Black and Red United Archives for January 2013

Silly season has officially begun: D.C. United is "monitoring" in West Ham United midfielder Joe Cole

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According to a local English paper, D.C. United is monitoring West Ham United midfielder Joe Cole, along with FC Dallas and the Chicago Fire.

A Thanksgiving Day gift from the English papers to D.C. United fans everywhere is the beginning of silly season! According to a local English paper, D.

Classic B&RU: Schedule MLS Cup for the Day After Thanksgiving. Every Year.

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A few years back, B&RU founder Martin Shatzer wrote that MLS should own Black Friday by scheduling the league's biggest event on this day each year. Today we take the occasion to re-publish his piece, the original version of which can be found here.

How did you spend your day yesterday?

Cake or Death? D.C. United's midfield veteran, John Thorrington

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With the 2013 season finally, mercifully behind us, it's time to run through the D.C. United roster and determine who should stay and eat cake and who should leave the team and find inevitable death. We end our fifth week of the series with John Thorrington.

When D.C. United acquired John Thorrington in the second phase of last year's Re-Entry Draft (mechanism thing), he looked like a veteran pick-up who could play anywhere in midfield.

The Popie Award, for D.C. United's best defender of the year

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In a year where the defending was particularly bad, can any climb to the top of this dung heap?

Shouldn't you be helping cook the Thanksgiving meal instead of reading a soccer blog? Well, while the turkey is cooking, steal a second or two away from your family to vote for the Popie Award, given D.

Cake or Death? Put down the turkey! It's finally time for Alam Syamsir! (Or is it Syamsir Alam? Should he have been first on this list? Ah, screw it. Doesn't matter anyway.)

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With the 2013 season finally, mercifully behind us, it's time to run through the D.C. United roster and determine who should stay and eat cake and who should leave the team and find inevitable death. Today, the long-awaited* look at Alam Syamsir.

(* not actually long-awaited)

Okay, let's get something straight at the outset.

D.C. United Trade Targets - Even more defensive pick-ups within the league

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D.C. United obviously needs to add multiple defenders, which is bad news. The good news? There are so many potential additions that could be available within MLS that we can do two parts on that seemingly narrow topic.

We've already looked at some defenders around MLS that D.C. United should consider trading for.

Richmond Kickers and Richmond Strikers to combine Development Academies; new program will be called Richmond United

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The Richmond Kickers and Richmond Strikers Development Academies will be merging, forming a new academy called Richmond United.

The Richmond Kickers announced today that they will be merging their US Soccer Development Academy with the Richmond Strikers, creating one Development Academy for central Virginia and ending years of amicable conflict between the two.

Cake or Death? Surprise midseason acquisition Luis Silva

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With the 2013 season finally, mercifully behind us, it's time to run through the D.C. United roster and determine who should stay and eat cake and who should leave the team and find inevitable death. Today we look at attacking midfielder Luis Silva.

Historically, D.C. United has been at its best when employing a CAM, a central attacking midfielder.

The Harkesy Award, presented to the best leader on D.C. United

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The Benny Awards are slowly coming to their conclusion, with the voting for the Harkesy Award now open.

The Harksey Award, which is the antepenultimate Benny Award, is presented to the best leader on D.C. United for the past year. It is named, of course, after former captain for life of the USMNT and D.

Cake or Death? The curious case of Conor Shanosky

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With the 2013 season finally, mercifully behind us, it's time to run through the D.C. United roster and determine who should stay and eat cake and who should leave the team and find inevitable death. Today's subject is homegrown reserve center back Conor Shanosky.

If you were paying attention at the end of this woeful 2013 season - and you could be forgiven if you weren't - you know where I'm going to go here.

Filibuster podcast episode 58: Hobo Nixon, Scourge of the Rails

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On tap tonight: Starr Hill Snow Blind, Jameson, and rye and cider.

Ben, Jason, and Adam are back for yet another edition of Filibuster - The Black and Red United Podcast. They start the episode by talking about the MLS Cup Playoffs, including the importance of USL PRO to Sporting Kansas City and Dom Dwyer, making comparisons between Claudio Bieler and Hamdi Salihi, and reviewing the games between Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo as well as the game between Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers.

2014 MLS schedule released, with the league opening on March 8; D.C. United opens against the Columbus Crew

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D.C. United will open their season against the Columbus Crew on March 8; the league as a whole will open that day at 3:30, with the Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City.

Major League Soccer will open its 2014 season on March 8 with a full slate of games. The first game of the day will be the Seattle Sounders hosting Sporting Kansas City at 3:30 in the afternoon.

Cake or Death? Newly MNT-ed Jamaican international Michael Seaton (See what I did there?)

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With the 2013 season finally, mercifully behind us, it's time to run through the D.C. United roster and determine who should stay and eat cake and who should leave the team and find inevitable death. Today, homegrown striker and 17-year-old Jamaican international Michael Seaton.

It's still been less than a year since Michael Seaton became the fifth homegrown player signed to D.

2013 MLS Cup Playoffs: Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake Game Time, TV Schedule, Predictions, & Open Thread

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With Sporting Kansas City crowned champions of the Eastern Conference, all eyes now turn to Portland to see if Real Salt Lake or the Portland Timbers will join them in MLS Cup.

After falling behind in the early moments, Sporting Kansas City settled down and dispatched the Houston Dynamo by a score of 2-1.

2013 MLS Cup Playoffs: Sporting Kansas City vs. Houston Dynamo Game Times, TV Schedule, Predictions, & Open Thread

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The MLS Cup Playoffs are back, with Sporting Kansas City taking on the Houston Dynamo for a spot in the MLS Cup Final.

Despite the fact that there is a waiver draft happening on Monday, there are still games to be played in this 2013 MLS season. Tonight is the second leg of the Eastern Conference Finals/MLS Cup Semifinals, with the Houston Dynamo traveling to Kansas City to take on the Sporks.

United Abroad: Alumni News & Notes for November 2013

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Revs decline Davies' option, Bahia not keeping Adu around, and DeRo may consider playing outside of MLS in 2014.

Three things are certain in life: death, taxes, and Freddy Adu being featured in United Abroad every month. Let's get to what happened to with our alumni in Novemeber.

Revolution decline option on Davies

The New England Revolution have declined the 2014 option on Charlies Davies' contract.

Bill Hamid training with West Bromwich Albion, will be back for the Indonesian tour

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Bill Hamid, D.C. United's top goalkeeper and a member of the US men's national team, is currently training with West Bromwich Albion.

D.C. United confirmed today that Bill Hamid is currently training with Premier League team West Bromwich Albion; however, he will return to D.C. United in time for their trip to Indonesia and will take full part of that tour.

Cake or Death? Well, at least Marcelo Saragosa is still Kaka's best friend. Even if he's no longer on D.C. United

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With the 2013 season finally, mercifully behind us, it's time to run through the D.C. United roster and determine who should stay and eat cake and who should leave the team and find inevitable death. Today, we look at the departed best friend of Kaka, Marcelo Saragosa.

For the second straight day, we vote on the fate of a player whose fate has already been decided.

The Freddy Award, for the biggest story of D.C. United's 2013 season.

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Which story D.C. United's 2013 season most resonated with the fanbase? Let's find out!

The Benny Awards continue, with today's award named after one of the most infamous members of D.C. United: Freddy Adu. You all know the story of the "next Pele" who signed with MLS when he was 14 and since then has appeared on 9 different teams in the next 10 years.

D.C. United has the first pick in Monday's waiver draft; are there any prospects out there?

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The first offseason player acquisition mechanism will actually take place before the season is totally over, with Monday's waiver draft.

D.C. United will get its first crack at acquiring new players through the league's various acquisition mechanisms this coming Monday, with the waiver draft.

Cake or Death? Carlos Ruiz sleeps with the fishes

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With the 2013 season finally, mercifully behind us, it's time to run through the D.C. United roster and determine who should stay and eat cake and who should leave the team and find inevitable death. Today, we look at the short tenure of Carlos "el Pescadito" Ruiz.

More than anybody else on D.

Forbes: D.C. United second-lowest valued MLS club, Sounders top the list

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Forbes is out today with its first valuation of MLS clubs since 2008. No doubt owing to the club's stadium situation, the online magazine values D.C. United lower than any other franchise not called Chivas USA.

For the first time since 2008, Forbes has taken on the task of setting the market value for each of Major League Soccer's 19 clubs.

Josh Wolff leaves D.C. United to take an assistant's role with the Columbus Crew

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Former D.C. United striker Josh Wolff is leaving his post as an assistant to Ben Olsen to go to Columbus with new coach Gregg Berhalter.

D.C. United announced today that assistant coach Josh Wolff is leaving the team to go to the Columbus Crew, where he will serve as an assistant to new head coach Gregg Berhalter.

Top 5 Rule Changes MLS Should Adopt Now

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Ok, Ok. Soccer has laws, not rules. But whatever you call them, occasionally they should be updated to improve the game. And maybe even make life easier for the referees who really do have a brutally tough job.

Soccer is a sport that doesn't make rule changes lightly. It's a sport of great tradition, one in which famous matches of the past are still played by the same general rules that are used today.

Cake or Death? Making the call on fullback James Riley

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With the 2013 season finally, mercifully behind us, it's time to run through the D.C. United roster and determine who should stay and eat cake and who should leave the team and find inevitable death. Today, fullback James Riley takes center stage.

Of all the new players to come into D.C. United in 2013, perhaps none of them disappointed as quickly as James Riley, who showed very quickly that he wasn't the steal he seemed when United acquired him from Chivas USA late in the offseason.

Filibuster podcast episode 57: You're a hedging magic 8 ball!

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On tap from this episode: a rye manhattan, Red Hook ESB, and an after-dinner brandy.

The Filibuster guys are back for their first episode broadcast live on YouTube, where you can find the unedited version of this show. We start off with a D.C. United news roundup, talking about the missed stadium deadline, Michael Williamson, and Henry Kalungi.

The Esky Award, for the D.C. United fan favorite

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Can anyone topple LEWIS NEAL for the title of D.C. United fan favorite?

The Esky Award is named for Alecko Eskandarian, former D.C. United forward whose career was cut short due to concussions. Eskandarian vaulted into fan favorite territory with his spitting out the Red Bull goal celebration, which remains one of the best goal celebrations in team history.

D.C. United Trade Targets - Possible attacking pick-ups within MLS

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Last month, we looked at some possible defensive players United could find within MLS. Today, we look at a list of attackers who might be available should the Black-and-Red come knocking.

We've already touched on some potential defensive trade targets D.C. United might be looking at this offseason.

Cake or Death? D.C. United's youngest Canadian international, Kyle Porter

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With the 2013 season finally, mercifully behind us, it's time to run through the D.C. United roster and determine who should stay and eat cake and who should leave the team and find inevitable death. Today, we look at midfielder and relative newcomer Kyle Porter.

He came into the team on a trial last offseason and earned himself his first top flight contract.

Is D.C. United Chief Financial Officer Michael Williamson leaving for Inter Milan?

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Rumors out of Italy have D.C. United's COO and CFO, Michael Williamson, leaving the team to take a similar position with Inter Milan in January.

Erick Thohir only this week has officially completed his purchase of Inter Milan and already the relationship between the Italian giant and D.C. United has begun.

Henry Kalungi of the Richmond Kickers to join D.C. United for their Indonesian tour

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The Richmond Kickers center back and captain looks to be joining D.C. United as a guest player for their Indonesian tour.

According to Winthrop University, his alma mater, Henry Kalungi of the Richmond Kickers will be joining D.C. United as a guest player on their Indonesian tour early next month.

First Deadline Missed for new D.C. United stadium on Buzzard Point

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Last Friday was the deadline for Mayor Gray's administration and developer Akridge to submit a land swap proposal to the D.C. Council for approval. That deadline was not met, opening the door to cascading delays as D.C. United looks for a new home on Buzzard Point.

The City Paper's Aaron Wiener pointed out on Friday that we have now seen the first missed deadline in the latest plan to let D.

Cake or Death? Looking at Chris Pontius' place with D.C. United

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With the 2013 season finally, mercifully behind us, it's time to run through the D.C. United roster and determine who should stay and eat cake and who should leave the team and find inevitable death. Week 4 of our series begins with midfielder/forward Chris Pontius.

Our Izzard-flavored roster review picks back up today after a weekend off.

D.C. United Attendance: A Postscript on 2013

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All the conditions were in place for D.C. United to have better home attendance in 2013. Then the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad season started.

[Standing up at a support group session for D.C. United fans, it's my turn to confess.] "I'm a big D.C. United fan, and I was an optimist heading into 2013.

Cake or Death? Dancing on Lionard Pajoy's grave

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With the 2013 season finally, mercifully behind us, it's time to run through the D.C. United roster and determine who should stay and eat cake and who should leave the team and find inevitable death. We conclude the third week with departed striker Lio Pajoy.

Well, this is awkward. We started our little Cake or Death series back on the first day of the offseason, before any roster cuts had been made.

The Bobby Award: Pick D.C. United's most improved player

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The Benny Awards continue ever onward. Today, the Bobby Award for the team's most improved player.

The Benny Awards continue ever onward, and to day its time to give the Bobby Award, given to the team's most improved player. It's named for former United standout and current Houston Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell, who went from an undrafted rookie to Defender Of The Year in just a two-year stretch.

Cake or Death? The Sainey Nyassi Question

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With the 2013 season finally, mercifully behind us, it's time to run through the D.C. United roster and determine who should stay and eat cake and who should leave the team and find inevitable death. Today, we look at Gambian winger Sainey Nyassi.

Who is Sainey Nyassi? Do we even know? Does D.

Should D.C. United trade for Eddie Johnson? Well...

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The Seattle Sounders are trying to trade US national team attacker Eddie Johnson. D.C. United has the means to make a deal and needs a proven striker, but given how vital landing the right striker is for the Black-and-Red, can the club afford to roll the dice on EJ?

It's something everyone with even tangential interest in Major League Soccer knows: D.

D.C. United should trade for Eddie Johnson. Right now.

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With word now that the Sounders are shopping U.S. international Eddie Johnson on the MLS trade market, D.C. United should take the initiative and make sure they bring the prolific striker to RFK.

It almost makes too much sense. D.C. United need a physical, goal-scoring striker in the worst way and have tons of allocation money and salary space to play with.

D.C. United looking to stream the matches during their Indoensian tour

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Since D.C. United's Indonesian friendlies will be on one of the nation's largest TV channels, the team is looking to see if US streams of those games can be provided.

After a chat with a D.C. United official today, we have a few more pieces of information about their upcoming tour of Indonesia.

Michael Seaton called up for the senior Jamaican national team

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Jumping straight from the U-17 team to the senior team, Michael Seaton has been called up for two upcoming friendlies.

D.C. United homegrown player Michael Seaton has been called up to the senior Jamaican national team for two upcoming friendlies, to be held on November 15 and November 19.

Cake or Death? Oh, this'll be fun: LEWIS NEAL

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With the 2013 season finally, mercifully behind us, it's time to run through the D.C. United roster and determine who should stay and eat cake and who should leave the team and find inevitable death. Today, we yell LEWIS NEAL! a lot in the comments.

Okay, you guys, this is my serious voice (voice?

Filibuster podcast episode 56: A toast to Omar Cummings, the Slayer of the Red Bulls

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The Filibuster guys continue their offseason rampage, starting with Bill Hamid's call-up to the United States Men's National Team for their friendlies against Scotland and Austria. We then briefly touch on the hiring of Troy Scott from Events DC as the Senior Advisor for Stadium Development and Operations, touching on what that means for D.

The Donnety Award, for D.C. United's most disappointing player

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In one sense, you could probably nominate almost every player on the team for the Donnety Award, which is presented to the most disappointing player on the team. For those who don't remember, the award is named for Matias Donnet, the Argentinian star midfielder who had played previously at Boca Juniors and Venezia before coming to D.

Cake or Death? It's rookie homegrown attacker Collin Martin's turn on the stage

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He signed with D.C. United out of Wake Forest (and the DCU Academy) midseason and never got to play his natural central playmaking position this year, but that's no reason not to put him up to the vote. Today's subject of Cake or Death? is one Mr. Collin Martin, formerly of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School (whom I mention mostly to note the degree to which they own their area's reputation for tony addresses - the school's teams are called the Barons).

Bill Hamid called up to U.S. Men's National Team for friendlies in Scotland and Austria

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Bill Hamid is going to Europe this summer. But - at least as of right now - it won't be to train with or trial for or go on loan with a club side over there. D.C. United's starting GK will be joining Juergen Klinsmann & Co. for a couple of friendlies the United States Men's National Team will play in the coming days.

The Road Not Taken - What if Ben Olsen hadn't traded Dax McCarty and built D.C. United around Dwayne De Rosario?

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During the offseason after the last Worst Season Ever, D.C. United traded away a draft pick and promising/disappointing fullback/midfielder Rodney Wallace to the Portland Timbers for Dax McCarty, whom the expansion side had just acquired from the MLS Cup runner-up FC Dallas through the league's re-entry draft.

Cake or Death? We give Chris Korb the once-over

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We seem to be a pretty cake-loving group two weeks into this exercise. Some of it is surely a function of the names that have come up, but there have definitely been one or two names that I expected a more cut-throat vote. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing - the point of this is to see where we stand, not to be a bunch of heartless bastards.

2013 MLS Cup Playoffs: Conference Finals Game Times, TV Schedule, Predictions & Open Thread

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It might not be the match-ups the suits at MLS HQ and the league's broadcast partners wanted, but we certainly got the four results I wanted to see from the conference semifinals over the last week. Mostly, we got the Not New York Red Bulls, the Not New England Revolution, the Not LA Galaxy and the Not Seattle Sounders, which I think most D.

This Day in D.C. United History: November 8, 2012 and the Eastern Conference Semifinal vs. the Metros

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Pajoy -> Russell -> DeLeon FTW

Bahia will not extend Freddy Adu's contract

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Yesterday, reports surfaced that the Brazilian club Bahia will not keep former D.C. United striker Freddy Adu around when contract expires in December making him a free agent once again.

Bahia's director of football told Lance!Net this in regard to Adu:

"He does not play because there are others who are superior.

Cake or Death? Team MVP Perry Kitchen should be an easy enough call

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When he was drafted third overall following D.C. United's previous Worst Season Evar, we all thought Perry Kitchen would be a center back. Well, that didn't work out too well for the then-18-year-old, and he spent most of his rookie year out at right fullback before transitioning to a defensive midfield role for his sophomore campaign.

The Andy Award, for D.C. United's 2013 Rookie of the Year

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The Andy Award, formerly known as the Convey Award, is given out yearly to the best rookie from that D.C. United season. After his remarkable performance during the 2010 season, the name of the award was changed due to Andy Najar putting himself into the pantheon of rookie performances and eclipsing Bobby Convey in both performance and closeness to our hearts.

Cake or Death? What do we think of rookie left sider Taylor Kemp?

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In today's ninth episode of D.C. United Cake or Death?, we look at 2013 rookie Taylor Kemp. He came out of Maryland as a fullback last winter with United's late first-round Superdraft pick. But with his defensive instincts not quite honed enough for the professional level, he spent a lot of his first season down in Richmond with United's USL-Pro affiliates.

D.C. United is in Honduras observing players at C.D.S. Vida

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You know its truly the MLS offseason when we start getting sketchy rumors from Honduras about all of the players in which D.C. United is interested. This rumor has slightly more legs to it, but it also has less information than a typical Honduran newspaper report. The official Twitter account for the Honduran professional soccer league says that representatives from D.

MLS Cup Playoffs: Conference Semifinals, Second Legs - Game Time, TV Schedule, Predictions & Open Thread

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Some of the first legs were cagey, and some were wide open. Some (well, most) had football (as in gridiron) lines marring the field, and some had less-than-attractive play on showcase. But damn if the story lines aren't pretty compelling coming into the second legs of the MLS Cup quarterfinals conference semifinals.

2013 MLS Cup Playoffs: Our Complete Coverage

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All of Black and Red United's playoff coverage - all of it, sadly, devoid of D.C. United - in one unhappy place.

With D.C. United basically firing everybody (except, so far, Ben Olsen and Dave Kasper), our betters in the league set out in the MLS Cup Playoffs tonight, with the Don't-Call-It-A-Wild-Card Round, which pits the fourth and fifth place teams in each conference in a single-game elimination.

2013 MLS Playoffs: Eastern Conference Semifinal Second Leg Scouting Report

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After the first legs, the Eastern Conference semifinals are both wide open. The Houston Dynamo's inspired fightback - or is that the farcical collapse by the New York Red Bulls? - in the second half at BBVA Compass and MLS's allergy to the away goals rule means that the second leg at Red Bull Dumpster Arena is a winner-take-all affair.

Cake or Death? Putting Jared Jeffrey under the microscope

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He looks very likely to win our Richie Award for the most underrated player in 2013, but we still have to answer the separate question whether we want Jared Jeffrey back on D.C. United next season. It's Cake or Death? time for the 23-year-old midfielder. Jeffrey joined United from the Mainz Reserves in Germany, signing with MLS before any individual team actually expressed interest.

Filibuster Podcast Episode 55: He's Just Bad At Alchemy!

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It's Tuesday, which means that it is Filibuster day yet again. The guys start this alchemy themed episode with a news roundup, including the news of the Indonesian tour. Then they go into a review of the players who were let go this week, and comment on Dwayne De Rosario's banner-gate. They then go around the league and talk about all of the playoff matches that have taken place over the past week.

The Nelly Award: Choose D.C. United's best newcomer

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The Benny Awards march ever forward and the second award to be given out is the Nelly Award, which is given to the best newcomer to the team. It is, of course, named after Ryan Nelsen, former D.C. United captain, MLS Cup winner, and now the coach of Toronto FC. Past winners of this award include Branko Boskovic, Louis Crayton, Dejan Jakovic, and Lionard Pajoy.

Cake or Death? One of MLS' best worst defenders - or is it worst best defenders? - Dejan Jakovic

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D.C. United's defensive record in 2013 was... dubious. At best. After an incredible end to the 2012 season, and a decent start to 2013, the back line fell apart in a major way, resulting in Brandon McDonald's exile to Utah and lots of questions being asked about today's subject in Cake or Death?, Dejan Jakovic.

D.C. United Indonesian tour has been finalized

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The long-rumored Indonesian tour has finally been announced, and the details are the same as the rumors early last month. D.C. United will play a friendly against Persib Bandung on December 6 at 6:30pm local time, following that game up two days later with a friendly against Arema FC at 7:00pm local time.

Imagining What a New D.C. United Stadium Can Be: A Tour of Camp Nou

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View this gallery here.

Cake or Death? What will D.C. United latecomer Dennis Iapichino get?

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For those of you who missed last week or have the short term memory of Guy Pierce in Momento, welcome to the sixth installment of our Cake or Death series, where we run through the roster, player-by-player, to figure out who we, as fans of D.C. United, think should be with the team as we build for 2014 and beyond.

MLS Playoffs: Conference Semifinals TV Schedule, Predictions & Open Thread

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And then there were eight. The MLS Conference Semifinals - which you may as well just call the MLS quarterfinals - get underway Saturday night with the first two of four games this weekend. These are essentially the first legs of two-legged ties, which will finish up mid-week, and they're all at the site of the lower seed.

Friday Afternoon Distraction: What shirt sponsor would you want to see if Volkswagen and D.C. United split?

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This really doesn't fit into our You be the GM series, but it is nevertheless a critical negotiation that D.C. United's front office will have to navigate carefully and successfully to ensure a good foundation for future success. Steve Goff is reporting that he's receiving "mixed signals" about the likelihood of Volkswagen returning as the jersey sponsor for the club next year and beyond.

D.C. United declines their option on Syamsir Alam

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D.C. United announced today that they have declined their option to purchase Syamsir Alam, who has been on loan to the team from C.S. Vise in the Belgian Second Division. C.S. Vise is owned by the Bakrie Group, who are partners with Erick Thohir in his purchase of Inter Milan. He returns to Belgium having not featured in any competitive matches for the team and returns to a team that is currently in last place in the Belgian Second Division.

Cake or Death? Turning our attention to homegrown #1 Bill Hamid

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Bill Hamid is undeniably D.C. United's number one goalkeeper. The home-grown product has started almost every league game for which he's been eligible over the last few seasons, making way for Joe Willis when hurt, suspended or gone with the USMNT. In that time, we've seen him improve from an incredibly athletic but raw 'keeper into one with better decision-making abilities and one who has learned to better channel his emotions.

Playoff Envy: Seattle Sounders Top Colorado Rapids, Houston Dynamo Crush Montreal Impact

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Seattle Sounders 2:0 Colorado Rapids

The home-standing Sounders started the game well enough, which was probably no surprise after Colorado opted for big lineup changes. Oscar Pareja - my personal vote for MLS Coach of the Year - maybe over-thought things by dropping Marvell Wynne, moving Shane O'Neill to right back, and bringing in German Mera (who only played 577 minutes in 2013) centrally.