The Five Billion Person Party

Notes of a wandering American soccer fan

Archive for the ‘DC United’ Category

DCU: Back to the Future!

Posted by steigs on March 5, 2009

The MLS season nears and DC United has unveiled the big off-season signing — Christian Gomez!  With Gallardo, the Gonzalos, and Wells all gone, it’s as if the team has decided to largely wish away a frustrating ’08 season.  Let’s put the band back together!  It’s hard to believe that an attack featuring Gomez, Emilio, Moreno, and Fred will be all that much better than they were a couple of years ago, given the years and the miles on some of them.  But it’s not implausible to think they’ll be better than last year’s offense, even if we can’t count on Olsen for much this time around.  Well, when they’re healthy, which is another issue.

This looks to me like a holding action.  Let’s get another play-off team together, one the fans will like, and hope lightning strikes next fall once we reach the play-offs.  (Alas, it did strike in the ’06 and ’07 play-offs but took out United.)  And then get more serious about rebuilding in ’10, hoping that a few of the kids (Jacobson?  Pontius?  Wallace?) show potential as building blocks when they have to step up to replace over-30 vets.

Over at the Fullback Files, Michael is “refining the roster,” following the Goffster’s updates on who is in and who is gone etc etc.  He seems to be mildly optimistic, like me: 

I’m generally a bit more optimistic than I was just a week ago, and I think we’ve assembled enough good pieces to make the playoffs, but will we be able to do damage once there?

My answer to that, aside from the inevitable health or lack thereof issue, is…Dejan Jakovic, the mysterious Croation/Canadian by way of Red Star Belgrade we just signed to play in the center of the defense.  The backline was a mess all of last year, like a chronic wound always weakening and worrying the team.  We need a Ryan Nelsen or Eddie Pope back there.  Or at least a Bobby Boswell, version 1.0.  Maybe McTavish or Janicki will grow into that.  Or Crayton will organize the kids in front of him.  But just as our problems last season had much to do with the Gonzalos not providing what was hoped for, I think a lot of this year rides on young Dejan, the big off-season signing that no one expected and no one really knows. 

So saddle up the horses for what may be the last hurrah of Gomez and Moreno and Olsen (and Emilio?) — but keep an eye on Dejan.  He may be the difference maker.


Posted in DC United, US | Leave a Comment »

Okay, we’re not average

Posted by steigs on October 6, 2008

I recently suggested that DC United fans found this season puzzling because, for once, we had an average team.  Based on games like the 3-0 loss to Chivas USA this weekend, I was wrong.  This has turned into one of our “we suck” seasons and we’re likely to miss the play-offs completely. 

What’s that?  You think we still have a shot if we can win a couple of the last games?  Let’s see, our next game is on the road against the two-time defending champion Dynamo — and it appears that we won’t have Gallardo, Emilio, Fred, or Moreno.  In other words, pretty much all of our creative players.  (Go Quaranta and Doe!  Make something happen!)

It’s time to consider next season, I’m afraid.  Does a team playing this badly need to be blown up?  Or is this all about the long injury list from this season?  There was a stretch this summer when the team was mostly healthy that they looked pretty decent.  Is Gallardo likely to be on the field more next year?  How about Fred?  Or Emilio? 

If we think we’ll see more of them, I’m actually inclined to give this cast one more shot.  For one thing, DC United will have a lot fewer games next season — no early season CONCACAF Champions League, no summer Superliga for us — which could make a difference for the older players.  For another, we just saw how badly drastic surgery can go awry. 

Does that meet coach Soehn should take the fall?  Perhaps.  It was clearly a rough start to the season — but that seemed to be about poor off-season personnel decisions.  How responsible should we hold him for those?  Me, I’d be inclined to give him another year — if you’re largely keeping this bunch together.  But it’s entirely possible that those closer to the situation think the team isn’t listening to him.  To me, it looks like they’re still fighting (most of the time) but often playing confused.  That could be the fault of the coach, of course, but it could also be the result of the endless chopping and changing forced by injuries and those initial poor off-season decisions.   

Who would we hire instead?  Richie (“ABMOD”) Williams?  Harksie?  I think Stoichkov might be available if you want to scare people…

Sigh.  And I was so much more optimistic a couple of months back.  At least there’s the US-Cuba game at RFK to look forward to…

Posted in DC United | Leave a Comment »

What it feels like to be average

Posted by steigs on September 17, 2008

So DC United lost 2-0 last night at home to Saprissa of Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Champions League.  Sigh.  Some, like D of the DCenters, are “ashamed.”  Others, like Aaron at Fighting Talker, are frustrated and ready to write off the rest of the season.

Yeah, it was an ugly game.  After the first 10 minutes, the Costa Ricans realized they didn’t need to bunker against our makeshift line-up and started coming forward, always looking more likely to score, which they did.  McTavish got a marginal red for what was clearly a stupid foul.  But I will say that after the second Saprissa goal early in the second half, I did see a United team that kept scrapping at least, when they could have easily rolled over.  My takeaway was “not dead yet, actually, at least for the league.”

Overall, I suspect what it is going on is that the DC United fanbase is in new territory — our team is merely average.  We don’t know how to feel about this.  During the history of MLS, short as it is, we’ve had three different kinds of seasons:

1) Winning the MLS Cup (’96, ’97, ’99, ’04)

2) Disappointing losses in the play-offs, usually to the Fire (’98, ’03, ’05, ’06, ’07)

3) Disasters where we didn’t even make the play-offs.  (We’re looking at you, ’00-’02.)

Almost every time we’ve lost in the play-offs, we thought we could win it all.  (And, yes, we should have won the Cup in ’98, I know.)  In ’05, we were defending champions.  In ’06 and ’07, we had the league’s best regular season record.  We weren’t just grateful to make the play-offs, we weren’t like those teams who consider an invitation to the NCAA tourney as marking their season a success — we were expecting to be there at the end, fighting for the title.  We didn’t think we were average.

Then there are the dark years after the initial dynasty.  We were a losing team, fumbling around, but we had the recent victories to keep telling ourselves we were the class of the league.  We were not average.

The possible exception was the ’03 season, where we did barely make the play-offs with a rather hot-headed team led by an aging El Diablo in his final United season.  I remember being happy just to be there and not especially surprised by our first round elimination. 

This season’s version of DC United is, I think, average.  There’s some quality in the side but it never gelled, in part because of injuries to key players.  There’s also been a lot of player turnover, in part because some offseason moves didn’t pan out.  We knew the core of the team the last few seasons — Moreno, Olsen, Gomez — could win.  They did it repeatedly.  We don’t know about the core of this new version.  We can imagine all the pieces coming together…or not.  They win some, they lose some.  They hover around the .500 mark. 

This is what I imagine it feels like to be a fan of a more normal team.  Say an FC Dallas/Dallas Burn fan.  The team usually makes the play-offs but rarely threatens to win anything.  Sometimes they look really good for a month, sometimes they stink — but in the end it usually evens out.  The management tries different coaches, different stars — there’s some hope each time but, more often than not, average-ness reasserts itself.   You don’t have the arrogantly high expectations that come with being a DC United fan.  You don’t have the resolute defiance that it would take to root for the often pathetic Metro Stars/Red Bulls team for years on end.  You’re a B-/C+ student.  You’re average.

Maybe with all the injuries and the tough schedule this team will spiral down, missing the play-offs and joining the “disasters.”  But I think we’ll make it — and then get eliminated in the first round by the Dynamo or the Crew (for a change).  And I’ll accept that, an “average year” where the team managed to win the Open Cup and stay at .500 despite a host of injuries and personnel mistakes. 

So maybe that’s why I can’t match D’s anger:

  This match was a betrayal, and it’s just a matter of figuring out who the traitors are. Was it Tom Soehn for putting out this line-up and having this team in a point where we’re scrounging for points for a playoff run? Kevin Payne and Dave Kasper for getting so many of the early season acquisitions wrong? Lady Luck for damning us with injuries to Olsen, Peralta, Vide, Gallardo, Guerrero, Emilio, and Fred recently? The League with its unmanageable roster rules when it comes to international competition? Pour a shot for each of them, and down them all, and maybe it’ll make tonight feel better. Or, at least, more difficult to remember in the morning.

And I’m not as resigned as Aaron:

I hate to say it. But this season is done. This swoon is the real thing. The talent is not there. The motivation doesn’t even look there. Warming up last night, this team barely looked like they wanted to be there. And why would they? They know they can’t compete with Saprissa, even with its three top attackers sitting. I know I’m not motivated to watch this team. I arrived at work yesterday to find this game listed on my Outlook calendar and do you know what my reaction was? Was it, “ooh, I have a game tonight?” No, it was, “Oh shit, that match really is tonight. Sigh.” I get the feeling that some of the players approached it the same way. I can’t really blame them.

Because I’ve decided that we’re going to be average this year.  It’s a strange feeling.  Memo to Kevin Payne et al: I don’t like it and I don’t plan to get used to it.

Posted in DC United | 1 Comment »

DC United were Inter Milan?

Posted by steigs on August 5, 2008

In response to my last post, someone pointed out that DC United has already been imitating a team from Milan — Inter, not AC Milan.  Inter has rolled through Serie A in recent years without ever making a serious run at the Champions League.  Sound familiar, other fans of the back-to-back Supporters Shield winning DC United?

We shook up our team, letting former MVP Gomez go etc.  Inter, on the other hand, brought in the “Special One.”  Maybe Mourinho will drive an Inter team with much the same core deep into the Champions League.  I suppose we could have tried that route — but I doubt United was ready to make him the first “designated manager.”

Posted in DC United, Italy | Leave a Comment »

DC United go AC Milan?

Posted by steigs on July 31, 2008

Over at Booked for Dissent, Dave’s been contemplating “how Kasper failed” DC United this season.  The team’s apparent lack of depth has clearly been a problem this season and a number of the off-season moves haven’t panned out.  (Niell?)  That said, I think DC United has done some decent shopping in the bargain bin so far, with Doe a plausible third forward and the chance taken on Quaranta partly paying off.  Now they’ve made a trade for a solid MLS veteran in Ivan Guerrero, which should help (and be popular with the Central American fans in my Mount Pleasant neighborhood).  And Gonzalo Martinez is at least one off-season move that’s been a plus.

The depth problem was brought home to me when I recently started a Championship Manager game with DC United.  (If you don’t know about the game, more here.)  The game started in January ’07 but we’d recently downloaded an update patch that resulted in a DC United roster that mixes the ’07 and ’08 rosters.  Martinez AND Vanney.  Gomez AND Gallardo.  Kpene AND Cordeiro.  (No Troy Perkins, though.)  Ben Olsen’s healthy.  This virtual DCU team looks rather like a juggernaut, at least in pre-season friendlies against USL competition.  I’m playing a 3-5-2 to get both Gomez and Gallardo on the field, with Christian playing up high and Gallardo in the center with Clyde at d-mid.  The board’s expectations are to reach at least one MLS Cup final in two years.  I’ll feel like an idiot if I can’t dominate MLS with all that talent.

Sigh.  Meanwhile, in the real world, this does seem like a team in need of its starting 11 to contend and with key players over 30 that’s always a gamble.  We’re not going to three-peat the Supporters Shield at this rate, that’s for sure.  What we do have is a potentially good cup team.  With Emilio, Moreno, Gallardo, Fred and a decent performance from the backline we can beat anyone in the league. 

I’ve seen this movie in European soccer in recent years — AC Milan.  An aging team (aside from Kaka) that used savvy veterans like Seedorf, Inzaghi, Gattuso, and Maldini to win one Champions League and should have won another, except for six minutes of madness in Istanbul.  At the same time, they never posed a serious threat to win Serie A.  Week in, week out, they gave away too many points, let the old legs take games off etc. 

DC United doesn’t have that much depth and our savvy veterans are having trouble staying healthy, as veterans often do.  But we could win trophies with just a handful of peak performances.  First of all, we’re probably only one good game away from the US Open Cup trophy.  Granted, a semi-final against the Revolution is no gimme but if we can win that, we’d get a USL side in the final. 

After that, DC United should be focused on getting healthy and ready for the play-offs.  This team should qualify, though perhaps in third or fourth place.  Once there, it only takes a couple of good games to have a shot to win it all.  That’s what we did in ’04, after all. 

Easier said than done, I know, especially with a team that has — let’s face it — choked in the play-offs the last couple of seasons.  The real challenge may be juggling the new CONCACAF Champions League games with the latter stages of the season.  Those international trips and extra games may be just the thing to ensure a Moreno or Gallardo aren’t 100% for the play-offs.  I hope Soehn has figured out a better way to rotate and rest the team by then. 

So pay attention to this Open Cup semi.  And remember we just need to make the play-offs.  It’s not like we’ve been able host the stupid Eastern final the last couple seasons anyway….

Posted in DC United | Leave a Comment »

Going over to the Dark Cyde

Posted by steigs on June 23, 2008

I haven’t commented on my DC United much of late, although the team has found some form.  Too busy with the oft-pulsating Euro 2008 — sigh, the Dutch got my hopes yet again — and, sadly, with work.

But leave it to Dan Steinberg over at the Post to remind me why I love my trips to RFK:

The Barra Brava and Screaming Eagles monopolize Washington’s “Look! Soccer crazies!” media attention, and rightfully so. But if you’re always staring at their bouncing side of the park you might miss some of the team’s other vibrant supporters groups. Like, say the Dark Cyde.

That three-year-old group’s membership is a bit vague–its founder said there are about five members–but that founder more than makes up for the small numbers. He is Darth Hooligan, and he is awesome. Witness the District logo tattooed on his left arm, the red-and-black DC Shoes on his feet, the stuffed United mascot hanging from his midsection, the No. 69 “Darth Hooligan” jersey around his torso, the $10 Target light saber twitching in his hands, and the self-applied Darth Maul-inspired red-and-black paint on his face. Yesterday his hair was out, adorned by two feathers; “usually, I wear my little devil hat,” he said, as his friends gleefully displayed his red and black skull cap.

Darth Hooligan, eh?  Now that’s a mash-up of devoted fandom, indeed.  Perhaps one reason for soccer’s rising appeal in the US is the way we are still discovering/inventing our fandom.  NBA or NFL games have become very programmed, filled with piped-in music and prods.  The supporters’ groups at a United game drive the cheers, not the PA system.  The growing awareness of the international game means fans here have a better idea of what their options are.  We can pick and choose among traditions, not simply adapting styles from other American sports or — thankfully — from stereotypical British hooligans.  We’re still figuring it all out, which makes it feel more lived in.

Back to “Darth Hooligan”.  He offers an interesting take on why Darth:

“One day I was watching ‘Star Wars Episode I,’ and it just hit me, out of the blue,” he explained. “You know how Darth Maul is red and black? I’m starting my own supporters club called the Dark Cyde. Come as any villain in any movie, as long as you wear red and black.”

The choices are theoretically endless, as long as you can imagine, say, Norman Bates sporting red and black face paint. Anyhow, why villains? Darth said that United is the New England Patriots of the MLS, at once dominant and reviled league-wide, the unbeatable standard hanging over every rival club. Villainous, in other words.

Ooooh.  Embrace the bad guy, eh?  Personally, I would have thought that would have made us the Oakland Raiders of MLS but perhaps their image has fallen because of their recent losing seasons.  It’s hard to be the villain when you’re bad — at least bad in terms of winning and losing. 

There’s a certain appeal to the villain.  As a serious comic book collector in my youth, I can attest that invariably the villain is a better character than the hero.  And they almost always have more fun…at least until they get caught.  It’s an interesting exercise to contemplate adopting a villain for your soccer fan alter-ego.  Darth Maul doesn’t do it for me, which is probably partly a function of age.  The original Darth was my generation’s villain but that costume would get pretty toasty at a summer game at RFK.  Same for Doctor Doom.  Perhaps the Joker would be more my style.  (I suppose you can make him in red and black.)  Or perhaps Magneto.  He’s got a red helmet after all….

Posted in DC United | Leave a Comment »

River = Vida

Posted by steigs on May 19, 2008

A highlight of the FSC schedule for me is the weekly game from Argentina.  It’s late in the Clausura and this past weekend Estudiantes moved past River Plate into first place.  Things sound a little tense on the River side:

With few second-half scoring chances, the match ground down uneventfully with River fans insulting their players and River coach Diego Simeone expelled in the 86th minute for shouting at the referee.

That’s too bad — I was lucky enough to catch River’s fans on a better day, when I saw a game at Estadio Monumental back in ’04.  It was a wild affair in front of a huge and passionate audience.  I even got a preview of Marcelo Gallardo, now with DC United, back in his days with Los Millonarios.  Read on after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Argentina, DC United | 1 Comment »

“Critically Acclaimed” DC United 2006-2007?

Posted by steigs on May 1, 2008

ESPN’s Sports Guy today gives an obituary for the run-and-gun Phoenix Suns.

I made my friend Chris Connelly appear on this week’s “B.S. Report” to discuss “critically acclaimed sports teams,” following up on a discussion we had right after Game 2 of the Suns-Spurs series, when things were looking bleak for Phoenix and the end of Mike D’Antoni’s reign seemed imminent.

“Well, that’s OK that they didn’t win the title,” Connelly cheerfully said at the time. “At least they were critically acclaimed!”

From there, Connelly unleashed his theory of “critically acclaimed” sports teams (check the podcast for the full details) and how these Suns teams would be cheerfully remembered some day like we remember Coryell’s Chargers and the Fab Five. In other words, it didn’t really matter that they never won a championship, just like it didn’t matter that “Pulp Fiction” didn’t win an Oscar, “The Wire” never won an Emmy and “Arrested Development” bombed in the ratings. We would always remember them fondly and feel like they were more successful than they actually were.

You know, I think I’ve seen that movie.  In fact, I watched it at RFK over the last two seasons.  They didn’t win a championship but they were a lot of fun to watch.  DC United had a sheen of class and sophistication, at least by MLS standards.  They passed the ball around, they had lots of possession.  They sometimes gave off a sense that they’d rather make the extra pass to score a brilliant goal than shoot in the first place.  (I suppose that was one difference from the Suns, who were supposed to look for a shot in “seven seconds or less.”)  We felt good watching them play.  We felt good when experts approved of their play.

Simmons suggests that in the long run people will remember the Suns fondly.  I hope that’s true for DC United, 2006-2007.  I’m less sure of it — for one, the two-time champion Dynamo were an appealing team as well, perhaps more than the other Texas champions, the San Antonio Spurs.  The other is DCU has a stronger profile in MLS than the Suns in the NBA — we’re more disliked for our past successes and, sometimes, our attitude/confidence/arrogance. 

Earlier this week, Manchester United eliminated Barcelona from the Champions League and word in the press continues to be that the team will come in for an overhaul.  ‘Bye Ronaldinho, maybe Henry, maybe Marquez etc.  They’ve also been a team that’s been “critically acclaimed” for style and creativity.  (In fact, watching them pass the ball around and around and around against Man U I was reminded of some of the more frustrating times with DCU in recent years — take a shot, will you!)  But they have higher expectations.  They think they should win La Liga and the Champions League.  So being “critically acclaimed” is more frustrating, like DCU has been for us. 

And that will be a factor in how they are remembered.  Their fans will be more disappointed and neutrals will be less willing to sympathize. 

Sigh.  I just hope this classic Simmons pop culture reference isn’t entirely applicable to DC United, because I fear that the Gomez for Gallardo move may risk looking like bringing Shaq to Phoenix, the last phase of the old team, not the first phase of the new one:

Meanwhile, the Suns were like the John Belushi of basketball teams — thrilling, creative, inventive and loved by all, but ultimately, they couldn’t sustain what they were doing for more than a couple of years, and by the time it came to a screeching halt, we were already wishing that things could return to the way they were three years before. Like Belushi, the Suns were critically acclaimed. Like Belushi (drugs), the Suns had an Achilles’ heel (Robert Sarver). Like Belushi, the Suns tried to change their style near the end and it didn’t work out. Like Belushi, we will remember the Suns fondly, and every time we see one of their old classic moments popping up on TV, we’ll probably watch.

Posted in Barca, DC United | 1 Comment »

Great Expectations

Posted by steigs on April 16, 2008

So DC United’s season is off to a bumpy start.  A couple of shutout losses on the road in league play already, with the 4-0 loss to Real Salt Lake one of the worst games I’ve seen the team play in years, and eliminated from regional play by Pachuca.  The grumbling/worrying/complaining has begun.  Perhaps the off-season changes aren’t helping.  Perhaps it’s time for a new coachEtc.  That’s what fans do.

This comes down to expectations.  We United fans have high expectations, at least in MLS terms.  We’ve had a winning team for four years now, with the best regular season record in MLS the last two years.  It might be different if we were rooting for Real Salt Lake or Toronto where just getting to the play-offs would constitute a good year.

Other teams I root for have even higher expectations.  Look at Celtic.  Two consecutive league titles and back-to-back trips to the round of 16 in the Champions League.  Pretty good.  Oh, but they’re in second this season in Scotland and, perhaps more importantly, keep losing to Rangers.  Heck, they’re having trouble even getting a goal on their eternal rivals.  (I hope that changes today.)  Cue talk about coach Strachan moving on.  It’s like what happens to an Ohio State or Michigan football coach who can’t get a victory in that rivalry.

There’s Arsenal, now clearly bound for third in the EPL and knocked out of the Champions League by Liverpool.  Cue complaints about the failure of Wenger to bolster his young squad.  At the beginning of the year, most didn’t expect the young team could contend for the league title but a nice early run had the Gunners in first place for months.  They even managed to play with some style, like notable recent championship teams coached by Wenger.  This should be seen as a successful rebuilding year and now would be the time to talk about missing pieces to add — a world-class center defender, perhaps? — but now it doesn’t feel as successful.  Hopes were raised.  Expectations grew over the course of the year.  And, as students of revolution will tell you, it’s always when expectations are rising that rebellions are born, not when everyone is ground down and dispirited.  Still, no one thinks Wenger is going anywhere.

Finally, mighty Barcelona, stumbling to second (or third?) in La Liga but still in the Champions League.  Superstars on the wane, with talk that Ronaldinho, Deco, maybe even Henry to leave after the seasonNot to mention coach Frank Rikjaard.  One would think a run to the semi-finals of the Champions League would count for something.  But the expectations for Barca are so very high — win the league, contend for the Champions League, and do so with massive style.   It’s tough to meet them for very long.  Time to bring in a new manager, the old one’s running out of steam.

So, back to DC United.  My expectations are high — I want the team to win and I want to contend for the MLS Cup, plus continue to qualify for regional tourneys.  If MLS set up its competitions as they do in Europe, we’d actually be coming off of two league championships in a row — but both would have seen flops in European competition (as the counterpart to our play-offs).  We’d be looking at our team like fans of Inter Milan and Real Madrid do, with some frustration and disappointment. 

Ah, but of course, we don’t set up our competitions that way.  With the MLS regular season counting for so much less than a European season, we’re going to be happier if the team performs as Liverpool and AC Milan have in recent years — “good enough” in league without necessarily threatening to win it and then excelling in Champions League runs.  (Of course, I really want a “double” like Manchester United is going for this year — league and Champions League — but my expectations would be met with an AC Milan/Liverpool type of performance.)  I also want to keep playing in regional tourneys.  One of these days we’ll beat a team in Mexico and, in the meantime, maybe we’ll learn something and keep building our name with Latino fans in the US who have all too often looked down on MLS. 

Expectations matter.  The last two regular seasons have led to rising expectations — we seemed clearly best in the league, making the play-off crashes all the more frustrating.  Just as, I imagine, an Inter fan is getting ticked off by a team that cruises to the Serie A title yet can’t make a real run at the Champions League.  I’m trying to lower my expectations back to what really matters to me. 

Which is, in a roundabout way, why I’m not particularly upset yet.  If it takes Soehn and the DC United folks another month to get Gallardo and the rest of our attackers in synch, so be it.  If it takes another month of formation tinkering, so be it.  (Please don’t play three at the back again, though, unless they’re three regular defensive starters.)  If it takes a month to get Emilio putting balls in the net regularly, so be it.  Maybe it’s time to figure out if Quaranta is there to spell/learn from Moreno or sub for Olsen at right wing or a mixture of the two.  And so on. 

Because as we’ve learned the last two years, it’s not the first few months that determine whether our expectations are met — it’s the last few weeks of the season.


Posted in Celtic, DC United, England | Leave a Comment »

Like a “little red bug”

Posted by steigs on April 11, 2008

One of DC United’s multitude of new South American imports this season is Franco Niell, a forward on loan (presumably with an option to buy) from Argentinos Juniors in (duh) Argentina.  He’s of the small pesky type and, based on his initial few games, plays like a “rambunctious gnome,” as I believe someone on bigsoccer described him.  His nickname translates as “the dwarf,” which makes sense since Franco appears to be around 5-3. 

He’s been okay so far, impressing more with energy than skill, but came up with a goal as a substitute against Pachuca Wednesday at RFK.  Some may wonder what an Argentine kid like Niell is doing in MLS.  Why not live at home in Buenos Aires?  Well, the economy in Argentina — and thus its league — have some issues.  And, as someone who has seen Argentinos Juniors play, RFK may feel like a step up.  For more on my visit to Estadio Diego Maradona, home of Argetinos Juniors — known as the “little red bugs” — and first professional home of Argentina’s beloved #10, read on after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Argentina, DC United | 2 Comments »