31 January 2006

The Partisan Guide to MLS

DC, or so the conventional wisdom goes, is a town of transients. Congressional staffers, legislative aides, lobbyists, etc... Many of them are in DC for only a few years. While here, they may as well support DC United, considering that their home state may not have an MLS team. In order to help make this transition easier for them, the DCenters has assembled this easy to use guide on why other MLS teams should not be adopted by our party staffers, conveniently packaged to support their partisan leanings and demonstrating how the team is inappropriate and unworthy of their partisan support...

Columbus Crew

Republicans: Crew logo borrows heavily from Soviet-era "heroic realism." Way too communist looking.
Democrats: "America's Hardest Working Team" finished out of the playoffs, thus reinforcing the idea that blue-collar labor is not rewarded in America. Barbara Ehrlich would no doubt denounce this message in her forthcoming book "Hard Tackle: How America's Middle Class Team is Marginalized by Superior Talent"

Chicago Fire

Republicans: Remember, Chicago is why Nixon lost to Kennedy. Never forget, never forgive.
Democrats: Team name celebrates example of poor urban planning.

Kansas City Wizards

Republicans: Rainbow ball image disconcerting to religous conservative base.
Democrats: Wizards no doubt use "magical thinking" to justify economic policies, exactly the sort of thing we loyal Dems should be fighting against.


Republicans: Name implies that living in a metropolitan area makes you a star. However, we red-staters like clearing brush on our farm, so clearly this team isn't for us. And wasn't Alexi Lalas that hippie looking dude? Team playoff record shows overuse of hemp products.
Democrats: Team fled to New Jersey, thus increasing urban sprawl and ecologically destructive practices. Image of Tony Meola in goal glorifies poor nutritional habits promoted by large fast-food companies.

The New England Revolution

Republicans: This the the team of the Kennedys and Kerrys. No GOP staffer would ever support such a team.
Democrats: Prominent images of musket wielding supporters indicated insufficient grasp of the need for strong gun control.

Colorado Rapids

Republicans: Once had a coach nicknamed "Mooch", who probably earned his nickname by mooching off the state for welfare he didn't deserve.
Democrats: Pete Coors is from Colorado, so team name Rapids probably indicates the GOP's desired speed for overturning Roe v. Wade.

Chivas USA

Republicans: Sure the colors are red white and blue, and since W speaks Spanish, they should be okay, but image of fighting goat suggests... SATAN!
Democrats: Chiva Girls do not present strong role models for young women. Teams consistently beating the crap out of Chivas does not present good image of kindness to goats and other animals.

FC Dallas

Republicans: Inside sources suggest "FC" actually stands for "Favorites of Clinton". I saw this on LewRockwell.com, it must be true.
Democrats: Inside sources suggest "FC" actually stands for "Funded by Cheney". I saw this on DemocraticUnderground.com, it must be true.

Houston 1836

Republicans: They're carpetbaggers, and if there's one thing the GOP can't stand, it is a carpetbagger.
Democrats: Team left beautiful San Jose to move to the City of Enron and George Bush #1's tax-dodge address.

LA Galaxy

Republicans: Can't forgive Steve Sampson for embarassing US in front of the French, who we hoped to humiliate in 1998.
Democrats: Can't forgive Steve Sampson for embarassing US in front of the French, who we hoped to impress in 1998.

Real Salt Lake

Republicans: Mispronunciation of "Real" damaging to English only education efforts.
Democrats: Utah not exactly known for its tolerance of different people, let alone R-Rated movies. Salt Lake known to be product of irresponsible environmental policies of Bush White House.

DC United

So there you have it. But I suppose you'd like some positive reasons for supporting DC United, eh? Well, here you go:
Republicans: Like the GOP, DC United knows how to win when it counts.
Democrats: Like the Democrats, DC United presents a positive view of diversity, both on the pitch and in the stands.

Ignorance Defines My Limits

Nutriotional Supplements: So you may well ask -- Why hasn't the DCenters had anything on the Supplemental Draft? I know that no one has actually emailed me that question, or left it in the comments, but the fact that it happened last week and I didn't say a thing nags at me. However, I have a defense: I know nothing. Nada. I don't have a flippin' clue about what the Supplemental Draft will mean. I'm not going to say that players don't emerge from the Supplemental Draft, but I have no basis for judging it. Unlike the 2006 SuperDraft, where I had actually done some research, and even seen a few college games from teams other than Maryland. I got nothing here. For names and stuff, I leave it to the good folks at Mid-Atlantic.

Why can't you be more like Bobby Convey? There's a question you thought might never have been uttered, but now it is. Bobby Convey is now being presented as a model for how people on this side of the Atlantic should develop. Consider this article about Canadian Jaime Peters in comparison to Bobby Convey. Shocking, but a fascinating development. A season of hell can occasionally be rewarded. A good lesson for US players abroad that might get depressed in their first year.

30 January 2006

Good Morning Sunshine

Your morning discussion topics around teh Internets:

Freddy at Camp: MLS Net with an article of Freddy at US Camp. For those that think that Freddy has a shot in Germany, Arena's comments in this article should end that once and for all. I may even have to drop the odds a bit more.

The Goose's Five Rings: DCU alum Jeff Agoos discusses his five championships and his decision to retire over at US Soccer Players. This article is actually quite good at subtly portraying the humanity of a soccer player, a trick in the writing that I can't quite point to. It's interesting just from that perspective as well, as it manages to convey some emotion without being overly manipulative.

Pope Good: Given that I've stated multiple times that I think DCU alum Eddie Pope should retire from the USMNT, let me admit that his performance was excellent in the Norway match. Not the goal so much, but rather the number of times he managed to step up and stop a Norway counter, in a way that Mexico couldn't. I still worry that he may be a liability in Germany, but nothing in the Norway game pointed in that direction.

Goff - Previously on DC United, the Series: Steve Goff runs a preseason recap of the end and the offseason for those just tuning back into the MLS World. He talks up the lack of changes by DCU in terms of the roster, and calls Rod Dyachenko a potential impact draft pick (I'd really like to see his evidence for that. Does he really know more about Dyachenko than any of the rest of us?) Much discussion of the offseason of tormented dreams that followed the Chicago Massacre.

Now, read, and then go forth and flame people who's opinions differ from yours. It's the internet way.

29 January 2006

Do You Know 5 Ways to Find the Net?

UmlSA 5 : 0 Norway

Well, that was fun. After mocking Taylor Twellman for his inability to finish in the Canada game, he grabs the hat trick. ESPN-2's coverage was decent, the Home Depot Center was well groomed, and the US primed to attack. While the competition may not have seemed like much, it is important to remember a few things: First, this is primarily our C-Squad, trying to fill out the bottom 3rd of the lineup. Second, this same Norway team was edged by Mexico only 2-1. For those that saw that game, Mexico was having difficulty with Norway's physicality and Noway's counter was much more effective. The UmlS Defense was much stronger, contained Norway the entire game, even against tough players like Arst (whose goal against Mexico saw him brilliantly fight through a tackle before sending a ball to the near post.)

From the DCU perspective, it seems difficult to see any player making the World Cup squad. Santino Quaranta subbed into the game and promptly disppeared in a game where pretty much everyone else was getting their number called. He then managed a professional foul yellow card, and overall it was the kind of performance that lends ammunition to Quaranta's critics. Ben Olsen played an excellent, urgent game despite being a second half sub. His name may not end up in the scoring table, but the US's fifth goal (!!) was set up on some nifty play he had from the midfield all the way to the Norweigan goal line. It was a good performance for him, but may be lost in the general strong play that the UmlSA demonstrated. Which is a problem for all of DCU's players that didn't play, in that the rest of the team clicked fairly well.

If this doesn't seem like a big deal, recall the histrionics after the nil-nil draw against Canada, where various amateur commentators thought proved that the MLS players were clearly inferiour to anything in the world. Now that's clearly not true, provided that the rest of the world is playing a U-23 team. Still, that's progress.

Your updated odds of DCU campers going to Germany:

  1. Santino Quaranta (Odds - 5:1, prevously 3:1)
  2. Ben Olsen (Odds - 5:1, previously 6:1)
  3. Brian Carroll (Odds - 10:1, previously 8:1)
  4. Freddy Adu (Odds - 30:1, previously 20:1)
  5. Bobby Boswell (Odds - 45:1, previously 25:1)

26 January 2006

Confirmation Days

What a morning... Need to tell Don Garber to stop calling me for advice on how to run MLS. Or something like that. Anyway, todays theme is confirmation:

The 36ers: First, Houston 1836 is confirmed as the name for the new Houston team. Enjoy, my friends. I like your orango colo[u]ring, but your logo is a bit too modern for me. I don't think that's a soccer thing, I think it is a sports thing. Thus the interest in throwbacks and all. Look at the Caps, who ditched their blue away jerseys with the stylized eagle for the shield logo on the black jerseys. Sure, both logos were new, but one looked old school. (Update: Eric McErlain is a pretty good barometer of the sophisticated sports fan mentality (well, provided you really like the NHL), so when Off-Wing Opinion likes the Houston 1836 name, you're doing okay.)

Make Some Noise: Second, Joe confirms my interest in the column by Andrea Canales with some thoughts of his own about good soccer fan behavior. Comments are well worth reading in the earlier post on this, so let me state a few things: RFK has good atmosphere, but it could be better. The so-called quiet side could be louder, but they do get into it from time to time. I think we do a damn good job. Houston, take notes.

DCU No Sale: Steve Goff, when you read between the lines, seems to confirm my earlier speculation that what doomed the United sale was a lack of capital on the part of Global Development partners:

From what I can tell, the investment group didn't have the money to support a pro sports franchise. I'm sure there's more to the story and it will come out over the next few months.
Right, and I suspect that the reason they didn't have the money was that with other projects falling through, potential investors and funders were nervous about giving large amounts of cash money to Global. Before, when the projects seemed viable, it was expected that Global could raise the cash they needed. The question is whether AEG was naive, or overly optimistic about Global's abilities. I would like to know...

Cleveland 2006ers: And supposed on Big Soccer there's a thread where Peter Wilt says something along the lines of "Garber didn't mean Milwaukee, and Cleveland's making progress." Now, that doesn't confirm the information we gave you earlier, but it does support it, and the DCenters is still trying to confirm our material.

I Missed Lunch, So This Sounds Good: Finally, MASR and a bunch of places note the "Brunch with DC United", which will confirm the necessity and rightness of DCU fandom all over again. Yes, I will watch.

25 January 2006

Short Answer

Ms. Canales, come to RFK. I await the column after that with interest.

See the USA, in your DChevrolet

Bertz Doubly Drafted: No coherent theme this morning, as the DC United news is eminating from various areas. First: DCU fourth round draft pick Kenny Bertz is also Portland Timbers second round draft pick Kenny Bertz. If the Timbers can reasonably offer Kenny regular playing time in Portland, it makes a great deal of sense for him to go there rather than play a full year in the reserves of DC United, at which point who knows what would happen. And if I were DC United, I'd try to work out a deal to loan Kenny to Portland, and retain the rights for him with the option of pulling him back later in the season. Considering that USL draft rights have the lifespan of programs in your TiVo "Suggestions" folder (about two weeks) such a deal would have to be considered quickly. I think it makes sense.

Adu does LA: A reasonable look at Freddy Adu in camp over in the LA Breeze. Only one blatantly factually wrong quote: "You also could say without fear of contradiction that Adu isn't yet good enough to hold Landon Donovan's shin guards." I don't know about that. Freddy may not be as good as Landon is, but Freddy annoys me less. When Sylvia Plath wrote "You are pithy and historical as the Roman / Forum" I'm pretty sure it wasn't an allusion to Donovan. He's not that godlike figure in MLS. He's good, but not the greatest. So, yeah, Freddy could carry Donovan's shin guards. But I hope he has more pride than to do that. Now carrying Jamie shinguards.... I kid, I kid.

goLAZO? Finally, over at the DC Sports Blog, I-66 sees a familiar DCU face.

24 January 2006

A Night At Joe's

Warning: Self-indulgent, whimsical writing ahead. Contains no actual DC United information you want.

That was the thing about Joe, you never knew which one would show up to tend bar that night. Some nights his smile could not be erased no matter how many glasses the patrons dropped. "I understand," he'd laugh, "no hands!" The customer relaxed and ordered another round. Two, if they still felt some residual guilt. Those were the nights the staff would set up one of the enormous SuperDraft glasses at the edge of the bar, and Joe would pace to the other end. Carefully, he'd place a hackeysack right on the edge in a semi-circle embedded into the varnish. The spot, it was called. Then, he'd spin on his heel, a leg would come up and propel the sack towards the glass, its maw open and waiting. As the hackeysack skidded into the glass Joe pulled his shirt over his head. "Golazo!" he proclaimed. "Golazo! Golazo!" the patrons would respond. A bell near the register would ring, and drinks were on the house. At least, for a few minutes. It was still a business.

Then there were the nights his mood turned dark. He'd scowl as various names were mentioned: The US Soccer Federation, Michael Owen, the Chicago Fire. One such night a misguided customer tried to present Joe with an autographed US National Team jersey to accompany the others that decorated the bar: Beasley, Adu, Keller... Joe smiled until he saw the name "QUARANTA" stitched on the back. The help restrained Joe from attacking the suddenly confused patron with the corner flag he pulled from the corner of the bar. The moment passed, and later there were apologies, and a free SuperDraft. Still, the word was out. Not just any player would hang on the wall at Joe's SOCCER Bar.

Despite the occasional beating with the touchline equipment, you always went back to Joe's. The Richie Williams' Midget Shrimp were excellent, the hot wings unsurpassed when ordered at El Diablo spiciness. And the game was on. The game was always on.


I could have sworn Du Nord covered this already, but maybe they just got early word. ABMOD has been hired in New Jersey for the Metros. This gives Richie at least three months of study under Mo until the April 15 tax deadline.

Hopefully I should have written something interesting in the next few days, but until that point, a few pointers to other people's work. First, Maradawga discusses generational sports development and the choices of athletes in a column that I agree with 100%.

Courtesy of Du Nord and The Belly, I see that Marc Connolly (whose mock draft I was actually praising while liveblogging the event) now has a blog. This will be interesting. For a few years, the amateurs (with the exception of the Matchnight folks) have pretty much had the US Soccer Blogging to ourselves. In some sports, when the pros start blogging there is a nice comraderie. In others, they barely tolerate the unwashed masses. I'm curious how it will turn out here.

And Kali's newly redecorated digs at Real Salt Lake Blog are rather nice. It's nice to see some blogs moving away from the standard blogger template and forging their own identity. I imagine that Climbing the Ladder is on the clock now (no pressure, Mr. Ice).

And finally, commentator Seattle Matt neatly summarized my fears about the sale of DC United far better than I did when he wrote the following:

DC is now like the good looking, intelligent woman that's been dumped twice at the altar.

Even though there's nothing wrong with her...any potential suitor worth a crap is going to wonder what's up.

Exactly sir. Well phrased. Unfortunately, your pointy-ball Hawks are going up against my Pointy-ball Stillers. So for the next two weeks, you are dead to me.

23 January 2006

Half a hope

I'm not seeing this linked to elsewhere, but it's a good story. Ben Olsen discusses his last, best shot at making a World Cup squad with Grahame Jones over in the LA Times. Right now, here's my guess at the likelihood, in descending order, of DCU people making it to Germany and are currently in camp:

  1. Santino Quaranta (Odds - 3:1)

  2. Ben Olsen (Odds - 6:1)

  3. Brian Carroll (Odds - 8:1)

  4. Freddy Adu (Odds - 20:1)

  5. Bobby Boswell (Odds - 25:1)

A Midwestern City Named in the Next 60 Days

Yes, like the folks at DuNord, I caught Garber's announcement that an expansion team will be awarded to a midwestern city in the next sixty days. Milwaukee seemed a reasonable guess, as did (ownership concerns aside) St. Louis. However, I also hear with strong plausability another city's name as the location that will be announced, one that if selected would cause one well-known LA Galaxy fan a potential loyalty problem: Cleveland. Not to get all "Not Doug Logan" on everyone, but there you go.

Update 23 Jan: In response to multiple emails (okay, to be honest, two emails) let me clarify that this is not the usual baseless speculation, but is in fact based on details the DCenters has learned, and the DCenters is attempting to confirm the entire story. The city Garber was referring to at the time was Cleveland. Not any of the other ones you might have heard about.

Bruce Arena, Frickin' Genius (Why Capping Adu Now Was Brilliant)

Last night, reported as it happened by DCenters, Freddy Adu received his first international cap for the US Men's National Team. Now, no doubt there are going to be some that complain that this was an awful choice, since this game wasn't on TV and most of the US attention was taken up by pointy-ball games in Seattle and Denver. I love Arena's choice for several reasons:

  1. It gets Freddy his cap, so at least he can feel like he's gotten something for his efforts.
  2. The "Cap Freddy" movement is now victorious. He's gotten his appearence for the USA, and even they didn't think he would make the World Cup roster.
  3. It means that Ghana can stop offering invitations to Freddy, since he's now comitted to the US.
  4. But most importantly, this happened in a game that few were paying attention to. Freddy is not ready for international competition yet (he's just now at a level to be credible at domestic MLS level soccer). Even he probably realizes that, but he wants to test himself. If you grant that perhaps the yellow card wasn't deserved, Freddy still knows that he's outsized by Canadian players. This allows Freddy to get a real taste of the action, and set his expectations accordingly. It deflates the pressure on him, since otherwise his first appearence in a US kit could have been a media frenzy. Now he's got the cap, he can focus on getting better, and doesn't feel the pressure to instantly wow them all to justify his presence on his next appearence.

Bruce has managed to find a way to help Freddy, US Soccer, and the US team in general in one move. Yes, the fans are slightly cheated by not being able to see this moment unless they were at the game. Yet I doubt there will be much outrage, especially as this pays off well for the US team. For me, I don't want Freddy in Germany. But I do think this will help get him ready for the next Gold Cup, and I want him in those games. More accurately, I want his playing ability to demonstrate that he has to be in those games. I'm glad the pressure of his international debut won't accompany them.

22 January 2006

Quietly, it begins

USA 0 : 0 Canada

It is 9:46PM on the East Coast. USA vs. Canada is a game not on television, but thanks to the wonderful world of the Internet there is audio. DCU's Ben Olsen started, but was subbed off at the half. And in the 80th minute, Freddy Adu enters the game for his first international cap for Eddie Johnson. Let's see what happens...

Update: 84th minute. Freddy gets his first touch. In a scene all too familiar to DCU fans, he gets muscled off the ball and goes to the ground to draw the foul. Instead, he is now the youngest player in US National Team history to earn a yellow card for diving.

Update: 88th minute. If Bruce has gotten Freddy to do anything better, it is at least to try and position himself well on defense. Freddy with three touches on the ball.

Update: Full Time. So there it is folks. In a quiet game that even most domestic soccer fans weren't paying attention to in real-time, Freddy Adu gets his first cap. More importantly, I believe that this means that Freddy can no longer play for Ghana. As for the game itself, it was just as exciting as its nil-nil scoreline would suggest. If there are non-soccer fans reading this, that's sarcasm.

Other important news? Taylor Twellman still can't finish. Chris Rolfe gets his second cap. Eddie Johnson's knee injury that brought Freddy into the game will have to be monitored. Eddie Pope still part of the US back four, and played decently if not exceptionally, certainly a better performance from him than I am used to. But if this game will be remembered for anything, it will be as a trviia question answer twenty years ago, as this was Freddy Adu's first cap for the US.

It's interesting, because you never know if an event like this will actually matter. Like Jimmy Johnson's first season with the Cowboys, it was important only later. Firsts are ambiguous like that. Who hit the first Washington Nationals homerun? See if you can dredge that memory out of the sledge of your brain, but ultimately it was nothing significant. Will this be like that moment, a moment of promise, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing? Or will it be like the first shift of Mario Lemieux, which promised greatness and then delivered? I don't know. Neither do you. But it has happened, and for good or ill it can never happen again. I hope it matters.

Update: Morning After. Ridge Mahoney, who is "Special" to the Washington Post (what does that phrase mean anyways?), has a recap of the game, which dces have a nice quote from Adu where he defends his actions leading to the yellow card.

20 January 2006

Your 2006 Superdraft Recruits

Please welcome the newest additions to DC United:

First Round, #7 Overall: Justin Moose (M - Wake Forest)
Considered a right side wing player. While some fans will itch to see him challenge for starting time right away, given the lack of depth on the wings, it still may be a challenge for the first-half of the season. A Hermann semi-finalist, it seems that with an all-time assist record at Wake, he can actually cross a ball. Of course, we'd need someone in the box to deal with it. So come back soon Esky. DCenters Outlook Regular starting time by August 2006, but perhaps not exclusive starting time.

Third Round, #31 Overall: Rod Dyachenko (M - UNLV)
Okay, so this was a a pick that surprised many people, given that he wasn't invited to the combine. Considering that while Matchnight has him as a midfielder, but MLS was listing him as a forward, you can see that this is a guy who is somewhat confusing. His numbers in college showed a sophmore slump, but were otherwise solid. As a CAM, I don't see him fitting into United's plans, so I have to figure that he'll be converted for a look as a forward. DCenters Outlook: Reserve player. Occasional 2nd half substitute.

Fourth Round, #39 Overall: Jeff Carroll (M - St. John's)
Those that read The Belly know that he was high on Jeff Carroll, and he wasn't the only one. Multiple mock drafts had him in the second round, so his falling to the fourth round was a bit of a surprise. As a CDM, he'd be no higher than 3rd on the depth charts, but could see potential time as a RB sub in some situations. DCenters Outlook: Reserve player. Rare substitution. Could play in various exhibition matches.

Fourth Round, #47 Overall: Kenny Bertz (D - MD)
You may remember during the College Cup the guy on the sideline who broke his face. That's Kenny Bertz. Really only has a shot at the CB position, which would put him behind Boswell and Erpen on the depth chart, assuming no change in the 3-5-2. Even if there is, this has the feeling of a "let's take a shot" draft pick. His lack of playing time in the playoffs may have helped DC get a feel for him, since he was out of the high profile games other coaches saw, but playing in DC's back yard allowed for an easier scouting job for the local team. DCenters Outlook: Reserve player, unlikely to see any minutes this year.

Update: Goff starts his coverage, but there's not much analysis yet. If I were honest, I would admit that the draft is a random toss of the dice, and that while I might feel good about some or all of these picks, you never know. We've seen top picks flame out, and undrafted rookies make an impact. Still, when it comes to baseless speculation, I try to provide. And if I got one thing right, it was this: None of the mock drafts picked DCU correctly.

Liveblogging the 2006 SuperDraft... At least Until DCU Picks

12:04 PM Hah... Well I was wrong about no one making a trade for a pick. Chivas trades the first pick for the fifth pick and a player TBA. Metros will get Wynne, which makes sense for them.

12:07 PM Yup, Wynne to Metros. Wynne: "I'd like to thank God for getting me drafted" Translation: "I'd like to thank him, but then he made sure I got drafted by the Metros. So I'm becoming a Wiccan."

12:14 PM RSL takes Ballouchy (M-Santa Clara) which should help their midfield problems. Mehdi gets on the mic "I'd like to thank MLS for this to happen." As he says the word happen, in an act of supreme irony, my webcast crashes.

12:20 PM Sigi goes for Garey (F-MD). I don't see many forwards that DCU would want, and Garey off the board lessens the local pressure. Connoly's mock draft is looking good at the moment, as he's nailed the first three picks. Of course, he has DCU going after a forward in the 7th spot.

12:25 PM KC calls time-out. If they could do that during games, they might have done better last year. They're playing that Des'ree song with "You gotta be stronger" over the PA system. That's sad. If they start playing Chumbawumba, I'm convinced that MLS will just become a parody of itself.

12:28 PM Coach Sasha says that Garey is like Taylor Twellman. I don't think he meant that Garey will be snakebitten in international competition, but you never know.

12:32 Kansas City takes Yura Movsisyan. He wins the award for best dressed so far, in a classic black suit with gray tie. I'm hoping that DCU is looking at Sturgis or Moore at this point, two defenders that could certainly be useful. Bob Bradley looks like the Giant from Twin Peaks out there. I expect he'll announce his draft pick by speaking backwards.

12:36 Connoly is now 4 for 5 in his mock draft, as Chivas takes Sacha Kljestan. Sacha has the shortest speech of anyone. He looks vaguely depressed.

12:38 Garber says the trades he his announcing aren't that exciting. He's correct. I assume that player to be named later at this point is a euphamism for "We know who we're trading, but we don't want to be booed by our supporters when we announce it."

12:41 Somewhere, Maurice Clarett is calling his agent, to see if he can get in on this action. Marcus Vick is probably also interested. Garber announces that the reason they say "player to be named later" is because they want to call those players first. FC Dallas takes McCarty, who is being played by Mike Meyers. Thanks: Family, MLS, Adidas, blah blah blah. They need to stop these speeches.

12:44 Ah, I love our fans. You can hear them loud and clear. A forward is not what I'm looking for. Commentary bring up Bobby Boswell as an example of DCU's draft policy. Only, of course, he was undrafted. An outside mid though would be a nice choice. Piotr smiles, you can tell he's nic-fitting. DCU takes Justin Moose, a midfielder. Excellent. A solid choice. I hope he says something different. He thanks DCU United first, Wake forest second, then family. Fine. "Mooose" chants already starting. So I'm gonna get lunch now.

12:49PM What do we know of Moose? Well, this can help get you acquainted with a man who, at one time, had hair that fits someone who's name would rhyme with "Goooose". 3rd degree said of the lad: "If you are looking for a high energy outside mid or wingback that can run all day long, cross, beat guys on the dribble, and never quit then Justin Moose is your man." Cross? He can cross? Excellent. Maybe he'll show Josh Gros. I like this pick. Good choice, even though he was forecasted by most as a 2nd round choice, since DC doesn't have a 2nd round pick, I think they've gotten someone that could actually meet a need. Always a bit risky in a draft, but if it works, I'm glad.

Standing in New Kits

Just saw the new MLS uniforms for DCU displayed on the web cast out of MLSNet. Reaction? Not as bad as I feared. The flared stripes are nearly as not nearly as noticable as they were in the design introduction. The stripes are a bit short, a scrunched feeling similar to the 2002-2003 kits, and the bib a little too noticable, but it isn't as bad as it could have been. I am fortunate I tuned in when I did, as the webcast crashed shortly afterwards.

Steve Goff indicates that DCU is standing pat for the most part, echoing a prediction I made earlier. He does indicate that Brandon Prideaux is on a potential trading block, but I imagine most teams would wait until after the draft before determining if Brandon is a fit with them. He's not really a defensive answer, more like a way of stalling for time on the question.

19 January 2006

Mock Drafts Turtle

Someone is going to be upset tomorrow. Three mock drafts for your perusal: From Allen Hopkins at MLSNet, From Marc Connoly at MLSNet, and from Mike Marshall at RevsNet. The news? All agree on the top pick, and none agreeing on DCU's pick.

For those wondering, here's how it breaks down. DCU Pick is #7:

Hopkins: 1. Wynne 2.Sturgis 3.McCarty 4.Ballouchy 5.Wagner 6. Peterson 7. Garey (F-Maryland)

Connolly: 1. Wynne 2.Ballouchy 3. Garey 4. McCarty 5.Kljestan 6. Moore 7. Kamara (F-Cal State)

Marshall: 1. Wynne 2.Kljestan 3. Garey 4. Ballouchy 5. Sturgis 6. Peterson 7. Zayner (D-Indiana)

I will now guess that Kamara is unlikely as a pick for DCU. I also don't see Garey falling to 7th (though I'm not sure that he goes to Columbus... maybe KC?) But, in accordance with the Fundamental rule of player transactions, I'm going to guess that everyone here is wrong, and DCU will draft a midfield player in the first round. Yeah. Of course, now I'm likely to be wrong.

Want that Moreno Jersey? Get it soon.

MLS has announced they'll be debuting the new Adidas kits for everyone but Houston tomorrow. DCU fans, get your old jerseys now. Why? Because if the various internet images floating about are to be believed, the new DCU kit messes around with a core part of the DCU identity. See, the DCU look, when it first came into the league, had three key aspects:

  1. The Black (with white and red)
  2. The Shield
  3. The three parallel stripes

Those three things are essential to the DCU identity. And the new Adidas kit is probably going to much around with the stripes. DCU's uniform history shows they tried to much around with the stripes once before, in 1999. Mistake. They got it back the next year. I don't mind if the stripes are vertical instead of horizontal, or if they are red or black instead of white. But there are simple rules for the stripes. There are three of them. They are parallel. They are identically sized. They go in a straight line. The following stripes are acceptable:

Classic: 1998-1999 Away Barra-Brava Special

__________ | | | \ \ \


This is unacceptable:

2005 Rumored Adidas:

/' '

Again, you can make slight modifcations to the shield, or the colors, or the stripes, but you can't change the fundamental rules. You can't have four stripes. You can't braid them. You can't use blue. And you can't put El Pollo Compero on the shield instead of the eagle.

Of course, if Adidas's design does end-up matching these requirements, I will be happy to plunk down the cash for a new jersey.


When Boswell was initially called into camp, I wondered why Michael Parkhurst wasn't chosen. Well, he was, but Michael declined the invitation to camp on the advice of Steve Nicol. While I understand Michael's reasoning behind this, I'm a bit surprised that Steve Nicol would suggest it. Barring severe injury, Parkhurst has just as much to gain from being around an international camp as Boswell. In short, he could gain some valuable high level experience. I would think Steve Nicol would be okay with that, knowing that Parkhurst is unlikely to actually make a roster, and therefore to hurt the Revs during the season. But then again, it's not like I coached the top team in the Eastern Conference last season.

18 January 2006

Bustin' a Cap in the Cap Freddy Movement

Bruce Arena has words of... Well, not exactly encouragement for Freddy, as noted by USA Today (with a hat tip to World Soccer):

"He's a good young player, but he's in a little over his head at this level at this point in his career," Arena says. "In terms of the physical requirements, he's not up to par in some respects. The game's a little faster than he's used to."

So, he's not likely to make the team?

"You need to use logic in answering that question," Arena says. "He's not a starter on his club team. And you're asking where he stands on making a World Cup roster. Without me giving you a prognosis, I'll let you figure that out. Is he a long shot? Is he a definite? I'll let you figure it out."

So, for those wodering what might reignite the Freddy playing time contraversy, you might add Bruce reaffirming that not starting for your club team hurts your chances. Hopefully not, but you never know.

United: For Sale

Updated from 10AM below...

Well, in the world of "I should have seen that coming": Steve Goff reports United is back on the market. Thoughts on this later, but I will offer a few things right now.

There are two parties that could have called off this deal: AEG, or Global Development Partners. There are reasons why AEG might have called off the deal, but all of those reasons point to not selling the team in the first place. So the deal was probably called off by Global, with the blessing of AEG. Why? Here's some baseless speculation. Global has been encountering difficulties in Wisconscin and Virginia with its other stadium projects. The failure of those projects may have affected Global's ability to raise capital. DCU was sold for a record price, and a firm short on capital that was in the deal primarily for the stadium considerations may suddenly have decided that they needed that money to go elsewhere. So Global needs to back out. AEG, knowing that as MLS franchises are these days, figures DCU is one of the more reasonable properties to hold onto. So AEG would agree to the same idea.

The other possibilites are more disturbing. One would think that Global had done due diligence in perusing the books of DCU before the purchase, but it is possible they missed something, and alarmed wanted to flee. This would explain why it was so easy for them to get their money back.

I'm more inclined to believe this is a strategic decision, like the first scenario, rather than a panicing decision. That being said, I'm not thrilled with DCU being a ward of AEG again. Not thrilled at all.

More thoughts after sleep.

Update After a Night's Sleep: After talking with some MBA types, I'm told that due diligence would indeed have been done before any sale, so DCU's financials being the cause for the sale are more and more unlikely. Goff's revised article really does make this look like a decision by Global Development Partners, and the "they're cash poor and having difficulty projecting growth to justify increased capitalization" reason seems to resonate with those folks. So that's something positive to take out of this: That the problem may not have been United, but the suitors financial situation.

That's not to say all is rosy. This is now the second time a DCU sale has fallen through, and Kevin Payne's assurances that a deal will be worked out soon are pretty much boilerplate talk for "Yeah, we'd like the sell them team, and I know a guy who knows a guy." Not to say anything against Kevin, whom I think is pretty much as good a potential owner/operator as you are likely to see in the league. The problem is that if DCU is viewed as a sale that's troublesome, for whatever reasons, it may make potential buyers gun-shy based solely on the past difficulties. We could be in a situation where there could be no rational reason NOT to buy the team, but people shy away anyways.

So what? Why not just continue as part of the AEG Zaibatsu? The fact is that most leagues have single-ownership rules for a reason: You want to encourage at least a semblance of capitalistic competition among your teams. Single owner leagues (see: The XFL) don't have the diversity to withstand difficulties to the parent entity, and the individual operators have less of a financial motiviation to go and outwork their competitors in the league. Stable ownership doesn't necessarily lead to success (see: Capitals, Washington) but an unstable ownership rarely creates a good environment. DCU's winning a championship while part of AEG is an aberration, not a rule. If there is a saving grace, it is having someone like Payne, who's been with the organization since the beginning, to serve as a steady hand while the ownership above him is in flux. He can buffer many of the changes from vibrating down the corporate ladder onto the pitch. But it ain't easy. An owner committed to the team is needed. Yes, even if that owner is like Malcolm Glazer.

17 January 2006

Prediction: No Deal.

Between now and Friday, there will not be a single deal made so with the idea of someone trying to move up in the draft order. Any trade that involves draft picks between now and Friday will use the picks only to augment one side's value of the deal or another's, but the draft picks won't be the point of the deal. To put it another way, I could see a team trading player X plus a draft pick for player Y, but I don't see a player trading player X plus a draft pick for a higher draft pick, or something along those lines. I have no sources for this information, but I do have a gut feeling. Or a belly feeling. Whatever.

Update: And, as you see, I was wrong. Metros move up for the #1 pick. Sigh. I need to stop listening to my gut and only go with sourced information.

The 2006 Campaign Committee: Meeting Agenda

Given that this is DC, and there is nothing fun and joyful that we as a city can't turn into a boring procedural event in accordance with Roberts' Rules of Order [New Revised by Robert Boswell], I have saved some time for your next DC United Committee meeting, and prepared your agenda.

  1. Introductions and Opening Remarks
  2. Old Business
    1. The Freddy Adu / Piotr Nowak Playing Time Discussion: Are they happy again? Or is everyone just pretending until the next flare up?
    2. The Back Line: Why not four? Which back do you hate the most? / Who do you think is getting too much, too little time in the 3-5-2?

    3. Chicago vs. New Jersey vs. New England: Who do we hate the most? Who should we hate more?
  3. New Business
    1. Wings and Prayers: Dema is gone, can Tino and Josh fill gap? Or should this topic matter veer once again into the merits of the 4-4(box)-2, 4-4(diamond)-2, and the 3-5-2 until everyone sounds like they're arguing about number theory in octal.
    2. New Members: Please welcome our draft picks, and let's think about camp. Also, which of our draft picks will be quietly released in two years' time?
    3. Threat Assessment, Eastern Conference: Are the Metros improved? What about Columbus. Is there anything to worry about KC? Can we catch New England? Oh, and Chicago. We hate them, right?
    4. Threat Assessment, Western Conference: Do the RSL/CUSA/Rapids moves matter? Will Houston take a hit in performance after the move? The Galaxy are the MLS Champs, how much more insufferable will their fans be?

There, now the chair will entertain a motion to adopt the agenda...

16 January 2006

Ten Thousand Served

So, at some point over the weekend, I see that the site meter link ticked over the 10,000 Unique Visits threshold. At 2:13PM on 15 January, a visit from Milwaukee, Wisconsin was the special visitor. Now, I say I don't care about traffic, but just the fact that since starting to keep track in September, over ten thousand times someone has decided "I wonder if The DCenters has written something interesting yet..." -- it means something. Not sure what. But definately part of me was surprised. Even if about 200 of those are me checking the page paranoid I made another typo.

So thanks for your time everyone. I'll try and not to waste it too much. And yes, perhaps it isn't a lot of traffic in the great scheme of things, or compared to, say, Kos or Glenn Reynolds or Pandagon or VodkaPundit or whatever, but IT'S STILL REAL TO ME! [Cue Crying] Now I need to actually go do some typing for this site.

Trials. And Tribulations (Reprise).

The Belly is posting on the MLS Combine, and his first three reports are up. Good reading, if not in a "evaluate the prospects" way but to get a sense of the general feel and talent level on display.

The Washington Times has an interview with Coach Nowak, in part reflecting on the end of last season. A few key graphs:

"I was a second-year coach, and I made mistakes," Nowak said this week by telephone from Florida. "We did come up short. Maybe we weren't that hungry, and it was my responsibility to make them hungry. I learned some important lessons, but I can't look back. "

As for the situation with Adu, who was upset about not starting the last game of the regular season and hinted about playing elsewhere, Nowak said he felt it was important to give credit to all his players at the time.

"With the Freddy thing, everyone was talking about what I should do, but if someone had come up to me with the recipe on how to work with Freddy Adu, I would have used it," Nowak said. "Look, I was once the same kid [as Adu]. I was the same rebel. ... There was a misunderstanding, and I've talked to Freddy about it."

It is both refreshing and disturbing for a coach to admit that he was confused about what to do. I'm glad that Nowak at least believes that he has the capacity to make mistakes, but I'm not sure he's identified the correct mistakes yet. "Hunger" is down on my list of complaints. "Subbing patters / In-game adjustments" both rank higher as areas where I think Nowak can improve.

13 January 2006

Elsewhere, other interesting things

Some quick interesting things that other people are doing. The Belly will be hitting the MLS combine, and has an interesting post about what you can and can't tell from the tryouts there. The Kin of Fish is wondering if the USMNT is testing itself against strong enough friendly competition before the World Cup. And Climbing the Ladder gets a jump start on the world of irresponsible MLS forecasting, one of the DCenters favorite sports. And Kali thinks about youth soccer after Jamie Trecker breaks the various youth organizations down. All very interesting.

How Can You Root for Him?

Every team has at least one guy that they know the rest of the league hates, but as long as they wear the hometown pajamas, they are that team's fans favorite. Dema Kovalenko was "that guy" for me, but he wasn't the first of "those guys". Growing up a Caps fan, my first favorite player was Scott Stevens, an incredibly tough and skilled defenseman. When he was traded, it took me a while to find a player I could really relate to, but Dale Hunter became perhaps the prototypical "that guy". Yes, he had an incredible cheap shot on Pierre Turgeon in Game 6, and its undefendable. It was, however, understandable, as he physically expressed a frusturation as a Caps fan that everyone felt that night (I think Japer can back me up on that.)

The important thing about being "that guy" was the fans knew that while you were tough, and you'd go too far on more than one occasion, you didn't live for the hard foul, the illegal check, the helmet-first hit. No, you lived and worked and gave everything, and occasionaly you went too far, and the message wasn't "I'm tough so I can have the rep of being the biggest badass in the room" but "I'm tough because I want my team to win, and I will work like hell for that to happen." That's the difference between Dema Kovalenko (who I adore) and Hristo Stoichkov (who made me uncomfortable). That's what set Dale Hunter apart from Craig Berube. Hopefully, it's something that Sean Taylor, as he matures, learns. That's how I can root for Dema Kovalenko, and how I'm glad that this resolved itself by him leaving MLS, instead of being on the field against DC United, working like hell to take us out.

12 January 2006


Dema Kovalenko returns to the Ukraine. He will be remembered as a tireless worker, a man who earned every shot, worked for every pass, and deserved most of his red cards. It should also be noted that he was widely considered to be "an intense hottie." The writing had been on the wall, his projected $170K salary was a huge amount for a player that was, at best, an average presenve overall on the wing, even if he was a great example for work-ethic. Good luck, sir.

So what are we going to do with that $150,000 now?

Waving the MLS Flag

First, an update to the Free Beer Movement's "Operation: Deflower". First, we need a better name. Second, I thank the following people for stepping up and indicating interest:

(Quick Update for those that missed it the first time: In accordance with We Call It Soccer's call to convert people to MLS via beer, the idea is that we'll schedule one or two dates where various soccer bloggers will take someone who has never been to an MLS game before to their local home team (or team that they support). Each blogger will buy their guest a beer. Each blogger will interview their guest about what they liked and didn't like about the game, and post about it afterwards. Note that "Beer=Sierra Mist" in Utah.)
- Kali from Real Salt Lake Blog

- John from Pseuso Corner Kick

- Joe from We Call It Soccer

So, once the MLS schedules come out, I'll try and identify a promising timeline, and see if we can get a few more people to sign up.

Now, as to why I wanted that Deadpin commenting invite. After some thought, I've come to the conclusion that MLS soccer fans are somewhat invisible. Too often we hang out in among our peers, but don't integrate enough with fans of other sports. When we do, we're very quick to say "Well, soccer is superior because we have no [time outs/free substitutions/Sammy Sosa/etc...]" I don't think that attitude gets us anywhere except into a direct conflict with The Jim Rome Experience. Consequently, anyone we might win over views us as just another hyper side. Instead, I hope to simply provide general sports commentary when I can, and if anyone says "Does MLS have any real fans anyway?" I can simply respond with "Well, yeah. Me, for one." I don't intend to present soccer as a superior sporting choice option, but instead as a viable one. It's enough simply to have people think "hey, there are soccer fans" and to wonder why on their own, rather than take the "OMG, if you don't like soccer, YOU ARE TEH STUPID!!!11!! LOL!11!" angle. At least, that's what I think now.

Oh, and once I figure the comment system out, I'll be happy to try and get invites to any of my soccer blogosphere comrades that are intereted. You hooligans.

11 January 2006

The DCenters Day in Review

Now a Deadspin Commentator: Thanks to those of you that sent emails over to Deadspin, as Will Leitch dropped an email about half an hour ago inviting The DCenters to comment. He even indicated that we "earned" the invitation, although whether he means we earned it through hard work and excellent blogging, or by dealing with the vague sense of absurdist unease that comes with being a domestic soccer fan, was not specified. Hopefully we'll get even more US Soccer folks over there to fly the flag.

Bill and Henry and Piotr: Rollins on Shatner --

Henry Rollins: The Shatner project was a request from Ben Folds, who is a great musician. He was producing an album for Shatner and asked if I would take part and I said life is too short -- and said sure.

What was interesting is that we had no song. We just went into the studio and recorded what happened. The result was great and I've spent a few evenings at the Shatner home since and it's been great. He's a very nice man.

Also, a source informs me that Rollins would move Erpen to the wing. And he'd challenge Coach Nowak to a "bigger neck" contest in three months time. Or something.

Cap Boswell (In '08)

There were enough inconsistencies in the original US Soccer Report that Boswell has been called into camp with The Bruce (such as forgetting that Santino Quaranta also plays for DC United) that I didn't want to comment on it for fear of the story being retracted later. But now that DC United has confirmed the report, it looks safe to say that Bobby is going to have some fun training with the MLS US National Team candidates.

The odd thing is Boswell getting a nod ahead of Michael Parkhurst, but maybe Mike is thinking of playing for Ireland or something. It doesn't matter that much. Boswell is a long shot for getting a cap in a friendly, let alone a World Cup roster bid. It seems that Bruce will bring in three different types of players for this camp: Those that have a good chance at making the squad for Germany (Landon Donovan), those that are on the bubble (Chirs Albright, Brian Caroll) and those that are being groomed for potential future tournaments (Freddy Adu). Boswell belongs in that last category, someone who is getting a look now with the potential of being used after the World Cup. It makes sense to not suddenly plunge people into international competition and training all at once, so I like it. I love Boswell, think he's great, but I don't think he belongs on the World Cup team.

However, I think putting him on the team that competes for the next Gold Cup (and perhaps Confederations Cup in '09) is a possibility. And those competitions are important, as Mexico beat out the US for a seed at least in part due to some success in the Confederations Cup (knocking off Brazil always helps). If Bobby can help with that, I will be quite happy.

One Other Thing... Kerry Zavagnin is coming into camp late clearly to replace the injured Pablo Mastroeni. But Boswell is also coming in, and it seems like he's not viewed the same way based on the US Soccer press release. If my name is Chris Albright, Heath Pearce, Jimmy Conrad, or Todd Dunivant, I'm wondering why Bruce feels like he needs to specially bring in a new defender to look at. Hmmm...

Too Proud to Beg. Well, not really.

For those familiar with Deadspin, you know that their commenting rights work on an invitation process. I have not been invited, but I damn well should have been. Of course, one can ask for an invitation, but that seems like getting your mom to talk to Danny's mom so you can go to Danny's 10th birthday party after all the other kids got invitations. In other words, lame. No, if I'm gonna be invited to comment over there, I want Will Leitch to hit the send button personally.

Of course, that assumes that Will even knows who I am. So, in true blogger style, I am turning to you to do my work for me. If you think I should be a Deadspin commentator, go ahead and email tips@deadspin.com and tell them to send the invite over to the gmail address at the right. Need talking points? Here are a few:

  1. I noticed when Deadspin finally fixed their topic menu so Soccer articles would show up.

  2. Deadspin linked to me once, and in the process took a shot at all of us MLS addicts. Considering they're part of the Gawker media empire with Wonkette, Lifehacker, et al, I bet their little bleeding hearts feel bad about it and would like to make it up to me.

  3. I know the difference between Wayne Rooney and Andy Rooney. I also could probably make a sculpture of both using a gold potato and a paper towel roll.

  4. Seriously, Deadspin needs commentators who are at least going to pretend to be outraged by things said in comment threads.

  5. Since it seems to dominate much of their coverage, I will devote myself to helping an MLS player come out of the closet publicly. I will then wait patiently while they make the obligatory "but we are still waiting for a player from a major men's sports league to come out."

  6. I might even have an MLS fantasy draft sheet I could let them borrow. If they're very nice to me.

So yeah, drop them an email and we'll see if they end up sending an offer my way. If you think I'm worth taking the time for. Or something. Of course, it's entire that by devoting an entire post to this topic, I've made myself look more desperate, in a "I'm so glad he's out of my life, now I can get on with being single, it's great, here are all the reasons I don't need him, and all the thing I burned when we broke up, but I hope he calls me" sort of way. But it is too late for that now.

I Can Get Behind That

Well, while DC United developments may be quiet today (other than a former mayor, and newly minted stadium ally, finding himself in legal trouble), but there is something you should be paying attention to. DC product Gentleman Hank Rollins will be answering questions in a live Washington Post chat. Ask him about things:

  1. Is it true that Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat) once beat him up outside of an ice-cream shop?
  2. What's Bill Shatner like in the Studio?
  3. Would you advise Nowak to continue with the 3-5-2 or move to a four man back line?

As for the former mayor, I want to examine this in strictly DCU terms. Barry was something of an ally, so losing him represents something of a blow to the stadium situation. However, DCU has been making significant strides among the community as a whole in Ward 8, not just one politician. So I would think that with regards to the Ward 8 relations, things would remain on track. The only question that I wonder about is the feud between Barry and Willie Wilson. If there is significant bad blood between the two (and I don't know that) one hopes that Wilson isn't out to gut anything Barry is associated with. But that's a minor concern.

10 January 2006

Living in Harmony

For those that are wondering how DC United feels about gun violence, well, they're against it. Hopefully this means Freddy will never do that ridiculous ol'-west-spinning-gun-reholstering-celebration after his next stunning breakaway goal.


Jason Garey (er, make that Hermann Award Winning Jason Garey), in an interview with the University of Maryland's Diamondback, is thinking about DC United. Unfortunately, we have no idea what precisely he is thinking:

Garey mentioned the possibility of staying in the area and playing for D.C. United, which owns the seventh overall pick.

My guess is that the idea was floated by the interviewer, he said it might be nice, but there's no real information that DCU intends to draft him, either with the 7th pick or by trading up to get him. A pure striker would be nice, but we have pressing needs on the back line and on the wing. Conspiracy theorists are allowed to postulate a Kovalenko for improved draft position ideas. However, the DCenters is again reminded that the more we speculate in specific about player transactions, the more likely we are to be wrong.

Not Related to Anything... I really hate that the word used for signing a new contract extension is resign. I wish it was hyphenated or something, just so I wouldn't confuse it with the word which means exactly the opposite.

09 January 2006

Wrist and Reverend

The Washington Post's Steve Goff is reporting the details of the resignings of Ben Olsen and Josh Gros. Gross gets around $85K, and Olsen just above $165K. I'd like to say whether these dollar figures make sense or not, but MLS's policy of not detailing salary situations means that it is very difficult to get any sense of what people really make. Goff also reports that Dema, even if resigning with DCU, may be shopped elsewhere.

The lack of salary information is probably one that can be overcome, but it would take significant effort. The most comprehensive resource I know of (and please let me know if you have something better) is from Soccer America here. This indicates that the $85K for Josh Gros puts him about right for an above average everyday starter... at least in 2004 terms. Ben's $165K is definately on the upper-end of the MLS pay scale, something around the Frankie Hedjuk level. If I had to estimate whether these are the right value from DCU's perspective, I would say that the Gros deal seems about right, and that Ben has probably reached his ceiling. Any more and we'd certainly be overpaying for the reverend, at least in MLS terms. One of the weird things is knowing that I can't say "This is what these people are worth" since the MLS market is fairly cash-poor compared to the Premiership, or the NHL for that matter. But by MLS standards, these dollar figures seem to be about right. I might say the Ben is a bit high, but intangibles are also valuable.

Now, as for dealing Dema... Based on the Soccer America figures and Goff's reporting, his salary was somewhere around the $175K range. Let's assume he resigns for less, say, 15% off the top. That's still around $150K, for a player that works very hard but whose skillset is starting the unfair descent of age. He is best suited as a role-player on a certain type of team, a team that can use a workhorse, but playing him on the wing is becoming more and more of a liability. So why not trade him now? I doubt few teams would be willing to take him on at the $175K level, and DCU doesn't want to have to foot $25K in expenses (which could go to a developmental prospect) if it doesn't have to. So the resigning of Dema to a lower contract, then dealing him makes sense if DCU believes they have options at the wing. Either by dealing Dema for a player that can take the wing, or getting draft picks that will help address the need. Tough to see right now, but certainly names must be on a whiteboard somewhere.

Miss A. Lennie, to the white courtesy phone please, Miss A. Lennie

I Call It BlankBall: Okay, so, there's not much I can dig up in DCU land at the moment. Fair enough. And that explains the previous post, as the city's attention is pretty much fixated on the upcoming pointy-ball encounter in Seattle. I was happy to see the Redskins go through, ditto with my Steelers.

Administration: Response to the redesign is still (about evenly?) split. There are two main complaints: 1 - White text on black background was awesome. 2 - Too much Red.

The first I'm not going to change back to for the moment, but I may start experimenting with turning down the reds into more of a maroon everywhere but the header graphic. We'll see how it works out.

Links: I'll be updating the blogroll throughout the week, but courtesy of Du Nord's "blogroll of blog title length", I see that there is now a Metros team specific blog at The Metrologist. Now, I am more than happy about this, as it provides another outlet to make pointless internet wagers. If The Metrologist is up for it.

Also, my thanks to the various non-soccer bloggers that take time out of their day to read The DCenters. I've got a new category in the blogroll for you. I do appreciate it.

Loogie Victims Unit


Scene: A concrete HOLDING CELL. A mirror is on a wall up right. A bench is fixed to the ground upstage. CHRISTIAN GOMEZ is sprawled on the bench, in a rumpled but recognizable DC United kit. He's whistling a tune aimlessly.

A bell sounds.

SEAN TAYLOR enteres the room. He is in the white-on-white road uniform of the Washington Redskins, except for his socks which seem to be recently liberated from Whoville. He paces back and forth. GOMEZ watches his, timing his whistling to TAYLOR's paces. For a few moments, the only sounds are GOMEZ's whistles and TAYLOR's heavy footsteps. TAYLOR whirls on GOMEZ


Do you have to keep doing that?



Beat. TAYLOR turns away, GOMEZ starts whistling again.


I said--


Pardon, pardon.

They stare at each other


So what are you in for?


I didn't do anything. It was that punk Pittman.


Of course you didn't do anything. But what do they think you did?


They say I hocked one over that Pittman fellow. But I didn't do that. He just mad over the way we were playing him. The only running back he was doing was running back to his mama after I laid on on him. But then he was acting like I was all Danny Thomas on him


Well, of course, they have film...


There ain't no film. It didn't happen. No proof there was anything to it, because there wasn't... why are you so interested anyways?


I'm in for the same thing. But they got me good. Camera caught a cloud of spit, as if God himself had sneezed on CJ Brown. A thousand droplets of split, caught as though a crystal, and they fell to the earth like the dreams of the RFK fans.


Why'd you do it?


I was angry. We were losing. He was a whiny punk. It did not matter, it was right that I was sent off. I have since apologized, and wait here only to serve out my suspension.


Well, we weren't losing.


But you did spit on him?


I didn't say that! People know I'm a competitor, but I don't go around slobbering like Mike Tice checking the prices at Stubhub.com.


Of course you didn't. You are just competitive.


I came from The U. Competitive is what we do. Football, dice, playing the dozens--






Would you like some gum? He puts a stick in his mouth, and holds out another to TAYLOR.


What flavor? ...I like Big Red.


You're in luck. TAYLOR takes the stick, pops it in his mouth So you were mad?


Of course I was mad. They've tried to get me before. The DUI. TJ Nebeckenezzer. They're trying to get me.


And Pittman?


He's just a small minded fool, upset that I had more trips to the end zone than he did. He said he was gonna get credit for taking out the team. Man, even Eastern's Motors wouldn't give him credit for finding the john in the morning


Gets up from the bench, walks to TAYLORHe was talking trash?


All sorts.


You chew your gum loudly.


Pauses mid chew. I get emotional. My jaw starts working


And you were emotional with Pittman


Yeah. But I didn't spit on him.


Were you chewing gum?


Might have been. So what?


And Pittman, he was in a Tampa uniform?


Suspicous. Yes...


And you got in his face. Jaw working. No spittle, not even a bit?


Indignant. No! I don't do that!


We all get mad. Even me. One week, I'm the toast of the town, drumming with La Barra and the Eagles in the stands. The next, and people curse my name. Happened to you didn't it. You're afraid. Afraid that if you get nailed for this, you'll end up like LaVar, relegated to substitute packages in a Williams defense for the next three years...


He wouldn't do that! I recovered the fumble for six!


Leaps onto the bench, his chest now at Taylor's face. And LaVar got an intereception!


Shouting. Williams had my back after the game!

Pause. Gomez reaches down to the white stripes on his kit, and pushes his hand across the uniform. A red streak appears.


His diction changes... it becomes more hesitant, softer. He starts gesturing randomly with his hands... You couldn't see it on a red uniform. The chewing gum, its, the dyes... they... get into the saliva. Change the color. Red on red, wouldn't have shown up on TV.


Heartbroken. I didn't... It shouldn't have happened.


It was an accident. He raps on the mirror. It's okay, you can apologize, pay a fine, be back for Seattle. A DETECTIVE enters, and leads TAYLOR from the room. DETECTIVE EAMES enters. GOMEZ pulls off a mission impossible mask to reveal DETECTIVE ROBERT GOREN.


Cynical. Is there a moral here?


If there was... Now is when I was say something ambigously profound...


TITLE CARD: Executive Producer, Dick Wolf.


06 January 2006

Find the date. Then save it. Then find a date.

We Call It Soccer has always made a big thing about getting people to games with beer. It's a good plan, and one we should adopt. I'm thinking, post world cup, on some Saturday when every MLS team has a game, everyone in this MLS blogosphere area should announce that they are taking a MLS newbie (verigin, etc...) to a game and getting them beer. If there isn't a home date for you that week, do it the next week. All of us should do this. Announce the person you are adopting, and take them to the game. Get their experiences on what they liked and didn't, and post 'em on your blog. Not that this excuses someone from getting people to games on other days, but I like the idea of having at least one day dedicated to evangelism (There's an easy RSL joke to make here. But... I abstain.)

Update: Kali, you and DesertCrown are allowed to buy your guests a cool, refreshing Sierra Mist. Offer valid only in Utah.

Dream a Little Dream

Redesign: Well, the redecorating over here is getting mixed reviews so far, at least a few mourning the loss of the old black background. I hear ya guys, I thought the old black was much cooler. It was dangerous, daring, mysterious... sadly, it was also hard to read long articles with. I'll think about ways of balancing those two concepts.

Adu in Camp: In DC United news, the world carried headlines of "Adu realizes dream, practices with US National Team" Not to be pedantic, but I have a feeling his dream is getting capped, not just practicing. I mean, if the right episode of Made were to come along, I might end up practicing with the US Squad. (Sample dialog from Bruce to me: "D, you need to imitate more than my waistline if you want to be a great soccer coach.") I wouldn't be surprised to see him get capped now for a Winter Friendly, but as pretty much all media sources note, he's a long shot for the World Cup Squad. While Joe points out that Adu's versaitility could be appealing to Bruce, I would counter that while Adu can play multiple positions, we aren't yet sure that he can play multiple positions very well. It seems like he has a natural position, and a few other places you can put him on the pitch if you need him out there. Like Joe, I want Freddy to succeed, but as conceded in the article to which I have linked, he'll need to take a huge step forward to do it.

Rimando worried about Cross (Red): DC United will be assisting the Red Cross in conducting blood drives. A press conference is planned for the 11th of the month.

05 January 2006

New Look At DCenters

Well, the remodeling is underway here. This is the new look DCenters, using a new white background, but trying to keep a nice black and red feel. What do you think? I'll be continuing to fine tune (I want to get my four stars back in the date headings...) but comments and suggestions are welcome. And yes, I have the old template saved if you hate it all.

Update: Yes, that's the header graphic. Fun.

Looking at the Combine

Just a quick post that I'm starting to look at the announced invitations to the 2006 MLS Combine, in order to try and guess at DCU's draft strategy. Including players that received an invitation but will not be attending, 61 names have been identified with the combine. Breakdown by position? Sure...

Forwards: 19 (4 Hermann Finalists)
Midfielders: 18 (2 Hermann Finalists)
Defenders: 17
GKs: 7

So what does this tell us? First, many teams could use help in the midfield, but midfielders aren't proportionally represented in the combine. Expect to see evaluations of both forwards and defenders with the idea of potentially converting them to midfield work. Also, both forwards and midfielders might be examined with the idea of converting them to defense.

Maryland is sending the most players to the Combine with 4 (not, sadly, AJ Godbolt). Cal-Berkley, Connecticut, and New Mexico are sending 3. Bruce Arena's old stomping grounds of the The University of Virginia? 0 players (though VCU is sending 2).

If I had to guess, I would think that DCU would either pick a midfielder or a forward that could be converted to wing play with their first pick, and a defender with the second. But I haven't looked in depth at the players on the board, so that might all change. You have to figure that the forwards will go fairly quickly in the 1-5 selections (My guess is that Columbus takes Garey, while RSL looks for midfield help and Chivas might take a defender.) With DCU still having Weber in the reserves as a GK draft pick, I think it doesn't make sense to go after a keeper, considering that top keepers might go to KC, the Metros, or even FCD before DC gets a pick. There should be good options at the midfield still available at that points, or even in defense.

03 January 2006

Confidential to the Boyfriend of Dweebiest Present

From today's Gene Weingarten chat (about 1/3 of the way down):

Dweebiest Present: My boyfriend bought me an official Jaime Moreno DC United jersey. Not just any one, but one he wore in a match. Dweebier than yours or not?
Gene Weingarten: Not dweebier. More disturbing, though.

Gene is, of course, wrong. Wearing a Tiki Barber jersey is much more disturbing than a Moreno jersey. It is all about tailoring. Football jerseys look awful on people that aren't playing football. The only things that look worse on everyday people are baseball jerseys. Football jerseys demand that you wear something underneath them, and typically that won't match with whatever color the jersey is. Baseball jerseys are button up affairs that demand a collar, but don't have them. As a result, there's a nagging feeling that somehow the outfit should be more formal than it is, especially with the typical baseball lettering that seems to come from a first grader that just learned cursive and is armed with a paint brush and a set of primary colors. Men can get away with basketball jerseys provided they are at the local ball court, in a health club, or at the mall. Women look fantastic in hockey and soccer jerseys. These are simple, simple rules.
And if the author of Dweebiest Present actually liked her gift, then I say to the boyfriend that it is time to consider marriage. Of course, given that she probably hearts Gene, save the money you'd use for a ring and get her a DCU Engagement pendant. You can inscribe a new star on it each anniversary.


It is official, the off-season is starting to get to me. Super Mario Strikers is like a cheap nicotine gum for my MLS three-pack-a-day habit. It tides you over, but I still wake up with the shakes. (In case you are wondering: Either Mario with Birdo (I sometimes play with Luigi as well), currently 2nd in the Star Cup table, on Professional level).

Anyways, DC United has posted the New Year's resolutions of some players. This was not nearly as funny as the MLS Gift List posted at MLSNet, featuring Bobby Boswell's candid "I would buy Nick Rimando whatever he wants, because I owe him for the own goals this past season." If MLSNet is looking for a player to keep a running journal for them, they could do worse than Bobby. In the spirit of year in review stuff, I pass on John Haydon's recap of 2005 in the Washington Times. It has a lot of DCU related stuff, but the article reads like an odd mishmash of stuff. Finally, the Washington Post's in and out list identified the following:
"OUT: Freddy Adu ... IN: Ronaldinho"
Well, sure, from a style perspective, but from a DCU perspective I would have written it as follows:
"OUT: Christian Gomez ... IN: Freddy Adu (65') ... OUT: Freddy Adu (1 game suspension) IN: Jamil Walker"
In DCU alum news: Good week for Bobby Convey. Not so much for Ryan Nelsen.

As for me, I needed the time off, but I think I have my head back