23 August 2007

The Best XI from the First XI

Who wants to play a game with me? Okay, here are the rules: Put together a functioning side using one player from each season of DC United's history. Each year can only be used once (and must be used once.) No player can appear more than once. And believe me, this game can get hard. In some cases you have to search for a good player to put in a position, and in some cases you know you are neglecting someone. You may not even be picking the best player on the team in a given year, but you've got to make them all fit...I'm sure one of you might be able to do better than this (and perhaps you have, but I didn't find your Big Soccer post in a google search), but I think I have a decent side, 4-4-2 diamond.

Keeper: Nick Rimando, from 2002. I know, Perkins was the keeper of the year last year, and Garlick was pretty good for United. And the 2002 season was one we don't exactly brag about when we brag about our history. But I think this is a decent choice. People forget just how many shots Rimando faced that year. Yes, he let in a lot of goals that year, but he also made a ton of saves, more than at any other point in his career with United. And his save percentage was not terribly different that year than in any other year of his career.

Left Back: Jeff Agoos, from 1998. You can probably quibble with this choice, especially given that this probably wasn't Goose's best year, or close to it. Still, right now, he's the choice I would make for that position.

Center Back: Ryan Nelsen from 2004. Christian Gomez was the catalyst for the MLS Cup run of 2004, but Nelsen anchored the defense. One wonders if he hadn't been suspended for the Eastern Conference Final if it would have been as exciting as it was. This is the performance that punched his ticket to England. One of the best we've had.

Center Back: Eddie Pope from 2001. Had to have Eddie, it was pretty much a given. But the question was when I could flip him in? This was a decent year for Eddie defensively, and picking him from the 2001 year meant I could spend a few of those inaugural seasons on some firepower.

Right Back: Brian Namoff from 2003. Again, a difficult choice to make, and Brian really hasn't excelled until after 2006 at this position, but I needed someone from 2003, and this seemed the best bet, a year that saw him set the tone for eventually getting everyday duty in 2004.

Defensive Midfield: Richie Williams from 2000. If I'm taking the infamous Midget of Death, I want him in the year he committed 68 fouls. That should slow 'em up.

Right Midfield: Ben Olsen from 1999. His second year in the league converted on the promise of the first. Here's the thing. I though Ben couldn't play on the outside any more, that he just didn't have the speed. He's not as fast as he was in 1999, but he's still got it. That's really, really amazing.

Left Midfield: Dema Kovalenko from 2005. Williams and Kovalenko? Tasty. Seriously, options here were difficult, since Left Midfield seems to be the position of eternal promise. Adu? Convey? Neither spoke to me for this team. Dema? I have to keep people happy, especially the ladies.

Center Midfield: Christian Gomez from 2006. You have two choices: Etch or Gomito. For me, I'll take the MLS MVP performance from 2006 that Gomez put in, and trade the 5 more assists I would have gotten from a peak Diablo for the four more goals that Christian provided.

Forward: Jaime Moreno from 1997. If you're going to take a Jaime, why not the year he had the scoring title? This works for me.

Forward: Raul Diaz Arce from 1996. He had 100 shots that season, 49 on goal, and 23 that went by the keeper. That's just killer. I'll take it.

By year...
1996 - F RDA
1997 - F Moreno
1998 - D Agoos
1999 - M Olsen
2000 - M Williams
2001 - D Pope
2002 - GK Rimando
2003 - D Namoff
2004 - D Nelsen
2005 - M Kovalenko
2006 - M Gomez

Wish I could fit in: Etcheverry, Harkes, Lassiter, Llamosa... stupid rules that I enforced on myself... Maybe you can do it.

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At 23 August, 2007 20:32, Anonymous Dave Lifton said...

Great topic, and one that would keep me busy for hours. I don't have any issue with any of your choices (except not finding a way to get Marco '98 on the field), so here's an alternate way of seeing it.

GK: Perkins '06 - Agree to an extent on '02 Rimando. but also remember the howlers in that last game against Dallas.

D: Agoos '99 - There's no left wing in this lineup because Goose covered the whole flank so well from the back that year.

D: Nelsen '03 - I see what you're saying about 04, but this was when he won the armband from Marco, and nobody disagreed.

D: Pope '97 - Built upon his moment in MLS Cup 96 to become Defender Of The Year, all while becoming a rising star with the Nats.

D: Petke '04 - For that clutch goal against the Metros in the last game, and for finally lifting the Cup after years in hell. I don't care if he's out of position at right back. He'd make it work.

M: Carroll '05 - Played all but 314 minutes of the season, with only 4 yellows. Consistent and reliable, Everything you want in a d-mid.

M: Olsen '02 - For even stepping onto the field again.

M: Gomez '06.

M: Etch '98 - Hell, if you need someone on the left, stick him 18 yards out and have him send in crosses.

F: Diaz Arce '96.

F: Moreno '00 - Still managed 12 goals (only 2 PKs) and 7 assists in 25 games despite a rotating cast of second-rate partners (Albright, Marino, RDA, Wood).

At 23 August, 2007 20:41, Anonymous Dave Lifton said...

On the left, you could also make a case for Convey '02. Tied Curtis for the team lead in goals, and we couldn't have almost made the playoffs without him.

Somebody try to come up with a great lineup that has that and '04 Esky.

At 24 August, 2007 11:22, Blogger Bob said...

I like Gomez over Etch for more hussle.

By the way, I saw Santino Quaranta wandering around the 200 level on Wednesday. Anyone else see him or know why he was at the game? Homesick? He's injured, right?

At 24 August, 2007 11:56, Blogger timmyc said...

Believe it or not - Tino is now on RBNY. I'm wondering if he's finally eaten his way out of the MLS ... What a wasted talent.

At 24 August, 2007 15:20, Anonymous Dave Lifton said...

Quaranta has a sprained toe, Bob.

At 26 August, 2007 18:04, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Respectometer on this blog has gone down about 50% or more. How a blog dedicated to DC United can have any best 11 and leave out Marco is Far beyond reason. Maybe you just never saw him play in the 90's but that's still no excuse. He was the primary reason for the majority of the cups this team has won. To reduce that to the number of assists in some comparison to Gomez is absurd. He is the model for what MLS what's in a DP and is the standard by which all other DC players are judged.

At 27 August, 2007 10:03, Blogger Bob said...

The amount of respect I have for any posting involving the word "Respectometer" has gone down about 50% or more...

Etch USED to be the standard. MLS is a different league since Etch layed. Gomez is the new standard in a transformed league.

The author of this post can defend his own record/history of DCU fanship, but do you honestly believe if he had only started following the team when Freddy Adu came to town that he would be able to even CONCEIVE of this post?

At 27 August, 2007 23:03, Blogger Oscar M. said...

This is fun, here's my lineup in a 4-4-2. Tough making some of these choices, especially from the lean years 00-03. Now, to get these lineups into championship manager or something and simulate results...

GK: Rimando '02 - played every game that year

D: Erpen '06, 30 Games, 3G/2A
D: Pope 1999, had to include Eddie
D: Nelsen '04, its a lock
D: Namoff '05, not his best year but I needed to pick a defender from this roster.

M: Olsen 1998, speedy and rookie of the year, iirc.
M: Etcheverry 1996, key to the turn around and the title.
M: Williams 2000, same reason as D
M: Convey 2003, the year he impressed Tottenham

F: Moreno 1997, Golden Boot in only 20 games
F: Conteh 2001, lean year but he lead the team in goals w/14.

At 30 August, 2007 02:51, Blogger scaryice said...

Great idea here. I'll try even though there's only 10 seasons:

2001-Thornton, G

1999-Kubik, D
2004-Curtin, D
2005-Guerrero, D

1998-Nowak, M
2003-Beasley, M
2006-Armas, M
2007-Blanco, F

2000-Stoitchkov, F
2002-Razov, F

Crap, I left out Bocanegra. But Beasley's only really good year was in 2003, and I had to have Razov in there. Hmm...

I'd like to see a MLS XI in this vein. Starting with Cannon 2004.


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