– An absolutely miserable, cold overcast day. It was pretty obvious in the way the team way playing no one really wanted to be outside.
– You can update the alumni list. Mark Lisi is with Addidas and was down with a crew to do a film shoot with Boswell and Moreno.
Coach Chad Ashton
– What do you see as the strengths of this team and organization?
“I think the biggest and most obvious thing that I saw immediately when I got here is that you’re dealing with a good group of guys. No egos. Everybody is on the same page. Everybody is treated the same way. And everybody accepts that and pulls their weight regardless of what it may be. It might as simple as picking up stuff, getting water bottles, getting the bags, stuff like that. That makes it a lot easier to fine tune when you are dealing with guys that are professionals and are more about the team than themselves.”
– As you said, everyone from the top on down inside the organization, and to include the fans, has high expectations for this club year after year. How much pressure did you feel coming into this environment?
“I would say I felt pressure before I got to DC just in terms of your mind is going a million miles and hour and you don’t know exactly what to expect, although you probably have a pretty good idea. But, from the second I met everyone at the combine, they made me feel at home, the made me feel comfortable. They’ve made the transition easy for me. I’m just excited. I’m ready to get going with games. I’m excited to be playing in a fairly difficult role next week.”
– What type of role has been given to you? Do you have any specific areas you will be concentrating on?
“No, it’s the same as before with the team. Everything is handled by everybody. Tommy, Dave Kasper, Kevin Payne, everybody is included in all the decisions that are being made. That’s what makes it easy for me to be at home and to feel like I’m one of their family. Everybody shares their little bit, and it’s different on a day to day basis.”
– Which of the younger, newer players are impressing you?
“Obviously of the new additions, Luciano stands out. I think he’s impact within the league and he’s going to score a lot of goals. Of the younger guys I’ve been impressed with, maybe he’s not a rookie, but he hasn’t seen a ton of minutes, it has been Clyde Simms. He’s doing a fantastic job. It is evident to me that he can fulfill a lot of roles on the team. If we’re ever struggling he’s a guy that can play a lot of position on the field. I think Stephen Deroux has done a very good job. Devon (McTavish) has done a fantastic job so far. I think we feel pretty comfortable with the lot of young guys. I think if, knock on wood, something goes wrong with one of the starters, we feel like we’ve guys that can step right in.”
– What type of personal goals do have?
“Honestly, I haven’t look past this year. My personal goal is probably the exact same as the team goal, to win MLS Cup this year. Obviously we want to do well in these tournaments, and anything else we may be in. But, for me I want to keep it in the now and present, and I want to win a championship this year.”
Luciano Emilio (through translator)
– How is pre-season going for you physically and mentally?
“It is doing a lot of good physically and mentally, especially with the tough challenges and tough tournaments coming up.”
– What are the differences between DC United and some of the previous clubs that you played for in the past?
“The main difference is that because this league isn’t that old yet, he can be part of the evolution of the league. Other league might have a lot of experience or players that are veterans at another level, he isn’t able to flourish. He feels that in this league he can be a part of something new, and hopefully shine.”
– How do you describe yourself as a player? What style do you play?
“The type of player Luciano is, is Luciano. If you were to try to match him with someone in the soccer world, then it would have to be like Ronaldo in the type of movements and motion. He can hide in the corner then suddenly shine.”
– How is joining up with Jaime Moreno and Christain Gomez as a trio of goal-scorers going?
“From day one there was chemistry between the three of them. Mainly that comes from that they are all from South America and the style of play is similar. On the field and off the field they are a tight group. He is excited to be part of that group, this trio.”
– Although it is a young league and team, DC United has won a lot of hardware over the years and is considered the ‘Class of the League’. Does he feel any pressure coming and being an important part of getting the team to the next level?
“He said the pressure is inevitable. Any team has that pressure. It’s something that you just have to handle and not freak out.”
– Do you have any personal goals for this season?
“Like he said, for him to shine at the position he plays, he’s going to have to score goals. That’s what he plans on doing – score a lot of goals.”
– How is pre-season going?
“It is going good. In a couple of days we play in Honduras in CONCACAF, and we are getting in good shape doing twice a day practices. Mentally, we are thinking (concentrating) about the game. It is going well.”
– The team started the season playing very well, but then at the end of the season it did not finish well. Why do you think that happened?
“I think it was because the time from July to September was playing every Wednesday, every Sunday, every Wednesday. For two months it was too many games. I think it was that. We play like 15 games in two months, I don’t know – All-Star game, Celtic, REAL Madrid.”
“We did not have so many players that could play. . . . That was the problem with what happened last year. . . . We needed one more player. We needed like a midfielder, a good player (experienced) if somebody have injury he could come in change.”
– How important is it to the team that because of last year that this team wins some hardware this year?
“Yes, we thought we were the best team last year. We played so many games we played well. I think that was in the past. This year we the CONCACAF, we have the Inter-League, we have to focus on one game after another (one game at a time). Last year we were thinking of the playoff and the championship together, that was a mistake. We have to think of what team is coming and play that game. We know that was last year.”
“We know we have to be smart. 2005 and 2006 we go to the playoffs playing well, the first game we are out, the second game we are out, that was bad. We know we were the best all year, and for one game we were out. We don’t want that again.”
– The defense was one of the great parts of the team last year. Why were you, as a unit so good, and will it happen again?
“Yes, I think so. Bobby plays so well. And he goes to the US (National) Team, same with Namoff and Perkins. I think we have to stay focused, like I tell you before, on each team we play.”
– What are your goals for this season?
“I want everything. I want to play in the All-Star game. I want to win in the playoffs, the tournament, win the most points in the league. Every team and player wants to win the championship. If they don’t then they don’t (shouldn’t) play. DC United has the best team in the league. They have the best history. For me, I want to have another championship.”
Christian Gomez (through translator)
– How is pre-season going physically and mentally?
“Physically, just like any other pre-season, we’re feeling it. But, we’re toning it down so that we go into the game next Wednesday with the best conditioning possibilities based on our situations.
– Last year the team played very well for the first two-thirds, then fell apart in the final third. Some say ‘burn-out’ and others say complacency. What do you feel happened last year?
“We had a pretty good pre-season and then we had a great start to the year. I feel like we got to a point where we had too many games in too short a period of time. We were traveling across the country and that mainly wears you down mentally. But, on the upside, some of the younger players got to play in games. Knowing that, this year we’re going to be playing a lot of games as well. Those young players will be able to step in and contribute with their experience. Hopefully that will give us more balance this year. . . .”
“In terms of the number games, we’re playing a similar number of games. So, it’s important that we approach it with a serious mentality. Whatever tournament we are participating in we’ve got to be smart as a team.”
– You and Jaime Moreno have been the best scoring pair over the last couple of years. Now Luciano is being added. How is that going?
“Luciano is a good addition to the club. Let’s not forget when Eskandarian was here, he helped form a trio up front. He brought a lot of speed and that went with Jaime’s touch and my passing ability. With Luciano now it is just a matter of getting to know one another. You can see in the training sessions we’ve had everyday we understand each other a little more. He’s a great addition to the club because knows the game really well and understands how the game is played. He plays very well with his back to the goal. We’ve needed a forward that can play inside the box. He’s someone that can hold the ball for us and help get other player’s involved. It’s one of things the three of us are looking to do – get the entire team involved. Hopefully with the three of us going forward it will create enough headaches for the opposition and we’ll look to take advantage of the situation.”