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Your 2007 & 4 time MLS Supporters Shield Champions & 4 time MLS Cup Champions: D.C. United!

Another Fanatical D.C. United Supporter

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Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Welcome! I have been an avid Washington Capitals fan since 1977, when I attended my first game at Capital Centre, in Landover, MD, just 5 minutes from where I grew up in Bowie. I held season tickets from 81-92 there, in section 126, L. I then held season tickets from 99, until 07 at Verizon Center, first in 410 H, then in 408 E, then 408 A. This blog gets its name from where my seats have always been..."Behind The Goal Line". Being born and raised here in Washington, D.C. I also am an ardent & lifelong D.C. United, Nationals, and Redskins fan. This blog is not intended to be a "news" source, or anything of that nature, rather, it is just one lifelong fan and supporter's musings, opinions, thoughts, rants, perspectives, and observations on all things Caps, from on the ice, in the stands, to the front office, and around the NHL too. I will attempt to keep this updated as often as I can, so check back often as this is a work in progress.

Friday, May 9, 2008

United Disappears, Is Clean Sheeted Once Again, Falls to 2-5-0 For Season Thus Far :: United 0 | 2 Fire

This posting is only temporary, as I will update and add more later on.
The Match:
The 3-5-2 just is not, and has not worked. I cringe every time I see Soehn trot that out. Soehn is slowly, but surely working himself out of a job here. I just disagree w/ the formations so far, and playing players out of thier natural positions, as well as his use of Moreno. Moreno, In my mind, is a 60th minute supersub now. That would be the best use for him. He played well last night, and did try, but he just not have the legs he used to and hes pretty gased by the 50-60 minute mark.

Im not on the "Wells Sucks" bandwagon just yet. I think hes a good GK, hes just not getting much help from in front of him ( and its not our backline either for a change). Speaking of that, oddly enough, where our backline was the big glaring problem the past couple of seasons, its now probably the LEAST of our worries. It does bother me that the D is getting alot more shots now, and scoring too, than they used to. That to me is a product of failure up top, and in the attacking midfield positions.

We have no flank play at all. Were predictable, and easy to defend. We just do not have the ability to stretch out any defences anymore. So they just clog up the middle and the box, and force turnovers or force us to go out wide, where they know we are not very good. Hardly anyone on this club can give consistantly good service into the box from out wide. We miss Olsen and Gros pretty badly in those areas. (We obviously miss Gomez too, but for different reasons.) The flanks are now, at least to me one of the most glaring defects this club has. That, and the lack of any sort of real bite up top is going to likely make for a very long season. I had a not so good feeling about all this change when it was happening (trades, new signings...etc) but I kept it to myself. It was a "gut" thing. Well, I think that I am now seeing why I had that "gut" feeling that was not very good. It just is not working at all to this point. So far, its looking more like a train wreck to me.

Edit: Niell is just not going to last in MLS I don't think. I was skeptical about him before, but for as talented as he may be, he is just ineffective in MLS to date, and I just do not see that changing. Maybe play him on the outside instead of the middle, that might make his small stature less of an issue i suppose. Worth a try. Hell, ANYTHING is worth a try at this point.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

2008 MLS Season: D.C. United Match 1 - United 0 | 2 KC

Ok Folks. I know I have not been the greatest at keeping this up the past month, and now its catch up time for me. So, that said, this and the next posting are a full on "NO FRILLS" post, which means that you ll get no linkage for players, clubs, leagues, etc. Why? Because I just don't feel like doing it at this point since I am behind. Granted, my being behind started with a serious illness that hospitalised me for 7 days, but I let it go even after that. I will attempt to be more diligent in the future, in spite of any personal issues.

D.C. United opened its 13th MLS season in Vs an offencively rejuvinated Kansas City Wizards side, and in typical United fashion (at least over the past several seasons) united stumbled out of the gate w/ a loss. KC, in their inaugural match in their new "temporary" baseball Stadium home showed off their new offencive flair in front of what was announced as a "sell out crowd" of a whopping 10,385. Both South American newcomers scored the goals for KC, Ivan Trujilo just two minutes into the 2nd half (47th), and Claudio Lopez in the 61st. Suffice it to say KC's foray into the South American player market paid for for them, and it appears they could be a real sleeper of a club in MLS this season.

United looked fairly flat for most of the match. D.C. did have its chances, mostly after it was already 2-nil to KC, but it seemed not to be as each chance was either thawrted by KC GK Kevin Hartman, hit a post/ crossbar, or sailed just inches wide. KC looked the better side for most of the match, and with a new offencive prowess, they just could be the dark horse team to beat in the east this season. One more thing I will add here, is that the officiating left alot to be desired, especially the ARs. There were more than a few botched offside calls, and a take down in the box, that could, and should have resulted in a PK for DC early in the match. Once again I will say that MLS and US Soccer really needs to upgrade its officiating staff. There is a reason there are hardly any US officials on the world soccer stage.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

CONCACAF Champions Cup :: United Advance on Aggregate 6-1

Leg 1: 3|12|08 - Kingston, Jamaica - United 1 - 1 HVFC

D.C. United opened its CONCACAF Champions Cup play against Jamaican club Harbor View FC with a lineup that was much the same, but also very different from what we saw at the end of last season. The superstar duo of Luciano Emilio and captain Jaime Moreno started up top, and United gave debuts to three of their new South American signings. Gonzalo Peralta and Gonzalo Martinez paired in the center of defense, flanked by Marc Burch and Bryan Namoff, while Marcelo Gallardo was handed playmaking duties at the top of D.C.'s midfield, while Devon McTavish got the start the start at right midfield, with Fred manning the left flank and Clyde Simms taking the holding midfielder's role.

Barely 14 minutes into the match, United suffered what could have been two major injury blows. Jaime Moreno injured his hamstring, and had to be subbed out. While it is not serious, he will miss the 2nd leg at RFK Stadium. Just less than a minute later, GK Zach Wells took a boot to his head after running off of his line to challenge an HVFC scoring attempt. Wells made the save, but paid the price, staying down on the pitch for several minutes. After receiving treatment, Wells was able to shake it off and continue the match.

United played a fairly decent first half, keeping HVFC at bay for most of it, while stretching out thier backline. The play was slightly chippy however, and United could not mount any real sustained pressure, but still managed some dangerous changes. Fortunately for united on a push very late in the first half, Devon McTavish found the back of the net, and put United ahead 1-0 just before halftime. However, that would prove not to be quite enough.

The second half United came out flat. Looking lethargic, and not connecting on passes and through balls, while also allowing HVFC to mount significant pressure on its backline, and on Wells. HVFC had several good chances, however Wells was up to the task each time, holding is line steadfast. Throughout the second half, United really looked like a new team, that had not much actual playing time together. HVFC kept the pressure on into the late stages of the match and finally it paid off. HVFC scored on a corner kick during the 85th minute of the match to draw level 1-1. There was alot of confusion down in the 6 yard box, many leaping and bouncing bodies and after a few caroms, the ball found itself on the foot of HFVC's Lovel Palmer, and then to the back of the net. That is how the match would finish. It was not what United supporters wanted nor expected to see, however this was their first true competitive match as a "team", with all the new faces, so an adjustment period of sorts is to be expected.

Leg 2: 3|18|08 - HVFC @ D.C. United :: United 5 - 0 HVFC

United started this match much the same way they finished the last half of the previous meeting in Jamaica, lethargic, not really connecting on passes / through balls, and just looking "off". However that changed a bit late in the 1st have as Devon McTavish would finish off a good chance and put United up 1-nil. The Second half, well, not much can be said about that. United exploded for 4 goals, 3 of which came in the span of less than 10 minutes. United looked energised and firing on all cylinders. Even when the game was already put away, United continued to press on the attack and put on an offencive clinic. United completely and totally dominated HVFC and absolutely shredded their back line. Emilio and McTavish both scored 2 goals, and Fred bagged the other. United were foaming at the mouth for more, even after it was 5-nil, and clearly were not going to let up on the attack.

Granted, HVFC was missing 2 started because of Visa issues, however I am not sure that would have made too much of a difference. when United explodes such as they did, there is usually no stopping them, and that was the case. United advances to the semifinal round, where they will face Pachuca.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

D.C. United Stadium: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

This nice little article by David Nakamura of the Washington Post, appeared in the Post today. A few quotes below.

"D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said yesterday that he would support a public subsidy for a new professional soccer stadium if the team also invested in the project, stating that he opposed spending public money on the Washington Nationals' $611 million ballpark because the deal was too "one-sided."
Ok, I understand that, however, United has never proposed that the D.C. government subsidise any Soccer Specific Stadium that had been proposed. In fact, D.C. United has repeatedly stated that a new stadium for them, would be privately funded by United, and has only asked the city to kick in infrastructure costs. That same infrastructure is going to have to be put in place anyway as Poplar Point gets developed, so we don't see the problem with that.

"On Wednesday, Fenty told D.C. Council members in a private meeting that he was considering using up to $20 million a year in excess tax money being raised for the Nationals' ballpark to fund $150 million in construction bonds for a soccer stadium. The city also would lease 11 acres, valued by administration officials at $40 million, to United, bringing the public subsidy to $190 million.

"No one ever said there could not be public dollars" for baseball, said Fenty, who voted against the baseball package as a council member. "We said it had to be a fair deal. The baseball deal was completely one-sided. I would never support a deal that is 100 percent city-funded. I would support a deal that is a public-private partnership. Have we seen that deal yet? No."

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty wants a "fair deal" for the city. What about a fair deal for this city's most winning professional franchise in its history? United has propped up the decrepit DC Sports & Entertainment commission by being their sole tennant at the aging, and falling apart RFK Stadium for the past 12 years. Were it not for D.C. United paying outrageous rent (somewhere on the order of $100,000 per match played at RFK) that stadium would have sat there empty, bringing in virtually no income. United has lost money, as they do not get any revenues from concessions, nor parking at RFK, that all goes to the District. Another main issue I have with Fenty's plan, is that United would not actually own most, or any of the land its new stadium and facilities would be built on. The city wants to lease this to United, once again pigeonholing United into having to continue to pay the city just for the right to build and occupy land that it initially wanted to own outright. Furthermore, there would no virtually NO room for future expansion of the stadium, nor much in the way of parking facilities. One of the main reasons United wanted to place their stadium at Poplar Point, outside of remaining in the city in which it plays, and helping revitalise a very blighted, neglected, and largely forgotten part of the city, was that it would own the land it was developing, and would stand to make more money from such development, and not to have to continue to pay to stay in D.C, which they have done diligently for 12 years now. Fenty is seemingly turning this into a very one sided deal, that is only fair for the city, and no one else. I think United has paid their dues to the city and then some over the last 12 years. Its time the city make a few concessions for all that United has done for it. Of course, this is all largely speculation at this point. We will have to wait and see exactly what it is the District/Fenty will ultimately offer.

On to a little brighter bit of news on the stadium front...

"At the news conference, Fenty announced that Clark Realty of Bethesda had been selected as the master developer for Poplar Point, federal property in Ward 8 that is being transferred to the District. Clark has proposed a $2.5 billion mixed-use development with housing, offices, retail space, a 70-acre park mandated by the federal government, an environmental museum and business hub, and a "deck" that connects Anacostia to the new development. A soccer stadium is optional in the plan.

Fenty did not mention the stadium until it was brought up by council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), who supports the plan.

Barry and a dozen civic activists who attended the news conference said the stadium would spur long-awaited development in their ward. Residents, many of whom criticized Fenty for breaking off negotiations with MacFarlane last summer, chanted "Four more years!" as Barry thanked Fenty for "listening to the community."

The stadium "will be an anchor for all the other activity taking place," said James Bunn, head of the Ward 8 Business Council."

A good sign that Clark Realty was selected as the primary developer of the site, as there are ties between Clark, and D.C. United's ownership group. Clark was one of the finalists who included a Soccer Specific Stadium in their development proposal to the District. Marion Barry has been a staunch proponent of D.C. United being allowed to build its stadium on, and to provide substantial development on the Poplar Point site. As noted above Fenty suddenly broke off talks with United's ownership group last summer. It should be noted, that Fenty ran for his election as D.C. Mayor, on one of his big campaign promises that he would get D.C. United's stadium built in the District, and get it done in a timely manner. Fenty stood in RFK Stadium in front of 25,000 fans and made this promise the year of his election. Since then, Fenty has done nothing but stand in the way since then, stalling, stalling, stalling.

"Thank you Kevin for this D.C. United jersey and congratulations on your terrific season," Fenty said. "It is great to see over 20,000 fans here at RFK supporting D.C. United. It is my hope that your fans will soon be coming to your brand new soccer stadium at Poplar Point in Anacostia. World class fans, and a world class team like D.C. United, deserve a world class stadium. And I am going to make it a priority to help you build that stadium. Thank you -- congratulations and good luck to the Black-and-Red!" - Then D.C. Mayoral Candidate Adrian Fenty | 28-10-2006

Speaking as a D.C. United supporter: Fenty is all talk and all lip service to D.C. United and their supporters. If what he says is true, then shovels would be hitting dirt this year. Fenty is not interested in D.C. United at all, he is interested in how he can turn this around to make himself look good, and take most of or all of the credit for getting this done. The reality of it is Fenty has done nothing but stall and get in the way, and RISK losing United to either MD or VA, all because he wants to make HIMSELF look good. United was, and still is willing to fully fund their own stadium, yet still were involved in this awful, long, drawn out mess that is Fenty, and the inept D.C. government have created. Now, part of me wants to see United LEAVE D.C., just to give fenty and the district a big fat middle finger, because thats about all they deserve at this point after dragging this out and lying to everyone involved for years. Lest Fenty forget, that United has spent MILLIONS of its own dollars on varying improvement projects and outreach in Ward 8, and Millions of its own dollars on lobbying congress to transfer the federally held land that is Poplar Point, to the District, so it could be developed. Were it not for D.C. United, Fenty very well still might be battling to get the land from the feds. United has certainly paid their dues to the District. We all want United to stay in D.C., however Fenty has made this entire process a complete nightmare for everyone involved. United had stated for nearly 7 years now, that it wanted to be in its new stadium no later than 2010 at the lastest. Well Fenty? Its early 2008 now. You and the District, are running out of time.

United's Busy Offseason Continues - IN: Quavas Kirk | OUT: Greg Vanney

According to Steven Goff at the Washington Post D.C. United has once again traded the rights of an out of contract player, this time veteran defender Greg Vanney, to the Los Angeles Galaxy. Vanney returns to the club with which he spent the first six seasons of his career. In return, United has obtained 19 year old midfielder, Quavas Kirk.

"United acquired Vanney last summer from Colorado for defender Facundo Erpen, and although he brought leadership and stability to the back line, he was not able to solve the club's late-season defensive issues.

Kirk skipped college to sign with MLS in 2005, and after being unavailable much of his rookie season with injuries and U.S. under-17 national team commitments, he started 10 regular season games and played in 22 matches in 2006. Last year he had five starts and 11 appearances. An injury prevented him from playing in the Under-20 World Cup in Canada.

Kirk, who is 6 feet 1 and fast but with unrefined skills, has played several positions during his youth and MLS careers, but his best role seems to be on the right side of midfield. United lacked depth on the flanks last year and is in need of reinforcement, particularly following Ben Olsen's offseason surgery on both ankles." - Goff, Washington Post

No big surprises here as we expected Vanney to be let go. It became clear United had no intention of re-signing him for 08 after signing two South American defenders in their fleury of international player signings last month that were discussed in this post, on January 29th. However, we are a bit surprised we got more than a draft pick or financial compensation for his rights. It became very clear as the season wore on after the trade that brought him here, that Vanney was not the answer to United's backline woes we had hoped for. United has had problems on central defence since the departure of Ryan Nelsen after their MLS Cup winning 2004 season. It is also apparent that due to Kirk's inexperience, he still qualifies as a Generation Adidas player, and his salary will not count against United's salary cap. Kirk made $110,000 last season with the Galaxy. On the surface it appears this is a very good trade for United. We will reserve judgment on just how good it was, once we see how well Kirk fits in, and just what he can do.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Gomez To Rapids Final :: United Gets 2nd DP Slot.

So after attending both the Washington Capitals game this past Friday evening at Verizon Center, and a friend's birthday party that night afterwards, I got sick. I've been indoors, under blankets sweating it out, and FINALLY feel better today, thus why there has been no activity here for a few days.

The long awaited Christian Gomez deal was finalised Friday afternoon, and the pending trade between D.C. United and the Colorado Rapids that was to be executed upon Gomez and the Rapids agreeing to terms on a contract, has occurred. What does United get in return for Gomez' rights? Well MLS has decided to remain vague in announcing what was coming back in the Black and Red's direction, stating that United is to receive the Rapids 2009 1st round draft pick, which could end up being a fairly high pick, and future considerations. According to the Washington Post's Steven Goff, part of those "future considerations" is control of the Rapids Designated Player slot.

"The Post has learned that United has gained control of the Rapids' designated player slot, a year-old initiative that allows teams to sign a high-profile star outside the league's salary guidelines."
That said, it does appear unlikely at this point, that United will use the DP slot to go out and obtain another international star player. There are a couple of things that stick out in my mind as possible uses of the 2nd DP slot.

Firstly, it could be used to upgrade the contract of Luciano Emilio, who, while winning MLS' scoring title "MLS Golden Boot" last season with 20 goals, and also won the MLS League MVP Award for 2007, is only set to make about $300,000.00 this coming season. It is my understanding that Emilio is under contract through the 2008 season however, I believe United can upgrade his contract as they see fit. If Emilio continues his prolific scoring in the 2008 season, I would look for this to be the most likely use of United's 2nd DP slot. However, should United / Emilio receive a major offer from another club, most likely over seas, United could accept that offer, thus transferring Emilio out of MLS, and then use this 2nd DP slot to go after another high level, international star caliber player. Personally, I would like to see Emilio stay, and see United reward him with an upgraded contract.

One other scenario would be to use the 2nd DP slot on Juan Sebastian Veron, who, after 5 months of talks with D.C. United brass from July 07 to December 07, decided to stay with his current Argentine club, Estudiantes de La Plata. There is a possibility that Veron may still desire to come to United this summer, after his obligations to Estudiantes are over, and the summer transfer window is open. While that possibility does seem rather exciting, I still have reservations about Veron. Personally, the fact that Veron stretched out the talks with United over 5 months does not sit well with me. While he is a great player, winning numerous hounours over the past 13 seasons in both Argentina, and in Europe, if Emilio once again steps to the forefront of MLS top scorers, perhaps it would be best to use the DP slot on efforts to retain a proven commodity. However, as pointed out earlier if Emilio finds himself leaving MLS on a major offer to D.C. United for his services, this could become his replacement.

Or, United could just hold on to the DP slot until next off season, to see what cards it holds after the 2008 champions are determined, who has worked out, and who has not, and if they do in fact retain Luciano Emilio for the entire season. It will definately be something that bears watching over the course of the 2008 season. Any way you slice this one, United definately seems to have come out on the winning end of this trade.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

MLS / D.C. United's 2008 Schedule Released - Christian Gomez To Rapids Deal Done?

MLS and its member clubs today released thier respective schedules for the upcoming 2008 season today. D.C. United's home schedule is slightly better than last year's. Our favorite home match days and start time has always been the Saturday, 7:30 PM matches. Those matches are almost always the best attended, usually breaking 21,000, and as high as 25,000. This season, United has 9 such matches. Last season United had only 7. So were happy to have 2 more of those this season. This year, David Beckham and the L.A. Galaxy come to town on a Sunday, for a 12 noon match up on 29 June to be aired on ABC. One half of United's 30 league matches will be nationally televised this year.

Also of note for United for the 2008 MLS season schedule is the abscence of any league matches during the month of July. During that time the SuperLiga and U.S. Open cup competitions will take place. The 2008 MLS All Star match will take place at BMO Field in Toronto, home of Tornoto FC on 24 July, 2008. United will also compete in the CONCACAF Champion's League, which is set to begin its inaugural run this fall, and will replace the current CONCACAF Champions Cup. The dates for the matches in each of these 3 competition have not yet been set.

One final note regarding possible news on the Christian Gomez front, MLS and the Colorado Rapids have announced a press conference for 8 February @ 2PM EST to announce a "major player signing". Could this finally be the news of Gomez' signing, and pending trade for his rights with D.C. United we have long awaited? You can view the official press release here. Our good friend Steven Goff, is reporting on his Washington Post Soccer Insider blog, that the deal has been finalised, and a new contract with the Rapids signed, today. We'll post an update tomorrow after the official announcement is made.


D.C. United 2008 Schedule

L = MLS League Match C = CONCACAF Champions Cup Match

Wed. March 12 at Harbour View (Jamaica) 7:00 p.m. - C
Tues. March 18 Harbour View (Jamica) 7:30 p.m. - C
Sat. March 29 at Kansas City 8:00 p.m. - L
Sat. April 5 Toronto FC 7:30 p.m. - L
Sat. April 12 at Real Salt Lake 9:00 p.m. - L
Th. April 17 Columbus 8:00 p.m. espn2 L
Sat. April 26 Real Salt Lake 7:30 p.m. - L
Sun. May 4 at Colorado 3:00 p.m. - L
Th. May 8 Chicago 7:30 p.m. espn2 L
Sat. May 17 at Chivas USA 10:30 p.m. FSC, FSE L
Wed. May 21 at Toronto FC 7:30 p.m. - L
Sat. May 24 Toronto FC 7:30 p.m. - L
Th. May 29 at New England 7:30 p.m. espn2 L
Wed. June 4 Houston 7:30 p.m. - L
Sat. June 7 at Chicago 8:30 p.m. FSC, FSE L
Sat. June 14 New York 7:30 p.m. HDNet L
Sun. June 22 San Jose 3:00 p.m. TeleFutura L
Sun. June 29 Los Angeles 12:00 p.m. ABC L

July - SUPERLIGA & U.S. OPEN CUP – United has no league matches scheduled during this time.

Thursday, July 24 MLS All Star Game, BMO Field, Toronto, ON, Canada
Sat. August 2 Kansas City 7:30 p.m. - L
Sat. August 9 at New York 7:30 p.m. - L
Sat. August 16 at Chicago 8:30 p.m. - L
Wed. August 20 at New England 7:30 p.m. - L
Sat. August 23 Colorado 7:30 p.m. - L
Sat. August 30 New York 7:30 p.m. FSC, FSE L
Sat. September 6 at San Jose 10:00 p.m. - L
Sat. September 13 FC Dallas 7:30 p.m. FSC, FSE L
Sat. September 20 at Los Angeles 11:00 p.m. FSC, FSE L
Sun. September 28 at FC Dallas 3:00 p.m. TeleFutura L
Sat. October 4 Chivas USA 7:30 p.m. FSC, FSE L
Sun. October 12 at Houston 7:00 p.m. - L
Th. October 16 New England 7:30 p.m. espn2 L
Sun. October 26 at Columbus 5:00 p.m. – L

U.S.A. 2 | 2 Mexico


I'm feeling a bit lazy today, so I am not going to include the usual plethora of links to player pages. I am also going to assume that most reading this will be fairly football educated. I'm quite sure that if anyone wants to read further on any particular player or subject, they know how to use Google and Wikipedia. The USMNT drew Mexico last night in Houston, and did not look all that great doing it. U.S. Goalkeeper Tim Howard (Evreton FC) was the difference for the U.S. in this match. Howard once again showed just why he is one of the very best in the game.

This match seemed to be a very chippy to me. The U.S. appeared very disorganised in the back last night. Tim Howard seemed to get very frustrated at times while attempting to direct the back, especially on Mexican set peices. Both Mexican goals were scored on set peices.

The US held the edge in play for long stretches in the first half, but it was Mexico that came out with long periods of sustained pressure in the second. They kept the U.S. on their own half of the pitch for extended periods during the early going in the second. The U.S. appeared to regain some momentum after the substitutions began, and appeared to play better in the later stages of the half, but it was not enough to undo the earlier poor defending on Mexican set pieces that led to both of their scores.

The U.S. did not appear comfortable defencively, and it showed espeically during the second half. The defencive play of both Drew Moor, and Ramiro Corrales was suspect at best. I don't feel they should even be on the National Team, they both just are not that good. To Moor's credit, he did have the assist on the U.S. 2nd goal, on a very nice set up for Jozy Altidore. The goal put the US ahead 2-1 at that point, and was Altidore's first goal for the U.S. National side. Shortly there after the U.S. appeared to score what likely would have been the game winner. Clint Dempsey collected a nice through ball, turned, and got of a very quick shot which cleanly beat Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa. However the AR would raise his flag to signal the play offside, in what I still feel was a very questionable call at best. My note on the officiating: The officiating in this match left much to be desired, and often appeared to be one sided. You can kind of get a feel for that by looking at the discipline and the fouls called in the game statistics which I'll post below.

This was an intense match, and there are a lot of new faces in the U.S. lineup. The U.S. side has alot to feel hopeful about as the side is considerably younger now than it has been in the past. It may take some time for things to really jell, and come together, but this was a great test. The U.S. did not play badly, but it was clear that its going to take alittle time and effort for things to really come together and the chemistry to develop. The U.S. appears to have all of the tools in place to be very successful with the combination of time tested veteran players, as well as some very young, and very bright emerging star players. Fortunately, time is on their side for now as World Cup Qualifying does not begin until the middle of June. A draw was not the result most wanted, but I think there is enough good that can be taken from this match to provide plenty of hope for a successful future leading up to the 2010 World Cup. We've only just begun!

Scoring Summary:

USA - Oguchi Onyewu (Landon Donovan) 30th minute
MEX - Jonny Magallon (Pavel Pardo) 35.
USA - Jozy Altidore (Drew Moor) 40.
MEX - Jonny Magallon (Carlos Salcido) 47.

USA: 1-Tim Howard; 21-Drew Moor, 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.), 22-Oguchi Onyewu, 6-Ramiro Corrales; 10-Landon Donovan, 13-Ricardo Clark (Maurice Edu, 79), 4-Michael Bradley (5-Benny Feilhaber, 63), 15-Bobby Convey (7-Eddie Lewis, 70); 9-Jozy Altidore, 8-Clint Dempsey (19-Freddy Adu, 63)
Subs not used: 11-Pat Noonan, 16-Michael Parkhurst, 18-Brad Guzan
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

MEX: 1-Guillermo Ochoa; 2-Jonny Magallon, 3-Carlos Salcido (14-Fausto Pinto, 59) 4-Rafael Marquez (capt.), 5-Israel Castro; 6-Gerado Torrado, 7-Fernando Arce (18-Cesar Villaluz, 90+), 8-Pavel Pardo, 11-Carlos Vela (16-Giovanni Dos Santos, 71); 9-Antonio De Nigris (15-Juan Carlos Cacho, 67), 10-Adolfo Bautista (17-Antonio Naelson, 71)
Subs not used: 12-Luis Michel, 13-Oscar Rojas,
Head Coach: Hugo Sanchez

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 3 / 13
Shots on Goal: 2 / 9
Saves: 6 / 1
Corner Kicks: 2 / 4
Fouls: 19 / 13
Offside: 4 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
MEX - Carlos Salcido (caution) 38th minute
USA - Michael Bradley (caution) 45.
USA - Oguchi Onyewu (caution) 69.
USA - Jozy Altidore (caution) 76.
USA - Ramiro Corrales (caution) 89.
MEX - Gerardo Torrado (caution) 90+.

Referee: Carlos Batres (GUA)
1st Asst.: Carlos Pastrana (HON)
2nd Asst.: Leonel Leal (CRC)
Fourth Official: Baldomero Toledo (USA)

Attendance: 70,103

Monday, February 4, 2008

United States Vs Mexico - 6-Feb-2008 @ 9PM EST


While we await news on any possible deal for Christian Gomez between D.C. United and the Colorado Rapids, we'll turn our attention to the USMNT, who have a "friendly" coming up this Wednesday, February 6th, 9PM EST at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Once again, our CONCACAF rivals, Mexico, pay a vist to the US for what should be a very good, and competitive match. Perhaps a preview of future World Cup Qualifying matchups to come over the next two years, ahead of the 2010 World Cup which is to be held in South Africa. The U.S. roster for the match has been set and will include 10 MLS players. Here is the roster:

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

DEFENDERS: Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham FC), Ramiro Corrales (SK Brann), Drew Moor (FC Dallas), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege), Michael Parkhurst (New England Revolution), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock), Eddie Robinson (Houston Dynamo).

MIDFIELDERS: Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), Michael Bradley (SC Heerenveen), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Bobby Convey (Reading FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Eddie Lewis (Derby County).

FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (New York Red Bulls), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Pat Noonan (Aalesund FK).

And the roster for Mexico:

GOALKEEPERS: Luís Ernesto Michel (Chivas de Guadalajara), Moisés Muñoz (Morelia), Guillermo Ochoa (Club América)

DEFENDERS: Israel Castro (Pumas UNAM), Rafael Márquez (FC Barcelona), Johnny Magallón (Chivas de Guadalajara), Fausto Pinto (Pachuca), Oscar Rojas (Club América), Carlos Salcido (PSV Eindhoven)

MIDFIELDERS: Francisco Arce (Santos Laguna), Pavel Pardo (VFB Stuttgart), Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Antonio Naelson Zinha (Toluca), Cesar Villaluz (Cruz Azul)

FORWARDS: Adolfo Bautista (Jaguares Chiapas), Juan Carlos Cacho (Pachuca), Giovani Dos Santos (FC Barcelona), Antonio de Nigris (Ankaraspor), Carlos Vela (Osasuna)

Judging from both sets of rosters for this match, both sides appear to be calling on thier full strength arsenal of big name players. Of note missing from the Mexican side, according to the U.S. Soccer Blog is Andreas Guardado, who was injured this past weekend during an away match Vs Betis. The USMNT's last meeting with the Mexican side was the CONCACAF Gold Cup final on 24, June 2007 in Chicago, which the United States won 2-1. Mexico had not scored a goal against the United States in 8 years until that match. The United States have won that compeition 4 times. (91, o2, 05, & o7.) Mexico has won it 6 times. The CONCACAF Gold Cup was first contested in 1963.

U.S. Soccer
also announced today the USMNT's openning match for 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying will be held on 15 June, 2008, 2PM PDT at the Home Depot Center in Carson California. The U.S. will face the winner of the first round series between Barbados, and Dominica. Those matches are to be held on 6, February, 2008 in Dominica, and 6, March, 2008 in Barbados.


Friday, February 1, 2008

Christian Gomez to Rapids Deal Nearing Completion...

Once again, the soccer scoop master of the universe and D.C. United beat reporter over at the Washigton Post, Steven Goff is reporting on his Soccer Insider that a deal between D.C. United, and Colorado Rapids is all but complete:

"The latest in the Christian Gomez saga is that Colorado has offered him a two-year, guaranteed contract with a base salary of at least $400,000 and bonuses/incentives that could bring his total compensation close to the $500,000 figure per season that he has desired all along. Gomez is apparently close to agreeing to the deal. If that happens, the Rapids will formally acquire his rights from D.C. United. The consensus among MLS folks is that, in exchange, United will receive significant financial considerations and perhaps draft picks."
After nearly a year of going back and forth between United and Gomez on extending his contract here, it became very clear last week with the signing of Argentine star attacking midfielder Marcell Gallardo, that Gomez's time in D.C. had finally come to an end. As far as what United may get in return, well that has been the subject of much speculation among fans. Being that Gomez is out of contract with United, (his contract expired last December) what is actually being traded for are his MLS player rights. At this point, I would have to agree, United will only get financial considerations, (possibly player allocation money) and possibly a first round draft pick at most. Considering United would have gotten nothing for Gomez had he signed a deal with an overseas club, Ill take what we can get should Gomez remain in MLS and go to Colorado.

Gomez came to United in late 2004, and helped spur United on to winning its league leading 4th MLS Cup championship. In Gomez's 4 seasons with United, he achieved multiple awards and honours. Gomez was named to the MLS Best XI in 2005, and won the MLS Honda MVP award for the 2006 season. In addition, Gomez was named to the MLS All Star team for the 2005, 2006, and 2007 seasons.

Gomez will improve most any club he goes to by a significant and noticable margin. One thing that will remain to be seen, is will he play for, live for, and die for the badge for another club, like he did for the Black and Red? I would think that he will, but I also think his relationship with United is a bit different, and a special one. We were his first MLS side, and he bled black and red through and through here. I think that is a decent part of his play, was his passion for, and dedication to the badge which he represented. Like I have said time and time again, he was not just "a player" he was a D.C. United fan himself too. The proof is in the pudding as Gomez, being suspended for an away match against Red Bull New York, (a couple of seasons ago I can not remember the exact date) drove himself to Giants Stadium, and stood with the 300 or so Barra Brava and Screaming Ealges members in the stands, cheering United on to victory. Players such as gomez, in professional sports today, are extremely rare. You definately can not say that about TOO many players. United has been lucky to have a string of these type of players, players like Marco Etcheverry and All time MLS goals leader, Jaime Moreno.

I think those Rapids fans who are skeptical will find themselves very pleasantly surprised should this deal get done, and the Rapids actually aquire Gomez. Weather or not he lives and dies for the badge he plays behind there remains to be see, but if he does ( no reason to think he would not) then they will be in for an extra special treat. He's one of the very best A-Mids MLS has seen, and they'll noticed that right away. The one question as far is just strictly play goes in my mind at least, is do the Rapids have the guys who can provide the kind of higher level support that will help Gomez flourish. I guess time will tell. We wish him all the best, wherever he goes, and he certainly will be missed by the Black And Red, and their ardent supporters.

I will an update with details as the become available.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

2008 Training Camp Begins - South American Winds of Change Blow Into D.C.

On November 1st, 2007, Untied, and its black and red clad supporters closed the book on what was another very successful season, in bitter fashion. United was once again ousted from the MLS Cup Playoffs, by a long time rival they still have yet to beat in post season play, the Chicago Fire. As the days wore on in the following weeks, the pain and disappointment of that bitter end to the 07 season began to subside, and our thoughts began to turn towards the 2008 season. We knew some changes were coming, but we did not know the magnitude of those changes.

Fast forward to yesterday, when United opened its 2008 Training Camp, at RFK Staidum in Washington, and that scope of change at the Black And Red is now very clear. 6 are out, and 4 new faces are in. Gone are Troy Perkins, Bobby Boswell, Greg Vanney, Brian Carroll, Josh Gros and Christian Gomez. In are Marcelo Gallardo, Franco Niell, Gonzalo Martinez, Gonzalo Peralta, and Jose Carvallo, all of which are South Americans. Thier positions are listed here in the same order: Attacking Midfielder, Forward (attack), defender, defender, goalkeeper. They are comprised of 3 Argentine's, 1 Columbian, 1 Peruvian. 4 of those 5 will take up Senior International spots on D.C. United's roster. Carvallo holds a green card, and thus will not count against United's SI roster spots. All but Gallardo were introduced at a press conference which was held at RFK Stadium yesterday.

Expectations are running high, especially for Gallardo, who has had a very good international career, including being a key figure on the Argentine National Team, having 2 world cup appearances, in 1998, and 2002, and a total of 44 caps, scoring 14 goals. He will be United's replacement for Christian Gomez, whom United could not reach an agreement with on terms of a new contract. Gallardo should be a big step up from Gomez, but that still remains to be seen. My only concern here would be that Gallardo does have a bit of a history of some not so great behavior. Its not horrible, but not necessarily something that would be conducive to good locker room chemistry either. He has a temper, and has been red carded on several occasions in important matches.

Gomez leaves big shoes to fill, and not just in the numbers Gomez put up either. Gomez bled Black and Red. He gave everything he had on the pitch and off here. Gomez was not JUST a player, he was also a DCU fan, and that truly makes a significant difference. I think D.C has been pretty damn lucky to date with having players that were more than just players. Most of our more recognised players bled Black and Red, it was in their hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. If Gallardo can even come close to that level of commitment and dedication, I think DCU will be pretty well off to have gotten him. I guess time will tell. I am very sad to see Gomez go, but I am excited about United's new signing. I just hope he will prove to us all he is worth our DP slot. For the time being, I am not so sure I would have allowed Gomez to walk. To me, Gomez has proven he is worth something close to a DP slot over the past 4 seasons. Again, I am cautiously optimistic that this will all work out in United's favor. I wish Christian Gomez all the best, and will always be a big supporter of him, and his play on the pitch, and his behavior off of it.

United has also finally entered the realm of the Designated Player and are using the Designated Player Rule (DP Slot) in signing Marcelo Gallardo. The terms of Gallardo's contract with United have not been disclosed, however he reportedly had turned down a contract with an Argentinian side, said to be worth ($U.S.) around $700,000. This leads us to believe that United has finally exercised it's option to finally use its designated player spot. Gallardo is set to be introduced today, in his own press conference, at the National Press Club, today at 12:00PM EST.

For further, and much more in depth reading, head on over to the Washington Post's D.C. United section, and check out Steven Goff's Soccer Insider.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Marcelo Gallardo Arrives in D.C.

Our good & tireless friend, and United beat reporter at The Washington Post, (and also the best soccer writer / reporter in North America) Steven Goff is reporting on his blog the Post's Soccer Insider, that Argentine attacking midfielder Marcello Gallardo (lastly with Parisian club- Paris Saint-Germain - "PSG" ) has arrived in Washington. Apparently he has come to finalise the details of a much anticipated signing, and it appears is set to join the club for the commencement of its training for the 2008 season, which begins Monday, 28 January, at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. Well keep monitoring and keep you updated as best we can. One thing seems certain with this signing: It would now seem that the also much discussed and anticipated departure of 4 season veteran midfielder Christian Gomez, is in fact going to now occur. I'm sad to see Gomez go, however I am excited about this signing yet I'm still skeptical. Of all of the new foreign players signed thus far, Gallardo seems to be the one to get the most excited about if he is in fact signed, however there have been some "behavior" issues in his past that may cast some concern into the mix. I guess for now, well just have to wait and see. More as the news comes in...

EDIT: Steven Goff's print edition article for Monday's Washington Post, is now up and can be viewed here: Gallardo Set To Join D.C. United.

From the article:

"Gallardo, 32, has agreed to terms on a long-term contract, but United cannot officially add him to the roster until final paperwork is completed. United will hold its first practice this morning outside RFK Stadium, though it is uncertain whether Gallardo will participate right away or wait until camp moves to Bradenton, Fla., on Wednesday."
So it would now appear that a deal is all but done.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Three Stripes - YOU'RE OUT!

Something I thought I would never see happen at D. C United, finally actually did. As if this offseason has not been trying, and disappointing enough for the ardent Black & Red supporters in D.C., theres now one more thing to pile on top of everything, and its not a very pretty site if you ask me. D.C. United has been stripped of its internationally recognised 3 stripes across the chest. Apparently, since DC is in the market for a front side jersey sponsor, ADIDAS basically told United, that it could not have the 3 stripes, and a jersey sponsor on the front at the same time. Kind of a bitch move by Adidas if you ask me. There is no reason why a front side jersey sponsor could not fit neatly BELOW the 3 stripes across the chest. Don't get me wrong, I fully understand why United chose to do without the 3 stripes, given the ultimatum they were handed by Adidas. It's either keep the 3 stripes, and have no front side shirt sponsor, and thus no additional income from such sponsor, or, nix the 3 stripes, grab a shirt sponsor, and rake in very large amounts of cash. I get it, its about the money, but I still do not like it, and still believe there is a way to have both on the front without one obstructing or taking away from the other, but thats just me.

Adidas has "allowed" DC the use of the 3 stripes across the chest as sort of DC's own "brand" if you will. However, the stripes never actually belonged to DC, and always have been a trademark of ADIDAS. United has become an internationally recognised football club throughout the world, and one of the single most distinctive things that made DC, well... DC, was the 3 stripes across the chest. DC was basically the only club in the world to use the 3 stripes across the chest, and that look became synonymous with "D.C. United". For 12 seasons, DC United has built a brand identity / recognition, and a large part of that was those distinctive 3 stripes across the chest. Personally, I highly dislike the plain 2008 jersey's, and I am not happy that the 3 stripes are now out, gone, apparently for good. Furthermore, there is not nearly enough RED in the kits. DC really should find a way to place something where those stripes once were. An idea I have always liked is using the District Flag. Bottom line, DC has lost alot of its visual distinctiveness. Now, DC's jersey is just like every other club's. It does not stand out, it is plain, and boring, and quite frankly, it now looks like a training top. I suppose however it might look slightly better once a good, and fitting front shirt sponsor is finally selected and added however. I guess well have to wait and see. In the mean time, see for yourself, and make your own comparisons / judgements.

First - the old 2007 jersey:

Now, the new 2008 jersey - sans stripes, and front shirt sponsor.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Black & Red's Intial Posting - Welcome!

Hello fellow Black & Red supporters, and soccer fans in general! I have finally decided to start a blog which will focus on one of my favorite things in life, D.C. United Soccer! I am a current season ticket holder, and have been regularly attending United matches since day one back in 1996. I have missed about 3 home matches since the 2003 season. I am currently a member of La Barra Brava since the beginning of the 2004 Season.

This blog is not intended to be a "news" source, or anything of that nature, rather, it is just one lifelong fan and supporter's musings, opinions, thoughts, rants, perspectives on all things D.C. United from on the pitch, in the stands, to the front office, and around MLS too. I will attempt to keep this updated at least once weekly, so check back often as this is a work in progress and were just getting started! Here's hoping for a gr8 2008 for D.C. United!!!!!!

EDIT: If you have any content you would like me to add, or you would like your blog or site linked to from this site, then please by all means contact me via email or through leaving comments here. I will add any content or links that are DC United, Soccer, US Soccer, MLS, or International soccer related. Thanks!

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