Monday, July 31, 2006

DC United Preview (USOC) 7/31/2006

DC United vs. Columbus Crew
US Open Cup 4th Round
Maryland Soccerplex, Germantown, Maryland
7:30pm 8/1/2006

How better to get back on the horse after a match like Saturday's 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake, then to start the campaign in a knock out tournament? DC United have not won the US Open Cup (USOC) since 1996, getting knocked out last season on penalty kicks against FC Dallas after letting in a late tying goal. United have claimed that this is one of the things that they are focused on for this season. Will they actually play like it?

With United only having about 3 days inbetween the RSL match an the USOC match, a lot of people will be sounding off for the starters to rest and let mostly the reserves start and play the match. I disagree with that approach. As this is a "major" US soccer championship, DC United should take every one of these matches as important matches. The Real Madrid match is, especially after the loss to RSL, is a match that we need to only play half a game with our starters. The Real Madrid match result will not help us win the USOC; will not help us win the Supporters Shield; will not help us win the MLS Cup. Based on those thoughts, we should use that match for the reserves.

The match tomorrow against Columbus should have all our starters, except maybe Troy, on the field. Start this line-up:

Bryan Namoff - Bobby Boswell - Facundo Erpen
Freddy Adu - Brian Carroll - Christian Gomez - Clyde Simms - Joshua Gros
Jaime Moreno - Alecko Eskandarian

Have Benny come off the bench for late game midfield control. We have collapsed late in the last couple of matches, each one Ben has been pulled from the game in the second half. Have John Wilson come on as against RSL, he should be able to recover from the RSL match and do what he needs to do. Jamil should come on for Jaime, around the 60 minute mark.

I have faith in Peter Nowak that he will get the squad up for this match. The players are too good for them to let themselves to be beaten twice in a row. If United want to be the dominant club of US Soccer, then the USOC should always be in their trophy case. United should always be in the finals of this tournament.

I hope the United side that we have seen for most of the season: the strong defense, good passes, well composed; returns to form for this match.

Prediction: DC United 1 - 0 Columbus Crew

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Some more thoughts of the debacle

Now that I had some sleep and been able to think more about that match last night against RSL, I have points to make.

Best Result for the Club??
Could last nights match actually been the best possible result for the club and the players? United had been riding a 14 match unbeaten streak, with several of those matches being ones that they either didn't play all 90 minutes or they escaped with 1 or even 3 points. The match in LA, were Cobi Jones punished United for sloppy defense and man marking at the end of the match. The first match in Columbus, where they got the early goal just to let one in late at the end of the second half. The match at Toyota Park two weeks ago. United were lucky there. The match at RFK against Columbus where United had a 3-1 lead only to drop off in the last 20 minutes of the match, but still get the win and the 3 points.

My point is, United had always, with the obvious exception of the Colorado loss, been able to go out and do what looked to be just enough to either get the draw or the win. 1-0 lead, no problem, the other team won't get through our defense, we can sit back. Well, last night, in a very cruel change of events, United watched a 1-0 lead (which that scoreline had quickly become the fight song for this season) turn into a 2-1 loss. They were unable to do just enough last night and after having 4 or 6 weeks of being able to do just enough, hopefully finally not enough will refocus these guys.

I have been bringing this up for some time, that United say that they are focused, that the events of last season were and are still fresh in their minds. That They want to atone for getting booted from every Cup they were in last season. They say all that, then when you watch them on the field, their play does not reflect that verbal commitments that they put in the paper. They look lethargic and slow. Again, doing just enough to get the 1 or 3 points.

If people are still even thinking that Peter Nowak is a candidate for the USMNT coaching position, then this will be where he either gets moved to second on the list (Jurgen is still #1) or gets moved off the list. His team played the worst club in MLS and should have left with a 3-0 victory last night. Anyone watching that match, even non-soccer fans could see that United were going downhill in the second half. I sat with two non-soccer fans, watching that match and they both asked me why United looked like they were wilting. Peter will have to get the ship straightened out and fast. They have a cup match on Tuesday and then some time off for reflection and recommitment.

Losing last night might have been the best thing for DC United. Win a season by losing a match? Maybe....

Saturday, July 29, 2006

John Wilson must Die


John Wilson single handedly lost the match tonight for DC United. He gave up the first penalty kick with a late tackle and then slid into Klein like he was trying to steal second base or something. There is no excuse for his inability to stay on his feet and defend. Kick at the ball, don't slide out of control. When the player is in the penalty box against the end line, force him to go back towards the corner, do not just jump at the guys foot!

Jamil Walker....put the fucking shot in the back of the net!! Take the goddamn shot! If he actually did his job as a forward, this would have been a 2-2 draw.

Ok, now that this is all out of the way. That was a shitty match. What is the problem with United? Chivas can put 3 goals in on these assholes but we barely get one ball in the goal? This shit better end now, and they better play as they are supposed to on Tuesday night or United will see the same opportunities slip away as they did last season.

DC United needs to stop going out to the Colorado Ranch. They stopped there before the Rapids match, 2-1 loss. They stopped there this week, 2-1 loss. Focus on the matches, nothing else.

Friday, July 28, 2006

More Club to Club Partnerships?

So I was thinking about how MLS has been making noise of wanting to court more of the Latino fan base in its cities. Get them out to the matches and make them MLS fans. Marketing the clubs directly to the fans. I actually had a idea on how to DC United could facilitate this.

I don't want to say, or have people believe that I think that DC United has any problem marketing towards this audience. Most of the fans in the stands at RFK are of Latino decent, infact that is one of the really great things that I like about DC United, that we are one of the only MLS clubs that has a true "International" atmosphere at our matches. This idea is actually more of something that would benefit the club overall, it just spawned from that vein of thought.

Chelsea seems to have created a "partnership" with the LA Galaxy, as RSL has "done" with Real Madrid. Why not have DC United setup some type of partnership with a club like River Plate? Having DC United and River Plate be "club partners" should be able to increase the interest of Latino fans. It would also increase the interests of non-Latino fans, as it would provide a more international feel to the club, and that should interest those Euro-Snobs or SA-Snobs who only like soccer in other countries.

Both are sponsored by adidas for one thing. So adidas could assist both clubs with cross promotional work. They could agree to play each other twice a year, in DC at the beginning of our season and in Buenos Aires at the end of our season. The pre-season match against River could be a regular fixture and sort of kick off the season for United fans. With these matches, merchandising can be expanded for both clubs. Have adidas DC United jersey's and scarves on sale at the River Plate home match as well as having River Plate jersey's and scarves on sale at the DC United home match. Granted I understand that the River jersey's would sell better than the United jersey's, as American fans tend to be more open towards other clubs. adidas could also produce a dual club scarf that signifies the date and location of each match, on sale only at that match.

This could also be an exclusive benefit for United and River players, especially the younger ones. We could take on some of their younger players for loan spells and maybe loan a few younger guys out to them, guys like McTavish or Mediate. Getting some of our reserves into matches in Argentina, even if they are their reserve matches, would expose them to a wealth of knowledge and skills that MLS players rarely see up here, especially in the MLS Reserve League. Having some of the younger River players loaned up here would give United the opportunity to make use of their skills as well as give the River players a different situation to hone their skills.

This would provide a pretty good way to create a hometown tie to south American football and one that we would year in and year out get to experience, rather than a random friendly match that we maybe see every now and then. Marketing European clubs to our area is a great idea, but in order to get the Latino fans that MLS is speaking of to the MLS matches, I think that marketing and partnering with a South American club would be more beneficial.

DC United Preview 7/28/2006

DC United vs. Real Salt Lake
Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah
Saturday, 7/29/2006 9:00pm EST

So, after a very interesting week where we all saw DC United pump up their chests about how their season ending 4-0 obliteration at the hands of the Chicago Fire would serve as inspiration and motivation for their match at Toyota Park, only to come out flatter that the salt flats and steal a 1-1 draw with the Fire, we arrive at this weekends match with Real Salt Lake. Why do I get the feeling that this match might be one of those where we get run over? Weak team hosting league powerhouse, with a marquee match-up looming on the horizon for the league powerhouse?

The next three matches that DC United will have are against RSL, the Columbus Crew (USOC) and the friendly against Real Madrid. The Real Madrid match is what worries me, not the actual match, but the fact that since it is up against such a huge club and hopefully the United players are not looking towards that and flub up the other two matches, the ones that mean something. When you know that you are playing Real Madrid, how can you get excited to face RSL and the Screw?

Anyways, back to Saturday's match. If United does not have a mental fart and look beyond RSL, this could be a good match for United to exercise some demons from last week. Last week they were run off the field by the Fire. If Logan Pause didn't completely have his head explode for 10 seconds, United would have probably dropped their second match of the season. Instead, Pause lost his marbles and thought he was in the NBA. Alecko got a really crafty goal and they crawled out of the Camry with 1 point. This week United needs to step on the pitch and show us the return of the United squad that beat the Crew 5-1, who beat RBNY 4-1 and who have pitched 7 shutouts this season.

RSL are 1-2-2 in their last 5 MLS matches, and just blew a 2 goal lead on Wednesday night at home against Chivas USA. DC United owned RSL last season, winning 5-1 at home and 3-1 at Salt Lake, and with the club playing even better than they were last season, I see no reason to at least put 2 goals on the scoreboard Saturday night. RSL currently have nine guys on the injured list, with two only being probable, Eddie Pope being one of them. One point of interest is that two of their players, Jeff Cunningham and Andy Williams are both 1 caution away from a suspension, and as they are central figures on this club, their play tomorrow night might turn out to be less than stellar in hopes of avoiding picking up their next cards. One way that Chicago stifled United last week was through very physical play, for RSL to do that, these two guys will need to do their parts, which could lead to a spot on the bench for the next league match. Jason Kreis is two cards away, so he too might be less than physical. On the flip side of this, Bobby Boswell, Bryan Namoff and Ben Olsen all are 1 card away from getting a spot on the bench for the RBNY match, so they too will have to watch out.

Speaking of Benny, ever since he returned from Germany, he has seemed to be a little more...pissed off. Peter Nowak pulled him from the Crew game that Alecko picked up his straight red because Nowak felt Benny's yapping at the ref's would get him a second yellow and get tossed from the match. He has picked up some rather stupid cards lately, namely the one last week against Chicago. Have him talk to Dr. Phil or something. Get the guy laid, whatever it takes to calm his midfield ass down.

Back to this Saturday's match, I see no reason for this being the 14th W on the season, after all, they are playing RSL. United should leave with the 3 points and return to the District for their USOC match Tuesday night against the Screw at the Maryland Soccerplex.

Prediction: DC United 2 - 0 Real Salt Lake

Thursday, July 27, 2006

No more Ruud at Old Trafford

Real Madrid bought Ruud from Manchester United. Hopefully this now means that Man United will start buying new players, hopefully a midfielder. This better work out for United, or the fans will burn down The Theatre of Dreams.

Manchester are holding off on confirming this, but they are reporting that Rudd has been allowed to go to Madrid for a medical.

Real Madrid are sorta in the same boat as Man U. They have got to win the league this season or their fans will riot as well.

Best of luck in Spain, hopefully I get to watch Bobby Boswell shut you down in Seattle.

Now I can't wear my Van Nistelrooy Man U jersey anymore.

All Star Announcement?

MLS usually uses the All Star Game and the MLS Cup to make its major announcements regarding league wise issues, such as the introduction of expansion teams and such. As the All Star Game is next Saturday, it has been reported that Garber & Co. will be announcing a major TV deal will be announced next week, one that will have a major impact on the league.

As I said before, I would be happy with ESPN showing two matches a week, and FSC showing two a week. I doubt that will happen. What I think Garber will announce is that ESPN will show 1 MLS match every Saturday during the season, which is an increase as they only show matches in spurts. I think that they will also announce that FSC will be broadcasting MLS matches again, but in a different vein that they had been. Remember the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) that we all heard about a while back? Well, has an article about MLS clubs taking on Mexican clubs, in that very tournament. I do find it a little convenient that this article comes out a week before the All Star Game. That should be Garber's big announcement. Back to FSC, I think that they will be broadcasting two of those CCL matches a week, as well as maybe a MLS league match on the weekend. FSC has shown CONCACAF Champions Cup matches before, so they have the experience with these types of matches. I don't see ESPN getting these matches as I do not see them really trying to figure them in against MLB games. FSC seems like the perfect medium for the CCL matches.

In any case, MLS needs to get a better deal for broadcasting of its matches. Direct Kick is a great idea for a great price, if you can get it in your area. I currently live in Ashburn, Virginia and have Adelphia Cable. Adelphia does not offer Direct Kick to its customers. I was willing to spend the $69.00 at the beginning of the season so that I could watch all the MLS matches I could get, but Adelphia didn't even offer it. I could have decided to pay the $20 to watch them online, but I understand that is iffy as well. If MLS gets more games on TV, then they can reach a broader audience. Hopefully the expanded TV announcement at the All Star Game gets more matches into living rooms.

New TV Deal?

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Garber & Co. will be announcing a new TV deal next week, most likely at the All Star Game. Here is the text -

"Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber was in Columbus this week on his annual tour of league franchises. He said a new television deal for the league should be announced next week.

"ABC, ESPN, Univision, Fox, HDNet," Garber said. "It’s going to be a game-changer, in terms of respect for our game." "

If they are getting a new deal, why the change with FSC this season? Part of the negotiations? If they can get about 2 MLS matches a week on ESPN2 and maybe 2 matches a week on FSC, as well as any CONCACAF Champions League matches (if this ever happens, announcement at All Star game perhaps?) then I will be a very happy MLS fan.

Please hope that this is not just smoke and mirrors from Garber & Co.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My God, what a bad game.

Columbus Crew vs. Everton FC

So I sat down tonight to watch the one ESPN2 televised international friendly this season, Crew vs. Everton. I figured that the Crew would put a lot of their subs in, (they have the largest number of players on the injured list, how many subs can a club like that have?) and that Everton would follow suit. What I did not expect was what I got, one really awful match.

The match started and it looked as if there were maybe 7 or 8 thousand fans at the match. Its a Wednesday night and this isn't a league game. Not all clubs have the fan support of DC United (15,223 showed up for the Celtic match, on a Wednesday night) so I can understand the low number. Then as I watched the match...slowly...go...bye...and...roll...on...and...on...and...on, I started to wonder what the hell was really going on. I found myself actually enjoying to listen to Eric Wynalda's commentary, which was my first sign that this ship was going down faster than the MLS Select Squad against Real Madrid last season. The pace was horrible, Sebastian Rozental's goal was nice, but I was more shocked at how slow the Everton defense was. The Everton goal was classic Columbus, "Here Mr. EPL guy, let me pass you the ball." You make that pass and still wonder why you are riding the pine, Chad Marshall?

Anyways, it was such a bad match. I felt bad for the fans that showed up. Then as I was just starting to feel bad for them, the ESPN2 cameras showed that Crew Stadium has an upper deck. That means that the small number of people must actually be smaller...did they even get 5,000 people to show up for the drivil they were putting on display?

MLS had these matches scheduled -

DC United vs. Celtic
Chicago Fire vs. Club America
FC Dallas vs.Tigres
LA Galaxy vs. Necaxa

Not one of them was on ESPN2. Anyone of them would have been ten times better than the piece of monkey crap I saw tonight.

MLS has these matches scheduled still -

Red Bull New York vs. Barcelona
DC United vs. Real Madrid
Real Salt Lake vs. Real Madrid

None of these matches are on ESPN2. WTF??? MLS/SUM supposedly just renegotiated a new deal with ABC/ESPN, one that cut FSC out of showing any MLS matches. So why are none of these matches being shown? Sorry, there is a MLS match being shown on August 12th, the day that both Barcelona and Real play their matches (RBNY and RSL), but technically, on the east coast, it is broadcast on Sunday, as it is at 12am!

Are two chimpanzees and a herd of elephants running MLS/SUM? Come to think of it, two chimpanzees and a herd of elephants might have been better TV than the Crew match tonight.

I want those two hours of my life back.

The Warrior has retired.

Brian McBride retired from international football today.

Thanks for the memories. I wish he had past Eric's goal tally, so we can stop listening to Eric.

USMNT 2006 Friendly Schedule??

Based on how well the USA did in the World Cup in Germany, and the fact that we will be faced with a passing of the torch when it comes to the USA players, we need to start thinking right now about the future. What would be better for the future than to start scheduling out the rest of the 2006 calendar year with friendly matches to get more guys into the player pool. We are going to need to get new guys some caps in order to get them ready for the 2007 Gold Cup as well as South Africa.

I would like to see 6 matches scheduled for the remainder of the year. They would be 1 home match and 5 away matches. A schedule like this will allow for the USSF to start getting new people into the USA jersey and get some opponents to run us through the motions of international play.

This is what I envision USSF scheduling to finish out 2006

August 16, 2006 – vs. Paraguay, in Miami, FL (All MLS Squad)
September 2, 2006 – vs. Demark, in Copenhagen, DM (All Euro Based Squad)
September 6, 2006 – vs. Sweden, in Stockholm, SW (All Euro Based Squad)
October 7, 2006 – vs. Ivory Coast, in K-Town, Germany (Mixed MLS/Euro Squad)
October 11, 2006 – vs. Switzerland, in Genève, CH (All Euro Based Squad)
November 15, 2006 – vs. England, in London, UK (Mixed MLS/Euro Squad)

The home match against Paraguay gives us a match in a hot/humid area with a South American opponent that will most likely get more fans that show up than we will. It should only include MLS players as the Euro based players will be restarting their seasons abroad and we need them to stay there. Paraguay qualified for the 2006 World Cup and they fit the requirement that we start playing more teams that are not CONCACAF nations.

The Denmark and Sweden matches are close enough that the travel involved for the team is not a problem and they are against Euro sides, one that qualified for the 2nd round this WC. Using an all Euro based squad gives the Michael Bradely's and DeMerit's and Califf's a chance to get the USA jersey on as well as get Howard two international starts. All we would really have to send over is the coaching staff; the players are already in Europe.

The other two matches, Ivory Coast and Switzerland. The Ivory Coast match would be a great experience, since we fail to really play the African nations and as most Ivory Coast players play in Europe, why not schedule another match like the Poland match? Having the match at K-Town would be just like the Poland match, a heavily favored US attendance match. Ramstein AFB is right down the road, so you have a built in fan base. Switzerland will be a good match as they are a young squad and will be in search of opponents for Euro 2008 training, as they do not need to qualify. With the Swiss not needing to qualify, they will need to schedule as many friendly’s as possible and will take the matches seriously.

The final match of the year would be against England at Wembley Stadium. Use a mixed MLS and Euro based squad. MLS finishes their season 3 days before, but more than enough MLS players would have been finished well over a week before and could have been in camp for practice already. A match against an England squad that might be facing a situation where a lot of their regulars are starting to get passed over for new players and a side with a new coach who is still trying to figure out what his team is made of, this would be a very good match to set up.

The biggest thing about the dates in Europe is that the players will already have been released from their clubs, as FIFA mandates their release. We might as well start using them and get them quality matches in the one part of the world that we seem to always look bad. Play more matches in Europe and get our moxie back.

If we wait until January to start getting the USMNT back on track, I think that we will lose a lot of momentum. Yes we did poorly in Germany, but the US sports fans were snagged. If you want to keep them, then you need to give them more matches to watch. Again, we also need to start the replacement process of getting the new guys in to fill the spots of the guys who retired after 2006. If we continue to wait until January, we waste 5 to 6 months that we could be using. Time management must be a priority here.

Of course this is all a moot point until the USSF gets a coach. Waiting for Jurgen might be a mistake.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

It did turn out to be a slap on the wrist, partly...

Fox Sports is reporting that Fiorentina and Lazio were restored to Serie A after successfully appealing their demotion to Serie B for the match fixing scandal that has been rocking Italy this summer. AC Milan were also given a bit of a reprieve from their points deduction, losing only 8 points instead of 15, thus they will be able to play in the Champions league this season, but they must play in the qualifiers, which means they have two early season matches ahead of them.

Still the big loser is the Old Lady, Juventus. They are to remain in Serie B this upcoming season, which probably means any of their superstars that have yet to swear allegiance to Juve, will start heading for the doors soon. Their point deduction was reduced though, from 30 points to 17 points. This is actually a great sign as it provides Juvetus a better chance of returning to Serie A after just one season in Serie B.

Something told me that the Italian Sports Courts would not effectively castrate their flagship league. Having both AC Milan and Juventus out of the Champions League for the 2006/2007 season would have been devastating for Italian football, especially after winning their 4th World Cup. By reducing the point deficit that Juventus has almost effectively gets them back to Serie A play for the 2007/2008 season. Even with their fire sale of current players, Juventus should have no problem rolling through the ranks of Serie B clubs and return to top flight football.

So much for taking a stand against corruption.

Uh, why are they not advertising this yet?

I understand that it is just 9:45am on a Tuesday and that the match was finalied last night, but I just checked the following three websites -


None of them have any report, much less the press release, about the DC United vs. Real Madrid match. With 15 days to promote this match, are they just focusing on the local Seattle market? They might be getting links ready as I type this, but I am still a little shocked that none of these outlets, MLSnet most of all, do not have links for this. MLSnet should have a featured story about this match, they did for the Barcelona match.

I was only able to find out about this match through these outlets -

- The Washington
- The Washington

Hopefully the coverage will expand soon, as their might be some people in Portland and other areas that would be interested in this match.

Its a business decision, just accept it.

Ok, so I am not in favor of DC United traveling across the country to play a friendly against Real Madrid in Seattle, Washington. I would have preferred that this match took place closer to home so that all of us United supporters who wanted to go would have that opportunity available. I think having an East Coast club fly out west for a friendly in the middle of a very busy travel heavy section of their league season is just a little off.

Then last night I spoke with my dad, who just happened to have checked out my blog for the first time. He asked me why Real Madrid didn't just play the MLS club in Seattle. After telling him that there was no MLS club in Seattle, he basically told me that it sounded like they were "shopping" soccer to the Seattle area, using a globally famous European club, and the most successful club in MLS history. By just that information, he felt this was pretty much a sales pitch to Seattle, a showcase if you will.

Trying to take a step away from being a United fan for a moment, I thought about it and the more I think about this match, from a business end of things, and for the good of MLS, this match makes sense. It does provide a great chance for the Seattle media market and soccer fans to get a taste of both international pro-soccer, as well as a chance to see just what MLS has to offer. As this is also being promoted by the RSL owner, perhaps we will be seeing the foundations for a move from Salt Lake to Seattle?

In any case, the more I think about it, and the more I understand the business end of this arrangement, the more I think that this is a good idea. I still do not like it and wish the match were closer to DC. That said, I hope that this match does draw alot of people and that it is the start of getting a club in Seattle, either via relocation or a brand new club.

Monday, July 24, 2006

It's Official.

DC United vs. Real Madrid
Qwest Field, Seattle, Washington
Wednesday, 8pm PST (11:00pm est)

Yup, United are getting pimped out to Real Madrid by MLS and have to fly across the country to play a friendly against a bunch of guys in pre-season. They are doing this all so Real doesn't have to compete for fans who might decide to attend the Barcelona vs. Red Bull New York match the following Saturday at Giants Stadium. I know I am not the only one who is at the very least, a little mifted at this match.

Ok, I understand why Garber & Co. are pimping out DC United. They are the best team in the league and after the debacle that MLS had last year with the Select Team vs. Real, Garber is at least smart enough to have a club play Real rather than a group of guys brought together for a match. Instead, he will learn that mistake several days before when a pre-season Chelsea still bitch slap the MLS All Stars.

I can understand why DC United agreed to play in this match. Who wouldn't want to play Real Madrid. Most of the Real Madrid players make more in one season than the entire roster for DC United. They have Beckham, Ronaldo, Raul, Robinho and so on. This is a chance of a life time.

I can understand Real Madrid wanting to play DC United. They are in pre-season training mode and if you are going to play clubs from leagues that are below the skill level of your league, why not play the best club in that league? They will get more of a fight against United than they will when they obliterate RSL.

The biggest thing that I don't really understand, even though I know why they decided it, is why the hell play it in Seattle? Real wanted the match on the West coast due to being based in Salt Lake. I understand that. So, play a Western Conference club. FC Dallas would make a good match. When United were told that the match was in Seattle, they should have said, "Thanks, but no thanks." The MLS season and US Open Cup mean more than this match, and due to the travel and such, they might just screw those both up. United doesn't have enough road matches right now? WTF???

The ability of Garber & Co. to just pimp out United for the quick buck is amazing. They now have just over two weeks to market a soccer match in a part of the country with no MLS outlet; taking place between two clubs that have no history in that area; have totally spit on the fans of DC United by not trying to get this stellar matchup scheduled for a stadium at least within 5 hours driving distance; and risk causing a major impact on the league season and USOC future of the MLS club involved.

I doubt that they get more than 30,000 fans to show for this match. DC United vs. Real Madrid in Charlotte, North Carolina would have made that much, if not more.

I just lost more respect for MLS.

So uh, who was that out there Saturday night?

If you read any of the press leading up to the match last Saturday night against the Chicago Fire, you would have thought that every United player was focused on taking the match to the Fire. They were going into the Fire's new home and the feeling that they had after the 4-0 route that happened in last years playoffs was still fresh in their minds. I expected United to walk away with 3 points.

Instead I saw a group of very slow and passive players. The only time I saw anyone do anything was when Ben Olsen decided to foul someone, or Erpen decided that Troy needed some work and just passed the ball to a Fire forward. Jamie looked slow and whenever the ball was passed towards him, he seemed to think he was supposed to step over the ball and allow the Fire to regain control.

So the second half came, and United still looked like they were thinking about something else. Maybe they were told at game time that they would be playing a friendly in Seattle against Real Madrid and the players were trying to figure out if MLS forgot that Seattle was in Washington State, not Washington, D.C. Alecko looked like he was the only one who didn't get whatever memo caused the day dreaming, as he was working. Freddy seemed to have realized that they were playing a match and came alive as well.

I have to credit the Fire. They came out with a swagger that United is supposed to have. They punched United in the mouth early and set the tone for the entire 90 minutes. They shut Gomez down, making him look like he was wearing concrete boots. Even down to 10 men, United could not retain control of the ball! United had an extra guy, yet it looked like the Fire had two more guys on the. If the Fire play like they did against us for the rest of the season, the race for second place in the East will be alot tougher with RBNY seemingly finding their scoring touch.

I really don't know what to take from this match. They got a point that they did not deserve. The unbeaten streak is still going and they have another trip to make this Saturday to Utah. Hopefully RSL will play as they are known for and United gets back to being United.

Friday, July 21, 2006

DC United Preview 7/21/2006

DC United vs. Chicago Fire
Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Illinois
8:30pm EST, 7/22/2006

4-0. That was the score of the last United match of last season. It was the home leg of the playoff series against the Chicago Fire. United were at home, a place that they had a season record of 8 wins, 5 loses and 4 draws. They were returning from Chicago where they shut out the Fire in the first leg 0-0. When United left the pitch at the end of the second leg, they were blown away by the Fire, who ran them off the field.

United have since hosted the Fire at RFK, the very scene of that crime and defeated them 1-0. Now United travel to the new home of the Fire, Toyota Park. Time to give them a loss at home.

United are riding a 6 match win streak, and are undefeated in their last 13 league matches. The Fire have lost their last three matches at home; 3-2 last week to FC Dallas, 2-1 to New England and 2-1 to Club America in an international friendly. A lot of people would say that the Fire will be out to defend their new home. I agree, but I don't think the Fire will have anything to say about tomorrows match. United are on a mission this season, a mission that the Fire set them on by drubbing them at RFK last November to end their 2005 season.

USAToday has a very good article about United in which Freddy Adu summed it up best -

"Our team is too talented to go out like we did last season," says 17-year-old Freddy Adu. "Four to zero at home? That was bad. We got drilled a little bit (in the meeting), but it was well understood. We knew it was coming."

Freddy was referring to a post-match meeting the entire squad had with United President Kevin Payne. Payne dressed down the players for their lack of effort in the match. He set the team on the path that they have been on this entire season.

United won last week 3-2 against a badly depleted Columbus Crew club. The Crew started to claw back into the match in the last 20 or so minutes, as United started to get very sloppy and lazy on and off the ball. The players realized this, as Ben Olsen was quoted in the article -

"There's a little stain on that game because we tried to give it away there at the end," Olsen said. "Columbus right now isn't the best team in the league and we should do better against that team. . . . We've got to be sharper because a better team punishes us for some of those mistakes."

I feel that last weeks performance could have been the last piece to the already focused mind set that United has towards this season. They are going into the home of the club that ruined their season a year ago, coming off of a match where they lost focus, yet still managed to walk away with the three 3 points. Having realized that they started to pack it in too early last week, coupled with the desire to give the Fire another loss at their new house, should be the perfect mixture for a very good and impressive performance by United.

Prediction: DC United 3 - 1 Chicago Fire

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ban the retired guy! is reporting that Zidane has been "banned" for three matches. He has been fined £3260 for his actions as well. To actually serve the 3 match ban, Zidane will serve 3 days community service on behalf of FIFA. Materazzi picked up a two match ban and was fined £2170. So much for "Head-Butt Gate."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

MLS/SUM Missing the Boat...Again?

Garber & Co. have made it a huge point to say that they are in favor of getting more exposure for MLS. Getting more people exposed to MLS means getting clubs out in the open more. One way to do this is to have members of the clubs go out and sign autographs at local sports stores; another way is to have good media advertising, like ads in newspapers and on TV/radio. Another way is to get more TV exposure for the league.

Today, four MLS clubs are involved in matches against clubs from other countries.

New England Revolution vs Celtic FC (Foxborough Stadium)
L.A. Galaxy vs Crystal Palace (Richmond VA)
FC Dallas vs Tigres (Pizza Hut Park, Dallas Texas)
Real Salt Lake vs Club Morelia (Rice-Eccles Stadium)

Last week, these matches took place.

DC United vs. Celtic FC (RFK Stadium)
LA Galaxy vs. Necaxa (Home Depot Center)

None of these matches were on/are on national TV. I cannot speak for the other matches, but the DC United match was only shown on Comcast Sportsnet, which is a local cable channel. Comcast will be showing the Orioles baseball game tonight, so the LA Galaxy match won't even be shown in this region.

Why hasn't MLS/SUM been able to secure national television rights for any of these matches? DC United vs. Chelsea was shown on ESPN2 last season, but the Chicago Fire vs. AC Milan was left off the schedule. I do see that the Columbus Crew vs. Everton match is being broadcast on ESPN2 on July 26th, so it is possible to get schedule.

SUM has the ability to work out deals with either ESPN or FSC. If ESPN does not want to broadcast these matches, I am sure that FSC would be interested, what are they going to show, Chelsea vs. Man City from last year, again?

If Garber & Co. really want to get American sports fans interested in MLS, then they need to start getting more of the international friendlies shown on national broadcast TV. Showing the DC United vs. Celtic match from last week live on ESPN2 would have been a huge thing for MLS. Yes Celtic was in pre-season form, but all the average sports fan in the states would have seen was an American club bitch-slapping a European club, and a good one at that. It is results like that, a 4-0 win over a European club that will get more American fans into MLS stadiums.

I hope that the Real Madrid vs. Real Salt Lake match is on ESPN2 or the Barcelona vs. Red Bull New York match. Are the World Cheerleading Championships that much more important and a money maker? The ratings for that must shoot through the roof! I used to play baseball and I know it is America's Sport, but does the Little League World Series need to be in prime-time on ESPN? Hell, show the match on ESPN Classic, most people who get regular cable still get that channel.

Real Madrid and Barcelona are two of the more high profile European clubs and if the MLS clubs even show up and look respectable, then MLS might get more fans. I am still trying to figure out if the other two Barca matches are even on TV in the US. Why wouldn't SUM negotiate TV rights for these matches?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Everyone figured that this would happen....

Bruce Arena named RBNY Head Coach and Sporting Director., and just about everyone else in US Soccer world are reporting that RBNY have announced that Bruce Arena will take over control of RBNY on August 12th, as Head Coach and Sporting Director. He is replacing Mo Johnson, who was "made redundant" and Richie Williams was made interim coach. USSF announced last week that Arena's contract as USMNT Head Coach would not be renewed.

Future of MLS
I am in mixed feelings about this, as some of you should know from what I have previously written. On one hand, I understand the situation that soccer in the USA is in. The USA has 3 major media markets, New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. Chicago has won the MLS Cup, as have LA, which has won it twice. New York, either as the Metrostars or as RBNY, have really been a blot on the face of MLS. Despite numerous amount of changes, the MLS club in New York City has been under achievers when it came to league wide performance.

In order for MLS to truly get a strong grasp on the US media market, MLS must have successful clubs in these three media markets. They currently have two, NYC being the last one to get a hold on. The future life of the league is really tied to a successful club in New York City. Based on this fact, Bruce Arena becoming their Head Coach and Sporting Director should be a positive step in the reversal of the mediocrity that RBNY has been over the last 11 MLS seasons.

Arena proved with DC United and UVA before MLS, that he is able to get the most from his players and his a good organizer. His time with the USMNT showed that he was able to dramatically change the course of a ship without a rudder and set it on a new and exciting path. 2006 World Cup aside, his term as Head Coach of the USMNT was a huge success, regardless of the criticism that is coming out now that he really never knew what he was doing. With Arena in charge, either RBNY will be set on a new course, or we will truly find that the club is beyond saving. If it is salvageable, Arena is the perfect man to save it, just like he did with the USMNT.

MetroScum, Bunch a' Bull
My other side of me says that as a DC United supporter, I cannot imagine Bruce Arena, the man who delivered 2 MLS Cups, a USOC, a CONCACAF Champions Cup and and an Interamerican Cup to the DC now going to take charge of our most hated opponent? I feel like Luke Skywalker at the end of Empire when Darth Vader just told him he was his father. Bruce has truly gone to the Dark Side. Darth Arena?

The DC United fan in me wants to see him set the RBNY on a new course, one that has them actually win matches, instead of draws. I want them to get their confidence back. I want this so that when they swagger on into RFK, or when we play them at RFK North...we smack them back into reality and let them know who owns the Eastern Conference. I really couldn't care any less for the Atlantic Cup before this, now I want to make sure that RBNY never get to see that trophy, unless they are looking at it in the DC United trophy case.

Return of the King? Only if he was returning to the club he established as the power of MLS. Only we nolonger need him, we have our new guy, you all will see him on August 5th leading the MLS All Stars against Chelsea.

Why even have the All Star Game?

According to, even though they were announced as being part of the 11 voted All Stars for the MLS All Star Game vs. Chelsea on August 5th, New England's Clint Dempsey, Shalrie Joseph and Ante Razov of Chivas USA will not be playing in the match. This is due to the fact that MLS has scheduled a match for the August 6th match between New England vs. Chivas USA. The August 6th match is part of a doubleheader with the FC Barcelona vs. Chivas Guadalajara match.

Why even have the All Star Game if you are going to have the players voted in sit it out for a match that should never have been schedule the next day? At least MLB pauses their schedule for 3 days so that there are no games the day before or after the All Star Game. This is bush league MLS. The only reason the Chivas USA vs. New England Revolution match is even scheduled for that day is because Barcelona are dictating the date and Garber & Co. feel that they must have MLS clubs involved somehow. You want MLS clubs involved? Try having the Catalans play against a MLS club? Why only the Red Bulls? Red Bull tell you to only allow them to face them?

I really question alot of decisions that Garber & Co. make. Like not getting more friendlies between Mexican and MLS clubs. You claim you want to see more involvement with the Latin American community? Try having the clubs that they want to see play our clubs. Try having Soccer United Marketing (SUM) the marketing arm of MLS, actually get European clubs to play MLS clubs.

If they want to raise the profile of MLS, having European clubs face each other in our backyard, or face Mexican clubs, in our houses does nothing but say that you don't think we can challenge them. The All Star game is nothing but an auction display for our best players. If Garber & Co. really wanted to showcase our best against the best of Europe, which is what Garber has said over and over is the idea behind the Euro clubs playing our All Stars, then just schedule the match to be against the top ranked MLS club. It would be simple to do, just select the club with the most points at July 4th, the same way you pick the coach. Last year, San Jose would have played Fulham. This year DC United would play Chelsea. Did you learn nothing from the 5-0 destruction that Real Madrid gave your select team last year? It's like you all live in fantasy land or something.

Monday, July 17, 2006

United net 7 on All Star Squad

DC United will have 7 players on the 2006 MLS All Star Squad that will be facing Chelsea at Toyota Park in Chicago on August 5th. Here are the United All Stars:

- Christian Gomez
- Jamie Moreno
- Troy Perkins
- Freddy Adu
- Bobby Boswell
- Alecko Eskandarian
- Joshua Gros

United coach and MLS All Star coach, Peter Nowak picked Gros, Adu and Boswell for his squad. MLS Commissioner Garber selected Eskandarian along with FC Dallas' Richard Mulrooney to fill out the squad.

United still #1 in ESPN Power Rankings
ESPNsoccernet has DC United still on top of its MLS power rankings, ahead of the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas. I think that United have been in 1st ever since May, maybe even the end of April.

Ronaldinho for Columbus Crew???
For a real laugh, checkout the DCenters for one of the funniest Crew photos I have seen.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

DC United Match Thoughts

DC United 3 - 2 Columbus Crew

DC United won their 6th straight match last night in a very interesting match against the Crew. Having been anemic when it comes to scoring goals, United relatively exploded for 3 goals last night. On the flip side, the United defense had been rock solid in their last several outings, securing 7 clean sheets (8 if you count Celtic), yet they gave up 2 goals last night before a crowd of 20,227.

The first goal for the Crew was one of those really unlucky bounces. The ball bounces off of Bozilla's back and it creates a freakish opportunity. Not really something to plan for, so I can let the goal slide abit. The second goal was a result of something larger for the entire United side. When Facundo went off at half time (which I am still trying to find out why, the Post doesn't have anything listed) and when Benny went off, United looked like they lost their composure. If Facundo is truly injured and cannot make it out for next weeks match at Chicago, then we will see John Wilson start most likely in his place. I like Wilson, but he gave up some flubs last night. Hopefully he learns from them, gets a good week of practice in, and steps it up a notch next week.

Another point I was a little sour at was Jamie's Ole' moves during the match. He had about three times where rather than step up and take the ball or the shot, he dummied the no one. Jamie needs to get his killer instinct back and bury that ball in the net.

Over all, it was a good match, we got three points. The last 15 to 20 minutes United looked very un-United like, but they weathered the storm and now go on the road for what seems the rest of the season.

Real Madrid?
The is reporting that DC United is in talks with Real Madrid for a match sometime in early August. Real are scheduled to play RSL in Salt Lake on August 12th and are interested in a match before that. The only weird thing is that United are looking at having Oriole Park at Camden Yards hosting the match. RFK, FedEx and M&T Bank stadium are all booked during the time period that United and Real are looking at. Evidently, the ball is in Real's court.

I hope that this does come about. I would drive up to Baltimore to watch this match, even if it is played on a baseball field...wait, I already watch soccer on a baseball field. Nevermind, I will still go up for it if it happens.

EDIT - I went and bought a copy of the Post and the printed article has that Facundo picked up a contusion (bruise) on his foot and didn't return after the half. I think that he should be back for next week.

Friday, July 14, 2006

That was no slap on the wrist.

The ruling came down for the match fixing scandal that was supposed to make Italy off focus in the World Cup.

Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina were demoted to Serie B. AC Milan was spared that punishment, but they are barred from European competition next season and are already 15 points off the pace in Serie A, having been penalized the 15 points.

Juventus came away the biggest loser. They were demoted; stripped of their last two Serie A titles; and given a 30 point penalty for next season. All clubs have 5 days to appeal these rulings.

So what does this mean?

If these rulings stand, it means a lot for European Soccer. The transfer market will become one of the most active in a long time and the Champions League will either take a hit, or will be one of the most exciting in recent memory.

Fire Sale
Gianluigi Buffon
Patrick Vieira
Cristiano Zanetti
Zlatan Ibrahimović
Pavel Nedvěd
David Trezeguet
Fabio Cannavaro
Gianluca Zambrotta
Mauro Camoranesi
Lilian Thuram
Luca Toni

All of these guys will potentially be up for sale. Del Peiro has stated that he would stay regardless of the club being demoted, so I figure that he will stick with that decision. How bad would a club like Lyon, a side that has dominated French Football for the last five years, only to miss out on Champions League glory, want to get someone like Nedved or Thuram? What about Manchester United trying to bring in Buffon or Zambrotta? Arsenal would have a heart attack if Vieira were lining up against them wearing a Man U jersey. Then again, I think Roy Keane's head would explode as well.

Champions League
The UEFA Champions League will be a different beast this season, assuming that these rulings stand. Without AC Milan or Juventus to carry the banner for Italy, as they always have, we will definitelytely see more clubs getting through to the knock-out phases. Or will we see a drop off in play? The AC Milan vs. Lyon 2nd leg match last season was a great match, with one helluva exciting ending. Who can forget the Juventus vs. Real Madrid series that they had a couple of seasons ago? Milan have been in 2 of the last 4 finals, so there will definately be a loss. Who will step in and fill the gap?

Arena Out as US Head Coach

The US Soccer website is reporting that Bruce Arena's contract, which is set to expire at the end of 2006, will not be renewed. This was announced today at Conference call at 12pm EST.

I hate to see him go, but I'm happy to see him leave.

Bruce Almighty (well, not so much mighty anymore) was the best coach for the USA when he became the Head Coach in 1998. He guided us through 2002 qualifications, got us a 3rd place finish in the 1999 Confederations Cup, we won 2 Gold Cups under his guidance. We placed first in CONCACAF qualification for 2006, under his lead. He raised the bar for US Soccer.

Now it is his time to go. I guess when you stay in one place too long, your feet go to sleep. I think that Bruce started to fall asleep at the job, not in what he did, in what he didn't do.

Good bye Bruce Arena. Enjoy New York.

DC United Preview 7/14/2006

DC United vs. Columbus Crew
Saturday, 7/15/2006
RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

Once again, United gets to play the Crew. This is the final MLS season meeting between United and the Crew, United are currently 2-0-1 against them, having won the last two matches with a combined score of 6-1. United are on a 12 match unbeaten streak, 13 if you count the mid-week friendly against Celtic, which United won 4-0.

Columbus has won only once in their last 8 MLS matches, losing 3 and drawing 4. Like United, the Crew were in action over the mid-week with a third round US Open Cup (USOC) match against the Michigan Bucks, which they won 4-1. Their victory sets up a fourth round USOC match with...DC United. United will be hosting the Crew at the Maryland Soccerplex on August 1st.

Even with the match at mid-week and Esky having to sit due to anger management issues, I don't see this match really being any different than the last few United has played. If anything, the fact that our starters were able to get a good amount of time in against Celtic and our offense found the back of the net often, the confidence levels should be such that we end up attacking with more spirit and energy. Jamie was in LA to watch the Espy's, so he should have fresh legs as well.

The biggest point of confidence is that we seem to have a bench that is deeper than I thought. Our reserve players, granted they were against a pre-season Celtic that were player some prospects, showed the type of composure and ability that some 1st team players in other MLS clubs have. It shows that United can really sub in any of our reserve players and they will still get the job done. This will be pivotal in the later stages of the season.

Peter Nowak will have to start giving some of our starters more and more time off the field to ensure that they stay fresh for the MLS Playoffs and possibly for the USOC. Having guys from the reserve squad who can step in and do as good a job as some of the starters, gives Nowak the flexibility to rest guys and rotate the roster around. The possibilities are endless.

Anyways, as I said, I don't see the Crew doing anything different, United will need to be sure to shut down Ngwenya and Sebastian Rozental seems to have found his assist skill, having three against the Bucks. If United plays its defense as it has the entire season, Perkins is strong in goal, as he has been for several weeks now, we should have no problems.

Prediction: DC United 2 - 0 Columbus Crew

Thursday, July 13, 2006

US Open Cup Match Announced

DC United vs. Columbus Crew
Tuesday, 8/1/2006
Maryland Soccerplex, Germantown, Maryland

DC United will be hosting the Columbus Crew in the 4th round of the US open Cup at the Soccerplex. The match is at 7:30pm. Funny as it might seem, United have never faced the Crew in Open Cup play.

The US Open Cup (USOC) is a really funny thing here in America. It is the official championship of the USSF, yet it really means nothing, other than the title. What I mean is, in other countries, the club that wins the national Cup, The FA Cup, German Cup, things like that, they are also rewarded with entry into a larger knock out tournament, in UEFA's case, the UEFA Cup. The USOC winner just gets the trophy. I am not saying that this is that bad a thing, but I feel that if the tournament and the Cup itself would become more important if USSF would allocate a tournament berth for its winner.

As of right now the USSF has ties to the CONCACAF Champions Cup, and I assume the Copa Sudamericana, as DC United took part in it last season and LA I believe are to take part in it this season. The CONCACAF Champions Cup has two USSF slots, both designated for MLS clubs, the MLS Cup winner and now the Supporters Shield winner (club with the best regular season record). It used to be the two MLS Cup finalists. The MLS Cup Champion gets a berth into the Copa Sudamericana.

If the USSF were to allocate the USOC Champion the second slot in the CONCACAF Champions Cup tournament, I think that it might provide a little boost to how MLS clubs and fans approach the tournament. It would mean that if a club's season is going down the tubes, yet they are still alive in the USOC, as MLS clubs never have to worry about relegation, they can rest their main players during MLS matches, giving new players some looks, and have them ready for the USOC.

However, on the flip side of this, I do agree with giving the MLS Cup Champion and the Supporters Shield winner the two Champions Cup slots, as it rewards the best club of the season as well as the MLS Cup winner. I think the only way USSF and MLS would be able to agree to having the USOC Champion getting one of the Champions Cup slots is if MLS removed the Supporters Shield slot, but MLS is intent on giving some type of reward to the best regular season club, so I do not see it happening.

As for DC United, I want them to approach the USOC as they have approached everything else this season, to win it. We are on the fast track to picking up the Supporters Shield this season, and as long as we maintain our form, we should be the odds on favorite for the MLS Cup as well. If those two awards count as championships, then winning the USOC would give United a treble, (not to even try and compare this type of treble to the 1999 Manchester United Treble), which would be an awesome accomplishment for the club this season.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

DC United 4 - 0 Celtic

DC United defeated Celtic 4-0 tonight at RFK. Not trying to take anything away from Celtic, as this is their pre-season, but that was one helluva great dispaly by United. Freddy's goal was beautiful! Happy for Jamil for getting a goal against the club that shipped him back to the states in 2004. Bozilla struck again in a friendly against a British club! Andy Metcalf had a great goal as well. Are we that good?

The fact that our reserve team, basically the guys who finished the match, could handle the ball and control the match that well against European players, even in their preseason form, astounds me.

It was a friendly and means nothing for either club, escept bragging rights. Even said, damn, we looked good. Hopefully, this type of victory over a club that is as rich in tradition tha Celtic are, only increase the confidence of our players, and makes them even more hungry for goals and victories through the rest of the MLS season, US Open Cup, and MLS Cup runs.

Freddy's goal was sweet!

MLS All Star Starting 11 Announced

DC United landed three starters for the MLS All Star Match against Chelsea on August 5th.

MLS Starters:

Troy Perkins (DC United)

Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards)
Chris Albright (LA Galaxy)
Eddie Pope (Real Salt Lake)

Dwayne De Rosario (Houston Dynamo)
Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)
Christian Gomez (DC United)
Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution)
Shalrie Joseph (New Englnad Revolution)

Ante Razov (Chivas USA)
Jamie Moreno (DC United)

I agree with most of these selections...but how did Pope and Albright get here? They are defenders on two of the most sive like defenses in the league. Their clubs leak goals like a strainer. Facundo Erpen from DC United would have been a better choice, or Greg Vanney or Bobby Rhine both from FC Dallas. I don't know. Anyways, the United starters I cannot complain with, infact, I offer a hearty congratulations to all three guys, espcially Troy. He has truely established himself this season.

I just hope that this doesn't turn into the Madrid Massacre like last year.

New FIFA Rankings are out.

The USA "fell" from #5 to #16 in the newest FIFA Rankings, which were released today. Brasil are #1, Italy moved up 10 spots to take #2.

16th seems good, as everyone knows that we are not a Top 10 side right now, and undtill we get some quality wins against better sides, we should remain out of the Top 10 for a while. Mexico is #18, so at least we are still ahead of them. I think the reason we are 2 spots above them ins that we won the Gold Cup and finished first in CONCACAF WC qualifying. We get some quality opponents for our friendlies this next year, and win the Gold Cup, we should move up to 14 or maybe 13.

The FIFA rankings are starting to look "normal," but assuming that Brazil doesn't play anything meaningful until 2007 and Italy starts Euro 2008 Qualifications, they might leap frog the Samba's and take first, as the reigning World Cup Champion should.

MLS Notes

DC United vs. Celtic
The has a report on what to expect from the United line-up for the Celtic match tonight. Evidently Perkins is scratched from playing, which is good as he needs the rest. Moreno is at the Espy Awards, and will not be playing tonight. Bobby Boswell, while nursing a sore knee, wants to play 90 minutes, but that might not play into Peter Nowak's plan of using all 27 players available. Jamil Walker, "Mr. Pelvic Dysfunction" himself, will make his United return from that injury. Walker tried out for Celtic in 2004, so it should be good for him to get some time against them, maybe score on them?

Real Salt Lake get the stadium shaft, again. is reporting that the stadium issue for RSL just got muddled again, as the Salt Lake County Council voted down using county funds for construction developments for the infrastructure around the new RSL stadium.

When will this come to ahead and MSL steps in and moves them? Hopefully this will be an example for MLS. RSL was brought into the league with the plan in hand, but never really finalized. They should from here on out, require actual construction to begin, like in the case of Toronto FC.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Klinsmann Resigns.

Jurgen Klinsmann, Germany's coach, has resigned his post, according to Fox Soccer Channel and Spigel Online (for those who can read German). His contract was up at the end of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, yet there was a sweeping hope across Germany that he would stay on and lead the side into the EUropean Championships in 2008.

One can spectulate that his twice monthly trans-america/trans-atlantic flights from LAX to Frankfurt took a toll on the guy, as did his being away from his family. Others will speculate that it was the memory of how damn near everyone in Germany wanted Jurgen's head on a plater just two or three months before the WOrld Cup. That 4-1 loss to Italy might have sealed his fate long before he recieved his 3rd place medal.

Let the flood gates open on the speculation on if he becomes the next USMNT coach.

DC United Notes

DC United Atop ESPN Power Rankings...again.
ESPNsoccernet has DC United on top of the MLS Power Rankings again, as they picked up 6 more points last week with a 1-0 victory of FC Dallas in Frisco, the followed it up with a 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew on Saturday.
How many weeks is that?

DC United vs. Celtic
Wednesday, 7/12/2006
RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

DC United host Scottish Premier League Champion Celtic FC in an international friendly at RFK. This the first meeting between these two clubs. Celtic have won 40 Scottish League Championships and were runners up for the 2003 UEFA Cup.

As this is a friendly match, and one that falls right in the middle of the July Hell that United have, in which they have 1 home league match, I am hoping that we get to see several of our main starters ride the pine for half of this match. Jamie, Christian, Josh, Troy, they all need a break. Adding another match to their legs might not be the best idea. If I were to offer Peter some advice for when he prepares for this match, I would suggest this starting line-up:

Wilson - Erpen - Boswell
Simms - Carroll
Olsen - Gomez - Adu
Eskandarian - Moreno

Have these guys start, then when they come out for the second half, send this line-up out:

Wilson - J. Carroll - Namoff - Stokes
Olsen - Moose - McTavish
Eskandarian - Quaranta

This would give our starters, well most of them, a chance to play the Scots and still give them a good rest. Nicky would get a full game and J. Carroll, Stokes, Moose, Quaranta and McTavish will get some good time out there against what some have termed, "the next level." This would also give Freddy a really good chance to run the offense. Letting him run the attack would be a good learning experience, for him and for USA soccer to see if he can handle the creative side of things.
I hope it is a good match, wish I was going.
Office Depot Coupons
Office Depot