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Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 16, 2007; 1:00 PM

Washington Post soccer writer Steven Goff was online Wednesday, May 16, at 2 p.m. ET to chat about D.C. United, MLS, Europe and anything else soccer-related.

The transcript follows.

Goff covers the D.C. United beat for The Washington Post and writes the Soccer Insider blog for washingtonpost.com.

Discussion Archive

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Steven Goff: Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends...

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Bethesda, Md.: Now that Newcastle has officially released Oneywu, do you think he would consider playing in the MLS? If so, would DC be interested in his services?

Steven Goff: At his young age, I imagine Gooch would prefer to stay in Europe for several more years. And I'm not sure an MLS team would be willing to pay him enough to come home.

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Washington, D.C.: What is the reason for DCU's love for Josh Gros? I know he runs his butt off up and down the wing and is a two-way player but I think he doesn't look good on offense or defense. He can't cross or shoot the ball and he can't defend one-on-one as evidenced against Chivas USA. How hard would it be to get Jonathan Bornstein to replace him? I also would like to see DCU replace Brian Carroll with disgruntled Shalrie Joseph. Any chance?

Steven Goff: Why would Chivas trade Bornstein? And acquiring Joseph would come at a steep price.

Gros is a phenomenal athlete, but his technical ability is still lacking. I tend to agree with you in that he is not a scoring threat and does not cross consistently well. DCU apparently believes his soccer skills will eventually catch up with his athletic skills.

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DC: What is your soccer background? Did you used to play or coach? How does someone become the United writer for the Washington Post?

Steven Goff: Like most Americans, I played as a kid and into high school. For the most part, though, I was an 85th-minute substitute during a 3-0 game.

I picked up soccer journalistically in college and jumped at the opportunity to cover the sport at The Post when no other writers were interested in the late '80s/early '90s.

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NYC: Any chance Beasley comes back to the states as a DP? He would certainly solve our wing issues.

Steven Goff: He's going back to the Netherlands, I believe. He does, however, have local personal connections and would certainly fill a void for United.

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Rocko: Unbiased opinion, is the Soccer Insider the best thing to happen to soccer in the last 10 years?

Steven Goff: Soccer Insider is third behind Phil Anschutz and Ted Eck.

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FA Cup Final: I'm wondering where's the best bar in DC to watch the game this Saturday??

Steven Goff: I have always gone to Summers (Arlington), but if anyone would like to recommend their favorite spots right now, please do so and I will post em.

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Arlington, Va.: Do you have orange slices and Capri-Sun on hand for these chats?

Steven Goff: Funny you ask, my wife and I had to provide just those tasty snacks at our son's u10 match the other day.

Personally, I prefer doughnuts.

mmmmm, doughnuts....

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Blacksburg, Va.: FA Cup final. Who you got?

Steven Goff: Man U, 2-1

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Washington, DC: Any chance that Eddie Lewis ends up with DC?

Steven Goff: Haven't heard that.

He turns 33 tomorrow, not sure that would be a wise move.

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Area Burb: Is Kpene the next great DCU discovery? I've been fairly impressed with him. Seems far more aware, creative, and alert than your typical rook. What's the likelihood we see him again this weekend?

Steven Goff: He has made huge strides since preseason, when he seemed lost on the field and didn't embrace defensive responsibility. I like his composure, his touch, his maturity on the ball. Still a work in progress, but definitely a pleasant surprise for DCU.

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Section 230: The Post has a story about knitting at baseball games. Can you ask DC United to allow short, pointy sticks in for the LA Galaxy match? Thanks.

Steven Goff: You, hooligan, you!

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Alexandria, Va.: What is the status estimated time of recovery for United's injured players? Who will be available for the Toronto match?

Steven Goff: Fred and Simms are 100 percent. McTavish remains out.

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Bethesda, Md.: Should we be concerned with the U.S. U-20's loss to Argentina last night? We had too many chances that we didn't capitalize on, meanwhile, we give Argentina one chance, and of course they score. Do you think it has to do with the mentality of the team?

Steven Goff: It was a friendly. I wouldn't get too worked up about it. The U.S. team will do fine at the U-20 WC.

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Washington, DC: What's the latest on the Polish defender DC United has been talking with?

Steven Goff: The Polish player is interested in MLS, but it's a long way from happening. DCU has interest in other players as well. Bosacki is just one guy on their list.

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17th Street: It seems like Gomez, Perkins and Boswell have all gotten off to slow starts this season for DCU. Any conjecture why? Anything to do with change in coaches?

Steven Goff: Gomez has been disappointing. Perkins had a great game against Chivas in his last outing. Boswell has been good, if not great. No connection to the coaching change. Knowing DCU does not attack well on the flanks, opponents have focused their defensive strategy on Gomez. Perkins seemed affected by the goal he let slip between his hands in Mexico.

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Buenos Aires, Argentina: Press here in Argentina report that Marcelo Salas has offers from teams in MLS, but that he wants to keep playing for his team in Chile. Have you heard anything, and would an MLS team really want to chase after Salas? It's been a while since he was helping a team in a strong league win trophies... (No, I don't consider the Chilean league as strong as MLS...)

And thanks for keeping us expats up on all the scoop. From your blog to my eyes to my companeros ears...

Steven Goff: His name pops up every once in a while. I can't imagine anyone in MLS is very interested, but if the price is right, perhaps.

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Logan Circle: You've made mention of KC and Red Bull's attendance woes over the first couple games of the season. Is this due to the general public's relatively greater interest in the second half of the season when Blanco, Beckham and any others will join the league? Or is this indicative of dire situations in two original, major markets? Do league officials have anything to say about such situations?

Steven Goff: Lots of reasons: regular season games lack urgency; soccer in KC has never been a big hit; the Red Bulls have bored everyone to death and are now trying to rediscover an audience; both teams play in large stadiums with no atmosphere for soccer...

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Atlanta: Steven,

I've been seeing a lot of info/speculation recently about MLS expansion. With recent candidates making headlines including the PacNW, San Jose, Atlanta, Philly, Las Vegas, and San Diego, and one source claiming the 14th team will be identified later this year, its hard to know which cities have a legitimate shot and which ones are just victims of Garber smoke blowing. Could you do a short piece on this on your blog?

Here's to soccer in the Southeast.

Steven Goff: Garber talks a good game when it comes to expansion speculation, so don't get too caught up in the rhetoric. I think MLS genuinely wants to find a way to get back to the SF area and place a team in Seattle or Portland. Beyond that, whoever comes up with the investment money and a medium-sized stadium plan will jump into serious contention.

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Washington, DC: I realize it's tough to generalize, but do you think the U.S. men's national team would be better off retaining Bob Bradley or by going with a high profile international coach?

Steven Goff: At this moment, with this team and this pool of players, I think Bradley was the right choice. The issue for U.S. Soccer is not the head coach of the national team, but who will improve player development. Until the player pool improves, I don't believe you need an international coach. (Perhaps the head coach should also be in charge of general player development for all of American soccer, but that's an issue for another day.) Just my opinion...

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Leesburg, Va.: Have the DCU sources mentioned any other possible moves when the window opens in a month?

Steven Goff: The second I hear more rumors (like the Polish defender last week), I will post 'em on the Soccer Insider.

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Anybody, Anywhere?: Steve,

Is any soccer league anywhere that you may know of considering any significant changes to the Laws of the Game? Such as offsides or PKs? Pro soccer seems very conservative and reluctant to change things much even if it could improve the game.

Steven Goff: I imagine most leagues fear the wrath of FIFA if they try to mess with the game.

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Rockville, Md.: Re: Gros. While not the most technical player, after Jaime Gros's play is the next best indicator of how the team is doing. He was a mainstay during the title run. In 2005 when the team was routed by Chicago, Gros was on the bench. When the team faltered at the end of 2006, Gros was in Yellow and Red card peril during that stretch of bad games. His head injury at Chivas preceded their first goal and eventual win. His absence left DCU floundering to start the season.

Also I fully believe that his cover on the left wing for Erpen last year and lack of it to start this year (with Erpen on the right) led to Erpen being exposed and thus benched.

Steven Goff: Well stated...

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Reston: It wouldn't be a chat with you without the usual question. Is the answer still zzzzzzz?

Steven Goff: yyyyyyy

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Columbus, Ohio: Who if anyone from D.C. could be called up to play in this summer's International Tournaments?

Steven Goff: Good question.

Moreno might make Bolivia's Copa America squad. Arguez will likely play for the U.S. under-20s at the worlds in Canada. Casal has a shot to make Nigeria's u-20s. As for the U.S. senior national team, Namoff might have the best chance at the moment.

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Arlington, Va.: any scuttlebutt on the Ruiz to L.A. rumors? Why would they need him? How could they afford him? Is L.A. mortgaging their future to try and be a contender this year? It seems like they are going to have a lot of personnel issues to deal with next year by having all these high-priced guys around. Or do I just not understand MLS salary cap rules?

Steven Goff: MLS salary cap is shrouded in mystery. Even with the player salary list, don't bother trying to figure out who is under the cap and who is over it.

Ruiz's name has popped up a lot lately (LA, Columbus), but I have not heard anything of substance.

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Blacksburg, Va.: Here is a list of many bars in the area with directions and Web sites.

Steven Goff: many thanks!

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Washington, D.C. (via the Fort): Speaking of developing American players, is there anyone in MLS better at identifying talent through the draft than the Revs organization? Any talk of Paul Mariner filling a coaching vacancy soon?

Steven Goff: Revs have done very well identifying young talent. Mariner should probably be on a short list of head coaching candidates in the near future.

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Greenbelt, Md.: Looking ahead to NCAA soccer next fall, Maryland has lost some key players to MLS including Chris Seitz and Maurice Edu, but Sasho Cirovski had another good recruiting year. How do you feel about their chances next season? Do you see Stephen King as being an MLS caliber player?

Thanks in advance.

Steven Goff: Maryland will always be very good, but the loss of Seitz and Edu will hurt. Sasho has grown accustomed to losing players early. King is a very good college player, but at the moment, seems to be a marginal pro prospect. Let's see how he does this fall.

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Toronto: Abel Xavier has looked done for years. Can't imagine he'll make any sort of sustained impact with the Galaxy. Agree?

Steven Goff: Yeah, I don't know if that was the best move for LA. I would also be curious to see how much he is getting paid.

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Washington, DC United: Do you think that Jaime Moreno belongs in the starting 11?

If the answer is no, what do you think it will take for the coaching crew to agree with you?

My view is that younger players don't develop while sitting on the bench. I'd rather see one of our younger, new signings up top getting the start with Jaime coming off the bench.

Steven Goff: Legitimate point. Moreno has not been very good this year. Ultimately, I would be interested in seeing Fred as the withdrawn forward behind Emilio. Moreno has a knack for rebounding from adversity, though, so I would give him some more time before giving up.

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Leesburg, Va.: Steve, In reference you your blog entry earlier today, would you spend a few minutes answering your own question: What Makes Us Happy?

Steven Goff: John Hiatt and Steve Earle on the radio.

(Hiatt at Wolf Trap this summer!)

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Baltofan: Just took a look at the Copa America groupings. Does the US have a good chance of advancing to the knockout phase...or any chance at all?

Steven Goff: 2-0 loss to Argentina, 1-1 tie with Paraguay, 2-1 loss to Colombia. No, they won't advance.

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Ex-Kansas City: Kansas City has a history of lousy soccer venues. The old KC Spurs (featuring the immortal Willy Roy) of the NASL played their first two seasons in old Municipal Stadium, which, save for being within walking distance of Arthur Bryant's BBQ, was wholly unsuited for anything but baseball. The last season was at Pembroke Country Day School, which was prep school facility with wooden bleachers that was not even in the top 10 high school stadiums in the metro area. Thus, for all its unsuitability, Arrowhead is a quantum leap better. But, unless KC shows some signs of getting it together to build a soccer-specific venue, the Wizards, no matter how well they do (and they seem to be decent this year) are going to be history very soon.

Steven Goff: I hear ya.

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Ashburn, Va.: Steve, kinda of a weird question, but hope you can help. Is there a good resource for someone new to the area to find out about pickup games and adult leagues in Loudoun or Fairfax counties? I love the fact that DC United is here, but it would be nice to find a pick up game or league to keep me young.

Steven Goff: I believe the DC United message board at http://www.bigsoccer.com/ has a listing of local leagues. If not, do a google search on county and amateur leagues. The Post's weekend section on Friday also lists some teams.

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Annandale, Virginia: Steve, you're doing a phenomenal job with Soccer Insider--keep it up!

1. What positions do DC United seem to be targeting for new talent overseas? Are they looking primarily at defenders or is there still any interest in outside midfielders?

2. From your last blog interview with Tom Soehn, he seems to imply that Gros has made a position switch to outside defender (which implies a long-term commitment to a 442). Is that the sense you got from talking to Soehn?

Steven Goff: Thanks for the kind words.

DCU appears focused on finding another defender, but if the right situation for an attacking player surfaces, they will not hesitate to pursue it. Maybe a new defender and midfielder? Who knows...

Yes, until a move is made, I think Gros will remain at left back and the team will stay with the 442.

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Ex-Silver Springer: What MLS teams would you recommend to try to disabuse somebody of the notion it's a "boring, second-rate" league?

Steven Goff: When DCU is clicking, they are awfully fun to watch. This year, not so much. I enjoy watching Los Angeles when the game opens up and Landon has space to run and create. NE has had a reputation for cynical play, but Twellman's scoring touch is entertaining.

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Steven Goff: Thanks for your questions and thanks for reading.

Keep an eye on that Soccer Insider thing -- you never know what will appear next.

Peace,

SG

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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