G – Rimando, Warren, Geddes
D – Petke, Prideaux, Ivanov, Namoff, Stokes
M – Alegria, Quintanilla, Olsen, Quaranta, Kovalenko
F – Curtis, Stoitchkov, Barclay, Eskandarian
Etcheverry is still in Bolivia. He is expected to return late Thursday night.
“Gooch” Onyewu will be working out with the team over the next couple of weeks.
Several UMD players were also included in practice, such as Nino Marcantonio, Scott Buete, and Noah Palmer.
Carroll is on loan to Richmond for 2 weeks. Warren is expected to play for Richmond Friday night, but will be available for DC United on Saturday. Stokes will be joining VA Beach for a short loan.
Cureton and Silvio will finish their trials on Friday.
Certainly Jaime Cureton is ending his trial on an up note. He managed to be involved in 3 goals in the mini-scrimmage. The first came off break down the flank by Barclay. His cross to the middle of the box hit a puddle and slowed. Cureton and Rimando reached it at the same time, but Cureton managed to back heel it to Q2 on the far post. The second came off a steal in midfield and a quick out to Q2 on the flank. Q2 sent a perfect through ball to a streaking Cureton, who slotted the ball past an outstretched Rimando. The final goal for Cureton came from a quick cut through the box and slotting through a screen of defenders for a goal. Silvio also showed well during the scrimmage with a strong lay out header that whipped past Warren.
Can you comment on the two trialists?
“It’s not easy. They’ve both got qualities and they’re both different. And we’re not held to pick one of these two, but they’re both throwing their hat in the ring. Jaime has looked the sharper of the two around the goal. He’s definitely a poacher, definitely a sharp guy that will be difficult to handle. But, Silvio has a great physique and he moves better along the line than Jaime. It’s hard to judge in 2 or 3 days, but they’ve showed enough to say they could be on our team. They are certainly good enough to start on our side. The question now becomes ?What’s the value?’ What’s the best money for us. If they are too expensive we have to look further down the feed line. And that’s the way we’ll analyze this.”
Are they better than any of the previous trialists? Dalglish? The Brazilians?
“Yes, for sure. Paul was a nice player, but at the end of the day it’s like ordering a meal at a nice restaurant. That’s the thing, you’ve got to look for the best bang for the buck. And we’ve got a couple of others that we’re seriously thinking about. The decision isn’t made just yet. There’s going to be a couple of restless nice for sure.”
How long would it take between making the decision and getting a player into a game? How long would it take to get a work visa?
“Probably about 2 weeks I believe. I think they can get the work visa in around 15 days or something like that. . . . He would miss about 3 games. . . .”
“Like I said, there’s a couple of other know commodities, and then there’s other as well that are dying to get in! We got a call this morning from a player that would make you s— your pants!”
“My ass! (Dave) Kasper would string me up by my f—— b—– if I told you this one!”
Give at least a hint? What country? What level of play?
“(French) Non! Non monsieur! Je n’c’est qua . . . I say nothing!”
Reports are saying that many players in Europe are looking to come to the USA because the money isn’t there anymore. Comment?
“And they’re not going to make a lot of money here, but it’s America. Honestly, it’s . . that f—— World Cup and what Bruce (Arena) and the lads did, I said it then, people don’t know the domino effect that had. I awoke the world. The league and exposure it’s getting on Fox Sports World . . . the awareness of our club in particular with Europe have been sporting some incredible inquiries to the extent that you think, ?You’ve got to be f—— joking!’ These are just amazing.”
“Honestly, these are just pie in the sky type stuff. It’s nice to know that our league is looking that way.”
“I think the league needs to take a look at it at the end of this season big time.”
Do you consider this a ?buyer’s market’ and the league needs to raise the salary cap, or add the number of foreign players, or consider 1 loan per team per year?
“Of course! . . . Absolutely! For the quality to go up. Like I said, we’ve said that this needs to happen for the quality of the league. They’ve always frowned on that. They don’t want it to be a transient league. They don’t want to it to be a developmental league. Fair enough! But, we’re losing money and we need to put asses in the seats! If we can get these great f——- names in here for one season, then that’s what we should do. And it’s not just the great lads in their prime. It’s lads like Jaime Cureton. He could’ve been in the Premiership with Reading if not for the sake of a playoff game. They’re looking to get over here. It’s a viable alternative now, and the league is aware of it. The league is going to do some real serious re-thinking of it I believe.”
Are you cautiously optimistic that the goal-scoring problem is solved?
“No, I don’t honestly believe it is. The problem as it stood with the lack of wins – not the lack of competitiveness or lack of quality – we all kept believing we were going to get it. With all the ?Doubting Thomas’ the question is . . . . that’s understandable, but they ain’t here in the mud. They didn’t understand what we believed. You guys knew because you were here, but they didn’t see it. We’re right there. Finally we broke out of it. We need to make a punctuation mark of it on Saturday. This is another must win game because we need to re-emphasize everything we’ve been doing good through the season. Now that we’ve finally gotten over the hump, we really need to put the f—— peddle down – really start driving it home. And they’re capable of it, this team. They know it and they’ve got to take it out again this Saturday. I believe we’ve weathered a tough storm and now we’ve got the wind and the sails and we’ve got to f—— go for it now. If we don’t do it now, it will leave us. This is a seriously big game for us and we’re not letting our guard down.”
Quaranta is healthy, so are you starting him or going with Stoitchkov and Curtis?
“Ali and Hristo are starting. Santino’s quality is coming back, and we’ll give him a good half-hour again on Saturday. If things go well he should be back in the line-up. But, let’s hope we keep him out of the lineup. Let’s hope when Ryan (Nelsen) and Bobby Convey and Earnie Stewart come back . . . I mean, that’s the way I’ll do it. I may not do it with everybody, but these guys have got to know that they will be rewarded. The guys have got to know as long as they are keeping their guard up, they’ll be fine.”
The defense is possibly the best ever for DC United.
“You know, Petke still hasn’t gotten the credit he deserves. He’s turned the corner with the fans, but . . . I hope a lot of people start to get what Dave, and John (Trask), and I are all about. These were hard decisions. We believed in Petke. And at one-third the price that we were paying the other guy. He’s always in practice, always standing up on Saturday. This was a good move, and it was a tough move because the fans f—— hated Mike. And now they adore him. He’s a poster boy for these guys. It’s not over, but he’s established his ground head. He’s leading from the back.”
“Ryan Nelsen is the most under-rated player in MLS.”
“And Ivanov is class and poise”
“And Brandon played pretty solid. I think his passing game needs constant work, and he’s not happy with it. But he’s a solid little defender.”
“And the other guys that have come in and plugged in like Namoff . . . it’s been tremendous.”
“And Nicky has been such a barking dog to keep the guys right.”
“In order to re-construct this team we had to make those tough decisions. These weren’t just like pondering over a cup of coffee, they were agonizing decisions. And again, I still think we need to tweak this team. I still think we need to bring a player or two, and then I’ll be happy. It hasn’t all worked out. We’re not basking in the f—– sunshine thinking that everything is solved. We ain’t that good yet, that’s my belief. This rebuilding doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time. The way we’ve added to this roster, especially the young guys, I’m delighted. The way Devin (Barclay) is looking, I’m sick that he can’t get a look. The kid is looking super – he’s looking super. I’ve got to start to try to get these kids in games.”
Are you going to consider the Open Cup competition as important as the drive for the playoffs?
“You know, if you get knocked out in the first round, or first few rounds, it’s a black eye and everybody forgets it. But I remember when I was with the Fusion and we got to that final, it was like playing for the World Cup for those lads. The sense of achievement round after round overcoming adversity really helped build our team down there and built a foundation for them the next year. This club demands it. It’s not a case of ?Let’s throw the kids in.’ We’ll look to get the games won and put out of reach, then start bringing the kids in, just like we do in every game. We’ll take it very seriously.”