Practice Notes and Quotes 08-22-02

G – McGinty
D – Pope, Reyes, Nelsen, Prideaux
M – Etcheverry, Olsen, Convey, Alegria, Villegas, Alavanja
F – Curtis, Lassiter, Moreno, Quintinilla

Quaranta was at practice after working out individually.

Where in the world is Zambrano?

It was interesting to see Convey out 20 minutes early. He, with the guidance of Asst. Coach John Trask, practiced a couple of individual shooting drills. In the first he practiced a cutback across the top of the box and firing into the far side of the goal – shooting with his right foot! Then he worked on taking the ball to the end line and shooting at a tight angle. By the time the team arrived, Convey and Trask began to work on crosses into the box from the side touch.

Practice itself was an extremely light affair because of the game last night. Several of the players were excused. Much of the practice was dedicated on stretching and light warm-ups. The second phase consisted of the individual players working either on 1 v. 1 drills – Curtis, Nelsen, and Prideaux with McGinty playing as GK – or in ‘man in the middle.’

Ray Hudson
On a scale of 1 to 10 – 1 the worst, 10 the best – compared to Miami Fusion of last year, and the current MLS teams, rate the team in the following areas:
Team speed?
“I would say . . . 6. For me the inability to play the ball quickly and accurately, to my liking. We still dwell on the ball for that extra touch and that extra step. And when I talk about team speed, if you’re about it athletically, it’s a different thing, if you’re talking about the actual playing of the game, on that level team speed, that’s what I’m talking about. Miami was all 1 or 2 touch stuff. It allowed you to advance the ball incredibly quickly. You had the advantage of players with vision that could open the ball out and stretch the field and they would pull the teams all over the field. We hit and miss with it. We do it sometimes, and we don’t do it other times. I still think we’re finding our way with that.”

What about actual physical speed?
“I think we’re about the same. We’re about a 6 compared to everyone else in the league, which isn’t good. It’s not where you want it to be.”
“Again, going back to the Miami team, it wasn’t as if we had speedsters. We had Chris Henderson, which was our Benny Olsen – that sort of drive and continuously being able to stretch a team. And Bobby is pretty much the same on the other side.”
“When we had Preki and ‘Bish’ it wasn’t their speed of physical play, it was their speed of thought and their ability to make the ball do the work. They’re the great teams – Brazil 1970 . . . Holland. They were the teams without the speedsters.”
“I think we get caught up way too much on physical speed in this country to the detriment of the game. If you want that sort of player, Jay Heaps is a great example of a very fast, fit, good player. But has he got the ability to . . . it’s no knock on Jay, but that’s an example of a fast, fit, dynamic player that produces good stuff, but it’s got to be within a structure for it to be beneficial, or else you’re going just going to get a set of athletes running around.”

Team aggressiveness – killer instinct?
“I’d say we’re a bit higher up there than a lot of teams. I would say we’re about a 7 there. It could be greater, especially up front, that hunger and desire. Quaranta’s a great example of that. There’s a huge disappointment and anger within himself that he takes out on himself when he has failed on a goal or an attempt. And he’ll come back looking for it harder, and better and be more aggressive with his play. And he’s such a young kid. I think little Eliseo has got to find that in him. Jaime has had it, and shows it at times, but it doesn’t seem consistently there.”

Team cohesion?
“I would say our is about a 7 again. I think there’s a real desire to play the game ‘Connect the football’ like we did in San Jose, and like we did against Kansas, New England. Just recently we played good cohesive football going forward. Defensively I think we’ve been extremely sound. But the cohesiveness has not been bad – it’s been a 7. The Fusion for me were a 10 and that’s the standard of it. But it was such a wonderful compliment of players. And I’ve said all along I’m not sure this the true compliment that we’re looking for to produce that sort of football.”

Nicky Rimando? 9.

“Defensively I’d say . . . 7.5.


“Forwards have got to be a 5.”

Team’s future prospects over the next 1 or 2 years?
“We’ve got be . . . Looking at next year, we’ve got to be an 8. Bringing in the type of player or two, that I want to bring in. We can definitely be an 8 or a 9.”

Practice Notes & Quotes 08-20-02

G – Rimando, McGinty
D – Prideaux, Reyes, Nelsen
M – Villegas, Alegria, Alavanja, Olsen, Convey, Olsen, Quintinilla, McKinley
F – Curtis, Lassiter, Moreno

Pope was at practice, but worked out on his own. No specific injury, just some down time to let his body heal.

Zambrano will join the team on Thursday.

Quaranta was at practice and did some very basic stretches and ball play for the first time since his surgery. He is feeling significantly better than he has in the last couple of months.

Not only will Etcheverry participate in the Bolivia-Venezuela friendly tomorrow night, he also was invited to play in a testimonial for a friend of his in Ecuador tonight.

Practice Observations
Lassiter was the winner of the daily finishing contest. Unlike the recent string of poor finishing during games it seemed that everything he fired today in the ½ field scrimmage found the back of the net. On the other hand, Moreno continues to be a master at ringing the metal. With one attempt he fired a beautiful near corner, far post shot that rooted Rimando. On a second he popped a shot from 35-yard out, which ricocheted about 50-feet straight up after striking the crossbar.

Unlike past years, Olsen’s crossing is seemingly perfect. Oddly enough the better accuracy might be in part due to his injuries. While recovering, Olsen was forced to sit on the sidelines, out of the scramble in the field, and only service balls into the box. Likewise, because much of his injury time was due to his right foot, Olsen is now a true bi-pedal player. Many of his crosses came off the left peg without hesitation or much less accuracy!

Ray Hudson
What will you be trying to accomplish with tomorrow night’s scrimmage against Univ of Maryland?
“It’s a good opportunity to have a look at the kids who haven’t been playing – even Roy (Lassiter) – to get a good run out in a full game. It’s always different when you have the shirts on in a different locker room. There’s always that sense of a real game. So the likes of ‘Chino’ and Petter and Richie who haven’t played in awhile, it’s a good opportunity for them to step up and show what they’re capable of. You need games like this to keep your sword sharpened, you just do. And we cannot do here (practice field) as well as much on a meaningful game that actually produces something tangible, like a win . . . or a goal . . . a meaningful tackle. It’s more for the . . . it will do for the rest of the guys a lot more than the regulars – the likes of Ali Curtis, Lazo. We’ve get over to them that this isn’t just a walk in the park for them. This means something. This is when opinions are formed and considerations towards the end of the season are taken into account. We’ll take it seriously.”

Are you planning on playing specific players in specifics spots to see if they can handle that role for the future? For example, playing Alegria and Alavanja as holding and defensive midfielders, respectively.
“You know that’s one of the good things about Lazo and ‘Chino,’ they are very versatile players. Especially Alavanja. We can play Lazo in the back. We can play ‘Chino’ left or right. So, I’m not too concerned about where to play them because that’s the type of players they are. They are utilitarian players. It’s a good thing. I have no problem evaluating their performance taking that into mind. It’s not like, ‘This is his position.’ It’s their awareness, their sharpness, their creativity, their involvement, that’s the main thing to take into account in a game like this.”

Who will likely be the playmaker with Etcheverry gone?
“It’ll probably be ‘Chino’ in that prompting position. Petter Villegas is another one. Even little Elisio is a good fulcrum type of player. We’ve got plenty of players that can be comfortable in there. And we’ll be moving it around. It will be a broken up sort of game getting players 20 minutes here, 20 minutes there. Just pulling them in and out of the game. There probably won’t be too much continuity to the game. It won’t be a meaningful game in that respect. It’s an exercise for a good cause and all that.”

Is McGinty going to get a full 90 minutes?
“Yes, ‘Micky’ needs that sort of environment as well. He just does. The responsibility, that’s the key word in these games. The player has got to be personally responsible for his own performance because he cannot . . . you’re not going to get the continuity of a settled team and a settled game. It’s going to be fluid. You’ve got to look after yourself. You’ve got to make sure you don’t come off the field with egg on your face with a bad performance under your belt. If you don’t do that, then you should be fine.”

With Etcheverry playing Saturday, Tuesday (testimonial match in Ecuador), and Wednesday (Bolivian friendly) are you concerned he’s going to be physically tired for the game on Sunday?
“No, you see how involved these practice sessions are. We don’t just . . . it’s not just a walk-about. That’s very, very f—— high energy out there! And you know Marco is one of those players that can gauge his working week to come out on Saturday at the right sort of level of fitness. He’s nursed himself back along this year. And we haven’t been worried. You seen him in that second half with that over-lapping run he did in the second overtime. He’s still got in him to make that sort of energetic run after he’s put so much into a game, against San Jose in a 4-4-2 system, and he didn’t have that much help around him either. So, when he goes away, and he’s flying today, and then he’ll be practicing, he’s got a good game into him on Wednesday, then he’s got 2 or 3 days rest before Sunday, I don’t see that there will be any problem. In fact, when you get to that age it’s better . . . and he’s such a wily, old fox . . . he knows the meaningfulness of Sunday’s game and he’ll have plenty of rest. I think he’ll probably end up putting more energy into his game Wednesday than what we would’ve done here in these two days practice. I don’t see any danger in that. I think it’s good for him and good for his spirit. It’s not just down to muscle . . .bone and muscle and being fit. You’ve got to enjoy your spiritual life as well. And him going down there and getting all his accolades and representing his country again that’s going to be a huge boost for him. And I think that was part of the decision I made to let him go – that it’s good for Marco, it’s good for his spirit, it’s good for his soul that way. It just is. That’s part of the game. It’s part of your whole personality. It’s a great accolade and we’re all very proud of him.”

The Rongen teams of the past 2 seasons were known as ’75 minute’ teams – their legs gave out at the critical part of the game and often cost the team. This team doesn’t seem to have that problem. Can you explain the difference?
“I think there’s a good . . . a good team spirit. That aspect of soccer is so undervalued and under estimated by and large unless you talk to Man United, or Real Madrid, or Boca Juniors after they’ve won their championships. What is it? Well, it’s not that they just got great players, it’s that they’ve got a great bond between them, and a good team spirit. And I think this team, when you look at the season that they’ve had, the adversities and the f—— horrible losses, tough losses by that I mean, tough losses that they’ve had to endure, and all the rest of it, the not scoring, they’ve hung in it together. That part of it goes a long, long way. That is part and parcel of why they stay the course throughout the 90 minutes and feel as if they can win the game – still being a threat right until the last minutes of the game fighting tooth and nail for each other. I think that sets itself up in the working week, which is what we were trying to do at the start of the year. I think that component of our team is very good and healthy to a large extent. And I think it could still be better, which you will always hear me say that, but it’s the truth. If we had 1 or 2 other players, which I have in mind for next season, it would bubble it up even more. It would really set the fire under ourselves. I think we’ll improve on that next season as well.”

We talked about Ben Olsen’s situation last night. Will you take action against him if the league doesn’t – fines or suspensions?
“You’re talking about the incident with the girl? I was the first one in the line of fire out there when I came out of the locker room, but it was all good humored, good natured. There were 3 or 4 girls that were all full of jibe . . . all full of piss and vinegar. But, it was good humored. It was all towards me and I was throwing it back at them. And then, later on in the game, one of the girls came up to us and said she was really disappointed. We’re going to talk to Benny about that. I think it’s a bit of a storm in a teacup.”
“Unless it’s proven categorically it’s just one . . . We don’t know what happened. We’re not condoning it if it did happen, that’s for damn sure. And if it did happen, and he admits to it, we probably would. I think . . . like I said, if I hadn’t met these girls myself . . . they were just ‘wind up merchants’ that you call them in England. They were just wind up merchants and Benny bit just a little bit too quickly.”

‘Gazza’ mentioned to the media in England that he’s was invited to come back in November. Any truth to that?
“He hasn’t been invited formally . . . no truth in it. Would we consider taking him on tour, or coming back in off-season? Sure, there’s a possibility in that. But, I rather Paul be in a team back home playing week in and week out. He do himself and his chances a lot more good showing up week in and week out and carrying the load with a team than he would just coming on tour of El Salvador or Portugal.”

So it’s fair to say he’s consideration for next season?
“That’s what it is, and that’s all it is. It would still be a consideration. But, there’s a lot that can happen in that time. I’ve got to say that in conjunction with it. You cannot just take few words, ‘it’s a consideration,’ alone. There’s a million things that can happen between now and the start of the season. I would be much more interested in the pursuit of Paul if he was with a team in England, or wherever, week in and week out.”

What about the other players – Dalglish, the Brazilians?
“Yes, we’ll still be talking with them and looking at them again. And now I’ll be able to look at some other players I’ve had in mind. One Premiership player that I really like, and I think would definitely be a real good player. And there’s a Honduran that I want to go after . . . .”

You know you drive people nuts with hints like this?
“Yes, but that’s all right. But, that’s the truth. I’ve always told the truth and I’m not just throwing red herrings when I say that.”
“There’s a Premiership player who’s a midfielder, and a forward from Honduras. There’s a midfield player as well from Croatia, who’s a wonderful, skillful ‘Yugoslavian’ type player as well. They’ve been on the radar for a long time. But it’s still . . . there’s a long way to go. It’s all pie in the sky.”

Talk about Eliseo Quintinilla. He was thrown in a situation with a lot of pressure. Was there pressure for him to perform?
“You’ll have to ask him that. I don’t know. We tried to take the pressure off of him. We tried to tell him to just keep playing and enjoying his football and there is no pressure and expectancy. Like I said, it pretty f—— pitiful that our affairs are such that we are wholly relying on a 19-year old kid that has been here for less than 2 minutes. That’s pretty bad if it gets to that extent . . . and well, that’s extent it at, and f—— hell, that’s what we’re going through this year. But he’s been . . . he couldn’t have done anymore than what he’s done. He’s still not the finished product; he’s still got a long way to go. But, we couldn’t ask anymore of the kid. His attitude is great. He’s fit in nicely. It’s a whole new planet that he’s on – a different universe that he’s living in now. He’s gone through it all and taken it in stride like a real man. He’s been very brave in his performances. Like I said when we got him, it’s a great addition to the club long term for the future. Big kudos to him. He’s been marvelous.”

It sounds like he’s on the right track for development. Is that the case? And what is the next step?
“I think so, but I’ll tell you what, I don’t think he’s battle hardened, 100% fit. I think he still has to work on his overall game fitness. And he’s at the point where we cannot do that right now because he’ll break, or he’ll run down for the weekend’s games. So it will be an off-season thing with him. He’s fine, but I still think he’s around 70% of where he should be.”
“I think that next step is fitting in with Jaime and learning as he’s doing. And he’s doing it. He’s learning in practice and on game day. He’s getting better and he’s getting more confident.”
“He’s mixed in well with the lads. He’s a great young fella. He’s always got a smile on his face. And he’s got that lovely touch and balance about him. It’s been a 5-star addition to the team. I couldn’t be happier.”

Practice Notes & Quotes 08-14-02

G – McGinty, Rimando
D – Prideaux, Reyes, Nelsen, Pope
M – McKinley, Alegria, Etcheverry, Olsen, Mapp, Alavanja, Williams
F – Moreno, Curtis

Justin Mapp is off to Spain for the U-20’s XIX Torneo Internaciaonal de Futbol de l’Alcudia between 24 – 29 August. Convey will remain with DCUnited.

The U-14’s and U-15’s came out to practice and practiced themselves after the seniors were finished.

Etcheverry the August 21st exhibition against the University of Maryland

Lassiter and Villegas excused for personal reasons.

RH ran out of practice before any of the press could talk to him. I would guess he didn’t want to talk about the possible new player.

Bobby Convey
How are you feeling? Your shoulder?
“I’m feeling all right, I guess. I did an x-ray yesterday and I separated my shoulder. It takes like 4 or 5 weeks to heal, I guess. It’s just awkward. I’ll still play in all the games. It’s boring sitting out and watching. I’ve just got to take it easy for the next couple of games, play in the game, and go about it next week and see how it feels.”

Coach Hudson said earlier in the year that he pulled you aside and talked to you, tried to re-motivate you. It seems to have worked. Do you feel that that talk was a part of your improved play?
“Basically what happened . . . it definitely helped me . . . with Ray, any new coach, you don’t know what he wants, what’s going on. I wanted to, I just didn’t know how he wanted me to do it. I was just getting my fitness back. I finally felt good after I talked to him because I was getting my fitness back from my hernia surgery – from a year ago, I could finally kick it with my right foot without any pain. Just working with the fitness guy and coming to practice everyday.”
“Basically what he said was that everyday we come to practice, we practice for 2 hours, 3 hours, and that’s when you need to play. All the other times you need to rest. I talked with Ray, I had other things going on at the time, and now everything is back to normal again. Now I’m playing better and I don’t have things off the field that bother me.”

Many fans want to see you in the middle of the midfield. Are you comfortable on the left or in the middle?
“Yes. The thing is when you play on the left you get used to playing there. Playing in the middle is totally different – you have people playing all around you. For me, for anyone, you have train there and play in games there. You can’t just say the day before, ‘OK, here play in this game and you’re going to play in the middle.’ It doesn’t work like that because you’re used to playing out wide with no one behind – you’re always turning and running at people. You just have to get used to playing in the middle. That’s where I played before coming here, and I like playing in there. We played in there last season with me Marco and Richie in there. I think that was one of our best games we’ve had. We just don’t have someone that can play on the left. Talking with Ray and John (Trask) that’s where I play because we don’t have anyone for out there.”

Do you want to specialize on the left or in the middle?
“I want to do something. I want to know which one I’m going to be because you can’t just keep switching back and forth. Some of the best guys play one position their whole life – they just get used to it. Now I’ve settled in at left half. I’m getting my fitness back from when I had hernia surgery . .. I was off for awhile – it didn’t heal right and I basically ripped it in the national game. So, a couple of months ago I got back.”
“But, I like to play on the left. Right now obviously with Marco in the middle it is good. But sometimes on the left you don’t get it. Outside halfbacks don’t get the ball sometimes.”
”That’s what I talked to Ray about, just getting it, getting the ball more. Playing in the middle you get the ball every time.”
“I just want to get used to playing one position. If I have to play in the middle, I’ll play in the middle. I’ve just got to play there for a couple of weeks to get used to it.”

You’ve been criticized for your defense. Do you feel that you’ve gotten better in that area?
“Well, I’ve gotten a lot stronger in the last year doing weights and running. Going from having ‘Goose’ behind you, you don’t have to play much defense . . . and Brian Kamler behind me you don’t have to play much defense because he runs all over the place. Now it’s definitely good with Milton back there because I can get forward more. In the last few games you’ve how I’ve played better . . . I’ve had the ball, and I’ve played better because Milton’s behind me and I know he’s going to sweep anything up.”
“I was just focusing on offense there for awhile. Now with Ray and John they want to start with defense first. And I think with our team we’ve had 3 shutouts in the last 4 or 5 games.”
Yes, just every year trying to do one thing better. And this year it was defending. The first year I just tried to work on my fitness and playing with older guys . . . crossing and finishing. This year I’ve worked on my defending.”

Practice Notes & Quotes 08-13-02

G – McGinty
D – Reyes, Prideaux, Pope, Nelsen
M – Williams, Mapp, Alavanja, Olsen, Alegria, McKinley, Etcheverry
F – Curtis, Moreno, Quintinilla

Villegas was excused for personal reasons.

Lassiter was excused for personal reasons. He should return tomorrow.

Convey and Rimando attended practice, but did not participate. Convey’s shoulder was iced down, and Rimando’s right knee. Both are expected to be ready for Saturday.

RH still has full control over the members of the team. In one instance a player smacked the ball angrily away when a call didn’t go his way in the game of “21 Touch Keep Away.” RH simply said, “Go get the ball.” The player hesitated, and then trotted quickly after the ball without argument or comment.

Etcheverry is called up for the August 21st friendly in Venezuela.

Garth Lagerway stood in as the second GK today. His performance only proves that he will be a better lawyer and color analyst than GK. Although he was forced to take the slings and arrows of the players whenever he gave up a goal, he returned the verbal sparring with alacrity. He will be part of the broadcast team for the August 25th game.

Does anybody know what happened to Ginola after Aston Villa? That was the question posed by RH to the various reporter types.

Practice drills:
After warming up, the team went through the standard “Keep Away” game with two sides. 21 consecutive touches and the team scored a point. At various points throughout RH or one of the assistant coaches would stop the exercise and point out individual problems – e.g. not closing down on a man with the ball, opening to space for outlet passes, etc.
After the first phase, the defenders split off with Onalfo, and the attacking players stayed with RH and Trask. With the former the drill concentrated on moving the ball around the defensive third quickly and escaping out of traps. In the latter, the teams went 3 v. 3 in the attacking third.
The team ended with its usual intra squad scrimmage. The teams consisted of 7 v. 7. They played for two 15-minute halves. The one item of interest was that the field was significantly shorter and with less with in hopes of replicating San Jose’s smaller field.

Ray Hudson
– Was your reaction after Saturday’s game in response to the game, or from disappointment of the players?
“Sure . . . No, no, no, it wasn’t anything to do with the ‘ring bearers’ as you say. It’s the total disillusionment of the refereeing. And the way the game went, it was such a deflating . . . We’re in an important point of the season in more ways now. Not just because it’s the final lap and the bell’s gone off. It’s at a point where what’s it going to take now for us to just flick the switch and turn off.”
“They’ve been pretty resilient, this group. Despite the desert of goals, even when goals are taken away from them, they keep on believing and going onwards. I hope our fans are the same way. I know the vast majority of them are. But I hope the fans, they’ve been very patient, my god!”
“We’re at an important point . . . Another game like that may be the point where we break. We’re so close; we keep on doing some much good stuff. We’re playing wonderfully well team defensively. But, we cannot literally buy a goal. Even with two f—— penalties, we cannot score on penalties.”
“It’s exasperating beyond belief. I went from the highest scoring team in MLS history, or close to it last year to virtually as far opposite as you could go on the scale.”
“And yet they keep producing performances where they are not laying down. It’s just who we I guess.”

– You’re coming up against San Jose, one of the best teams in MLS. Where are the goals going to come from?
“It’s like David against Goliath! S—-! I don’t look at them like that. They’re a good team, on top of their division, in a very competitive division. It’s that field that I f—— hate – that stadium – that postage stamp thing! That’s a tough place against a tough, very disciplined, organized team to play against. It’s a high order. It’s a tall order.”
“But, we made our own bed. We’ve got to lie in it and stand up to the challenge.”
“Just keep the tone going . . .I think it’s imperative that we keep . . . We keep banging our head against the wall. And if it’s our head that breaks, and not the wall, then so f—— be it! We’ve just got to because after San Jose it’s New York. So we’ve got to go into New York feeling like the warrior type of team. That we’re going down to the wire hell for leather – hell for leather! It doesn’t matter what the result is we’ve got to go out and give it everything we can and then build on that for New York. It’s not looking past this game at all. But, I think if we just go there with too much respect for them, and concern about the field, and we cannot score a goal, we’re dead. And this is what we’re saying to them that we cannot afford that. We’ve made this ourselves, so we’ve have got to go into each and every game with a never say die attitude. That’s all we’ve got now. We not in a luxurious position where we can play our way into the playoffs neatly.”

– Much of the fan reaction is towards Marco and Jaime. What would you tell the fans about these players at this point in time?
“Those fans have watched these guys in the halcyon days when it was all days of wine and roses. And those two guys were the ones that were right at the front leading the group. They’ve earned their medals. They’ll die for this club. Marco has been throughout the season, has given tremendous effort both home and away. Jaime has had a disrupted season where he hasn’t been battle hardened to get fit. I felt a little sorry for him to be honest. I thought that would have been a real statement game for him, but it just wasn’t. He worked hard.”
“It’s that thrust and that spearhead . . . .”
“I’m going to go back to something a bit out of place here. But, I think with Quaranta back in that team . . . Jaime with Santino, they were getting such a good chemistry, such a good ‘click-click’ with them and that was taken away from him. And he’s continually been broke down with his injuries and he’s never been able to get to where he has been in the past. There’s a lot of valid excuses.”
“But, there’s got to be something else. I think these are very tolerant fans. They can applaud the effort and the can applaud what the see. I’m not trying to hoodwink them at all. We see a lot as well. It’s been a tough season for Jaime. I think it’s been a tough season for Eddie. Going back to your first question, the ‘ring bearers’ have had a tough year of it. I don’t lay the blame squarely on them . . . not exclusively.”
“That’s what we had the meeting for on Friday. ‘Can you guys lead us? Have you got it in you to lead us?’ . . . And pull the team behind them . . . . If the team isn’t good enough because they’re not a complimentary unit this year – we haven’t had the financial resources, or the time, or the ability to go out and compliment what’s good about this team. You have to go with your big money, with your horses. And it has been a little bit short of the mark. I don’t there’s any denying. A blind man can see a lot of the stuff that’s there. It’s all about the team, and it’s all in place on that stage. That’s where they’ve got to really dance to the tune . . . We’ve been missing a few aircraft a lot of times this year, there’s no question.”

– Do you think the acquisition will be finished off tomorrow?
“I think . . . Yes, hopefully it will be announced tomorrow, but I don’t know if we’ll get the player in until next week because of the visa situation.”

– Have the papers been submitted?
“Yes, everything is in place. We were hoping . . . there was one other situation that we were hoping would be a different alternative as a forward. But, we couldn’t agree terms with this other individual, which probably would’ve been more ideal . . . a more ideal out-and-out spearhead, lead the line forward. But we couldn’t. We just had to take this player, which is a quality forward that’s basically going to be . . . we’ve got him to the end of the season. We’ve got him until the end of year under very favorable terms to us, which means he’s on a very compromised contract to his standards. But he’s willing to say, ‘Yes, I’ll show you what I’ve got. And I’ll show you I’m worth so much more next year.’ And that’s when we’ll have to make a decision, next year. So it’s basically a no lose situation.”
“I don’t even know if he’ll start in the team. He’s not that sort of player that he comes in and ‘Bang!’ he’s in.”
“I think once Quintinilla and Jaime start to get that ‘ying and yang’ thing going . . . I was a bit disappoint with their interplay. They seemed to be too far removed from each other. That’s natural. The kid’s 19-years old. He just arrived. And it’s not his fault. But, he was a bit of a menace. And I think that’s what the fans want. They’ve seen Jaime at his most menacing . . . when teams couldn’t live with him. That part of his game isn’t quite there yet.”
“I had a go at him at halftime! I singled . . . the only player . . . not severely, not a bullwhip or anything. I just pointed a finger at his chest and he came out in the second half and picks the ball 20-yards in his on f—— half, and he blows by the full f—— team, and draws a penalty. That’s the marvelous side of Jaime!”
“Anyway, this kid is going to come in and I think he’ll give us another option off the bench, and to throw his hat into the ring and challenge for a starting spot.”
“Make no question that Jaime is our main man. Jaime is still our spearhead forward. He has to be, and I have to go to battle with him. I have to have faith and trust in that he is going to respond. And little Quintinilla, he ain’t doing much wrong. He got tired, so I had to take him off. But, it wasn’t because he was playing bad. He’s a great little addition to the team.”

– Do you have any worries about Bobby or Nicky not being able to play Saturday?
“No. . . .
”And I’ll tell you on Convey, his play, since we rattled his cage, he’s been on a steady sequence of little step-ups in my opinion.”
“How many f—— times did we get around to the back of that team? That’s what games are about, creating opportunities. And you’ve got to finish your opportunities. We can’t finish. I mean, we’re as dangerous as f—— tweety-bird inside that f—— box. But, creating the chances with Bobby, and Milton, and f—— Benny . . . and Marco still able to create something out of nothing . . . still earning his paycheck to a large extent! There’s been a lot of good, positive stuff . . . we’re getting around and through people.”
“He’s just going to need a shot before the game of cortisone. But, throw him a bouquet. He’s looked . . . he’s started to be a really big f—— nuisance down that side, which is exactly what we’ve wanted. And he’s starting to work well defensively. Good energy . . . he’s doing his bit. And it’s good that I’ve that in this run-in when it’s been tough.”
“You find out a lot about players in this situation. Looking to rebuild and reload next year, these times are sent to try us. And I take stock in this situation to find out who do you want to lean on when it’s f—— not good. It’s easy when you’re like the Miami Fusion last year. We could take days on at the beach because it was automatic. It was f—— clockwork football. It’s easy then! But this, when referees are giving you nothing, when you cannot buy a goal . . . Who are the players then that drop their head? You can see the ones that are dropping their heads, and you can see the ones that are really holding their heads high and really going through with it, through all the adversity. They’ll be the guys that will be around.”

– Nelsen? Reyes?
“Milton has been tremendous! Milton . . . his performance has been such a strange . . . because he gets better and stronger as the game goes along. And yet, he starts out so . . . I’d say haphazard with his little passes. But man he comes on gangbusters. I’d still believe in my heart Reyes could be twice as good as what he is now, and be the finest attacking fullback this league ever seen. He’s got it in him. But he gives the ball away with that little casualness at times. But, I’m looking for perfection with him. And that’s good that you could hold him to such high standards. And Nelsen has been just a rock back there for us. ‘Ivy’ has been such a good squad player. For all that people get on him, he’s such a skill, touch player, that he’ll always have a place in the squad for his energy, and his drive, and his commitment, and all the rest of it. There’s got to be a place for that. He’s still got that fire.”
“That’s the thing, when you look at this, who’s still got the desire in them? And I think that’s something the fans pickup on very easily. I think they can see where the desire is in these players. I certainly can.”

Practice Notes & Quotes 08-09-02

G – Rimando, McGinty
D – Nelsen, Pope, Prideaux, Reyes
M – Villegas, Williams, Mapp, Etcheverry, Convey, Olsen, Alegria, McKinley
F – Quintinilla, Moreno, Lassiter, Curtis

The team went through a very light day-before-the-game practice. Some stretching, followed by ‘man in the middle,’ and finished off with a short intra-squad game on a short field is all that the hour-long practice entailed.

“Fellowship of the Rings” ??? – RH grabbed the ‘ring wearers’ and pulled them aside during the first 20 minutes of practice – Etcheverry, Moreno, Olsen, Williams, Pope, and Lassiter. (see quotes)

Slightly different than in the previous KC games will be Reyes’ man-marking Klein on DCUnited’s left side. This will likely lead to the attacking combination of Convey-Reyes challenging Klein-Burns.

Possible Lineup:

Ray Hudson
– What did you tell the ‘ring bearers’ in your meeting?
“That’s exactly what it was. Not anything in terms of placing unexpected . . . any far reaching expectations on that group. Simply that if we’re going to get to the playoffs – this the first time we’ve had those ringleaders collectively together on the field, and there’s 17 or 18 championship rings between those lads, and that stands for an enormous amount. They’ve done their best. It’s been a disjointed, interrupted season for all of us, and them in particular individually. But, have they got it in their combined ability and leadership qualities to drag this team behind them? That’s what I’m looking for in these lads. Again, it’s not putting the finger on them and saying, ‘You are the guys we depend on now.’ It’s not that. It’s more getting over to them for the first time, I keep re-stating that, but for the first time this year we’ve said, ‘Have you guys got it in you to make that little bit of a difference.’ I think that’s what we need. We need that combined unity from those guys that should make the difference. When you look at the class, the experience, the ability, the leadership, all of those things it’s got to make a difference. It’s just holding it up to their combined faces to say, ‘This is still your team. You guys are still the figurehead of this team.’ I want to see them individually and collectively putting the stamp on the game, but also, to set the example to the rest of the guys. That was the second main point I wanted to get over to them – to really lead by example. And if the rest of these guys can’t live up to that, then you have the wherewithal to get down their throats. But we’re there for the first time this year and we have got to see it. We just have to see it no matter what to get something out of this season even if it’s a moral victory now. We don’t want that. We want to get to the playoffs. We’re desperate to get to the playoffs. And those are the guys that are going to lead this team into it.”

– What are your expectations for the lineup tomorrow?
“I’ve got it in my head. We’re going to go with Quintinilla and Jaime up top, and probably the lineup you just saw there basically (see Possible Lineup).”
“We’ll give Marco that freedom to affect things. And then have the two energy lads on the outside. We feel as if we’re plugging up that middle nicely with Ivan and Richie. Ivan has got enough skill and ability to hold and show for it, and we need that extra one in there for that battling skill.”

– Can you remember the last time you scored?
“No! I can remember the misses we’ve had. I remember them because they keep waking me up in the middle of the night. I’m not just being funny there. It’s truly . . . when you cast your mind back, it’s all these opportunities, the comedy of errors that we couldn’t finish, that drive you up the wall. But no it’s difficult for me to recall when the last time the ball hit the net with any authority. Probably Ryan . . .”

– Do you think KC’s travel from Mexico, or the fact that they were humbled in the CONCACAF game will have more of a positive or negative effect on them?
“I think they’ll be looking to respond and bounce back for sure. I would think the travel part . . . I’ve been in situations where that works completely opposite, and these guys have as well. When you come in tired, and you feel bodily weary, something – and it flies in the face of common sense – you find something extra, you find a sharpness. I hope that’s not the case, but it can happen. I always discount the travel side of it. I’ve played. I’ve known when I’ve gone into the start of a game and I’ve felt f—— like crap myself, I felt tired, and I’ve had some of me best games! And other times, when you’re all wound up and ready to go, you fall down. So, I tend to discount that part of it. But, I know coming from a 6-1 drubbing they’ll want to redeem themselves.”

– Have you had any progress on your player search?
“No, it’s started to stall out for a number of reasons that I don’t want to go into now. That’s what happens when you cannot contain it and it gets out, and any number of things can derail it. It’s not derailed. It’s still very active. It’s still definitely on. But, it’s not going to be as quick as we would have liked.”

– Is Mapp going to join Namoff in Richmond for the rest of the year?
“No, but we want to get games into Justin. He did OK with Thomas (Rongen) on the trip from the report. He’s that age, even more than Bryan, where he needs games; he needs the experience of the battleground and not just this scrimmage practice stuff. He needs the stage, and I intend to get as many games into as I can. Certainly we’ll send him there ever opportunity we can, but it’s a two-way street. They may not want him. If they want him, and we’d like to get the games into him, then great! No, Justin for now is part of the long-term plan.”

– Is DCUnited going to score tomorrow?
“Absolutely! Guaranteed or you get your money back. I’ll pay for it. If we don’t score tomorrow, I’ll pay for everybody’s “beer money” let’s just say. But, I’d better not say or Steven Zack will have a heart attack.”
“It’s one of the great imponderables with soccer – missed chances. It’s one of life’s great mysteries, it truly is. The opportunities that we’ve had . . . The plain and simple truth is we haven’t had the spearhead up front all season long. I mean, we’re like the third best defense in the league. That’ f—— . . . . John (Trask) and I came to this club setting out, as you guys know, working on the team defense. We’ve done that admirably well!”
“But, the spearhead up front, Quaranta, has been a non-factor. And Jaime . . . . there’s no compensating for those two. We’ve tried it with Ali; we’ve tried it with Roy. It ain’t going to work. You’ve got to feel especially sorry for Roy. He’s just the type of player that gets one, he’ll get three, or four, or five, or six within a couple of games. He feeds off that. He’s one of those grove players. He just hasn’t been able to burst the bubble. And yet, he’s been in great scoring opportunities. Every team . . . that’s the greatest position in every team. That’s why they get all money. That’s they’re the stars of the show by and large – the Rinaldo’s right down to our level with the Quaranta’s and Moreno’s. If you ain’t got that guy up front, then you’re playing with yourself. It’s been a real frustration. That’s why tomorrow, if not by dumb f—— luck, we’ll score a goal.”
“The strange thing is if you talk to them individually or collectively, it’s not haunting them because they know they’re banging on the f—— door! And it’s like, ‘Come f—— on! What the f— is this?’ Is it that coincidental? It’s driving me up the f—— wall.”

– How important is it to Roy Lassiter to be considered one of the ringleaders even though he’s struggled?
“I don’t care, for me he’s a proven leader, and a proven winner, and a proven competitor. That’s the same with Benny. He’s been totally out of the picture for 2 years. He totally belongs to be in that group. He’s a huge influence on this team. He’s a game changer. All those players in that group are game changers. And finally we’ve got them all on the field at the same time. All of them will be on the field at some time tomorrow. You hope that will be the bit of difference.”

– Looking back with 20-20 hindsight, do your regret making some of the trades/waivers to strengthen the defense at the expense of the offense – Conteh?
“I think that’s something to be addressed at the end of the season to be honest. But there is one trade I regret in particular. There is one that I look back one that in all honesty I certainly regret. There’s another one or two that I really question, that I made within the first couple of weeks of getting here, that I was advised heavily on those two, that I somewhat regret. I should’ve just waited, but I had it one the highest sort of recommendation and authority and I went with that. But that’s all hindsight.”
“No, but I think the other ones are pretty much good.”
“I’d say there’s one, perhaps two, that I’ve maybe that’s not just a step sideways, maybe that’s a little step back . . . just a little step back, not a dramatic one. That’s part and parcel to this world.”

– What about Paul Dalglish? Although he would have been a dramatic financial burden he certainly would have been a force up top.
“Sure . . . but again, we’ll do better than Paul next year. We’ll get a better player than him for the same money or less. That may have changed things, but as good of an acquisition it would have been it would have been too . . . I don’t regret that at all because he would have been cemented in for next year at a higher salary than what we can afford. I think next year we’re going to be at a far better position.”

– He would have been ‘too big an egg for the basket’ to use your analogy from the other day?
“Exactly! But we need that sort of presence for sure, and we’ll find it. Like I said, if we bring this guy in, this international . . . . Dave (Kasper), being very good at his job, brings this guy in for basically an extended tryout, which is great for us, and good for the kid because he wants to be here desperately. He’s a quality, creative player. He’s not the spearhead, the out-and-out goal scorer that we need. But we’ve been here, there, everywhere and they’re not f—— giving those players away, they’re just not. They’re just asking for way too much for what we’re willing to trade away at this point in the season. This is a no lose situation. It’s replacing Bryan Namoff and replacing him with an international of renown, a brilliant player, but somewhat of an inconsistent player.”

– With the nagging injuries that this club is just getting over, with the playoff run looming, can you go with just 17 players, or do you have to make a move by the August 15th deadline within the league, and shortly thereafter outside the league?
“We get calls all the time for our players. We have made some inquiries to other clubs about certain players. But when they us what they need, we just back off. It’s just silly stuff, but if a club comes along and wants to trade an orange for an orange then that’s always feasible. We’ve got a couple of situations that we’re considering within the league, but they wouldn’t be getting the prestigious marquee players.”

– You’ve said that Quaranta is the spearhead. When you came here did you expect Jaime Moreno to be the spearhead and it’s changed?
“Of course! He’s the provider and the goal scorer of this team. He’s always been productive even though each year he’s gone down slightly. He’s always that leader up top. He’s been called the best pure forward in the league. It hasn’t happened at all this year. He’s been stuck on the launch pad this year.”
“Without Quaranta . . . between Quaranta, Moreno, and Etcheverry there was some nice little magic starting that I could see, and I was really excited about at the start of the year. Especially you’ve got a developing, blossoming player like Quaranta that just gets better as the season goes on – ala’ Twellman, or the year before with Carrieri when he had his little run. These players that catch fire, Santino was right there, right on the edge, and Jaime was just coming back. But, without Jaime right there beside him, Santino’s game was less effective. Those two players . . . without Bellemy and Sherer up top, Newcastle’s a run of the mill team. That’s what we’ve face all year.”
“It’s tough to make excuse or rationalize it when the facts are we ain’t got the f—— horses. When you’ve come into a team in your first year . . . It’s been beyond frustrating, it’s been a bit of a nightmare in certain regards for me – losing Eddie for so long.”
“I’m just so grateful to Marco for the way his manner is away from home. For the way his competitive nature is on the field . . . how resilient he’s been this year. Etcheverry has been for me this year a big f—— man this year. He’s gained immeasurably in my estimation.”

– What’s your gut feeling? Can you make it into the playoffs?
“Honestly, from my heart of hearts, I would say we’ve got . . . but we need that f—— luck. We need lady luck to smile on us. It’s like a thin reed to hang your hopes on a season on lady luck. But that’s how fickle that is. We need . . . Aren’t we f—— due for a slice of luck? For a penalty call? For a f—— offsides that goes in our favor? For a handball to go to us? For somebody to put these chances away one after another and really start to swagger?”
“That’s what I was trying to express to these guys this morning, that combination might be enough to tilt the table to favor the brave.”
“I think we’ve got a real live chance, but I think it’s got to snowball. I don’t think it can go ‘lose-win-win-lose.’ It’s got to go ‘win-win-draw-win-win.’ It’s got to go like that. We’ve got to f—— come out every game. We’re playing for our lives. We know that. We’re right on the edge and we don’t have much f—— wiggle room to step back. We might have got one more slip up and we could still perhaps have the opportunity to get in. But one is it. Two strikes and we’ll be out. I think we could conceivably have one more bad situation, then we would have to win out.”
“There doesn’t seem to be anybody shirking from the feeling. Everybody is looking forward to game and we’ll see what it brings.”

Practice Notes & Quotes 08-07-02

G – Rimando, McGinty, Bohonick (American Univ), Hensen (N.VA Royals)
D – Reyes, Pope, Prideaux, Nelsen, Namoff
M – McKinley, Williams, Etcheverry, Convey, Olsen, Alegria, Alavanja, Villegas, Mapp
F – Curtis, Lassiter, Moreno, Quintinilla

Of interest, the DCUnited U-17’s and U-16’s youth teams attended practice. Over the next month the DCUnited will bring in the youth teams to follow around the pros for a day. All the youth teams are doing well in their respective division. It shouldn’t be a surprise; DCUnited scoured the local teams to find the best.

In practice the team did something different to attempt to enhance its finishing prowess. Three goals were placed back to back in a triangle – one GK defending each. A line of cones, approximately 20-yards out, surrounded the goals. The field players attempted to score as they circled around the area. Although the original intent was shooting with the foot from outside the arc, headers allowed inside the arcs, eventually a free-for-all was allowed.

Ray Hudson
– Rumor has it that Bryan Namoff is going to be sent down to Richmond.
“Well, your sources are better than mine. Where did you get that information?

– Here, Richmond, someone over in England . . .
“Yes, we’re going . . . first of all we’re going to start investigating this really bothersome, troublesome information leak that’s happened ever since the first day I arrived. I’ll tell you honestly it’s not something I really like. It’s caused us a lot of problems. It’s caused us a lot of deals falling through. So we’re really going to . . . there’s a definite . . . DC United has had this for a couple of years. For more than a couple of years I believe and it’s just continued.”
“I’ll get to your question . . .”
“It really is a source of not just frustration, but it’s worrisome. Other things are getting back to players and to people and into the press. It’s bewildering to me who this rat is. Somebody is definitely speaking out of turn. I have one or two ideas. Not just on this situation, but on numerous situations and it’s hurt us. It’s hurt the operation of the club. I just wanted to state that. I’m definitely going to be looking into that.”
“As far as Bryan is concerned we just reached a conclusion that its going to benefit him, and Richmond, and hopefully us if he goes down there and plays in that environment the rest of this season. They got a push for the championship. He needs games and he’s just not getting it here in the practice. He’s a good competitor at practice, but he needs the responsibility of competition and meaningful games. So we want to send him down there for the rest of year. And after the playoff season is over have him back up here with us and take him on tour with us and see if that has a positive effect, and I know it will. They want him, really badly. He’s always done tremendously well for them, and it frees up that roster spot for us.”

– Will this be like a loan deal?
“No, the kid is signing a contract with them, but they are our affiliate. So it’s a sweet deal. We would be able to take another look at him, certainly we want to – that’s the whole idea. He’s a good athlete. He’s a good, honest athletic player that needs his knives sharpened, and that responsibility of taking his team on in games. And he’s not going to get that here. He’s at the bottom of the totem pole. We’ve thrown him in a couple of times, and he’s been disappointing so the timing of it is good.”

– Is he a victim of position squeeze – McKinley being moved to defensive midfield, and your defense is healthy?
“Yes, really he was at the bottom of the totem pole for a few reasons, and now he’s slipped completely out of the picture. And next year there’s going to be a few faces missing from this team in all likelihood, and Bryan is a good, young, up and coming competitor. I say promising, but it’s totally unfulfilled. And even next year, I want to keep him playing week in and week out. He’s just the type of player that needs that . . . I mean look at this (NOTE: RH pointing out to the field. The younger players were running laps, Namoff was leading the pack) . . . he’s always at the front . . . the kid is a ‘try-er,’ but he’s got to have f—— meaningful games, not scrimmage games. So that’s what we’re going to put him in.”

– What role did you hope he would fill here?
“Pretty much like Bilyk did for me last year with the Fusion. A real good utilitarian player that I could play at right back, left back, midfield, wherever was required. Jeff Bilyak was a tremendous little player for me with the Fusion last year. I see a lot of that quality in Bryan. You can throw him in with 10 to 15 minutes to go to lock a game down. Players like Bilyk never shirked against a player like Onandi Lowe. You know, 60/40 tackles in Lowe’s favor and Bilyk would go in and win the tackle. I see that in Bryan. But it’s his regular, all-over game that needs improvement. He’s got the ability, but the game situations where . . .. he’s not falling down, he’s just not fulfilling his real role. He ain’t going to get that without games. It’s just one of those situations, and there’s no f—— compromise on this. He needs games.”

– How does it affect the roster? Is he still part of the regular 18, or is he on the reserve squad?
“He will clear a roster space.”

– So are you waiving him?
“You’ll have to talk with Dave Kaspar about the specifics.” (see quotes below)

– So now you’ll have an open roster spot, are you bringing someone in?
“We’re hoping to.”

– Any clues?
“No, and the way this club is I’d rather just keep it totally underwraps.”

– Castillo from Bolivia?
“Oh god, no, no . . . you’ve got to remember what we’re dealing with here. Nobody is moving him. You don’t give up your goal scorers for nothing.”

– So with the limited time left in this season, this will be a possible move mainly to bring in someone for next year?
“No, totally wrong on all counts (laugh). . . .There’s a lot of ways to skin a cat. It will be a similar situation where we bring the player in under a massive compromise for the rest of this year. At the end of this year we’ll look and see if we want to take him on for next year. He’s an international, and he’s a quality player. And he’s willing to make a big compromise to come on for the remainder of the season because it’s me, and because it’s DC, and then we’ll take it from there. It’s like an extend tryout, if you like. But it’s something I think would be a real good move.”

– Under current MLS rules he would be considered a Senior International?

– Have we seen him before?
“No. He’s been out for a while. He’s been playing in a foreign league right now. It’s a good possibility. He’s not saying he’s the answer in terms of a spearhead up front. But, he could come in and help the cause for the rest of the season. He would bolster our attacking play as a squad player. And hopefully he would be able to get into the team quickly.”

– Is he a national team player?
“He is a national team player . . . We could get it pulled out in the very near future.”

Dave Kasper
– What is the mechanism that is putting Namoff down in Richmond and clearing a spot?
“No, he’ll be signing a developmental contract to the end of this year. And then if we pickup his option, then he is back on the roster next year.”

– Didn’t you already have four reserve roster spots filled?
“Yes. We’ll probably do something with Dennis (Ludwig).”

Practice Notes and Quotes 08-06-02

G – Rimando, Hensen (N.VA Royals)
D – McKinley, Pope, Prideaux, Reyes, Namoff
M – Convey, Alegria, Alavanja, Mapp, Olsen, Etcheverry, Villegas, Williams
F – Curtis, Lassiter, Moreno, Quintinilla

– Q2 and Prideaux were both back in practice after missing Monday’s for personal reasons.
– The team is at the earliest stages for planning a post-season trip to El Salvador. Much depends on if money is available.
Practice Headers:
– Practices usually end up with someone scoring a goal during the intra-squad scrimmage. Unlike games, there is no time limit. Yesterday’s practice dragged on for some extra minutes until Jaime Moreno finally broke through with one of his patented goals – the ball stuck to his foot as he dribbled past a couple of players and the ball trickled over the line mystically.
– Namoff had a particularly rough practice. Lack of touch, failure to make runs, lack of supporting other players, and bad vision all seemed to drag on him. Of course, being the team utility man, he was playing another new position – left back.
– What exactly is hurting Moreno? Physical injury? Lack of confidence in himself? Teammates? In any case, RH & Co. rely on his scoring so much that they are getting irked by his poor showing. The same holds true with the other ring wearers (see quotes).
– Over the last couple of games Reyes’ role has been the ‘man-maker’ against the key threat of the opponents. It looks as if this is becoming more defined (see quotes).

Dyson’s Observations:
More of a compare and contrast . . . . Over the previous two years, about this time of the season, of watching practices on a daily basis, whenever ‘chippiness’ – i.e. players yelling at each other and at the coaches – the frustration level has come to a head. If DCUnited continues its losing ways, then I expect a fight to break out or someone to be dismissed from practice shortly. A win with a great effort will do a lot to alleviate the situation.

Ray Hudson
Did it seem like the players were complaining at each other more today in practice?
“Chippy . . . they were definitely chippy. Definitely some spit and vomit out there. They’re getting themselves motivated. That’s good when the lads clash their swords together, some good stuff comes out of it. It’s not always ‘Kum-bye-ya.’ You’ve got to take your little licks and lumps. That’s a good session when that happens – it means something to them. I just wish the finishing was better, because that makes me want to vomit.”

Is that what you’ve been looking for (the chippiness)?
“Yes, I don’t think it’s coincidental that we have all quality players on there and it means something to them. The quality and the competition should naturally become better when you’ve got the numbers of quality players out there. That’s probably the first time, my memory might be betraying me, that we’ve seen this group together. I cannot remember another time, and that’s what you get.”
“You can build on it and mold it, and they get accustomed to each other, but it’s not overnight. It’s not just because they’re on the field together that it’s going to be some magic wand or electric switch and it’s going to happen. They need to get accustomed, they need to really conditioned to each other’s way of thinking and familiarities. I just hope it’s not too late.”

On the finishing, particularly with Jaime’s lack of form, is that just because the injury, or possibly a lack of confidence, or something else?
“I don’t know. You’re asking me what’s going on in his head. I don’t know.”

On tactics, earlier this year you went from ‘free-flow’ to more discipline. Now that the ‘starters’ are available are you planning on going back to your original plan?
“I think it will be some middle ground. You’ve got to with that sort of flair and creativity. We’re certainly stressing a lot more tactical.”
“Milton is a big part of that actually. Milton has a big effect on that. We’re starting to hone in on Milton’s strengths, which is that defensive athleticism and his tenacity and quickness. We’re stressing . . . he’s the one player I think that can really take a player out of a game, and we’re doing that. But, we don’t want to loose that presence. We’ve got to do something in terms of that adjustment. I think that Milton, now that Eddie is back, and Brandon, and with Ryan playing so well of late and the last half of the season that gives us a good defensive line. Certainly with Richie and Ivan set in the middle, that’s what we’re going with. That may not happen Saturday, but that core of defensive strength has done well for us. That as everybody knows ain’t the problem. So then you’ve got to say we need that flair and adventuresome football going forward. It will be a cross between the two. We cannot just have the defensive lads leaving their positions willy-nilly as I think was happening early on. To good effect sometimes, but we cannot do that. We’ve got to limit ourselves there.”

You said that you wanted Etcheverry, ‘Gazza,’ and Williams as attacking, holding, and defensive midfielders respectively. With the return of Olsen will he assuming one of those roles, or remain on the right side?
“Yes, definitely on the right.”
“He’s still knocking the rust off. His touch and his strength are slowly coming back and his athleticism, and his drive all over the field. It’s only half full, the glass is. He’s got a long way to go. We’re just going to keep bleeding him into the team. Hopefully this week we’ll get nearly a full half out of him.”
“We’re not hesitating on throwing him in, but he ain’t going to last. It just doesn’t happen that way because he’s running around here. Come game time, and the way he is – he’s so unselfish, he’s selfless in his drive to keep going – that runs out pretty f—— quick. And your stamina reserves have got to be pretty high for a player like Benny Olsen. I think we’ll probably see that towards the end of the season. He’s really just starting to build up those reserves. He’s like a Chris Henderson, similar. That wonderful unselfishness will produce chances and opportunities, not just for himself but for his teammates, because he stretches the defense so well. We’re well aware of it, but we’ve got to be patient. It’s coming along, but we cannot push it through the hourglass. He’ll need to be bled into 2 or 3 more games before we can start him.”
“The other thing is because he’s so far from his battle-hardened match fitness, it’s best for him, not just the team, with him to come in with a lot of initial sharp edge of the game has been dulled, where the real heat of the game is starting to go down. The point he’s at, that’s the ideal opportunity for him to come in. I think towards the end of the season he’ll be ready to start his games.”

As a player or coach have you ever been through a stretch like this?
“No, never. With the Strikers (NASL – Ft. Lauderdale) all those years, they were just the one of the highest scoring teams. With the Fusion (Miami) we were . . . I mean our record the first double the output even. And last year was the best in the league. This has been very unfortunate with missing the big two. Quaranta especially for me . . . that lad I personally miss more because he was the real spearhead of this team. And Jaime is coming back now and we need him now.”
“There’s been opportunities all throughout the year. I will say this for this team they create.”
“But it’s that presence of a menace up front that’s been consistently lacking and it’s very difficult to compensate for that. Every great team has that player that’s hitting the back of the net, that’s in form. And we’ve never had that f—— . . . . that real menacing spearhead, we just haven’t. Whether it’s through injuries or even when some of these guys that have been in, that punch hasn’t been there. And you can say that it’s because Jaime hasn’t been fit. That’s a valid reason. We haven’t been able to get him fit, we haven’t been able to push him to get his fitness. And that just detracts from all parts of your team. It’s very frustrating for the rest of the guys.”

Is it possible that the other coaches have come to understand you and your systems, and therefore are able to key on specific tactics against DCUnited?
“Not at all. Hell, if it comes down to those sorts of mind games, we might as well pack up and fold up the tent. It all comes down to the players in my book. I’m telling these players to go out and play well and enjoy themselves. I don’t have any . . . there’s no magic formula.”
“Last year was all about good players in the right position. Diego Serna . . . you think I dictated to Diego Serna how to play? Do you honestly think I set a strategy and an alphabetical list of points for Diego Serna to follow? He was the top goal scorer in the league. And behind him was Chacon. I must have said half a dozen words to them all year. But it was the way our team was playing that produced that result. They were brilliant opportunists in sticking the ball in the back of the net. We ain’t got it. We don’t’ have it this year. We’ve got the players. But the players either haven’t been fit or haven’t been on the team. That’s the way I see it. I cannot defend them anymore than I can. That’s the way the ball has been bouncing for us on and off the field for us this year. It’s all down to them. I’d be the first . . . if we were lightening up the goal this year, I’d be the first to pass on all the accolades to the players because that’s instinctive footballing. I think we’re advancing the ball well enough, we’re into the areas, we’re getting down the flanks, but our bodies just haven’t been there to put it away.”

Is having Jaime, Eddie, and Benny back, even if not at 100%, the answer?
“Of course. That’s a big part of it. They’re the quality players, money players. Let’s call a spade a spade. That’s what this league is built around. It’s about your players and getting your value for your money. If you put all your eggs in one or two or three baskets, those baskets had better f—— hatch real f—— quick. I don’t know if that’s been the case. When it’s been a season of disappointments like this it’s not condemning the players, it’s factual. When your money isn’t on the field, or your money isn’t producing what do you do? Well, what do you do? Do you re-align, re-configure your ‘X’s and O’s’ and it’s still producing the same stuff? They’re the other considerations now that we’ve got 8 games left. They know it.”
“We’re going get our championship players together – the guys with rings on their fingers. We’re going to get them together and f—— tell them, ‘This is it! You’re charged with this responsibility and that’s the way it has to be!’ That’s the way it was at the start of this year, and that’s the way it is now. Are we going to get something out of this? Are we going to be able to salvage something out of this season? That’s pretty much the mission now – it’s salvaging this season. And they’ve got to lead from the front. It ain’t going be Nicky Rimando, and Petter Villegas, and Milton Reyes and these guys. It’s going to be a combined, unified effort. But the stalwarts, the f—— franchise players if you like, that have been here and put those banners in that stadium. They are the ones that we’ve held faith in and they are the ones that have got to produce it.”
“I think the working week has been good enough, but whether it’s been through injuries, or lack of form, or has that flame really gone out of them. You look at any great team that has won national championships, or club championships; they never stop feeding that flame with the young players – the Man. United, or Real Madrid, or Barcelona, or Boca Juniors. You don’t stand pat and think that it’s going to keep repeating. There’s things you see that the fire just ain’t there. They’re the players right throughout the team that we’ve got to into this side with a desire and drive in them – all the way throughout the team, from the rookies through to the likes of Marco’s – that’s the way it is because that’s the way it has to be.”

Practice Notes & Quotes 08-05-02

Rimando, McGinty, Nelsen, Reyes, McKinley, Pope, Namoff, Williams, Convey, Etcheverry, Olsen, Alavanja, Mapp, Alegria, Villegas, Moreno, Curtis, Lassiter

Quintinilla was excused to travel to El Salvador over the time off. He will return to practice tomorrow.

‘Practice Shots’:
The practice was primarily working on situations of advantage and putting shots on goal. 3 v. 2 and 4 v. 3 with GKs and full goals. The primary purpose was to isolate defenders in disadvantageous positions with quick ball movement across the attacking third. On the other hand, with the defense, the key was support, and forcing the attacking side to make difficult shots with quick pressure.

The prettiest play came from a Nelsen to Namoff back to Nelsen. Nelsen chipped to the far post, which Namoff forcefully headed back to a charging Nelsen who slammed it home on the full volley. Also, watching Eddie Pope push forward, nut-megging Olsen into the ground, caused some anguish on the latter’s part, and good natured ribbing from the other players. Finally, if Mapp gets into a game, watch him drift to the right charge forward into the box, but cut back ala’ Preki. He worked it to perfection on a couple of occasions.

Ray Hudson
– Can you go into more detail about the ‘why’ ‘Gazza’ wasn’t signed?
“Yes, there were still concerns that he hadn’t totally . . . we knew he was a recovering alcoholic. And by all indications, people I had talked to, the indications were that he was well on his way to full recovery – clean and healthy and all the rest of it. During his time here we saw that he was to a large extent a reformed character. But, it was really more of a feeling (that) he was coping with a lot of the problems. And I wasn’t sure that this was the right league, and the right time for him to come in and earn my complete, and utter faith and trust. It just didn’t get to that point.”
“He wasn’t a bad element or an embarrassment. He was fine in many regards! He went out with the guys and enjoyed his relaxed down time. He loved the fans and the general public’s behavior around him – the politeness of the country around him, the respect that was shown to him by people who didn’t know who the hell he was. All of that stuff . . . forget the on the field stuff.”
“On the field he was fine. On the field you could see that he was still a player. You could he was a brilliant footballer.”
“But away from England, and away from that social support system that he’s got over there, there were still questions in my mind that had to be answered 150% . . . 100% . . . categorically .. . And I’m not sure that was the case.”

– Was this your decision?

– There are rumors that the league influenced the decision. Any truth to that?
“No, that ‘s totally wrong and erroneous. The league was supportive and understanding and very considerate in all of these negotiations and discussions. They had grave concerns .. . and rightfully! . . . understandably! That’s the kind of thing is never going to leave a player like Gascgoine. So that’s part and parcel part of the thing.”
“They allowed me the latitude to look at him eyeball to eyeball.”
“The mechanism worked! The league gave me full autonomy over this. I think it was . . . it couldn’t have been any fairer. If they hadn’t allowed me I would have been up in arms. But they did.”
“It was well worth pursuing. But it just wasn’t going to happen here.”

– So the decision was based on him not having a steady support structure because of his past?
“You know what it’s like for people who have been down that terrible road. When everything is good, everything is good. But if it gets a little . . . when that road starts winding it way down to a point it can go over the cliff real fast. I just thought ‘We’ll not go there now.’”
“Like I said before, if he’d been drinking Perrier water all the time . . . He wasn’t a wild cannon or pirate all the time. He was fine. He got into his taxi at the shank of the night and went home to bed. He got up in the morning, and he worked out, and he came and practiced with us. So in that regard, his conduct was OK.”
“Like I said, in order for us to take that huge leap of faith it had to be lily white clean – 100% pure. And I’m not sure after seeing Paul that way I’m not sure if it’s going to be like that.”

– The other part is being reported is that a deal had been completed, but it involved moving a player. That player refused to be moved. Is there any truth to that?
“That’s completely, and utterly, and laughably false. It’s totally erroneous and totally wrong. There’s not a modicum of truth in that.”
“We didn’t have to move anybody to get Paul for the remainder of this year. Next year would have been a main challenge, and that’s another part of this. In my opinion Marco Etcheverry and Paul would have been a good combination on the same field.”
“Would I rather have Eddie Pope at his full best? Jaime Moreno at his absolute, consistent, continually best? And Marco at his best . . . finding his brilliant form like he did on Saturday? Absolutely! But we’re not in that position. We’ve been too fragile this year.”
“That was one those dimension I had to consider. Was he really going to help? That was really the biggest part of it – is he going to help our team this year? Well, given those other concerns, maybe not.”
“There were a lot of reasons. It wasn’t just one.”

– You’ve now got 10 days before the trading deadline. Are you actively pursuing someone inside the league, or outside?
“Yes . . . yes. We have a lot of lines in the water in terms of what we can get. But, a player has to come into this environment under such enormous compromise that basically they are coming in here on an extended trial. So it will be next year if we see if this one particular player comes in.”
“We have a particular player that may be available outside the league that may be willing to come in those circumstances – to prove himself for the remainder of the year, with an eye of landing here next year.”

– What position?
“He’s a forward. But there’s a couple of other people in the league that we are considering, but it’s not Wolde Harris.”

– Dante Washington?
“Dante? They’re (Columbus) not letting him go. Goal-scorers, clubs tend to hold onto them for reasons I can’t understand (laugh).”

– Speaking of goal scoring, with as well as the defense is playing; it has to be extremely frustrating not winning games because of the lack of scoring.
“Without Moreno and Santino Quaranta, this isn’t difficult .. ..”

– But even outside of the injuries you’ve got to expect either the midfielders or bench players to score.
“Sure . . . right! Just by dumb luck even someone is going to knock one in off a defender somehow. It is hugely frusting!”
“We’re not letting it get us down. We’re just keeping on buttoning away.”
“Moreno is the guy! He just has to be . . . he has been the goal scorer in the past and he has to get back into this team because we need him desperately to be the finisher we know him to be. This has been a continual source of frustration, not just for me, but with the players because it affects everything. Without Jaime and Quaranta in there we are impotent.”
“All we’ve got are the guys at the lower, lower, lower end of the pay spectrum. That’s all we’ve been able to afford. That’s why Roy Lassiter came in here under enormous compromises to the he’s used to, because we don’t have it. Same with Ali Curtis. A young kid like that is patently way short, but that’s all we can afford, that’s all we could go out and get. Those shortcomings are blatantly obvious.”
“It ties into what we’ve said. The big money players have got to be on the field. And they have got to be producing because at the other end of the pay scale, the money is so diluted that you’re left with (tuppence happening (?)) type players.”

– Saturday’s game will be the first time you will be able to field a full team with the exception of Quaranta. Are the expectations higher now that the full team should be healthy and rested?
“It’s not an electric switch. We’d love to think that’s going to happen, but you do need consistency and for these guys to get used to one another on the field of play at show time, and build on that. But there’s no time like the present to start that. We’ve got the pieces, now let’s get the snowball going if we can.”

– And you will need a ‘snowball’ if you’re going to get into the playoffs. Do you have a point total you’re looking at getting to?
“We’re not even looking at that. We’re looking at winning every game. Every game is a win game now! That’s what I said to them right at the start of practice. That’s the pressure we’ve put on ourselves . . . that’s the hole we’ve put ourselves.”
“Win or lose, let’s get this f—— thing going towards finishing off the season on some sort of good note. And if we come up a little bit short, that’s the bed we’ve made. I think we’ve got very valid reasons why for it, and it’s sad, and unfortunate, and ‘Oh dear, how sad,’ but that’s the way life is, and we’ve just got to go on.”
“Like I said we’re getting players back and they’ve got to respond to one another now. They know it’s all down to these games. We’re still very much alive even though we’ve got problems building that snowball.”

Dave Kasper
– On ‘Gazza,’ was the league involved in anyway in the decision?
“No, that’s not the case. From the first day they asked us to do our due diligence, and we did. They were not involved in the decision at the end of the day. They would have supported either decision.”

– With 10 days left before the trading deadline are you working on something in the league?
“I have active discussions with all the GM’s, but there’s nothing on the table right now. We’ll continue to evaluate and see what’s available. But, we don’t want to just make any moves for the sake of making a trade. We want to make sure we get something of value and don’t have to give up the kitchen sink.”

– What about international players?
“There’s one player we’ve had discussions with his agent. He’s available. He has a name that a lot of people are familiar with.”

– European?

– South or Central American?
“That’s right, one of those two (laugh).”

– Is it realistic that a player can come in and help this year?
“That was obviously a big concern with ‘Gazza.’ It is something we are well aware of that with any international player it is 10 days to 2 weeks to get a visa, and then time to get acclimated here and get fit. So that’s part of the consideration.”

– When do you start looking at next year’s draft and what type of process do you use? Do you have any thoughts about the strength of the upcoming class?
“It’s probably a better class than last year’s class, although it’s a little early to tell. There’s a lot of good players out there.”
“We have enough members on our staff to cover a lot of games and we intend to. With the ACC and the Big-East fairly close by we’ll start that in September.”

– Early in the year RH said something to the effect that a draft in 2003 wasn’t needed because the team is so young. Even though it is very early in the process, do you personally have a feeling of what you’d like to accomplish with the draft?
“I have in my mind 3 or 4 players that I feel would be worthy of a first round pick. Obviously we would zero in on that first depending on what position we would look to.”

– At this moment DCUnited has a nature 1st round, natural 2nd round, and Chicago’s 2nd round?
“Correct . . . exactly. We might also have LA’s 2nd round – the Albright trade. It was conditional based on how much he plays.”

Bryan Namoff
– You’ve gone from being the last defender on the depth chart to starting at midfield. What has the coach talked to about during these various changes?
“Here and there I think it was basically with Milton (Reyes) and Petter (Villegas) being injured on the right . . . I’m the one with the versatility, so they threw me in there. I was more of a defensive midfielder on the right hand side trying to mark Beasley in the last game.”

– With all the changes in positions this year, how has it affected your game?
“It’s tough. Mentally it’s really tough! You’re playing in a position, and sometimes it’s a position you’ve never really played. It’s just getting used to that position. But the guys have been really great in helping me out – where I should be positionally – Eddie Pope does a good job of talking to me after training of where I should be.”
“When I go to the midfield it’s a lot more comfortable because I’ve played there so many years.”
“But it is tough. I have to stay focused. If you lose focus your confidence level starts to drop and drop. Then you’re out of the lineup, and out of favor. You’ve just got to show up everyday for training and battle it out and try to win a spot.”

– Are you getting the feeling that you’re ‘on the bubble?’
“Yes, I feel like that. When I come out to training everyday I feel like I have to win a spot everyday, not only on the field, but win a spot on the team everyday. So, it’s tough and it makes it that much more competitive. But that’s the thing I like. I like being competitive.”
“But it’s tough and it’s hard if you do fall out of favor. You have to fight that much harder to gain it back. Just a couple of mistakes here and there, they look at that much more critical than a player that’s been playing 90 minutes every game and has a few mistakes.”

– There is a rumor that you were the player that you were the player that would be traded to make room for ‘Gazza.’ Did anyone talk to you about that possibility?
“No, nothing about being traded or anything. I know they like me and think that I have a future here. But those are the rumors you hear, and coming onto the field training and hearing those rumors is tough. You just have to put that aside when you step on the field. I hear those things.”

– A second rumor was that you were somehow going to end up a DCUnited Reserve Squad player, but play in Richmond (A-League) if ‘Gazza’ was signed, but you said ‘no.’ Any truth to that?
“No, I just said I wanted to stay here. I just wanted to stay here and be on this team. I don’t want to leave.”

Post Game Quotes (NE) 07-28-02

Ray Hudson
Do you think there should have been a couple of penalty kick handballs?
“Absolutely . . . Thank you! Honestly, I thought I was going blind on the sidelines. There were a couple of penalties. I think the most blatant one is the one when Marco dupes the guy twice inside and Cullen has his hand up here. I don’t know.”
“We don’t have any home field advantage. The Screaming Eagles, the Barra Brava, all the wonderful fans we’ve got, they got to be pulling their hairs out. Maybe we should just tell them to be quiet. Let’s not a great atmosphere. Let’s not get everybody behind your team screaming blue murder for your colors. Let’s not do that! Let’s play it in a f—— monastery. And then the referees might just . . . then we might have a chance at getting a home field call! It does not exist for us!”
“Crying over sour grapes? Not for me! Unbelievable!”
“And there’s a couple of other that looked . . . you say, ‘OK, 70/30 they’re handballs.’ And the one on Petter, I want to see that one – the one when Petter cuts in, in the first half, and he’s going to cross the ball and gets clipped from behind.”
“But, that’s all excuses.”
“We put on a great performance for the fans, it was a good game.”
“And Credit New England! They were fighting for their lives tonight. And they fought a great fight for their coach. I think you’ve got to tip your hat to them in that regard.”
“But, I don’t know if I’ve seen a more one-sided game this season. We were cutting down the left – Bobby Convey was tremendous tonight. Milton Reyes wrapped up Ralston like in cellophane. The boys at the back were real good. Ritchie and Ivan were working hard. And Quintinilla is a little diamond – 19-year old. Superlative little performance for me – magic, magic, magic! The kid coming into that atmosphere, coming into a new environment with his new teammates, he played above his size, and beyond his years – a big, big slap on the back for Elisio. Apart from penalties and stuff, we created chance after chance after chance, especially the first half. We didn’t have the spearhead without . . . I’ll say it, Santino is a huge miss. It’s a tragic loss, we’ve probably lost him the whole year. That kid, I said it earlier, is so pivotal to us. There’s another one beyond his years. It’s the kids doing it for us.”
“Tough loss this one. Hard to get the whip out again. I don’t know how much more we could have done tactically, technically. The big players showed up. It was spirited. But, we didn’t have anyone to put the ball away into the net.”
“That’s no knock on little Elisio. He did his bit, and more! He carried certain players. And you know if it was a piece of s— I’d be hearing it from you in your own subtle ways about this little El Salvadorian. Can we just put that to f—— rest now? Because that is a footballer and that’s what I told you. We were after quality, and that’s what he is. He’s a kid, on his début . . . how many better débuts have you seen? For me he had a tremendous game. Thankfully, all of our fans were right behind him and the team. It was a great sort of reaction. I hope we’re starting to get behind that now.”

Can you comment on Olsen and the reason for starting him in the 2nd half and not bringing him on as a sub later?
“We had to take Roy out – enough said. After that we had a decision to make whether to put Benny in at the end and bring in somebody like Ali Curtis. But we felt while Elisio was still fresh, because he put so much hard work in, him and Benny might be able to combine. John Trask is the one who said that was the way to go, and I think it was a great choice by John. We knew that Benny only had 15 to 20 minutes in him and I’d rather put him in at half time when he still had the freshness and our other players still had the freshness. When Ali comes in it’s like harem-scarem stuff, that’s what Ali is about.”

What about putting Eddie up top?
“We knew Benny would hit the wall. It was either Ali or Eddie. We just felt that we might go against the grain because Ali has done well in the past for us, but we just needed a different sort of look. It nearly came off. But, it was that sort of game. We needed that little bit of luck, but it just wasn’t in the stars tonight. They got the set piece deflected goal. Again, that’s not sour grapes. You play for that sort of goal away from home and then you batten down the hatches. And that’s what they did.”

Is that something we might see again?
No, God I hope not. No, that was just some very special circumstances. We felt as if we were getting a good bit upstairs. Little Elisio was battling like a demon. We felt as if we could slot him in, but we needed that little bit of extra height. That wasn’t the game. That was just something you just throw in. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.”

Because you’re desperate for points, how are you going to adjust off tonight’s performance for Chicago?
“We’re going to have to think on it and sleep on it. The performance itself, the footballing performance defensively, midfield, the wide players, I thought was very good. We don’t have a spearhead without Santino. And I don’t know what is happening with Moreno. I don’t know how that’s going to be with him getting fit to get fit. He hasn’t played two consecutive games for us, and that’s hard for a quality player like him. He just hasn’t been able to stand up for more than one game.”

Watching the game did it give you some idea of where you can fit ‘Gazza’ in?
“At times I was trying to imagine it. His brilliance with that can opener that he has in both feet and in his head is enough to tip a game like that. That’s not taking away anything from those guys. That was a good performance in many regards.”
“Coming into this season, getting off the plane and going straight into the draft, it takes so long to get to know players and to get to know your team. I’m doing that week in and week out. Dave Kasper and I have tried to pull rabbits out of hats with the type of changes we can make. But we’ve been playing with it. It’s been trying to patch it and toy with it. That’s hard to deal with. We couldn’t have done anymore than we’ve done.”
“But, taking this sort of thing on the road it won’t be any problem there. You know when you’ve played badly. You know when you’ve played well. I think virtually 100% of those guys could say they played well. There will be one or two that know they were woefully short. And that’s what found us out tonight.”
“Difficult playing without that sort . . . Wolde Harris coming in off the bench. I envy that sort of player – a good honest yeoman forward. We are what we are. If we had better we would be better. But you can’t construct it just like that.”
“Overall, I thought it was a good performance. And given the terrible calls, and I’m going to get killed, I thought this ‘home field advantage’ thing was never there for us. And I don’t know if I’m paying for someone’s sins here. I don’t know if Bruce (Arena) got those sorts of calls here, or if Thomas (Rongen) did. But, that’s crap excuses and it sounds like you’re hiding behind them. We’ve had situations like this all year long, home and away. We’ve got to go to the monastery to play games.”
“A tough day at the office for these boys. We’re going to get them together and go out tonight because we need to stay together as a team.”
“It’s not all over! We’re still fighting for our lives. If the season slips away because of the terrible injuries and the big missing guns we’ve had to put up with all year, so be it. But, there’s plenty there to go forward into the last third of the season. We won’t back down, but it’s going to get tough. I’ll go to war with them. We’ll see what happens through the week . . . with Paul . . .”
“Let me just say this, the sadness now is with us being so fragile up front, our forwards are so fragile, or unproductive, Paul Gascgoine may be a victim of that. Our needs are very, very evident up front. I’m just saying that on the record right now. We may just say, ‘Damn the torpedoes’ let’s just get a bit more creativity and poise in the middle and go with what we’ve got up front, and hope that Jaime gets fit and stays fit. And that Quintinilla keeps doing what he’s doing because there’s a lot of bravery in his game.”
“There’s a lot of bravery in the shots he was taking for a 19-year old and his work rate. What I love about his game is that his quality never went down, and that’s what I expected – once you hit the 65-minute mark it would go down . . . but it never did. He kept showing for the ball, he kept trying his stuff, and never hid.”
“And hopefully Jaime is going to get himself right because that’s the one area where we’ve just been impotent all year.”

Are you concerned that Jaime might need the off-season to get healthy and fit – that he doesn’t have enough time on a weekly basis?
“I don’t know. I don’t know how to analyze that anymore. It’s been a sad season for Jaime Moreno. Right from the start he hasn’t been able to work at his game or at his fitness.”
“We haven’t been able to put him through the fires, the f—— vinegar work and real strength and increasing demand because of the injuries.”

With Moreno’s injuries and poor performance by the other forwards, do you see yourself keeping Olsen and Quintinilla up top?
“He ain’t coming out, the kid! He’s in. He’ll do. After this we have a few weeks with the All-Star break. We have a while to get Jaime all right. That will be an interesting combo, those two. I’ll tell you, even if Santino and Jaime was right, Quintinilla looks as if he earns his spot. It will be interesting to see what happens, and please god we have those sorts of chances to put those players together.”
“But it’s probably going to be playoff time before Benny is lasting 75 minutes at full tilt. I think it will be towards the end of the season. It’s a strange thing. There’s fitness, and then there’s match fitness, and they are like night and day. All the treadmill work and the lapping and the stride outs doesn’t mean anything when you get into a game like that.”
“Benny said he felt pretty good. But then you start to see pink elephants sometimes. Your actual mental fitness gets depleted sometimes and he lasted barely 15 minutes and he hit the wall. We knew that would happen. It’s the only way to get him fit is in situations like that.”
“The kid did great, he did fantastic. We probably created as many chances in that little bit of time as when Benny was in as any other point in the game. That’s what he does, he brings a great buzz to the team.”

Elisio Quintinilla (translated through Boris Flores of DCUnited)
What did he think of his first game?
“It was a difficult game. He thought he played OK, even though it was his first game. He thinks the more he works with his teammates the better he’ll understand them, and the better they’ll understand him.”

How disappointed was he not to score given his chances?
“Yes, in a way I am a little disappointed that I couldn’t score on the opportunities I had. But, I hope in the next game I have those opportunities and then I hope I will be able to score.”

Coach Hudson was very impressed with your game, other than scoring what do you think you can do better?
“I think I need to work on my fitness. It was evident towards the end of the game I was a little tired. So I need to work on my fitness so I can have better speed on the ball.”

Comment on the reception you received from the fans?
“Excellent! Ever since the first day that I arrived they’ve made me feel warm. I’m grateful to them that came out to support me and the team.”

Practice Notes and Quotes 07-26-02

Rimando, McGinty, Bohonick (American Univ), Matt Henson (GK – NVa Royals), McKinley, Prideaux, Nelsen, Pope, Reyes, Quintinilla, Convey, Alavanja, Alegria, Etcheverry, Namoff, Williams, Curtis, Lassiter

Q2 did receive his visa and will start tomorrow on the front line with Lassiter.

Moreno and Q1 did attend practice, but did not participate.

Q1 will get his surgery Tuesday. He doubts that he will be effective for the remained of the season.

Four of the U-17’s National Pool players found their way into practice. They were: Mansur Hassan, Kyle Helton, Abdul ???, and an unknown.

One thing I did note, Etcheverry had his best practice today for the last couple of months. His passing was crisp, he launched a couple of nice over-the-top drives to Curtis/Lassiter (Lassiter scored on a couple!), and he even took a beautiful run-of-play shot into the upper 90. The same could be said of Villegas.

RH wants to get Olsen in the game for a few minutes on Saturday. Will he be tucked away at the right wing? Not likely. Try him up top. Asst. Coach John Trask said it was a probability to keep ‘Beninho’ from having to make tackles on defense, RH concurs to a certain degree (see quotes).

Possible Lineup

Ryan Nelsen
How are you going to deal with New England’s ability to score goals?
“As we do with any striker . . . all the strikers are good in this league. Obviously we have to contain them, and play with them, and try to keep a clean sheet at the back.”

Defense has been holding up its end, but the offense isn’t. Is there any pressure building up inside the club on that situation, or just the situation of not winning?
“We’ve got win games. We’re at a critical part of the season. If we don’t we’ll slide downhill. This game is freaking huge, to tell you the truth! We need this win, and we need it bad.”
“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the players – we can score and all that . . . we’ve got the players. It’s just a matter of time and being in the right places. We’ve really good opportunities in the last two games that I’ve been involved in. We’ve had opportunities to win the game, but then again, we’ve just got to start to find the back of the net.”

With the injuries, is this team wearing down mentally?
“Obviously because they are quality players and you want your best on the park. Jaime and Eddie are experienced players out there. I think that’s what we need out there right now are experienced players. I think Santino is a loss as well because he’s one of our starting strikers as well. So when you look at that you kind of think that’s the reason we’re not scoring as well. But, we’ve got who can come off the bench and be hungry for all that. They’ve got to be fired up to get out there and get a result.”

What do you think about ‘Gazza?’
“I think it’s great! He’s proven that he’s a world-class player. If there’s still some fuel in the tank, DC United would love to have him here. At least he’s going to bring some great experience and be able to show some of the young players what it is to be a professional.”

Because of his reputation, do you feel like you must go out and challenge harder?
“Of course! He’s a world-class player . . . one of England’s best. When he steps on the field you’ve obviously got to play up to him. Hopefully he’s fit and he can bring something to the team. We need something to get us winning, and to get us into the playoffs.”

Ali Curtis
With the injuries to Jaime and Santino, you and Roy move up in the depth charts. How does that make you feel?
“I don’t know. Whoever we put on the field is going to try to give their best performance they can. Right now we need to get wins. We’re going to go out there and try our best and performance. It is going to be tough, but I think we’re going to do it.”

The lack of scoring has been the problem. Is a team mental block? Is there an explanation you can put your finger on?
“I think we need to play better as a team to win games. It’s not just the forward’s responsibility to score goals, it’s the team’s responsibility, and the team benefits from scoring goals. We need play defensively, in the middle, and up top. Of course we need to finish our chances, and that’s been a problem for us. We just need to go out there and keep working, stay positive, and stay confident.”

Does the team have that positive, confident feeling right now?
“Yes, and it’s going to be there on Saturday. It’s our job to go out there and be positive and confident, and to do our best as professionals. So if we were going to go out there thinking that we weren’t going to score goals that we couldn’t defend against teams like Columbus, Chicago, and New England, then they should get rid of us. We’re here, we’re DCUnited, we’re the guys that they put out on the field and we’re going to go out and do our best to win games.”

How are you planning on exploiting New England’s weak defense?
“Yes, I think as a striker, the individual players New England has you can exploit them in a couple of different areas. They still defend well at times. We just need to get the ball, get into a rhythm, and play, and get the ball over the top, and underneath and go at these defends to make them stop you. We’re just going to get the ball as much as possible and try to make the defenders make a decision. . . .go at them and take chances. Hopefully we’ll take a lot of chances and get the results.”

Will you be using a 3-5-2 tomorrow?
“I’d rather not say to be honest. But, definitely we’ve got to go with two on top. It might be a skewed 4-4-2. We’re missing . . . I’m f—— sick about it, but we’re missing big players again. We get passed this weekend, and the All-Star break, I think Benny (Olsen) will be back to real good fitness. Eddie will be back to complete health; Jaime will be back. So that part I’m looking forward to that. But, we need to get these 3 points in the bag before I can sleep through the All-Star break. And this is a big game for us. We need to put these away.”

Is Olsen going to play at all?
“Benny will be on the bench. He’ll be on the bench, and hopefully if the game is going nice, I’ll be able to put him in for 10, 15, 20 minutes.”

Quintinilla has his visa as of today. Do you expect to start him?
“Pretty damn right! The kid is ready. He looked tremendous in practice this morning. He looks like a greyhound biting at the bit ready to go. It’s sad because he’s going to be thrown into the deep end. I didn’t want to do this with him. I wanted to introduce him slowly, but the bugle is calling now. He’s got to respond. There’s no great expectancy on him. I’m not expecting him to hit the ‘hat-trick’ . . . Please, God, I hope he does! But, we’re not expecting it, but it would be wonderful in front of all the fans.”

Are you surprised how well Q2 has fit in?
“Yes, he’s fit in like a hand in a glove. He’s been really responsive, and an energetic kid. He’s a lovely kid. We had him on the road trip last time and he fit in smashingly.”

Is he going to play up top?
“I think we’ll have to go with Roy (Lassiter).

With Ben is there a chance to play him up top to keep him from having to play significant defense?
“Yes, we could throw him in there certainly. It’s more the fact that we don’t want to start him right now. He’s too fresh right now. We need to get another week or two out of him of practice before he starts for us.”