Who starts at D-mid Saturday?

Discussion in 'D.C. United' started by Sandon Mibut, Sep 29, 2003.

  1. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    With Dema Kovalenko and Mike Petke suspended, it creates a big hole for DC United at defensive midfield, arguably the one position they have the least depth.

    Even though Petke isn't a D-mid, his suspension hurtrs the options because it weakens the backline and two of the other options for D-mid are defenders.

    HudsTrask could start either Ryan Nelsen or Bryan Namoff at D-mid, but with Petke unavailable, both are needed at centerback and left back, respectively.

    Now, this is where I fault Ray for not having played the rookies earlier in the season when there were chances to get David Stokes and Brian Carroll, and for that matter, Doug Warren, playing time to get them some minutes here and there.

    Ray could start Nelsen or Namoff into D-mid and start Stokes, either at right back (with Ivanov moving into the middle) or centrally (either next to Nelsen if Namoff plays mid or next to Prideaux if it was Nelsen who moves up). But, doing that now would mean having a 21-year old rookie making his MLS debut on the road AND in a crucial playoff game. If Ray hasn't played Stokes yet, I doubt very seriously he'll play him now, though I guess it's not impossible. I do believe that if he had given Stokes spot duty through out the season, he'd be more confident using him in this situation.

    Similarly, Carroll played D-mid at Wake Forest and with the U20 and U23 teams but Ray hasn't used him all year and I don't see that happening now. Again, had he given him some minutes here and there in games that weren't in doubt - or even in some that were - he might be more confident in throwing him into the mix in this crucial game.

    So, with Nelsen and Namoff needed in the backline and Carroll likely not getting the nod, who does that leave?

    Chino Alegria would appear to be the leading candidate and if that doesn't make you nervous, you haven't been paying attention. Chino does have some experince and skill and he certainly plays with heart. But, he is often physically overmatched, both in the pace and size departments and with him on the field. I have visions of Kyle Martino having the time and space he needs to spray balls around to the Crew's forwards.

    He ain't ideal, but I suspect that's what we'll see. I mean, Marco doesn't have the workrate to play D-mid, and while Earnie does, he's never played there before. Same with Convey.

    I suppose Ray could move Convey to D-mid but with Olsen out, that creates a gap on the flank, though Ray could move Earnie to right mid, start Marco in the middle, play Convey at D-mid and start Thiago with Cerritos. But, that's a LOT of guys playing out of position and I just don't see Ray doing that.

    So, it again comes back to Chino. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
  2. Catch

    Catch New Member

    Feb 24, 2002
    Strangle, VA
    Ray has used Chino as a defender at least once (maybe a road game in LA...). Anyway, I think Namoff is up to the D-Mid challenge, though I think Hudson will slot Chino in there. I guess I'd prefer to see Stokes on the backline, especially if he plays in the Open Cup game vs. the Mutts.

  3. Cweedchop

    Cweedchop Member+

    Mar 6, 2000
    Ellicott City, Md
    I think this is a no brainer for Hudson..

    It's going to be Chino.. Namoff is needed on the outside of the backline and no other player has MLS experience at that position..

    Though Chino hasn't played as of late, it's not like he hasn't played defensive midfield in this league.. He'll do his job.. Besides, I'm not one to get too excited by Kyle Martino.. I think he's ridiculously overrated and can be pushed off the ball too easily..

    I don't think we're going to win this game because we are starting to drop like flies now and the suspensions certainly don't help us out either..
  4. sch2383

    sch2383 New Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    We could go with three in the back.


    Or does Ivanov play center? I can't remember this early.
  5. Sanguine

    Sanguine Member

    Jul 4, 2003
    Reston, VA
    that's only 10 players...
  6. fatbastard

    fatbastard Member+

    Aug 1, 2003
    Lincoln (ish), Va
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In a week's time we've gone from too many players, to not enough.
  7. sch2383

    sch2383 New Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    That is the reason I should not post before 9 am...
  8. chayes

    chayes New Member

    Feb 29, 2000
    Raleigh, NC
    Seriously, someone who has seen them play please answer this:

    Is Chino better than Stokes and/or Carroll?

    Chino, bless his heart, makes a cute dancing boy, but is not an MLS caliber player.

    Can Stokes and/or Carroll be that much worse?
  9. Diceson

    Diceson Member

    Dec 21, 1999
    Yes, Chino is better than Stokes or Carroll. The way I see it, and I disagree w/ SMB, Chino won't lose the game. He won't win it for DCUnited, but he won't lose it. He's very conservative in his passing, with the usual exception each game of one nice 'grass cutter' through ball each game. Stokes is now a legitimate contender at the back line. He has matured to the point where I would be comfortable starting him, but I'd be on the edge of my seat throughout the game. He's got to break his MLS cherry sometime, but I wonder if doing it in a playoff race is the wise thing to do. I think putting him in the Open Cup match on Wednesday would be a significant confidence boost to him, and would be enough pressure on him to perform, but you could surround him with Petke and Kovalenko. Carroll is still a ways off. He'll need next season to continue to grow. He had the confidence and arrogance to push for a spot, but then lost it through inconsistency.
  10. Eismahn

    Eismahn Member

    Sep 26, 2003
    Silver Spring,Maryla
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    do we take anything from last Thursday's example?

    With the current suspensions of both Petke and Kovalenko, it will be most interesting to see if DC looks to last week's success in deciding what gameplan to go with vs Columbus. Aside from dominating possesion through NY's midfield to the attack, I thought the key to our success in the offensive third was due to consistency- namely Stewart and Olsen's service specifically from the 35-40 yd spot on the right. It seems we ran all variations of organized attacks once the ball was possessed at that spot, enabling numerous beutifully co-ordinated efforts. If that holds true, maybe we'll see the following :


    with Etch, Stewart and even Q2 distributing from the spot this time round. The great thing about this last time round, Benny having dominated the right flank all night,once NY decided to give him his due attention, Convey got some great space to let loose at long last some great looking crosses later in the game.
    Of course, El Diablo's conditioning will be key come matchtime, and if it's an issue, we'll undoubtedly see some youth in any number of positions, especially come sub time.I'll predict here that Ray's decisions in this one will be the most critical of the season, with riches and spoils a plenty if we get 3, and an avalanche of nooses and the like if we loose.Nothing like a baptism of fire for the rookies to get you ready for playoff showtime!!
  11. chayes

    chayes New Member

    Feb 29, 2000
    Raleigh, NC
    Thanks John.
  12. Knave

    Knave Member+

    May 25, 1999
    If we clinch the playoffs with a game or two to spare Stokes should get significant playing time. Maybe he should even start that last match against Kansas City. By then we should have things wrapped up and it's a western division team so loss wouldn't really hurt us - it wouldn't help us but it wouldn't hurt us either.
  13. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    Okay. here's several different options for the defense:









    5) I was gonna put a lineup of two with Nellie at d-mid, but I just don't see that happening, not with Petke out...

    Nellie's gonna get paired up with either Prideaux, Ivanov, or Stokes. Thus the choices at d-mid are either Alegria, Namoff, and/or Carroll. I think that probably we'll see either #1 or #3 above. No need to play a rookie. They aren't ready. But if Chino is the only d-mid, Martino will have a field day. That thought gives rise to the next thought that it would be good if our a-mid of the day could play some good pressing defense, which means Stewart there.
  14. tab5g

    tab5g Member+

    May 17, 2002
    I am wondering how much Carroll will grow next year with Hudson as his coach.

    It really bothers me that (and I don't understand why) both Stokes and Carroll have gotten zero MLS minutes this season.

    As just the coaching staff and a few very dedicated fans are aware of practice routines and "inconsistencies" of the players, I guess we'll just have to take their word that certain players are better than others. But I don't think I agree with all of their assessments.

    The initial point of the first post is correct, by this point in the season our rookies should have gotten some minutes on the field in MLS games.
  15. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    Hmmm.... I remember a post you had last week where you defended Convey in part because of Arena's high regard of him. Yes, Convey has played more for Arena than Martino has, but Kyle is definitely a part of the player pool too so I think you are off the mark by calling him, "ridiculously overrated". At any rate, Chino will have few chances to push kyle off the ball since he won't be able to catch him.

    I do share your pessimism about this game's outcome unless Hudson/Trask get creative...
  16. Cweedchop

    Cweedchop Member+

    Mar 6, 2000
    Ellicott City, Md
    You have to balance the situations..

    If we had to rely on Chino to play defensive mid for an entire season, we'd be in a heck of a lot of trouble..

    However, if it's just spot duty, he is more than capable of playing well.. Remember the game here against the Mutts last season when he got Mathis ejected? That was simply one of the best games of his career.. He also had a fantastic game against Columbus here earlier this season as well..
  17. Cweedchop

    Cweedchop Member+

    Mar 6, 2000
    Ellicott City, Md
    Fair enough point Skip but I think the real truth in why I think Kyle is so overrated is that he is just too easy to knock off the ball.. You could say that of Convey in his early years in the league but now (recent play notwithstanding) he is much more difficult to handle.. Additionally, Convey presents more options to Arena than Martino ever will.. Martino plays in the middle and that's about it and we only have about 6 guys who can play that position already for Arena..
  18. Eismahn

    Eismahn Member

    Sep 26, 2003
    Silver Spring,Maryla
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    Guess the best way to decide or at least for speculation's sake is to first consider this game will be on the road. Given our team's recent history on the road, a considerable premium will be put on shoring up the back line, particularly, as the thread initially suggested, in the middle. If we all agree there, I don't see any matter of weighing factors coming out in favor of trying out any combination of rookie talent in the backline, barring the emergence of a significant lead. The universal rules applying to rookies in any sport always play the tug of war of talent vs lack of experience resulting in occasional lapses of concentration or awareness. With so much on the line in terms of the team's playoff hopes, we simply can't afford any such mistakes on the last line of defense- too costly, especially in light of the sparse number of goals scored on the road this year. Think we've seen enough to know Ray & Co will most likely employ a counter-minded 4-4-2, though we shouldnt rule out a very conservative 3-5-2 which would result in at least 1 or more surprises for all at both d-mid assignments. So - bottom line- if we get to see any player getting their initial MLS action, most likely we'll see at at mid-field. Which brings up the other most relevant question- what's the Crew been playing at home?
  19. Funkfoot

    Funkfoot Member+

    May 18, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    I agree that it seems to boil down to a choice of Stokes or Alegria. If it was a mid season game against Dallas, we might see Stokes, but I'm afraid Ray is going to go with Chino in this situation. Interesting question is who would sub in for him, since I don't think he's a 90 minute player at this point - he hasn't played in a long time it seems. Up top, I would like to see Etch sit in favor of Stewart, and Martins start with Cerritos.

    I would like to see:


    Stokes Nelsen Prideaux Ivanov


    Q2 Stewart Convey

    Cerritos Martins

    Subs: Geddes, Etch, Esky, Alegria, Perea

    God knows what we'll actually see, but I have a feeling it could be ugly! Is this game televised?
  20. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    True, Convey is much more versatile than Martino for Arena. I do think though that Hudson will need more than Alegria at d-mid so that our defenders don't have too many Cows bearing down on them. Could we be seeing a 451 once again?
  21. Eismahn

    Eismahn Member

    Sep 26, 2003
    Silver Spring,Maryla
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    not outta the woods quite yet...

    or maybe outta the swamp would be more appropriate-
    suggesting here that since all seem to appreciate the short list of optimistic options, DC fans should pull out all the stops as far as superstisious or spiritual assistance in keeping our dwindling roster intact. Would hope that tomorrow's game would reverse the physical trend we saw over the previous two, but now they've got a cup- who know's how high the Scum's motivation will be to try and add to their dust-covered lonely case.
    I'm seriously hoping our best conclusion today for Saturday doesnt run into any further medical predicaments. As far as that trend goes, I shudder to think who'd be next...

    Anyone have that 1-800 number for the soccer gods?
  22. GoDC

    GoDC Member

    Nov 23, 1999
    Hamilton, VA
    Chino may play a conservative passing game, but most of those passes seem to go to the opposition. Nelson and Brandon better be ready to play some tough defense if he is in front of them.

    Cerritos - Martins
    Convey Stewart Etch Q2
    Namoff Prodeaux Nelsen Inanov
  23. sckrmom

    sckrmom New Member

    Jul 17, 2003
    Gainesville, VA
    Just a thought...You all agree that Chino doesn't stand a chance against Martino. Might it be, lack of playing time and all, that Carroll would fare a tad bit better against Martino since he's been playing with him on the U20 and U23 teams for the last few years as well as against him when they were in college? He should have a pretty good idea how he plays.???????????? Although Ray giving him playing time this late in the season - I haven't seen any pigs flying by my window, but I'll keep looking:)
  24. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    This is actually an interesting little theory. I agree that it likely won't happen because of Ray but there certainly is logic to it and I don't think it would be that bad of an experiement.

    BTW, it is times like this that I feel obligated to point out that of the first 20 players taken in the MLS draft this year, the only ones who haven't played this year are the Thompson Twins (Dallas' Jason, LA's Scot), both of whom did their ACL's in pre-season, and Stokes and Carroll.

    Also, a lot of players taken later in the draft or not drafted at all have made good contributions to their team.

    I think it is a risky to throw Stokes or Carroll into the mix now, but I still maintain that it would be far less risky to do so had they broken their MLS cherries earlier in the season and, for that, I blame the coaching staff.

    I don't want this to turn into an ant-Ray/Trask thing. They've done a great job with the team most of the year. But on this issue, they haven't done that spectacularly and now it is coming back to bite us in the ass.
  25. Jimbo

    Jimbo Member

    Dec 17, 1999
    Washington, DC
    MLS Net lists three DC players as suspended for the 10/4 game. Kovalenko, Petke, AND Ivanov. So you can scratch Ivanov from your starting line up.

    Stokes gets the start because there are only three efenders on the active roster (plus Namoff makes four). The only question is whether you play Stokes out wide on the right, and put Nelson and Prideaux in the middle, or whether Prideaux is outside with Stokes in the middle with Nelson to help him stay organized.

    Alegria is the likely defensive midfielder.

    Columbus has to be pretty happy that DC had that card happy nincompoop of a referee last weekend. In a week's time, injury and cards have taken Rimando, Olsen, Petke, Kovalenko, and Ivanov out of the lineup, almost half of the starting team. The Columbus game will be a real gut check.

Share This Page