G – Rimando, McGinty
D – McKinley, Prideaux, Nelsen, Pope, Reyes
M – Etcheverry, Williams, Alegria, Alavanja, Convey, Olsen, Quintinilla
F – Curtis, Moreno, Lassiter, Zambrano
– Again, it is strange to see everyone healthy and practicing. Only Quaranta, who worked out very heavily today on his own, was out injured. Expect Quaranta to begin practicing with the team in the next 2 weeks. He will play again in the regular season (see quotes).
– It’s simply amazing what a job security threat does to performance levels. Jaime Moreno absolutely blazed through practice with pinpoint passing, shots on goal, and excellent dribbling through the opposition. Any ill effects of the hamstring injury seem to have melted away in the past 24 hours. Today’s practice might have been the best Moreno has played in the past three years. It was certainly the best he’s practiced this season! And Zambrano played extremely well. . . . interesting correlation.
– Don’t be surprised if Brandon Prideaux is the odd man out once all the starting 11 (minus Quaranta) are on the field. McKinley’s offensive passing and Reyes’ defensive ability is more important at this moment to the team’s plans.
How do you feel?
“Good. I’m feeling well. I’m feeling a lot better, stronger. We’re still being cautious, but . . . . I’m running hard. He (Rick Guter) has me back training and stuff so . . . I feel a lot stronger and more confident.”
Do you think you’ll make it back before the season is over?
”Oh yeah. I’m about a week-and-a-half, two-weeks from playing. I know we’re still being really cautious. I was originally supposed to be out for the rest of the season. But, a lot of people have come back from this so it’s not . . . something I want to be out for the rest of the season for. Hopefully we’re in a situation I can come back and help the team. I definitely want to.”
The team is obviously having problems scoring. What do you think is the problem?
“It’s not . . . You can’t really say it’s a problem. Well, you can because we’re not scoring. But, it’s not that everybody isn’t trying – people are trying! We’ve been kind of unlucky. In ways you create your own luck, and we haven’t been doing that. I think it’s different players in different situations – everything keeps changing and nothing is the same for people to get use to. In the middle of the year we were in a rhythm . . . we were doing fine, we were doing all right. Of course, then I got hurt . . . Jaime got hurt . . . we had to try different things. It causes problems. I think it’s now us just wanting it bad enough.”
Compare this team with Rongen’s team from last year. What are the biggest differences?
“If anything we’re a little more talented this year – especially with some of the new signings. The difference between last year and this year is that Abdul was strictly a goal-scorer . . . he caused a lot of problems to defenses. This group of forwards and front-runners is kind of creative forwards. Roy and Ali are the type of players that strictly score. The people that are starting now are creative scorers – they like to have assists too. I think that’s been kind of a problem. You’ve got people playing that aren’t strictly goal-scorers. It’s tough . . . it’s tough.”
What about your contract status? You’re still a P-40?
“I think so.”
What about the contract? Are you going to re-negotiate in the off-season?
“No, I’m happy right now with everything. If something would happen . . . I have the U-20’s World Cup coming up . . . I guess we’ll take it from there.”
Do you want to go overseas?
“Obviously everybody wants to wind up there at some time. I’m just going to play it by ear. If an offer comes I’ll definitely look it over with my agent. The best situation for me is what I’m going to do. So, if that’s the best situation, that’s what I’m going to do. If it’s here . . .”
Give me an example of what it would take for you to leave DCUnited?
“Obviously Ray being from England . . . he’s the best coach I’ve played for! He gives me the freedom to do everything, and he’s a great motivator. He’s great all around to the young players, and he’s been fair to everyone. Even John (Trask) and Curt (Onalfo) have do a great job. For me to leave here it would have to be something very nice, and I’d have to be comfortable with. With this team I’m really happy even though we’re not winning. I definitely have trust in these coaches – they are going to get it right. That’s the main thing. They are going to get it right, and we are going to be successful. Whatever it takes we’re going to be successful.”
RH mentioned that some players might have already thrown in the towel on the season. Have you seen anything like that?
“I haven’t seen anybody give up. It’s just . . . it’s to the point where we’ve kind of done everything . . . and it’s a tough situation. At the beginning of the season we gave away a couple of games. And now the season is flying by. We’re in a tough spot now, but the people are optimistic. With this talent I think we’re one of the best teams in the league. You have to say that! . . . . I don’t think people have given up at all because Ray’s the type of guy, if that would happen, they wouldn’t be here. That’s the bottom line. If people are going to be down and pointing fingers, they aren’t going to be here. And I think that’s the way it should be.”