03 September 2009


The last 10-15 minutes of regular time and stoppage time was amazing. It was totally frantic and United supporters were rewarded with a goal at the end of regulation. I was actually telling my wife that the set play off of that free kick should have been to fake it at goal and just slot it to Simms who was faking that run anyway. But the way that it went down was good too. I remember an absolutely brilliant goal that Etcheverry scored in that exact manner several years ago. If someone can find me that highlight on the intertubes, I will buy you a hamburger on a Tuesday.

By the way, there were some Sounders fans there...

Overall, I thought the team looked decent. Pontius was dangerous, Jaime was hustling, Gomez was making aggressive runs at the defense. The problem, of course, was the finishing.

The most interesting thing to report from the stadium was what a horrible idea $2 beers and $2 hotdogs were. The lines were AMAZINGLY long. It was almost worth giving up alcohol because of those lines. It is completely possible that some people missed the entire 1st half standing in some Ouroboros-like line, winding around and back upon itself. The whole idea was a logistical nightware. There seemed to be only one Miller Lite rep running kegs back and forth to the various outposts and by early in the second half, just after halftime, they had started substituting Yuengling, because all of the Miller Lite was gone.

Comment away!

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At 03 September, 2009 09:59, Anonymous Grunthos said...

A lot of people (Goff included) seem to be of a mind that our veteran attackers played poorly. I didn't see that, with the salient exception of Emilio, and apparently you didn't either. I'm finding it hard to evaluate the game given the wide disparity in perspectives out there.

Good night for a game, much better than the exhibition-style atmosphere vs. Charleston last year.

At 03 September, 2009 09:59, Blogger rke said...

Not sure I agree about how dangerous the attack looked. Lots of potential, but very few shots on goal. Our possession was decent, defense was typical, but the attack just wasn't there.

To be honest, I'm done with Emilio. He was a sensation when he was new to MLS, but he's a one-trick pony and everyone knows his trick now.

Off-season moves could be significant this year.

At 03 September, 2009 10:08, Blogger BrunoReturns said...

Emilio and Fred both need to go at the end of the season. Maybe Emilio stays if he takes a SIGNIFICANT pay cut, but I doubt that he would.

I'd love to see those DP dollars spent on a quality European left winger.

At 03 September, 2009 10:20, Anonymous Alan said...

I agree. Emilio can stay, but not as a DP. Look at the production of other DPs, Ljundberg, Schelotto, even Angel is successful in New York.

At 03 September, 2009 10:28, Anonymous Toadqua said...

Well, as a Seattle fan, it pretty much sums up like this.

DCU has to many trophies in the case to really get up for a little insignificant mid week tournement final so you can just give away tickets to get the attendance up to 17000 and then try to stay in it long enough and maybe try to get away with some flaggarant cheating and walk out of there with a win. Well it didn't work and you goal keeper looks like an idiot. Well done DCU! It's too bad it had to go down like that. Both teams looked pretty good. You GK had some great stops. But he's a cheater! Ummm... did you cheat to get the other trophies?


And I hope we kick you ass again in 10 days.

At 03 September, 2009 10:35, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Overall, I thought the team looked decent."

I'm trying to square this pollyanish statement with reality. I can't.

At 03 September, 2009 10:47, Anonymous Toadqua said...

OK, "post goal foul". But it is Wshington DC, and the fans there were "astroturfers" so "cheating" seemed to be a word I knew you could wrap your brain (and I use that word losely) around. Fouls like that are pathetic and say more about how you team is willing to win than anything else. What's next? Fake blood maybe?

At 03 September, 2009 10:48, Blogger Bob said...

Toadqua makes a good point... (NO REALLY!): this may be the beginning of a beautiful rivalry.

re: "cheating" Not sure what your point is or what you are referring to. I assume you are referencing Wicks's post-goal foul on Montero. He did something stupid and was rightfully punished. Don't take it so personally.

At 03 September, 2009 11:13, Blogger Bob said...

Anonymous - you certainly don't have to agree, but I guess compared to several consecutive flat performances, I thought there was a bit of a spark at times, especially at the beginning. Maybe it was just the $2 beers...

At 03 September, 2009 11:25, Anonymous Grunthos said...

"Ummm... did you cheat to get the other trophies?"

No more so than you cheated to win this one. Wicks is an idiot. Perhaps someday you'll be mature enough to admit that Montero is an idiot, too.

"Overall, I thought the team looked decent."

I don't see how this is diverging from reality. I'm really not seeing how people are concluding that Seattle dominated the first 65 minutes of this match. DCU was playing our usual possession game, not our best display of it but a solid enough effort. Seattle had their box-to-box midfield going, and they were playing it well. Our lack of pace meant we couldn't commit the necessary men into the attack to generate real chances. Seattle's deep midfield left their forwards isolated in the counterattack, and every time Montero got the ball Jakovic would have him covered like a wet blanket.

Right around minute 65, you could see Seattle slowing down, and the balance was tipping our way. We had an opportunity to take the game by the throat right then and there, but typically we gave away a counterattack instead and Seattle scored. From the red card forward, we were a beaten team, and the late goal doesn't change that fact.

Very much a game that could have gone either way... but Seattle kept their shit together, and DCU (not just Wicks) blew it psychologically.

At 03 September, 2009 12:11, Anonymous Bootsy said...

Re: whether our "veteran attackers played poorly" or not . . .

We had maybe two run-of-play attacks the entire night where Seattle's defense wasn't fully back and organized. Maybe two. Maybe.

That's because we're slow of thought and slow of foot.

And as for breaking down the defense we allowed the time to get organized . . .the less said about that, the better.

The above sure isn't indicative of our veteran attackers playing well.

At 03 September, 2009 12:18, Blogger BrunoReturns said...

Montero is the new Carlos Ruiz, only more so.

At 03 September, 2009 12:28, Anonymous Grunthos said...

Bootsy, I don't think that gives Seattle enough credit. Their defense was back and organized because their tactical choice was to play that way. And they did a good job of it.

DCU's attack is too slow of foot, and has been all season. That didn't just crop up for one match. But I do not think Gomez, Moreno, or even Fred played poorly. The decisions weren't stupid, the passes weren't badly executed, the effort was there.

Now, Emilio is another story. His first touch was horrible and he was certainly "slow of thought." With Seattle's pace and their responsible midfield, having our prime scoring forward screwing the pooch in 1-on-3 or 1-on-4 situations was never going to end well.

I think if you took the performance level of the other veterans and matched it up with a couple of speedy teammates, you'd get a very different outcome. DCU doesn't have those other speedy teammates, and so we had to leave most of the team hanging back to cover potential counterattacks, and so our offense kept petering out by being badly outnumbered in the box. (But note that Seattle's full-field strategy was tiring them out... we were looking much more likely to score between minutes 60-68.)

The FO tried to string out our competitive run around the Emilio/Fred/Moreno/Gomez/Olsen core a year too long. I'm not sure we would have been very happy if they'd dumped those guys last offseason to retool - but it's pretty dramatically clear now that that era is ovah.

At 03 September, 2009 13:11, Anonymous SammySapo said...

Now that I no longer live in DC I don't get to watch many DCU games but I have to say that I was shocked at the poor quality of our touches and passing- especially in the attacking midfield. We were CONSTANTLY playing balls behind the run of the receiving player. Our first touch was so atrocious it was embarrassing. Worse, it wasn't just a couple of people it was everyone .

What is troubling is that we don't look like a team with chemistry... What happened to the days when Gomez could pick out Emilio's runs with out even looking up? How is it that Jamie could get the ball on the outside edge of the box on multiple occasions and not produce any magic?

I hope that it is just fatigue but at the moment we look worlds away from a title contender.

ps- Toadqua, enjoy the gloating for a long as you can... this time next year you will be the equivalent of Real Salt Lake and United will still be contending for trophies. Now go back to your starbucks and remember to donate to the "Montero Legal Defense Fund"... I'm sure he'll be needing it again soon.

At 03 September, 2009 13:25, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your goalie needs serious mental help. Fred was atrocious, time for him to go along with Emilio and Moreno. Your team lacks pace and skill. But I guess thats what you get with the MLS.

At 03 September, 2009 13:56, Blogger Ben said...

I'm not gonna attack United or United fans, the Sounders just out played them tonight. I think it showed the amount of games you guys have played so far this year between league games, Open Cup, and the CCL. Seattle looked fresher for sure.
Not really sure what happened with the Wicks/Montero situation. Couldn't really tell how sever the contact was but to jump over and on/near a known drama queen like Montero (He frustrates us Sounder supporters as well trust me) is just dumb.
Saying we are going to be a RSL is a joke, if you think the Sounders are going away you have another thing coming. For the average DC fan who loves to tell us that we don't win trophies please take a look and learn a bit, because we're not going anywhere. http://goalseattle.com/trophy_case.htm

At 03 September, 2009 14:19, Blogger Bob said...

Ben - so.. one?

At 03 September, 2009 14:51, Blogger Unknown said...

It was great to win our 1st cup against the best, looking forward to many more battles....yes, it's just 1 Bob, but 1 for 1 is 100% success with an outside chance of a 2 for 1 (if we can make the playoffs)...that's not too shabby.

That game on the 12th will be a doozy, do you think Wicks will play? Does he deserve to?

At 03 September, 2009 14:54, Anonymous Skippy said...

Regarding the vets: Not Gomez's or Olsen's best game, but I felt they contributed positively. I have no real issue with their play. I'm not sure Olsen has another season in him (whether he thinks so or not), but Gomez has still scored a number of goals and has a number of assists. Gomez isn't the league MVP anymore, but he's still quality enough for an MLS team, in my opinion.
Fred had an awful game. He's inconsistent to say the least. Emilio has been having a lousy season and he had a poor game too. As for them leaving, I don't know. Emilio needs a paycut, that for certain. But who are the replacements? Maybe Wallace instead of Fred? I think I'd be okay with that, but I'm more anxious to see Emilio go than Fred.
However, I think the days of relying on Jaime are long over. Jaime can still play the game and still play a role for the team, but more in a holding/kill the game off role. Too many times last night and this season has Jaime received a good ball deep in the defense and just not had the pace to make anything of it. So that means in my mind a pay cut as well.
So if two of the guys who have been starting strikers need to go or at least not be starters, who is up top. I like Pontius, and he's been starting so there's one. I think N'Silu and Boyzzz showed promise, but I'd be lying if I said I was confident in either of them starting every game.
So next year, if Jaime and Emilio aren't there or don't start, the top is still probably going to fail to produce. Maybe N'Silu or Boyzzz will step up, maybe not. The probability of that is so up in the air I won't even take a crack at it. And yes, it would be great to sign a great striker, but from where? Other MLS teams, try an experiment with the DP slot, a promising rookie?
So, while we're all worrying about that, the backline is still less than awe-inspiring. Sure, Jakovic, Namoff and James, who has shown promise. But god dammit, Marc Burch is not a defender. He gets beat like a red-headed stepchild all the time and he gives up stupid fouls. Now, I like Burch, but I'm not convinced there is a spot on this team for him. If he leaves, someone else may pick him up and he could come back to hurt DC, sure. But that doesn't change the fact that there's no good spot for him in the line-up, unless you want to give him a wing position, and I don't.
So what's the point of this whole rant? Crap, I should have thought of that when I started. How about, considering all this flux, I worry that DC will shy away from really rebuilding the team and we'll be in the same boat, only worse next year?

*ramble* *ramble* Wicks was legendary last night until his temper got the better of him. *ramble* *ramble* Difference was Seattle had three guys crashing the box to finish slop and DC was lucky if they had one. *ramble* *ramble* It was an enjoyable game to watch. *ramble* *ramble*

Sorry for the long post. Some of this was pent-up stuff.

At 03 September, 2009 15:24, Anonymous Grunthos said...

Next year's team quality will depend, very heavily, on management's ability to rearrange the salary structure such that the senior attackers either aren't here or are here but not killing us against the cap. If it were up to me, I'd get rid of Emilio, Fred, & Gomez, keep Moreno (although that will mean overpaying him), and keep Benny as long as he doesn't require top-dollar starting money.

I don't think we need to have a "rebuilding" year, however. We accomplished a lot of that this season by bringing in Wallace, Pontius, Jakovic, and (presumably) Szetala. You have two goalie prospects (Kocic and Hamid) looking to step up. Barklage showed some ability, and he'll be back from injury. Tino is a good MLS "sixth man" for the attacking half. Namoff isn't going anywhere.

But, yes, there will need to be turnover, and the FO will have to make some good choices if we want to really compete like DC should compete. New finisher, new playmaker, new flank starter... this could get expensive. It's hardly hopeless, though. I think it's very unlikely that we will suck next year. We haven't exactly sucked this year, we just haven't had the consistent quality we are looking for.

At 03 September, 2009 15:36, Anonymous Tolik said...

Grunthos 15:24 post is right on money. There is a good core of [relatively] young players of at least "MLS average quality". With a better coach and hard work they might develop into a "definitely better than average MLS quality".

Moreno might still be needed in a locker room together with Benny to instill the club's traditions. But Gomez, Emilio and especially Fred must go.

Wicks is like Mike Tyson - winning dynamite that can byte you. he should go too.

At 03 September, 2009 16:56, Anonymous SammySapo said...

What I loved the most about DCU teams of the past was that we played a great brand of soccer that was, for the most part, heads and shoulders above the rest of the MLS. We played possession ball, with lots of combination play... dependent on strong wings (remember Benny pre-nottingham)and a central playmaker (el diablo or pre-trade Gomez). Both of which were lacking this game and much of the season. I thought having Danny and Santino would do that but apparently that hasn't materialized.

Anyone know what the story is there?

At 03 September, 2009 19:58, Blogger Kevin D said...

How the hell do these obnoxious Sounders' fans keep finding their way to DC united blogs?! Do they just sit there in the middle of Starbucks while listening to Nirvana on their iPods and Google "DC United" and click on every single hit and comment on everything?!

At 04 September, 2009 09:28, Blogger Bob said...

Kevin - there was no such thing as a blog in 1992.

At 04 September, 2009 11:04, Anonymous Bill said...

Kevin, mostly because you thin skinned DC fans (I use the word fans loosely) can’t stand the fact you got beat like we told you you were going to be beat. And if I had to make the prediction, I could have probably guessed someone on your team would lose his temper and do something stupid. Anything coming out of DC is so predictable even when it has to do with your soccer team.

At 04 September, 2009 15:23, Anonymous Skippy said...

Kevin - You'll forgive me if I take Seattle fandom with a grain of salt. Its their inaugural season, they've won a trophy and though their league form has dipped recently, they'll probably at least make the playoffs. That makes for an easy team to support. Plus, Seattle plays an attractive style of soccer, even when they don't win.
Honestly, as obnoxious as bored Seattlites trawling through United blogs are, I hope that many of them stay fans. Although of the ten traveling fans I talked to on Wednesday, six were going to support Portland and two said they'd follow Vancouver when those towns got teams.
Its good to see a town get behind its MLS team, but we'll see if it keeps up after they have a lousy season and the Pacific-Northwest gets two more teams.

On to things that actually matter - I'm surprised that everyone is so down on Gomez. Frankly, I think he's been solid and a hell of a lot better than I expected. He shows more aggression than Moreno and he's been more productive than Olsen (in my opinion). I realize that those guys have been the heart of the team for a while, but I think its a mistake to keep one or both of them and lose Gomez. At some point, Olsen and Moreno have to retire and someone else has to take the team flag and wave it. Maybe Tino, maybe Namoff? I don't know.
I also am not in the get rid of Wicks camp. I don't know that he "cost" DC the game Wednesday night, but he pretty much secured Seattle the victory. That said, the man made some amazing saves, he's blocked two PKs this year (including the one called back) and has shown some real talent. I don't think I've seen an MLS keeper make as many great saves in a game as Wicks did before he got himself tossed. The anger management and communication skills can be learned, the talent I think he's demonstrated cannot. It was a big screw-up in a big game, but I'm more than prepared to give him another season to get himself under control.

At 04 September, 2009 18:41, Anonymous Grunthos said...

For me, at least, dumping Gomez isn't about Gomez sucking. I would agree that Gomez has been competent this year. But I look at his effectiveness curve, 2006-2009, and see a line sloping pretty steadily downward. He hasn't got the extra gear anymore. There have been multiple times this season where I thought, "This is a game he should be taking over", and it doesn't happen.

I don't think we're far apart in our assessments of Gomez's play, but the "stay or go" dividing line lies in that limited space. To me, bringing Gomez back means paying serious starter money to a guy who is, at best, a placeholder in that role, and is of an age where further, possibly abrupt, declines in performance are very, very possible. This is also true of Emilio, only in his case the decline curve appears steeper.

Fred gets jettisoned because of inconsistency, pure and simple.

Jaime and Benny stay because they can still provide high quality performances, albeit in limited roles and never for 90 minutes straight.

But on aggregate, if the FO decided that the proper guys to keep were, say, Gomez and Fred, and removed the other three from the playing roster, I could work with that. The lesson from this game was, the offense can't be constructed around these guys as a group anymore.

At 05 September, 2009 23:20, Blogger Kevin D said...

Bill, that still doesn't explain what you are doing here. Go rave about the Sounders on a Seattle blog. This is a blog for DC fans (and I use that term very tightly, in order to offset your looseness. Wanna know why? Because we've been there for our team for 14 years. Even in our worst seasons, we were still at the top of the league in terms of attendance and, of course, passion).

And what, using specific references from the recent past, would ever lead you to believe that a DC United player would do something as stupid as Wicks did? I can't recall a single instance when a United player has done something like that. I would be happy to concede if you cite a specific instance, however.

At 07 September, 2009 18:43, Anonymous Anonymous said...


By history, I mean MLS history. USL doesn't matter.

At 14 September, 2009 06:42, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sports franchise make money, eh? yeh right. how about losing $1.5 million a year? batting 100%! nursing home, venture capital, and now mounting losses in private equity... three strikes and you're out!!

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