Saturday, January 23, 2010
This will be the last post ever in the DCUMD blog. But it's not an ending. It's a step forward towards something that will be much bigger.
Back in November, I was invited by ESPN and MLSnet writer Steve Davis (also of Daily Soccer Fix) to join the new soccer community at SBNation.com and create a new DC United blog. That new blog is called Black And Red United, and can be found at blackandredunited.com.
Inspired by the team's nickname (The Black-and-Red), this name is one that will be sustainable as the club enters the new decade and embarks to return to its tradition of winning trophies. The DCUMD name will not disappear entirely. It will still be my name on Twitter, and I will surely continue to lobby with all of my minimal influence for United to add more former Terrapins to their roster. But Black And Red United will expand our ability to be a true community for all United fans.
The new SBN format offers a ton of new features - such as FanShots and FanPosts that allow any users to post their own opinions, links, pictures, and videos. You can also look back at all of your previous comments, or the comments of any other user, which makes it a lot easier to call someone out for flip flopping! Best of all though, the new blog also includes a co-author to add even more great United content: famed Soccer Insider commenter and DC United Next Coach Cup quarterfinalist Chest Rockwell! And all your favorite DCUMD features like the Benny Awards, River or Life, and the ADRs will all be moving over to the new blog.
Black And Red United is a part of a national blogging community that includes some of the best sports blogs in the country, including the excellent Hogs Haven and Japers' Rink. So please take a look at the new site, and please register and start commenting!
As for DCUMD though, it's only fitting for this blog to end on the words... peace out.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
1. Identify your starting lineup and stick with it. United players young and old complained that it was hard to get in rhythm when you never knew if you were starting or not. It may be nice to have a couple versatile utility players, but when you’re asking a rookie to go from a forward one week to a holding midfielder the next, you’ve got an issue. The team’s inability to establish a consistent starting lineup last season was certainly due in part to injuries and the additional international matches. So with a solid core group of players, and with fewer matches on the calendar now, this should be an easy revision for 2010.
2. Get more playing time for the most productive players. My favorite statistic from 2009 was Jaime Moreno’s 0.0073 goals per minute average, which was far higher than any other player on the team, and among the best in the league. A piece of that stat though is that Moreno was only on the field 45.92% of the time. No one is going to argue that Moreno should be asked to play 90 minutes in every match, but if he’s fit, he should be playing.
3. No more pre-half time substitutions. I can’t think of a more demoralizing thing to say to a player than to tell him that he’s not even worthy of finishing the half. One of the defining images of the Soehn years would be Jaime Moreno standing at the scorer’s table with something like 41:00 on the clock. And it’s an image I’d like to forget.
4. Bury the 3-5-2. Sound familiar? Maybe that’s because this was one of our resolutions for 2009. And like most of my personal resolutions, it ended by the first week. The problem with a three-man back-line is that it requires three defenders with good speed and a high positional sense. While this formation is nice because it allows you to utilize a central attacking midfielder and two defensive midfielders, United just doesn’t have the right defensive personnel to support it.
5. Make some progress on the stadium. The fanbase craves a real soccer stadium to watch our team, and we’re all tired of being envious of Toyota Park, Home Depot Center, and Red Bull Arena. We need a place to call home. I don’t have any expectations that construction will start this year, or even that a deal will be in place. All I’m asking for is some enduring piece of good news before the end of 2010.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Actually there is only one source behind the Adu to Aris or Hull story. And with there being only one source, you would assume that it would be a reliable source known for its hard-hitting reporting, right?
Actually the only source is Freddy Adu’s own Twitter page (@freddyadu11)
The story began with Adu tweeting that he had some really difficult decisions to make, and then later tweeting “Hull or Aris?”, and then later tweeting that the only problem with Hull would be how to get a work visa.
Why Hull and Aris? Those two teams sure sound awfully familiar to US Soccer fans, because they are the current homes of fellow Americans Jozy Altidore and Eddie Johnson. Does it seem awfully convenient to anyone else that those are the only two teams that Freddy is mentioning? And why is Freddy discussing such important decisions through Twitter anyway? Didn’t anybody stop to question whether or not Freddy’s tweets are to be trusted?
Somebody did. Match Fit USA (@MFUSA) has been all over this story. He was the first to theorize that Freddy’s tweets were just a shoutout joke to his boys. A theory that was even confirmed by Freddy himself in a tweet later that night. Of course all of these tweets have now been deleted off of Adu’s profile, further igniting the fire of speculation.
I’m not here to do any sort of commentary on the state of reporting in sports, and I agree that Twitter can be a very useful tool at times, but it’s also just a little disappointing that so many sites are simply rehashing what they’ve read on Twitter and passing it off as actual reporting.
Update: Ives is now saying that Adu will be signing with Aris. So maybe it wasn't the entire thing that was a joke. Just part of it.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
It's the end of the decade, and with just 1 day left in the first decade of the 21st century, it's time to look back at DC United's successes and failures. Over the next few weeks, we will be reviewing DC United season-by-season, from 2000 to 2009, and we will also have a few polls to help choose the best players and greatest stories of the past decade.
I think I've got the players down pretty well, but I'm certainly open to suggestions for the best stories/moments of the decade. Please email me your suggestions at dcu.umd[at]gmail.com and I will include them in my lists.
Monday, December 28, 2009
DC United has announced Curt Onalfo as the team's new head coach, and I'm having a hard time getting excited about it.
Actually the emotion I'm feeling would be better described as "relief".
I don't know if the team is necessarily "settling" for Onalfo, but I'm relieved to have the coaching search done and behind us. Exciting or not, Curt Onalfo is certainly well qualified, and should be a capable coach for our immediate future.
What worries me a little is that Kevin Payne is citing Onalfo's "fluency in Spanish" and "familiarity with our community" as two of his positive traits. Sure, those things are nice, but neither was necessarily a box that needed to be checked during the decision process. Curt Onalfo's resume might be impressive (he's been a player, a national team assistant, an MLS assistant, and an MLS head coach), but I'm still waiting for someone to point out something good about Onalfo that wouldn't be found on his resume. Something intangible. Like how he's a great motivator, or how he has innovative drills focused on developing certain abilities. Anything!
Still, I've got my fingers crossed. And I'm confident that Curt Onalfo will be able to return DC United to the playoffs where they belong.
We demand more than that though. We demand cups. Time will tell soon enough if Curt Onalfo will be the man to help deliver them.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
DC United finalized a loan last week to bring Salvadoran left midfielder Castillo to DC. In various different highlights, including the one below, it's clear that Castillo has excellent ball skills. Even more impressive though was his header over Frankie Hejduk during World Cup Qualifying. Not only does Castillo give us a new element of speed in our attack, which is something that has been long missing for United, but he also gives us another target for Santino Quaranta's crosses.
Cristian Castillo's defensive abilities and crossing skills are not obviously evident from the highlight reels, but that could just be because those aren't exactly as sexy as his dribbling. Castillo is certainly quick, and he's good on the ball. Which actually makes me think of another midfielder who came here highly regarded and with a similar skill set: Fred. Hopefully Castillo adjusts better to our style of play, but if he requests his jersey to say "CRISTIAN", I'll really be nervous.
Castillo's speed will undoubtedly be a great asset for DC United, and his Salvadoran heritage is sure to put fans in the seats. I'm just hoping his sometimes over-the-top dribbling doesn't hold us back.
Here's a prediction though:
If Cristian Castillo plays in almost every game for DCU this season, he will be one of the top 5 fouled players in MLS.