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D.C. United news & notes

Coming off two encouraging performances, D.C. United will not make many lineup changes for Saturday's match against the Colorado Rapids at RFK Stadium, Coach Curt Onalfo said after Friday's training session.

"When you are performing well, you don't want to tinker with too many things," he said. "So don't expect us to tinker a lot. If we have a change, it is just one or two based on what we think is going to be successful in this game."

In other words, Bill Hamid seems set to start in goal for the third consecutive match, Adam Cristman and Danny Allsopp will pair up on the frontline again, and Juan Manuel Peña will return to central defense after being resting for the FC Dallas encounter last weekend.

Right back Jordan Graye, who left that match in the first half with a strained hamstring, performed well in training this week, Onalfo said. "He was tested today and looks to be good. We will make a fine determination tomorrow," Onalfo said. If Graye is not ready, Devon McTavish and Julius James become the top candidates to step in.

Midfielder Andy Najar has made progress from a sore ankle and is in contention for a spot on the 18-man game-day roster.

Meantime.....

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forward-midfielder Chris Pontius (hamstring) said he plans to resume regular workouts next week and challenge for a roster slot next Saturday at Houston. He will miss his fourth straight match tomorrow.

Stat of the day: United is 7-0-4 at home against the Rapids since 2000 and 11-2-4 all-time at RFK, including the MLS Cup victory in 1997, with a 37-15 scoring advantage.

Parking alert: An additional 500 spaces will be available in Lot 8 for Saturday's match and the entire area might be ready for the AC Milan friendly May 26, stadium officials said. The lot has undergone extensive work and resurfacing to repair damage suffered during the winter storms.

Asked if Rapids striker Conor Casey might try to take out his disappointment of being left off the U.S. World Cup training camp roster, Onalfo said with a laugh: "Hopefully not."

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By Steve Goff  |  May 14, 2010; 12:37 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United , MLS  | Tags: Bill Hamid, Colorado Rapids, Conor Casey, Curt Onalfo, D.C. United, Juan Manuel Peña, Major League Soccer, RFK Stadium, Soccer, World Cup  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Friday kickaround
Next: Clinton, World Cup bid, Sir Alex, DeMerit, Wambach

Comments

I'm not sure these last 2 results were all THAT encouraging. Maybe marginally less DIScouraging.

Posted by: Matte | May 14, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

If Onalfo thinks his team is currently "performing well", I'd suggest he lay off the Kool-Ade.

Posted by: Matte | May 14, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Unbelievable. What exactly was encouraging about last weekend?

Posted by: DCU_Rick | May 14, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Assuming he's healthy, I'd prefer to see Barklage on the right instead of Boyzzz, and Najar instead of Morsink. Of course, since Morsink is Curt's BFF, apparently, I doubt he'll sit out.

And I don't HATE Morsink, at all. I love his heart and fight and his clear hatred of losing soccer games. But I do think that (a) he is very similar to Simms; (b) Simms is better than him; and (c) we need an offensive-minded midfielder to help spring Allsopp and Cristman. That leaves Kurt on the bench.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | May 14, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps a more pertinent question is why the good teams can find Salou Ibrahim, Joel Lindpere and Alvaro Saborio while the not-as-good-teams find Franco Niell.

Posted by: OWNTF | May 14, 2010 9:49 AM |


To echo that point, another player in last night's game was Lovel Palmer, who played against us for Harbour View on multiple occasions. We got a first-hand look at him before anyone else in MLS...and he's playing for Houston. Meanwhile, we start we start Morsink in central midfield.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | May 14, 2010 10:08 AM

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

The answer to the issues raised by these excellent posts may be found with Kasper. Under his watch, DCU fans have been left with the likes of all those Argies (and one who obviously had a spasm of lucidity and changed his mind about coming here, leaving a large bag of money on the table), instead of players who have proven to be strong positives for other teams.

Kasper has a personal stake in his relationship with a player agency in Argentina and it has produced the results that it has for the club over the years. In the interest of this relationship he has passed on opportunities to actually improve the team by looking outside of that sphere.

Until or unless he is replaced, he will be the one that is trusted to make the next set of moves to make this club good enough to get out of the dumper it is in now and save this season.

Is that what DCU fans want?

Posted by: lgm6986 | May 14, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

DCU goal(s) in the first half = victory

DCU scoreless after the first 45 = 0 points

Posted by: tcbannon | May 14, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@lgm, what do you mean by "personal stake"? Emotional investment? Or actual financial stake?

Posted by: OWNTF | May 14, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Matte:

I get what you're saying, but considering the team at his disposal, the last 2 games were encouraging within the context of being a very limited team all over the field. The squad available right now isn't good at much other than showing heart and running around, yet gutted out a win despite losing the possession battle and arguably deserved a draw at Dallas, a fixture we traditionally lose no matter how good or bad we are.

Of course, it's partially Onalfo's fault that the team at his disposal has such a low ceiling. So there's that.

VercengetorixII:

Why not bring in Barklage and push Khumalo onto the left for Castillo? I think part of the reason we're adapting to a grittier style is that we've got energetic players all over the field. Khumalo may be unreliable when it comes to producing a final product, but it's important to keep his speed and energy out there (especially when Castillo is offering little).

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | May 14, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

tcbannon:

Great point. Sometimes things are simple. This isn't a United team that can come from behind. We have a hard enough time scoring as is; if teams get ahead and start to get conservative, our odds plummet. Early chances on Saturday are going to be of massive importance.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | May 14, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

To: OWNTF:

I wish it were as simple as choosing one of two meanings of the words that I used.

Kasper's relationship with the Argentina agency has inured to the benefit of his personal interests substantially more than it has to his professional interests.

In law, the mere appearance of impropriety is more often than not sufficient for a finding of unethical conduct. At the very least Kasper's relationships have crossed that line. But more importantly, the results speak for themselves: Erpen, Donnet, Filomeno, Los Dos Gonzalos, etc. And I should point out that in soccer, his way is not uncommon. That doesn't make it right, it just makes it ineffective as a means of trying to find the soccer talent needed to make the team right.

The threshold question remains: is he to be trusted to look beyond his personal interests in Argentina to find the talent to fix the team, or will we have more of the Donnets and Filomonos of the world?

Posted by: lgm6986 | May 14, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

LOL at Onalfo. I don't think he's earned the right to say DC United is performing well. Last time I checked, DC only had 3 points.

Posted by: strago | May 14, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I like this analysis of Morsink and would agree with another writer on sitting Castillo for once. Being on the Bench might give Castillo a different perspective and it might actually help him improve. Sometimes its the best way to learn about the league.
------------------------------
Assuming he's healthy, I'd prefer to see Barklage on the right instead of Boyzzz, and Najar instead of Morsink. Of course, since Morsink is Curt's BFF, apparently, I doubt he'll sit out.

And I don't HATE Morsink, at all. I love his heart and fight and his clear hatred of losing soccer games. But I do think that (a) he is very similar to Simms; (b) Simms is better than him; and (c) we need an offensive-minded midfielder to help spring Allsopp and Cristman. That leaves Kurt on the bench.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | May 14, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse
---------------------------------

Posted by: godpere | May 14, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

To be fair to the FO, I would note that we have indeed attempted to bring up players that were staring us in the face from lower division teams: Tiyi Shipalane, Boyzzz, Castillo, Janicki. I don't know if it's bad luck, bad choices, or both. Posted by: VercengetorixII

Bad choices. It should be clear when opposing teams players, from any division, slice and dice our starters, that they deserve a quick call from MLS "most storied franchise."

Alonso did that in the USOC final, but instead was signed by Seattle for 100 K. Right now, I think an Alonso/Simms combo, with whomever running off the flanks and up top would be a nice pairing.

Defensive oriented, sure, but solid. Kind of like Larentowicz/Mastroeni in Colorado, with Cummings running wide---as you'll see this weekend.

It should also be clear that whoever was responsible for our Argentine adventure (Gallardo, Peralta, Niell, etc) should step up and take some blame.

Posted by: delantero | May 14, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

And do, the race to not be the worst team in MLS history is on!

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 14, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"At the very least Kasper's relationships have crossed that line. But more importantly, the results speak for themselves: Erpen, Donnet, Filomeno, Los Dos Gonzalos, etc."

Does 2006 MLS MVP Christian Gomez fall under that "etc." as well?

Posted by: edgeonyou | May 14, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

One of the main reasons we're "performing well" (in context) is that we're generating serious shots, which were largely absent (serious or not) in the first games of the season. Even the NYRB loss showed a number of chances. Agree, got to have one or two find the back of the net in the first half.

Posted by: dccal | May 14, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

What is that Gomez guy up to right now? Since the transfer window is closed and we don't seem to have an attacking midfielder...

Posted by: jo1234 | May 14, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Believe CG #10 is playing for Miami in D2

Posted by: OWNTF | May 14, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

" . . .Argentine adventure (Gallardo, Peralta, Niell, etc [Donnet, Erpen])"

I don't think Gallardo belongs with the rest in terms of our scouts missing something. I can't fault the FO for bringing in Gallardo, even though he clearly didn't work out. And Gomez worked well, as has been mentioned.

Now, Niell, on the other hand . . .

Posted by: fallschurch1 | May 14, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"I wish it were as simple as choosing one of two meanings of the words that I used."

-I'm gonna try that line out on my wife the next time we're bickering. I'll let you know how it goes.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | May 14, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see Perkins come back to the starting 11...dont know why, but I think that he will snap back into things quckly now that Hamid has shown he is capable.

Posted by: swampdogoh | May 14, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I knew Graye was being a wuss when he came off last week without any help. Dude needs to man up. You can't walk off the field without a limp to be replaced by Julius James. It just ain't right I tell ya! It just ain't right!

Posted by: DadRyan | May 14, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"We will make a fine determination tomorrow," Onalfo said.

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

We're all on the razor's edge in anticipation....

Posted by: fischy | May 14, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"the results speak for themselves: Erpen, Donnet, Filomeno, Los Dos Gonzalos, etc."

Does 2006 MLS MVP Christian Gomez fall under that "etc." as well?

Posted by: edgeonyou | May 14, 2010 2:36 PM

Yeah! Hey, wait a minute. There's Gomez, and Erpen wasn't so bad. Not at all! He was actually very effective. Okay, his flying Erpfu kicks were a little risky, but he pulled them off most of the time. A lot of people on this Blog disagreed with our decision to let him go.

Posted by: WorldCup | May 14, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

It's too bad Wicks and Erpen couldn't have played together. That could have gotten interesting . . .

Come to think of it, Crayton in goal, and Erpen and Gonzalo in the defense. Anything might happen at any time!

Posted by: OWNTF | May 14, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

To: OWNTF:

I wish it were as simple as choosing one of two meanings of the words that I used.

Kasper's relationship with the Argentina agency has inured to the benefit of his personal interests substantially more than it has to his professional interests.

In law, the mere appearance of impropriety is more often than not sufficient for a finding of unethical conduct. At the very least Kasper's relationships have crossed that line. But more importantly, the results speak for themselves: Erpen, Donnet, Filomeno, Los Dos Gonzalos, etc. And I should point out that in soccer, his way is not uncommon. That doesn't make it right, it just makes it ineffective as a means of trying to find the soccer talent needed to make the team right.

The threshold question remains: is he to be trusted to look beyond his personal interests in Argentina to find the talent to fix the team, or will we have more of the Donnets and Filomonos of the world?

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

This is a vague argument in support of a serious allegation, so I'm skeptical, but you do bring up the excellent point that Kasper has a pattern of signing older Latino (primarily Argentine) players that don't pan out and end up costing DCU more than they contribute. Christian Castillo still has time to improve before I pass judgment, but if I were to make an assessment about him right his minute, I'd say that he looks like another subpar signing. I'm not going to drink the conspiracy Kool Aid just yet, but I do support calls for some transparency from Dave Kasper, and some personal responsibility.

Posted by: keepunitedindc | May 14, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Peralta was ok, I think we had players back there at the time that could cover up some of his mistakes. The defence needs to start playing TOGETHER. Thats the problem with all the competition going on back their. People would rather point fingers then cover up. We really need janicki back, he is our leader back their. With Graye,janicki,pena, and namoff back there i think we could easily have the best back 4 in the league. I also agree that Morsink needs to sit, and barklage needs to start. I wouldnt mind seeing a barklage,najar midfield because barklage can play some D too. Simms is too ignorant when it comes to offense and possesion. Sure he can play good D, but at this level you have to do both to play center mid. Simms lacks the ability to "control" the middle with ball possesion. The Midfield also have to learn how to play TOGETHER. They have started to play together and work out of problem spots, i hope that continues. Castillo is especially good at that, they need to talk on the field and realize who is good at what, then we will see castillo's full potential. Hamid, Perkins, i dont care at this point. Hamid has looked good, so i guess its his too lose. I have no complaints at the fwd position, alsopp and cristman are doing well.

Posted by: g3impreza | May 14, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

g3impreza -- Are you really drunk, or is your post entirely sarcastic?

Peralta was OK? He was an oaf, with no skill whatsoever. There's a reason why he was a second-division defender. Janicki our leader in the back? He didn't lead anything, and he was horribly overmatched in MLS. He's found his level again, back in the lower leagues.

"Graye,janicki,pena, and namoff back there i think we could easily have the best back 4 in the league."

That could be one of the most bizarre comments I've ever read. We're all entitled to an opinion, but you shouldn't booze it up and blog. Why even bring up Namoff? He's not playing and won't play for a long time, if ever again. A rookie with 2 games under his belt, a career 2nd-division hack, a 37 y.o who came out of retirement to pull his hamstring, and a guy whose career seems to have been brought to a premature end. Normally, I'd joke about wanting what you're smoking -- but, in this case, I don't think I do.

Kurt Morsink is no winner, but the only thing Barklage brings to the table is hustle.

"Castillo is especially good at that" -- I read your comment, and I'm not sure what you think he's good at, but I'm pretty sure you're wrong.

I hate to sound mean, but have you ever watched DC United play? If you haven't, then your comments are more understandable. If you have, then I'm baffled.


Posted by: fischy | May 15, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

"I would like to see Perkins come back to the starting 11...dont know why, but I think that he will snap back into things quckly now that Hamid has shown he is capable."

Posted by: swampdogoh | May 14, 2010 3:36 PM

I couldn't disagree more! I hope we never see Perkins again. In fact I am trying to erase the last two years of his DC United career from my memory banks all togteher. Perkins stinks. Hamid on the other hand has a bright future!

Posted by: alan19 | May 15, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Y'know what? My last comment was just mean, and there's no reason to be mean. I'm sorry. It's just that I've read a lot of comments hat I disagree with. When it comes to sports especially I think there's a lot of room to disagree. I'm not sure I ever read an opinion comment that was just so indisputably wrong.

I still don't get the thing about Graye, Janicki, Pena and Namoff being the best back 4 in MLS. Maybe, on Bizarro World. Me am sorry. It am better to be funny.

Posted by: fischy | May 15, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

uh, I've got a cold bucket of water over here if you need help putting that fire out fischy...LOL

Posted by: DadRyan | May 15, 2010 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Onalfo is delusional. This team is NOT playing well.

Posted by: lastort1 | May 15, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Sorry not janicki. The Canadian guy...whats his name? forgot lol. Peralta plays in colorado does he not? He went over with gomez and stayed there i thought. I guess ill find out tonight. And what i meant was that castillo is good at playing out of tight corners. "like most south americans are" I dont mind your comment at all, i think it was an honest reply. Gray may not have the ball skills yet but he will develope them with more playing time. He is tall and strong, and knows how to get away with using his body to his advantage. I think he is better than mctavish. Mctavish in my mind is a dissapointment. He has been here since like 98 and hasent become the domminant force at the back that we had hoped for, he is good for us open cup matches.

Posted by: g3impreza | May 15, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

jakovic is his name....also Pena brings alot to the table which you dont see. Problem is he is not healthy right now. He is reliable, which will be great when jakovic returns. Barklage has good ball skills and knows where to pass the ball on offense much better than simms and morisink. Morisink should be a sub.

Posted by: g3impreza | May 15, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Performing well? One look at the standings says otherwise. When did the bar for performance for DC United become so low? Echoing thoughts of others, if he is healthy, I would like to sign Barklage back in the starting eleven.

Posted by: Verdeball | May 15, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

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