Saturday, September 29, 2007


I am taking a week off to go to Munich, Germany for the 2007 Oktoberfest. I will get to be in Munich while Bayern Munich plays their away match against CF Belenenses, so hopefully I will get to watch the match with some Bayern supporters.

I don't plan on any updates while I am away, just alot of beer drinking.


See you all on the 8th!

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Match Recap: DC United 4 - 1 Toronto FC

What a difference a Bolivian and a Cavalier made tonight.

I brought my brother along with me to the game as he hadn't been able to make it out to any this season. We hung out at the SE tailgate and got to our seats around 7:15pm. The match started and as it slowly went on, my brother asked me if they looked this bad all season. I tried to explain to him that it really wasn't the entire team, but it was more of the fact that Kpene was in and that Moreno and Olsen were out.

Once the second half started, he became fully aware of why I said that. This was definitely one of those matches where there was two sides to the story. In a tail of two halves, United stunk up the joint in the first half and obliterated the second half. Scoring four goals in twenty minutes is amazing. Scoring four goals in twenty minutes after a half of play that looked like United couldn't find the other half of the field is even more amazing. So why does the match result sorta bother me?

Well, it shows that despite the fact that Kpene is listed as a forward on the roster, he doesn't still have a true grasp as for what he should be doing, mainly his positioning. The entire first half he was playing back in the midfield, deep in the midfield. Yes that is sort of what Jamie does, but Kpene doesn't have the skill of experience to carry or hold the ball anywhere near as good as Jamie does, so he should have just played up on the line with Emillio.

It also shows me that unless the opposing team has Olsen and Moreno on the field to worry about, Fred and Gomez can't do anything. It is pretty much just like last season when clubs would hack Go & Mo and basically shut down United's offense. Until Olsen and Moreno showed up, we looked lost.

Ok, so bad things aside, damn that second half was fun. Talk about beautiful goals. I am not certain which one was the best. Burch's goal was great, as was Fred's. Moreno's looked like he was offsid's when he collected the ball, but he put that away the way that Kpene should have put his break away in the first half: strongly. The final goal and yes, everyone's favorite, was Emillio's one timer volley into the net. SWEET! Nice way to score your 20th for the season. I loved that after Moreno & Emillio's goals Stamatopolous stood in his own goal and watched the video replays on the video screen behind his goal.

So with this win, United has three more regular season matches left. Away at Kansas City, who are without Jimmy Conrad for his Red Card against LA; home against Chicago, who are currently leading Chivas USA 1-0 off of a Blanco goal; and home to Columbus, who really haven't done much for the last part of the season. Jaime Moreno will miss the match at home against the Chicago Fire as he has been called into the Bolivian National team duty for their World Cup Qualifiers. United also have their away trip to Guadalajara for the second leg of the Copa Nissan Sudamerican against CD Guadalajara, who have a new coach.

An 11 match league unbeaten streak, nine of those are victories. Pretty not bad. Let's keep it up guys, we got ourselves a Supporters Shield to defend!

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CD Guadalajara fires Manager after DC United Loss

According to CNN/, CD Guadalajara fired their manager, Jose Manuel de la Torre after their first round loss to DC United in the Copa Nissan Sudamericana. Chivas are currently 4th in their Mexican league group and haven't exactly been scoring as many goals as they are expected to. Torre has been replaced by Efrain Flores.

This should make the Tuesday night match in Guadalajara alot more interesting. Not to say that they will fold like Chelsea did against Manchester United with their new manager, but considering that Flores will only have a few days to try and get his troops in line, this should bode well for DC United.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

MLS Thursday Night: 9/27/2007

I tried to watch the MLS Thursday Night match on ESPN last night. I really did. Unfortunately after watching the first twenty minutes of seeing neither side honestly try to do anything that resembled offensive soccer, Spies Like Us & Beerfest on HBO seemed so much of a better idea. I found myself switching back and forth between these three shows, but the soccer game never really got me to put the remote down.

Of what I saw, here are the interesting points:
- LA is pretty bad. They could barely get 1 goal when they had a 2 man advantage.

- Arnaud's and Conrad's Red cards should actually cost the Wizards 6 points. The two man advantage finally gave the Galaxy enough space to find their goal. On top of that, neither player will be available for the 10/5 match against DC United. It is hard to believe that the Wizards will be able to contain Emillio, Fred & Gomez without Conrad holding the back line.

- When did Cobi get his first name on the back of his jersey? The three "wise men" mentioned something that Cobi isn't retiring after this season? WTF?

- The scariest thought of all...that the Galaxy might actually be able to make the playoffs. They have to most likely win 4 out of their final five matches, which as they are playing Columbus and Toronto as two of those final five, if there is such a thing as a gimme for the Galaxy, those two matches would be them. They also face the Red Bulls, so in that match, anything is possible. They do have to travel to Houston, which isn't the easiest place to play in. I expect a Houston win in that one. The final match is against the Fire. As the Fire are fighting for the final playoff spot as well, this last match could be the clincher for either club. I honestly think that the Galaxy will go 2-2-1 in their final five matches and miss the playoffs.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Match Recap: DC United 2 - 1 CD Guadalajara

This is turning out to be one very long season for DC United. They started it off a month before the most of MLS started play with the CONCACAF Champions Cup in late February. They would ultimately be knocked out of the tournament in the Semi-Finals by CD Guadalajara. They then marched right into the MLS regular season along with the rest of the league. In July, DC United ventured into the USOC, getting knocked out by the Harrisburg City Islanders (all be it while using a second string team). United followed that performance up with the inaugural North American SuperLiga, in which they advanced all the way to the Semi-Finals, losing to FC David Beckham.

Now as the MLS regular season is winding down and the playoffs are looming overhead, DC United once again makes an other trip outside of the league for more competition, the Copa Nissan Sudamericana. Not only is this tournament a chance to face off against outside opponents, but as United were matched up against the very club that knocked them out of the CONCACAF Champions Cup, CD Guadalajara, revenge was definitely an item on the agenda.

Last night United hosted CD Guadalajara in the first match of the two match, home/away series, picking up a 2-1 victory in a very difficult situation. United was vastly outplayed for the first 25 minutes of the match, but was able to steal a 23rd minute goal. Both sides settled down after the Ben Olsen goal and the match looked pretty even handed until the 44th minute when defender Marc Burch picked up his second yellow card of the half and was sent packing to the showers. Considering the situation: playing an in season CD Guadalajara and just going down a man, being up 1-0 at halftime was pretty good.

The second half I expected to see Bobby Boswell come on to fill in for Bursch (as well as Boswell can do on the side) and either have Moreno or Fred be taken off for the extra defender. The way that Boswell was warming up during the break made me think he was infact coming in. Instead, Tom Soehn sent out the same 10 guys who finished the first half and ten minutes into the second half, United was able to pounce on a defensive lapse in the Chivas defense. Gomez sent a free kick right into the Chivas wall, but none of the Goats were able to clear it. Clyde Simms jumped on it and sent the ball into the bottom far corner through traffic. United, down a man, was now up 2-0.

United then weathered one helluva storm for the next 35 minutes. Chivas had about 4 shots in the first half, but they finished the match with 21, you do the math. Yes, Troy Perkins was beat on the 61st minute goal, but I honestly think it was more of total defensive lapse that allowed the cross to come through the box, rather than Troy getting caught on the wrong side of the goal mouth.

Troy looked like he was having a bad game. He was making some really great saves and came off his line when he needed to, but his goal kicks were awful. When I say he looked like he was having a bad game, his facial expressions made me think that he wasn't there last night. Ironically, he actually looked stronger after Chivas scored, hopefully he doesn't require that type of motivation next week in Mexico.

All in all, this is a great result. DC United only requires a draw in Mexico to advance and take on Arsenal of Argentina. If United were to advance, they would play their Quarter Final home/away series over mid to late October, which is right in the middle of the MLS Cup playoffs. Not trying to get ahead of ourselves, but even though advancing through this international tournament would be a huge thing for the club; is this the point where we start making the hard choices and decide which competition to put all of our eggs into? What's more important; MLS Supporters Shield....the MLS Cup....or the Copa Nissan Sudamericana? I for one think that the level of importance is in the exact order I put them in, as the Supporters Shield is the one title that United has the most control over, as in, they currently control their own destiny with that title.

Next up for United is the Saturday home match against Toronto FC, who recently broke out of their 15 year goal drought. See you all at RFK Saturday night.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Quick Match Recap: DC United 1 - 1 Chicago Fire

When is a draw really a win?

When you essentially start your second string midfield against a club that is desperate for points and still leave with a point. That is basically what DC United did yesterday in Chicago with Olsen, Fred, Gomez and Simms all not taking the field at the opening. I liken this to the Redskins starting a game without Campbell, Moss, Cooley and Portis.

In any case, as I watched yesterday's tape delayed match on CSN, I tried my best to keep from switching channels as I watched the Fire midfield gobble up most of the play. Blanco's pass that setup Barrett's goal was very well placed and with the "luck" of Boswell failing to get back over to help out Namoff, Barrett beat Perkins for their goal. Once Cylde Simms was brought on the field in for Namoff, United's composure looked completely different. Yes we were still without Gomez or Fred making moves in the middle, but defensively, United looked much more solid.

Moreno's goal has got to be up for goal of the week. That was truly amazing, not only that it could go in from the angle that he hit it, but that Pickens completely flubbed it.

So we went in without our midfield and stole a point. Now that United took care of the bad situation, we have Wednesday nights Copa Nissan Sudamericana match to look forward to. With a full line-up expected (well, Namoff might be doubtful, I can't find any news) we should be able to put in a good match. We then have Toronto FC on Saturday, then at Chivas followed with at Kansas City and home to Chicago and the Crew.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

USA vs. South Africa

The USSF finally announced the much rumored November 17th match in Johannesburg against South Africa. This is the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup, which South Africa plays annually. The match will kick off at 10am EST. Not a bad way to start the MLS Cup weekend here in DC.

Hopefully the USSF is trying to line up another international friendly match for the 21st, as it is the second FIFA match date. How about having Ghana for a rematch? Ivory Coast? Fly up to Europe if they have to, but schedule a second damn game.

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No More Jose


That's really all I have to say. Wow.

So the guy wins five titles in two years with one of the best clubs that money can buy, but isn't even kept on for a third season?

According to the Chelsea website:

"Chelsea Football Club and Jose Mourinho have agreed to part company today (Thursday) by mutual consent." -

Mutual consent? This reeks of a contract buy out. Although considering the problems that have been reported between the owner and Mourinho, the 5th place standing and the UEFA Champions League draw against Rosenborg, one could figure that Jose was tired of the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge.

This definitely shakes up the Premier League race. Does this completely drop Chelsea from contention? That, IMHO, depends on who they bring in to replace the Special One. If he couldn't get the best out the Chelsea Millionairs, who else is?



Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New FIFA Rankings Out: Italy #1, USA #18

The new FIFA rankings were released today with Brazil "tumbling" out of first, landing in third place. Italy took over the #1 spot with Argentina moving up into second place. The USA dropped one spot to #18. Other movers included England moving up to #9 from #12, Scotland moving up to #14 from #23.

Not that these really mean that much to anyone, but I am a little surprised that Brazil fell two spots, but Argentina stayed at #2. Brazil beat the then #11 & #17 ranked teams last week, along with posting a victory over Algeria in August. Argentina lost 2-1 to Norway in August, and then only had one match in September, beating Australia. I really fail to see how a record of 1-1-0 gets you better points than a record of 3-0-0?

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Veron to DC United on Again?

Ives reported Monday that the earlier reports of Juan Sebastian Veron’s possible move to DC United next season is closer than ever. Veron would become United’s Designated Player Allocation signing if this comes through. Assuming that this happens, what does this do for the club next season? Does anyone have to get the boot if Veron makes his way to the Black & Red?

I am not so sure if he will join up, but if he does join the club in it’s current configuration, United’s depth at midfield will be a whole helluva lot deeper. I wrote about how I see Veron changing the midfield possibilities for Tom Soehn and giving more guys chances to get rest rather than get gassed, but considering just how Veron would fit into the club is a bit of a mystery.

Based on the current situation, United has the DPA slot open, so having to trade for one isn’t required. United also has their fourth Senior International Roster spot open, so there isn’t a need to trade away someone to free up that type of roster spot. The main question is if United has the money to sign Veron, without being forced to give up anyone from the roster.

So if United needs to make some space on the roster, who goes? Do we see the retirement of Jamie Moreno make way for Veron to move into the midfield and see Fred get moved up into the withdrawn forward slot? Considering his out put this season, his age and the chance to retire on top of the league both goal wise and with a 5th MLS Cup, I wouldn’t blame the guy for riding out into the sunset. However, considering that he has found a new lease on his international career with the Bolivian National Team and the form of United when he isn’t on the field, I would think that Jamie feels that he has some mileage left in his legs.

Do we see current MLS MVP Christian Gomez move on as his current contract is up at the end of the season? Half of a season removed from his MVP performance, Gomez is a popular target for internet pundits as an under performer as he isn’t “tearing” up the league as he did last season. As he rejected the rumored $325,000 a year contract extension that United offered because he wanted the DPA slot, will he even consider returning if Veron is to be signed?

I would like, in a perfect world, to see both Jamie and Christian remain with the club and for them to bring in Veron. I personally do not subscribe to those who suggest that both Jamie and Christian are shadows of their former selves from last season to this. Is their production down from last season? Yes, neither of them are scoring as many goals as they did last season. When they are off the field, does United still look like a strong club? Sometimes, but not really in my opinion. I honestly think that the reason why we are not seeing Gomez and Moreno tearing up MLS is because they no longer have to. When United brought in Emillio and Fred, damn near all the pressure to score and create chances was taken off of Jamie and Christian’s shoulders. The re-emergence of Ben Olsen as an offensive threat has further relived Go & Mo of having to do everything on their own. In fact, I honestly think that Gomez and Moreno are actually enjoying a better season this year, because they have better support around them and can play a looser game than they did last season.

So if they are playing better this season because of Fred & Emillio, why even bring in Veron? Why not just sign Gomez to a new, higher paying, DPA salary and get Moreno to stay on with the club? I think that United should still try to sign Veron simply because he is a great midfield playmaker and as we have seen with the inclusion of Fred & Emillio; bringing in creative players allows those creative players already in the club more freedom to play the game, instead of having to carry the games.

Bringing Veron in would allow for better midfield rotation and more offensive chances for United. Before Fred & Emillio were brought in, clubs simply had to hack Go & Mo and United floundered and became predictable and dead in the water. United brought in Emillio & Fred and now (when all on the field) clubs have got to focus on Gomez, Fred, Moreno, & Emillio. Hell, if they forget to watch Benny, he can drop in a few goals and still kill you. If Veron is included in that grouping, consider the possibilities. You cover both Gomez and Fred, Veron still gets the ball to Moreno or Emillio. You cover Emillio & Veron, Gomez runs the ball into the box and passes to Fred or Olsen.

I honestly think that the biggest reason why DC United should sign Veron, along with trying to retain Gomez & Moreno is Veron’s impact off the field, as in that United can keep guys off the field at times. As we are seeing right now, Tom Soehn is doing a helluva job rotating guys into the defense and midfield. McTavish, Vanney, & Bozilla are all getting their chances to start and get rest, which when we hit the Copa Nissan Sudamericana and the MLS Cup Playoffs, will be huge for our defensive posture. With Gros coming back, he gives Soehn a chance to give Olsen a breather, or Fred a rest, without truly having the midfield suffer.

If you toss Veron into this mix, we could see Veron start on a Thursday night match, then Gomez start a Sunday afternoon match, without the loss of any creativity and seeing both guys remain fresh for the entire season. Fred and Gomez would be able to be used to give Emillio a night off or Moreno or Olsen. Bringing Veron into the club would further the depth and stamina of the club.

Now it is rumored that because of the “success” of the Designated Player Allocation, MLS might jump their timetable and increase the minimum number of DPAs a club can have from 1 to 2 (without having to trade for a second). If that does happen, United would be able to sign Veron and maybe trade the second one for either allocation money for Gomez, or even use the second one on Gomez. It is also rumored that Garber & Co. will provide a significant increase in the Salary Cap for next season, which would either allow United to increase their offer for Gomez, or actually pay money to some of the lower paid players. If either of these rumors do come true, United should move on Veron.

Adding Veron to DC United would be a huge thing for the club and the league. A player who has seen success in Italy & Argentina as well as having been through the UEFA Champions League and the EPL with Manchester United & Chelsea can bring in a wealth of knowledge that the league saw when David Beckham was actually on the field for the Galaxy. When he was on the field, they were an entirely different side. When he was off…they were horrible. Not to say that United is horrible, but I have a feeling that with Veron on the field, we will all see a DC United that is a step faster and sharper, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of MLS.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

DC United/MLS Thoughts

With DC United off this weekend, I spent more time watching College Football than I did paying attention to MLS league play. I did manage to switch back and forth between watching USC destroy Nebraska and Chicago fight back for a 2-2 draw with RBNY. Nothing really stood out in my mind from both clubs in this match; yes Chicago fought while they were down a man and Blanco seems to be pulling all the strings for the Fire, but nothing really made me feel that either club were that impressive.

I did see that Chivas USA were held 1-1 against Colorado, which means that they dropped two points off the Supporters Shield pace with DC United. To add insult to injury, Houston dropped 3 goals on the LA Pub team (LA Galaxy) to clinch the first Western Conference playoff berth and to move 1 point ahead of Chivas USA into first in the West. DC united are still first in the entire league with 49 points. New England is second with 45 points, with Houston tied with them on points, but having played one more match than New England and DC. Chivas USA and FC Dallas round out the top five, with 44 & 39 points respectively.

DC United has 5 matches remaining in the league; away to Chicago (9/23), home with Toronto FC (9/29), away to Kansas City (10/5), home with Chicago (10/13) and home with Columbus(10/20). United also have two matches scheduled for the Copa Nissan Sudamericana against Chivas de Guadalajara; at home (9/26) & away (10/2). If we advance against Chivas, then a match up against either Arsenal (Argentina) or Goias EC (Brazil) on 10/10 & 10/31, which would provide some logistical issues with the MLS Playoffs.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Match Recap: DC United 2 - 1 Real Salt Lake

That is a result I will take.

Considering the fact that United was playing it's third match in seven days, considering that Jamie Moreno was away in Peru losing 2-0 with the Bolivian National Team, and considering the recent history between these two clubs; I wasn't expecting much from this match. Tired legs going against a club that has had United's number and have recently figured out how to score, it didn't look pretty.

Neither did the actual game, nor did the officiating.

DC United picked up all three points last night by being able to adapt to its situation, an ability that good teams have and call upon when they aren't able to bring out the skill. United did that last night. Playing their third game in seven days, fourth in a week and a half, United had to adapt to everything around them. The United team of last year, be it because of coaching decisions or something else, never really showed that at this point in the season, it could adapt well to its situations, and just ran out there with the same players and was losing. This side is a little different in that area.

Emilligoal is still dropping goals like they are going out of style. 19 goals for the season definitely shows that reaching the United record of 23 set by Raul Diaz Arce is no longer just probable, but more likely going to get busted. He keeps this pace up and the Golden Boot might have to be renamed the "Emilliboot."

Gomez came to life last night scoring the game winner and setting up Emillio's goal in the first half. His PK goal wasn't exactly something for the highlight reels, unless those are showcasing Nick Rimondo's skills. I honestly think that Emillio should have taken the PK, as it would have given him a clear chance for 6 in three matches, #20 for the season and Emillio is someone who Nick is not as familiar with. You have got to believe that Nick has a better understanding of which way Gomez takes PK's more than Emillio does, as they were teammates for a few years. That is the same reason why I thought it was wrong for Esky to take RSL's PK. How many times had Troy faced Esky in training when practicing PK's?

Due to Moreno's absence, there was a definite lack of "presence" in the United formation. I am not really 100% sure what to call what Moreno brings to the side, be it form or composure or vision; but whatever it is, it was abundantly clear that United didn't have much of any of those skills last night. In all reality, United played the first half much like they did right after the 3-3 draw with Dallas. The main thing is that the team has figured out how to adapt to not having Moreno on the field to hold the ball or provide a pass or such. Because of this, United is winning bad matches.

On a different note, last night's match was a second straight match were I saw the officials run a match one sided. I didn't want to comment on the way that Okulaja officiated Sunday's match against the Revolution, namely because we were able to still light up the Revs defense. However, last night's match was damn near criminal. I can't believe how may times I saw Benny get hacked, or clipped or such. He caught an elbow to the eye and Gonzalez never even stopped play until it looked like Benny wouldn't get up. Benny goes up for a header near the RSL goal, and he gets a Yellow card for a 50/50 ball. What the hell did Gonzalez see as McTavish was thrown to the ground like a WWE move, to warrant the RSL PK? There were also several horrible offside's calls, where I could see guys being held onside from my seat in the 234 section, but the linesmen missed on the field. If there is one thing that either MLS or the USSF do during the off season, it should be to get better and proper training for their officials. Ok, I am done with that topic.

So now United are off for 11 days and return with an away match in Chicago to deal with. Ben Olsen, Christian Gomez and Fred are all going to be out due to "MLS Sponsored Holiday's" for their Yellow cards from last night. Baring any injury while in Peru, Moreno should be back with the club, which along with the return of Josh Gros to the line-up, leaves Tom Soehn less short handed than it would appear. Right after the Chicago match, United return to RFK for the first leg of their match up with CD Chivas de Guadalajara in the Copa Nissan Sudamericana. Considering that guys like Gomez, Olsen and Fred will have had two weeks off from match play, I have got to like our chances in that match.

So we have qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs and are now seven points ahead of New England in the East (with 1 more match played than NE), seven points ahead of Houston for the Supporters Shield (equal number of matches played) and nine points ahead of Chivas USA (with three more matches played, so could be even). As United takes some time off, the Supporters Shield and playoff race should start to get even clearer.

Other thoughts on last nights match here, here, here and here.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Emilligoal is MLS Player of the Week

Lucio Emillio was named the MLS Player of the Week, picking up his third PotW of the season, DC United's six of the season and the second straight for United as Ben Olsen was last week's PotW.

Emillio scored his MLS league leading #15, #16, #17 & #18 goals against Chivas USA on Thursday night and against the New England Revolution at RFK on Sunday afternoon. Hopefully Emilligoal can continue to add to his score sheet tomorrow night against ReAl Salt Lake.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Match Recap: DC United 4 - 2 New England Revolution

Well, that was a fun game.

Back from a very warm and humid RFK Stadium, digesting the 4-2 victory over the New England Revolution is a difficult one. So many things stand out from this match. Where does one begin?

As a whole, the team looked better than they did against Chivas on Thursday night. Our players didn't look like they only had 20 minutes of soccer in them and kept the pressure going, culminating with Fred's goal in the 30th minute. Twellman's goal to finish the first half was unfortunate and really was a cause for concern.

The second Revolution goal came from sloppy defensive play in front of the United goal. However, as we have seen several times before, the entire tempo of the match changed once Ben Olsen stepped on the field. His play on the right side on place of Fred gave United the swift kick in the ass to get the go ahead goal.

However, (and I cannot believe that I am typing this) the final nail was hammered in when Brian Carroll was brought on for Clyde Simms. Carroll is no favorite of mine and infact, before today, I would have been happy to see him be shipped off to San Jose. Today however, the guy stepped up and showed signs of his former self. Yes, the first play he was involved in after coming onto the field resulted in a Revolution free kick, but starting with that amazing run right up the left side of the field and the cross to Emillio's forehead, Carroll played completely different than he had over the last few months. He was making the great defensive stops in the midfield and tracking back to assist the back line. He was hustling to the ball and making better passes. The Brian Carroll that played today needs to stay; the Brian Carroll that had been riding the pine for the last few matches needs to stay away.

It was good to finally see Jamie get a non-PK goal, but I really think he could have had one more goal today. Jamie seems more interested, even when standing in front of the goal on the 6 yard line, with passing to someone else. It wasn't until he was right in front of the goal mouth, with Reis laying on the ground in front of him, that he took the shot, even then, he took a small amount of time with it.

Emilligoal keeps rolling along, picking up MLS leading goals #17 & #18 today. Pretty much after every goal he scores, I ask myself if Alecko Eskandarian would have scored that goal, or if he would have even been in that position to score. I honestly think that on about only 3 or 4 of them, Alecko would have buried the goal. The other 14 or so would have either been right at the goalkeeper or been flubbed in one fashion or another. The rate that Emillio is going with his goal scoring, picking up 23 or even 25 this season isn't that much of a fantasy now. That guy is money.

So after two matches in four days, United now sit alone on top of the Eastern Conference, with a four point lead over the New England Revolution. United also have a four point lead in the Supporters Shield standings over both New England and Houston, with United having a game in hand over the Dynamo and the tie breaker over New England.

United now wait three days and host the Freddy Adu-less Real Salt Lake Wednesday night. Really, who in MLS HQ scheduled the Real visit to DC for this late in the season? How much press could Garber & Co. picked up with the return of Freddy to United? Oh well, who cares now. Alecko is returning with his second club of the season. Real played a barn burner last night in a 4-3 loss to Houston, and they are coming in having won two of their last three matches. Hopefully we all will see United add to their league and Supporters Shield lead Wednesday night.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Match Recap: DC United 2 - 2 Chivas USA

Should anyone who is a United supporter be happy with a 2-2 road draw, especially last night's? Where do I start with the problems I am having with last night's match?

Sporting a 2-0 lead, a freakishly freak of a goal completely changed the tempo and tune of the match last night. Yes, there is no way in hell Troy would or in all honesty should have figured that Razov would have been in the perfect position to score with his ass. Tommy Smith or Eric Wynalda on ESPN2 said that he should just booted it out to one of the sides. Yeah, being able to say that after the fact is easy, but considering that the entire sequence was probably in no ones mind at the time, Troy made the correct clearance, it just went bad on a freakish goal.

What happened afterwards wasn't so freakish, but more old DC United rearing its lazy head. United was in total control of this match until Razov and his ass brought Chivas back into it. Our midfield slowed their play down and started to stand around like they did at the beginning of the season. In the second half, we were even worse. Chivas USA helped United by pulling Razov, who up to that point had been giving the defenders fits.

For every great play that Boswell had last night, he made some pretty poor decisions as well. The attempt to stop that cross in the middle of the 6 yard box that was only saved by the post scared the hell out of me. I have to think that McTavish gets called back into the line-up for either Vanney (who really needs to control his temper) or Boswell.

What the hell is wrong with Brian Carroll? That guy gets subbed into the match late, then spends his whole time on the field standing and watch balls roll at him, just to see a Chivas player steal it. He then decides to actually make a move and head the ball, but he heads the ball down right into a Chivas player. Carroll's playing ability has because a huge, huge liability for United defensively. He has completely lost his starting job to Cylde Simms and right now, if he was taken by San Jose in the expansion draft, I would drink a beer in celebration.

So now we have a home match in two days time against the New England Revolution. We currently sit 1 point ahead of them in first place overall, even on games. Who in MLS figured it would be ok for a club to play two matches in four days, on either side of the country? Anyways, we need to pick up three points Sunday. I am hoping that Emillio continues to grab goals like they are going out of style. I am hoping that the midfield takes a step back and returns to the midfield that not only won in Dallas, but had a 2-0 lead last night. I am happy that this match is not on ESPN2.

WTF??? Start the match late, miss the first goal, then at 12:30am, just cut away from the run of play? Even before they decided that a commercial break was needed, they were going to try and show the god damn Goal of the Week during the match. That is the type of shit that needs to be shown during the half time show. Up until last night, I always thought that ESPN, as bad as this sounds now, was the best at producing soccer in the USA. Now I just hope they get the right teams on the graphics.

Other match comments/opinions/news here, here, here and here.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

USMNT in need of an opponent.

So as it was rumored yesterday, the Catalonia match set for October 13th has been canceled for the USMNT. As this has only happened six weeks before the match date, the USSF should now be in scramble mode trying to find a replacement opponent and venue for a match on the 13th of October. As I always enjoy trying to help out the USSF, I came up with a list of five countries that according to the FIFA website, do not have any matches scheduled for the 13th.

- Cameroon
- Canada
- Croatia
- Ivory Coast
- Ghana

If you consider any of these possible match ups, all would be good tests for the USMNT. Each side brings something that would provide a great challenge for the Yanks.

Cameroon are ranked right ahead of the USA in the current FIFA rankings, so it isn't like we would be playing Montenegro or Bermuda. Considering the recent lack of African match experience, matching up against Cameroon in Europe would kill two birds with one stone; give the USMNT more European match experience as well as match experience against African nations and their style of play. The chance to possibly have Samuel Eto'o return to international play against the USA would be an equally a great attraction.

Canada would be one of those mouth watering rematches that CONCACAF could use. As the result of the Gold Cup Semi-Final match probably still stings with the Canadian Soccer federation, scheduling a rematch either in Europe (most ideal) or in Toronto should be pretty easy to do. Considering it looked like Canada was going to go on to beat the USA, Canada should no longer be looked upon as an oversight in CONCACAF.

Croatia currently doesn't have a match scheduled (not sure if this is an error or not on but if they are available, this is a match that should be pursued. The #6 ranked country according to FIFA would be a great test for the USA. Facing them in Croatia would be the exact type of situation Bob Bradley and his boys need to get a taste of for World Cup Qualifying. Croatia has a Euro 2008 qualifier on the 17th of October, so they should be in the market for a warm up match.

The Ivory Coast can provide several of the required tests that the USSF should be looking for. Matching our defenders up against Didier Drogba would be an eye opening experience for those who aren't in the Premier League. The Ivory Coast will already most likely be in Europe as they are scheduled to face Austria on the 17th, so why not see if they are interested in a match at Stamford Bridge?

The final country I suggest the USSF try and schedule is Ghana. The chance for a rematch from the final group match in the 2006 FIFA World Cup should be enough to get the USSF on the phone for this match up. Facing off against a Ghana lead by Michael Essian should be a good test for the USMNT. It could also be a great chance for Bradley to decide on whether or not he forces Freddy Adu's hand in which nation he wants to play for.

Any of these five countries would provide a good match up for the USMNT. Any of these could be held outside of the USA, even if it is only being held in Toronto. Having matches outside of the comfort zone of the USA will go a very long way towards getting the players more prepared for tournaments that aren't the Gold Cup. If we want our team to do well, they need more challenges outside of the USA.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

USMNT Roster Set

USMNT Head Coach Bob Bradley has set his 19 man roster for the September 9th match up against Brazil. Considering the fact that this is a FIFA date, the roster isn't that big a shock:

Goalkeepers: Tim Howard (Everton, England), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham, England), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover, Germany), Jay DeMerit (Watford, England), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard Liege, Belgium), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock, Germany), Frank Simek (Sheffield Wednesday, England), Jonathan Spector (West Ham, England)

Midfielders: DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Michael Bradley (Heerenveen, Netherlands), Bobby Convey (Reading, England), Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England), Benny Feilhaber (Derby, England), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado)

Forwards: Davy Arnaud (Kansas City), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Eddie Johnson (Kansas City), Josh Wolff (1860 Munich, Germany)

I have to figure that Bradley will use the following starting line-up:

Bocanegra ------ Gooch
Cherundolo ------------------------- Spector
Mastroeni ----- Bradley
Donovan -------------------------------Beasely
Johnson ----- Deuce
I would like to see DeMerit play in central defense instead of Gooch, but considering the way that Bradley has been playing the side, Gooch should be a lock for a start. A lot of people are speculating that Donovan and Dempsey will start up top with each other. I think that they will both start, but I think that EJ will get a start up top with Deuce, who seems to have found a calling at forward for Fulham.
I would have liked to have seen Jimmy Conrad play in the middle of defense, instead of Bocanegra, as I think he supports Gooch much better than 'Los does, but Jimmy got a pass on flying to Chicago this time around.
All in all, I really don't have any complaints for this line up. I am surprised that Bornstein was left off the roster, but considering that Chivas USA are in the middle of a playoff race, Preki must have called in a favor.
My biggest complaint is that the USSF has seemed to have failed at securing a second match for the two FIFA dates in September. I know that playing against CONCACAF teams is getting old, but hell, see if Panama wants to take a trip to Miami or LA or something like that. Getting our guys playing time together now will help them out later when they are trying to handle the hostile atmospheres of Costa Rica or Azteca.
BTW, it seems as if the Catalonia match is getting terminated as well. If this does happen, a second match in September seems more important than ever.

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Weekend Update: DC United Roll with a 6 pack

I had to admit, coming into Saturday nights match, I was a little concerned. United was set to face one of the top clubs in the Western Conference and face them on the road. FC Dallas were coming in with about two weeks worth of rest on their backs and some new Brazilian set to make his debut. It had the makings of the end of a 5 game winning streak.

Instead, it just became a 6 game winning streak.

That was one of the more complete matches I have seen United play in a long time. A quick strike to wrestle control early, a late first half goal to completely deflate the home side, followed up with two early second half goals to essentially put the game out of reach. That all said, with the exception of the fourth goal, this match was shaping up to be identical to the 3-3 draw that we all suffered from at RFK in July. The difference was that our defense looked much stronger and Dallas looked like they didn't have any type of cohesion in their side.

I was happy to see that Soehn is still rotating the starters out of matches, giving Emillio and Benny early exits, giving Boswell a start (which he looked very good in), giving Rod some time on the field "should" help him along as well. I would have liked to see Jamie get pulled during the second half, but considering Emillio and Benny's current injury status, pulling them made more sense. I do hope that if we are leading into the second half on Thursday, Soehn gives Jamie some rest.

Next up is Chivas USA, who had the weekend off and will be at home. Follow that up with a home match against New England and we should see just how far United can take this streak.

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