Practice Notes & Quotes 10-25-02

G – McGinty
D – Reyes, McKinley
M – Alegria, Mapp, Convey, Olsen, Namoff, J.Cooks,
F – Moreno, Curtis, Quintinilla, Quaranta

– Also invited in for training were Abdul (Sierra Leone) and Roland Aguilera.

– Rimando was excused from practice for personal reasons.

– Pope and Nelsen attended practice. The latter continues to work out individually to strengthen his knee. Pope will undergo surgery on his knee, probably next week. This will likely affect his status with the National Team.

– Brian Kamler (NE Revolution) and Jim Curtain (Chicago Fire) will play for DCUnited in tomorrow’s game. Carlos Bocanegra was invited, but declined in order to catch the Ohio State versus Penn State football game before going to Europe to train.

– Quintinilla will be at the U-20’s tournament in Charleston, SC representing El Salvador. He then moves over to the U-22 side to play in the quad-annual Central American/Caribbean Games being held between November 23rd and December 7th.

Ray Hudson
What are you looking for anything specific in tomorrow’s game?
“A follow through . . . a follow on with what we showed in White Hart Lane. A good focus. These are as much a mental exercise as they are a tactical, physical one for these guys. It’s exhibition stuff. It doesn’t stand for anything, but it’s their focus and application that I look at. I don’t want those players around that are wishy-washy about stuff. At Spurs they showed real good resolve and they’ve got to do it again in front of their fans. It was a very special night and they rose to the occasion. But tomorrow we’re in front of our fans and we want to turn a good show on.”

With three months off, how are you going to get rid of the negative feelings of this past season and build up a positive one going into next season?
“That’s difficult because the curtain is drawn on the season. The chances have been given. Opportunities have been extended. We cannot go back in time and meddle in that and put lipstick on a pig. We’ve got to now, as a club and a team, the players that are going to be here and the coaches that are going to be here, have to enhance it in this off-season. It’s hibernation stuff now. It’s too late to worry about the negatives of this past season. I am completely and utterly aware of what was wrong and what was negative about this year. It’s my job to try to affect that. We’re probably going to have to take one or two gambles in terms of . . . . of maybe keeping faith with a player that perhaps doesn’t deserve it in some regards. We’ve got to come to some hard decisions on which ones to pull the trigger on and which ones to say, ‘Right, we’ll go with that again.’”
“It’s not going to be easy. But we’re definitely not going to have little family get-togethers and try to make up for what was wrong. That’s all gone! This edition of DC United has had its day. We’ve got to see if we can build another one.”

Can a good or bad performance by one of the marginal players in tomorrow’s game make a difference in your decisions?
“Players are going to show up in different ways. We know their worth. We know who we are. There’s no kidding around anymore. Like I said, they’ve been on the stage and they’ve danced this year. It’s no good saying, ‘It was this, it was that’ – it’s done, it’s over. We’ve got to face that music. These are opportunities. This is the same as the pre-season. It doesn’t matter when the game is. They’ve got to get up and they’ve got to demonstrate the pride and desire in their hearts and what it means to them to wear the shirt. They’ve got to do that tomorrow night like they did in the pre-season against Communicaciones – it’s the same stuff! We’ve got to . . . there’s certainly opportunities for those fringe players to come in and stake their claim once again. But, it’s not going to sway me heavily.”

You’re talking about making tough decisions. Is this something that is going to happen immediately, or will it be something that happens at the start of next year?
“It’s a slow digestion system, you know? We’ve got a lot to contemplate. Is it my decision entirely, completely, utterly? I’m not sure that it is. There’s different influences that come to bear on who may be around here next season. And I don’t particularly like that, but that’s something I have to live with. I’ll just have to accept certain limitations on what I can and cannot do. I think I’ve got a good bit of latitude to make the moves I want to. We’ve got to find the right players as well. We’ve got some big names . . . some exciting prospects waiting in the wings. But, they ain’t coming for peanuts. We ain’t going to get little plug-in players, we’re going to get exciting, effective players. They’ve got to replace some players of stature. We ain’t going to be going around the mulberry bush bringing in players like Roy (Lassiter) . . . bringing in Eliseo (Quintinilla) to a lesser extent . . . bringing in Ali (Curtis) and Zambrano . . . plug-in players and not match winners. That’s what I think we need to bolster this team with.”

Any specifics on what type of player you’re looking to bring in? Have you change at all from your earlier needs for a forward and holding midfielder?
“What’s going to with our key players is pivotal. That’s going to dictate what happens all over the field. Do we need . . . . We need a box finisher. That’s for damn sure. Even a blind man can see that. We’ve got to get that box finisher – some spearhead up front – if Moreno isn’t going to get fit again, or if he struggles again like he did this year. That’s a cause for concern. That’s our primary concern. We were piss-poor up front. Did we create enough opportunities, and have that cohesion in the midfield? Were we dangerous enough in creating the chances? That one is a tease. And at the back we seem to be strong and decent.”
“But in MLS something has got to go to get something, especially the way our team is constructed. People have got to realize that that’s the only way this team is going to get better. We can always stick with what we got, and put faith in players I question whether they deserve another break. This is three years we’ve been out of the playoffs.”
“We’ve teased . . . they did themselves proud with what they were, but that was it. They’ve sung the full song, but they didn’t get it done. We didn’t get it done. We didn’t achieve what we set off to do which was get to the playoffs.”
“We’ve got to make changes. It’s as simple as that. We can talk about the tinkering, and which player specifically, but I would say to you, ‘Pretty much all over the field there’s room for improvement on this side.’ Which ones were going to do, sometimes it’s borrowing off Peter to pay Paul.”
“It’s tough, it really is, to balance the team on the field and to balance everything under the salary cap. That’s the enormous challenge for me and Dave (Kasper). There may be some unpopular decisions. But, there ain’t any other way. This ain’t a f—— social club. I think that’s what been a problem with this club for so long. It’s too f——. . . you know, the ‘old tie school’ . . . looking after each other’s buddies. It’s not f—— good enough.”
“There’s one particular nice, young lad that I’ve got me eye on in Holland. I think he’s about 22 or 23 years old . . . left-sided defender that’s at Ajax . . . he’s been at Ajax’s nursery team . . . I was following him in Miami. He might be a youth transitional player.”

Where are you planning to make trips to after the game?
“I hope I’m going to go done to Argentina next weekend to see a particular match that’s involving two players. And Poland is on target . . . .And possibly France. Those are the three that attractive players that are available, affordable, and itching to come. It ain’t that easy. We’ve got to create some vacancies before we let the new tenants in.”

Have you heard whether the league will expand the roster, or increase the cap? It seems that might make the decisions a little easier.
“I think the talk . . . . You’d better ask Dave Kasper about that. I don’t know how much of that is supposed to be announced yet.”

Will Eddie Pope play tomorrow?
“No, he’s done for the year. I think he might be out of Bruce’s (Arena) plans for a little while now. He’s going to have an operation on his knee next week to clear that up once and for all. It’s a minor procedure. He’s had an MRI. He’s had discomfort in it ever since the World Cup, and it keeps nagging him.”

Have any plans progressed to get some of the players overseas for training during the off-season?
“Well, a lot of the lads are going away . . . Bobby and Santino and Justin are going away with the U-20’s. They’re going to be pretty much busy through December. Then there’s . . . we’re hoping that Bobby and Santino are going to Newcastle United. They are very interested in them as a lot of the English clubs are. My connections at Newcastle, and if we can figure it out with their schedule, they might have a 2 or 3 weeks in Europe. Ryan (Nelsen) might get over as well.”
“In this off-season we’re going to give them a routine. We’re going to bring in a few of them, Jaime especially, to American University with Greg Petrosian, for conditioning and fitness work right through to Christmas. In the mean time I’m just going to be out banging all of the bushes getting enough ducks lined up in a row for specific positions in our clubs. When and if that position becomes available, we act on it.”

With Marco out because of the surgery, will Bobby take over the middle?
“Yeah, we might move it around a little bit. We haven’t decided totally yet. We might take a look at Bobby on the inside a bit. But, he’s very effective out wide. That’s where the English guys see him playing as well. They all said that he’s not an interior player. They loved his pace. That’s where his strength is. It’s that god given pace and athleticism, and running with the ball. For me that’s his great strength. I know that people think he’s an interior midfielder. I’m not so sure. He’s effective, but I don’t think that’s his natural home. Everything that he’s got in abundance comes much more to the fore out wide. That’s not to say that he’s not a tricky little player in the middle, he is. But he’s got much more . . . it’s like having a mile and half distance horse running in a sprint. It doesn’t give him a chance to use his real athleticism. But, we’re going to take a look at him. I think he’s a player as well, not in Marco’s position per se, but behind that player, behind the playmaker. He’s able to really release himself with some of those runs. That might be a compromise between the two. But I don’t really see bobby being the player in the hole, as I call it.”

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