Countries, Counties, Clubs
As United prepares for the game against Toronto, multiple stories that I'd like to draw your attention to this morning.
PARENTS, MEET THE KIDS #1 - CASAL: John Haydon in the Washington Times with a profile of Kasali Casal:
"The more work I do defensively, the more minutes I will get," Casal said... "Right now I'm supposed to be in Nigeria training, but because I've been doing so well here I want to cement my first-team spot," Casal said. "So I don't want to really leave at the moment."
I highlight those particular quotes because it is a stunning change of attitude compared to some previous midfield projects DC United has seen. Casal, in his public statements, seems to be taking the coaching guidance to heart, and is willing to embrace it even if it means changing his style. His focus is on the club, and on his role with the club. You have to like that.
PARENTS, MEET THE KIDS #2 - KPENE: Brian Westfall writes a quick getting-to-know-him type piece on Guy-Roland Kpene. One of the things that I note is that Kpene seems to have a lot of people pulling for him, just from the number of comments we got on him when he was first drafted. To that end, I hope he does well. Both Casal and Kpene are in the real early stages and I don't want to heap expectations on these players for this season. If both manage to find roles to play, even quiet ones with few minutes, and can compete for some significant playing time next season, then I have to consider them a success.
PARENTS, MEET THE KIDS #3 - ARGUEZ: Bryan Arguez started the game for the US Under 20 team and was substituted at the half. Which means he wasn't responsible for giving up the goal that led to the 1-0 Argentina win. Of course, DC United former head coach and current color commentator Thomas Rongren coaches that team.
FOREIGN INVESTMENT: Part owner of D.C. United Will Chang may be interested in an English team, including investing "on behalf of D.C. United." I don't know what that would mean, as the idea of DCU owning part of another team seems... ludicrous, but in a strangely enjoyable hallucinatory type way. Still, the sense I get is that we're a long way from anything happening on this front, so I simply note it and file it for later consideration.
ATMOSPHERE: Jeff Bradley really isn't someone who feels all warm and fuzzy about DC United or our fans that often. So I will note that in his column on the best MLS related atmosphere he has felt, the phrase "At D.C. United" is used twice, the only time such a designation is used more than once. Add to that his discussion of the traveling support in the 1999 MLS Cup final, and it's clear that even if he doesn't want to come out and say it, realistically he knows which team's fans are numerous and passionate enough to consistently bring it. While the league and outside observers fawn over Toronto's support, which is certainly impressive and worth of the praise it is getting, it is important to remember that DC has been doing it for twelve years. In fairness, so have a few other teams (and some have not).
NO MORE BEARS! The Screaming Eagles and other United Supporters that appeared in the Arlington County parade get a shout-out as "a group of D.C. United super-fans." Nice. Congratulations to all that represented their Civic, and Club, pride in Arlington.