Soccer Insider

Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 28, 2008; 1:00 PM

Washington Post soccer writer Steven Goff was online Wednesday, May 28, at 1 p.m. ET to chat about D.C. United and other soccer topics.

The transcript follows.

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

Discussion Archive


Steven Goff: Greetings.

Thanks for stopping by.

Let's get started.....


DuPont Circle, DC: Seems like every time Poplar Point makes it on to page A1, we suffer. Do you think we'll survive it this time?

Steven Goff: Ha! Good point.

As Jaime Moreno said today, he'll start believing when he sees construction actually begin.

It's a positive sign -- the council seems serious about the stadium project. Now it's a matter of finding a financial solution.


Falls Church:27,000 seats? Was that a typo or is someone snorting the touch lines?

Steven Goff: Huh? The plan all along has been for a 27,000-seat soccer stadium in D.C. Same size as Home Depot Center in L.A. It's a bit more seating necessary for an MLS match these days, but the club believes, with its own stadium serving as a destination for not just soccer fans but sports fans, they can fill it regularly. It also would be big enough to host some international soccer events, as well as concerts.


Fairfax, VA: Is Moreno losing it? I know he is going to be held as one of the greatest players in DC United, if not league history, but are United's chances better when he's not on the field?

Steven Goff: Moreno does not have the impact on a match he once did, but he does provide calmness, vision, leadership and a few goals. I don't think, at this point in Moreno's career, DCU should need to rely on him so heavily, but that's where we are right now. His bilingual skills and MLS experience were also needed to ease the transition for the new arrivals this season.


Rockville, Md.: Has Jose Carvallo shown so little in practice that Tom Soehn isn't seriously considering him for a start over Zach Wells (arguably the team's weakest link right now)?

Steven Goff: Great question.

I figured Carvallo would have gotten one of the starts last week against Toronto, but DCU went with Wells in both matches.

Carvallo clearly has not shown enough in training. Otherwise, he would have seen more time amid Wells's troubles.

I'm curious to see who will be in net tomorrow night.


My Desk: DCU has, I think, no Friday evening games at home this year at all. Any reason why?

Steven Goff: DCU has hardly ever played on a Friday night and MLS has rarely scheduled Friday night matches. It's just not a good day to draw a crowd -- people are starting their weekend, there are rush-hour traffic issues, TV viewership is way down, etc.

Saturday nights are by far the best time to maximize attendance.


Vienna, VA: Is Ben Olsen acting as a de facto assistant coach right now? It's great to see him still involved with the team despite being injured.

Steven Goff: Ben has gone on the last few road trips, listed as a member of the "medical staff." Given all his injuries over the years, that's probably an appropriate title. Ben is an emotional and inspirational figure, and has been warmly welcomed on the road.


Annadale, VA: What are the US's chances of pulling off a win against England today?

Steven Goff: I'd be surprised if they won on the road against a quality side, but I think it will be competitive.


Arlington, VA: Are you still planning to profile Martinez and Peralta for the paper?

Steven Goff: At some point, but the priority right now are the team issues.


Bethesda, Md.: Hi Goff,

It seems we are hearing a lot about South Africa these days- internal turmoil, fear of strangers. Is the World Cup a 100 percent done deal for 2010?

Steven Goff: I'd be very surprised if, at this point, the World Cup was taken from South Africa. There are problems and issues, but FIFA seems set to stay with South Africa.


Arlington, VA: What is Mark Simpson getting paid to do? Isn't he the goalkeepers coach? Why is our goalkeeper regressing under his tutelage?

Steven Goff: You can only do so much with what you've been given. I wouldn't blame Simpson.


Rockville, Md.: Given what you know right now, what is the probability that Emilio is a DCU player at the end of the August transfer window? At the beginning of next season?

Steven Goff: Depends how well he performs over the next few weeks, so we'll see.


Silver Spring, MD: Steve:

Do you think that MLS's apparent strategy to promote (force) parity in the league is really in the best long term interests of the league? Its apparent that the Galaxy are the marquee team wannabe of the league but with the limitations of the salary cap and the other constrainsts built into the MLS model how can this be resolved?

Steven Goff: Every team is limited in what they want to do, not just Los Angeles. It's a matter of finding the right pieces, at an affordable rate, and making it work. MLS has stressed since the very beginning that financial stability is paramount to the league's survival, and part of that strategy is containing the costs of player contracts (i.e. salary cap).


Fairfax, Va: Please tell me DCU will not go with FieldTurf for the new stadium?

Steven Goff: Highly unlikely.


Buenos Aires, Argentina: I noticed on Sunday that Fred, Gallardo, et al relied heavily on the heel passes. Given the strict control over player salaries, are there incentive bonuses for the number of tricks performed in a game?

Steven Goff: LOL!


Stone Ridge, VA: How's the mood in the room? After the game the players seemed relieved, but I hoped someone mentioned to them that they will be playing the two of the Conference leaders in the next three games.

Steven Goff: DCU was clearly relieved to finally win a game, but the coaches and players are well aware that they are not out of the woods. That Toronto victory isn't going to mean much if they lose to New England, Houston and Chicago over the next week and a half.


Annandale, VA: S. Goff: "I'd be surprised if they won on the road against a quality side, but I think it will be competitive."

Sweden and Poland are not quality sides?

Steven Goff: But of course.

I should have said I would be surprised if they won on the road against England, which is under pressure to get results in the wake of its failure to qualify for Euro '08.

Should be a fun match.....


Oakland, CA: What's the significance of Adu signing with new representation? All accounts I've heard have been that he's happy at Benfica and wants to continue to fight for a spot there, but do you think he's signing an agent to pressure the club for more playing time or maybe a loan?

Steven Goff: Not sure what impact Adu going to IMG will have on his European prospects. He did not play as much as he had hoped at Benfica, and with a coaching change there, perhaps he will move on this summer.


Vienna, Va.: What concerns me the most right now is that all of our support players seem to be sub par, just like in years past. This is especially disappointing given that this was an off season priority. Is there anyone that you've seen in training whom you feel might be a 2nd half of the season s uprise? Kirk? Cordeiro?

Steven Goff: Kirk and Cordeiro have potential, but they're young and very raw. Dyachenko never seems to turn the corner toward becoming a solid player in MLS. I'd like to see more Francis Doe, but he's gone for a few weeks on Liberian national team duty. Stratford has some nice qualities.


Washington, DC: Steve,

One thing I've never understood is why there isn't more support for a soccer specific stadium on the current RFK grounds. Sure, you wouldn't get the alleged economic development benefits from a new stadium at RFK, but you've got the land, you've got the Metro, and you've got ample tailgating room. Plus, does anyone really expect that maybe 20 home games per year at a SSS will sustain anthing other than a couple bars? I really can't imagine you'd jumpstart a neighborhood.

Steven Goff: RFK doesn't work for DCU's investors, who want a soccer stadium as part of a major mixed-use development. The RFK land is not available for such a project; Poplar Point is.

A stadium, with housing, small businesses, athletic fields, an amphitheater, it would work at Poplar.


Fairfax, Va.: Do you see any of the players on United deserving of an MLS All-Star berth? I know that we are supposed to vote for our team, but really, have any of them earned it?

Steven Goff: Namoff perhaps. Gallardo should be considered.


Burlingame, CA: I'm a DCU fan that lives out in San Francisco, and I'm a season ticket holder for the SJ Quakes. My rationale is that my financial support of San Jose makes the league stronger. But does this make me a bad fan of United? O, woe is me!

Btw, the Houston/Quakes game was a lot of fun. But if you want a beer you have to drink it in a corral at the edge of the facility.

Steven Goff: You're a good fan. Stand tall.


DC: You can't put any of this on Simpson. He's being asked to create chicken salad with chicken feathers. Look at what he did with Troy Perkins and Nick Rimando.

That said, should DC lose their next two would heads roll? DC's never fired a coach in their history, correct?

Steven Goff: DCU has never dismissed a coach in the middle of a season. Arena and Nowak left on their own, Hudson and Rongen were let go after the season. The front office likes Soehn and is willing to give him time, but at some point, if the losing continues, they'll probably have to make a move.


DC: What will Garber do to stop the growing influence of EXTREMELY disruptive behavior coming from some of the fans?

Steven Goff: The first thing he should do is put an end to objects being thrown on the field during the course of the match, whether they are made of paper or glass. It should not be tolerated. Have fun before the game, at halftime or after the final whistle -- not during the action.


Washington DC: Call me a shill, but I'm really looking forward to driving my VW to pick up some delicious Johnsonville brats for dinner tonight!

Steven Goff: Mmmm, brats.


Bethesda, Md: Steve,

To this point in the MLS season, what 2 teams and 5 players have impressed you most?

Steven Goff: Teams: Columbus and Chicago.

Players: It starts with Donovan, Beckham and Blanco.


VA: Why does DC basically ignore the college draft? They just don't seem to take it seriously as other teams and right now their lack of depth is killing them.

Steven Goff: I wouldn't say they ignore it. They just haven't had much success lately with high picks (Moose, Van Sicklen, etc).

However, they have discovered guys in later rounds, the supplemental draft or through the undrafted college player pool: Boswell, Perkins, Gros, McTavish, etc.


Hull, UK : Tonight as England take on the USA at Wembley Stadium, I wonder how much coverage this game will receive over in the States? We are getting wall to wall coverage on TV - press conferences, training sessions ect - and will see the game live on one of our sports channels.

With David Beckham (LA Galaxey) seemingly getting hero status over there, are the American public now taking soccer as a serious alternative to other sports, and is the coverage they recieve matching their new-found interest in the game?

Steven Goff: There is a curiosity about today's match, but at the end of the day, it's a friendly involving a national team from a sport that has a secondary following in America. Soccer is England's national game, so of course it's going to receive massive coverage. If the match were being played in America, it would certainly attract more attention from the U.S. media.


West Grove, PA: Do you have any idea when we'll be able to purchase the

replica jersey with the VW logo?

Steven Goff: At the team store at RFK or by checking the club's website,


S.A. Ferguson: Why oh why won't Real leave my players alone?

Steven Goff: Thanks for stopping by, Sir Alex!


I-270, Exit 1: Steve,

What's likely to become of the Americans on relegated EPL teams? Feilhaber is injured and didn't play much (at all?), Convey didn't crack the starting lineup after rehab, and Lewis and Hahnemann are... ummm... mature.

As usual, great job on the must-read blog and columns.

Steven Goff: Thanks for the kind words.

I wish I had an answer for you. I'm sure we'll see a lot of player/club shuffling over the next two months.


Section 304: Do we have cap space to add an impact player to give us the kick in the pants we need? If so, how much, or how could cap space be created without compromising the productive elements of the team?

Steven Goff: I assume you are speaking about D.C. United.

No significant cap space available, as I understand it. No one outside the team and league office knows for sure.

If DCU wanted to make a major acquisition, it would have to sell/trade/waive a current player or players.


Wells for MVP!: is there a single player who has had a greater effect on as many teams?

Steven Goff: That's cruel. Funny, but cruel.


Philadelphia, PA: I am a DC United fan, but I can't help but love the idea of soccer finally coming to the City of Brotherly Love, so tell me, do you see the possibility of a tripartite rivalry between DC, NY, and Philly?

Steven Goff: Absolutely. Supporters who travel for road matches help foster rivalries. The geographic link from Boston and New York to Philly and Washington can only benefit MLS.


Dallas: Why does not every team have a jersey sponsor? Is it a coincidence that non-AEG teams (Dallas, New England, Kansas City) don't have them yet?

Steven Goff: It takes time to negotiate a deal -- the league's most successful team, United, was in talks with various companies for a year. At some point, every club will have one.


Pittsburgh: Your picks for the final four in Euro 2008?

Steven Goff: Portugal, Germany, Italy, France.


Steven Goff: Time's up!

Thanks for joining the fun.

Enjoy the USA-England match today (3 p.m. on ESPN Classic and on tape tonight on Galavision)

Keep reading the Soccer Insider....



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