So....What Now? Looking ahead to next year. [R]

Discussion in 'D.C. United' started by dcuni_ted, Nov 9, 2003.

  1. dcuni_ted

    dcuni_ted Member

    Jul 16, 2000
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    looking to next year.......

    here some things i would like to see next year.

    1. etch please retire!!!!
    2. new coach
    3. new tranier to keep our starting eleven healthy ;)
    4. a better midfield
    5. anger mangement clases for stoich, etch if he is here, q2, dema and the rest ;)

    finally a MLS CUP
  2. ignatz

    ignatz New Member

    Jun 3, 2001
    Washington, DC
    Marco and Hirsto -- GONE GONE GONE!!! They are an embarrassment to the team, to the league, to the game.
  3. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA
    So....What Now? (R)

    Well, with the 4-0 aggregate loss, we're now officially planning for next season. There are a couple of other league factors that have some influence on us for 2004:

    1. Totally off the radar screen, it now looks extremely possible that Rochester will move into MLS for 2004. If that's the case, look for Chivas-USA (San Diego) to come in as well (with Cleveland and maybe someone else in 2005 or 2006). I have no guess at how expansion would be handled with a team that is already stocked (Rochester) coming in. But if there is expansion (and another team added to the East--and Rochester ain't so shabby, especially if you give them an allocation and a top draft pick) than we've clearly got to do much better than 4th out of 5. The added teams won't affect us much draft-wise. But it would mean the possible loss of players via expansion.

    2. Goff says all veterans but Etcheverry are under contract. So that would mean:
    (a) Thiago was acquired from Pittsburgh;
    (b) The only other vets we loose are if we choose to loose them;
    (c) don't know if Clint Baumstark falls into this category--he may have been signed for just the rest of the year--I don't know.

    3. I think Hudson's earlier comments (about wanting to be with DCU) mean nothing. They're they kind of thing you HAVE to say when your team is in the middle of a playoff series. I suspect Hudson isn't wild at returning at best and will make some demands. It sounds like Payne isn't wild on him returning at best and may not be interested in acceeding to any demands even if he did thing well of Hudson.

    4. I think there could be a bunch of MLS coaching vacancies. I'm going to be shocked, absolutely shocked if Columbus doesn't can Andrulis. You've got Dallas open. I think Yallop will take the Canadian job (which means he could be in the market again in 1 year if Canada is eliminated quickly). Add a possible opening in DC and that's a lot of turnover in a 10 team league. I suspect Rochester (if they enter in 2004) and Chivas-USA aren't factors in this.

    5. If Etcheverry gets excited about his callup for Bolivia, I suspect he won't retire next year, will likely try to go to Qatar or whatever which would probably mean we won't get an allocation from his departure.

    6. I believe all of our current P-40 players (with the possible exception of Barclay) will still be classified as P-40 in 2004. None earned enough PT and can be classified as starters or likely starters to lose their P-40 status.

    7. WCQ starts soon but I don't know if that will have much impact on DCU (right now, I don't know if Convey would get called up). But the Olympics would have an impact on this side as a number of players are either on the side or could be (like Baumstark for instance if he were called up from Rongen's U20 Roster).

    8. Last of all is the speed with which Payne and Co. resolve some of these decisions (is Hudson coming back? Is Etcheverry coming back? Is Stoichkov coming back?). If it drags on, other teams will make their coaching decisions.
  4. greenbill

    greenbill New Member

    Apr 30, 2003
    York, PA
    Re: So....What Now? (R)

    I would hope not!

    They'd better not!
  5. Barbara

    Barbara BigSoccer Supporter

    Apr 29, 2000
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    People who must go, in the order in which they must go:

    Hristo (tomorrow isn't soon enough for me)

    I believe the rest of the players are salvagable. I'd like to see a shakeup in the rest of the coaching staff, though.
  6. CHICO13

    CHICO13 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Oct 4, 2001
    SECTION 135
    The Strongest La Paz
    Nat'l Team:
    Re: So....What Now? (R)

    Pretty much what I've been thinking the last couple of weeks Joe. As much as I like Ray after having met him a few times, I do believe he is a master in the art of smoke blowing. He's been doing it pretty much since day one and especially this year. Remember all the "mystery" players and signings we were supposed to pull off early in the season? And I especially like how he stripped Marco of the armband and said he was going to be a 40 minute second half player. Then before todays game he puts it all on Marco's shoulders. Say one thing and do another. That's Rays MO.

    What was it he said about putting lipstick on a pig?
  7. Lowecifer

    Lowecifer Member+

    Jan 11, 2000
    Baltimore, MD
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    Whatever happens, time is of the essence. Decisions must be made on the makeup of:

    1. Management - and I include Dave Kasper in this group

    2. The Current Roster

    3. New blood - discoveries, draft, trade, etc.

    If the decision is to go in a new direction at the top, then AEG must move swiftly so that an organizational strategy can be in place well before the Winter transfer window opens, the college soccer season ends, and teams start talking trade. Throw in the possibility of an expansion draft and you're talking about a significant amount of planning that must occur.

    My personal opinion is that we have to make a change and get a serious organizational mind in place to manage the team on the field but who has a keen understanding of the rest of the duties peculiar to a MLS manager. I love Ray Hudson and John Trask as people and their passion for the game, I just don't think they are going to be able to get it done here.
  8. greatscott

    greatscott Member+

    Dec 21, 2002
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    i just talked to my ticket rep about season tickets next year.
  9. roadkit

    roadkit Greetings from the Fringe of Obscurity

    Jul 2, 2003
    Fornax Cluster
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Mine are already bought and paid for. When's the home opener?

    I can't wait. Go DC United!!!
  10. DigitalTron

    DigitalTron New Member

    Apr 4, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Hudson and Trask had their chance. They remade the team, and it didn't work. In Miami they had offensive turbos in Preki (won KC an MLS Cup, made the Fusion tick, and then re-made a bad KC team again) and Serna (coveted by every coach in the league but only handled by Ray) to do the business on the offensive end.

    Trask is a good defensive coach, but his negative and protect-at-all-costs mentality drained the attacking instincts out of the players. The lack of offensive structure created an impotent attack. The lack of consistency on corner kicks made it difficult for the kicker to know who was going where and deliver to the mis-matched teammate. The lack of tactical instruction didn't allow the players to be put in the right position to succeed offensively. The lack of a plan allowed every player to play to his own hidden agenda rather than playing towards a team concept. The fear of failure caused players to avoid taking shots. And finally, the tolerance of belligerant attitudes (i.e. Hristo) fractured the team and caused every ref in MLS to hate us. This coaching staff needs to go.

    Next step is find a head coach. As for Yallop, well Club America looks to be buying half of the SJ Earthquakes, so there may be a new breeze blowing through that club's management. It may lead to a Spanish-first coaching regime. If so, Yallop may likely have his pick of either the Canada job (still too early IMHO) or DC United. So, he now does seem to be a legitimate candidate. Yallop understands the league and would fare quite well, but would likely bring considerable roster turnover.

    Otherwise, I'd say Ellinger is the best selection. He would bring in target forwards and look to create an attack from all parts of the field approach.

    In my mind, the coach is 75% of the success of a team. Therefore, the one real variable is in Payne's hands. If the right coach is brought in, we'll be competitive immediately and good by the end of 2004.

  11. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    Well now that Stephen Goff has mentioned Mo Johnston as the possible early front runner it appears that Payne will be making big decisions soon, which is totally a good thing. Since Mo is a league veteran and is an assistant to Bradley, he has cachet. We all talk about Arena having weight with Payne's decisions, but I think an endorsement by Bradley will go far too.

    I strongly suspect Yallop is Canada-bound.

    As for Ellinger, I too would be interested in him, but again, with Goff mentioning Johnston so quickly I think Ellinger has already been very informally talked too about his interesting in an MLS head coaching job and he's still not interested.

    I'm sure, Joe, that Convey will get WCQ callups as well as Olympic qualification callups and the U-20 tournament. What I'll be most interested in will be to see if Quaranta can get his head together in the U-20. My guess for both Convey and Quaranta, being with Rongen right now is a very good thing. Get the agony of this past year out of their systems.
  12. lkeniston

    lkeniston Member

    Mar 20, 2003
    Richmond, Va.
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Gawd, great spunk, my man - what a fan!
  13. Mountainia

    Mountainia Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    Section 207, Row 7
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm gonna renew my two, but I'm crazy anyway.

    Next year:
    1. Let's get a striker already.
    2. I'd like a coach that gets involved tactically and technically, not just emotionally.
    3. Welcome back Benny and Milton!
    4. Please let's have a great testimonial for Marco, and get his name up on the Ring of Stars at RFK. He's been the best for DC.
  14. Sundevil9

    Sundevil9 New Member

    Nov 23, 1999
    Reston, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Let's look at what we've got (I'm going to be positive today):

    Guys you can start on opening day 2004:

    Keeper: Warren
    Defense: Reyes Petke Nellie Prideaux

    Midfield: Olsen Convey/Stewart Dema Stewart/Convey

    Forward: Tino Cerritos

    Leaving a bench of: Chino, Eski, Martins, Namoff

    Rimando probably won't be back until mid-season, it takes 6-12 months to come back from ACL surgury. The beginning of the season is coincidental with his availability window.

    Overall, I'd say that's a good core of an MLS team. Upgrading the striker position is the only real concern. But who's to say that Tino and Martins don't find some magic in training camp?

    This season did end with a wimper, but the team is several orders of magnitude more dangerous, and exciting with Olsen AND Reyes on the field.
  15. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA
    1. MoJo has already been called in to interview for the Dallas job. If he (MoJo) truly is a serious candidate than this means Payne will need to act quickly. I don't know much about him as a coach except that Bradley is crazy about him. He seems to feel about MoJo like Arena felt about Bradley.

    2. I thought Convey's comments in SG's post-game article were good (about getting shoved by Stoichkov). It seems to me that Convey was being more assertive as a player/leader by saying "enough already--stop the nonsense on the field and let's concentrate on playing the game!". I too agree he'll get callups. But the way he's playing right now, I think it would be a stretch to say that he's one of the USMNT's MLS contingent's best: (a) 3 outside mids; or (b) 3 outside defenders; or (c) 2 best A-mids. And I too agree that Olympic side callups and U20 callups will be good for him.
  16. IntheNet

    IntheNet New Member

    Nov 5, 2002
    Northern Virginia
    Blackburn Rovers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I was proven right by my earlier assessment that the Bulgarian Hristo would destroy this team - such an embarrassing performance by this man - against fellow player Coney no less and against the team as a whole - exemplifies the utter lack of professionalism by both Hristo and the coach who brought him in, Hudson. Both need the boot, immediately. A punch in the face for both would actually be more appropriate; although unprofessional! On a direct level, Hudson should be forced to apologize to every D.C. United ticket holder for being incompetent, among other things. Not changing the lineup at half time in last game symbolizes incompetence... which DCU portrayed all season. DCU has other weaknesses which can be immediately addressed by a new coach... Digital is exactly right by saying a coach counts for at least 75% of success... however, big ticket players such as the forward Stewart, who cannot even amass as many goals as the defender Petke, should also be shown the door.

    There is some real quality within D.C. United... unfortunately a cast of idiots to include Hudson and Stoichkov, and lesser incompetents, such as Stewart, reduced DCU's chances to "0" in playoffs! There are some that might say the injury list cost DCU a winning season - I say that DCU's coach and many of its players become its greatest liability! Such a shame!

  17. ignatz

    ignatz New Member

    Jun 3, 2001
    Washington, DC
    I couldn't disagree with you more about Stewart. I think his failure here was Ray's failure. As has been noted on another thread, we have (a) lousy midfield play and (b) two US national team midfielders. The fact that our coach has those two national team midfielders (Stewart and Convey) and a possible third (Olsen, if he can overcome the injuries) and can't do anything with them, speaks more of the coach than the midfielders.
  18. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA
    D-tron, I missed your message or I would have replied earlier. I completely agree with you about coaching being a high percentage of this league. Yes, it's important in any pro soccer league but in MLS, with the "unknown talent" (college and A-league and youth) that most European and S. American coaches won't know, the weird culture, the bizarro rules, how Americans develop in this game, the small rosters--all of that means that having a really good coach who develops players and works well with an ever-changing roster are critical. Hudson has had 2 years. This team should have been better--we got some real cap favors this season and I've maintained since day 1 that we had one of the 3 most talented rosters in MLS. That Hudson (going into pre-season) indicated that the roster was set (barring a possible acquisition of John Harkes) and then later is talking about the roster having gaps and key holes--he assembled that talent. He chose not to pursue Dante Washington (or another target man) so we ended up relying on a game but limited Ali Curtis. He assumed that between Stoichkov and Etcheverry we'd get performance from central midfield. I was willing to accept Hudson before (viewing him as a limited coach--one dimensional). But he loses it, doesn't maintain composure and that goads the team on to do the same--and we lose focus (or are never focused). Combine that with the lack of offensive organization, the inability to approach each youngster differently makes him too much of a liability in my book.

    I'd go for Yallop in a heartbeat if he's available. But I suspect he'd go to Canada first. If he did come here, I"m not sure how much turnover we'd have. Barclay probably. Stoichkov and Etcheverry are probably gone anyway. But Yallop would love Nelsen to death--exactly his kind of player. I think most of our backline would be guys he'd embrace--and he'd do with Stokes what he did with Robinson. As for the rest of the roster--I don't know now Cerritos, Quintanilla or Quaranta would fit in. They might work very well (look at DeRo). Remember, when Yallop originally went to SJ, he made do with a lot of existing pieces while bringing in Agoos and some key creative talent. Then this past season he showed a willingness to say goodbye to Cannon and Barrett. But I think Yallop will go to Canada.

    My first choice is still Mooch.
  19. owendylan

    owendylan Member

    May 30, 2001
    DC United
    Gotta get the MoJo rising. I am firmly on the MoJo bandwagon for a lot of reasons. He's played on big clubs in his career (both Celtics and Rangers.) He knows the game. I've talked to him before when he was still playing and he's sharp. He knows the league. Having been with Bradley I can only think that 1. Bradley thinks he has some coaching skill and 2. Johnston accepted Bradley's offer so they probably think alike and want to play in the same manner and MoJo wanted to learn something from one of the best in the league.

    I think Johnston would be a bold move by this organization and right now we need bold.
  20. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia

    1. Yeah, Dallas is interested in MoJo. That does seem to be a factor in Payne acting quickly here. Good.

    2. About Convey: I think Bruce Arena feels about as good about the kid as he did in 2000 with calling up Goos, Pope, Llamosa, and Williams from a horrific MLS defense. Same with Stewart too- which means that probably if Hudson is going (and even if he stays) Earnie will be with the team next year or else command a high price tag in terms of a trade.

    3. About Myernick: The only way I see him at DCU is if Hudson stays another year and stinks up the joint again cause I don't see Mooch leaving the Olympic job now. Mooch can wait till the 2005 season to get a head coaching job in MLS and it's not as if DCU's job is by definition more prestigious. So I don't see him as a candidate.
  21. seanT

    seanT Member

    Feb 15, 2000
    Washington, DC
    Off Season To Do List:

    1 - Help Etch, Hreeeesto, Hudson and Trask pack

    2- Re-sign Nelson

    3- Hire a Coach
  22. Sundevil9

    Sundevil9 New Member

    Nov 23, 1999
    Reston, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You do mean to extend his contract, right? MLS has their last option on him for 2004.

    There are three options regarding Nellie:
    1. MLS could extend his contract (at a considerable raise).

    2. MLS can sell him in January. Or the summer.

    3. His contract can expire at the conclusion of the 2004 season, and he can field offers in January.
  23. Liverpool_SC

    Liverpool_SC Member

    Jun 28, 2002
    Upstate, SC
    Team Make-up 2004

    I think that DC United needs to alter their coaching staff. I don't know who would be best as manager - I personally think that a soccer coach as opposed to a motivator is most important. I believe that we have had so many motivators this season that it has hindered the development of guys without huge personalities in the side. If veteren players like Stewart, Olsen, Nelsen and Kovalenko need a big motivator - something is wrong!

    The coach needs to be willing to work with players in order to better establish them in roles in the team. He also needs to be the guy that makes the lineup decisions. I think there was too much division of labor between Trask and Hudson this past season. One person needs to be comfortable enough with the tactics and lineup decisions - even if they rely on veteren players to do more of the motivating and ra-ra stuff.

    Finally, the coach needs to have the inclination to work more on set pieces. Bobby Convey should be coached and encouraged to become more proficient at this skill (he could be great at serving the ball). Other guys (Olsen, Quintanilla, Quaranta, Stewart) should be worked with as well. There needs to be a plan for player positioning and movement on all set pieces so that we can be at least as good as the USWNT at converting some of these opportunities:). Especially since we generate so many corner kicks (and are likely to generate more in the tactics I outline below).

    Tactics/Personnel for the New Season

    Considering how weak we are upfront, the only players at the forward position that are legitimate starting prospects for next season are Quaranta, Eskandarian, Cerritos and Kovalenko. The cupboard seems a little bare here, but I would be very careful about signing more forwards. I would only sign a player if (based on class and form) he could walk into the starting line-up. We have plenty of prospects at the position now (Martins and Barclay).

    My starting lineup would probably feature Kovalenko and Cerritos (given we are very unlikely to be rid of him – perhaps an expansion team might take him, but no one else would want to pick up his salary) as our forwards. The bench forwards would be Quaranta, Martins (if he is still around) and Eskandarian (with a fair share of starts when Dema is sitting due to suspensions). Stoichkov is not capable of being a legitimate starter (stamina) anymore and hopefully won't be on the team (make-up).

    I would be open to getting rid of Cerritos (to free up cap space for other players) and replacing him with Quaranta, Martins or Eski (although I am not confident Dema would pair particularly with any of these players). I think that Cerritos would partner well with Dema, but I doubt that RC will suddenly start scoring bunches of goals. I suppose this decision depends a lot upon what we think we need out of a secondary striker. The formation/style of play that I outline below would hopefully generate a fair amount of goals through the midfield, so I would be willing to concede some at the secondary striker position if he was good at holding the ball, winning headers for teammates and creating chances for other players.

    I would choose to have Stewart start the season in the hole (behind the forwards) and let Convey play center-left early in the season (unless he had an exceptional camp/preseason in the center of the field). I would play Olsen at center-right.

    I would make signing a top-notch, high work-rate holding midfielder our top priority in the offseason. The holding midfielder would need to have exceptional mobility, work-rate and be a great ball-winner, because he would have to cover for Reyes, Namoff (when they move forward) and through the center of the field. He would also have to have a flair for linking play – even if it is only the well-taken simple pass. I would build the rest of the formation around this player as more of a diamond midfield (or even a 4-1-3-2) without orthodox wingers/wide midfielders. Namoff and Reyes would provide width and Olsen and Convey would be encouraged to run and switch through the center of the field. They could drift out wide should the opponents’ style of play (i.e. if the middle became very clogged) required it.

    Since we lack dominant, physical forwards, we would do better to reduce some of our wide play and work on creating more forward ball movement through the middle of the field. Convey and Stewart would do a great job playing together and stringing together one-touch passes and crisp ball movement. Between those three in the center of the field, we would also be better able to put pressure on the ball throughout the length of the field. Rather than wait for clear openings and slide-rule passes, the midfielders would be encouraged to push the ball up the field and create odd-man opportunities or mismatches. I would hope for lots of long-range shots. Even if we don't score, Dema will be great at poaching goals from rebounds. This will make us vulnerable to the counterattack (hence the importance of the holding midfielder and his mobility).

    I would not want the forwards to have to work back too deeply from an attacking position. I think it is important for Cerritos to be in position to hold the ball and lay it in the path of an advancing midfielder or a Dema-on the move. I would like to see a lot of pressure on defenders from Dema and Cerritos as well. It would be better if the forwards could make shorter, more direct runs, and let the midfielders do more of the work in the middle third of the field (instead of seeing Stoichkov drop back and try to over handle the ball in midfield).

    On the other side of the ball, Stewart (in more of a free role) would be great on "help" defense and putting pressure on the opponent while they are in possession in their own half. Quintanilla, Carroll and Alegria (I am not holding out great hopes for his future with the team if Hudson leaves) would vie for backup roles in midfield (I would consider giving Namoff a shot at a role in def mid as well).

    Quaranta might excel in the same spot as Benny (center-right). His ability to create space, handle the ball in traffic and get shots off from distance would work well here – if he was up to the physical demands of the position. If Quaranta settled in well at center-right, perhaps Benny could be re-cast as the holding midfielder. He certainly has the work-rate and skill, but I don’t know if he is physically up to the task.

    The backs would be Reyes, Petke, Nelsen (I hope he comes back for DC) and Namoff. Prideaux and Stokes would be cover at defense. I know that some DC fans are still a bit leery of Petke in the center of a four-man backfield, but I think he did very well this season. Nelsen does not have the mobility to play the holding midfield role that I envision. I hope that Ivanov finds another team.

    How would we get our Holding Midfielder

    I would seriously consider giving up Quintanilla and even consider giving up Quaranta if they would help us get a stellar holding/all-around midfielder. We need a player in this role who can be a captain-type linchpin (think Chris Armas with perhaps a bit more speed and touch) for the team. Mulrooney does so much for his team at this position. Rico Clark and Shalrie Joseph are raising the standard of the league at this position. Along with Pablo Mastroeni, players like this make players like Richie Williams look like they belong in a different era of the league. DC United does not need to have its most dependable goalscorer (Dema) playing this role. Maybe it will be necessary to look overseas for this player.

    The unmentionable player

    I would love to have Adu in the early Summer. But even if he came in, it would take him time to settle in. I would probably use him in more of a wide role (initially), to help him get better acclimated to the physical demands/speed of the league. I would be thrilled if he could be an effective impact substitute attacking player in his first year in the league (with production on par with Quaranta’s first season).
  24. jason1551

    jason1551 Member+

    Apr 9, 2003
    Columbus, GA
    DC United
    Re: Team Make-up 2004

    Could you please point out a game this season where Q1 did any of that?

    As for a holding midfielder, Colosimo is our guy should we choose to go after him again.
  25. Hedbal

    Hedbal Member+

    Jul 31, 2000
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Liverpool, I'm with you on the need for a Holding Mid/D Mid. In another thread I pointed out that Hudson mentioned the need before the season began but instead of going outside and filling it he recast an aggressive offensive threat (Dema) in a defensive role. Given our difficulty in creating in the offensive third you need someone like Dema up there in the mix, not back beyond the midfiield line.

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