Thursday, November 29, 2007

Veron to DC United close? is reporting that Juan Sebastian Veron is very close to signing a contract with DC United. His current contract with Estudiantes de la Plata ends this December, which is the end of the Argentine Apertura.

This is nothing new, and I am not holding my breath on this one. I would be very happy to see Veron in a DC United jersey, but until he signs and is introduced, I will reserve full judgement. This saga has gone on a little too long.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Brian Carroll now a Cowlumbus Crew

The San Jose Earthquakes traded Brian Carroll to the Columbus Crew today, right after he was selected in the MLS Expansion draft. Kei Kamara was shipped out to San Jose in return.

Considering that no one is really safe in MLS (ask Alecko Eskandarian or Cleetus) a trade this quick after being selected by Yallop isn't a shock. Steve Goff mentioned that it was expected that he was going to be traded and Ives suggests that it's because of his salary.

I never really felt that great about our midfield when Brian was in there. He had his moments, but with Clyde Simms showing him up at every chance he got, losing Brian to the Expansion draft was not that bad in my opinion.

That said, I do feel sorry for the guy, now that he will be wearing yellow in Ohio.

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2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying: USMNT

The 2010 FIFA World Cup officially kicked off for most of the soccer playing world yesterday (CONMEBOL has already started their qualifiers) as the Qualifying draw was held in Durban, South Africa. CONCACAF will be using three groups during the first group stage, with knock out matches deciding who makes it into the groups. The USA found out that it will be in Group 1, which will break down like this:

Group 1:
- Winner of Dominica/Barbados vs. USA
- Winner of Turks and Caicos Islands/S. Lucia vs. Guatemala
- Winner of Aruba/Antigua and Barbuda vs. Cuba
- Winner of Bermuda/Cayman Islands vs. Trinidad and Tobago

Most are expecting the USA to face Barbados in a home/away series in order to advance to the group phase. The groups are expected to shake out to look like this:

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3
Costa Rica

The USA definitely has a better group than Mexico & Canada do. Guatemala has never been a push over and as we faced them twice this year, drawing 0-0 and winning 1-0, playing them twice again this round should be interesting, especially in Guatemala.

T&T qualified for the last World Cup, but at last that I had heard, their regular players hadn't made peace with the T&T football federation, so who knows who will be playing for them in the Qualifying.

Cuba is definitely the weakest link in this possible group. The USA hasn't had any trouble with the Cubans in recent memory. Granted that a match in Havana would be one of the more "interesting" matches that the USMNT has played in recent years, I do not see the potential two matches against Cuba as anything other than 6 points, 4 at the least.

All in all, the USMNT were drawn into a pretty easy path to the Hexagonal stage of the CONCACAF Qualifying. Considering that only two teams from each group advance, the two that move on from Group 2 will be the most watched in CONACACAF. Will Canada be able to grind out points in potential trips to Jamaica or Honduras? How about the potential trip to Azteca? Will the Canadian's do as the USSF has done in the past and try and schedule the Mexico match for Toronto when the weather is just above freezing?

I am looking forward to these matches. I want to see the USA advance based on some very good, solid performances and not just the ones that are at home.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

CONCACAF Champions League

As first reported by Steve Goff, CONCACAF will be scraping the Champions Cup after the 2008 tournament in favor of a "UEFA style" Champions League. It will run from Summer of 2008 to the spring of 2009 and MLS will have four clubs taking part: DC United, Houston Dynamo, New England Revolution & CD Chivas USA. The Revolution & Chivas USA will have to play in the preliminary round to gain entry into the group stage, were as DC United & Houston have already qualified for the group stage. This tournament sounds like something I thought of a time ago, I hope that it works out.

Before we get to the Champions league, we have the final rendition of the Champions Cup to deal with. As of this last Sunday, two final spots in the eight club tournament are up for grabs, which go to the 2007 Mexican League Torneo de Apertura champion & the third place club from the Torneo Interclubes de UNCAF 2007. The current qualifiers are:

- DC United (MLS Supporters Shield Winners)
- Houston Dynamo (MLS Cup Champions)
- Pachuca CF (2007 Mexican League Torneo de Clausura champion)
- Harbour View FC (CFU Champion)
- Deportivo Saprissa (UNCAF)
- CD Motagua (UNCAF)

LD Alajuelense will face CSD Municipal in a third-place series in the Torneo Interclubes de UNCAF 2007 to determine the third UNCAF club to advance to the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

The 2007 Mexican League Torneo de Apertura champion will be determined in December as the Mexican League playoffs are only entering the Quarter Final stages.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

MLS Cup XII: Dynamo retain title.

Ok, where do I really start this? Do I start this with how I was torn to going to RFK Stadium to watch two MLS clubs play in my clubs stadium? I commented to Sara as we walked up to the stadium this morning, "I feel like I am going to cheat on my girlfriend." Sara suggested that DC United, by failing to advance to the final, sort of gave me the permission to "cheat."

So we went to the MLS Cup final today at RFK Stadium and watched, well, where the Houston Dynamo retained their MLS Cup with a 2-1 victory of the New England Revolution. I really didn't get to watch that much of the match as we were in our season ticket seats, but the entire section that we sit in was assigned to the Texan Army and they all came for the match. I have to say, maybe it is because it was the Cup final, or because this was a different group that the ones we were used to, but the Texan Army knows how to bring it and they were awesome! They never really stopped their singing and flag waving and such. They also have higher powered smoke bombs than Barra do at our matches, strong enough to make the entire section feel like the Police were trying to gas us out of our seats.

Of what I saw of the match, it was actually pretty boring. I saw Twellman's goal which was more of a result of a great cross from Ralston and the two Houston Defenders never really closing in on Twellman. I have seen that guy score that goal so many times in RFK that it was a joke. Other than his goal, Twellman looked like he was a little slow and weaker than the tough guy we have come to expect from him.

I missed the two Dynamo goals, but I caught De Ro's on the bigscreen and it looked pretty good.

The best thing of the entire match, from my point of view, was the Adrian Fenty banner that Bara Brava held up for most of halftime and at the end of the match. I was in the stadium when he said the quote and I guess he forgot that he said it. Great job by Bara, you guys rock.

So the MLS season is over for the winter. The 2008 regular season kicks off on March 29th and as United won the Supporters Shield, we get pre-season CONCACAF matches to look forward to in February (most likely) so the off season won't be as short as we think. The activity during the off season will be the interesting thing to look for. Does Gomez stay or does he go? What about Moreno? Will we see Veron come into the club?

I look forward to seeing these questions answered; hopefully the answers will benefit the club.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Emilio adds MVP to Golden Boot

As first reported by Steve Goff earlier today, Luciano Emilio was named the 2007 MLS MVP, beating out Juan Pablo Angel & Cuauhtemoc Blanco. Emilio won the MLS Golden Boot earlier this year as he won the MLS regular season scoring title with 20 goals.

Congratulations to Emilio, he deserves this honor. I was a little worried that he would get the shaft and either Angel or Blanco would be named to the award. I don't think that a guy who plays half a season should be considered for the MVP award, regardless of what he did in that half season. I would have honestly had no problem with Angel winning, they guy was remarkable on a horrible side. All that said, I am happy that Emilio won.

So last year Christian won the MVP award and now Emilio wins this years MVP award. I would honestly trade both Emilio's MVP award & Christian's award to be able to see DC United play this Sunday in RFK Stadium and pick up their 5th title. Individual awards are nice, but there is no I in team. LaDainian Tomlinson had a commercial where he said that you are only remembered by the number of championships you have. Winning the MLS Cup means more than an MVP award, at least in my opinion.

Don't get me wrong, I am happy that Emilio won, I am just tired of seeing our guys win post season awards without finishing the march to a 5th ring. Hopefully we will see one of our guys win next years award as they are training for the 2008 MLS Cup.

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South Africa World Cup Problems, Part 10

In the latest chapter of the growing debacle that is the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, two bits of new came out this week, pouring more fuel on the fire.

This past Monday, it was reported World Soccer that the organizing committee admitted that the target date for Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth might not be met. Granted, this deadline does not affect the actual World Cup, as the deadline is set for 2009 in order to host at least one FIFA Confederations Cup match in a dry run for the World Cup the following year. The organizers are also concerned that the Green Point stadium in Cape Town might not make the deadline either. They did point out that Soccer City, in Soweto is on course to be completed five months ahead of schedule.

So two of the brand new stadiums that are being built for the 2010 World Cup might be ready for the 2009 Confederations Cup. Ok, that doesn't really sound that bad. I would assume that the organizers can adjust the Confederations Cup schedule around to get two other stadiums in line for hosting of matches in 2009. The idea that the Soccer City Stadium upgrades will be finished five months ahead of schedule sounds promising as well. So generally, this story on it's own doesn't really create any cause for concern.

Then, the AP ran this story, which if you look at it along with the construction delays, then we have another potentially huge problem on our hands.

So let me get this right, two of the four new stadiums might not be built in time for its deadline. That was the word before a possible nationwide Union strike halts all construction on all stadiums. Somebody tell me that this is not a bad thing? We go from two new stadiums potentially being finished behind schedule to the possibility that none of the five new stadiums nor the four stadiums that are being upgraded will be finished on schedule due to a labor union strike?

The current tally is that two of the new stadiums are struggling to meet their deadlines, one stadium upgrade is ahead of schedule; but none of this will matter if the Union has a nationwide sympathy strike starting next week. Even if the strike is only for a week or two, how much of a halt will that really do for the new stadium construction? If a two week strike does happen, I would be shocked if the organizers would be able to showcase any of the new stadiums for the 2009 Confederations Cup, which would be a blow for them.

I hope that this is something that can be resolved quickly and that there is no break in the construction schedule. Considering all of the negative press that South Africa has received surrounding the 2010 FIFA World Cup, having yet another blemish on the build up to the tournament would be horrible.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

News & Notes 11/14/2007

USMNT announce date with Mexico
The USSF officially announced the February 6th match with Mexico. It will be held in Houston at Reliant Stadium. The USMNT has faced Mexico there once before, playing them to a 0-0 draw in what was seen as Tim Howard's coming out party on his way to being signed by Manchester United.

I have said it before, I like that we seem to always play Mexico each year. It marks the best type of regional competition that we can get and it is always a heated match. I don't really like the fact that we always play them in the USA, with the one trip to Azteca every four years being the exception to the rule. I understand that even in the southern USA, when we play Mexico, it is a pro Mexico crowd, so home field advantage isn't "as" strong (when was the last time they beat us here???) but playing Mexico in Mexico is an entirely different beast. That is one beast that we should see more of. Hell, losing to Mexico might actually do our guys some good.

America advance to Copa Sudamericana Finals
America of Mexico (Blanco's former club) has advanced to the finals of the CONMEBOL Copa Nissan Sudamericana, winning their series with Millonarios of Colombia 5-2. They won the first leg 3-2 in Columbia only to return to Mexico and win 2-0. They will face either River Plate or Arsenal in the finals. That series is tied 0-0 going into tonight's match.

It is good to see another CONCACAF club is crashing the party down south. As the Mexican clubs continue to flex their muscles with the CONMEBOL clubs, MLS will sooner or later have to increase the club salary caps to allow for deeper rosters and the ability to sign the best young domestic talent.

Chris Armas Retired
Chris Armas of the Chicago Fire retired yesterday, after capping a 12 year MLS career with a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. Armas player the last 10 years with Chicago, winning one MLS Cup and four US Open Cups.

I will give props to the guy, he had a great MLS career. Best of luck to him in the future.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

MLS Thoughts....

So we are now heading into the swan song of the 2007 MLS season. The Conference finals were damn near replica's of last seasons conference finals. Taylor Twellman scores a highlight reel goal to carry the Revolution into the finals, this time their third straight. On the other side of things, Houston marches in to the finals to face their foe from last year. Funny how we go the entire season to find the same two teams in the finals, again.

So Seattle will join the league in 2009? Interesting choice, one that I think will be good for the league. One would assume that with Seattle joining in 2009, MLS will also be bringing in an Eastern Conference club to balance out the league, Philly or St. Louis? Adding teams increases the profile of the league, but in order to do this right, Garber & Co. are going to have to look at making other types of increases along with the league size.

The main increase that the league is going to have to do is increase the salary cap. I think, that the salary cap is right around $2.9 million, but I am not sure. In order for the league to truly continue to grow, not only domestically, but regionally and truly internationally, the salary cap is going to have to get a bump, at least up to something like $4.2 million a season. Doing that will allow for larger squads and for real salaries, two things that will help the clubs handle the regular season and help them make their stand internationally. When It is no longer a better option to decline an MLS contract and go and play for more money in the USL, then MLS will truly be on a good foundation. When clubs will not live or die through one or two players, then the clubs will be able to compete regularly in the CONCACAF Champions Cup, Copa Sudamericana, the USOC & the SuperLiga without having to pick and choose which to throw away.

I am happy that the league is expanding, it shows that the league has moved past the quick hits and is ready to be here for a long time. I just think that the league needs to start addressing the players more, in order to attract the best that we can get.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

USMNT Roster for South Africa Friendly

Bob Bradley released his roster for the November 17th friendly match against South Africa, in Johannesburg.

GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Tim Howard (Everton FC)

DEFENDERS: Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Dan Califf (Aalborg BK), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege)

MIDFIELDERS: Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Eddie Lewis (Derby County)

FORWARDS: Josmer Altidore (New York Red Bulls), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy)

It is good to see that Freddy is getting a second straight call up for this match. Seeings how his level of play has on the rise ever since he was moved to Portugal, a place where you must fight for your job every day, instead of MLS where your job is secured, getting more USMNT callups is a good thing. I would like to see how he does in a midfield with Bradley and Feilhaber, I think that the three of them could do some really, really great things.

Look who finally got invited to the dance? Altidore is finally going to see what the senior level camp looks like and I bet he comes on in the second half of the match. Good for him.

As for the rest of the side, I have a feeling that this is beginning to be the same group that we will start to see on most FIFA dates. 11 of the 17 called up are already regulars, with Lewis and Dolo being the only two guys who are on the higher end of the age bracket. This should be the same type of squad that we see once the World Cup qualifying starts later next year.

This match is one of the better scheduled matches of this season. Playing Switzerland & Sweden were great choices and ones that I hope will lead to other matches in Europe. This one however, represents a great chance for the players and coaching staff to get a good away match, away from pretty much any USA supporters and in an environment that they are guarenteed to see at least once, and should see twice after this match. Having the FIFA Confederations Cup scheduled for 2009, the USSF will get a first hand account of the South African scene, even if it "might" look different in 2 years.

I will be at Summers watching this match early Saturday morning along with several other members of the US soccer blogosphere who will be in town for the MLS Cup. Hope to see many of you there.

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MLS Cup Final & LA Galaxy Guillit

The New England Revolution knocked off the Windy City Hunchback and the rest of the Chicago Fire to advance to their third straight MLS Cup Final. Will they finally get the 1000 pound monkey off their back? Will the Revolution pull of the domestic double?

On a different note, one of the Western Conference clubs that failed to make the almost all encompassing MLS Cup playoffs, the LA Galaxy, hired former AC Milan and Dutch National Team maestro Ruud Gullit as their head coach. Will Gullit, who has coached before for Chelsea, Newcastle and Feyenoord, do anything better than Yallop or Sampson before him? Will the Galaxy really see changes in their fortunes once the talking mouth of Alexi "I'm an ass" Lalas is no longer steering the ship?

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Red Bull fires Arena

Just when I thought our season was bad, the Bruce gets fired by Red Bull.


This is just too good. Who are they going to bring in to try and "fix" that cluster fuck of a club?

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Yallop Out in LA

The first step in the off season moves for the LA Galaxy has been taken; Frank Yallop is out as Head Coach. It looks as if he resigned from his position because the San Jose Earthquakes bought out his contract from the Galaxy, which makes Yallop the new Head Coach in San Jose.

This doesn't shock anyone. Yallop has had one foot out the door since the middle of the season and when San Jose was announced as the next expansion club, Yallop was an obvious choice for the top job in San Jose. Now the big question will be is who the Galaxy get to replace him. With David Beckham and Landon Donvovan being the central players in the club, the need for a high profile manager is definitely in the cards. Expect to hear Lalas refer to his club as the "Crown Jewel" of MLS at least once, maybe twice whenever the announcement is made.

For my money, I wouldn't be shocked if Klinsmann is named the new head coach. If that happens, expect a very different Landon Donovan for both the league, and the USMNT, that is if Donovan isn't shipped off to New York or San Jose.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Salary cap Sports and the Playoffs

So DC United fell in the playoffs to the Chicago Fire once again, this time losing 3-2 in total goals. The best regular season team in MLS fell to the #8 seeded side in MLS. Yes, I know that a #16 can knock off a #1 in the NCAA tournament, but when the regular season record for United against the Fire was 1-0-2, how does a club just fold like it did over two games? It folds because the best team wasn’t allowed to truly be fielded in either match, and that is Tom Soehn’s fault.

Let me first say that I think that Coach Tom Soehn did a great job with DC United this season. He was able to get the club through to the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Champions Cup; correct the early season funk that United started the season with; was correct in sending a group of reserves to the USOC; steered the club to the semi finals of the North American SuperLiga; made a real match of the two legged CONMEBOL Copa Nissan Sudamericana series with CD Guadalajara; and won the MLS Supporters Shield which qualified United for both the SuperLiga and Champions Cup next year.

Coach Tom Soehn has done a great job in his first season as head coach. At the end, he stumbled a bit and that stumble did not allow United to really do anything in the playoffs. He stumbled because he was trying to manage the club in soccer, rather than manage the club in salary cap soccer. Salary cap soccer, especially in the playoffs, is a much different beast.

To say that I am blaming Tom Soehn for how United was knocked out of the playoffs is not 100% correct, I mostly blame the players for not showing up. However, I do blame coach Soehn for not managing the club properly at the end of the regular season. I blame him because he didn’t protect his players once the Supporters Shield and the “home field advantage” was secured.

To think of it in an other way, in the NFL, you never, ever see Payton Manning in an end of the season game when the Colts have secured home field advantage in the NFL Playoffs. If he does make an appearance, he maybe plays one or two offensive series, but never the entire game. He is held out to ensure that he doesn’t pick up any type of injury that would prevent him from playing in the playoffs, which is when the real NFL season begins.

Take that to MLS soccer. The regular season does “count” with the Supporters Shield. The club with the best regular season is recognized as the regular season champion and get one of the two berths into the CONCACAF Champions Cup. So after United secured the Eastern Conference regular season title, in the scheme of the Supporters Shield race, it made sense for Soehn to keep Gomez, Emillio, Fred and Moreno (while not on Bolivian National team duty) in the line up. That said, the minute United secured the Supporters Shield, those guys, along with Ben Olsen and Troy Perkins should have been sent to the dressing room and only allowed to train lightly during the week. They should have never been allowed to play in the final match of the regular season.

As we all know, they all did. Our two main offensive players, Moreno & Emillio, both picked up injuries in the final match against the Columbus Crew. To add insult to injury, is there any way that anyone cannot believe that getting burned for three goals didn’t do anything to Troy’s mental approach to the playoffs? How else did the loss to the Crew affect the rest of the starting line up? The way our defense played against Chicago makes me think it had a small affect.

So heading into a knock out series with the Fire, we had our two starting forwards on the treatment table, when if they had just been held out of the final regular season game, they could have started in Chicago. This is why in salary cap sports, you hold out your star players before the playoffs.

The biggest reason is because in salary cap sports, you spend so much to get the primary guy (Emillio) that you have very little to spend on the guy next in line on the depth chart, so you buy who you can get (Kpene), rather than who you would want. The drop off from Emillio to Kpene is huge, as we saw in Chicago. The next guy in line (Adderly) is just about as much a drop off from Emillio as Kpene is. It’s not like in the Premier league where is Chelsea doesn’t start Drogba, they can start Sheva or in La Liga when van Nistelrooy wants a breather, Real Madrid just inserts Saviola into the starting line up. MLS doesn’t have that type of depth. In order to adjust, Soehn should have kept most of our starting line up out of the Crew match.

Hopefully, Coach Soehn and the rest of the United coaching staff learn from this. Next season is already in the minds of United supporters and hopefully we will see the same type of coaching adjustments that we saw earlier in this last season. The current format for the MLS playoffs needs to be tackled as an entirely different beast than the regular season. Once the regular season goals are accomplished, the coaching staff really needs to insert the reserves and get the first team focused on the playoffs.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Playoff Match Recap: DC United 2 - Chicago Fire 2

Boy, did I pick the wrong time to go to the bathroom.

Who the hell would have thought that the Fire would score two goals in three or four minutes?

As I didn't see either Fire goal, I am not going to bitch and moan about who messed up or whut not. I am going to bitch and moan about how I watched yet another DC United match where the players in the United jersey's didn't show up with any heart. The supporters in the stands should have asked for their money back.

You are down a goal and you go down two more. Yet you continue to play slow soccer. Passes were slow and guys routinely failed to close in on the ball. There were three or four chances that we lost to have scoring opportunities simply because a United player didn't run full speed to collect a ball.

We deserved to lose tonight. DC United didn't show up until the 73rd minute. That is damn near criminal to do. Why the hell did Soehn put Rod in the match? Adderly would have been a better choice, he at least runs. If Rod isn't on this roster next year, I won't shed a tear. I might actually have a beer thanking whomever it was that finally sent that guy packing.

So, now we all get to go to RFK on the 18th and watch two other clubs with more heart play for our trophy. Next you are going to tell me that the Red Bulls will be one of them and that they will win.

I expect several changes this off season. Gomez (despite having another great year and being one of the only guys to wake up in the last 20 minutes of that laugher of a match tonight) is most likely gone from the club. If Jamie returns I will be shocked as well. If Fred didn't return, well, don't expect me to bitch about it, I really haven't been sold on that guy either.

One last thing and this sounds like sore loser syndrome, which it probably is, but what the hell.

MLS needs to seriously rework the playoffs. What is the point of having anyone seeded if you are going to give the teams an equal footing in the first round? Why have two matches, one at home and one away? How does sending the higher seeded team away from home give them any advantage? The first match in a two legged series is what sets the tone for the entire series. The Fire didn't have to do anything and they waited for United to come at them. I won't be shocked if the Dynamo or Chivas get knocked out of the playoffs. Make the playoffs one match each and have the higher seeded clubs host the matches. That would be the easiest way to at least give the illusion that the higher seed gets some type of reward for finishing higher. If not, I say United just flounder next season as long as they make the playoffs.

Well, the 2007 season if over for me. I have a ticket to the MLS Cup final, but right now I really don't want to go. I will though, I will be wearing my Bayern Munich jersey and I won't care who is on the field nor will I care who wins. If the pitch were to suddenly open up and swallow both teams at the same time, I doubt I would even care about that.

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Playoff Match Preview: DC United vs. Chicago Fire

MLS Cup Playoffs: Conference Semi-Finals
Match #2: DC United vs. Chicago Fire
RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.
7:30pm ESPN2

I usually don't do these anymore, but I figured that with how United's season hinges on the outcome of tonight's match, I figured I would toss out my two cents.

Forget the past. The Chicago Fire have this great record against United in the playoffs. Yeah, I heard that several places and I witnessed two of those matches live. Yes, they were able to get a 1-0 victory last week in Chicago and that gives them the goal and mental advantage heading into tonight.

Forget the past. All United needs to do is play it's own game. RFK Stadium is going to be rocking and all we need to do is play our game. We need to have Troy in the net and he needs to be the foundation that the entire defense is based on. His clutch performances this season and last need to shine through once again tonight.

Our best defense needs to be out there (Namoff, Vanney, Boswell, Burch). Without Boswell, we will honestly be helpless against the same type of goal situation we took last week. Boswell gives us the best chance we have to truly defend in the air, and we will need it tonight.

Our best available midfield needs to be out there (Fred, Gomez, Olsen, Simms) and they need to string better passes to each other and the forwards. Passing to a spot behind your teammate is not the way to go. If we can do the simple things correctly in the midfield, then we will have every chance possible to score tonight.

We need to have Emillio and Moreno start and get the bulk of the minutes up front. Moreno, as we saw in the second half last week, gives us an entirely different "vibe" on the ball. His pace and control when he has the ball as well as his positioning are all qualities that none of the other forwards have and we need that. Emillio is the lynch pin. We need his positioning and his attacking skills to get us the goal that we need to turn this ship around. If Emillio is given two chances, I honestly feel that we get a goal. That means we need a second from someone else and based on this clubs scoring record this season, that second goal could come from anyone.

If United plays their game, defends like we have seen them do match after match after match this season, then we will win tonight and have a date with either New York or New England. If our midfield controls their movement and passes like we have seen time and time again this season, then we will win tonight. If the Emilliboot shows up and shows the rest fo MLS why he should be the 2007 MLS MVP, then we win tonight.

If not, I am wearing my Bayern Munich jersey to the MLS Cup.

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