30 June 2005

We Started The Fire- 4 Chicago : DCU 3

Sadly, due to a power failure, I couldn't even follow this one over the radio. Sounds entertaining, as Goff's post recap recounts. Also sounds heartbreaking. Not sure whether I am glad I missed this one or not.

29 June 2005

DCU @ The Second City: The Experts Weigh In.

Tonight, DCU is in Chi-Town to face the fire. This is the first time DCU has faced the Fire since L'Affair Thornton at RFK. Now, as you recall, Mr. Thornton took down Mr. Moreno after Mr. Moreno buried a PK. There's a video link to this event in the comments section of the link above. At the time, The DCenters indicated that Mr. Thornton should have been sent off for the incident. However, league discipline meant that nothing happened to him. The DCenters was not calling for a fine or suspension, so this didn't bother us much as the lack of the straight red.

Yet, we realize that we are somewhat biased towards DCU in such cases. So, to restore some impartiality, we asked our expert on MLS Standards in Discipline, Ms. Gwen Stefani, to comment. Gwen, what do you think of the lack of a red card for Mr. Thorton?

That shit is Bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Thank you, Ms. Stefani.

28 June 2005

Del Close Sez...

Supposedly there is truth in comedy. Sadly, there are things which are supposed to be comedy, but in reality are too truthful, reflecting what we all really suspect some people are thinking. This is one such item.

Quaranta Qall Up

Much consternation over Bruce's call to Tino for the Gold Cup. I can understand this. The best explanation on why this move makes any sense at all revolves around the following three points:
  1. This gives a young player some experience at the speed of the international game.
  2. Tino's play is more suited to Int'l play than MLS.
  3. Bruce is drinking absinthe.

Still, given all that, I tend to side with the people somewhat confused by this move. Tino hasn't yet shown that he has the skill for the USMNT. Not this year.

27 June 2005

The Lost Weekend / Wanna a MLS Cup?

Why I have no weekend recap.
Went to a wedding in Metros territory on Sunday. Therefore I offer little comment on this weekend's games, other than noting that 11 days of rest doesn't seem like that much in retrospect. I am completley bushed at the moment, so any insightful commentary is probably too much to ask at this point.

DCU: Not Built to Defend Title
But, a quick point I want to make: During the offseason, there was a great deal of buzz about who would replace Ryan in the defense. Who would we trade for? Who would DCU sign? The lack of an answer surprised many fans.

I think I know the answer now. DCU's priority during the off-season was not assembling a team to defend the MLS Cup. Instead, the team was evaluating its ability to compete over the long-term. DCU is looking to work with the salary-cap structure in order to always make the playoffs, but not necessarily win a title. This isn't the NFL, where teams are built for 1-2 years then blown up. No, by using players such as Boswell, Taylor, and the increased use of Quaranta, DCU is building for long-term success. Could DCU have added a defender or defensive mid player to address its needs? Absolutley. But who would they have to give up?

I think the MLS Cup title of 2004 was somewhat of a surprise to the DCU front office, but once they had it they figured they had a reprieve from the pressure that had been building during the dark years of losing. Now they would make choices to give DCU chances to contend for the next five years, anticipating Adu's departure to some other team, Moreno's retirement, and to refresh an aging defensive mid and back line with new blood.

Now, that being said, the Petke trade still doesn't work for me. I still don't quite get what is supposedly out there in South America. But maybe that too will make sense in time. And, of course, I could be very, very wrong about all of this.

24 June 2005

Best Fans (or RSL: We Cheat to Win)

RSL takes the MLS Season 10 award for best fans. Even they know how they did it. So c'mon RSL, as the DCenters suggested earlier: Embrace it hardcore! You are now the bad boys of MLS fandom. Don't agonize over whether it was the right thing to do! Spit in the eye of some Rapids fan. Walk on the wrong side of the street! Split Infinitives!

Frankly, DCU has too long been complacent in our knowledge we're the best. This kind of shot across the bow is exactly what we need to wake some of us up. Well done. Oh, and go beat FC Chicago this weekend, I hear you are scoring goals again.


As both a DCU fan and a Washington Nationals fan, sometimes you hear things on both sides of fandom that disparage the other. So it's nice when a Nats fan shows that he writes with malice toward none and charity to all. Mr. Ball Wonk, we commend you for this:
BallWonk, for one, is a United fan. United has brought Washington four of its last five national championships in any sport. (Washington Freedom brought home the other title.) United has consistently drawn more fans per game than either the Wizards or the Capitols. And, most importantly, DC United has kept RFK Stadium up and running. All baseball fans owe United a debt of gratitude for keeping the Bobby open for business and ready for baseball to move back at a moment's notice. BW

Naturally, we agree. And we, over here as a DCU fan first, welcome the Nats to our home. More people will see those championship banners and think about maybe attending a DCU game this year than ever before. And that benefits all. Since the sentiment is so nice, we'll forgive you calling RFK "The Bobby"


Jamie wins the goal of the week, which is nice, especially since the actual video clip shows what caused the goal to happen. So many goals (Gros's header, any bicycle kick goal) were set up by great runs on a wing, but those runs aren't shown. Moreno's goal is about finding space, creating it, and bringing it home.

23 June 2005

Meet the Bad Boys of MLS Fandom: Real Salt Lake (Seriously)

You can feel the casual arrogance of a certain group of fans. Yankees fans are amused and mildly stunned to meet a fan of another team, let alone a fan that thinks that team can win. For years, Lakers fans would lounge around in sunglasses with a pinot noir, unaware that basketball was even played east of the Mississippi. This same calm, detatched, unshakeable feeling that says, "we're the best, and while we may not win it all every year, we'll win enough that other teams will be happy for whatever scraps of the championship may fall their way" pervades all areas of DCU fandom. You can feel it at the heavily armed bunker that is the headquarters of Barra Brava. At the CTU-esque nerve center from which the Screaming Eagles receive their text messaged orders. At the WalMart where La Norte is buying 128-packs of toilet paper. DCU has won two in a row, knocking off a previously undefeated team. Fans are thinking of where to order a fifth star to embroider on their scarves. All is as it should be.

Before someone at the DCU forums of Big Soccer notices an MLS Season X poll, and the world is knocked off its axis. There, where anyone can read it, the poll for best fans shows DCU ahead of everyone at 22%. Everyone, that is, but some crazy expansion team. Somehow, Real Salt Lake has posted at 38% talley.

There are a few reciminations: "They must be cheating. Using a votebot. Clearing their cookies, something, maybe the MLS webmasters will notice all votes are from the same IP Address..." But before long the warm blanket of arrogance manages to reassert itself. It's only a silly poll. DCU fans know their the best, they don't need some silly poll to prove it. Let them cheat.

It is this sentiment I echo. But even more than just passively allowing RSL's vote fraud to go uncontested, I wish to applaud them. At least one, if not more, RSL fans have showed they cared enough to run up the vote stats. Good for them. And yet, I want more. This is not enough. RSL, you have a chance to forge your identity in MLS. Destiny is calling you. Will you take it?

There are always dynasties in sports, the teams that always seem to be there. DC United is that team now, just as the Yankees are, the Lakers were, and the Steelers may be again. But just as important, there are the teams that are the rough and tumble, no holds barred, we love you to hate us teams. They may not win, but they have attitude to spare. We know the Oakland Raiders, the Philly Flyers of the 70s and 80s, the 80s/90s Pistons. They were tough. They were mean. They would cheat, if it helped. But more often than not, it wasn't that they did cheat, it was that they were the cockiest group out there, and their fans were just as cocky. They would cheat, but they didn't (or, at least, not often). But just the casual immorality of it all would shock people.

RSL needs this identity. They've done a good start, drafting Cleetus. One game in, and he gets a yellow for dissent. With the mohawk. Which he should always have, and it should be dyed purple. RSL fans should be in face paint with spikes protruding from thier shoulders. The Loyalists should be printing those Eddie Gurerro T-Shirts right now that say "WE CHEAT TO WIN" in big purple letters on that obnoxious red background. RSL must become the bad boys of MLS, for so many reasons. Here are a few:
  1. People already think Salt Lake is way too much of a goody-two-shoes town.
  2. Chivas would like to be the bad boys, but too often they come off as Biff harassing Marty McFly and forgetting the words. Save us from that.
  3. For those parents worried that this might damage the family-friendly atmosphere, explain that it's not cheating necessarily, but knowing how to interpret (read: bend) the rules thanks to a college education.
  4. RSL needs something to set it apart from other well meaning teams that have yet to win an MLS title.
  5. The Metros don't act bad, they just are bad. It's getting difficult to even much emotion for them right now, so the rest of the league, and especially DC, would love for someone else to hate.

Can you feel it RSL? Are you ready to embrace the dark side (even if it is a bit on the purple side)? Then rise, RSL. Your destiny awaits.

22 June 2005

Ciao - 1 USA : ITALY 3

Hunter Freeman got scored the first goal. Italy scored the next 3. Very saddened by this. A classic what might have been for US Soccer, which has had too many of them. Still, congrats to the U20 Men's Team for a spirited run, you did your country proud.

[Update 12:36 22 June 2005]: Or maybe they didn't. Check out Maradawga's thoughts on the Italy game. Sad, sad, sad. Some of it might be self-loathing, but that's not an excuse.

The Financial Details

Everyone in the DCU/MLS universe seems to like newly proposed deal for DCU, which Steven Goff details a little more in this morning's Post. A quick read between the lines indicates that Payne's roll will be little changed, except that he's more likely to become the public face of the ownership group based on his relationship with the DCU faithful. Lauterbach seems to be the big funding supports, so most of the team will probably be his.

So what's the negative reaction? None that I can find yet, but I suspect certain people, when hearing about a real-estate developer in SE who couldn't get a bid certified for the (Washington) Nats will definitely raise their voice at some point.

21 June 2005


Steven Goff in the Washington Post is announcing that DC United will be sold to an ownership group that includes real-estate developers Willi Lauterbach, Timothy Kissler; attorney Kenneth Lore; and DC United President /CEO Kevin Payne. Price is about $20M US. Negotiations are in the final stage.

On a side note, this tracks with rumors that have been floating around the DC United forum on Big Soccer. So take those net rumors seriously next time!

Quick take? Stadium plans remain on track, we're no longer part of the merry-go-round that is the AEG front office, the buyers know DC and United, this is all good.

Call for Blogs

As I have started putting my blog roll together, I was wondering if there are any other team-specific MLS blogs out there. The closest thing I can find is 3rd degree for FCD, but I'm not sure if it counts as a blog (not that I'm picky). Anyways, I'd like to provide a comprehensive list of team-specific MLS bloggers on the sidebar, so if you know someone who's keeping that ReAL Salt Lake blog, let me know and I'll give them a link.

[Update 9:54 AM] Ask and ye shall receive. RSL added. Now only 9 more teams to go.

20 June 2005

Rapidly Moving Upward

The Colorado Rapids are the current MLS Unofficial Champions, taking the title from the LA Galaxy on June 15, 2005. In the time honored tradition of defending the title first against a patsy, Colorado defeated Chivas USA for another Championship point and Colorado's longest title defense (at a 2 game streak) ever.

In terms of the all time standings, the LA Galaxy have inserted themselves at the top thanks to their tie-breaking 10 game total hold on the championship. All time standings below:

1) Los Angeles Galaxy
2t) Chicago Fire
2t) DC United
3) NY/NJ MetroStars
4) Colorado Rapids
5) Columbus Crew
6) San Jose Earthquakes
7) New England Revolution
8t) FC Dallas
8t) Kansas City Wizards
10t) Chivas USA
10t) ReAL Salt Lake.

The Countered Revolution - 2 DCU : New England 0

There are times where I have prayed for a draw. There are times I give into my homerism. So I will take one moment for an "I told you so" for the most recent win. Okay, enough of that.

It was a little early in the season for any game to take the appearance of a "big win" but this is as close as they come. Facing an undefeated team with prolific goal scorers, with your key scorer from last season snakebitten and your CAM injured, well, 3 points in a clean sheet is a hell of an accomplishment. A few notes on what I saw from the game:
  • Jamie can't score when it's easy. He had only the keeper to beat twice, but came away with nothing. But have Parkhurst checking his cup size and Dempsey picking his pocket, and with a third defender coming in late, and he'll put it away.
  • David Stokes has been getting some people upset recently. Only in for the second half, he played better, getting cleanly beat once by Edouzian but otherwise playing well.
  • Boswell, the only DCUer I gave an all-star vote for, played a phenomenal game.
  • Carroll is your goat, as he seemed awkward on the ball, missed his marking a few times, and generally seemed out of sorts.
  • Nicky absolutely was the man of the match. From about the 55th minute onward (aside from the Alecko "I learned head trauma from Eric Lindros" Eskandarian collision), DCU put its attack away and turtled, but Rimando was more than equal to the task.
  • Whoever started the "Overrated" chant in the 80th minute? You're brilliant.

11 Days of rest, during which The DCenters will examine some long term interest concepts, catch a few Nats games, and travel a bit.

17 June 2005


The Salinas Valley Samba. The second round of the US Open Cup. Let's introduce each other. Samba, Round 2. Round 2, Salinas Valley. Know each other now? Good. Go for it kids. Make at least one of my cinderella picks a decent one. And congrats to the Riverhounds for putting up a fight.

Samba the night away...

Revolution, then Reflection

Saturday night DCU hosts the Revs. Those of you who saw in any capacity the game at Gilette know that this is a game where 3 points is not out of reach. After this game, there are 11 days with until a visit to Chicago. Which makes Sunday onward the perfect point for some consideration. The season will almost be half over. Time to consider a number of topics, including:
  1. Just how good is United this year?
  2. Was this a team built to defend the championship, or not?
  3. What went wrong with the Chivas experiment.
  4. Expansion: The good and bad.
  5. How to build a pro soccer team in the US market.

All of this can wait. The Revolution are first, and I think DCU will be the first to put a one in that "L" column. The system generates chances against the Rev defense, we aren't on the awful pitch that was Gilette, and the defense will play much tighter than against Chicago.

Some quick notes:

  • Rising: John Wilson. Many are impressed with Wilson's ability to bring the ball forward. This is the one area that Nielsen was always good at. Boswell plays a great defensive game, and the goal may help his confidence, but Wilson has been noted as a strength for his on the ball work.
  • Falling: David Stokes. While there are no comments about him being Ezra Hendrickson-esque, you can hear almost hear a sigh from the crowd every time he gets a touch.

16 June 2005

The Thorton Affair

What is it with DC teams encountering plays of dubious behavior recently? Been trying to reconcile my thoughts on L'Affair Thorton, but ultimately it comes down to one thing. Thorton decked Moreno after Jamie converted the PK and went to grab the ball. There are various Thorton defenders that say that Thorton could have thought the ball went off the post, and that the play was still on. I've thought about it, and pretty much decided that Thorton's play can not be excused as part of the normal course of action. I think we're all in agreement on this. He should have been shown the red card. But he wasn't.

So for me, now, that's where it ends. It was a missed call, it was classless. We can remember it when the Fire are next in town. But I don't feel the need to call for a suspension. That helps some other team, not DCU. The proper penalty was a red card, right then. It didn't happen. Life goes on.

DCU v. Chelsea, at FedEx

Pretty much everyone else in the blogosphere beats me to the confirmation that Chelsea will play DCU at FedEx. The formal announcement is here. Let me refine some of my earlier thoughts on this matter: a loss is acceptable, a massacre is not. I am somewhat afraid of a massacre, but perhaps I am overworried. And DCU does have a good track record against sides from the colonial occupiers.

[Update 1:43PM] Chelsea's official press release here. Only superficially different from the AEG release that DCU has posted.

[Edited 12:28PM for stupid brain freeze]

Manners, Minded

A quick note to write some thank you letters. The DCenters received its first permanent link about two weeks ago from the stunningly intelligent Basil over at Nationals Inquirer. The first to ever link to this blog in any capacity was Rocket1124 over at Nasty Nats. To both of you, thanks. I'm still finding my voice, but reading a bunch of other people is helping.

Now some others have linked to The DCenters in the recent week. Thanks to We Call It Soccer and Maradawga for passing some love our way. It is appreciated. And in a kind gesture, Chelsea Blog gave us our first ever hat tip, even after we made fun of them for taking the site down briefly for a redesign. The DCenters has always had a slight fondness for ManU of the EPL, but that was goodwill for playing a certain Yank keeper. Consider the loyalties shifted to some lads in Blue (but not enough that we don't hope you get waxed when visiting DC.)

[Update] Linked to by the Screaming Eagles as well. That's very cool. Thanks guys.

Ignition - 4 DCU : Fire 3

Yes, it was an amazing comeback. Unbelievble, stunning, dramatic. Yet, somehow, deep inside, you felt this coming. The scoreless streak wouldn't end with a doofy one goal game scored on a contravertial PK call. No, when it ended, it would all fall at once. You'd get goals from someone you'd expect, say, Christian Gomez. You'd get Moreno involved. And maybe some key help from where you didn't expect it, say, a rookie defender named Boswell. It would all come at once, at a key time. Part of you, no matter how much you tried not to silence it when the opposition went up by two, expected this was waiting to happen. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

The are a number of implications about what happened last night. We'll talk about all of that later. For now, it is time for merriment. Our long national nightmare is over. United have found the net.

15 June 2005

Goff, In Brief

So what did Goff say? In brief...

Chelsea @ DCU: Announcement could come as early as tomorrow (15 June 2005). FedEx field is unlikely, as Goff thinks a weeknight crowd would top out around 30K.

Payne: No word on his partners

The Guy We Get For Petke: No word, and he made it seem that maybe even Nowak, Payne, et al, aren't sure who they are going for. Probably a younger prospect...

Scorelessness: He picks a 0-0 result for tonight's match, but also agrees that Esky could break out.

Goff at Noon

Steven Goff is chatting at noon today. Be sure to ask him about:
  • Rumors that Chelsea could play at FedEx as opposed to RFK.
  • Who the hell DCU is supposed to get for Petke.
  • The man behind the curtain behind Kevin Payne.
  • The U-20 Men against Argentina (Yeah!) and Germany (Okay, and whew!).
  • The fact that the USMNT are already buying their Berlitz manuals.
  • And, of course, the long string of zeroes.

14 June 2005

The Not Blue Chelsea Thoughts

We Call It Soccer has a more optimistic take on the propsed DCU v. Chelsea tilt than the one I had. They argue that not only will pitch aid DCU, but also the oppresive humidity, heat, and DCU's track record against other teams like Rovers, Nottingham Forest, and Newcastle. It's certainly worth reading as an opposing view to my nervous nellie misgivings.

So I wondered if Chelsea bloggers we even thinking about this, but Chelsea Blog is giving a "404 Not Found" after some demand for a login. At least blogging seems to boast a clean MLS advantage here. [See Update Below]

[Update 4:26PM] Chelsea's blog is back-online: All they say on this summer's plans is that they will play at least one MLS team at some point after 19 July. There were no comments.

They're not catcalling, they're yelling "Bruce"

MLS is running a set of "Season 10" polls regarding the best of the first decade. The current poll is on "Who is the best head coach?" Now, there are some worthy contendors. Bob Bradley who oversaw the birth of the Fire, achieving the double in Chicago's inaugural season, deserves mention. Sigi Schmid, who is a very good coach, deserves mention.

There's also Thomas Rongen. I may be in the minority here, but I liked Ray more than Thomas. I don't blame him for what happened for Chivas, but I don't think he helped the situation there either.

But really, the only choice is Bruce Arena. Let's check the history files. Two MLS titles, with a third arguable under his influence. 3 MLS cup appearences. Bruce Arena's resume includes the USMNT's performance in Korea (superb) and recent qualifying run (non-worrisome, as we like it), and the line below USMNT reads "Head Coach, DC United". So he may arguable be the greatest export from MLS to the world stage. Sure, I'm a homer on this, but as the All-Star post below indicates, I'm not about to say the DCU guy is better than the others simply because of the colors of the kit. Bruce is simply the best MLS's history has offered so far. Peter Nowak has had some success, but one season's cup is currently translating into "Not in Playoffs". Bruce is the guy.

In terms of the poll, Bruce is well ahead. The only questions is this: Can Bruce get more than 50% in a ten-way vote? He should, and that 47% better move north soon.

Admin and Comments

Regarding the request from the comment section of the previous page, comments have been changed to allow for non blogger profile people (kinda like 24 hour party people, only less so).

The Adventure of Links

The blogroll is now up and running. Yes, there are soccer links, primarily to the soccer blogs I like to read. Most, but not all, contain some MLS coverage, and most, if not all, think DCU is in trouble this year.

There are, of course, links to DCU and MLS and the like.

And there are links to Nats blogs. I know that some DCU people are upset that the upstarts are in "our house." This is stupid. DCU has good attendence figures, but there's always room at RFK. Baseball fans include a high number of families. Families whose kids will look over the right field fence and see four championship banners. Some 10 year old might see the snazzy red and black Nats/DCU board over the plate. And they might come to the game. DCU gets exposure via the Nats, and this is a good thing.

Yes, there are pitch concerns, though I don't think we've had a repeat of the trapezoid incident. And I certainly think that the grass should always be cut in order to aid the offsides call. But we seem to be coexisting right now. The only thing we could ask is that someone in the media notice that Barra Brava and the Eagles Nest have been getting the stands rocking for years.

13 June 2005

All Stars?

The DCU homepage wants you to send United players to the all-star game. But who? Who, really, has had an all-start season? Gomez and Eskandarian deserve it for the second half of last year, but not based on the first half of this year. My only pick would have been Mike Petke, who is no longer in the red and black. Nicky has had a good season, but you've got a keeper in New England with a GAA below 0.80, you going to tell Mr. Reis he shouldn't be there?

Me neither.

So who can DCU legitmately claim should go?


Kinda worrisome, that.

US Open Cup, Round 2

Round 1 begins after the qualifying round...

How are my Cinderella picks doing?

Here are my picks for each of the teams to get the farthest from each non-MLS division:
USL1: Rochester Rhinos (TBA)
USL2: Pittsburgh Riverhounds (First Round: At Des Moines Menace)
USL Developmental: Cocoa Expos (defeated by Roma 7-2 in Qualifying Round)
USASA: Salinas Valley Samba (Still Alive! Defeated the Cascade Surge on PKs in Qualifying!)

So before the first round, I've lost one team, but correctly picked another. Pittsburgh is clearly considered the lower seed. A win at Des Moines puts them on the road at Charleston Battery. I believe in the Yinzerhounds!

Both Defending Champs (But that's about it)

The Washington Post has a story about DCU planning to host Chelsea in late July. Yes, I would attend this game. Yes, I expect that Chelsea would play its reserves. Yes, I still think DCU gets whacked. Yes, I expect at least one sarcastic sign with a pun on "Cole".

I know MLS has made strides, but these are strides to the point where one could say that MLS teams are, when good, at Champions league levels. Not Premiership. Even MLS teams at their best would be fighting relegation in the FA. That's an improvement. At the start, MLS teams probably would get lost on their way to the stadium.

The only thing that might save DCU is familarity with the pitch. But considering how talented the Chelsea team is, how strong defensively they are (and that was what made them the class of the FA table), and the fact that their attack was as good as anyone's this year... well, it's very tough to see a way through. Nowak's coaching style matches up well with Chelsea though, since Chelsea is built to take advantage of the FA's vertical style, while DCU plays a more measured pace. That's still not enough.

I guess I'm not sure, other than the fact that the FA Champions come to an MLS stage, what the advantage is for DCU or MLS. It seems like the chance for a demoralizing loss right as you enter the final half of the season is a large possibility.

But I will be there. And I will be in black.

[Edited for thing, like, y'know, proper use of the English language.]

Only One Stat that Matters: Metros 0 - DCU 0

It was a scoreless draw. Got that? Probably a boring affair. Both keepers untested, action primarily in the mids, the occasional chance off a cross bar, maybe 3-4 shots on net. Good. Nothing to see here. Not at all.

It reminded me of the Caps games of the late 80's, early 90's. Usually against Ron Hextall, they'd put up close to 40 shots on net. Then lose 2-1. Fortunately, DCU got one point on the road here.

Eskandarian may not have finished, but he was making more confident runs in general. His substitution over the half is, I think, the right time to use him. Waiting until 60' before making the change really doesn't allow him to learn how the other team is defensing him.

At least there's a Wednesday game for DCU to wash the taste of this one out of their mouths.

10 June 2005

Finishing the Hexagonal

There is a tendency to not want to state the obvious in sports. History is filled with too many examples of the obvious not happening, and the ridiculously improbably happening, that some commentators view that their in some mystic curse in writing anything definitive. So kudos to MLS's Tino Palace for having the courage to write the obvious and non-controversial: "the United States and Mexico are in [World Cup 2006] after wins Wednesday in CONCACAF play."

This is more than just trivial self back slapping. The US is going to qualify, and we are only at the half-point of the hexagonal. As Palace goes on to say:

The interesting thing to watch then becomes what The Bruce decides to do roster-wise with those remaining contests, and the domino effect it will have on Major League Soccer. Will he use those meaningless matches in the fall to build continuity, or will he use them to break in some new faces and see if he can find a diamond in the rough for the last few roster spots. Either way, it should have a profound effect on the MLS standings as long as players are still forced to miss league matches to play in World Cup qualifiers.
Okay. Got that? Now go to Soccer Fever and read this discussion from May 20 of some of Bruce Arena's comments.

What can we conclude? The team you saw in Panama is not your 2006 USMNT. There are going to be changes. Potentially at CM, probably along the back line as well. Evan at Soccer Fever takes a shot a Cobi Jones in the Bruce Arena article. Let me add some heresy of my own. DCU alum and anchor of US defenses in the past Eddie Pope might not be the one to go to Germany. The friendly against England was brutal for Pope. I love the guy, and he has played his heart out for his MLS and USMNT teams for years, but time moves on. The last thing I want is for Eddie Pope to look like the Jeff Agoos we saw in South Korea. (Update 10:30AM -- Let me clarify. I think Eddie wouldn't want to feel like Agoos more than anyone, which would mean leaving him at home. I think he would get that. )

09 June 2005

San Antonio Spurned

MLS seems to be getting its headline writers from the New York Post with the "MLS to San Antonio: Drop Dead Forget the Alamo" type headline on the MLS homepage today. What's pretty clear is that to get a soccer specific venue, you need city support right now. In San Antionio, the new mayor was not going to let that happen. So MLS legitimately pulled out (though only seconds before/after the mayor was going to do the same). That being said, MLS's language here is unusually angry for a business venture. Maybe they're upset over what they feel is bad faith from San Antonio, or the rhetoric used in the campaign. But the inflammatory headline is not helpful if MLS truly believes that SA may represent an interesting future market. Politics is politics.

The other expansion options are interesting, and perhaps we'll look at them later.

Payne 3wnz United

Well, Kevin Payne may soon own the red and black. Steven Goff in today's Washington Post breaks the proposed details that a group led by Kevin Payne may try to buy United from AEG for about $20M.

What does it mean? I think this is definitely a good move for MLS. Ownership diversity is a good thing, and United is probably one of the most if not the most economically viable franchises at this point. While AEG hasn't done a bad job with United, they do have a history of some odd moves with other franchises. At times the attitude seems to have been just to leave United alone. In fact, the last time I can recall that the owner was at a United game was the home leg against Pumas, and that was enough to draw comment from the press. Great owners care about their teams. You may not like them personally, but you know that they are into the game (See, Steinbrenner, Cooke, the People of the City of Green Bay).

Payne knows this team, having been involved since the inception. The team he would buy is not a dominant team, and needs some attention. And allowing a devoted ownership team to examine those options will only help. The fact that this is Payne and his group making an outright purchase and not Glazer leveraging a buyout of an LLC should make this almost transparent to the fans (as for Glazer, I wish him luck. As noted at Blog FC, purchases like Man-U's are just going to become more common).

08 June 2005


Fittingly, it was RFK memorial day at the stadium for the Nats/A's tilt. Great company, decently interesting game, and a scoreline that could have been a DCU result of 2-1 (assuming DCU could finish two chances).

Good fun. Tonight! Set the TiVo! USA v. Panama!

07 June 2005

Myself. Gone. I let it happen.

Heading to the Nats game, courtesy of DM, SuperNoVa, and Dexys from The Nats Blog. Not that I think anyone is reading this, but if you're near Section 110, drop by and say hello. Maybe we'll start the two syllable DC chat for our RFKin.

06 June 2005


In an attempt to stir up some smack, MLS is posting an article starting with the headline Freddy Who? The article then goes on to point out that there are other young kids in MLS, and they also started out by not getting a point in their first game.

Cue up your Van Halen Records

Because Wednesday night (well, Thursday morning I guess) it's time for Panama!

After a 3-0 win over Costa Rica in Salt Lake that wasn't quite as lopsided as the score would imply, 3 points on the road in the country with a canal looks pretty good to cement the US coming out in the top 3 in the hexagonal and heading to Germany. DCU is represented by Clyde Simms, and former DCUer Eddie Pope anchors the defense. Not to mention that head coach guy.

Congrats to the Nats

For sweeping the Marlins, and taking first place in the NL East. I'm not one of the United people that gets all worried about the Nats and DCU sharing space, although it is a little disheatening that at this point in the season, the Nats have a better shot at finishing at the top of their table than it seems DCU has. Still, good on 'em. This team has made baseball fun to watch on a daily basis, and I am a complete fan.

For more, check out the writing over at Nasty Nats, Capitol Punishment, Nationals Inquirer, District of Baseball, Distinguished Senators, Ball Wonk, and The Beltway Boys (I read them all, and more that I am momentarily forgetting. I should put together a DC blog roll). And catch a chat at Yuda's from time to time, they're amusing. Bang! Zoom!

US Open Cup

Pick your Cinderella teams for the US Open Cup (DCU will probably enter the cup in the third round).

Here are my picks for each of the teams to get the farthest from each non-MLS division:
USL1: Rochester Rhinos
USL2: Pittsburgh Riverhounds (Blatant bias to Pittsburgh teams here)
USL Developmental: Cocoa Expos (I just like the name. It's like a cereal in Montreal)
USASA: Salinas Valley Samba

Fun to be had by all!

Like a WWII training film...

Can you spot the Zero? It has a classic profile, wings let low in relation to the fuselage, and is now known as offensively useless.

There were two of them in DCU's draw against the Earthquakes. Now, if soccer were treated like boxing, as a series of 5 minute rounds, then DC would have won on points (I have it 13-8, with DC clearly outplaying San Jose in 10 5-minute periods). But, well, finishing is still a problem with this team.

On a better note, the defensive play in the middle third was better, with a lot more pressure. I like that. Dema had a fairly good game, the back line looked fairly dependable. What's more, chances were created. But the forwards are not finishing.

In terms of snarky writing, Mike Woitalla's comment about subbing Alecko in the 79th takes the cake: it "resulted only in stretching Eskandarian's scoreless streak to nine games." Not fair to Alecko, but certainly fair to the forwards as a whole.

Remember, the game is Sunday this week. At the Metros. We should get at least 1 point here, and 3 is not out of the question.

03 June 2005

Two weeks, two different results, one common theme.

DC 3, KC 2: Um... this was a hell of a game on so many levels. From the red and black getting Jamie's penalty coverted, the late goal to bring the Wiz within 1, this game was engrossing.

DC 0, FCD2: Misery. Utter, and complete.

Here's the thing: DCU is going to be a mid-table team until the midfield plays better defense. Nowak's system requires this, and it isn't getting done. You can compensate if you have enough speed and firepower up front to make opposing teams a little tenative about moving up the pitch. Right now DCU doesn't have that. If Alecko was playing to form, or Jamie had that amazing touch that he had last year, it's a different story. But since they're both playing well, if not great, then the defensive mid game has to improve. Because even the best defense is going to break down occasionally. Especially if the opponents are coming at you with speed.