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Posted at 2:38 PM ET, 12/21/2010

Pat Onstad and D.C. United, Baltimore and a stadium, MLS and the draft, USA and Argentina, Charlie Davies and Sochaux

By Steve Goff

With the holiday break approaching, we're keeping a close eye on several possible developments in the coming days:

*We told you two weeks ago that Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad, the oldest player in MLS history, was considering retirement to accept a position on D.C. United's coaching staff. There's still no official word from the Dynamo or United, but unless Onstad has a change of heart, he will be moving to Washington.

*The Maryland Stadium Authority is close to unveiling the economic feasibility study concerning a soccer venue project in Baltimore. It should make for good vacation reading for United owner Will Chang. The report might be issued this week. To reiterate: United plans to exhaust all efforts in order to remain in Washington before looking outside the immediate area.

*MLS probably won't have the list of Generation Adidas signings (college non-seniors turning pro) until next week. Last month, we gave you the primary candidates. Maryland's Zac MacMath has already decided to leave school and is now weighing MLS and European options. Teammates Casey Townsend and Matt Kassel are contemplating an early leap to MLS and are assessing the league's offers. UPDATE: Townsend has decided to return for his senior season at Maryland, while Kassel is leaning toward MLS, should the New York Red Bulls, who have his homegrown rights, make a reasonable contract offer.

*Three weeks until the draft, and Chivas USA and Toronto FC have yet to name their head coaches. Denis Hamlett, anyone?

*Still no official word on the proposed USA-Argentina friendly in late March. From what I've heard, the match is likely to take place but the venue remains uncertain after Seattle began to fade from consideration.

*Will Charlie Davies make his long-awaited return for Sochaux on Wednesday at Monaco?

By Steve Goff  | December 21, 2010; 2:38 PM ET
Categories:  Americans Abroad, Argentina, College Soccer, D.C. United, MLS, U.S. men's national team  | Tags:  D.C. United, MLS, U.S. national team  
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Next: D.C. United signs Andy Najar to new contract, adds Pat Onstad to coaching staff

Comments

Who are the "we" you keep referring to Steve?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 21, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Chivas and Toronto: that it should come to this!

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | December 21, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Denis Hamlett?

There's a reason why he was passed over by DC United and every club with a job opening in the last 12 months.

Chivas and Toronto?

He won't be on their sideline either.

Posted by: orimaarko | December 21, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Seems like that's probably a good move for Townsend. Get closer to a degree in case the pro thing doesn't work out. With a little more seasoning, he might impress MLS a little more, and show he's over the injury problems. Plus, this draft could already be rich in forward talent, especially if Nagbe, Mattocks and Meram all come out.

I do wonder how many DC area fans would make the jump to Baltimore. As I'm leaning towards a move to Columbia myself, it would work out great for me, but.... As for Baltimore area fans, it's definitely uncharted waters. DC has the large Latino immigrant base and a lot of educated young people who love the sport. Baltimore has to be a big question mark, despite all the youth soccer in the area. it's better than St. Louis, I'm guessing, but still very uncertain.

Posted by: fischy | December 21, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Three weeks until the draft and we also still don't have an official draft order released by MLS.

Posted by: bubba24 | December 21, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Najar and DCU enter into a new, longer term contract. Good for Najar - he deserves it. http://bit.ly/fgOEdH

Posted by: nairbsod | December 21, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Actually, MLS did have an official draft order announcement over a month ago.

Vancouver ended up with the first pick, and Portland the second. The next eight selections are from teams that didn't qualify for the playoffs, in reverse order of their points totals. The remaining eight positions are ranked by fewest regular season points among the teams that were eliminated in the same round of the MLS Cup Playoffs -- with Colorado having the last pick, as champions.

1 Vancouver Whitecaps
2 Portland Timbers
3 D.C. United
4 Chivas USA
5 Philadelphia Union
6 New England Revolution
7 Houston Dynamo
8 Vancouver Whitecaps
9 Chicago Fire
10 Sporting Kansas City
11 Seattle Sounders
12 Columbus Crew
13 New York Red Bulls
14 Real Salt Lake
15 San Jose Earthquakes
16 Los Angeles Galaxy
17 FC Dallas
18 Colorado Rapids

I think this is the current order -- though, I gather that the Fire's pick is up in the air right now, depending on what they do with Ljundberg). I believe it goes to Seattle if they resign him before the draft). Vancouver has Toronto's first pick (Sturgis trade).

Posted by: fischy | December 21, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Onstad is official: http://bit.ly/gdMJtd

Posted by: nairbsod | December 21, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, so how long is this "locking" Najar in for? At what cost?

Posted by: DadRyan | December 21, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"Yeah, so how long is this "locking" Najar in for? At what cost?

Posted by: DadRyan | December 21, 2010 4:00 PM"
-----------------

Long enough for DCU to get a hefty transfer fee from a European club, I'd expect... :-)

Posted by: Juan-John1 | December 21, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I would be dissapointed if the Arg-US game is not here and I'll blame the notorious ECSS or Sounders groups and even groupies that are just for club and anything outside the club they wont go to or pay respects to this beautiful sport. Examples include the Gold Cup game where the US played here and the outcome was low and the Chivas-Sounders Friendly and the poor showing for the Concachampions. That's why I'm still a gaLAxy fan even though I live here.

Posted by: silentbat | December 21, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I would be dissapointed if the Arg-US game is not here and I'll blame the notorious ECSS or Sounders groups and even groupies that are just for club and anything outside the club they wont go to or pay respects to this beautiful sport. Examples include the Gold Cup game where the US played here and the outcome was low and the Chivas-Sounders Friendly and the poor showing for the Concachampions. That's why I'm still a gaLAxy fan even though I live here.

Posted by: silentbat | December 21, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I would be dissapointed if the Arg-US game is not here and I'll blame the notorious ECSS or Sounders groups and even groupies that are just for club and anything outside the club they wont go to or pay respects to this beautiful sport. Examples include the Gold Cup game where the US played here and the outcome was low and the Chivas-Sounders Friendly and the poor showing for the Concachampions. That's why I'm still a gaLAxy fan even though I live here.

Posted by: silentbat | December 21, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I would be dissapointed if the Arg-US game is not here and I'll blame the notorious ECSS or Sounders groups and even groupies that are just for club and anything outside the club they wont go to or pay respects to this beautiful sport. Examples include the Gold Cup game where the US played here and the outcome was low and the Chivas-Sounders Friendly and the poor showing for the Concachampions. That's why I'm still a gaLAxy fan even though I live here.

Posted by: silentbat | December 21, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Quadruple posting from a person who calls himself "silent."

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 21, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love a Seattle resident calling the SSFC following bandwagon and myopic. I'll drink a brew to that tonight... ;)

Posted by: DadRyan | December 21, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

As a Baltimore-based DC United fan since day 1 [when I lived in DC], I hope the team stays in DC but would also support them if they moved here [it would just be a different vibe, I know.]

I'd like to share a nuance to the Baltimore stadium story that might not be obvious to some Insider readers. A push for a new area / convention center quickly -- and mysteriously -- came front and center in the last 4 to 6 weeks while we all waited for the MSA soccer stadium report. It is being pushed by the Greater Baltimore Committee -- a private / public cross-jurisdiction development group that I THINK has had a hand in encouraging much of the downtown development from Charles Center in the 1960s through to some of the west side development of the last few years. The GBC presented a VERY preliminary plan of a joint expanded convention center / 17k seat arena for $1 billion presented to a quasi-city agency that takes the lead on these kinds of projects -- the Baltimore Development Corp -- just last week.

This has reopened an old debate about a downtown arena to replace the ancient First Mariner Arena -- and will get messier before a final vision emerges. It could also suck the air -- if not the public dollars -- out of a soccer-specific stadium option [although I think the proposed Westport development location has a lot of private funding already, could use an anchor, and the developer could prove to be an ownership partner.]

So in short, I think backers of an arena MAY be trying to get the jump on any soccer stadium talk and could provide opposition if they think it will distract $ and attention from an arena project. Or they are not thinking about the soccer stadium and their timing is odd. Either way, Baltimore is becoming more complicated.

Posted by: FellsPointMD | December 21, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know why Seattle "began to fade from consideration"?

Posted by: j_doe | December 21, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Actually, MLS did have an official draft order announcement over a month ago.
------
Yes, they did announce round 1 but not rounds 2-4 (including trade results). The results of draft pick trades involving RSL, Philly, Columbus, Chicago, Seattle, SJ, and LA haven't been made public.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_MLS_SuperDraft

Posted by: bubba24 | December 21, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Why on Earth would Baltimore build a 17,000 seat arena? The Baltimore Blast will never come close to filling that and Baltimore doesn't have a prayer in he!! of getting either a NHL or NBA franchise. I have never opposed a stadium or arena project but I will oppose spending MD tax dollars on such a project.

Posted by: hateisnotafamilyvalue | December 21, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know why Seattle "began to fade from consideration"?

Posted by: j_doe |

My guess is your track record supporting the Nats. "tapped out from season tix", "seafair", "I'm gonna hang out at home on the 4th of July" all come to mind. Sure, who really wanted to see a C team in a lame duck Gold Cup match on turf anyway right? US Soccer doesn't need to make explain to the world why you guys show up for your shiny new club but you won't for God and Country...;)

Still, I do notice that the schedule seems clear at Qwest for that match day still no?

Posted by: DadRyan | December 21, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I plan on going to the Argentina friendly, likely wherever the venue, but I'd like it to be Seattle. A city I'd like to visit, and I'm pretty sure there would be a home field advantage, but I bet the hold up is field surface or something lame like that.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | December 21, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Blah, blah, blah.

Anyone with some actual intel please chime in. Seeing as I have to be in Mexico for a dumb beach wedding that week I'm selfishly glad it's not coming here, I'm just curious.

Posted by: j_doe | December 21, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, blah blahs not directed at you, Jacob...

Posted by: j_doe | December 21, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

If the Baltimore arena rumor is true then I would like to hear the rationale for building it. A SSS makes a lot more sense than an arena does as a MLS franchise could bring in approximately 20,000 fans thirty five times a year plus concerts. The Baltimore Blast draw roughly 3000-4000 a game. The post above is correct about the NHL and the NBA coming to Charm City. The Capitals are doing great at the gate but Baltimore has already had two minor league hockey teams fail (Clippers and Skipjacks) and the Wizards are not doing great so the NBA is not about to further weaken their base. The best Baltimore could hope for is another AHL team and maybe a minor league basketball team as well. However, just like the Blast the crowds would be marginal for these teams. Wake up guys, a SSS is a far better idea in Baltimore.

Posted by: croftonpost | December 22, 2010 2:13 AM | Report abuse

A SSS is a far better idea in the DC metro area. Stop willing the team to Baltimore. Nothing personal, but my Christmas wish is for United to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start building some more momentum to keep the club here.

Posted by: DadRyan | December 22, 2010 5:33 AM | Report abuse

Anyone know why Seattle "began to fade from consideration"?

Posted by: j_doe | December 21, 2010 5:31 PM
_________________________________________

This reminds me of a question I had from an earlier thread. I noticed that Ford Field (presumably named after Huxley's Our Ford) was designated a Gold Cup venue. What has happened to the plan to make the Silverdome a soccer destination?

Posted by: universityandpark | December 22, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I heard Stringer Bell is involved in the GBC.

Posted by: edgeonyou | December 22, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

edgeonyou -- Not directly, but he bribed "Clay" Davis for access. ;-)

DadRyan -- I agree completely. I am not willing the team to Baltimore at all. The point of my post was that whatever the MSA report says, the unresolved arena issue in Baltimore and its resurgence on the radar of local politicians and press means Baltimore is less leverage for United when they talk to DC than might otherwise appear. I'm sure Payne and Co are fully in tune with the politics of the situation -- as always ;-) I suspect this represents more pressure for the team to largely self-finance. Again, they are back to the need for a new investor with deep pockets -- hopefully the pockets are committed to a DC location.

croftonpost -- It's not a rumor. It could be politicians and developers -- very publicly -- blowing smoke ;-) http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/real-estate/bs-bz-convention-center-20101216,0,1777667.story

If you've been to the First Mariner, you know it needs a replacement -- although they are doing a good job with what they have. The question is should Baltimore build a moderate-sized arena of 12k and shut themselves out of certain events/concerts or do they build one at 17k and keep options open. Attracting the NBA / NHL is a stated interest and in my opinion "pie in the sky." But large cities need indoor public spaces and the First Mariner is a glorified college auditorium from the 1950s. The question in Baltimore is not 'if" they build a new arena but "where?" and "how big?" and "how much private money?"

Posted by: FellsPointMD | December 22, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Big Apple Soccer says that RBNY will make Matt Kassel a homegrown signing.

Posted by: soccerman | December 22, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Clay Davis: Mm-mmm Kasper. Twenty gets you the permits for the stadium. Five is for me for bribing these downtown [people]. I mean, I'm the one got to risk walking up to these thieving [people] with cash in hand, right? I'm telling you, Kasper, the people running the city nowadays, they make the last bunch look sanctified. I mean, this some shameful [stuff].

Posted by: edgeonyou | December 22, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Dad & Fells,

I am completely with you about United in DC. My argument was more in the context of a MD taxpayer. A 17,000 seat arena makes no sense for Baltimore as they have no real anchor for the facility (NHL or NBA) and they will not be successful in recruiting one. However, as we know it can be done for MLS and it does make sense to build a SSS. A smaller arena is more practical and I probably wouldn't object to it.

Fells, you're right about the pie in the sky. There are cities all across the country that want NHL and NBA franchises and most of them currently have successful minor league franchises in the respective sports. Baltimore would be way down the totem pole for expansion.

Posted by: croftonpost | December 23, 2010 1:15 AM | Report abuse

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