Dwayne De Rosario and Dejan Jakovic were both in the starting XI for Canada in a 4-0 loss against Denmark today in Tucson, Arizona. Jakovic went the full 90 minutes in the backline while De Rosario - entering his first international match since suffering an MCL injury on Sept. 11, 2012 against Panama - was subbed out in the 60th minute. This was De Rosario's 72nd international cap and Jakovic's 13th.
Canada next faces the U.S. Men's National Team on Jan. 29 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, TX. United teammate Bill Hamid is currently with the U.S. squad, and the friendly against Canada is the only game preceding the opening match in the Hexagonal round of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying on Feb. 6.
Former Black-and-Red defender Mike Petke, age 36, is the latest player from D.C. United’s past to accept a head-coaching job in MLS. The New York Red Bulls, United’s Atlantic Cup foe, made the move today to promote Petke from interim head coach to head coach. And just a few weeks back – on January 8 – former United captain Ryan Nelsen was chosen to steer the ship at Toronto FC.
On November 14, 2004, Olsen, Petke and Nelsen went the full 90 minutes to guide the Black-and-Red to its fourth MLS Cup title, a 3-2 win over the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting Kansas City). Now Olsen, Nelsen and Petke, respectively, represent the three youngest current coaches in MLS. And just last year, Olsen became the youngest head coach in MLS All-Star history when he led the select squad to a 3-2 victory against 2012 European champions Chelsea FC.
Former D.C. United defender Jeff Agoos – who helped lead the club to three MLS Cups in the first four MLS seasons – sat down with USsoccer.com to discuss the beginning of his National Team career. The U.S. Soccer Federation has been in operation since 1913, and is celebrating its Centennial this year.
On January 10, 1988, still at UVA under Head Coach Bruce Arena, Agoos received his first cap with the U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT). The squad played in a friendly against Guatemala and, in the second of the two-game series, Agoos recorded his first international goal. Describing it as a simple tap-in, Agoos would go on to score three more times in 132 additional USMNT appearances, and would be on the roster for two FIFA World Cups.
Well folks, it’s about that time. We’re halfway through D.C. United’s shortest offseason in its history and, coincidentally, exactly two months away from our home opener on Saturday, March 9 against Real Salt Lake. Not only that, but the full-season MLS schedule was just announced today, so there’s plenty to be excited about.
March is sneaking up on us, and we like it.
Below is the duration between each season. We measured it by examining the club’s final regular-season or playoff (if applicable) game and the first MLS match of the ensuing campaign.
LENGTH BETWEEN EACH SEASON
1996 to 1997: 160 days
1997 to 1998: 140 days
1998 to 1999: 146 days
1999 to 2000: 125 days
2000 to 2001: 210 days
2001 to 2002: 196 days
2002 to 2003: 205 days
2003 to 2004: 146 days
2004 to 2005: 146 days
2005 to 2006: 154 days
2006 to 2007: 153 days
2007 to 2008: 149 days
2008 to 2009: 157 days
2009 to 2010: 154 days
2010 to 2011: 147 days
2011 to 2012: 140 days
2012 to 2013: 104 days
How was your holiday break?
Joe Willis: It’s been pretty awesome. Back in St. Louis for pretty much all of it, hanging out with my family, so it was a pretty good break.
Do you have a lot of friends who are still back in St. Louis?
JW: Yeah, a lot high school friends I hadn’t seen in a while, so it was good times.
So, when are you leaving for England?
JW: I’m leaving tonight – my flight is at 6:15 p.m.
Are you all packed and ready to go?
JW: Ha! Nope. I am not packed at all, haven’t even started packing. Yeah…I know. It’s going to be a pretty busy day – have to take care of a bunch of stuff before I head over there, but it should be alright.
How did this opportunity to train with Sunderland materialize?
JW: A little while ago, [D.C. United goalkeeping coach] Pat [Onstad] came up to me and told me that there might be an opportunity for me to train with an English team over the break and he asked me if I wanted to do it, and I told him, ‘Absolutely.’ Anytime you have an opportunity to train with a Premier League team, you’re not really going to pass it up.
How long are you over there?
JW: I’ll be over there until – so I fly over there tonight [January 8] and I’ll be flying back on January 16.
Have you ever been to England or any other part of Europe?
JW: I have been. I went to England, actually I trained with three different teams for three weeks right before I got drafted by DC. So basically, this time two years I was over there. That’s the only time I’ve been over there.
Which teams were you training with two years ago?
JW: I spent a week with Tottenham Hotspur, I spent a week with Fulham and then I spent a week in Wales with Cardiff City.
So, you’ve had experience being over there. How would you say living and playing in the U.K. is different from the U.S., if at all?
JW: It’s fun, I like it. It’s pretty similar, to be honest, as far as the way they go about their daily business. It’s a little more high-profile, I guess, but it’s pretty similar.
What are you hoping to accomplish with this training stint?
JW: My goals are really to enjoy myself and take it as a learning experience, try to learn as much as I can from the coaches I have over there. It’s always fun to get a fresh perspective from different coaches.
With Andy [Najar] being over there in Belgium, are there any plans for you guys to meet up and grab a Belgian waffle over there or some fish and chips in England?
JW: Ha, I don’t think so. I haven’t talked to Andy. I’m sure he’s pretty busy, and I’ll be pretty busy over there, so I don’t think I’ll be meeting up with him.
Having played 11 games last season, what goals have you set for yourself for this year?
JW: Really, I’m just always trying to get better. Whatever happens, happens – whether I play or Bill [Hamid] plays or Andrew [Dykstra] plays or whoever, I’m really just trying, always trying, to get better. So, whatever happens will happen and the only thing I can control is making yourself better.
What is the biggest difference you have seen in your game now versus your rookie season in 2011?
JW: Definitely, I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with all of it. I’ve gotten to know the guys and everyone in the D.C. United organization and you know, having two years experience now definitely feels a lot more comfortable. I’ve definitely gotten a lot better as a player with the coaching staff at D.C. United and I’m less nervous and more excited now.
What areas specifically in your goalkeeping have you seen improvement in?
JW: I would say that my positioning has gotten a lot better. That was one of Pat’s [Onstad] strong points as a player, so that’s something he’s been able to pass on to myself and the other goalies. Reading the game and communicating – it can still be better for me, but it’s definitely gotten better since I joined.
How proud were you of one of your DC training partners, Bill [Hamid], getting called up again to the U.S. Men’s National Team?
JW: Oh yeah, it’s great. Bil’’s a good goalie and he deserves it, so it’s exciting to see him get called into the National Team. It’s tough having him on the same team when it’s a position where only one guy can play, but it’s also good having strong competition in your spot because it makes me better and helps motivate me to be better.
Now I think the most important question that our fans want to know – how’s the beard coming along?
JW: Ha, the beard is coming along. It’s not quite where I want it yet, but it’s definitely getting there. It hasn’t really been touched since I started growing it [in November], so it’s getting a little wild, a little out of control.
So, you’re pretty much committed to a year of this?
JW: Yeah, I’m committed to a year, but we’ll see. I’m going to play it by ear and see how it goes. I still got, like, seven or eight months left to grow it, so in a few months once it starts getting a little longer, we’ll see. Right now the plan is for the next seven or eight months to keep it growing.
If you’re jonesin’ for a job in sports, then this is the contest for you. For the first time, Major League Soccer’s National Sales Center will conduct a recruitment search through Twitter.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Follow @MLSNSC.
- Starting Dec. 18 and ending Jan. 11, tweet at @MLSNSC about why you would be perfect for a job in soccer and sales. Make sure you include the #MLSNSC hashtag.
Folks with tweets that gain the most RTs, favorites and replies will be considered for the next stage of the hiring process.
Good luck to the MLSNSC hopefuls out there, and tweet your little heart away!
From Left: Ethan White, Chris Pontius, Brian Orakpo (Redskins #98), Fred Davis (Redskins #83), Kurt Morsink, Dejan Jakovic. Photo Credit: Washington Redskins
Last night, defender Dejan Jakovic, midfielder Chris Pontius and defender Ethan White, as well as Scouting Coordinator Kurt Morsink, watched RGIII lead the Washington Redskins (6-6) to a 17-16 grudge match win over the New York Giants (7-5).
While the G-Men have the overall edge in this rivalry – compiling a 93-65-4 record and winning four Super Bowls over the Redskins’ three – the exciting talent of rookie QB Robert Griffin III has Washington prime to change the tides. Comparably, D.C. United has dominated its series against Atlantic Cup Foes New York Red Bulls, posting an all-time 32-20-9 mark. In fact, no other club has defeated a team as much the Black-and-Red has beat the Red Bulls.
Tweet Tweet - United players share pictures and thoughts from their Monday Night Football experience
— Chris Pontius (@ChrisPontius13) December 3, 2012
— Dejan Jakovic (@DejanJakovic) December 3, 2012
— Chris Pontius (@ChrisPontius13) December 3, 2012
— Ethan White (@EthanWhite15) December 3, 2012
Big win by the skins!
— Dejan Jakovic (@DejanJakovic) December 4, 2012
Pontius, DeLeon, Hamid and Kitchen all ascend December’s list after impressive MLS Cup playoff appearances
Chris Pontius, Nick DeLeon, Bill Hamid and Perry Kitchen all increased their player ratings from November to December in American Soccer Now’s (ASN) 100. Voted on by the likes of former U.S. Men’s National Team players (USMNT) – Jimmy Conrad, Alexi Lalas and Kyle Martino – as well as members of the soccer media, such as Grant Wahl, Jason Davis and Brian Sciaretta, among others, the list ranks the American player pool from 1-100.
Moving up three spots to #22, Pontius looks prime to earn a spot in the USMNT’s upcoming January camp. In the biggest Black-and-Red jump for the month, DeLeon catapulted 11 spots to #50. The rookie had two goals in the MLS playoffs – United’s first post-season appearance since 2007 – including the game-winner against the New York Red Bulls in Leg 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Hamid shows up not far behind, at #52 (up two spots from November), jumping ahead of Chicago Fire netminder Sean Johnson. And 20-year-old Perry Kitchen continues his gradual ascend, climbing six spots up to #64.
The next USMNT camp will occur on Jan. 14, and will include no more than 23 players. Typically pooling from MLS and players in the Scandinavian leagues, DeLeon, Hamid, Kitchen and Pontius could very well be in the mix. Immediately following this camp (and a possible friendly), Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann will select the roster that will kickstart the Hexagonal Round of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying on Feb. 6 against Honduras.