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D.C. United news & notes: Boskovic, trialists, stats

Why wasn't Branko Boskovic, D.C. United's designated player, included in the starting lineup against the Los Angeles Galaxy last weekend? The straightforward reason: Interim coach Ben Olsen remained loyal to the group that won at Toronto FC in the previous match, which Boskovic had missed while on international duty for Montenegro.

"To me, if the guys out there fight and compete and win the game away, it's tough to look them in the eyes and say, 'You know what? You're not going to play.' He understands that more than anyone," Olsen said. "When I told him he wasn't starting, he said, 'Of course. We won.' That is how it works. Saying that, he is going to be on the field for us [moving forward], that's for sure. He is a big part of this."

Boskovic is expected to start this Saturday night against the Houston Dynamo at RFK Stadium, a matchup between last-place clubs. I will have much more on Boskovic's situation with United and his surprisingly successful national team in Saturday's print edition (available online Friday).

In other news.....

*Although the MLS roster deadline has passed, United is evaluating two 19-year-old trialists for future consideration: Chinese forward Yang Men and Ghanaian defender Kenny Owusu. Owusu is affiliated with a youth club in Tema, which, coincidentally, is Freddy Adu's home town.

"Two guys who we had an eye on and wanted to see," Olsen said. "When we have guys on our radar and we can get them in for a closer look, we are going to do that. We are also in a spot where we have a luxury to do that."

United's roster search will accelerate after the season, but the club already has four teenagers set for the initial 2011 roster: goalkeeper Bill Hamid and midfielders Andy Najar and Conor Shanosky (all academy signings), and midfielder Junior Carreiro.

A few weeks ago, United took a two-day look at defender Howard Turk, a local talent who started every game at the University of Virginia two years ago before losing his spot during the 2009 championship campaign and leaving school for academic reasons early this year.

*Houston defender Bobby Boswell will not face his old club (and supporters) Saturday at RFK because of a yellow card suspension.

*Expecting a lot of goals Saturday? Maybe you shouldn't. The Dynamo has scored 10 goals in 12 away matches; United has nine in 12 home games. On the other hand, we could be in store for some late drama: United has conceded 16 goals in the last 15 minutes of matches -- the most in the league, by far, in that interval -- and Houston has given up 19 in the final 30-minute stage.

By Steve Goff  | September 23, 2010; 1:15 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. United  | Tags:  D.C. United  
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Comments

"defender Howard Turk, a local talent who started every game at the University of Virginia two years ago before losing his spot during the 2009 championship campaign and leaving school for academic reasons early this year."

Sounds like a loser. Can't keep his spot on a winning college team, and can't keep his grades up either. Probably can't make DC United - a losing team of late.

With four teenagers, I hope the folks on this blog who are constantly calling for young talent with lots of upside potential are satisfied.

Posted by: WorldCup | September 23, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey Goff,

When players are being evaluated, or are on a trial basis, does DCU compensate them in any way....room, board, per diem.....or are they on their own dime?

Posted by: timmy6 | September 23, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

So based on the Houston analysis, DC will lead in the 70th mark and then let the game tie-ing goal in the 85th?
just saying

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | September 23, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

That's crap, WorldCup.

I don't know squat about this fellow Turk, except that he's probably still a teenager too, or close. I don't know squat about his life, or what preparation he had or didn't have to handle the academics at UVA.

Even if I did know more about that, I might refrain from passing judgment on whether a man of his years is a "loser". Kind of early in the game for that sort of thing, even if you're inclined toward it.

Posted by: OWNTF | September 23, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

From: @GrantWahl
"Just spoke to CONCACAF hoss Chuck Blazer. He expects FIFA to approve new WC qualifying format. Highly likely US will NOT meet México in WCQ."

What the hell?!

Posted by: RedDevil1 | September 23, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

It's not like he was a student at UMD...

Posted by: Reignking | September 23, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Benny has the right state of mind and speech for a head coach. But he could be excellent if he would get coaching badges or certification so that he has strategy and knowledge down for any scenario

Posted by: TenoriosLaptop | September 23, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Turk is a good kid from the Centreville, VA who was picked up late by our fantastic VYSA ODP system (yes that was irony), went to Bradenton and represented the US in the U17 World Cup a few years ago (I think in Chile). I'm sorry to hear he left UVA for academic reasons. Maybe he isn't cut out to be a pro, but agree with OWNTF: his struggles are no reason to label him a loser.

Posted by: hscott | September 23, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Ben seems to be pretty by the book so far. Taking out offense to play defense at the end of the game last week was classic coaching 101...which as often as not comes back to bite you in the ass. I'd rather he have some outside the box thinking instead.

Posted by: fedssocr | September 23, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

@OWNTF, you're totally right to call me out on this one. I don't know what came over me to be so critical. And putting a big fat label like "loser" on someone is not my style, especially a young person just getting started in life.

I guess I was just noticing that our first introduction to him via the Insider included a couple tough breaks - losing his starting spot and then leaving on academic grounds. Also in there somewhere is frustration that DCU is looking at players who couldn't keep their starting spots for their college teams rather than studs who are so good they are recruited to go pro early.

Turk, if you're reading this, please dismiss my stupid comment.

Posted by: WorldCup | September 23, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

@WorldCup
The first "my bad" in internet message board history.

Good for you.

And good for Turk for giving it a second go. I hope getting a taste of what it takes to be a pro ignites a fire in him.

Posted by: DWE4 | September 23, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

@reddevil1 -- This is a pretty idiotic change to CONCACAF qualifying. Teams will be ranked with two top teams heading different groups. If CONCACAF gets 3 guaranteed spots again, they'll go to the 2 first-place teams (from each group), and the second-place teams will have a playoff. If the number goes to 4, the both 2nd place teams will go. The groups will work like they do in Europe, so the teams won't play outside the group. Therefore, in most years, USA and Mexico won't play each other.

Posted by: fischy | September 23, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"United is evaluating two 19-year-old trialists for future consideration: Chinese forward Yang Men and Ghanaian defender Kenny Owusu. Owusu is affiliated with a youth club in Tema, which, coincidentally, is Freddy Adu's home town"

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

19, huh? How old is he really? 30?

Posted by: fischy | September 23, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

@WorldCup- Plus, for Turk to lose his starting spot to someone on a team that was having a championship season, is not that huge of a knock. The guy is still a very good player, Ive seen him.

Posted by: carmines757 | September 23, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

How do you know the USA and Mexico won't play each other? In an earlier thread, I noted how CONCACAF qualifying for this year's U17 women's championship followed a similar format. The geniuses at CONCACAF inexplicably put the USA and Canada together, guaranteeing that one of them would be eliminated (the Yanks were ousted after an 11m shootout). Since there were only two CONCACAF slots (not counting T&T as host), Mexico got the other one, and proceeded to show it belonged in this tournament by being blown out by Germany in its first game by a score of 9-nil.

Posted by: universityandpark | September 23, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

1. The comments about Turk remind me of initial comments about Najar about how he was a "high school dropout" and what could we possibly expect from him? A good team recognizes that talent comes from many sources. A local kid, young--what's the harm in giving him a trial? Besides, as Benny pointed out a week ago, the new players can't get evaluated 11v11 b/c of the injuries, it's been all small-sided games. So I say...more trialists! Given the coach more of an opportunity to realistically evaluate players (on the roster and off).

2. The answers to the Ghanian age issue....a bone scan! You heard it here first!

Posted by: JoeW1 | September 23, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

1. The comments about Turk remind me of initial comments about Najar about how he was a "high school dropout" and what could we possibly expect from him? A good team recognizes that talent comes from many sources. A local kid, young--what's the harm in giving him a trial? Besides, as Benny pointed out a week ago, the new players can't get evaluated 11v11 b/c of the injuries, it's been all small-sided games. So I say...more trialists! Given the coach more of an opportunity to realistically evaluate players (on the roster and off).

2. The answers to the Ghanian age issue....a bone scan! You heard it here first!

Posted by: JoeW1 | September 23, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

So, against the best team in the league, coming off a win against one of the worst teams, following which the coach and GM were fired, our coach decides to use the same lineup just becasue they won and leave the second highest-salaried player in club history on the bench.

I don't think he learned that from Bruce because I do not recall him ever benching Marco or Jaime or Raul upon their return from call-up duty.

Posted by: lgm6986 | September 23, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

@universityandpark -- I guess I can't say that. On reflection, I'm not sure how this owuld work. I had read that the top teams owuld get get byes through the first rounds of qualifying. I'm not sure this is correct. As I look at the outlines that have been reported/speculated on -- I'm not sure anyone knows what was proposed officially -- I don't see how that could be true. After the initial round whittles the pool to 32 teams, there doesn't seem to be a place for other teams to enter at a later stage...unless my math is wrong. 8 groups of four, 2 advance from each (16). Then, it's 4x4, and the top 2 advance again (8). Finally, there will be 2 groups of 4. Presumably there will be some seeding along the way, which one would think would keep the US and Mexico in different groups, but I'm not sure if anyone knows how the seeding will be done in later stages -- i.e., FIFA ranking vs. qualifying results.

Posted by: fischy | September 23, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

So, against the best team in the league, coming off a win against one of the worst teams, following which the coach and GM were fired, our coach decides to use the same lineup just becasue they won and leave the second highest-salaried player in club history on the bench.

I don't think he learned that from Bruce because I do not recall him ever benching Marco or Jaime or Raul upon their return from call-up duty.

Posted by: lgm6986
---------------------

So you don't approve?

I do. In fact I love it. It's not punishment against Branko--just rewarding the guys who won (on a team that desperately needed a win).

And there's nothing wrong with sending a message that your salary doesn't guarantee you a starting slot.

I support Benny's call on this 100%.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | September 23, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

And on that decision, the team came out a played a very solid game in the first half, especially defensively. But as usual, the lack of a clinical finisher bites them in the butt again.

As for the defensive substitution, you can't really fault Olsen too much for it, as he really had no choice. Of the players left on the bench -- Junior, Valera, McTavish, Simms...Simms would be the top choice to help seal the win, especially while ahead.

Maybe if Valera had more time on the team, or Junior had some gameday experience, he could have subbed out Allsopp and inserted one of those two and pushed Najar up top to run straight at the defense. But I can't fault him for not trusting either of them yet, especially against a quality side on the road.

Posted by: mercurysnake77 | September 24, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

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