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Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 25, 2007; 1:00 PM

Washington Post soccer writer Steven Goff will be online Wednesday, July 25, at 1 p.m. ET to chat about the D.C. United's MLS season and all the hottest soccer topics.

A 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...
I'm so glad you could attend...

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Beckham, Beckham: Beckham, Beckham, Beckham, Beckham, Beckham, Beckham, Beckham, Beckham.

Beckham, Beckham, Beckham, Beckham?

Steven Goff: Great question.
I wish I knew the answer.

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Alexandria, Va.: Why can't D.C. chase a well known young player like a Christian Ronaldo-type instead of leaning towards someone like Sebastian Veron?

Steven Goff: D.C. United and the other MLS teams have no chance of acquiring international superstars in the prime of their careers. Financially, they can't compete for their services. Even getting someone like Veron, who is still a quality player and would have a huge impact in the league, is a longshot.

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Stafford, Va.: Based on their play and the number of issues they've had with other MLS teams and their fans, is it fair to say that the Colorado Rapids are the MLS equivalent of the Oakland Raiders?

They're not good, they're dirty, and almost everyone hates them...

Steven Goff: I wouldn't go that far. Is there really that much fan emotion out there concerning the perennial middling Colorado Rapids?

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Washington, D.C.: Any idea how many people from The Post will be covering the Beckham game in two weeks?

Steven Goff: A cast of thousands!
I would guess three or four.

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Reston, Va.: Where do you see Christian Gomez next year? Does that projection change if DCU signs Veron?

Steven Goff: I am sure DCU would love to see Veron and Gomez in midfield together, but the reality is that Gomez's contract expires after this season and, at the moment, there are no talks taking place. They plan to re-start negotiations in the fall and a decision on his future will be made in November or December. If somehow United secures Veron, I can't imagine they would pay Designated Player $$$ to both of them.

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Washington, D.C.: Any update from Argentina?

Steven Goff: 48 degrees and breezy in Buenos Aires.
Payne and Kasper were scheduled to arrive back in D.C. this morning. I highly doubt Veron is with them.
From all indications in the Argentine media, Veron is not ready to take the leap into MLS just yet. But you never know...

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Falls Church, Va.: Where will Oguchi Onyewu end up this year? Back at Liege?

Steven Goff: Last I heard, Gooch had returned to Belgium for preseason training. Reading was apparently interested, but I don't know much more than that. One way or another, he will probably find a new club in Europe soon.

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Richmond, Va.: Chelsea beats L.A. 1-0 on Saturday. Richmond beats L.A. 1-0 in the Open Cup...does this mean Richmond and Chelsea are on equal footing?

Steven Goff: Absolutely! Kickers rule. I know the MLS teams did not take the U.S. Open Cup very seriously, but it is nice to see several lower-tier clubs, including Richmond, in the quarterfinals.

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Washington, D.C.: Why did Kevin Payne decline to comment for your article on the stadium, when he was quoted in two other articles (WTOP and the Examiner)?

Both other articles where much more upbeat about the prospects of the deal still working out. Do you (or David Nakamura) plan to follow up with D.C. United's response at all, or on the community event they held on Sunday?

I was very worried when I first read the article you helped David Nakamura with, but the other articles were much more reassuring. Frankly, The Post article sounded like a tool of the city's administration to put more bargaining power behind them.

Steven Goff: The Post's stadium story was breaking news last weekend and, as is often the case in such situations, a subject avoids initial comment. A few days later, after the dust had settled, United decided to step forward and address the issue (sort of).

The other articles were more upbeat because they did not have city government officials saying what was really going on behind the scenes. United tried to put a positive spin on things, as they should.

Believe what you want to believe, but things are not looking good for the stadium project...at the moment. Things could change. They usually do.
When something substantial arises, I am sure the Metro staff will write about it.

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Capitol Hill: Any news on Adu moving to Benfica? Thanks

Steven Goff: Benfica is very interested. So are several other clubs. Reports out of SLC last night said a potential deal with Benfica had fallen through. My sources tell me it was not that close to begin with.

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Washington, D.C.: Goff,

Still haven't heard what you expect the line up to be when (if) everyone gets healthy. So who gets the bump?

Thanks for all of your Insider work.

Steven Goff: Good question.
Perkins in goal, no doubt
Vanney, Boswell in central defense
McTavish or Namoff on the right? Gros or Burch on the left? Or maybe McTavish on the right and Namoff on the left.
Midfield: Fred, Gomez, Olsen and then...Gros? Carroll? Simms?
Moreno and Emilio up front
Lots of tough decisions for Soehn, but you could see different lineups in various matches depending on injuries, form, suspensions, etc.

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Hopeful Englishman: Any news about South Africa's progress in making the World Cup in three years a reality? Is England still a backup plan?

Steven Goff: At this point, I would be very surprised if FIFA pulled the World Cup out of South Africa. They want this to happen, they need this to happen, and barring monumental setbacks, I think it will be held there. Several countries are waiting in the wings, just in case...

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Spotsylvania, Va.: So what cool and hip celebrities do you think will be at RFK in two weeks when His Royal Majesty visits?

Steven Goff: Great question!
Well, let's see...
Beckham is tight with Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise works for Dan Snyder...hmmmm...
I'm sure you will see many VIPs at RFK. Sort of like an average day at the Soccer Insider.

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Baltimore: You seem a little more relaxed and lively each time you appear on Washington Post Live. Is that something you look forward to doing now?

Steven Goff: Yeah, it's fun. I have stopped going to the Comcast studio in Bethesda just because of the logistics and time commitment, but hope to continue contributing via remote from the Post newsroom. Thanks for watching!

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Fredericksburg, Va.: Of the four main tournaments in which MLS teams play (Champions Cup, U.S. Open Cup, Copa Sudamerica, and SuperLiga), in what order would you rank them in importance?

Steven Goff: Hmmmm.....
Nothing against the Open Cup, but that would have to be last.
Copa Sudamericana does not do much for me at the moment, for whatever reason. I think SuperLiga could become a huge event because of the simmering USA-MEX rivalry at various levels. To me, Champions Cup has to be first because the winner goes to the Club World Cup, right?
1. Champions Cup
2. Copa Sud
(tie) SuperLiga
4. Open Cup

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Washington, D.C.: So tell us about America. Are we ready for that game and are we resting anyone tonight in anticipation of that game?

Steven Goff: Moreno, Namoff, Kpene and Moose will not play tonight because of injury. The club is hopeful a couple of 'em will be available against Club America. Other than that, United can't afford to rest anyone -- their bench is thin.
As for America, I won't be able to assess them until I see them play vs. Houston tonight.

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Vienna, Va.: If United were to acquire Veron (hypothetical, I know), where would he play? How would this affect Gomez?

Steven Goff: Veron, a great two-way player, behind Gomez in central midfield.

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Bethesda, Md.: Svrluga just wrote in his chat that the Nats players hate the RFK field? What are DCU players saying?

Steven Goff: No one is thrilled about the RFK field, but considering the unique circumstances of two teams from different sports sharing a stadium and playing parallel seasons, it works out okay. Just a few more months and the Nats will have their own place and RFK will return to soccer only.

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Westport, Conn.: Any word on soccer events planned around the MLS Cup title game? Do you know what MLS has planned that week for fans? It is hard to believe it is less than four months away ...

Steven Goff: There are always plenty of fan-friendly events in the days leading up to MLS Cup. I don't believe the league has announced the schedule for Washington this fall yet.

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Blacksburg, Va.: What's going on with Bryan Arguez?

Steven Goff: Arguez missed several weeks while with the u-20 national team at the World Cup in Canada. He would've been included on the travel roster to New York last weekend because of all the absences, but was left off for reasons the team will not discuss. From what I understand, it was not a big issue. And even if he had traveled, he was not going to be one of the potential three subs. He's young and still developing.

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Baltimore, Md.: In watching Troy Perkins lately I keep wondering do we have goal keeping problems to go along with our defensive problems? What do you think?

Also what's the latest on Veron?

Thanks

Steven Goff: Perkins remains one of the better keepers in the league. He did, however, admit to making a couple crucial mistakes against Dallas in the 3-3 tie.
In the New York game, both Boswell and McTavish were beaten to headers in the box. Not exactly Perkins's fault.

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Bethesda, Md.: Svrluga won't answer my questions. Will you?

Steven Goff: Svrluga is clearly a snob...
...and so am I!

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Annandale, Va.: Steve, keep up the great work with Soccer Insider -- the best online source for soccer dish in the U.S.

1. If you were Kevin Payne, what type of DP would you be trying to sign right now -- what position/role screams out to you as the most important for D.C. United to upgrade?

2. Which player currently on the team has been the biggest disappointment to United management?

Steven Goff: Thanks for the kind words.
I like the idea of trying to get Veron -- United could use an internationally seasoned two-way midfielder who would bring some bite to the lineup. We'll have to wait and see if this will happen, if not now, then this winter.
Biggest disappointment? Carroll has not played as well as in the past, Dyachenko has yet to emerge, Gomez has been unable to replicate his MVP season.....hard to really pinpoint one player.

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Fred: Any insider info on how Fred likes his new role up top after just having started to look comfortable in his wide midfield role?

I'll assume this is a temporary move by Soehn since so many forwards are out injured.

Steven Goff: Yes, it is temporary. The other day, he kinda had the freedom to roam. United played a 4-5-1 at the start, but things evolved as the match progressed.

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Bethesda, Md.: How good is David Beckham? Is he the best player in MLS now? Is he over the hill? You know who would be a good catch for an MLS team, Zidane from France, he is well known, controversial and he is very good.

Steven Goff: Beckham is still very good, as we saw at Real Madrid this past spring, but hard to say at the moment how much impact he will have on the field in MLS on a struggling team in the middle of a season.
At the moment, guys like Schelotto at Columbus, Toja at Dallas, Angel at New York, Donovan at L.A., Johnson at K.C., De Rosario at Houston (a few others?) are MLS's top talent.

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Boston: Is there a potential downside to Becks coming to the States in having a large number of more casual fans being drawn into the hype, not being able to understand why Becks doesn't dominate games and being turned off from the game? Even the interest around the Cosmos (with much more international talent) evaporated quickly.

Steven Goff: Absolutely.
That's a great point, and something I addressed a few months ago on the Soccer Insider.
Freddy Adu confronted the same issue when he entered the league -- if he's not scoring goals, will the casual fan (who has been told over and over by MLS that you MUST watch this player) appreciate his skills?

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Eastern Market, D.C.: Let me get this straight -- DCU gave $50,000 to rebuild Eastern Market, paid for all of the Family Fun Day stuff, and has coddled myriad politicians for years and they STILL can't get a stadium deal in D.C.? How is that possible?

Steven Goff: Unfortunately, it's a little more complex than that.
I understand your point, though.
It's a long process.

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Soccer Insider: Two part question:

When you sign autographs, do you go with "Steven Goff" or with "Soccer Insider," or some combination thereof?

and

Can I have your autograph?

Steven Goff: LOL
An autograph will cost ya, big time!
On that note, we have reached the end. Thanks for the questions -- sorry I could not get to all of 'em.
I'll host another chat in two weeks. In the meantime, keep coming back to the Soccer Insider. Five times a day. Ten times a day.
Peace!
SG
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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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