“I think the players are ready, mentally and physically, and we know what we have to do,” said Nowak.
“I think we’re going to be best friends as the year goes on - the way he swings balls in,Mike Wallace Youth Jersey.”
Forward Alecko Eskandarian reflected on winning the 2004 title. “It’s amazing. It doesn’t seem that long ago, but here we are,DeMarcus Ware Youth Jersey, starting another year now and we’ve got to defend our championship. There’s a lot more pressure, and a lot more expectations. We hold ourselves to a higher standard this year.”
“It’s not a situation where – he’s a rookie, so we’re not going to listen to him. When he has something to say, we’ll listen to him.”
Boswell performed steadily against Chivas USA, and seemed to justify Nowak’s faith in the team’s preparation before the game.
“We make sure we don’t get complacent. I think our staff is very well prepared not to let us get complacent,Dustin Keller Jersey. Every guy on this team is a fricking competitor. Every single guy doesn’t want to lose and wants to win this thing all over again,Willie Mays Jersey. It’s just a matter of finding the right combination again.”
In the debut match, Freddy Adu came on as a late substitute and had some sparkling moments, including a crafty pass to Jaime Moreno for a shot on goal.
2004 MLS Cup Champions DC United regrouped for the new season with surprisingly few changes. Though the team lost Ezra Hendrickson and Thiago Martins to Chivas USA in the expansion draft, and veterans Ernie Stewart and Ryan Nelson to clubs abroad, it still has most of its roster intact, thus the team carries the look of a winner, as evidenced by their effective opening performance – a 2-0 away win against Chivas USA.
As far as how the team will cope with the loss of Ernie Stewart and Ryan Nelson, Ben Olsen admitted he feels a greater responsibility to the team due to their absence.
Related articles The Rise of Soccer in the U.S. Beckham Clone Euro 2008 Team Profiles
by Andrea Canales
DC United also faces the adjustment of sharing RFK stadium for the first time in years, with baseball’s Nationals.
The coach indicated that Gomez was becoming a key player.
Nowak is more concerned about keeping the team focused, not only for the MLS season, but for its upcoming clashes in the CONCACAF Champion’s Cup tournament.
One piece of the puzzle may be new midfielder Steve Guppy, whose crossing skills have impressed Eskandarian.
“My point, before the season started, was: ‘We cannot be tired of winning.’ Every single day, every single practice,Lawrence Timmons Youth Jersey, the small games, the big games,James Jones Jersey, we have to be ready, mentally and physically for every single game. This is the whole point for the whole season.”
“It depends on what the game dictates to us. Saying ‘You’re going to be striker, left back, right wing,’ doesn’t make sense, because sometimes the game is so fast and we need him in different positions. I think, as I said last year, ‘The soccer education cannot go from class 1 to class 5. It’s going to be 1, 2, 3rd and 4th and 5th grade.’ We’re in the second year – second grade right now and we don’t want to jump all the way to the fifth saying ‘Oh, you’re going to be a great player here, or here.’ We have to see what the team needs and how he can make the team better.”
“Yeah, sure. When you lose a captain, some people have to step up leadership-wise and it’s up to myself and others on this team to do that.”
Nowak’s last season surprise, Christian Gomez, showed he can be a vital component for the team this year, scoring the second goal against Chivas USA with a crafty chip shot during a goal mouth scramble.
Though Peter Nowak has placed rookie Bobby Boswell on the backline, Mike Petke maintained that the youngster’s professional inexperience will not be held against him on the field.
“I think he fits into our group pretty well. The players around him realize what his strength is and how fast he can adjust to the situation around him.”
Nowak refused to be pinned down regarding his season plans for Adu.
“Absolutely! I’m not the biggest baseball fan, but maybe I can turn into one.”
Olsen, for one, bears no grudges about an arrangement that will convert the stadium to a soccer field for DC United games. He plans to go to Nationals games.