Sorry for the late FKs! I was at the DC Scores: One Night, One Goal event last night and got home late. It’s a pretty cool event, if you ever get a chance to go.

Former D.C. United player and current assistant coach Frédéric Brillant got his A-Senior Coaching License from U.S. Soccer yesterday. Could be good timing! (Just kidding. I do not care to speculate about D.C. United’s coaching search.)

Speaking of coaches, Wayne Rooney reportedly rejected an offer from current boss Garry Cook to coach in Saudi Arabia. It’s not clear from the article when the offer was made. Cook became executive president and CEO of the Saudi league in January.

In addition to going to the Pan American games, Ted Ku-DiPietro was named to the MLS 22 under 22.

After his ouster by the Spanish federation, Jorge Vilda has been hired to coach the Morocco women’s national team. This pretty much sucks. The guy stood with a man accused of harassing one of his own players, and now he’ll have a whole new team of women he can fail to protect.

In case you missed it, Sarah got the inside scoop on the dismissal of a tax fraud case against D.C. United Jason Levien. The former United general counsel who filed has apologized to the Office of Attorney General for filing it?!? Crazy stuff.

The regular season wraps up this weekend for both Washington Spirit and Loudoun United. The Spirit are at home and vying for a playoff spot, so I highly recommend checking the game out if you’re looking for something to do on Sunday.

Loudoun United FC vs. Rio Grande Valley FCSat., Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. ETH-E-B ParkESPN+
Washington Spirit vs. North Carolina CourageSun., Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. ETAudi FieldParamount+

Have a good weekend!

ByAnnie Elliott

Mostly writing about the Washington Spirit

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I’m assuming it’s important because Brilliant the only coach left for the friendly tomorrow against Medeama SC. They need someone to be the head coach for the game, though I have no idea who’ll be on the roster.

Brendan Cartwright

Matt Doyle has really taken a shine to Teddy KDP, and I think that’s how he landed on the 22 Under 22 list. But fair enough to him! The offense always looked better with him on the field, and that was arguably the case even when Taxi was still here. He tied a record for most goals scored in a season by a DC United homegrown (set by Andy Najar), and his blast against the Union is going to soothe me to sleep for years to come. I think he needs to be considered as an important piece of the offense heading into next year.

Speaking of next year, Matai Akinmboni is being tagged as one to watch for future 22 Under 22 lists, and he’s got plenty of years left to be named to them! I also think Kristian Fletcher is a sleeper candidate. I have high hopes that he’ll be a solid contributor next year.

Brendan Cartwright

There was a new Pitch Pass episode up yesterday, and Greg Roche was talking to Pablo Maurer about the state of the team, and what’s to come. They talked for a bit about the development of the homegrown players and how they often hit a plateau. They noted that Ku-DiPietro made a leap, but they credited that more to something he did on his own rather than coaching (people have said the same about Najar and Paredes). That might very well be true. They were frustrated that Donovan Pines has seemed to stay at the same level for so many years. I think that’s a little unkind. He’s definitely improved, although it’s fair to say that he didn’t make some huge leap in quality.

I kind of wonder about United’s ability to develop their homegrowns. It is frustrating that more haven’t become regulars. Najar is, but that’s after having been in Europe, and anyway he was originally signed 13 years ago. Durkin is a regular, but again that’s after having spent time in Europe, and I think most people are hoping for a bit more quality out of him anyway. Pines is kind of a regular, and Ku-DiPietro should be. But why did Moses Nyeman stall? Why has Jackson Hopkins stalled? Why did Ian Harkes stall here? In some of those cases, like Nyeman, Griffin Yow, and Michael Seaton, even when they move to another club, they still aren’t much of a factor. Perhaps that’s just the nature of the academy game. But if this team ever does get good at developing young players again, that’s certainly a key towards having success.


First, most young players won’t be good pros. I remember seeing a FIFA study of players at the U17 WC and something like 75% of the players on the U17 rosters never played for their senior national team.

Second, I agree that DCU has problems here. First, we got started late. And LU didn’t get a lot of focus until recently–it always seemed to be thrown together, late roster, red-headed stepchild. Second, it’s a big jump from Academy to USL and then to MLS. Ideally, DCU would develop MLSNext but also still have a presence in USL so we can “stash” players that are no longer young guys but can still provide deep depth.

Third, I think we’ve been hurt at not having a consistent philosophy and approach to the game. For instance, Losada didn’t see value in TKDP. But he piled up minutes at LU and eventually Kasper offered him a first team contract. Pines–I don’t think he’s gotten good development. I just don’t think there has been a lot of teaching–it’s been more about “give them minutes at LU/training at Swansea, and let the game teach them.”

And yes, I would be interested in hearing what happened to Hopkins. DCU was told to expect Hopkins to be gone for a chunk of this summer due to USSF team commitments. Instead, he’s not even getting minimal minutes. He went from Rooney talking about how he was going to be a NT stalwart to someone who doesn’t even rate garbage time. That’s not a plateau. He either feel out of favor or his game regressed.


I think we’ve signed a lot of guys just on potential or “we’re gonna lose him” rather than seeing a line for them to become contributors. Najar, Hamid, and maybe TKD showed that they had the talent and drive toake the jump, largely on their own. You’re absolutely right that there’s been a lack of teaching. Every coach has been in a siege mentality to some degree, whether it’s defending first like Olsen, using brute athleticism to make up for lack of technical skills (Losada) or getting a bunch of savvy veterans to make something happen (Rooney). No consistent string among any of them, or from the constantly rotating Loudoun affiliate.

Bryan McEachern

All the above points are well taken, Commentariat. Good stuff!

I too am most amazed by the Hopkins regression. I really had it in my gut that he was going to ascend. Well, my eye-test magic certainly got flushed.

Maybe next year…..

Ryan Hunt

Griffin Yow returned to the bench for Westerlo FC last week after a preseason injury. Maybe he’ll still pan out.

I think a lot of the problems we see with youth development is that identifying a players best position can be really difficult without high level game time. And even then, coaches may want to try and force a square peg into a round hole. Nyeman was a victim of this imo. He excelled at a deeper role with youth teams and the coaches wanted to get him to play like that for DCU but he never got the size or bite to play there. KDP also got delayed a bit by this since he spent so much time as a wingback for Loudon.

DCU really needs to utilize Loudon and/or an MLS Next team to better evaluate the youth. And by that I mean the young players should be getting long stretches of playing time down a level if they’re not ready for MLS action. Yow was basically wasted in 2021 because Losada had him on the bench every week but rarely played him (because obviously Adrian Perez os an All Star). Same thing this year for both Fletcher and Hopkins.

Injuries have played a part for sure, but if we’re not evaluating players outside of practice then I don’t think we’re doing them justice.

Will Nelson

Dang a world-class strike from an insane angle free-kick got disallowed for offside after a VAR check. (The Athletic paywall)

Bryan McEachern

Scotland was robbed……

Bryan McEachern

As I clutch a Dewars…

Will Nelson

Interesting read from a about a month ago that I finally got around to reading about bio-banding in order to help prevent those who physically mature late from being released from academies. There is a bias towards those who physically mature early. To help explain the concept here’s a quote:

To combat bias towards early maturers, United, led by Sir Alex Ferguson, started to implement a practice that grouped children by their biological status — a process now known as bio-banding. This is when athletes are grouped on their timeline of maturation as opposed to their chronological age. United were considered best practice, with players including Jesse Lingard and Danny Welbeck, both late maturers, benefitting from more informed biological decision-making.

(The Athletic paywall)

Will Nelson

The Athletic did a survey about MLS Season Pass and have released the results:

  • Interestingly DCU is in 3rd place with 34.5% in terms of people watching who sometimes or always switch to local radio broadcast from the main commentators. LA Galaxy lead the way at 36.3% then NE Revolution are in 2nd at 35.2%.
  • Most respondents would modify MLS 360 for the 2024 season by staggering kickoff times with 64.6%.
  • The last question had interesting response totals. The question: “In total, do you think team-specific coverage has improved with the Apple deal compared to previous local coverage?”
  • 3058 responses
  • 832 (27.2%) “No, I preferred local coverage that pre-dated MLS Season Pass.”
  • 734 (24.0%) “Yes, significantly”
  • 748 (24.5%) “Yes, visually but not in terms of commentary”
  • 744 (24.3%) “Yes, but there are elements of past coverage that I still miss.”

There were a few times I switched over to listen to Dave (probably would have done it more if Devon McTavish was still around), but I really tried to give the Apple commentators a shot this year. With that, I found out that I actually really like Lloyd Sam’s coverage. The guy he’s paired with is fine, but Sam does a really good job and really knows his stuff about DC. I really wouldn’t mind it at all if he became a sort of permanent guy for DC coverage (like how Twellman is now mostly in charge of Miami).

Something I will note about the number though is something I saw someone bring up in the comments of that article. The “switching to home radio announcers” option is probably very skewed, as a large chunk of fans are actually *AT* the home games, so they can’t really switch to radio coverage unless its to listen to the opposite announcers on an away game. That might be why the Galaxy’s number is so high, since they had an attendance boycott going for part of the year — if you’re not going to the game in person, you’re more likely to switch coverages

Brendan Cartwright

I tried to listen to Dave as much as I could. Bruce Murray was much more of a homer than I was used to as the color guy, and it sounded like they didn’t have a really good vantage point from which to see the games. But I’m just happy that Dave was still able to be part of DC United, and that United fans responded by listening to him so much. He deserves it.

I’m with you on Lloyd Sam. He’s not very polished as an announcer, but it works for him. He gets excited. He makes mistakes sometimes. But he also tends to know his stuff, and the accent gets a lot of mileage for me. It’s sort of like watching the game with another fan when he’s on.

A lot of the rest of the Apple announcers are pretty generic. Most are fine. There’s a few that I really don’t enjoy. Apart from Lloyd, there’s also not that many that stand out to me, that I’m happy to hear.

Overall, I was happy with the Apple experience, even having to pay $100 for it. I wish there was a little bit more DC United specific content, but there was a decent amount of it. I’m just a glutton. I liked that they had all the goals scored from the season, so I could go back and watch them. I liked all the team intro videos, and the drone tours. I’ll check out the Messi documentary. I’m likely to be back next year (and maybe then I can figure out how to watch it on a TV, rather than just on my laptop or phone). And maybe not every game will be at 7:30, so it conflicts with bedtime for the kids.

Will Nelson

I used the AppleTV app on my Xbox to watch it on the TV. I’ve also run an HDMI cable from the HDMI out port on my laptop to one of the HDMI In ports on the TV.


I’m assuming the last question is highly dependent on the team the person follows. Seattle and Portland fans have been up in arms about the Apple TV deal as it’s arguably worse coverage than they used to get free over the air.


I always mute the announcers and listen to a record while watching DC United games. The Apple TV announcers have made that decision even easier.

Too many national (which means New York) personalities. Nobody seems to know the context of any team’s season.

For the positive, I like being able to watch a game I missed without needing to remember to set my DVR in advance or hope that it wasn’t blacked out on ESPN+ because reasons.


I don’t even know what you mean by New York personalities. Shep Messing, Lloyd Sam and Tony Meola have links there, but anyone else? Hard to see how you can criticize their knowledge of any team’s ‘context,’ if you’re not even listening to them


Yep, the hiring of Vilda absolutely sucks. Las 15 tried to keep things discrete. But among the complaints they had about Vilda: he made the players keep their bedroom doors open in the hotel or dorm so he could be sure people were in the right room (ie: any bi or lesbian players weren’t sharing a bed), everyone was meeting bed check. You had to get permission to go out of the team facility, if you bought anything you had to show it with him. Unprofessional travel arrangements (taking a bus to a game–8 hour ride I believe, and the opposition team flew). No analytics used in analyzing opposition. And to cap this off, he was one of 3 finalists nominated for the best women’s team coach in UEFA.

And that’s pretty cool about Teddy KDP.

Will Nelson

OGDC have announced the signing of English winger Perry Humphreys. He has been out of contract since his former club Worcester Warriors of the English Premiership collapsed financially last fall:


DCU beats Medeama 2-1. It was a subs roster for DCU: Akinmboni got the start along side Pines. Zmudio started in goal. Both of our DPs didn’t play. Dahomey got the first goal on a corner served by Santos. Medeama got their goal off of a mishandled corner by Zmudio. Nigel Robertha got the second goal.

Highlights here:

Brendan Cartwright

I think Benteke came on as a sub. That might be Robertha’s last kick for DC, and he gets a goal with it.


Wouldn’t everyone who played be under contact next year? I cannot see a free agent playing in that sort of friendly now that the season is over. Too much risk of a career ending injury.

Brendan Cartwright

I think most contracts are through a calendar date (like December 31) rather than through “the end of the season.” So free agents would still be under contract for this game. It seemed like most of the players were under contract for next year, but for instance Donovan Pines is officially a free agent (although he and the team have been meeting about a new contract), and he played in this.


Fwiw, after the game, Fred Brillant specifically noted that many players were left off of the game-day roster strictly because of their contract status with it being a friendly, while some others (notably Klich) just didn’t play. I assume thats why we didnt see players like Davis, Fajardo, Asad, and the like — they’re all not currently under contract. Fred even noted that it wouldnt be “fair” to them to have them play in case they got hurt

Brendan Cartwright

Maybe there’s been an extension done for Pines that just hasn’t been announced…


Yeah, a few of the player decisions are quite interesting, Pines included. I will note though, Fred did a great job in that post-game presser. I genuinely hope that he stays on at least as an assistant going into next year (if not even being considered for the head coach)

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