28 September 2006

Goose in at NYRB

DCU alum Jeff Agoos becomes yet another to join the Red Bulls, this time as Technical Director. Somewhere, Shawn Medved, Mike Huwiler, and Steve Rammel are in a bar, checking their cell phones.

Cigarettes and Fantasy Football

Two great posts by our friend Dan Stienberg. The first piece is a little slice of practice and some quick chats with a few DCU players. I'm hoping Cristian Guzman is a Nationals player that I don't know about instead of a butchering of Christian Gomez. Either way the vignettes he paints are quite funny and something that we don't get from Goff, even in his online chats. The second is a rift about Alecko and how he is a horrible fantasy football commissioner. It is hilarious, and I was laughing out loud throughout. Can't wait to see more of these little bits and kudos to the Bog for some nice DC United coverage.

27 September 2006

Royal Treatment

Update: Okay, hold the phone. While it may be true, folks at DC United indicated that there isn't much around the water cooler there, and are urging skepticism. Fair enough.

Everything I see tells me that this is for real: Reading is intersted in potential Adu transfer. It would be interesting to see if Adu can meet the Work Permit statutes (do international games for the youth team count?) but if so, I could see it. However, Freddy shouldn't assume that he would start immediately for the Royals (see: Convey, Bobby) but it is clear that this is one of the clubs in England that doesn't mess up US internationals, and could be a nice fit for a player looking to develop in the midfield.

Moreno's Worth

We all know that Jaime Moreno is worth a whole lot to DC United. Now the rest of the world knows it as well. Rob Hughes has a very good peice in the International Herald Tribune about Moreno's worth to MLS. This is a great article, that is really good publicity for both MLS and DC United. Hopefully we will see more of this in the future, just as we hope to see more performances like Moreno's tour de force last Saturday in the future.

Consolidate your memories

Do you remember the scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer when Spike and Buffy's mom are comparing their favorite moment in the soap opera Passions? Oh, okay, I'm the only one that thought it was funny. Fine. Regardless, DCU has a neat poll up on your favorite events in the "Decade of Passion" (see, there's a segue there.) For me, I'm taking Eddie Pope's header as my favorite goal, and the 2004 ECC as my favorite moment. I'm still reviewing the saves category. This is fun. Ah, nostalgia... we are fortunate to have such a large and quality selection here in DC.

26 September 2006

Welcome, DCNats

It's one thing to watch on TV and see United's rowdy fans singing, jumping, and beating the hell out of their drums, but being there live was an experience I am simply not capable of adequately describing... I got goose bumps before the game, err- match even started!

DCNats has written up on his Operation: Deflower experience. A lot of credit is deserved here. First because he convinced Moe to watch Saturday's game - which coincided with a Maryland game. Second, for recognizing and admitting a new addication. Welcome to the brotherhood, man. Since you're looking for groups to tailgate with, you can't go wrong with any of the supporters groups. Come by the Screaming Eagles tailgate, and you might even see a suspended player dropping of a beer or just chilling on game day.

25 September 2006


At least in DC.

Soccer fans complain all the time about how minor league Major League Soccer is on occasion. By fans I am including myself here, but a little piece in the DC Sports Bog got me thinking it could be worse. MLS could actually be minor league, and not have the power to induce a team to change its name when it has the same name as an MLS team AND is in the same market. Yep, according to Dan (not just cheese anymore) Stienberg:

Locally, we added a team (Alexandria United), which, in the grand ABA tradition, has already changed its name (to the Alexandria Wind Jammers, out of courtesy to D.C. United).
So always remember it could be worse.

Steve Nicol, Meet Piotr Nowak. Nowak, this is Mr. Nicol. I think you have some common ground.

Is this funny?

Nicol said Revolution forwards Dempsey, Pat Noonan (out with a hip flexor), and Taylor Twellman ``don't get any protection."

``This is not the first time," Nicol said. ``Challenges are coming in from behind and our strikers don't get any protection whatsoever. I may be crying, but it seems to me they get nothing."

Right, and Shalrie Joseph, Matt Reis, et al.. have never done anything to opposing team's attacking threats...

Update: And Joe Franchino...

Another Update: And let's not get into Mr. Dempsey's actions with Mr. Conrad...

Debriefing for Match 11.29: New York Red Bulls


Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Post, Steve Goff: "On an emotional night when the club honored its 1996 MLS championship team, Moreno, the only player remaining from that pioneering squad, inspired a second-half surge that propelled badly short-handed United to a wild, 4-3 victory over the New York Red Bulls before 21,727 at RFK Stadium."
The Washington Times, John Haydon: "It was a much-needed win for United and only the club's second victory in 10 games...This was clearly a tighter and more organized Red Bulls team than United had faced early in the season, when it earned a decisive 4-1 road win and two ties. "
Mid-Atlantic Soccer Report, Jimmy LaRoue: "United received credible performances from reserves Jamil Walker and Rod Dyachenko, as well as Jeff Carroll and Brandon Prideaux. United also brought in two more reserves as substitutes in David Stokes and Clyde Simms. And, when the match was 11-on-11, United didn't give up a goal in the run of play, surrendering a lone goal from Amado Guevara on a penalty kick. The call leading to the kick deserves scrutiny. "
Mid-Atlantic Soccer Report, Ian Penderleith: "True, this was the best match of the season at RFK by a long way, and it's not going to happen every home game. But the fact that it happens at all is what makes people come to games as regulars rather than casuals. And to some extent, the team on display last night wasn't just DC United. With rookie players like Rod Dyachenko and Jeff Carroll in the starting lineup, and with recent signing Matias Donnet starting to settle in, it was the DC United of tomorrow."
DC SunDevil: "That was on wierd game. I enjoyed it, and according to FSC, United should also have wrapped up the Supporters Shield, but MLSnet.com doesn't mention it." [Note: They didn't mention it because we haven't yet, but as comments on the First Impressions post noted, we have the tie break of FC Dallas, so all it takes is one more win. I refuse to consider getting the shield because FC Dallas loses.]
BlackDogRed: "This is Christian Gomez' team... All four goals touched his foot. He is the best player in MLS. He's work rate is equal to his talent. He seems to have assumed personal responsibility for making the team go. He always had the talent, but now I see a determination that distinguishes between really talented and truly great. " [Note: Word.]

The Good

  1. Christian Gomez, Devilish: It was fitting that on a night where Marco Etcheverry was honored for his service as a number 10 for this team that Christian Gomez would finally cement his place as the true heir of the playmaker role. Certainly he was an impact player in 2004 during the MLS Cup run, and 2005 established himself as one of the best in the league, but it is this year where, as BlackDogRed notes above, he has taken control of this team. I personally was wondering who would step up and lead this team, especially with Moreno now in the final few years of his career as a top playmaking forward. That question was answered.
  2. Tanned...Rested...Ready - Moreno: Earlier in the year, the DCenters wondered aloud about Moreno getting burnt out before time since he was regularly going the full 90. However, I lost confidence in that opinion since Moreno was still generating plays. It turned out that there was every reason to worry, and I'm not sure that two days off will be enough to get us through the rest of the season. Still, it was good to see. Very, very good to see.
  3. Kid 'n Play: As mentioned earlier, I was pleased with the play of rookies Rod Dyachenko and Jeff Carroll, and thought Freddy Adu looked the most dangerous he has looked in some time. New acquisition Mattias Donnet got a goal, but only seemed to really be in the game after he was moved out to the wing. Still, it is clear he can cross a ball. But hold on to that thought for a bit...
  4. Composure: I know this seems strange in a match where Facundo Erpen gets ejected on a bone-headed retaliation move, but the rest of the team seemed much more composed. I've been harping on this, but last night I saw less jawing at the referee and plays from anger than I'd seen in the previous five games. Captain Ben Olsen was in control, and the team took the proper cues.

The Bad

  1. Stutter: It may be lost in the frenzy that was the final forty-five minutes, and others may disagree, but I think that NYRB had the edge in terms of the run of play in the opening half. That's not to say that DC didn't have chances, but New York was finding openings that forced an adjustment after the interval.
  2. Passing out of the Back: Dave and Garth spoke about playing long balls over the top and not finding attackers, but the few balls played on the ground in the opening 45 were weighted oddly and frequently wild off that mark. This got better, but too often it led to a needless loss of posession.
  3. Sweet Creamery Butter: Garth, there already is a catchphrase on the goals, and it belongs to Dave "In the Net" Johnson. I'm not sure what sweet creamery butter is supposed to suggest, other than something Tony Meola might cover his body in.

Man of the Match

Christain Gomez, the MVP of the league. Well, that'd be my vote. Not sure how we'll handle voting for the BASAs over here.

Final Thoughts

One game is not a trend, and we should resist the temptation to think the slump is over. We are right where we were after the Chivas game - looking at some tough games in the future and the chance to establish momentum into the playoffs. This is our last chance to do so.

Oh, and buy your playoff tickets.

23 September 2006

First Impressions - DC UNITED 4 : 3 NYRB

There is so much that went wrong with this game, it seemed like every weakness of the season was popping up. DC was making stupid mistakes. Players were taking cards too easily. Erpen was doing something stupid in between brilliant defensive stops. We were plagues by injury and fatigue.

Yet there was one weakness that finally didn't show up: The inability to get a two goal lead once in front. And finally we managed to pull something together on that front. Credit to Jamie Moreno for coming in and jazzing the team up. Credit to Piotr Nowak for letting Jamie get some rest. Credit to Christian Gomez for another outstanding game against New York. Credit to the kids, as Jeff Carroll and Rod Dyachneko and Freddy Adu acquitted themselves well. DC was given ample opportunity to fold like Johnny Chan looking at 7-2 offsuit, yet for once kept pushing for the win. Can I say they deserved it? Probably not, but it was nice to see a few things pay off. A win that causes more of a sigh of relief than any exhiliration, right now. But that's something.

Just one more thing. I've been harping on the Supporter's Shield all year, and in fact since before the season started. I still am. Right now I have little confidence that DC will bring home a fifth title, but I do believe this teams has done enough to represent the country in international play. Win the supporter's shield, and that happens. And now we can see that, for the first time this year, that result is in our hands.

Preview of Match 11.29: Red Bull New York

Match #: 11.29

Opponent: Red Bull New York

DC United, 14-4-10, 52 pts, 1st in East Conference, 1st in MLS
New York Red Bulls, 7-10-11, 32 pts, 4th in East Conference, 11th in MLS

TV: CSN/MLStv/FSC - 7:30 pm

Previous Meeting: New York 0 : 0 DC United (DCenters Debriefing)

Suggested Pregame Music: United supporters will be listening to this. Red Bulls supporters came up with this.

Suggested Pregame Activity: Get to RFK early to celebrate the 1996 championship team.

The Stakes: United needs a win here to get back on track, consolidate 1st place in the East and help their chances at the Supporter's Shield. This is the easiest game that United has from here on out (even if it isn't that easy). The easiest path to a rebound of form is in this game, and without this game time starts running out to find that form.

Things I'd like to see: United take it to New York. This is a game that we should dictate the game, much like we did the first time we went up to Hoffa Park. That is how United has been sucessful this season, and this is the best opportunity they are going to have to do so again this season. They need to grab that opportunity (and the Red Bulls) by the horns.

Previews from the DCUniverse: DC Sundevil, Quarter Volley

Previews from the New Yorktown: Hmm.

Expected Yield: 1 point (Kinney)

Kinney's Location: RFK.

Oscar and D's Location: RFK (but that's just a guess).

Last Words: Bruce Arena on the Red Bulls organization: "I would not have come back in the league to any other team but this one. But this organization wants to make the sport better in this country. They want to give you the things necessary to be successful, and I've never heard that in this league."

22 September 2006

Clinical Trial: Bobby Convey > Landon Danovan

We all remember how DCU alum Bobby Convey didn't start for Reading his entire first year with the squad. Yet despite that, he stayed with the team and worked his way into the starting XI, helping earn his club promotion. At that point, noting Bobby's willingness to fight through some tough times, people openly wondered "Hey, maybe Bobby's better than Landon, especially in terms of mental toughness." Well, what if a top flight German team were to take him on? That would make the comparison more apples-to-apples, no? Well, such things may be possible (though personally, I can't imagine Reading being willing to part with Convey right now).

20 September 2006

Kinney's Carnival of American Soccer V Submission

It's A Simple Game has a great topic for the fifth Carnival of American Soccer.
If someone asked you to describe the character of each of the 12 teams in Major League Soccer, what would you say? What’s the story of each Major League Soccer club from where you sit?
I have done this by equating MLS teams with other teams from the American professional sports landscape. I explain why I chose the teams that I choose. Anyways, my ideas are below.


Chicago Fire = Oakland Raiders

This isn't because they are the biggest bastards in the MLS as It's A Simple Game views the Raiders (though they do have CJ Brown). It is more because they have a really, really good fan base, and a decent history. It isn't dynasty great, but pretty decent, with lots of US Open Cup victories. Plus if we use this equation then Peter Wilt can play John Madden. I think there are a couple of college football teams that would work as well, because of the fanbases and prevlance of smaller trophies. But I decided to stick with just professional teams.

Columbus Crew = Buffalo Sabers
The Crew are very much like the Buffalo Sabers or "the hardest working team in hockey." Sound familiar, it should. Apparently if you are a small market team with little to no talent you can call yourself hard working. As in "Columbus isn't in last place in MLS it's just hard working." The fact that I doubt non-hockey fans know there is even a team in Buffalo only increases the veracity of this analogy.

DC United = Green Bay Packers
Okay DC fans, let me just start by saying that United hasn't reached Yankee or Celtics dynasty status yet. And frankly, given the parity in MLS I don't think any team ever will. However, it already has wrapped up its status as the Packers of MLS. It won the first two MLS cups, just as the Pack won the first two Super Bowls. Green Bay also has 9 national championships (6 before the advent of the Super Bowl) just as DC United currently has 9 major national or international trophies. Not to mention the fan/franchise relationship that Green Bay has and that United is closest to emulating. If the Packers have the Lambeau leap then United has Christian drumming with the away supporters, Eski dropping off beer to the Barra, and Boswell jumping into La Norte.

Kansas Wiz = Kansas City Royals
One national championship each. Check.
Currently sucking. Check.
Wear blue. Check.
Only people in Kansas City care. Check.
But good luck to the Wiz with their new ownership.

New England Revolution = Jim Kelly's Buffalo Bills
Good team that never won the national championship. That is basically how I sum up the Revs. The red, white, and blue motif of each helps. The fact that the Revs were horrible before 2002 and the Bills have been horrible since Kelly is also a factor. Close, but no cigar should be the Revs motto.

New York Red Bulls = Los Angeles Clippers
Both are completely overshadowed by a large market with a lot of teams and another better team in their market. Unfortunately for the Pink Cows the team that is still overshadowing them folded in 1984. I am pretty sure that TFKA Metro will always be the second best soccer team in New York (of course they aren't actually in New York). People will remember the Cosmos until another Cosmos comes along to overshadow the Pink Cows even more. However, they like the Clippers of today might be on the upswing despite a history of nothing but humiliation. It all depends on what Arena can do.


Chivas USA = Dallas Mavericks

Both have a really wide open attacking style and an owner that does his own thing (usually with plenty of success). It took a while for both to be able to understand the rules by which their respective leagues operate, though its pretty clear that neither have them completely figured out. They are also very good at importing talent; especially back when the Mavs had Dirk and Nash before international players were really in vogue. But this is mostly for the attacking style that both teams like playing, it is the same mentality in two different games.

FC Dallas = Texas Rangers
Again, the teams have the same color motif and are in the same city. But more importantly both have a history of doing nothing in the playoffs. The Rangers are the team that has been in the league the longest without ever being to the World Series (when you include the time they spent as the Washington Senators), FC Dallas is tied for the same distinction with regards to the MLS Cup game. The Rangers are 1-9 in the post season for their entire existence, luckily for Dallas my rec team could make the playoffs in the MLS. But the Burn has a history of underachieving in the late season and the playoffs that is epitomized by the Rangers.

Houston Dynamo = Indianapolis Colts
Both teams really underachieved in the playoffs last year. However, this is mostly because of the move and franchise change from the San Jose Earthquakes to the Houston Dynamo. Though not as dramatic as moving the entire team with Mayflower Transit trucks in the middle of the night there is no question that the move rubbed a lot of Earthquake fans the wrong way. Hopefully San Jose fans will get their team back sometime soon.

Los Angeles Galaxy = Chicago Bulls
I don't really know which team to pick for the Galaxy. There are really no good ones after I picked DC United as the Packers. I don't want to insult the second best team in the league, but I don't want to imply that they are better than United either. So I chose the Chicago Bulls, it’s a very recognizable and successful team because of Jordan, but isn't the best team in the NBA as far as trophies are concerned. Also, both are sucking it up right about now, though the fact that LA has a chance to grab the Open Cup on an off year says a lot about the franchise.

Real Salt Lake = Houston Texans
Both teams are new to their respective leagues, and both still suck. However, both also have good fan bases.

Debriefing for Match 11.28: At Chicago Fire


Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Post, Jack McCarthy: "The host Fire scored a 1-0 Major League Soccer victory on Sunday in a physical match in which United was issued seven yellow cards and closed the game with just nine players following two late ejections."
BlackDogRed: "What's distressing is that I no longer expect anything better than this. There is no magic. Win draw or lose, it's going to be a grind."

The Good

  1. Nobody was Hit By Lighting: Thats about it.

The Bad

  1. Terry &%*#@ Vaughn: Taking the game as a whole there should have been two PK's (one for each team), ONE yellow card for Namoff (not two), a Gros red. Also, some sort of warning to Chicago players doing the same things that got United players booked would have been nice.
  2. Not United's Game: The problem that I begun to see when DC plays Chicago is that United has started to play their game. It is a game that plays to the Fire's advantage instead of United's. DC usually starts out playing alright, but after two bad calls everything falls apart, as illustrated by the non-foul on Moreno combined with Boswell's yellow ending up with Moreno's dissent yellow. They need to work on not letting a poor call or two get to them.

Man of the Match

Terry &#*($@ Vaughn, a real game changer.

Final Thoughts

United played well before they imploded. Even when they weren't completely on, they made sure that Chicago wasn't either. It was a classic 0-0 tie game until Chicago beat the offside trap and United saw red. Shame it wasn't in reverse order or Namoff wouldn't have been on the field to keep Herron onside.

So Much To Say

Yes, once again, I'm stuck in one of those "Let's have D work on his job for 14 hours a day" situations. Which sucks. If anyone knows of a nicely paying job for a DC United soccer blogger, please pass it on to me. In the mean-time, check out the great comments in response to the Fire game, which were excellent (and I always prefer it when people respectfully challenge the opinions of the people at this site. That's groovy. We dig that.)

In the meantime, the wonderful spouse of D passed on this to me. More proof that DC United = Class, even when its players aren't on the pitch.

17 September 2006

First Impressions - Chicago Fire 1 : 0 DC United

Folks, it is getting ugly out there. For a few weeks, I was thinking that the issue that Nowak had with the officiating was not in the big calls, but the way that DC wasn't getting the small calls, like the clutching and grabbing and kicking at the ankles. I put that theory to the test watching the Revs game, and didn't see that it held out, so I didn't write about it. I'm glad I didn't, since while I can't say that DC lost this game because of the referee, I know that DC never was given a good chance to win because of it.

What is most frusturating is that DC was showing signs of some good play, developing some good passes and creating nice offensive opportunities. But with ridiculous officiating early in the game, including the early caution to Moreno, the blatant penalty that was not awarded, and the toleration of the thuggery of CJ Brown, it was clear the deck was stacked.

The second half was a mockery of a game, with Terry Vaghn resembling nothing more than an insecure substitute teacher, sending kids to the principle office willy-nilly because he might have heard someone whistle every time he turned his back. The red on Gros was a ridiculous call. The first yellow on Namoff is the kind of thing that should make Brooks McCormick change his name to Alan Smithee. Utterly ridiculous. I remember a boxing match on ESPN that ended with Teddy Atlas yelling at the ref "He should be pistol whipped for this match." I'm not saying that's the right thing, but it does reflect how mad I was about this incompetence with a whistle and book.

It upsets me, because with a competently reffed game, DC might have been able to establish someting. But they were never given a chance.

Preview of Match 11.28: At Chicago Fire

Match #: 11.28

Opponent: Chicago Fire

DC United, 14-3-10, 52 pts, 1st in East Conference, 1st in MLS
Chicago Fire, 8-8-10, 34 pts, 3rd in East Conference, 7th in MLS

TV: ESPN2 - Now (or 4pm)

Previous Meeting: Chicago Fire 1 : 1 DCU(DCenters Debriefing)

Suggested Pregame Music: United Colours by U2.

Suggested Pregame Activity: Piss on a fire. Only you can prevent forest fires.

The Stakes: Part of a two game series that will decide who has the momentum going into the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Things I'd like to see: A motivated United.

Previews from the DCUniverse: QuarterVolley

Previews from the Chicago Fire Sphere: Too lazy.

Expected Yield: .5 point (Kinney)

Kinney's Location: At home, watching on ESPN2.

Oscar and D's Location: Unknown.

Last Words: At least we have an originial mascot and not one that could be sued for trademark infringement.

15 September 2006

Debriefing for Match 11.27: At New England Revolution


Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Post, Steven Goff: "United has not played consistent soccer over the course of a match for several weeks, and this effort was no different.
QuarterVolley: "Matt Reis had far from his best match, but at least he didn't give any United players any concussions. "
BlackDogRed: "I can't say I'm any more pessimistic today than I was about United's end of season prospects yesterday, but I can say I'm certainly not more optimistic. The goals are not coming, and this whole score one and scramble desperately on defense ain't going to get it done."
DCSunDevil:"I know that with the one point, United cannot finish lower than 2nd in the East, but damnit, we had a 13 match unbeaten streak! We ran away from the league and now it looks like the league is going close that gap, and might over take us."
The Far Post: "2 (out of 5) JoJo and Freddy pictures. Minus 3 points for giving up the lead, the football markings in the field, and Dempsey wearing a pouting look on his face every time a United player push him around."

The Good

  1. Sometimes DC Played Well: In the past couple of games DC has not dominated like they did earlier this season. That changed on Wednesday, unfortunately DC couldn't keep it up for more than about a half an hour, or exactly 1/3 of the time necessary.
  2. Adu on Track: Freddy seems to be back from his nagging injuries, and is picking up his game. He needs to be the dynamic force that we know he can be for United to go deep in the playoffs. Not so much to carry the team, but to lend a hand so that Gomez and Moreno don't have to do it all by themselves.
  3. The Ref: We here at DCenters tear into refs a bunch when they botch the game. This one didn't. In what could be a very chippy game between two teams that have no love loss for each other, the ref both kept control and let the game play. He wasn't perfect, but he was a hell of a lot better than most of the officiating I have seen this year.

The Bad

  1. Coasting: DC played an excellent first half, but the intensity did falter at the start of the second. The instinct for this team is to preserve, not kill. (D wrote the previous two sentances last week)
  2. Atmosphere: Football lines on the field. Check (I am pretty sure this messed with Adu at least once). Horribly chewed up grass the entire length of the field. Check (though I do realize that I am standing in the glass house that is RFK). Smallest Revs crowed EVER. Check and checkmate.

Man of the Match

Right now its going to Gros for the goal and only the goal. My mind could be swayed however as my email to fellow DCenters went unanswerd. I will take their apathy for acceptance until faced with incontrovertible truthiness.

Final Thoughts

Huge game on Sunday. Hopefully we can go into Toyota Park, after Dallas loses the day before, not play Moreno, win by more than one goal, and piss on the Fire. I am not going to hold my breath.

13 September 2006

DC vs Revolution First Impressions

Another tie tonight, our fourth in six games since the All-Star game. This is a tired team, but they're doing enough to get the points. That's at least looking at things as half-full. The pessimist would say that is 8 points lost, not 4 points gained. Our last league win against a conference opponent was the July 15th win against Columbus. In four of the last 5 games, United goes against Eastern Conference teams all jockeying for playoff position.

Too much of our offense of late has been through Gomez and Moreno. Eski has to get healthy and find his scoring touch. Adu, as well, needs to be a more active and aggressive threat off the ball. This is a team that needs rest from 2 months full of games. Will Peter rest some regulars? I don't know, I get the sense that his idea of a relaxing vacation includes training for a triathlon.

When I hear Bog, I think of the Meadowlands

The Washington Post has a new Sports Blog written by the utterly clever Dan Steinberg: The DC Sports Bog. We've added it as a link in our "Other Sports Blogs" section, and appreciate that he even gave us a shout-out yesterday, and it's clear that he's completley aware that there is soccer in our fair city. In our defense to that shout-out, we point out that, compared to some, we were rather restrained. Somewhat. Okay, not really. Anyways, for all of you DC Post readers, do check out the fine DC, MLS, and other Soccer blogs assembled for your reading pleasure on the right.

And Dan, if you're still reading here? Cabrales. Really. Amazing stuff.

Update: I see that the SE's are making this link as well, and representing over at his comments section. Good on them.

Preview of Match 11.27: At New England Revolution

Match #: 11.27

Opponent: New England Revolution

DC United, 14-3-9, 51 pts, 1st in East Conference, 1st in MLS
New England Revolution, 8-8-10, 34 pts, 3rd in East Conference, 7th in MLS

TV: DK/MLSlive.tv- 7:30pm (Note: In a previous version of this post, I mistakenly included CSN. This game is not on Comcast. The DCenters regrets the error. Certainly D does. See comments.)

Previous Meeting: New England 1 : 1 DCU(DCenters Debriefing)

Suggested Pregame Music: I don't know what Kinney was complaining about, as his pregame music choice was brilliant last time. Anyways, I'm going with the only rap music I know of more hilarious than MC "Deuce" Clint Dempsey, so I recomment "All You Need is Love" by the Justified Ancients of Mumu (The JAMs)

Suggested Pregame Activity: Broker a transfer deal for Mr. Dempsey to Charlton Athletic, or, even better, to Rimini.

The Stakes: New England is not exactly secure in the playoff race, and always plays DC tough, especially at home. United has shown a few signs of life in the last two games, and a strong performance will build momentum nicely for the stretch. Add in a five point lead over FC Dallas for the Suppoter's Shield, and there is plenty on the line.

Things I'd like to see: The referee calling the incessant shirt tugging we can expect from the Revolution midfielders. Eskandarian to rest his knee and come back strong. Adu to maintain some consistency. Donnet to find someone on a cross.

Previews from the DCUniverse: DC Sun Devil, QuarterVolley

Previews from the New England Insurgency: Are there even any Revs dedicated blogs? Man, RSL makes them look bad. Thank goodness they at least have a matchnight site.

Expected Yield: 1 point (D)

D's Location: At home, watching on MLSLive.TV over the wireless network (and on the sofa).

Oscar and Kinney's Location: Unknown, but wherever it is they will raise the average cool factor by at least 10%.

Last Words: "It's a matter of time."

12 September 2006

Play it Cool.

A Study in Localized Insanity

Dave walks over to me. "You know who that is, right?"

"Who? That guy?"

"Yeah, that's Bobby Boswell."

I stifle the urge to reenact a Jack Benny spit-take. "No shit, hey, you're right." It's a slightly awkward feeling, since a few minutes before I told Joanna of my plans to pick up a Boswell replica jersey when we head into RFK. Very close to the kind of fanboy behavior that invites William Shatner to ask about whether or not I am currently in posession of, as they say, a life. No, the important thing now is to just be cool about the entire thing. I turn to my drinking buddy who hasn't overheard the conversation with Dave. "Hey, it's Boswell over there." He picks up on the studied non-chalance, barely raising his eyebrows in response.

"Is it? Cool." There's a pause as we are earnestly aware of how forced the casual tone of conversation has become. "You know, I woke up with Heather Mitts in bed this morning..." Complete deadpan. A nice escalation of the mood.

"You too?" I offer.

"Who hasn't?" adds Dave, safely out of earshot of his girlfriend.

Still, now I've been challenged. It's important to establish alpha-male ultimate coolness at this point. "So, um... Jesus Christ came over this morning. Wanted to borrow a cup of sugar. I told him this was the last time..."

Yes, despite being older, and probably outearning an MLS star, even now we can all become so lame...

Debriefing for Match 11.26: Real Salt Lake


Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Post, Steven Goff: "Coach Peter Nowak's makeshift lineup held up well for most of the evening, but yielded a tying goal midway through the second half and had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake before a crowd of 19,812."
The Washington Times, John Haydon: "In the second half, Rimando, making his first start of the season, was called on early to pull of two big saves from Jason Kries and Mehdi Ballouchy. But the veteran goalie's efforts couldn't stop Salt Lake from leveling the score in the 65th minute. "
QuarterVolley: "In the end a 1-1 draw in those circumstances isn't too bad. "
BlackDogRed: "Forced by MLS rules to start an alliterative line-up if three starters are out for disciple, Nowak chose Dyachenko and deRoux and Donnet, and all three played admirably. No doubt many are going to wonder where deRoux has been and why he hasn't been on the field and why now he needs his minutes, and I confess he won my heart by two runs into the box early in the game and actually SHOOTING THE BALL."
DCSunDevil:"Our reserves proved that they could step it up and provide a larger amount of support for the club. I was proud of the guys."
The Far Post: "Before the game RFK announced a team called the “Unknowns” from the SYC league in Virginia were part of the Team Tunnel. But, then all these unknowns walked out wearing United’s black and red. Totally confusing!"
Real Salt Lake Blog (Marking the Referee?): "I did, however, love the fact that you could hear exactly what the DCU supporters were singing on the KSL broadcast, especially in the first half."
Are You Loyal?: "It was pretty clear that DC dominated this game (I had DC with 59% possession), which is why I'm so impressed RSL were able to take a point away from it."
DCist, Matt Borque: "The recipe turned out to be decent. Of course, some of the ingredients worked better than others. "

The Good

  1. The Kids are OK: Deroux, Dyachenko and Adu put in some good minutes for the black and red. DeRoux, as has been noticed several places, not only filled in well for Josh Gros, but provided something that we haven't seen much of this year: A winger who can dribble through traffic and penetrate down a wing. Dyachenko is craftier than you'd think, and provides a nice target for long balls from the keeper. Adu showed more confidence in this game than most I can remember.
  2. Control and Focus: This is the big reason why I am more optimistic after a draw than I was last week after a win. DC wasn't good in spots for this game, but good in stretches. Long stretches. Yes, they let up the gas for 15 minutes at the start of the second half, but otherwise they showed more composure in this game than in any game since before the all-star break.
  3. Rimando - I still belong: Nick had a good game, and my gut tells me that the truthiness of the goal was that Perkins would have played that ball almost identically. Two good saves to preserve a draw.
  4. Play in Traffic: DC's greatest improvement was in dealing with posession when RSL would clog areas of the field. They executed quick, simple, short, but deceptive passes and touches that could spring the ball out wide after some nice movement. I hadn't seen that kind of play since the last Columbus MLS game, and it was what made the first part of the season such a joy.
  5. Defensive Resilience: Brandon Prideaux kept the back line reasonably organized. Facundo Erpen did make his one strange play for the match, but it happened at midfield and ultimately resulted in a missed pass out of bounds. When he was under pressure, which was rare, he played well.
  6. Freddy Adu, Balanced Arrogance: Freddy's waiving off of Jamie Moreno and Donnet to take the free kick goal showed good instinct. Given that the kid has had to learn how to balance his instancts and the need to respect your elders for the good of the team, this game showed the right combination of arrogance and deference.

The Bad

  1. Coasting: DC played an excellent first half, but the intensity did falter at the start of the second. The instinct for this team is to preserve, not kill.
  2. Jeff Cunningham for USMNT!: If Jeff proved one thing in the last game, it is that he dives as well as anyone in the world. Put him on the USMNT, and we'll be getting more chances.
  3. The Art of Positioning and the AR: Setting aside the larger issue of whether Nowak is right to continue to criticisize the officiating, I will say that the AR nearest to me was consistently out of position to judge off-side calls. This went both ways.

Man of the Match

There was more than a little debate among your DCenters writers on this one. I started out favoring DeRoux, but arguments were made for Dyachenko and Adu. Ultimately, Freddy Adu won out, in a game where a team effort made this discussion very difficult. Great goal Freddy.

Final Thoughts

A game Wednesday against New England, and hope springs a bit for this team. I wasn't seeing any effort previously where I thought DC had something to build on, but the kids may have done something the vetrans were unable to do. There is, I think, based on the comments I heard in the SE Podcast, a sense that the players feel the same way. I think they felt that old feeling creeping back in again, and we'll see if it carries over.

11 September 2006

Your patience please

My apologies. Today is rather hectic, but I do want to get a debrief up for everyone. It just won't be for a few hours, or perhaps tomorrow at the latest. My bad.

To tide you over, I recommend some nice photos taken by the man behind Information Leafblower.

10 September 2006

First Impression - DCU 1 : 1 RSL

So I'm hanging out with Bobby Boswell at the tailgate...

Nah, we'll address that in its own post...

So for the game. Really, I'm okay with this. That was, shockingly, a much better performance than I expected, and it was unlucky not to be rewared with three points. This was one of the most purposeful performances by DC all-season. They controlled the tempo for 75 minutes of this game. Their passing made sense, their attacking moves were strong, they created chances. This was a good game. This is a game to build the type of form I want to see going into the end of the season.

Full debrief later, as we've got a MOTM situation to sort out. But really, I was happy with this performance. There was more good than bad.

09 September 2006

Match 11.26 Preview: Real Salt Lake

Match #: 11.26

Opponent: Real Salt Lake, Final MLS Matchup

DC United, 14-3-8, 50 pts, 1st in East Conference, 1st in MLS
Chivas USA, 9-12-5, 32 pts, 6th in West Conference, 8th in MLS

TV: CSN/DK/MLSlive.tv/FSC - 7:30pm

Previous Meeting: Real Salt Lake 2 : 1 DC United (DCenters Debriefing)

Suggested Pregame Music: Okay, I have a confession to make, I know nothing about music. This is the worst part of the preview for me because unlike many other DC United fans, I am not a music snob. I usually just listen to whatever is on the radio and any indie bands that I do listen to can be directly correlated to my little sister sending me a song or two over AIM. So basically I usually just come up with some sort of classic rock reference after lots of futile searching online. This time however my googleing skills came to fruition. Unfortunately, the band sucks and I had never heard of them before, but you can't make this stuff up. "Hospital Food is an original melodic pop-punk band straight from the streets of Salt Lake City." The first song on their new album is Diablo.

Suggested Pregame Activity: Operation

The Stakes: United still needs points for the Supporter's Shield and the international bid that comes with it. There is still a lot of animosity left over from the pre-season, as the last match between these two probably did very little to resolve anything. RSL are currently at the bottom of a bitter five way play-off race and need points on the road.

Things I'd like to see: Somebody step up. Last week it was Gomez. This week Gros, Boswell, Gomez, and Eski are all out with yellow card accumulation or straight reds. Moreno might not play this one, as he has been sidelined with tendonitis in his knee and Wilson is out for the year. So we are probably going to see Walker, Dyachenko, Simms, and Prideaux all starting. Somebody needs to step up. I would love to see Adu be the man, but would be happy if it was anybody on the field wearing black. United needs to dominate the midfield, contain Cunningham, and take their shots. Those are the keys to the game, if DC can do that they can win the game. If they don't it could get ugly.

Previews from the DCUniverse: QuarterVolley, DCist

Previews from RSLand: Real Salt Lake Blog, Are You Loyal?

Expected Yield: 1 point (Kinney).

Kinney's Location: RFK

D's and Oscar's Locations? Had better be at RFK.

Last Words: "I think people fancy me. They can't figure me out. I'm an attractive guy. I make good money and I score goals. I'm the kind of guy I believe people love. And, at the same time, they can't figure out why they love me so much, so they decide to hate me."

08 September 2006

Canales on Soccer, Sisters and Brothers

For everybody who read D's post on gender roles, check out this article by Andrea Canales. Canales has quickly become one of the best soccer writers in the country, and this piece is one of her better ones to date.

Ever Fallen in Love?

After a good night's sleep, I feel much better about things since I decided to call an intervention yesterday. I've often said that if you want to write intelligently on this game, you need the head of a neutral but the heart of a supporter. Okay, I've never written that before, but I believe it to be true and it seems like something I should have written before. So there it is. And I try to keep those two aspects of my mind in constant tension when I'm writing here.

The problem is that I really want this team to win this year. They haven't been as dominant as the great teams of DC's past, but they've shown that capacity. They've paid their dues in some tough games. They've represented DC, and the league, remarkably well. In short, I feel like this team will be cheated out of something if they leave 2006 without some silverware.

Which is something of a problem. This team has no more right to the MLS Cup or the Supporter's Shield than any other team. They don't deserve it, and if they or I start thinking in that somehow we deserve a championship it's an invitation for karma to deliver its finishing move (which is, I think, a variation on Kurt Angle's Angle Slam). I don't believe in jinxes, but I do believe in karma.

So to some degree, when this team underperforms, I think it frustrates me more than it did in 2003. I want this team to succeed. I really want this team to succeed. Perhaps a bit too much.

And I'm sure you can all fill in the lyrical allusion to this post's title. Certainly I bet this guy can, though I'm sure he thinks less of me for having made it.

07 September 2006

Guys? We need to talk.

Okay, I'm going to skip the debrief because I think it is time for an intervention. I'm not an unreasonable man, I know that sometimes teams have bad games, or are a little unlucky, or just run into a team that's having the game of its life. But there are enough individual problems out there that I think we need to address them. On an individual basis. It's time to call some people out. And we're going to start at the top:

Piotr Nowak: Coach, I think the world of you, but a team must take its character from its coach, and you are beginning to worry me. Unlike some, I have no doubt that you wanted to win this game. Sure, I would have liked to have seen a forward subbed into the game at some point, but that's your call tactically. Still, I think you've become a bit divorced from reality. This game makes two games where you have blamed the refs for the loss. First it was the loss to Real Salt Lake. Now I see this reported:

"The officials today won the game for the Fire," Nowak said. "Instead of 1-1, we had 2-0 and the game changed considerably after that."

Bullshit. The officials didn't effect the game in the first half when DC was diddling away with no posession. No, instead DC was playing a lackluster and tedious style of soccer, and found itself level at the half simply because our defense was good enough to stop Chicago from creating great chances, and the ones Chicago had they didn't put on frame. That's not the refs, that's us. You can complain about Donnet's goal being disallowed, but don't pretend for a moment that somehow DC played well enough either before or after that point to indicate they were the better team.

Ben Olsen: You're a leader on this team, so start showing some maturity. I wrote in a BigSoccer post yesterday that I think you left your composure in Germany, and that doesn't make me happy. As a leader, players look to you on how to comport yourself. When you get angry, you make stupid fouls and jaw at the ref. Stop it. If you must, channel that anger into tenacity, not stupidity. Can I draw a straight line between your behavior and Erpen's card or Gros's ejection? Nope, but it does look like DC is becoming an awfully think-skinned team when it comes to dealing with frustration. So stop being a brat.

Facundo Erpen: You got burned son. It's about time, given how many of your random bone-headed plays have gone unpunished. Some of this is lack of concentration. Some if it is trying to do too much (don't be afraid to put the ball in Row Z, you don't always have to dribble out of the back and execute and difficult pass). Play smart, and play simply.

Freddy Adu: You had a better game yesterday. But the effort and work you put forward yesterday is a baseline, not a goal. You've gone from a player with difficult stretches punctuated by good plays to a player with difficult stretches interrupted by good games. Reverse those terms. That being said, I think right now you're sending in the best corners for anyone not names Christian Gomez, and better than him some games.

Everyone, fans, club, and others: I don't want to hear about how the refs are jobbing us, or how some players seem to play the game of their lives against us. DC is good enough to overcome both of those things at the same time, and we should expect it for the rest of the season. So deal with it. Control the ball, play smart, and shoot when a decent, if not perfect, opportunity arises. And keep your emotions controlled, not sprayed all over the place. We need focus now, not frantic action.

06 September 2006

First Impressions - Chicago Fire 3 : 0 DC United (US Open Cup Semifinals)

Attention to Detail.

It's what DC didn't have in this game. After frittering away a first half where Chicago had more of the ball, DC started to play better in the second. Yet that's when they gave up all three goals, and two can be put down to stilly stupid misplays that set up Chicago's attacking chances. Frusturating.

Still, need an upside? Freddy and Donnet both played better. Downside? Erpen was finally punished for some of the reckless plays he's made this year, and he'll be anchoring the defense on Saturday.

Blech. No US Open Cup Title for us this year. Time to focus on the MLS related hardware.

I just want to go to bed now.

Set upon him accolades and honors as befit his service.

Your MLS Player of the Week is Christian Gomez. And, according to Jeff Bradley, he's the biggest impact player in the game today. Add to that a DCenters' Man of the Match award, and I think this could be considered a domestic individual triple.

05 September 2006

Of Gender Roles and Youth Systems

Blogger and occasional DCenters commenter Joanna is writing about the beautiful game over at Secondhand Sun. Specifically, she's looking at her experiences as a girl in the sport, and what it signifies in the world at large. Her first installment is up, and it is good reading.

So I'm certainly going to be following the entire series.

I bring this up because it is something I've thought about. I do NOT have kids, but I've thought about how I would raise children if I were to ever have one. My wife knows that if we ever have a girl, I'm buying her a soccer ball at an early age. Yet I'm a little worried about the entire nature/nuture aspect. What if my kid doesn't want to play sports, but wants to play with Barbies and wear pink? The idea distresses me (although perhaps it shouldn't --My Transformers and My Little Ponies had some epic battles, ultimately settled by the deus ex machina arrival of the Care Bears, led by those notorious gangsters Tenderheart and Funshine Bear.)

The only other things I would say is that boys are, well, stupid. Parents and coaches should be less so, but some of the distrust of girls on a predominately boys team will radiate to the coach. I know that when I played on a youth (I think U10) team with one girl on it, the girl was the worst player on the field. I think that rapidly led to sexist generalizations on the part of the 9-year-old D, until a girl on another team carved up our defense one day (at which point I wanted to trade our girl for their girl. Okay, not much more enlightened, I admit, since there were some pretty awful guys that we should have traded away for that girl as well.) But when my younger brother played baseball, it was clear that the average level of the girls playing had improved in only the seven years since I played those sports. Certainly when I was fencing I realized that many of the top women in my age group could wipe the floor with me.

So what's the point? I don't know. I think there's an interesting idea that perhaps a new WUSA won't solve things, as much I enjoyed and supported it at the time (though I-66 at QuarterVolley was much better at that than I was.) As long as we seperate the leagues, there will always be a mental division between genders. Joanna writes:

I was given a plaque that read "Courageous Award." Every player received a trophy, but not everyone got a plaque - those were for special recognition, above and beyond, so it meant something! I was too busy feeling pleased with myself and snickering at the grammar to think about what that award really meant: it meant that I was Good Enough, but that I was still The Girl.
I understand that. I won the "Most Improved" trophy when I played, which meant only that I sucked less than I used to.

I'll say this though: When I play a pickup game, the game is usually dominated by guys. When a few women show up though, I've learned that their skill level is pretty much on-par with most of the men (the above/blow average distribution being roughly equal.) They are almost certainly better than I am. Which means I am more than willing to pass them the ball, for two reasons:

  1. It means I'm no longer responsible if we lose posession, and they're more likely to keep it.
  2. I don't have the wind to run laps for pennance.

Yeah, this post is a rambling mess now. So go read Joanna's series. It seems like she has things organized over there.

Note: An earlier version of this post mistakenly stated I do have kids. That is not true. Unless two kittens count. And they might. Gypsy has a pretty good touch and great sense around the jingle ball, but James is more of a manager type, perferring to pace and mope on the sidelines.)

Your My Boy Blue! (And Other Random Thoughts)

William Yurasko went to the LA Galaxy game and wrote that he enjoyed his time "despite the poor showing of the home side." He also has one of the best observations lists of a soccer match I have ever seen. I am a rather latecomer to soccer myself, so remember going to professional soccer games and being fascinated by the little idiosyncrasies of soccer when compared to the rest of the American sports landscape. William's list is so cool because he doesn't shy away from these random thoughts.

04 September 2006

Debriefing for Match 11.25: At CD Chivas USA


Media, Traditional and Otherwise

The Washington Times, Joseph D'Hippolito: "Gomez scored twice in the first half to give United a 2-1 victory over Chivas USA in front of 14,588 at Home Depot Center... Despite his goals, Gomez attributed United's victory to its improved defense."
The Washington Post, John Galinsky: "After a lethargic August created doubts about both [United and Gomez], Sunday's match with Chivas USA marked a heartening return to form."
Los Angeles Times, Grahame L. Jones: "The first goal was due more to Gomez's skill in striking the ball than to any error by Burpo. The second was another matter. Asked how he had allowed the shot to squirt beneath his low dive to the right, Burpo said tersely, 'Not today, man,' and strode out of the stadium, fielding no more questions."
LA Daily News, Matt Zimmerman: "A Chivas USA player marveled at the postgame statistics. 'We didn't have any shots on goal in the second half,' he kept repeating. Very true. The D.C. United defense successfully repelled every attack in the second half to protect a 2-1 lead until the final whistle at Home Depot Center."
MLSNet, Danny Bueno: "Stoppage time was marred by pushing and shoving on both teams, yellow cards being handed out to Jason Hernandez and Francisco Mendoza of Chivas, while Josh Gros of United and Juan Francisco Palencia of Chivas were ejected."
BlackDogRed: "But DCU got the three points, particularly crucial since Boswell and Eskandarian and Gros and Gomez have been yellowed and (Gros) redded out of next Saturday's game v RSL. Adu looked hurt, tentative and ineffective, and Donnet (pronounced Daw-NETT by the announcers) looked as lost on the field as you'd expect a newbie to look, so if Moreno's knee is significantly sore, who will run what offense next Saturday? That game suddenly looks more dangerous than I'd ever have imagined."

The Good

  1. Brace Yourselves, It's Gomez: Christian Gomez was just amazingly gritty throughout this match. You'll hear sportswriters talk about a great player taking a team on his back, and lifting them up. Christian did that in United's hour-and-thirty-minutes of need. Two goals, and perhaps the start of a spark for the final run.
  2. Five Good Minutes: In the past several games, DC has gotten off the block slowly. Last night they dominated the first five minutes of each half. In neither case were they really able to truly cement the tone they set, but it was a refreshing feel from the past.
  3. Troy Perkins, You Haven't Seen It All: Anon K asks why not Troy Perkins for MOTM? Well, he did well, but the honor still went to Gomez. That being said, Perkins had a solid game in net, and more importantly showed development in his skills on distribution. I sometimes forget that he's only a second year player, and therefore still adding things to his game. In the past, I've been down on his distribution, and when he started playing balls exclusively short I didn't mind (since it at least gave us a chance to maintain posession.) However, he had three well placed balls beyond the midfield stripe. If that continues, that's a hell of a bonus.

The Bad

  1. Next Week - Real Salt Lake at United Reserves: I know it's already been detailed before, but here are your suspensions for next week: Gomez, Eskandarian, Boswell, and Gros. Plus a Moreno that may not be 100%. And I agree with some of the commenters - Adu looked like he got banged up real quick which says his knee is not fully back. Facing the league's most prolific scorer next week in Jeff Cunningham... That's not fun.
  2. Composure: Everyone is going to be taking shots at DC players, and the MLS refs are not about to get a handle on most games. Which means we can't be picking up silly cautions or ejections for emotional fouls. Professional fouls, sure, but not brainless ones.

Man of the Match

Gomez, C. -- Just... stunning.

Final Thoughts

Well, a few players get a bit of a break after the US Open Cup game against Chicago on Saturday. Which means they better play their heart out. Things are still alive for us. At the beginning of the season, I thought 60 points would be enough to win the Supporter's Shield, but now I'm not so sure. I think it might take 62. That's four more wins. We have four more home games. But next week is not nearly a given. Rod Dyachenko, Jamil Walker, Freddy Adu, et al... you need to step up.

03 September 2006

First Impressions - CD Chivas USA 1 : 2 DC United

I forgot what three points felt like. And it feels good.

Yet the feeling is tempered by what it cost. Moreno and Gomez both going off with injuries (which may be a blessing in disguise if it isn't serious and it just meant they get more rest, but otherwise can spell trouble.) Olsen looking winded. The hardest working man in MLS, Josh Gros, out next week with a red card suspension. Bobby Boswell, Christian Gomez, Alecko Eskandarian -- all suspended on yellow card accumulations... Next week may be a fun week. (This means your starting lineup may well feature Prideaux, Donnet, Adu, Walker, and/or Dyachenko. Huh.)

United showed more character in this game, but it was far from a full rebound. Yes, there were stretches of strong play, particularly in the start of each half. But there were games where United was pretty much able to maintain that level for 70-75 minutes a game, and here it was only sporadic.

Anyways, finally, DC gets three points. That's good. But this season ain't over. 5 point lead on the shield. 7 games to go. Some tough looking games in there, especially the road schedule. DC needs four wins, with one of those in November, for us to feel good about DC's form going into the playoffs. Which we're in. But that's not the end of the season by any stretch.

Oh, and while I usually try and send out an email to my fellow writers on the MOTM selection, I'm pretty sure we all know that it will be Mr. Christian Gomez after this game.

Match 11.25 Preview: At Chivas USA

Match #: 11.25

Opponent: Chivas USA, Final MLS Matchup

DC United, 13-3-8, 47 pts, 1st in East Conference, 1st in MLS
Chivas USA, 8-6-10, 34 pts, 3rd in West Conference, 4th in MLS

TV: CSN/DK/MLSlive.tv - 7:00pm

Previous Meeting: DC United 2 : 0 Chivas USA (DCenters Debriefing)

Suggested Pregame Music: Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones

Suggested Pregame Activity: Here is one that is kid friendly.

The Stakes: Dallas is now within two points of taking the lead in the race to the Supporter's Shield. You do the math.

Things I'd like to see: Crisper passes. More off the ball runs. Better shape in the back. More shots on goal. I would like to see what all United fans would like to see, and haven't seen since the before the All-Star game.

Previews from the DCUniverse: QuarterVolley

Previews from Chivamundo: Can't read spanish. It my fault, I know.

Expected Yield: 1 point (Kinney).

Kinney's Location: Friend's house. Invited for a wine and cheese and going to wear my United jersey. Hopefully they won't mind.

D's and Oscar's Locations? I have no clue.

Last Words: Chupacabra

02 September 2006

Talon vs. England

We have the best mascot in MLS. There is no question. But I would take Talon against any of these guys as well. Though, Gunnersaurus Rex does look a little tough.

Just some fun on a Saturday without a game. I will be getting up a preview of the Chivas match later today.

01 September 2006

A Deflower Dilemma

Sorry to be late in posting this... just as I think real life will subside for a moment, it comes roaring back at me. But anyways, my Operation: Deflower! story starts with the friend I took to the LA-DC game, whose results are now well known.

My friend, let's call him Adam (although his real name is, well, Adam) is an old college friend. We were in the same improvisational comedry troupe. Anyways, I called him up to see if he wanted to go to the game, and he was game. So off we went. I decided that a DC United experience is not complete without some interaction with the beautiful community of DC United fans, so I bought him an Screaming Eagles tailgate pass and we made our way to Lot 8. Now, since it was his first game, I had secured tickets on the quiet side, so that he could see the supporter's groups and later make up his mind on whether he wanted to join them for another game or not. Still, I wanted to expose him to this wonderful community that exists, and this seemed the gentlest way (and one should be gentle when it's the first time.)

Now, I should probably admit that most of the SE Crew probably don't know me, but pretty much everyone who I knew came up and introduced him or herself to Adam. There was a strong welcome rolled out for a guy that they didn't even know. Makes me proud of my fellow fans. Adam was chowing on some grill food as Dave, K, and some of the others came by, including one woman who went to our shared alma mater. It was pretty cool. But it was here when I was suddenly faced with a problem: Adam doesn't drink alcohol. It's just his thing. Which is cool, don't get me wrong. But can I really be doing my part for the Free Beer movement if all Adam has is a Sierra Mist? I had to do something. Well, being an upstanding FBM supporter, I did the only thing I could think of. I got him a beer. Then I drank his beer, for him. It seemed the only right thing to do. That beer had a higher calling, and it must be fulfilled.

Anyways, Adam enjoyed the game. I think one of the things that amaze people when they first see a game is just how difficult some of the routine things are. He marveled at how players could settle a ball that had just popped up thirty feet in the air on his foot. He noticed that DC seemed tired. He grasped the concept of offside remarkably quickly.

Will he back again? I don't know. I hope so. And next time maybe we'll hang out in the bouncing stands.