Hi there, it’s been a week, boy let me tell you! When the local soccer concerns go 5-0-1 combined over their last two weeks, seems like fun as well.

Recaps of D.C. United’s 3-1 win over Orlando City SC by us and WaPo. The Mane Land (at their new home!) with the other side of things.

Recaps of the Washington Spirit’s scoreless draw with the Houston Dash by us and WaPo. Bayou City Soccer with the other side of things.

Reviewing Loudoun United’s 2-0 win over Oakland (us): Loudoun United may be the United you should probably root for?

Lewis O’Brien ‘happy playing again’ with D.C. United after deadline day nightmare (PSW): Jason did a thing!

How the USL Championship’s ‘most underrated’ Head Coach has Loudoun United FC moving up (USLC): Hey there, go read this!

Meanwhile, Moses Nyeman, collecting dust in the 801, hit this banger:

Wrexham score Hollywood ending with National League title, promotion to League Two (ESPN): I mean as far as the Wrexham discourse goes, this and the ladies’ team winning a title couldn’t have ended any other way.

Anyway, hope you have a decent Monday out there.

ByRyan Keefer

Doing D.C./Loudoun United things on here.

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David Rusk

From Buenos Aires: Watched River Plate vs Independiente (a clash of Big Five rivals) over dinner last night. 80,000 in attendance at El Monumental.

River featured two Atlanta (fake) United alums: Ezekiel Barco, who notched River’s first goal, and Leandro Gonzalo Pérez, who substituted out in the 85th minute after a bad yellow card.

Barco, who never lived up to expectations in MLS, may have been just too young with the Five Stripes.

Or is MLS just a higher level of competition than Argentine Primera? Hard to imagine but with 1,800 of Argentina’s best playing abroad (including 30+ in MLS), that could be.

David Rusk

BTW, River won 2-0.

Talonesque #

I was a bit excited about the headline of Jason’s O’Brien, and of course it’s excellent and illuminating, but as suspected, he’s not intending to stay. I always knew that was unlikely, that he would personally have to fall in love with the club to such an extent as to give up on a definite English career in at least the Championship. Maybe Durkin steps up when he leaves, but in general, his departure will present both depth and quality problems for the squad.

Matt Glad

Agreed. I think most of us agree this 3-5-2 suits the squad much better. To your point especially, I think Durkin will be a good replacement for O’Brien when he leaves. He’ll be in the center of the field and his main responsibilities will be getting in passing lanes and facilitating ball movement in transition. Those are things he’s already done well this season. Not to mention he won’t be asked to bomb up and down the wing where his lack of pace stands out. All that being said, he’ll be a drop in quality from O’Brien, but I feel better having Durkin centrally in a 3-5-2 than wide in a 4-4-2.

Talonesque #

For most of this season, and the latter half of last, I’d disagree that Durkin was competent in a deep lying DM position, for a long time, he’s shown badly when required to be a tenacious defensive presence, and seemed more capable upfield- but not to the extent of truly professional offensive players. His substitute appearance against Orlando in this formation makes me want to hold the presses on that thought, though. When he came on, I was basically thinking, “we’re going to concede with him there,” but we arguably played better, and he killed a few plays by Orlando he would have struggled to impact before.

All that said, once O’Brien leaves, that’s Klich, Canouse, and Durkin with no backup centrally for anyone, really. Asad might actually be the closest to a backup for any of them, and that’s not ideal. We probably need another body for fatigue and injuries this summer.

Talonesque #

It does occur to me that Palsson could be moved to DM at least, which breaks up the current CB group. Still, would like to get another player in that position so that we’re not as thin.

Matt Glad

My comment was referring to Durkin sliding right in where O’Brien has been positioned. Which has been more of a box-to-box CM rather than CDM, in my opinion. Canouse has a firm grip on CDM. Durkin should be serviceable in that advanced CM spot.


This setup is working well for us now, but it’s very funny how we made the pivot to 3-5-2 for Losada, dumped it when he was fired, lacked the personnel to run any formation, came out with a 4-4-2, and now have come back with a similar 3-5-2. We kind of lack the personnel to really make it click imo, and as you both noted depth is going to be a real issue.

Talonesque #

The formations are pretty different. 3-4-3 and 5-3-2 might both employ 3 CB’s, but there’s a pretty dramatic divergence in strengths and formational roles. The current setup makes better use of Klich, Taxi, and Benteke than Losada’s would have, keeps them largely central to do their thing.

Last edited 7 months ago by Talonesque #

This 3-5-2 is more of a 4-4-2 with an extra center back and asking the outside mids to run the flanks end to end rather than asking the outside backs to do so. It flexes into a 4-4-2 or 5-3-2 in that one or both of the outside mids track back to resemble a fourth back. The 3 in the back generally stay narrow and Pines is allowed to come out to the flanks or forward as he is the one who is best at recovery runs if needed.

In contrast, Losada’s 3-5-2 asked the three backs to cover the entire back line. Philadelphia, for example, exploited this feature by putting balls from the middle to down the flank. The centerbacks then had to make the choice to cover that ball or hope that an outside mid would track back. Since the outside mids weren’t asked to do so under Losadaball, the center back was pulled out of position an the other team just sent and extra runner down the middle. There was no way the lone remaining center back could cover two marks.

The lone center back was also supposed to push forward to add extra pressure to the middle third to defensive third transition area. The outside mids were supposed to push high to add extra pressure to the opponent’s middle third. There was always tons of space between the mids and backs.

In contrast, Rooney’s 3-5-2 has a triangle of center mids with Klich at the front point. O’Brian and Canouse clog up the space between the mids and backs. Notice that Orlando had no space at the top of the box and would have to play it back to almost the center circle to swing it around the perimeter of the box. That got into Benteke and Fountas’s area and they could apply pressure.

True, Losada did not have Benteke, but I don’t think his system would have used his skills very well. Benteke’s strengths aren’t outrunning defenders in transition. Rather, they are providing a target, distributing, then making his way into the box to make a smart little run to create space there.

Losada’s system was meant to press and then outrun the opponent after a sudden turnover. Look at the Red Bulls for an example of that style. Rooney’s style is meant to control the space on the field and the tempo of the game on both sides of the ball. Under Losada, the other team immediately feels pressure when they get the ball but once they break that press, they are off to the races. Under Rooney, they don’t feel initial pressure but feel frustration when they simply keep running out of options to advance at goal. Look at Coach Pareja’s comments after the game.


Really bad news: Mo Jeadhze has been arrested in Sweden for two assaults. He had returned there while he was recovering from injury. No details–if we’re talking attempted rapes or a bar fight or what. But he’s restricted from any travel until this is sorted out so it’s totally unclear when he could even return to the States. I also have to wonder what this means for his time at DCU. Ugh!

Talonesque #

Holy shit, not good news for anybody. Probably means protracted legal fights in another country, I’d bet.

Brendan Cartwright

United signed Jeahze to a three year deal, and he seemed like the one player (except for maybe Miller or Williams) that could be a part of the team’s rebuild for the long haul. And now, it wouldn’t be surprising if we’ve seen the last of him.

Grasping for some bright sides, Pedro Santos looked really good as LWB against Orlando. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone win that many tackles. And Jacob Greene has made his debut, and I feel confident with him in the lineup. He’s looked plenty solid.

But oof. And one of these incidents with Jeahze seems to have happened in December around the time the team signed him.


My concern with Santos is his durability – definitely love his technique and veteran savvy otherwise. Greene is going to have to be ready to go, Santos already looked kind of gassed at the end of the game.

Riky Nary

Swedish wife says that the arrest report that Ryan posted the link to on twitter just says assault, but it does list the first offense after DC signed him in early December. Both are just listed as the broad term ‘assault’, not a more defined term. One terrible detail is that the dates of 12/15 to 12/31 are likely listed as a timeframe for a couple instances over that timeframe at that location.

She also says samnytt is typically populated by very swedish nationalist types, so the comments on that page were pretty disgusting.

Talonesque #

Thanks for the info, and yeah, Scandinavia apparently isn’t immune to the “don’t read the twitter comments” truism.

Will Nelson

Club release a statement. He’s suspended while MLS and Swedish authorities investigate.

Talonesque #

I mean, that makes sense, but doubt he was going anywhere, anyway.

David Rusk

On a happier note Pines makes MLS TEAM OF THE WEEK while Benteke is on the bench. I would have reversed it.

Brendan Cartwright

Rooney is the coach of the week.

Will Nelson

Not soccer related but hilarious. Texas Rangers pitcher has to take an AB, with the Rangers up 18-3. He’s batting against a position player pitching. All pitches were under 60mph and he struck out looking without ever swinging. His own bullpen booed him: https://ftw.usatoday.com/lists/athletics-bad-rangers-pitcher-josh-sborz-hit-at-bat-video-reaction

Will Nelson

Former DCU player Dax McCarty made his 400th career MLS start this past weekend: https://www.mlssoccer.com/news/dax-mccarty-reaches-400-mls-starts-retirement-has-crossed-my-mind

Bryan McEachern

That’s a fun video. Quick shout out to Dax for contributing generously to Jamie Moreno’s eye surgery during the height of the pandemic. (For those that didn’t know, he took a golf ball in the eye in a total freak accident.)


Cristian Dajome (formerly of Vancouver) is now a member of DC United. Fast, skilled winger who previously scored a bunch of goals but has been mostly on the bench this season. Done for allocation moolah.

Goff says DCU is also in the running for a USL striker (backup to Benteke I assume).

Stunned Duck

Obvs immediate benefits as a Rodriguez replacement, the pace injection will be welcome, plus if Wayne wants to employ a formation with wingers we won’t necessarily be subjected to having Klich out there for lack of other options.

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