G – McGinty, Rimando
D – Reyes, Pope, Prideaux
M – Mapp, Alegria, Villegas, Alavanja, Etcheverry, Convey, Olsen, Williams
F – Lassiter, Zambrano, Quaranta, Quintinilla, Curtis
Moreno was absent due to injury.
Nelsen and McKinley worked out in the weight room, then came out and watched practice. McKinley will make the trip and is expected to play.
No Nelsen for the rest of the year that is already known. Add Quaranta and Moreno to the list. Both will probably sit out the last three games to not risk more serious injury.
9/11 affected the team this year. As a pre-caution the team decided to practice today at RFK and travel later tonight. It will practice tomorrow at Keen College in the NY area.
Did you know, if the bottom 5 teams all ended up with 35 points (yes, it is possible), DCUnited is the team that goes through to the MLS Cup play-in on the tiebreaker rules?
Give you take on what happened on Saturday.
“We were well in the game the first half. Certainly not playing our best, but holding them. And I think it was the last 15 to 20 minutes (of the first half) we were coming into it nicely, and that gave us some real hope. The last 20 minutes was probably the best part of our whole game.”
“Then we came out, I accept that they had some good chances, but we had some opportunities as well in that first half to take the lead. And then Moreno gets through for the chance at goal – one on one with the goalkeeper – and doesn’t score. From there on, from that point on, it seemed like everybody’s head seemed to just go down. It wasn’t just their heads, but their shoulders. I think that was the pivotal moment in the whole game was that miss. It seemed . . . it felt like is was a resignation. It felt like, ‘Here we go again.’ Opportunities . . . not scoring. And sure enough, they come back and hit us with a goal off the post – fortunate for them. And then we thought the second goal might be offside, but then . . . then we just tanked it . .. it unraveled in a bad way. Then it became players just throwing in the towel basically.”
While you weren’t dominating, it seemed that DCUnited was the better team in the first half, and at least in the beginning of the second half. Did you change tactics at any time, which might be the reason for the sudden change in fortune?
“No, we felt as if everything was coming together as we set out to be. We were never a menacing team. But, as you said, we set out in the first half to play our way into the game, and we did. And we started to possess the ball well.”
“You live for those opportunities. That’s what all the rest of that stuff behind Moreno’s chance leads to. When you don’t take advantage of that . . .”
“They’ve got a real goal scorer, like the Twellman kid. He’s going to get his opportunities, and he’s going to take them. That’s the difference. That’s the complete difference between us and the rest of the league. That’s why we’re the worst team in the league all year long.”
“We’ve showed the home fans that we can play some stylish, good possession, attacking football. But, I again I said it right from the get-go, this is a bunch of ‘homers.’ Do you remember how long ago I said that . . . . at the start of the season? People don’t appreciate what an insult that is. Being called that is tantamount to being called a set of cheats. People don’t read enough behind that. When you’re a homer it’s disgusting in my book. And that’s the way we’ve performed, and showed our true colors on the road.”
Because it was a road game, you decided on using experienced players, and Moreno as a single forward with Olsen in a withdrawn position. Looking back, were those the right decisions? Are you going to change anything for Thursday’s game?
“I don’t know if we’re capable of being confident that anything else will have a different result. It’s all in hindsight. It was still the right way to go about to having the opportunity of winning the game.”
“Benny wasn’t really withdrawn. We gave Benny a free role to join in as a natural forward. That’s really not his place or position.”
“My only regret might be not starting Eliseo. I maybe should have kept Eliseo with Jaime and played Benny out wide. That’s my only regret. It’s a regret because we lost the game.”
“Our game plan was working very well right up until Moreno missed his opportunity. That’s when the shoulders went down.”
So Eliseo will likely get the start?
“More than like. It will be either Henry or Eliseo. We haven’t determined that yet. But, I think its probably Eliseo because of what he’s done.”
“But, I got to think about using Henry and giving him the opportunity against New York. It’s a tough choice.”
Moreno will not be playing, who will slide into his spot?
“One of those guys. Yes, and maybe . . . Marco will be utilized in a different way as well. If pushing him as a supporting forward and moving Bobby into the center of the mid to take over Marco’s position.”
“Again it’s all patchwork. It’s all patchwork because we don’t have the f—— dog’s bollocks up front. We don’t have nobody. Eliseo battles hard, but he needs s supporting player. He needs somebody. He’s like a little piranha that feeds of a big shark. He needs somebody up there to carry the load. It’s hard for a young kid like him to lead the line. That’s why I think Zambrano, with his experience and his age, might be given the opportunity to show us what he can do.”
“But again, Moreno is done for the year, so it’s pretty . . .”
“He’ll do well if he gets in, but he’s got to have supporting players. He’s got to have some help along side of him. We don’t have that.”
“It’s great to see the kid (Quaranta) out here today. You see him practice like that . . . he just look f—— brilliant and you realize what you’ve missed all year. It’s hearting to know that he’ll be back next year and we’re going to have somebody meaningful along side of him next year. That’s something really to look forward to. There’s just no excusing that absence of a player like him.”
Prideaux for Nelsen?
“Sure, he’s going to be a huge miss. He’s the f—— leading goal scorer. How pathetic is that all. He’s been our best defensive outfield player all year long and he’s gone down. It’s a genuine injury. Ryan has been our Hercules back there. That’s a huge, huge loss.”
“But, you know it’s the way we’ve been all year. I’m bitterly disappointed the way it’s played out, more than anybody can imagine. I honestly felt that we could make a real good push into the playoffs despite all the bad luck, and despite all the non-contributors this year. Despite all that I felt as if we could still squeak in. We’re hanging by a thread now.”
“We’ll go in . . . we’ll throw it at them. And we may come out . . . when we sit down tonight we might say, ‘Damn the torpedoes . . .f— it all, let’s just go f—— at them,’ and throw it all. We’ve been such a pendulum team.”
“We’ve tried with some success to tighten it up. By that we’ve been getting it right defensively, but we haven’t had it offensively – we’ve been punch less. So, we’re at the point now . . . we’re hanging by such a thin thread we’re considering looking at Justin as well. Justin might start for us.”
What about some of the other bench players – Alegria, Curtis – and are you going to call up Namoff?
“Probably Namoff will have to come up now because we’re desperate for a defender now. We know Chino’s worth, and Chino’s a good contributor for the future. I don’t know if he’ll be involved in this game, maybe the next one.”
Will you likely go with two totally different lineups in the two games within 72 hours of each other?
“Sure! We’ll see how we come out of it. It’s a funny thing when you go into a game like that. If you come out of there with a result, we’ll probably be itching for Saturday. We’ll cross that bridge, or throw ourselves off it when we come to it.”