-Cheers, The Colonel of Music and beer
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Payne Responds to Sounders
It is on. It is so on. Usually an afterthought on the American soccer landscape, the mom-and-pop U.S. Open Cup has taken a spicy turn this week, thanks to the executives for the two finalists.
It began when Seattle's Adrian Hanauer expressed disappointment that the U.S. Soccer Federation chose RFK Stadium as the site for the Sept. 2 championship game between the Sounders and D.C. United. He also questioned the bid process and whether United would draw 10,000 fans while suggesting D.C. would lose money on the game. Seattle made a lucrative financial bid to stage the match at Qwest Field, he said, but because of logistical stadium issues, the only realistic time slot for the soccer game was 1 p.m. (local) on Sept. 1 (Tuesday).
In comments to the Insider Thursday afternoon, DCU President Kevin Payne lashed out at Hanauer.....
What did you think of Adrian's comments?
"I was surprised and disappointed and offended. Adrian uses the word 'skepticism' to describe the process, which seems to be implying that it wasn't on the up-and-up. Which is really an outrageous implication. He is implying that we somehow are receiving favorable treatment. We bid aggressively at every level this year and last year. We did so because we didn't want to travel if we could possibly avoid it, given the demands of our schedule [Champions League]. Seattle doesn't have those same demands because this is their first year. Adrian has no knowledge of what we bid or didn't bid; my guess is that we bid more aggressively than they did."
"I appreciate that Seattle's fans are great. Our fans have been great for 14 seasons. It's really unseemly for Seattle to suddenly show up in MLS and everything should be handed to them. Their crowds are wonderful, we had a great time out there in Seattle [last month], but our crowds are pretty good too and we expect this year we will get far more people in the building than we did last year [8,200]. Last year we played a USL team in the final and, the way our team was going in general at that point, our fans were disappointed and disillusioned. That's not the case this year. We are going to promote the game very aggressively."
Based on the Sounders' outstanding attendance this year, do you think they would've won the hosting rights if they had offered a night-time kickoff?
"They might have. But there is something to be said for not playing on an artificial surface and not playing on football lines. We are able to deliver a surface that is arguably the best grass field in the league. We don't have football lines, and I can understand why the USSF would prefer that it's national championship not be played in those kinds of circumstances. Obviously the game-time was an issue, but that's not D.C. United's fault. Seattle wasn't able to comply with the time of the match. We did what the USSF asked us to do: We proposed financial terms, we met their requirement for day and time, and we provide them with the kind of surface soccer is supposed to be played on."
[Asked about the football lines, a Seattle spokesman told the Insider that they will be removed before all Sounders games this fall. UPDATE: On a side note, if you look closely at RFK's field, you will notice some very faint football lines left over from last winter's college bowl game.]
Should the bidding process have more transparency?
"Not if the critieria is going to be financial. If the USSF wants to come up with a new criteria, then it could be more transparent."
Final thoughts?"We expect to make money on the game; Adrian doesn't know what he is talking about there. ... I just think it is a little out of bounds in your first year to throw stones the way they have."
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tonight (Thursday) - USA-Honduras Gold Cup Semi-final on FSC @ 7:30pm
Saturday Night - DCU vs. SJ on FSC @ 10:30pm
Sunday - Gold Cup FINAL vs. Mexico or Costa Rica on FSC @ 3pm
Tuesday Night - DCU vs. Firpo of El Salvador at RFK @ 8pm - Special Event Ticket C in your Season Ticket Book, last home game before Real Madrid and LA next month. I have up to three extra tickets, first come, first served.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Welcome Foot-o-philes to the first FootPrint in over a month. The last time I recapped a tailgate the BlackFoot were celebrating their first year as DCU's newest fan club. If it's possible, at this tailgate something even bigger happened.
*Clyde Simms is heading to Munich this week to have his adductor/groin/hernia injury examined. If necessary, he'll have surgery there and be sidelined up to three weeks. Obviously, he won't play against Rochester on Tuesday night in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal at Maryland SoccerPlex.
"Honestly, I just want peace of mind," he said. "If [surgery] is what it takes, then I will be happy about it. ... It seems to be like an over-use injury, knowing the guys who have gotten it. Hopefully, we can figure out what the problem is. One day you feel great, and the next day, it's frustrating. It was fine Wednesday and Thursday and I felt fine during the game [Saturday against Colorado], just a pass late in the game set it off."
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
What time: 8:00 pm
Where: Lot 8 RFK staidum
What time are we getting there: 4:00 pm, actually we can get there earlier if needed, its a double header with the freedom starting at 5:00 pm.
We havent had a tailgate in a long time, so lets do it right. The Blackfoot will be leaving around 3:30-3:45. Bringing cheese, tortillas chips, and salsa, and of course beer. The weather is looking excellent, so come on out.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Tonight, DC United faces the Harrisburg City Islanders of the USL 2nd division at the Maryland Soccer Complex in
United comes into this quarterfinal having squeaked by the PDL’s Ocean City Barons 2-0 in the last round. True to their home state’s character, the Barons gave us a scare.
How could it have been a squeaker at 2-0 you ask? United won, true, but barely thanks to a dubious penalty and some scrappy play.
After the miserably boring and badly played first half, the weather reflected the crowd’s mood as rain and a 10 degree temperature drop moved through at halftime. Despite my professorial projections of continued rain, my esteemed colleague, writer B. Fondak, predicted it would clear up after halftime. It did and so did United’s play.
Ben Olsen, one of three 1st team players to start the first half, along with Marc Burch and Rodney Wallace, came out at half for Chris Pontius and things started to look up. Pontius, who would end the game with at least 5 good chances on goal, immediately had an impact finding space at the top-center of the Barons' defense. Barons’ coach Neil Holloway must not have liked that substitution very much because he started to Hulk out about 10 minutes later and was ejected. In fact, he only left after a cop on the sideline "encouraged" him to leave!
The first United goal came in the 74th minute when Barons' keeper Ogunbiyi dove out to parry a long through ball. Ogunbiyi hit the ball and then took out the charging Ange N’Silu who tumbled head over heels. Note the order: (1) keeper hits ball (2) keeper hits player. Nonetheless, referee Jeff Gontarek pointed to the spot and Christian Gomez, subbed in for the injured John DiRaimondo in the 68th minute, took him up on his offer and slotted the ball in the Barons' net.
Wallace came out for Clyde Simms (does he have a PS3 yet or what?) in the next minute as Sohen looked to lock things down which…sort of happened. A former DC United official, in the stands that day, commented “this is where professional conditioning comes in” and it did. However, the “we’re-a-PDL-team-playing-an-MSL-team-and-have-nothing-to-lose”feeling also came in as the Barons bared down on the United goal flooding the box with players from all parts of the pitch abandoning their 1st half defense strategy. It almost worked, too, when the ball got by a diving Kocic only to be cleared off the line by Devon McTavish.
The men in black finally clinched the win in extra time when Gomito cracked a long direct kick on goal that the losers’ goalie Ogunbiyi deflected to the feet of N'Silu who quieted the obnoxious Jersey crowd for good and setting up tonight’s match-up.
The Harrisburg Islanders are coming off a quality 2-1 victory over the New England Revolution in the last round. Like United, the Revolution didn’t start many 1st teamers but lost the gamble. The Islanders got redemption after losing to the Revolution in the quarters of the 2007 Gold Cup. It should be noted that the Revolution also played a man down because of injuries and was actually down three men at one point in the second half. In other words, the Revolution were not at 100% or even 75%.
So, the Islanders will be a cakewalk, right? Ah, sweet hubris. That enticing and emboldening surge of confidence and surety that comes from victory and often precedes failure. We underestimate this Pennsylvanian team at our own peril. The last time DC lost in Open Cup play was in 2007 to, yep, the Harrisburg City Islanders.
Additionally, the Islanders are a mix of local and international talent that has won 10 of their last 14 games who, despite the cliché, have nothing to lose. Throw in Nicki Patterson, who leads his league in fouls with 28, and you have an intriguing game tonight that will see a United without Emilio and Moreno (injuries), Quaranta and Jakovic (international duty) and with a long list of players who went 90 minutes against Columbus Saturday. Expect to see Kocic start in goal again (adios, Mr. Crayton!) with N’Silu up top. Lastly, if Benny plays, he will be playing his hometown team. That’s right, Olsen was born in
Prediction: United 2-1.