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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.

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