Black and Red United Archives for January 2012

Rumor Roundup: Re-Entry Draft, Indonesian Tour, Fluminense, Andik, and More!

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Unfortunately, there are no big new rumors that have popped up over the last few days, such as the identity of those players that Ben Olsen, Kurt Morsink, Dave Kasper, and company are scouting in Argentina. However, I do have some updates and clarifications on some recent rumors, some of which look to be happening and some of which are fading away.

Filibuster Podcast Episode 14: D.C. United Season Post-Mortem and MLS Cup 2012 Preview with Steve Davis of Pro Soccer Talk

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D.C. United's 2012 campaign might be over, but that doesn't mean you have to go without your favorite group of podcasting D.C. United nerds bloggers. We're keeping the Good Ship Filibuster going through the offseason, starting with this week's plus-sized episode. I say "plus-sized" not because of the weight I've gained since Thanksgiving (thanks for your concern, though), but because it clocks in at just over an hour in length.

WHAT IF: Dwayne De Rosario Had Not Been Injured?

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The 2012 season was full of storylines for D.C. United. The slightest tweak in one direction could have put United into the MLS Cup Final. A different tweak could have easily placed us in sixth place, outside of playoff position for the fifth year in a row. The slightest tweak could have had us questioning whether Ben Olsen's tenure here should continue, rather than us rallying around the proposition of him being the MLS Coach of the Year.

Josh Wolff Retires, Joins D.C. United Coaching Staff Full-Time

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In a move that makes tons of sense for all parties involved, Josh Wolff announced his retirement from professional soccer today, and will be joining former teammate Ben Olsen as a full-time assistant coach on the sidelines.

"I was lucky enough to play alongside Josh since we were teenagers and we were able to share some incredible experiences, playing in the Olympics and a World Cup as teammates," Olsen said in a press release on dcunited.

Sorting Through The MLS Roster Rules For Player Acquisition

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Since we have been, and will continue to, talk about all of the new players that D.C. United might need, we first need a grounding in how the team can acquire players. After discussing all of the various ways that players can be drafted onto a team, we now move on to all of the other ways that teams can acquire players.

MLS Looking to Sign Luis Fabiano?

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Reports out of Brazil, first tweeted by Phil Schoen, are that MLS is negotiating with Sao Paolo over the acquisition of forward Luis Fabiano. While currently at Sao Paolo, he also played in 149 matches for Sevilla of La Liga, scoring 72 goals; he also has earned 44 caps for the Brazilian National Team, with 28 goals.

Kevin Payne Leaves D.C. United With A Strong Legacy, And Lots Of Questions

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The D.C. United Hall of Tradition is becoming a bit crowded. The names of the players that hang on the wall behind the north goal at RFK Stadium can be pretty easily separated into two tiers. Players like Richie Williams and Jeff Agoos certainly hold their places in United history and we may even have one or two fewer stars on our jerseys right now without them.

Herculez Gomez: The Designated Player D.C. United Needs

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Over the second half of the 2012 season there have been plenty of things for D.C. United fans to disagree on. Even as the club embarked on an impressive run during September and October, returned to the playoffs, and invigorated a fanbase that had seen casual support lapse, there were rumblings of discontent.

Kevin Payne Leaving D.C. United for Another MLS Team

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A bit of shocking news was dropped by Steve Goff this morning: club president Kevin Payne will be leaving D.C. United and, even more surprisingly, will be joining another MLS team in some capacity. Payne has been involved in soccer in D.C. since the very beginning and was one of the key players who helped get MLS off the ground and got George Soros to invest in United in 1995.

D.C. United's Top 5 Challenges Entering 2013

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This is an odd time of year in Major League Soccer. The season is not yet complete with the MLS Cup still to be played on Dec. 1, but most teams are firmly entrenched in offseason activities. Last week, we looked back at D.C. United's top 5 accomplishments of the 2012 season. Let's now turn our sights to next year, and put together a list of the top 5 challenges D.

D.C. United & Black And Red United Are Both Transitioning To The Offseason

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The 2012-13 offseason is underway for D.C. United, just two weeks sooner than we would have liked to see it begin. But as the season gets farther behind us in the rear view mirror, we're able to put it in perspective just a bit more every day. We can now see that, short of winning any trophies, the 2012 season was about as good as it could have been for United.

D.C. United's Next Designated Player: Hamnard Salijoy

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We all know that Hamdi Salihi isn't a perfect fit for the way that Ben Olsen wants D.C. United to play.

Salihi has some skills that are seen as valuable in any league in the world - he's got a clinical finishing touch when given some room and time near goal. But Salihi's weaknesses kept him from being a regular starter for United.

D.C. United's Chris Pontius Named To 2012 MLS Best XI

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D.C. United attacker Chris Pontius had an outstanding season, and now he's reaping the spoils off the field. A season that saw Pontius score 12 goals and take on a leadership role on MLS's third-place team was good enough for him to make the 2012 MLS Best XI.

Following a 2011 season that was sadly cut short due to a broken leg and a 2010 hampered by a hamstring problem that required surgery, the talk surrounding Pontius was that he could make a huge impact if he could just avoid injury for a full season.

Rumor Roundup: Fluminense Friendly and Hamdi Salihi Speculation from Abroad

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I hope that all of the denizens of Black and Red United had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were able to rest up from the the madness that is the end of the season and the beginning of the offseason. I know I needed it to be able to bring you the very best in rumors and speculation about D.C. United this offseason.

D.C. United Offseason Preview: Drafting the Drafts

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If you blinked Monday afternoon, you may have missed the fact that Major League Soccer held the first in what will be a number of drafts throughout the offseason. And so while we are not yet done dissecting D.C. United's 2012 MLS season, time (and drafts) march forward. It is in the spirit of all of these drafts that I give you my picks in the first annual draft of MLS drafts!

Branko Boskovic and D.C. United Mutually Agree to Part Ways

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D.C. United announced this morning that the Branko Boskovic will be returning to Europe and will not be with the team in 2013. As Dave Kasper revealed in an interview published by Steve Goff yesterday, the Montenegrin midfielder has been dealing with family issues and worked out a mutual termination of his contract with the team and MLS.

Dejan Jakovic Signs New Contract With D.C. United - What's It Mean?

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D.C. United went a long way towards further securing the back line today by extending the contract of veteran center back Dejan Jakovic. The 27-year old Canadian enjoyed the best season of his MLS career and also scored his first league goal. Jakovic played a huge role in keeping United's opponents off the board during the stretch run of the season, really coming into his own as one of the top center backs in MLS.

Is Hosting The 2nd Leg A Home Field Disadvantage In The MLS Playoffs?

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When Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast, the rain and wind that pummeled New Jersey forced the postponement of the MLS playoff match that the New York Red Bulls were supposed to host that weekend. Even though D.C. United had finished ahead of the Red Bulls in the standings and earned the right to host the decisive second leg of the series, the first match would be moved to D.

D.C. United reportedly to sign three Indonesian players to the U-23 team

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The offseason is now in full swing, even though MLS Cup 2012 has not yet been played, having been kicked off by a waiver draft yesterday. Today, there are reports out of Indonesia, includes quotes from team owner Erick Thohir, that three Indonesia players will be signed to play with the D.C. United U-23 team in January.

D.C. United's Top 5 Accomplishments of 2012

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The 2012 D.C. United campaign may have ended one game too early, but it was truly a remarkable season for United's fans, the team, and the city. When we step back and look at the totality of the season, this year may go down as one of the most pivotal in D.C. United history as the club transitioned from an extended losing period into a future with so much promise.

D.C. United Likely To Be Quiet In Today's MLS Waiver Draft

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In a new and unexpected yet not altogether unsurprising development, the MLS offseason is actually starting before the regular season ends. The league will be conducting a waiver draft today where teams will be able to select players that were released by other teams this week. This is just the first of a record 81 drafts that will be held in MLS this offseason.

Austin Berry Tops Nick DeLeon For 2012 MLS Rookie Of The Year Award

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With the Conference Finals now in the past and the Houston Dynamo and LA Galaxy set to meet in the MLS Cup Final for the second straight year, the league has begun to hand out individual awards. The first award was announced today, and the other awards will be announced over the next two weeks. The Rookie Of the Year Award, as voted on by people who don’t actually watch soccer, was given to defender Austin Berry of the Chicago Fire.

2012 MLS Playoffs: D.C. United Loses Series, Eliminated From Playoffs

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The best player on the D.C. United roster was on the bench, watching, waiting, sitting in the same spot he's been sitting for over two months now.

This year's leading scorer was absent from the field as well. United was forced to play the second leg of the Eastern Conference Finals without Chris Pontius and with Dwayne De Rosario available only for a brief substitute appearance.

MLS Playoffs Eastern Conference Final GameThread: D.C. United Vs. Houston Dynamo (2 of 2)

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When D.C. United needed to beat the Columbus Crew to clinch a playoff berth, they did. When United needed a point on the road against the Chicago Fire to avoid the play-in game, they got it. When United needed a win over the New York Red Bulls to advance out of the Semifinals, they delivered.

It's happened three times this season.

Scouting Report, Playoff Edition: Houston Dynamo (Part 2)

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Ahead of last week's game, I opened by noting how finding a national-level MLS observer to take D.C. United over both the New York Red Bulls (guess history isn't popular these days?) and the Houston Dynamo was virtually impossible. That was before United saw a 1-0 lead turn into a 3-1 loss; before Chris Pontius, Marcelo Saragosa, and Brandon McDonald all had to be substituted with injuries; and before Ricardo Salazar further reduced the number of teams that MLS can reasonably have him officiate without causing acrimony.

Patience Is A Virtue: Why D.C. United Must Stay Composed To Defeat The Houston Dynamo

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If you check around for the opinions of most MLS pundits, D.C. United has 90 minutes to scale Mount Everest. Down 3-1 thanks to a barrage of bad luck (Ricardo Salazar, being forced to use all three substitutions for injured players, and a very sharp finish from, of all people, young Houston Dynamo right back Kofi Sarkode) and mistakes (shutting off on the quick free kick that made it 1-1).

Lionard Pajoy Is A Sure-Starter For D.C. United Vs. Houston Dynamo

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There are plenty of questions about who will start for D.C. United vs. the Houston Dynamo in the second leg of the 2012 MLS Eastern Conference Finals at RFK Stadium on Sunday at 4:00 PM. We don't yet know if Chris Pontius or Dwayne De Rosario will be available to try to get back the two goals that United needs to even up the series with the Dynamo.

Chris Pontius, Nick DeLeon, and Ben Olsen nominated for end of year awards

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In 2009, Chris Pontius was nominated for Rookie of the Year; in 2010, Andy Najar followed suit and won the award too. In 2011, Perry Kitchen, Charlie Davies, and Dwayne De Rosario were nominated for Rookie of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, and Most Valuable Player, with DeRo winning. This year, Chris Pontius, Nick DeLeon, and Ben Olsen were nominated for Comeback Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year, with the results of those races yet to be determined.

Who Can Recover Fast Enough? D.C. United vs. Houston Dynamo

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The big lineup question for D.C. United coming out of Sunday's first leg against the Houston Dynamo is the injury situation, particularly focused on four players: Chris Pontius, Brandon McDonald, Marcelo Saragosa, and Dwayne De Rosario. As various reporters at D.C. United practice today have posted, the team has a positive outlook on the injuries suffered by Brandon McDonald and Marcelo Saragosa.

Raphael Augusto Makes MLS Debut For D.C. United, Earns Mixed Reviews

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It's no secret that I wasn't a huge fan of Raphael Augusto when I first saw him at a reserve match for D.C. United that took place just two months ago but now feels like the distant past.

Following that game, I likened Augusto to a rather raw version of Fred. He started on the wing but liked to cut inside.

Eastern Conference Finals: D.C. United Late-Game Heroics Will Be Needed Once Again!

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Setting aside the non-calls, injuries, and player suspensions that affected the outcome of the Eastern Conference Finals' first leg, it's hard to imagine that D.C. United won't need a late goal in the second leg if they hope to advance to the 2012 MLS Cup. Overcoming a two-goal deficit will be a huge challenge, as we saw in the Sporting Kansas City vs.

MLS Playoffs 2012: Injuries Too Much For D.C. United To Overcome in 3-1 Loss To Houston Dynamo

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This D.C. United team is no stranger to adversity. It's pretty much been the theme of this playoff run. And it was certainly the theme today in United's 3-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium in the first leg of the 2012 MLS Eastern Conference Finals.

The players have brushed off the Dwayne De Rosario injury and used it as motivation to get even better.

MLS Playoffs GameThread: D.C. United Vs. Houston Dynamo, Leg 1

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The goal going into this season for D.C. United was just to make the playoffs. Mission accomplished. When the Eastern Conference playoff seedings fell into place, United was pitted against the hated rival New York Red Bulls, and winning that series became incredibly vital to the organization and the fanbase.

Scouting Report, Playoff Edition: Houston Dynamo

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To just about any MLS observer that isn't a D.C. United fan, Wednesday Thursday's second leg win at home away over the New York Red Bulls was some kind of seismic shock. Virtually every observer said that NYRB had a huge advantage after the first leg ended 1-1 (a leg that, allegedly, the Vegas odds had NYRB also winning).

They Can't Hold Us Back! D.C. United vs. Houston Dynamo Lineups

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This has been the season in which D.C. United has broken through all of the things they hadn't done in years. Win two games in a row for the first time in three years? Check. Make the playoffs for the first time since 2007 despite playing the last month without the reigning league MVP? Check. Win a playoff series for the first time since 2006, against the hated rivals, despite storms, snow, red cards, and encroachment?

D.C. United, the Decided Underdogs!

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What in the world is D.C. United doing in the Eastern Conference Finals? And can they really win the 2012 MLS Cup?

- Our league's official website wonders how D.C. United can keep this playoff run going with almost half their starters either out or questionable. Plus, they point out that United has to go on the road to Houston for the first leg, a place they have been woeful throughout their history.

Andy Najar suspended two more games, will miss conference finals

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Andy Najar has been suspended two additional games by the MLS Disciplinary Committee, meaning he'll miss all of D.C. United's Eastern Conference final against the Houston Dynamo. Najar had already sat out the mandatory one game suspension he received after being shown a red card for throwing the ball at the referee in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals against theNew York Red Bulls.

Joe Willis & Nick DeLeon Join List Of D.C. United Legends

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The list of D.C. United legends is a long one.

The list includes many names that are instantly familiar to anyone who has ever followed MLS. Jaime Moreno and Marco Etcheverry. Roy Lassiter and Raul Diaz Arce. Christian Gomez and Ben Olsen. Eddie Pope. Alecko Eskandarian.

The list also includes several names that aren’t quite as recognizable if you haven’t been a United fan throughout the team’s existence.

D.C. United Vs. New York Red Bulls: Nick DeLeon's Late Winner Propels United To The Next Round

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If you've been following D.C. United closely this year, this match shouldn't have surprised you. Nothing United does is pretty, they've never been mistaken for the most impressive team in MLS, but they just effing win. This series against the New York Red Bulls was never going to be easy for D.C. Nothing ever is.

2012 MLS Playoffs: D.C. United. Vs. New York Red Bulls, 2nd Leg, 2nd Attempt

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The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the bus all that cold cold wet day.

I sat there with Olsen. We sat there we two. And I said how I wish we had something to do. Too wet to go out and too cold to play ball. So we sat in RBA, we did nothing at all.

So all we could do was to Sing, Chant, and Sit.

D.C. United Vs. New York Red Bulls Match Postponed To Tomorrow

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Postponing tonight's match between D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls was probably the right decision. If Hans Backe was right about one thing, it's that playing the match in the sticky snow wouldn't have really constituted a soccer match. It would have been something else. It might have been pretty darn entertaining to watch, but it wouldn't have been the best way to decide which of these two teams most deserves to advance to the next round of the 2012 MLS Playoffs.

D.C. United Vs. New York Red Bulls: Don't Write Us Off Yet

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How many times this season have we seen D.C. United play better in the second half of a match than the first? How many times has Ben Olsen changed the formation or made a key substitution in the second half that gave United the result it desired?

The second half of United's MLS Eastern Conference playoff series against the New York Red Bulls is tomorrow night.

Scouting Report, Playoff Edition: New York Red Bulls (Part 2)

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D.C. United's first playoff game in five years was a strange one. Despite thoroughly controlling the first half and edging the second on the balance of play, what fans will remember are the bad moments: Chris Pontius telegraphing his penalty kick, allowing Luis Robles to make the save; missed sitters by Nick DeLeon and Branko Boskovic; arguably the worst goal Bill Hamid gave up all year (yes, he was bumped by Markus Holgersson, but that should still be saved); and Andy Najar getting himself two yellow cards in about 15 seconds.

2012 MLS Playoffs GameThread: D.C. United Vs. New York Red Bulls, Leg 2

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Oh, so it’s snowing in New Jersey? It’s going to be a little chilly out? The conditions might not be conducive to beautiful soccer, unfortunately. Tonight’s match won’t be the prettiest you’ve ever watched.

And you know what? WE DON’T GIVE A FUCK.

D.C. United has won cups in the pouring rain.

2012 MLS Regular Season Home Field Advantage

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Today, we are all focused on the second leg of D.C. United's Conference Semifinal series against the New York Red Bulls. The Black and Red United community has done a great job breaking down the two opponents in this game, and there is more to come before Wednesday night's kickoff. With that said, there is another opponent D.

It Was A Questionable Call, But The Andy Najar Red Card Didn't Need To Happen

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Andy Najar certainly had a good point in disagreeing with referee Jair Marrufo when he was given a yellow card for a tackle on Joel Lindpere. The young D.C. United fullback was practically running shoulder-to-shoulder with the New York Red Bulls midfielder, and Lindpere went down very easily. Calling a foul on the play seemed questionable to me.

D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls Playoff Reax: First leg ends all-square after United fail to convert chances

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It was there for the taking. The New York Red Bulls dominated possession but rarely did anything with it, firing only two shots on target. Then again, D.C. United didn't do much either, only putting five attempts of their own on target. That said, the Metros got the road draw they were looking for in the rescheduled first leg of this playoff series, and United now have to go to Red Bull Arena (probably) and earn a result.

D.C. United vs. New York Red Bulls: Playoff Lineups, Part 2

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Even before the Andy Najar red card forced Ben Olsen's hand, changes were going to come to the D.C. United lineup. With the Najar red card, we did not get to see the extra subs Olsen would have inevitably made, giving me a little less insight into his mindset going into the return leg. But there is one thing that we all know for sure: the New York Red Bulls are there fore the taking.

D.C. United Vs. New York Red Bulls: Mistakes & Missed Chances Highlighted In Draw To Start 2012 MLS Playoffs

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D.C. United left a lot of plays on the field tonight in a 1-1 tie with the New York Red Bulls. It was the first match of a two-legged playoff series that will see United travel to New Jersey on Wednesday.

United took the lead in the 61st minute when a cross from Chris Korb was deflected into the New York goal by Roy Miller, a player who we all hope to see starting the next leg.

2012 MLS Playoffs GameThread: D.C. United Vs. New York Red Bulls

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Its really unfortunate that D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls had to swap dates in their home-and-home series in the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2012 MLS Cup playoffs. But it had to be done.

On our podcast this week, I came up with an alternate plan that might help give United its rightful advantage back, since D.

D.C. United & Major League Soccer come through for fans, provide free tickets & buses to New Jersey for rescheduled playoff leg

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Last weekend, you may have heard, a big damn storm worked its way up the eastern seaboard, causing particular devastation to New York's Tri-State Area. With regard to D.C. United's scheduled playoff opener at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, the storm left the stadium without power and the train tunnels from New York flooded.

Dwayne De Rosario Upgraded To Questionable Ahead Of Eastern Conference Semifinal

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When Dwayne De Rosario suffered a grade 3 MCL sprain playing for Canada in World Cup qualifying, D.C. United fans had to assume the worst. It was almost precisely a year after an injury to Chris Pontius had robbed United of a vital attacking player, and that injury saw United go from the edge of a playoff spot to also-ran status.

Potential Strategies For D.C. United Vs. New York Red Bulls

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In the last seven games of the 2012 MLS regular season, we've seen a shift in strategies from Ben Olsen. In those games since the injury to Dwayne De Rosario, Olsen and D.C. United have adopted an approach that isn't exactly sexy, and isn't necessarily meant to win over fans of The Beautiful Game.

D.C. United Player Of The Month: October 2012

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This may be our most difficult month yet when it comes to our Player Of The Month voting for D.C. United. The team collected seven out of nine possible points in the month of October, and lots of players played well, but no player really stood out above all others. This isn't May, when Dwayne De Rosario was huge for D.

Filibuster Podcast Episode 13: Previewing D.C. United vs. Red Bull New York in the Eastern Conference Semifinal

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Would you believe me if I told you my computer ate our podcast?

Unfortunately it's true, and we lost a big chunk of - you'll have to trust me here - what was on track to be the best podcast ever recorded in the history of podcasts. It's probably best that it was lost to the ether, though, because it was so good that podcasting would probably have been put to bed if it had been released.

Scouting Report, Playoff Edition: New York Red Bulls

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D.C. United hasn't had a playoff game since November 1, 2007. That's the stark reality. No current United player was with the club at the time. A person starting college that fall would have their degree by now. It's been a long damn time, but we're back where we belong.

Naturally, the fates have handed us the most appropriate opponent for this long-delayed return: The lying, cheating, dastardly New York Red Bulls.

2012 MLS Cup Playoff Predictions From The B&RU Writers

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The 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs are underway, with the Houston Dynamo and all of their experience predictably knocking off the Chicago Fire tonight at Toyota Park. And so it's time for your five favorite writers from your fifth favorite blog to share our predictions for the MLS Cup.

Chest: Back in March, I declared that it was time for a fifth star for United.