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Wednesday kickaround: Alecko Eskandarian's new life, D.C. United news & notes, Columbus Crew's CONCACAF victory and video

*In July 2009, MLS striker Alecko Eskandarian was struck in the face by a ball, resulting in his second significant head injury in four years. He hasn't played since. Now, with his soccer career essentially over and concussion symptoms affecting his everyday life, "Esky" has returned to the University of Virginia to earn a degree in anthropology and serve as an unpaid assistant coach for the reigning NCAA champion Cavaliers. Read the full story.

*Maryland stretched its unbeaten streak to five with a 2-0 victory over George Mason, avenging an upset loss to the Patriots last year. The scoring came on a deflection off a player's buttocks and an own goal.

*D.C. United's Chris Pontius will need up to six months to recover from hamstring surgery.

*As expected, United midfielder Branko Boskovic has been recalled for Montenegro's European Championship qualifiers against Switzerland on Oct. 8 and at England four days later. He will miss United's league match Oct. 9 against the San Jose Earthquakes at RFK Stadium.

*Video from the Columbus Crew's 1-0 home victory over Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League:

By Steve Goff  | September 22, 2010; 9:20 AM ET
Categories:  CONCACAF Champions League, College Soccer, D.C. United, European Championship, MLS  | Tags:  MLS  
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Next: American midfielder Benny Feilhaber scores three goals for Aarhus in Danish Cup match

Comments

Good job covering ConcaChampions.

Luckily I was quick enough to complain about the omission in my lengthy post on the previous thread!

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | September 22, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

No comment.

Posted by: Reignking | September 22, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I think Eskandarian's second concussion with another team against AC Milan is proof that our FO needs to be fired.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | September 22, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

OK, I am sorry, but I don't see any reason to keep Boskovic. He doesn't provide anything defensively, is not fast enough or effective enough offensively, and leaves for international duty on a regular basis. This is ridiculous.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | September 22, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Goff,

Great article on Aleko!

Thanks,

Posted by: edmundburke247 | September 22, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

It's a sad comment that Bosco is the only one that is wanted by his national team.

Posted by: Reignking | September 22, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

UnitedDemon: ah, but you've neglected the main reason why he'll stay -- Kevin Payne needs to prove that he was right about this guy. That's why even though this season was yet another failure and even though we'll soon have another coach, KP has already publicly announced that that coach will be saddled with Boskovic no matter what that coach wants. "Boskovic is staying," said KP.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | September 22, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Cheeky win indeed, Goff.

Posted by: PEddy | September 22, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

@Reignking

I think it's sad how much United pays him and he provides pretty much nothing.

Posted by: no_recess | September 22, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't know -- I haven't watched much DCU lately. I did catch LD lighting them up, though.

Posted by: Reignking | September 22, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Great article on Esky. Something has to be done about these concussions knocking people out of their prime. I don't know what it is, but I hope something comes about soon because it's a very sad situation. On the plus side, I'm very happy that the NFL and other organizations are taking the issue with the utmost seriousness now.

Posted by: nairbsod | September 22, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Renteria's a beast. I wish we had a guy like that.

Posted by: OWNTF | September 22, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Cheeky win indeed, Goff.
Posted by: PEddy
==========

Yes, the player was making the most of his assets. Butt, I digress.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 22, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

That reminds me...any updates on Joe Vide? Andy Williams' wife?

Posted by: Reignking | September 22, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

That's weird. I know in Utah Andy might have two wives, but that's the last place I'd figure that one of them could be Joe Vide.

Posted by: OWNTF | September 22, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

:)

Posted by: Reignking | September 22, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Last I read (a few months ago), Marcia Williams received a bone marrow transplant and was dealing with some of the expected side effects. Nevertheless her health was reportedly improving.

And that reminds me - consider becoming a bone marrow donor. Be someone's hero.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 22, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Not trying to defend the FO (at all), but I don't think Bosko was a bad addition. I think the issue is, as Goff stated in his RSC posting yesterday, there was a bigger need for a solid striker (a Roque in the front line?) than anywhere else and neither Alsopp nor Hernandez has filled this, and Party Boy has become Hamstring Boy and...and...

Posted by: assocfoot | September 22, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Who knew that the Santa Monica Orthopaedic Group was "an official FIFA medical affiliate?"

Posted by: Juan-John1 | September 22, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

UnitedDemon: ah, but you've neglected the main reason why he'll stay -- Kevin Payne needs to prove that he was right about this guy. That's why even though this season was yet another failure and even though we'll soon have another coach, KP has already publicly announced that that coach will be saddled with Boskovic no matter what that coach wants. "Boskovic is staying," said KP.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | September 22, 2010 10:00 AM

KP doesn't have to prove anything about Bosko, hes staying because his contract is guaranteed through next season. so long as Bosko comes to camp in shape next season, everything will be fine.

Posted by: VTUnited | September 22, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Glad an MLS team won in CONCACAF competition. The highlight reel was only shots taken, and most of them came from the Crew. Did they control the game that much? Almost no one in Columbus was there, so I doubt many on this blog saw the game.

Posted by: WorldCup | September 22, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Esky either needs to study something other than anthropology, or be reeaaalllly successful in soccer coaching. Because a degree in anthroplogy is a quick path to the long-term unemployment line.

Posted by: Ron16 | September 22, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Now if only an MLS team could win a meaningful game IN MEXICO . . .

Posted by: Juan-John1 | September 22, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Another reason to give Branko the benefit of the doubt...he is playing out of position, he plays on the wing for his Nats and I believe told someone in an interview that he had never played in the middle before.
Plus the team is craptastic so its hard for one person to come in mid-year and magically turn things around.

Posted by: rockotodd | September 22, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

@World Cup -- I was there and yes, the Crew did pretty much dominate the run of play for much of the game. I think Santos was laying back for the road draw.

Mendoza got a bit lucky on his game winner -- it was supposed to be a give and go with Garey but Garey misplayed it and he got his own rebound, turned and fired.

There were a surprising (to me, at least) number of Santos fans at the game, and they were pretty rowdy. At one point during the second half, it looked like a significant part of the Nordecke crews were sitting down! Dunno what the actual attendance figure was but I will bet it was higher than the Joe Public game last week.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | September 22, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Henry scores a new deal -- He drops $14.85 million on a Soho triplex that listed for $17.5 million. No replays are available to verify there was no cheating...

Posted by: fischy | September 22, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

rocktotodd, there is no doubt to give Bosko the benefit of. Even though he can make some nice, impressive-looking flick passes in the middle of the field where no one is pressuring him, the fact remains that he has done nothing -- zero, zip, nada -- for this team. No one expects him to turn this dreadful team into a contender, but a resonable expectation is for him to at least CONTRIBUTE. Yet all he has done is run around, and make an occasional cute pass that doesn't amount to anything. He is no better than an average journeyman MLS midfielder, but DC is paying him a big (relative to the rest of our roster) DP salary.

Posted by: Ron16 | September 22, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Crew played well, and should have scored more if not due to bad luck. I think this year some MLS will win the CCL and finally turn things around and represent at next year's World Club Championship. RSL looks the strongest of all the MLS sides in CCC.

Posted by: Charisma_Man | September 22, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Other interesting soccer news out of New York:

Italy's one-time public enemy number one, former FIFA World Cup ref Byron Moreno (infamous for several bad calls that gave Cup host South Korea a Round of 16 win over Italy) was busted at JFK airport with over 10 freakin' pounds of heroin strapped to his chest. The news has not gone without comment from Italian players...

Posted by: fischy | September 22, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

A very good Soccernomics-like article on espn today.

Posted by: Reignking | September 22, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

From Football365, an Englishman's take on watching soccer in the US: http://football365.com/story/0,17033,8750_6393188,00.html

Posted by: glfrazier | September 22, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

fischy, I suspect one is more likely (though not very likely in the final analysis) to get away with that if one were female.

Posted by: Ron16 | September 22, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

David Beckham, new American Idol judge.

Posted by: Reignking | September 22, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

And, oh yeah -- Frankie Hejduk was amazing to watch last night. I don't care how old he is, the man ran his a$$ off! He was pretty effective on the right side last night, and had some good attacking runs too.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | September 22, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the first person reporting, SportzNut.

Posted by: WorldCup | September 22, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Wow, come in off the ledge Ron16. It'll be alright. You're harshing my mellow...

Posted by: JkR- | September 22, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I've finally figured out why DCU stinks (or at least more than usual) this year.

It's because I didn't get a magnet schedule this year. 1st year in a long time that I haven't been able to throw a DCU magnet schedule up on the fridge.

So, if we want DCU to be better next year someone has to mail me a magnet schedule.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 22, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

From glfrazier's link:


"In the USA, football is a fringe activity, but this is not an impediment to enjoying it. On the contrary. When you meet a self-certified football fan in the USA, the chance of him or her being a d!ckhead is really very small indeed. "

Har, har....

Posted by: JkR- | September 22, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

That Soccernomics-like article made me reconsider my plan to buy DC United and build a stadium near Metro Center. Thanks for the heads up, Reignking.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | September 22, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Boskovic's absence couldn't matter any less. He's every bit as significant as Brandon Barklage, who's missed the past two years with injuries.

Posted by: kdiff813 | September 22, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

The other day my friend on the men's team told me Eskandarian was taking a full courseload here this semester. Hadn't seen him at any games or heard anything about it til now though. I'll have to keep an eye out for him on grounds and tell him that DC's never been as good as when he was there... (well, 07 was a soild year)

Posted by: carmines757 | September 22, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of building at Metrocenter, Garber was quoted this week that MLS prefers downtown, urban stadiums.

Of course, he was in Portland for the regroundbreaking of the Timbers stadium, so he could following that "all politics is local".

Posted by: Reignking | September 22, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

carmines757, Alecko was on the sideline in coaches kit for the Wake game this past Saturday.

Posted by: JkR- | September 22, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Poopy, I'll make you a deal. I'll get you the magnet sched and a beer coozie in exchange for a bubble mailer with some Cali Medicinal j's sent to my mailing address....:)

Posted by: DadRyan | September 22, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

re:

Wow, come in off the ledge Ron16. It'll be alright. You're harshing my mellow...

Posted by: JkR- | September 22, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

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

Would you mind telling me what you are referring to?

I made a post about Useless Bosco, and a joke about a smuggler. How is that being out on the edge?

Posted by: Ron16 | September 22, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Just teasing.

Posted by: JkR- | September 22, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, should be more specific. The Branko post was a bit dramatic to me, and I was trying to lighten the mood.

Posted by: JkR- | September 22, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

thanks frazier that was a good one

Posted by: OWNTF | September 22, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

thanks frazier that was a good one

Posted by: OWNTF | September 22, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

First off - long overdue THANK YOU to the regular "voices" of the Insider Choir...the years of lively discussion has added valuable perspective to the Beautiful Game.

Second...props to ROCKOTODD for getting this RIGHT:

"Another reason to give Branko the benefit of the doubt...he is playing out of position, he plays on the wing for his Nats and I believe told someone in an interview that he had never played in the middle before.
Plus the team is craptastic so its hard for one person to come in mid-year and magically turn things around."

Posted by: rockotodd

=---------------=

Final Word: stop throwing Brako under the bus!! Please consider what next year COULD be with a more gifted players forming a balanced formation. I see Brako filling a role similar to Barros Schelotto.

Rockotodd said it well: Do you really expect a mid-season One-Man-MIRACLE?

The Salary/Budget issue is a red-herring...we need to pay real money for class if we want to keep up with NY/LA and compete Continentally. The real issue is the tight purse strings that disqualify DCU from being the class of the league. I am not expecting $5m deals but winning teams should find a steady stream of off-field revenues to maintain the budget cycle!


Posted by: oneborntwice | September 22, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Frankie Hejduk considering his options.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | September 22, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

At the risk of raising the odd, mood-police hackles of JkR, I have to point out that the photo of "Hejduk considering his options" exemplifies what is still wrong with the MLS level of play. Way too often the player with the ball stands around to see who he can pass to, with his potential targets all standing around thinking they are open; when in fact the defense has all day to set up, so when the pass finally does come, the defense is more than ready, forcing a turnover or at best a backpass.

I almost wonder if MLS isn't infected by the gridball mentality of "quarterback drops back into pocket, he waits, waits, waits, and Stabler threads a four-yarder to Biletnikoff, who makes the catch with his rear end planted the right-hand hash mark...".

Soccer is so much better when it moves and flows - with the passer on the move, making passes to guys making runs off the ball.

In fairness, the Crew play a more flowing style than most teams, but even the best teams in MLS lapse into classic MLS stop-motion soccer, too often more stop than motion.

Posted by: Ron16 | September 23, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

@Ron16--

well said :)

I liken the MLS to Ultimate Frisbee - trap, pause, pick-a-statue, repeat...

The MLS greatest need is "imagination"!

Posted by: oneborntwice | September 23, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

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