Henry as one of our DP's? He is on his way out of Barca apparently.

Rumor is either NY or DC but my guess is New York has the upper hand because of the bigger market and as of now a better team.

Posted by: mpkomal | May 4, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

maybe since we played better without Quaranta in that Open Cup game it makes some sense for him to not start. ...

Posted by: fedssocr | May 4, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

We also played better without Onalfo after he was tossed, so maybe he should get benched too?

Posted by: HarkesyRules | May 4, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

maybe since we played better without Quaranta in that Open Cup game it makes some sense for him to not start. Other than that one goal what has he done? His set pieces have been atrocious.

Posted by: fedssocr | May 4, 2010 2:29 PM

His free kicks aren't pretty to watch, but they have been the most dangerous chances DC has produced -- pretty much the only times the opposing goalies have been tested. I'm not crazy for Tino -- his shots in the run of play aren't great, and he keeps passing up good shots to try crosses that he overhits. However, there isn't a better free kick taker on the team.

Similarly, I love the comments saying it's time for Hamid to play -- from people who haven't seen him play. I saw him play in a reserve team match. Unless he was just having a bad day, he's not ready to play against real professionals. One thing I'll agree with -- Perkins' head isn't in the right place. He's go the talent -- always has had that. It's his decision-making that get him in trouble - sometimes too slow to move, other time, too reckless in coming out. If he can get right, he's the guy. Hamid's time, if it comes, should wait.

Posted by: fischy | May 5, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse


Actually, Quaranta's set pieces have been around average. He's never going to have the skill to bend freekicks around walls, so he'll always have to opt for power. Everyone knows it's coming, so he's either got to find a tiny hole or hope the wall screws up.

As for the times he's served balls in, we're winning a higher number of these headers than a bad team (or even an average team) usually does. The problem is that we're wasting these headers.

I'm not saying he's been great on set pieces, but "atrocious" is way off the mark.


Wicks was truly awful with LA. Here, he improved enough to become probably not the worst starter in 2009 (that was Sala, who still starts because apparently Schellas Hyndman does not watch his goalkeepers ever).

I'm not sure if Simpson is a particularly skilled GK coach, but the only way he could be having this severe an impact on Perkins is if he's giving him small doses of poison.


Morsink has not been our best player to this point. It's probably Najar and Barklage, followed by Simms (who was clearly a class above everyone in a DC shirt on Saturday). Yeah, Simms has only played a few minutes, but those three are the only players that I'd say are playing "OK" or better.

Morsink plays well when teams don't pressure him, but when they do (and they always do, eventually) he can't keep up with the speed of the game. On the ball, that means turnovers. Off the ball, that means he resorts to fouling that borders on goonery.


On the benching topic, I'd say no to Perkins sitting. Hamid's only 19, and GK is a position that, more than any other, rewards having experience. There are so many things to judge. I also think the uproar about Perkins should be toned down a bit; the goals against NY required a terribly unlucky bounce to an unmarked player (Salou) and a perfect header by an unmarked player (Angel). Perkins has been poor, but to see what United fans are saying, you'd expect that he's actively taking goal kicks at our own goal.

On Quaranta, I could go either way. If he sat and Barklage came in, I wouldn't mind. Barklage will defend more and is a better crosser. However, Quaranta's much less predictable as an attacker, and Espinoza didn't really look like he had any idea how to help Besler deal with Oduro against the Dynamo. Forcing Espinoza to think and deal with the less conventional is probably a good idea. I can see good reasons to bench him, and I can see good reasons to play him.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | May 5, 2010 3:51 AM | Report abuse

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