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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At least in DC.
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.
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...
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.]
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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."
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).
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.
Terry &#*($@ Vaughn, a real game changer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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."
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.)
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."
Gomez, C. -- Just... stunning.
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
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
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.