Podcast: S3 Episode 16 – Can you believe it?

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Wow! What a week it has been, we’ll be discussing all the latest things that have been going on with DCU, but also England too. Be ready with us and if you have any questions, ask them live on the show!

Don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to the channel to be kept up to date on all new shows.

Membership – http://bit.ly/DCUKmember
Merchandise – https://dcuk-merch.creator-spring.com/
Theme Song – Mike Stringer – Shake The Rattle – https://www.epidemicsound.com/track/jltVgYTQvn
Outro – FormantX – Uncharted Planet – https://www.epidemicsound.com/track/UnGISl1cBY/
Build up song – Tigerblood Jewel – Minitaur – https://www.epidemicsound.com/track/LWfZ4K5naK/
Build Up Song – FormantX – Destiny Rising – https://www.epidemicsound.com/track/BGlHlMSuB7

MLS is Back Back

Announcement has just been made that the 25th season of MLS is making it’s full return. The 1st six fixtures have been decided. Regular testing of the players, coaches and staff will also be a part of the return.

The 1st fixture for D.C. United will be a road game against FC Cincinnati on August 21st, 7:30pm ET/12:30am BST. We return to Audi Field (without fans I should add) for a match against New England Revolution on August 25th at 7pm ET/12am BST. The rest of the fixtures can be found here which includes two games against the Red Bulls.

Each club will play 18 additional regular season games in a phased approach, culminating with Decision Day on Sunday, Nov. 8. In an expansion of the postseason for 2020, 18 clubs will compete in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs — up from 14 teams last year. MLS Cup will be played on Dec. 12.

DCU vs Toronto postponed

After FC Dallas were withdrawn from the tournament, I had worries that that was only the beginning. Unfortunately, my worries rang true. Not only have we been postponed, but a number of other fixtures have been delayed also. Was it right to have this tournament? Or even have the games kick off now? I’m sure reflection will happen once all of this has been done.

So when do we play Toronto then? Thankfully it’s not a huge wait, just a couple of days. We kick off against Toronto on Sunday at 9am ET, which gives us a kick off of 2pm BST! I’m rather happy about this and means us Brits don’t have to have bleary eyes. Vamos United!

Major League Soccer today announced that the MLS is Back Tournament has rescheduled the Toronto FC vs. D.C. United match that was originally scheduled for July 10 to July 12 at 9 a.m. ET (ESPN2, TSN, TVA Sports) due to Toronto’s delayed arrival into Orlando.

D.C. United statement

D.C. United Begin Individual Workouts at Segra Field

News has come out that D.C. United will begin individual workouts at the clubs USL team Loudoun United’s stadium Segra Field. From what has been said this will be a watered down version of training and only essential staff will be on site. This begins as of tomorrow and while it is great to see some progress being made, it will still be a while before we get back to normality. Full club statement below.

D.C. United have announced that the club will begin voluntary individual outdoor workouts for players at Segra Field in Leesburg, Va, home of D.C. United’s United Soccer League (USL) affiliate Loudoun United FC, on Friday, May 29.
On Tuesday, May 26, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that the state will move into phase one of easing pandemic-related shutdowns on Friday, May 29. Major League Soccer (MLS) had previously announced that players could begin to use outdoor team training fields for individual workouts beginning May 6.
D.C. United will implement detailed health and safety protocols based on consultations with local and national health professionals and adhere to the following guidelines previously announced by MLS for the workouts at Segra Field:

Restricting training facility access to essential staff only, with specific staff listed in the plan.

Sanitization and disinfection plans for all training equipment and spaces, including disinfection of any equipment used by players (balls, cones, goals) between every session.

Completion of a Standard Screening Assessment survey by each player prior to every arrival at the training site, and temperature checks upon arrival at the facility.

Staggered player and staff arrivals and departures, with designated parking spaces to maintain maximum distance between vehicles.

Player use of personal protective equipment from the parking lot to the field, and again on return to the parking lot.

Staff use of the appropriate personal protective equipment throughout training, while also maintaining a minimum distance of 10 feet from players at all times.

Hand washing and disinfectant stations for required use before and after individual workouts.

Segra Field will be divided into a maximum of four quadrants with only one player per quadrant allowed access at a time. There will be no equipment sharing or playing (passing, shooting, etc.) between players.

Individual training sessions will be limited to 60 minutes per player.

There will be no media access. D.C. United Communications will provide photos and video for media use following individual training sessions.
D.C. United are also continuing to work closely with the Mayor’s Office in Washington, D.C. on when the club may begin to use Audi Field along with RFK’s Training Fields for individual training opportunities.

DC United Club Statement


DC United to play Colorado Rapids in home opener

Announcement of all the 25th MLS season has been made, and all the clubs will be playing on ther opening weekend. We will be up against Colorado Rapids at Audi Field on February 29th. Kick off will be at 1pm ET/6pm GMT. Full fixture list below.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

1 PM D.C. United vs. Colorado Rapids (Audi Field)

3 PM Montreal Impact vs. New England Revolution (Olympic Stadiu)

3:30 PM Houston Dynamo vs. LA Galaxy (BBVA Stadium)

5:30 PM San Jose Earthquakes vs. Toronto FC (Avaya Stadium)

6 PM FC Dallas vs. Philadelphia Union (Toyota Stadium)6 PM Orlando City SC vs. Real Salt Lake (Exploria Stadium)

8 PM Nashville SC vs. Atlanta United (Nissan Stadium)

10:30 PM Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Sporting Kansas City (BC Place)

Sunday, March 1, 20201

2:30 PM Columbus Crew SC vs. New York City Football Club (MAPFRE Stadium)

1 PM New York Red Bulls vs. FC Cincinnati (Red Bull Arena)

3 PM Seattle Sounders FC vs. Chicago Fire FC (CenturyLink Field)

5:30 PM Los Angeles Football Club vs. Inter Miami CF (Banc of California Stadium)

7:30 PM Portland Timbers vs. Minnesota United


Opinion: MLS Promotion/Relegation, how I think it could work

Let me start off firstly by saying this is just my opinion and an idea. I understand that American Sports just don’t do this, but let me put it to you that it’s something that could happen and could be revolutionary. Here is my opinion/idea.

There has been a lot of talk around this concept. Something that happens in the majority of leagues around the globe. But why has it cropped up more and more recently for our American Cousins, and how would it affect the league? I’m a fan of promotion and relegation, one reason for the fact it adds something for the teams to fight for the entire season, you have the joy of staying/going up, you have the heartache of going down or missing out on promotion. There are arguments against this, one I can agree with too, which is the buy-in fee for MLS, why would a team owner want to pay the buy-in fee if they aren’t going to reap the rewards? Because at the end of the day, these clubs are franchises and are required to make money. And maybe that’s part of the problem, it’s the bottom line, but as fans, aren’t we wanting to be entertained? For me, being entertained will bring fans, which will bring money. With the entertainment in mind, how would I do promotion/relegation?

League Setup

Well I would keep it as it is right now, having the Eastern/Western Conferences. I love that, I think it’s a great way of building the league. And I love the MLS Cup. I love what it stands for and what it means to the club’s & fans. I would stick with playing your conference teams home & away, and then the opposing conference team once, however the home/away should alternate year on year. One thing I love about being a supporter of an MLS club is the road trips. It’s what makes the league unique. I would never scrap that.

For the league below, let’s call it “MLS II”, it would be the exact same setup, 2 conferences, home & away for same conference and once for the opposite conference. I’d want both MLS & MLS II to have the same amount of sides too.

But how would that leave the USL? As I understand it’s classed as a separate entity but have got the “B” teams of some MLS sides. This is similar to how it is in Spain. I do like that, but it’s not entirely correct, for me that’s punishing other sides who don’t have that luxury. I’d like to see a reserve league for the “B” teams.

Promotion/Relegation Battle

I would have it as 2 teams promoted and relegated from each conference. This means that 4 teams in total will be changing each year. This means that under the current playoff scenarios for 2019, only 3 teams at the end of the season would be dead rubbers. Let’s take a look at what would happen right now.

Under my idea, FC Cincinnati & Columbus Crew would be going down from the Eastern Conference, and Colorado Rapids would be going down alongside Vancouver Whitecaps. In both conferences there are two sides that are clearly the worst. Right now, there is nothing to punish them, in fact, they get the 1st round picks in the SuperDraft. Surely, not only would it incentivise the team to not get relegated, but also add a bit of spectacle to the league.

In MLS II, for promotion, I would have the top team in each conference guaranteed promotion. Then, I’d have the next 4 sides battle it off in true Playoff style. 2nd vs 6th, 3rd vs 4th, and then the winners from the Semi’s to play each other for that final promotion spot. It works great elsewhere in the world, it would be great for American Sports fans as they get yet another conference playoff, and for the many fans across the globe who love promotion.

That is how I see Promotion & Relegation working in MLS. Let me know your thoughts, have I missed anything, or do you not agree, let’s get a healthy debate going if so.

2019 MLS Player Salaries

This is something that I do like to see from MLS. Each year the MLS Players Association will release the Salary Guide to show how much each player is earning from their base salary and then a guaranteed salary too. If you don’t understand what the Guaranteed Salary is all about, the MLSPA have you sorted.

The 2019 Salary Guide contains salary information for all MLS players under contract as of June 1st, 2019. In the Guide, player salaries are broken down into two numbers:

Current Annualized Base Salary

Annualized Average Guaranteed Compensation

The Annual Average Guaranteed Compensation (Guaranteed Comp) number includes a player’s base salary and all signing and guaranteed bonuses annualized over the term of the player’s contract, including option years.

For example, a player earning an annual base salary of $500,000, whose contract has an initial term of two years with two one-year options and received a $100,000 signing bonus, his average annual guaranteed compensation would be $525,000 (base salary plus signing bonus ($100,000), with the signing bonus divided by the number of years covered by the contract (4)).

The Average Annual Guaranteed Compensation figure also includes any marketing bonus and any agent’s fees, both annualized over the term of the contract. The Average Annual Guaranteed Compensation figure does not include Performance Bonuses because there is no guarantee that the player will hit those bonuses.

These figures include compensation from each player’s contract with MLS. They do not include any compensation from any contracts with individual teams or their affiliates.

Player Salary explaination: http://mlsplayers.org/resources/salary-guide

With the release of this, I thought I would share the DC United players salaries with you. I would love to hear your thoughts on it. Anyone you think is being underpaid/overpaid? Drop me a tweet or a comment

Company Last Name First Name Playing Position(s) 2019 Base Salary 2019 Guaranteed
DC United Acosta Luciano M/F $600,000 $702,000
DC United Amarikwa Quincy F $70,250 $70,250
DC United Arriola Paul M $675,000 $707,000
DC United Birnbaum Steven D $525,000 $550,000
DC United Brillant Frederic D $265,000 $300,000
DC United Bustamante Antonio D/M $70,250 $74,485
DC United Canouse Russell M $247,500 $247,500
DC United Durkin Chris D/M $95,000 $104,167
DC United Edwards Earl GK $70,250 $73,583
DC United Fisher Oniel D $70,250 $74,917
DC United Hamid Bill GK $461,820 $487,495
DC United Jara Leonardo D $500,000 $560,000
DC United McCann Chris D/M $580,000 $608,000
DC United Mora Joseph D $150,000 $164,250
DC United Moreno Junior D/M $140,000 $159,500
DC United Odoi-Atsem Chris D $56,250 $56,250
DC United Pedroso Marcos D $375,000 $375,000
DC United Pines Donovan D $90,000 $102,000
DC United Robinson Jalen D $80,004 $80,004
DC United Rodriguez Lucas M/F $262,000 $298,550
DC United Rooney Wayne F $3,500,000 $3,507,500
DC United Segura Ulises M/F $170,000 $170,000
DC United Seitz Chris GK $165,000 $165,000
DC United Stieber Zoltan M/F $787,500 $787,500
DC United Ward Akeem M $70,250 $70,250
DC United Yow Griffin F $70,250 $76,368

Match Preview: Orl vs DCU

Team News

Good news from DCU, there is no new team news. So we should be expecting our strongest lineup again with the trip to Orlando. This will be Wayne Rooney’s real first long trip in MLS. As I’ve said before, I don’t think it’ll have a huge effect on him, especially this one as there is no time difference or anything.

Expect to see the likes of Lucho, Arriola, Hamid all starting. Orlando will be on a high after their victory over NYRB (LOL), and hopefully we can dampen that. With a great defence so far this season, they will be properly tested with the likes of Dwyer and Nani. Eyes up Birnbaum & Brillant.

Key Stats

Looking over the Head to Head record between these two, overall it’s even, however, when you look deeper into the records, usually the home side comes out on top. DCU have scored less than a goal a game in Orlando, and they’ll need to really up it if they are to come out victorious. Rooney has yet to play there so this could be where the tide changes.

The last time this fixture was played was the match opener last year. That ended in a tie very cruelly for DC. I remember staying up to watch it and seeing that goal go in at the last minute was brutal. Revenge was sweet later on in the season though.

Lineup Prediction

Well, I think you know how it’s going down.

Now news is good news for DC United.

Scoreline Prediction

I’ve asked about and heard some predictions already, I don’t think it’s going to be the highest scoring of games, and I think we will continue the shutouts, so I’m going for 2-0. I think Rooney will bag himself a goal alongside Acosta. Lucho seems to like this fixture quite a lot and hopefully he will get himself on the scorers list, if not for himself, but for my Fantasy Team =D.

Where to Watch (UK)

In the UK this game will be shown live on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Mix from 23:45 GMT.

Match Review

Match Review: DCU vs ATL

On a wet and chilly evening at Audi Field, MLS Cup champions came to town after the 1st round win in the Champions League. The lineup was as predicted in my match preview with debuts being handed to Jara and Rodriguez. Expecting to be fresher than DC United, it was anything but for the title holders. DCU came out all guns blazing with their new style of play and identity, high pressing, solid defence and a lot of movement up top. Rooney & Arriola showing early doors what this style of play can do by combining well down the right. And then Jara getting involved too by having a chance but Guzan with a well-timed save. 32mins in and Arriola had the best chance of the game so far but ended up putting far wide.
With half-time fast approaching, I tweeted a poll asking if a goal would arrive by half time, 80% said no. Arriola had something to say about that as he tucked in an effort with the last kick of the 45. Well deserved from DCU.
With the 2nd half underway, it was more of the same, whatever Ben Olsen said worked it’s wonders, while you could tell it was the 1st game of the season as tired legs were beginning to show, DC were putting the effort in. Rodriguez with an effort after getting through on goal, but again Guzan with the save. Things turned worse for the former Aston Villa and Middlesbrough keeper as he was what he must feel like, a mile away from saving Acosta’s effort that was straight down the middle of the goal. Yes there was some curl in it, but any keeper would rightly save that one. Things started to ease off, Atlanta were shooting from long range, Hamid making a good couple of saves, but nothing else of note happened. Game finished 2-0 to DCU, and they continue their good record against ATL.

Match Ratings
Hamid – 7 Only needed a couple of occasions, but did what was required
Jara – 7 Solid 1st half, didn’t see much of him in the 2nd
Birnbaum – 8 Kept the ATL attack at bay throughout the evening
Brillant – 8 Same as Birnbaum, just solid at the back
Mora – 7 Good going forward, solid at the back
Moreno – 7 Good passing, got himself about
Canouse – 7 Got forward on occasion, needs to improve finishing
Arriola – 9 Constant threat going forward, creating chances and getting on the scoresheet too
Acosta – 8 Movement off the ball was very good, passing spot on and bagged himself a goal too
Rodriguez – 7 Good debut, great movement up top, good tackling and had a couple of opportunities
Rooney – 7 Didn’t stop, ended up dropping back a bit in the 2nd half so had less chances, the one he did have, he put way over the bar.

Segura – 6 Not much chance of making any headway
Durkin – N/A not enough time on the pitch

Score Prediction – 3-1. I got the goal difference right, and I’d take the actual result of 2-0 over the 3-1, it means that we kept a clean sheet and that means more than the 3 goals to me.