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Matchnight: D.C. United-Rapids

It's another heavenly day along the banks of the mighty Anacostia for a D.C. United home match, my last for quite some time as, starting Sunday, I turn most of my attention to the U.S. national team, World Cup and, in about two weeks, departure for South Africa.

Here at our beloved edifice, the football yard marks have all but faded, additional spaces in Lot 8 are available and hundreds of parents and kids have flooded the Volkswagen area behind the north goal for pregame activities. Four youth matches are taking place simultaneously.

With the U.S. World Cup bid formally submitted Friday, promotional efforts are picking up. GoUSABid flags, signage and ballboy gear will be visible at RFK tonight.

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet/DC.
Announcers: Dave Johnson, Sasho Cirovski.

DCU's lineup and reserves soon.....
DCU: Hamid; Graye, Peña, Talley, Wallace; Khumalo, Simms, Morsink, Castillo; Cristman, Allsopp. Subs: Perkins, James, McTavish, King, Barklage, Najar, Moreno. (Emilio is not in the 18. Fitness has been an issue. I'll have more details later.)

Your pregame, in-game and postgame banter is encouraged.

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By Steve Goff  |  May 15, 2010; 5:09 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  | Tags: D.C. United, MLS, World Cup  
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Next: D.C. United rewind


Get those damn kids off the lawn!

Vamos United!

Posted by: DadRyan | May 15, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Goff: Will we be seeing Tenorio's byline more often in the next month and a half (or longer, if the USA gets past the group stage)? Also, will other Posties be involved in the WC coverage? Does the Post have a bureau in or near SA? I know that overseas bureaus have been an endangered species.

Posted by: universityandpark | May 15, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Emilio? Out of shape? Never saw that coming. How much are we paying him?

Posted by: benonthehill | May 15, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Emilio. Sigh. Anyone still furious we didn't keep him the first time?

Also concerned to see Castillo back in the lineup again with Barklage available. Seems like the bench would be a good place for this kid to figure out some of his problems, he's not that effective on the field by any stretch.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 15, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Looking forward to the game. Hopefully it will be as wide open as the Philly-FC Dallas game earlier today. That was fun to watch.

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | May 15, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

"the football yard marks have all but faded"
Meaning they are faded or haven't?

Posted by: Dancy1 | May 15, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Really looking forward to your WC coverage...are you going to SA?

Posted by: euroman | May 15, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Cristman for MVP.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 15, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Conor Casey continues to show why he's off the list of 30.

Castillo proving he is too afraid of getting hurt.

I like Allsopp and Cristman up top, but wish they had an extra gear.

Some nice diagonal balls through the Rapids defense (Morsink, Allsopp), but as of yet no one to get on the end of them . . or by Wynne.

Speaking of Wynne . . It's too bad his soccer talent will never match his athleticism.

Posted by: delantero | May 15, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

* sigh *

Does Khumalo pass it backwards way too often or is it me?

Posted by: DaninFL | May 15, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

DC looking pretty good so far.. Castillo with a pair great corner kicks and passing the nicely (dumb yellow card tho) Cristman being his scrappy self.. Wynne has some great recovery speed! Worried Casey will be playing with a chip on his shoulder. Come on DC!!

Posted by: dcurob | May 15, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

It seems more apparent that we're missing someone in the middle to connect with the flanks and involve them more.

Posted by: dcurob | May 15, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Someone like Najar?

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | May 15, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

I like Jordan Graye. Good pick up. Looking forward to him refining his game.

Posted by: delantero | May 15, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Someone like Najar?
Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | May 15, 2010 8:37 PM

Yes! Najar, Moreno, someone... When the flanks do get the ball there's no midfield to pass to who'll know what to do next. We're lacking that one two triangle passing from the midfield. It can't all be just long balls to the forwards (which luckily tonight has been pretty good so far).

Posted by: dcurob | May 15, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Crap, Hamid gives up a near post goal. Shouldn't have happened.

Posted by: delantero | May 15, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

0-0 @ the half.. I'd say sub in Najar for Morsink.

I like Allsopp and Cristman up top, but wish they had an extra gear. Posted by: delantero | May 15, 2010 8:12 PM

Agreed, unfortunately subs for them don't seem any faster (sorry Jaime, sorry Luci)..

Posted by: dcurob | May 15, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

When's Casey going to get a yellow for the double armed over the top pushes he keeps giving?

Posted by: delantero | May 15, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

This ref truly sucks.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 15, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

He's got company out there.

Hamid blew one but he's saved a couple he had no business getting to. He had some great elevation on Clark's shot off the post too.

Posted by: benonthehill | May 15, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Wow, we suck.

Posted by: Hoost | May 15, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse


I'm angry.

Posted by: HWLongfellow | May 15, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse


Think it is petty to blame Hamid for the first goal. He's a little inexperienced, and the chance was created on two uncalled fouls on our defenders in the middle of the field.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | May 15, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: chemweapon | May 15, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Damn. Balouchy right between the legs of Pena near post.. hamid stood still.. sigh. DC plays well enough again but can't score first keeping the other team in it..

Posted by: dcurob | May 15, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse


You make it sound like I'm dumping on the kid. He left the near post open and caught a bad break when the ball slipped between Peña's legs. It was a mistake. That's just the way it is.

Maybe you read my comment about the ref having company sucking as a shot at Hamid. But my first sentence had nothing to do with the second. My point was that he had a great game and made saves DC keepers haven't often made in the past 3 years. Hamid's one of the few on the "did not suck" side.

Posted by: benonthehill | May 15, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

ESPNU's ticker this afternoon during the lacrosse games kept flashing the almost done deal of Henry to NYRB. And we have a midfield that couldn't start for W-L high school. Maybe Gatorade will buy us--although Alka Seltzer would make more sense!

Posted by: dcarmy | May 15, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

anyone else laughing at the bandwagon nation getting mad at the result.

Look honestly, the team isnt bad. They have improved. GREATLY.
Two set pieces are missing: Striker, not forward. And Creative midfielder.

Hamid is solid. Still avgs 1 g/game. The goal wasnt his fault. It was a well placed shot in the corner. Enough to scratch the post.

The flanks were hustling. Just no one at top to finish.
It wasn't smooth to watch but its an improvement.

April 14th, 1996, section M36 I saw the Diaz-Arce volley of a shot on Campos.

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | May 15, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

TheWashDipsSince88 - No, I'm laughing at the ostriches who have stuck their heads in the sand and are desperately trying to convince themselves that this team is improving in anything like a meaningful fashion. Our season is going to be over for all practical purposes before the World Cup break.

Posted by: fret44 | May 15, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

"The goal wasnt his fault. It was a well placed shot in the corner. Enough to scratch the post. WashDips"

Uh, it was his fault. It was near post. Near post goals shouldn't happen, period, and are the keepers responsibility.

Instead, he anticipated a cross and half stepped to his right. If he had stayed home he would have had it.

Too bad, we leave a point hanging.

Posted by: delantero | May 15, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

@ TheWashDipsSince88

Gotta agree. Hamid was solid, guess he thought Pena had that covered (he did, luck it went thru his legs). Next time he'll go down just to be sure. Najar or Moreno should've come earlier to cover the midfield. Castillo had a great game (service was good), a bit ambitious with those free kicks but no one else was shooting! Better chemistry coming from the defense. I second the need for a speedy striker and someone starting in that midfield to complement the flanks we have.

Posted by: dcurob | May 15, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

This isn't a bandwagon reaction; we are witnesses to a train wreck! With our injuries we don't have a lot of options, but this is ridiculous. James, Mctavish, and/or Granda Moses is faster than Talley. As has been stated many times by smarter people than me, Morsink and Simms are playing the same position. Najar needs to replace Morsink in the starting 11. And yes, bartender I would love another Yuengling!

Posted by: dcarmy | May 15, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I know it was a near post goal but I don't think it was Hamid's fault (Plus he made some great saves and continued to impress). He was leaning towards the back post, but Pena should have been tighter. On top of that, Tally and Wallace should not have dove in on either of those challenges. For me both situations were not fouls. Wallace embellished, and Tally went for a ball we was never going to win. Our D over committed needlessly and gave up a goal as a result.

I don't get the "if its near post its always the goalies fault." When you give a pro player a free shot from 16 yards its always terrible defending. I say this as a former defender.

I also don't understand how people can say Castillo played well. His free kicks were awful and rarely was his service dangerous. He is not up to the speed of MLS and lacks any cutting edge.

This game just reaffirmed my thoughts about this team: It is a team full of average role players. United lacks any real quality and in this league that is not good enough.

I hope Hamid continued to play. Najar and him make it interesting for me to see the growth of young players.

Posted by: grubbsbl | May 15, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

No serious shots on goal for us tonight, whereas we were two posts and a poor finish away from going down 4-0. I count us lucky not to have lost by our usual 2 goals conceded in the second half. I grant that Castillo is ambitious, which I like, and I don't begrudge him the shot from distance over and away, but the free kicks were no better than OK and one of his corners sailed way past any degree of utility. I'm wanting to love the guy, but I haven't seen it yet. Mrs. dccal can't stand him, but she is very demanding.

Also, we don't play a possession game any more, and especially not when Jaime is off the field, so let's not complain about all the bypassing the midfield with long balls. That's our attack, for what it's worth.

Posted by: dccal | May 15, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

com eon everyone - A lotta people didn't do great on the goal. Actually Pena getting the ball thru his legs is more unlucky then bad defending. But Hamid was out of position and frozen and if it was an Under 19 game he was still that way. That was a give away goal regardless of other good saves. It opened the door and the post had the crossbar /post had the 2 of the next 3 saves.
Despite what I say - GKing is not really our problem.. there are a lotta things not good. Goalkeeping is/will be the brightest especially when Perkins gets back into form.

Posted by: jjdc | May 15, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

On the goal, from where I was sitting in 209, it looked like Hamid was screened by Talley/Pena. I don't think that he saw the shot but still, no excuse getting beat near post. Hamid's save on Cummings was huge. Bill did well but yes, they leaked a costly goal.

Posted by: tcbannon | May 15, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

they need to keep Castillo away from all set pieces from now on.

Allsop and Cristman are basically the same player. They even move the same way. We need variety out there. Once Najar gets fully healthy they need his quickness up front.

The defense looked ok for the most part. But if we never score we are never going to win.

Colorado took time wasting to a new level tonight. Not that we would have scored in another 30 minutes, but it is pretty maddening to watch.

Posted by: fedssocr | May 15, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

We lack spark. Would it hurt to get us a #10 shirt who could run the team??? Two holding mids are not the answer.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | May 15, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

starting immediately, this team must begin to put the ball in the net. harp all you want on the goal tonight, but without any attack we will NEVER win. this is so painful to watch each week...

Posted by: beergorila | May 15, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Kasper has to go; this is......

Posted by: lgm6986 | May 15, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

"Allsop and Cristman are basically the same player."

Not that I agree with this, but right now, that player is looking like the best this team has.


Amen. There is an echo chamber in effect in DCU. Onalfo says we just need complete games from our players. I totally agree with him. We've been hearing that for years, and it always rings true.... The problem I have is the implied assumption that the players DCU has are capable of delivering complete performances at today's MLS level. They aren't, period, and far too many of them never will be.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | May 15, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Lordy, stop babying the kid goalkeeper. He blew it. I don't care if he was screened, he should have been near post. He blew it.

Otherwise, he played a good game! But he blew it.

Posted by: delantero | May 15, 2010 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Wow.. well.. If Coach Onalfo, I'm guessing, wants to build this team into that non-possesion long-ball type style of attack I guess he's trying to create, it won't work here! We don't have target strikers for that long ball game. With the current players on the team (specifically the ones that started tonight) you could clearly see that someone was needed in the midfield to keep moving forward, I mean the current forwards do need all the help they can get! DC was not overmatched by any means and IMHO had the better of the match up until COL scored. For a team that's 1-6 that absolutely busted their levees and allowed for the Rapids to flow no pun intended ;)

Posted by: dcurob | May 16, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

You can blame Hamid for that one goal - but I think it is our offense who blew the game - at home.

Posted by: AnthonyTheGreat | May 16, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

All right, folks; Let's keep this simple:

DCU lost at home to and failed to score against a team that is in all arguable ways inferior.

Please do not torture yourselves with deep analysis. The upper management of this team must be changed if there is to be any change in direction.

Will himself said that he would hold Kasper and KP accountable. Will is an honorable man. He must do what is right.

Posted by: lgm6986 | May 16, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

8 league matches, 4 goals for DCU. As they say, it takes more.... goals.

Posted by: tcbannon | May 16, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

"DCU lost at home to and failed to score against a team that is in all arguable ways inferior."

Really? I gotta think at some point people are going to begin to realize that DCU's record reflects reality. Even with every player healthy this is only a mediocre squad. There is no player missing who's a game-changing difference-maker—certainly not to the degree to push this team into the top 1/3 of the league.

I like a lot of these guys—most of them, almost all. There's grit and desire. With a few there's real potential. I can't think of one (aside from Emilio) that I wish wasn't on the roster. But there are not the sort of players who elevate other players' game. Not one.

And for that, I don't blame them, and I don't blame Onalfo, even if he's not the right guy. I'm assuming we'll never get the chance to find out.

Posted by: benonthehill | May 16, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

I could name a few players I wish weren't on the roster. Some of them are even starting.

Posted by: fischy | May 16, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

agree delantero.
keeper screened, but the defender who got megged should have stepped the Eff up and done something. Where was Wallace?
Wing backs capitalize once in a while right?
What's Wally done?
Balloon shet into oblivion..
maybe we can win the Open Cup?

Posted by: DadRyan | May 16, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

As for Castillo, maybe it was premature to say he had a great game (his last 2 free kicks brought it down) but I thought his corner kicks were dropping in the right targeted areas (I know I saw some hit DC heads). Maybe with a target striker in there one of those might have gone in. His field play though was primarily the reason I thought he had a good game. He came out with an attacking mindset, had some good runs, and showed some great hustle (how do you think he got that silly YC). His pass combo with Allsopp comes to mind. I think if he had a true midfielder to attack with there would be more of those. As far as his free kicks were concerned, he WILL get goals from them sooner or later, and no not just because he scored against the USMNT (how is that a bad thing anyways) but because he has already shown the ability to do so several other times, just not yet in MLS. I hope this isn't backlash from those who think he was just brought in purely for the Salvadorean fanbase and now sneer at him for not being able to gel quickly. The kid does have talent to offer DC given some confidence and playing with the right formation (not long ball). Anyways, just my spill on #12, but the team does have bigger problems and the FO is still accountable for all of them, starting with the coach, then the team's current crop of players, then their performances, and etc... But I still have hope... :)

Vamos United!!

Posted by: dcurob | May 16, 2010 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Neither Castillo, Boyzz, or Barklage were moving the ball up the wings. Morsink and Simms play the same holding midfielder position, and Morsink plays it better. As a result the entire midfield backpasses.

Our playmaker right now is Pena. Backpasses come into him, and he longballs it forward. If he longballs it to midfield, they back pass it and we repeat the process. If he manages to connect with Allsopp or Cristman, then there is hope something will happen.

Morsink or Simms needs to be replaced with an attacking midfielder who can provide service into our forwards. I am happy with Cristman and Alsopp...they are perfect MLS strikers, being strong enough to get hacked and have a high work rate, and manage to get stuff on frame.

Someone needs to have a Stuart Smalley session with our wingers and get them in the mindset to attack up the wings again. Where is the fight in Castillo and Boyzz? Wallace has more winger in him than they do right now, but his crosses are horrible, so he shouldn't play there.

Hamid is doing fine in goal, and Pena is surprising me with his value in the back, much as Sol Campbell worked out for Arsenal...experience and confidence back there helps. I hope he remains healthy.

I agree with Goff. Spend money on a playmaker. Don't get some aging injury prone primadonna though. Get us a rugged guy with a future.

Posted by: Wiggan | May 17, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

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