Triumph of the Hydra
A few days ago, we had a nice little back-and-forth regarding DC United rookie Chris Pontius' multi-position versatility and its potential impact on his development as a young player. Since the game on everyone's mind today will be the Champions' League final between Barcelona and Manchester United, it might be interesting to read about a player plying his trade at the highest level with a similar sort of gift, Barça's Andrés Iniesta. For years, his ability to play in multiple positions kept him in the role of squad player, filling the gaps. But now, it's that very adaptability and experience all over the pitch that has made him such a dangerous and complete player. Food for thought where Pontius is concerned.
Here Come the Multinationals
Though less heralded and less versatile than Pontius, United's other first-rounder, Rodney Wallace, has grabbed a starting role of his own on DC's left flank. And while Pontius has been put forward as a national team candidate, it could be Wallace who has a brighter future with the Nats given the giant, sucking void at left back. But Wallace isn't yet eligible for the US, and if his native Costa Rica comes calling before he gains his US citizenship, he might be one of a few MLS young guns that slip through US Soccer's hands.
And while we're on young guns, MLS, and things slipping through hands, how about a look at a couple of promising keepers in DC United's youth system who might be heading abroad? You'll note that late in the article, there is a mention of the possibility that one or both of these kids might give MLS a shot in the summer if they decided to forego the lure of clubs abroad, with United presumably able to exercise its option to sign players from its own youth academy. Might such a GenAd or developmental signing be the end for the loser of United's three-way keeper cage match?
Bring It On Back
Finally, returning to whence we started, how about a look at what United players and staff predict will happen in the Champions' League Final this afternoon/evening? While Jaime and the Phoenix (poll closed, the populi have exercised their vox) debate styles of play...
Moreno: "Barcelona just plays better soccer. Their posession is much better."Quaranta: "It's a big field and Man U's attacking four is sick. We're going to see at least six goals."Moreno: "Oh, an English team will play open? They're going to forget defense and just go forward? When has an English team ever done that?"Quaranta: "You'll see - six goals. Man U wins."
...and McTavish goes for the laudably full-on Nostradamus...
McTavish: Barca, 2-1 in OT (Ronaldo PK; Iniesta, Carrick own goal) "Cristiano will score on a penalty in the first half, Iniesta will tie it up in the second and then off a corner kick the ball will deflect off Carrick's shin for the own goal winner."
...Burch applies the same level of commitment and focus as he does to his defense...
Burch: Man U, 6-0 (Ronaldo 4, Berbatov, Rooney) "I don't give a crap."