Saturday, September 16, 2006

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Today Calls For

Ningland 1, DCU 1

I couldn't see the game, but I had a dream. United came out sharp and controlled possession, scored a deserved goal midway through the first half and came close but couldn't put in a second even though they dominated play the entire half. Second half, up 0-1, United presses early, but pab Dempsey pabs a sitter sometime around 60-65 minutes, and DCU struggles to maintain composure (and energy) for the remainder of the game against a fired-up Ningland, settling for a 1-1 tie.

How'd I do? Close? Well, it's not like I haven't seen this movie before.

Normally a point on the road against the team I would have predicted would be United's main rival for everything this year wouldn't satisfy, but it wouldn't disappoint. I can't say I'm any more pessimistic today than I was about United's end of season prospects yesterday, but I can say I'm certainly not more optimistic. The goals are not coming, and this whole score one and scramble desperately on defense ain't going to get it done.

I realize I'm the Knez of Hyperbole, but I'm thinking this Saturday in Chicago could be the crux of the season.

where and why bLCkdgRd is moving

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Wednesday Soccer

United plays in Ningland tonight, rescheduled from earlier for (I think) the Madrid game. Here's the Post article, which features a bio of deRoux and, way down at the bottom, the news that Eskandarian didn't make the trip because of injury. United's website says the game is on MLS Live, and it says that it isn't. Doesn't really matter as MLS Live, for whatever reason, makes my home pc puke.

Gomez, Gros, Boswell return, and while I won't call this game critical (though I would if I were a Ningland fan), these will be easier points than this Saturday in Chicago (which I just might call a critical game). I've a decent hunch about this game, and I'm guessing they'll play well. Whether they get points is another matter, but I think the intensity and urgency will be there.


Bruce Arena interviewed in the New York Times.


Barca_3 In this week's NYT soccer column, a couple of paragraphs on why Barca is the morally superior monster club in the world - they gave a contribution to UNICEF to make UNICEF the first ad on their uniform. Barca v Chelsea? I know who I'm rooting for. Plus other notes.

The Guardian on world rankings.

where and why bLCkdgRd is moving

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

where and why bLCkdgRd is moving
DCU Tickets (and Strikers)

A blurb rather than an article in today's Washington Post on DCU raising ticket prices for next season. You won't hear me complain, and not only because I'm locked in at this year's prices (I was given the option of making deposits on our season tickets this year AND next year back when). A $2 increase is more than reasonable, and

Although season ticket prices will go up, club officials said they would allow current plan holders until Oct. 20 to purchase seats at 2006 prices

so there you go.

Mention is also made of DCU's possible signing of

United technical director Dave Kasper said Ugandan forward Robert Ssejjemba is among four players being considered for a late-season roster spot.

Ssejjemba, 26, scored 17 goals in 19 games to help the minor league Richmond Kickers win the United Soccer Leagues' second division title this season. On Sunday, as a guest player for United's reserve squad, he had three goals during a 4-1 victory over Real Salt Lake. Ssejjemba played at Virginia Intermont, an NAIA program in Bristol, and has represented Uganda's national team.

Not quite KABOOM! news, but it does signal that DCU management has concerns with Eskandarian's health and productivity, Moreno's health, Walker's clubfootedness, and an overall need for something, anything, fresh.

where and why bLCkdgRd is moving

Now's as good a time to announce this as any, what with blogger eating John Steed not only for no apparent reason but with no apparent explanation. I'm moving to typepad, and have begun cross-posting now. I will continue posting on blogger through mid-October, and will maintain an archive of what's been posted here. The new site is still being tweaked, so what it looks like now may not be what it looks like a month from now, but it's close.

I've two primary motives. I've got letters saying some combination of (a) I like the politics but hate the.... (b) I like the music but hate the.... (c) I like the soccer but I hate the.... (d) I like any various combination but..... Typepad allows me to categorize the posts, so those of you who just want music can have just music, soccer soccer, etc etc.

Beyond that, typepad is just a vastly superior product than blogger, easier to use, smarter, faster, neater, more intuitive, more flexible, more generous. It comes down to this: If I ask myself, would you pay, when sitting down to post, a quarter a day to use typepad rather than blogger, would you? Every single day. Happily.

The new site is If you've been kind enough to bookmark this page, I hope you'll bookmark the new one.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Irony's a Bitch

Dick Cheney, unlatching one side of his face, on Meet the Press:
"They can't beat us in a stand-up fight -- they never have -- but they're absolutely convinced they can break our will, [that] the American people don't have the stomach for the fight," Cheney said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Lead article in Sunday's Washington Post (and background here):
Republicans are planning to spend the vast majority of their sizable financial war chest over the final 60 days of the campaign attacking Democratic House and Senate candidates over personal issues and local controversies, GOP officials said.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I truly feared a disastrous result - not just a loss, but an embarassing result - and if the tie is disappointing, still, DCU did not implode. There were signs that they could (I'll get to the refereeing), but United came out urgent and focused. If the regulars had played and that team had played with the go that last night's played, they'd have won this game easily.

Forced by MLS rules to start an alliterative line-up if three starters are out for disciple, Nowak chose Dyachenko and deRoux and Donnet, and all three played admirably. No doubt many are going to wonder where deRoux has been and why he hasn't been on the field and why now he needs his minutes, and I confess he won my heart by two runs into the box early in the game and actually SHOOTING THE BALL. He was out of gas by halftime, but perhaps he's earned himself some second-half substitution time when his speed on the wings against a tired defense might spring a goal. Dyachenko's going to be good. He still stands too long over the ball, completely forgivable considering his inexperience. Donnet made some beautiful touches, but he's still learning the offense and his teammates. I'd wish DCU had worked the ball over to his side more to give him more touches - he had acres of space on the right - and he was gassed at 60, but I like what I've seen. Moreno and Adu up top, Gros, Gomez, Donnet next line, then Carroll and Olsen? That could work. Better than Eskandarian or Walker up top next to Moreno.

The refereeing: Look, MLS referees suck. Besides the alliteration rule, Real Salt Lake got a special dispensation that allowed them to use their arms to handle the ball last night. It happens. MLS referees have always sucked, but that doesn't mean that DCU needs to amass multiple yellow cards for dissent in every game. Benny, I love you, I wear your shirt, you worked your ass off, but please, I'm begging you, STFU. Brandon, nice to have you back, you played well, and yes, Jeff Cunningham is a diving pab, but STFU. All the barking and whining, it's starting to remind me of the last Stoitchkov year (which didn't end well). MLS refs suck. DEAL with it. If you're thinking about the ref you're not thinking about the opponent. STFU and play. And if refs come in expecting United to bitch, they're going to pull out those yellows earlier and for less bitch. STFU and play.

THIS is the week we find out about United. Wednesday night (NO TELEVISION, NOT EVEN MLS LIVE?!?!?!?) at New England then Sunday at Chicago. It'd have been nice to win last night, but any sweeping evaluation of the team means nothing until NEXT Monday. All could be settled, all could be unsettled.