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Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 11, 2007; 1:00 PM

Washington Post soccer writer Steven Goff was online Wednesday, July 11, at 1 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. Perhaps things will be a little more civil this time! Ready?

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London Dan: Please address the stadium situation. Your silence is deafening.

Steven Goff: Nothing new on the stadium. Yes, the team put some artist renditions of the "stadium" on their Web site and made a request for fans to contact city officials. Essentially, things are progressing behind the scenes, but not as quickly as DCU had hoped. They are clearly trying to get the public involved to accelerate the process. That's the extent of it. Sorry I don't have any breaking news.

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Marylander in Texas: any word on a possible move to Europe by Freddy Adu and/or Altidore?

Steven Goff: I would imagine both will be heading overseas by the end of the calendar year. This summer is still possible, but a lot has to be done before deals can be reached (finding the right club, reaching a transfer fee with MLS, work permits, etc.). It's just about time for both of them to go.

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Adu: Hey Goff-

Given Freddy's great form in the U-20 WC, have you heard of any European teams that are looking to snatch him up? If so, how much allocation money is DC expected to get?

Steven Goff: European clubs have been monitoring Freddy for years, and with his breakout performance at the U20s, the offers should begin to arrive this summer.

If he goes, Real Salt Lake would receive at least $400,000 in allocation money to acquire a new player. However, according to the terms of the trade, United would get $150,000 of that. D.C. would also receive a second- or third-round draft choice from RSL.

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Piney Orchard, Md.: Goffer, I hope the chatters treat you a little better this time around, you had them angry for some reason last time!

With the Galaxy loss as an example would it really be a bad thing for United to get bumped out of the Open Cup early? The schedule is already packed enough and really the Open Cup as old as it is really isn't that significant of an accomplishment for MLS teams.

I suspect the Galaxy really doesn't care they are out of it with everything they have on horizon and I think United would be better off without it, honestly wouldn't it be more significant to win the SuperLiga?

Steven Goff: United played Sunday in Houston, they play at RFK Saturday against Dallas. They've got a killer schedule approaching after the All-Star Game. At this point, they really don't need this Open Cup game. And the lineup you see tonight will reflect that -- many reserves.

However...

This is an opportunity for guys like Dyachenko, Moose, Mediate, Burch, Nolly etc. to prove themselves. Sink or swim time, boys. You're facing a third-tier club. If you're worthy of an MLS roster spot, you will find a way to win this game.

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Arlington, Va.: Steve,

What's up with the "magic spray" that soccer trainers spray on the ankles of injured players when they go down during a game. How come you never see that stuff used by trainers in any other sport? Is there any actual benefit from that or is it all a big joke?

Steven Goff: It's some Harry Potter formula.

Seriously, I don't know what it is or whether other sports use it.

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Washington, D.C.: Any chance the U.S. U-20 game will be moved to ESPN like the game vs. Brazil was?

Steven Goff: No. They are contractually bound to maintain their normal schedule. Same goes with the quarterfinals. If, however, the Americans advance to the semis, ESPN will try to slide the game to one of its mainstream networks. Galavision (Spanish) is also an option, but not available on all cable systems.

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Rocko: Have you ever heard of this Beckham fellow?? People say he has dreamy hair.

Steven Goff: I find him dreamy too. ;-)

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Chicago: Steven,

Any comments on Juan Carlos Osorio, the Colombian coach who just took over the Chicago Fire? They can't get much worse as a team, to be sure. My concern, having grown up in Manchester, is that he's so used to mediocrity from his years with Manchester City, that playing .500 will be good enough.

Are you familiar with him?

Steven Goff: His name has surfaced for MLS jobs in the past. He was among three or four finalists for the D.C. United job in the winter of 2003/04 before Peter Nowak was hired. His background is in fitness, but he was apparently successful in a head coaching role in Colombia. I guess it's a good choice for Chicago; they obviously felt they needed some new energy, someone with international experience and someone who speaks Spanish fluently. The bigger issue with Chicago, however, seems to be the front office. I'm curious to see how Blanco impacts the team.

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Alexandria, Va.: Perhaps it is because I have been watching more GolTV lately, but I have been hearing the word "Golazo!" used for the first time. How is a "Golazo!" different from "Gol!"?

Steven Goff: A "golazo" is used to describe a spectacular goal -- although announcers seem to use it every time a goal is scored these days.

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Manassas, Va.: Mr. Goff,

Not to get carried away, but the US U-20 victory over Brazil felt different, at least to me, than other wins. The players seemed to carry themselves in a way we rarely see, attacking with confidence, moving the ball well, and using their footskills. This seemed very different than our approach in other big games, usually dictated by the skill level of the opponent. Are we seeing a new group of players that can play with anyone? Or am I simply delusional?

Thanks!

Steven Goff: Well stated. It definitely had a different feel to it -- the confidence level, the initiative, the attacking mentality. All of which are good signs for the future of U.S. soccer. Keep in mind, though, this was an under-20 game and the level of play (especially the defending) is much different than a full senior international match.

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Goff Fan: Bring Back Player Ratings!!!

Steven Goff: You've got it.

Pele 9.9

Maradona 9.5

Cruyff 9.5

Beckenbauer 9.2

Zidane 9.0

Eck 6.8

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Falls Church, Va.: You said you used to dislike the US Open Cup, but that it is growing on you now. What do you think can be done to raise the tournament's profile? Draw on its long history -- "the tradition continues" or something like that...

Steven Goff: Better scheduling so MLS teams don't have to send reserve players, earlier involvement by MLS to create more intriguing matchups....

On a more radical note, a friend of mine suggested no overtime or PKs. If the game is tied after regulation, the lower-level club advances. That creates a whole new set of issues, though.

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Rocko: Props to you and the Post editors for sending you to the U.S.-Brazil match. Do you think that if Freddy has one more great match that a European team will come calling before the end of the MLS season?

Keep up the great work.

Steven Goff: Thanks for the kind words. My story was going to be framed around Freddy regardless of the outcome, so fortunately he had a memorable match. Unfortunately, I don't think I will get back up there unless the U.S. makes the final. Yes, it's Freddy's time to go. He's ready. Where he will end up is anyone's guess at this point.

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Virginia Beach, Va.: I was sleeping all last week, but in my dreams, I remember I heard a crazy rumor about D.C. United getting their own stadium!!!! What have you heard on this!

Steven Goff: z

z

z

z

z

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Baltimore: How did Eddie Pope and Cobi Jones end up being All Stars? Was the commissioner in some kind of time warp, or has he not bothered to watch any matches this season?

Steven Goff: This was the right decision. The Commissioner chooses two players based on special considerations, not necessarily their performance during the season. With Pope and Jones retiring after 12 years, they deserved to be recognized by the league. In the past, I've taken issue with some of the Commish's picks. This time he got it right.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Every major press-worthy happening in soccer in this country (World Cups, Beckham's arrival) seems to bring out a number of pedantic diatribes against the sport and its potential in this country. As a member of the sports media, I'd be interested in hearing your take on this phenomenon. Why all the hate?

Steven Goff: No surprise. Even the stale Tank McNamara comic strip took a shot at the Beckham arrival the other day. You might as well get used to mainstream media telling you how Beckham is here to save soccer, this is soccer's last chance to succeed, Beckham is an old man who can't play anymore, etc.

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Alexandria, Va.: What do you think about the great fan turn-out for the U20 World Cup games? Seems like an encouraging sign for the growth of the U.S. fan base.

Steven Goff: The attendance figures in Canada have been astounding and, in Ottawa last week, I was shocked how many U.S. fans were on hand. I'd say there were a few thousand. Not all of them traveled there just for that one game, but it does show there are fans of American soccer on all levels, not just the senior national team.

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Warrenton, Va.: Are all the tickets gone yet for Becks' game at RFK?

Steven Goff: No. Still a few thousand available. If you want tickets for just that game, you will have to settle for $35 seats in the upper deck (which are actually pretty decent since RFK is not that big). Or you can commit to a five-game or full-season plan to guaranteed seats in the lower bowl.

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Alexandria, Va.: Did D.C. use allocation money to sign Emilio and Fred? At the time, I thought we just used regular old salary money, since we had a lot of cap room. In your blog post about Freddy Adu's possible sale, you implied D.C. did use allocations at the beginning of the season.

The big question is how much D.C. has left. ... My impression was they have a pretty big war chest (by MLS standards) so that if Moreno and Gomez retire after this season, they can use the allocations to secure at least one replacement (along with, hopefully, a D.P.).

Steven Goff: Allocation money was used toward acquiring Fred and Emilio. How much was allocation and how much was regular funding, I don't know.

United has leftover allocation money available and will collect additional funds if Adu is sold by MLS/RSL. The exact salary-cap figures are kept secret.

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Arlington, Va.: I understand the decision to send youngsters to Copa America, but I was really embarrassed by our showing. Will the USSF change their reasoning in future situations like this to avoid future embarassment?

Steven Goff: In hindsight, perhaps committing to both Gold Cup and Copa America in the same tight timeframe was a mistake. But when the South American federation offers you an invitation to participate in the third biggest tournament in the world (behind World Cup and the Euro Championship), it's hard to say no.

Look, at the end of the day, the U.S. won the Gold Cup, which is their regional championship, and earned them a spot in a major event the year before the World Cup (Confederations Cup in 2009 in South Africa). Indeed, they did not fare well at Copa, but they feel they gave young players the necessary experience to prepare for World Cup qualifying and future events.

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Ft. Wash, Md.: I hope Freddy ends up in La Liga or the Dutch league.

If DCU can't get a stadium built in a timely manner in DC will they go elsewhere (I hope not)? I'm interested in season tickets but not at RFK. This stadium saga is so frustrating.

Steven Goff: The saga continues. DCU is hoping to move into their own place in 2010, but the longer this continues, the less chance there is of that happening and the greater chance the club will start looking elsewhere. At the moment, they are committed to working with the District.

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BaltoFan: I'm a huge fan of the Insider, and reader of the too-infrequent chats. Reading through today so far, it sounds like there's been a turn-around on your opinion of Freddy Adu. What do you think contributes to his performance in the U-20 tournament? Playing in his preferred position? The opponents and "softer" defending? The coach? The atmosphere?

Steven Goff: Position (central midfield). Confidence (third time in the u-20s). Players around him (Altidore, Bradley, Sztela, Zizzo). Motivation (he's 18 and eligible for Europe).

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Arlington, Va.: What is your current take on Bob Bradley's coaching and approach? I think he's steering the NAT team in the right direction...but he seems to still be looking for the right player/formation.

Steven Goff: For the U.S. program, it's all about developing a team that will get you to the World Cup and, ideally, be in position to succeed once you get there. We are very early in the process and Bradley is trying to both identify players he sees with a future and get them experience in serious competitions. The emphasis at the Gold Cup was to win the thing. The emphasis at Copa was to learn about young players and gain experience.

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South Riding, Va.: What are your thoughts on MLS expansion? How big do you see the league getting and how fast? We've heard about the 16 teams by 2010, but I can't really see them stopping at that number. There are too many good markets, and there is too much interest around the country.

Thanks for your time and I love your blog. Best blog on the internet!

Steven Goff: Many thanks, South Riding.

For now, 16 is the perfect number for MLS, I believe. It provides a decent national footprint without overextending themselves (Hello, NHL?). At that point, if the situation is right and new markets emerge, perhaps they will go beyond 16.

I think you will see a new team in the SF Bay Area, a second NY club and a Seattle or Philadelphia team before long. Just a guess...

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Toronto, Canada: I'm a D.C. native living in soccer-rabid Canada this summer, and about to experience my first taste of the U-20 World Cup as the U.S. battles Urugary Wednesday evening. While I can't get enough of the coverage here, my American friends can hardly find any coverage in the States. What role do you think the American sports media plays in not helping to encourage interest in American soccer? Freddy Adu should be in the headlines with the likes of Barry Bonds.

Steven Goff: I wouldn't go that far. This is an under-20 World Cup, not the all-time home run record. Soccer has its place in America and is enjoying a general upsurge in interest. Some media outlets, including the Post and others, cover soccer well. Others do not. The great thing for fans these days is that you have so many options online, on TV and in print for information.

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Alexandria, Va.: I got my tickets last week for the DCU v. LA Beckhams game at RFK. Have you heard how close it is to selling out?

I was also wondering when the last time was, if ever, RFK sold out for a soccer game. I was there for a Jamaica v. US world cup qualifying match a few years back that seemed pretty close.

Steven Goff:58,012 for USA-Portugal Oly match in 1996

57,431 for DCU-Rapids MLS Cup in 1997

54,282 for USA-United doubleheader in 2001

53,351 for Dips-Cosmos in 1980

52,260 for Mexico-Norway World Cup 1994

That Jamaica game you mentioned drew 51,528 in 1997

RFK's currently capacity is around 45,000.

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Boston: Any insider news from Revs land? No player allocations, no stadium, no team consistency. Help!

Steven Goff: Yeah, but still a championship contender.

Sources tell me the Revs plan to make a significant Latin signing by the end of the month.

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Washington, D.C.: Steven,

I'm a recent college graduate and I'm looking to find a position within the soccer community. My degree is in communication so I would like to work in public relations/media management or possibly community outreach. I was well connected in the soccer community in Colorado, but have only made a few (if solid) contacts here in D.C. So far the contacts have not really helped and it seems like the community here is very difficult to "break" into. Do you know of any person(s) or organizations that are interested in hiring someone just out of college with a passion for soccer and some quality real world experience?

Steven Goff: D.C. United has internships. You should call them at RFK.

Beyond that, there are not a lot of full-time opportunities in a strictly soccer communications field.

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Alexandria, Va.: What are your thoughts on the NYRB implosion? It looked like Arena and the DCU alumns might run away with it this year but it looks like they've stalled....

washingtonpost.com: The New York Review of Books imploded?

Steven Goff: Big-time defensive issues have hurt their cause. Arena is looking to address those problems this summer to turn around his team.

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Washington, D.C.: From what you've seen/heard, does Fro Adu have a chance at a professional soccer career?

Steven Goff: Fro is a tall, lanky defender who is headed to George Mason University this fall. He's not as technically gifted as his brother, but could develop into a nice college player and perhaps a pro prospect.

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Arlington, Va.: What is Marco Etcheverry up to these days? (Not weight-wise, which I'm sure is formidable.)

Steven Goff: LOL

Marco has a home in the area and is a consultant for D.C. United. I believe he was recently in South America representing the club.

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Capitol Hill: Steve, thanks for all the work you do to keep us soccer freaks informed. Any recommendations on where to watch the U-20 game this evening?

Steven Goff: I'm sure some establishments will show it.

check this list:

http://www.bigsoccer.com/wiki/index.php/D.C._United_Forum_%28BigSoccer%29#Mid-Atlantic_Soccer_Friendly_Bars

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Reston, Va.: Are you heading up to Landisville shortly? And if so, will you be taking the Goff-mobile, or the Soccer Insider Express?

Steven Goff: Supersonic jet is the way to go.

Actually, I am meeting radio man Tony Limarzi soon for the ride north.

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Steven Goff: Okay, we're done. Thanks for stoppin' by. As usual, I enjoyed it.

Keep reading the Soccer Insider!

Peace

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over 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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