Soccer Insider

Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 27, 2008; 1:00 PM

Washington Post soccer writer Steven Goff was online Wednesday, Aug. 27, 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: Buenos dias!

Thanks for stopping by.

Let's get started.....


Bethesda, Md.: Goff, Am I the only unpatriotic sole American was rooting for the Brazilian women's team to beat the USA in the Olympic finals? It's not that I dislike our team, I just think the Brazilian women are far more skillful and creative and have a better understanding of the game. They play a game much more similar to the men, whereas the U.S. is still stuck in a long ball, kick it up to Abby mentality.

Steven Goff: Sorry, friend, but I am going to have to report you to the McCarthy committee.

For all of their individual flair, what has Brazil ever won? Noth-ing.

Without Wambach, the Americans were a true underdog and showed the determination and just enough skill to beat a technically superior team.


Bethesda, Md.: On the women's game, would you agree that Brazil's Marta is by far the best player on the planet and even more skillful and creative than Mia Hamm ever was?

Steven Goff: Yes. No doubt. Hopefully we will see her in the new U.S. women's league next year. (By the way, her national team coach just signed on to coach the St. Louis franchise.)

But again, what has she won as part of a team?


Rocko: Any word on an additional suspension for Gustavo Cabrera for trying to implant his elbow in Eddie Lewis's temple?

Steven Goff: I haven't heard anything. Cabrera is already out of next Saturday's match because of the red card.


Arlington, VA: OK Goff. Do you plan to sneak into Cuba to cover next week's qualifier in Havana?

Steven Goff: No need to sneak in. Fidel and Raul have extended personal invitations. ;-)

Still awaiting the final documents, but looks as though I will be in Havana starting next Wednesday.


OWNTF: What do you see as the best stories to come out of the women's gold in China, beyond Hope Solo?

Steven Goff: Sundhage regrouping the team after its dismal opener against Norway; Lloyd's gold-winning goal; and Hucles's unexpected scoring.

How passionately were the organizers of the new women's league rooting for the Americans to win it all?! Pro women's soccer is a tough sell; a league full of American gold medal winners helps the cause.


Fairfax, Va: Goff,

What is up with Rod Dyachenko? Is he in the doghouse? IS he injured? Has his locker been moved to Poplar point?

Steven Goff: I can't recall the specifics, but he was working through a minor injury. He entered just before halftime of Tuesday's reserve division match. I'm curious to see if he'll be on the 18-man roster Saturday.


Bethesda, MD: Any truth to the rumor that Daniel Snyder is going to purchase Tottenham Hotspur? A couple of people were talking about it at the DC United tailgate.

Steven Goff: Haven't heard that.

But if it were to happen.....

30 Euros to park near White Hart Lane? Joe Gibbs as the gaffer? High-priced summer signings that produce mediocre results?


Washington, DC: DC United: Contender or pretender?

Steven Goff: Neither at the moment.

This team is just too inconsistent to apply a label.

They should win the Open Cup next week and, if everyone regains health, perhaps make a late-season run. The problem is the Champions League, which has created a scheduling burden and severe demands on Soehn's delicate roster.


Hope Solo, Beijing: Where IS Greg Ryan these days?

Steven Goff: Coaching the University of Michigan women's program.


Gaithersburg, MD: Steve,

Both New England and Chivas USA lost last night. Can MLS teams realistically be expected to compete in regional competitions as long as MLS imposes strict roster limits and salary caps, when the competition doesn't have these same constraints?

Steven Goff: The roster and salary constraints are a glaring issue for MLS teams involved in non-league competitions. That said, there is no excuse for losing to Joe Public and Tauro.


Rockville, Md.: What is the current timetable for Gallardo's return to action?

Steven Goff: No timetable, really. The club is monitoring him closely and hopes he will be ready to play again soon.


Washington, DC: What does DC United need to do this offseason for next year in MLS and the 23 tournaments that they'll be playing in?

Steven Goff: Ha!

An Open Cup championship gets them into the 2009-10 Champions League. At this point, they are not looking like a SuperLiga entry.


D.C. Ex-Pat:"High-priced summer signings that produce mediocre results? "

As an Arsenal fan, I can assure you that this is something that probably will never change, no matter who owns the Scum.

Steven Goff: Zing!


Washington, DC: We don't see Quavas Kirk on the field much for DC, but he's only 20. How is he playing in the reserve matches?

Steven Goff: I don't attend reserve matches, but can tell you that the club likes his raw ability and is optimistic about his future. With two games per week much of the fall, I am sure we will see more of him on the pitch.


Laurel, Really Scaggsville: As the college soccer season starts can you give us a brief rundown on the local teams and where to watch their games? Thanks for being you!

Steven Goff: I will have a college soccer preview in Friday's editions of The Post (available on the website as well). Maryland is ranked No. 4 preseason by Soccer America, while Virginia and Virginia Tech should field quality squads. The season begins Friday with the Terps playing UCLA at Home Depot Center (10 p.m. Fox Soccer Channel). Locally, the D.C. College Cup will be held Friday and Sunday afternoons at AU's Reeves Field. Check school web sites for schedules and field locations.


Rockville, MD: Just did a google search on "Champions League" and the CONCACAF version didn't even show up until the bottom of the 2nd page. Shouldn't the region get its act a little better before having all these regional tournaments (i.e, SuperLiga, etc.)?

Steven Goff: It's a first-year event in its preliminary stages. Gonna take a while before folks catch on.


Cardiff, Wales: What do I have to do to stop being called into the US National Team? It seems like I've tried everything.

- Eddie Johnson

Steven Goff: Good question. Johnson's best argument for being named to the roster seems to be his experience in qualifying and scoring ability against regional opponents. That's the best I can come up with.


Charleston, S.C.: Who do you expect to see in next weeks lineup for the US OPEN CUP final? Also, what is the cut off for new players to be added to a team roster and still be able to play in the Cup competition?

Steven Goff: For United? Full strength. Well, full (healthy) strength. Given the uncertainty of the regular season, United really needs to win the Open Cup and claim a trophy for the first time in a while.


New York: I admire your optimism and positivity re: MLS, but I watched the first 20 minutes of the Red Bulls- Barcelona and I almost became ill.

Steven Goff: What did you really expect from that game?

And when was I optimistic and positive? ;-)


State of Dyspepsia: Steve, thanks for the chat. It appears that Joe Vide has taken his roster demotion very well, and it seems that everyone is certain it's just temporary and that more moves will happen to move him back up. Is that correct? Is it all one big happy happy?

Also, why not a similar deal with Dan Straford, or was it simply a situation where DCU didn't see the same bright future for the injured Stratford?

Steven Goff: If he continues to contribute, Vide will undoubtedly return to the senior roster next season. Or perhaps earlier if more roster moves are made before the mid-September deadline.

As for Stratford, he took up one of the eight international-player slots and, after acquiring Crayton, DCU wanted to keep one open in case a signing or trade opportunity came along.


DC: Can we get Christian Gomez back?

Steven Goff: Why?

He is not even starting for the COLORADO RAPIDS.

I know, I know, he's still a very talented player who fit in perfectly with United, but what's done is done.


Potomac, Maryland: Steve,

Thanks for keeping us so well informed on the blog and in the papers. My question:

You've had a chance to observe both Soehn and Nowak for an extended period of there something different that Nowak did that brought out better performances from the likes of Carroll, Boswell, Gros and even Erpen? They seemed to perform very well under Nowak (some of them making the All Star team) and were very unsure under Soehn. What would explain the difference in their performances? Boswell, Carroll and Erpen seem to be playing better for their new teams.

Steven Goff: I can't explain it. Sometimes a change of scenery does wonders for a player. Sometimes a change in coaching helps. Every situation is different.


Alexandria, VA: I love Louis Crayton's energy! I wish we had more players like him!

Steven Goff: So far, it looks like a very nice pick-up by DCU.


Burke, VA: Hey Steve,

Referencing the exchanges concerning the Brazilian womens NT, why, in your professional opinion have they NOT won anything much yet? What do they need to do to change that around? They looked completely bummed at the end of the gold medal game. Understandably. They should have won and we both know that in soccer a lot of times the team that outplays the other doesn't always win. A good GK can keep a mediocre team in a game, for sure.

Steven Goff: No explanation. They just don't perform well all the time under pressure. Last year in the World Cup, didn't Marta miss a PK against the Germans in the final?


Jeff M: Hi Steve, love the chats and the blog.

Ben Olsen was on the bench last week. Is he actually close to being 100%, or was having him on the bench mostly a result of the rest of the roster being so thin?

Steven Goff: Thin roster.

I don't know if he will ever be 100 percent again, but he's giving it a go and perhaps we'll see some minutes from him as the season winds down.


Spurs and Skins Fan, DC: Re: Snyder.

It would be fitting, especially since for the last few years, Spurs have been the prem's equivalent of the Redskins: overpaying for mediocre talent through the transfer market (hello, Darren Bent!), raising expectations in the offseason, and ultimately thoroughly underwhelming supporters. I don't think I can stand the thought of Snyder owning TWO of my clubs.

Steven Goff: Thanks for the thoughts


Olympic Soccer and Other Assorted Sports: Steve,

Seems that with the World Cup the meaningfulness of soccer in the Olympics is, esp. for men, cheapened. Same with baseball - now eliminated as an Olympic sport - and tennis where they have Davis Cup in additional to the annual grand slam events. Would you eliminate it if you were Jacques Rogge?

Steven Goff: Women's soccer in the Olympics is fine. Men's soccer in the Olympics is a problem. The IOC and FIFA need to figure out a strategy in order to avoid the club conflicts that surfaced just before this year's tournament. I like it as an under-23 event -- not nearly as good as the World Cup but enough quality to provide entertaining and compelling matches.


Washington, DC: Were you pleased with Dan Steinberg's live blogging of the soccer games at the Olympics?

Steven Goff: Who is this Steinberg you speak of?!

Steinberg was/is awesome.

He will continue to work his online magic, just as soon as his sleep patterns return to normal. Maybe we'll get him back out to RFK again soon.


Vienna, VA: What is the likelyhood the the US would be the plan B location for the 2010 World Cup if South African is not able to meet its construction deadlines?

Steven Goff: The U.S. is a legitimate Plan B option for the World Cup -- plenty of stadiums to choose from, a public that digs big events, a necessary infrastructure -- but I am fully expecting it to remain in South Africa.


Lowcountry: What do you know about the Charleston Battery? They have pretty good rivalry with DC United and the infamous Coffee Pot incident.

Steven Goff: Lots of former MLS players, including ex-DCU John Wilson and Stephen Armstrong. A quality USL1 club. Should be a competitive match.


Alexandria, VA: Referring to an earlier question and many newspaper articles around the country, I don't agree that Brazil "outplayed" the USA in the gold medal match. On the contrary, the big difference this year versus last year's WWC smackdown is that Sundhage developed an excellent tactical approach against Brazil, and the players executed it perfectly. Watching the match, you can see Brazil grow frustrated and run completely out of steam in the last few minutes of the second half. The USA used their one clear advantage - superior fitness - to win this match.

Steven Goff: Great points!


Reston, VA: Erpen is playing better? A part of my Monday ritual is to watch the Colorado Rapids highlights from the weekend and see what boneheaded mistake Erpen made this week.

Steven Goff: Yeah, I never understood the screaming and yelling about DCU's decision to trade Erpen. He's an okay defender prone to colossal breakdowns. Vanney didn't work out for DCU. Whatever. It was a trade that didn't really help either team. For Vanney's rights, DCU got a prospect in Kirk, right?


Jason La Canfora: Hey Steve, want to change reporting beats?

Steven Goff: Not in a million years.

Make that a billion.


us: I do feel bad for Abby, but...I'll say it, without her, the US team looked MUCH better. They were forced to stop playing Abby Long Ball, which may have happened anyway with Pia, I don't think that's her style of soccer anyway. I feel encouraged about women's program again. And the performance of Solo was great, but then she didn't have to prove her skill as a keeper. I already knew that. It just doesn't change my opinion of her classless behavior last year, and she still comes off as a spoiled kid.

Steven Goff: Thanks for your thoughts.


New York: I'd pay-per-view for Argentina-Spain right now. Is there any chance a Russian gazillionaire could make this happen?

Steven Goff: Is it possible they could play each other in the Confederations Cup next summer in South Africa? Spain as reigning Euro champions, Argentina as...well never mind. Argentina lost to Brazil in the last Copa America final.


question: Hi, could you explain the age restrictions on the men's side at the Olympics? Those don't apply to the women, correct? So what we saw was the U-23 team, not THE national team?

Steven Goff: Women's Olympic soccer is the full national teams. Men's Olympic soccer, in order to avoid competing with the World Cup in stature, is limited to players under age 23. However, each country is permitted three "overage" players. The USA overage players were goalie Brad Guzan, defender Michael Parkhurst and forward Brian McBride.


Steven Goff: Time's up.

Thanks for your interest.

Keep reading the Soccer Insider. We've got a couple of cool videos up there today.

As usual, you can reach me directly at or on Facebook.



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

© 2008 The Washington Post Company