D.C. United on the right track with Hamdi Salihi choice

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Washington Post reporter Steven Goff has all the nitty-gritty today on the news that DP striker Hamdi Salihi is not in preseason camp and will not return to the club.

Long story short: The highly priced Albanian striker signed on with D.C. United less than year ago. United officials tried desperately to tell us this was a big deal and that Salihi was big part of the scoring solution at RFK. (A lot of us were quite underwhelmed with the signing, said so publicly, and had to go a few rounds with voices around RFK as a result. But that’s another story.)

Salihi started slowly and then, well, managed to slow down a little more. With just 6 goals in 22 games, he clearly was not DP striker material. Now United seems wisely intent on severing ties.

Now, for the “Long story very, very short:” United made a mistake. Today, they are copping to blunder and starting to repair the roster and salary cap damage. That’s it in a nutshell.

This really looks like an important step for United, where fans have an increasing body of evidence that things are moving the right direction and that daylight has finally broken through the darker days.

Teams make mistakes. All teams. It happens. Show me a club that hasn’t stumbled here and there on a personnel choice and I’ll show you a real life, walking, talking Sponge Bob Squarepants. See my point here? Those things don’t exist.

So a critical element of long-term club success is to acknowledge the boo-boos, cut those losses lickety-split, do so as economically as possible and then move happily on. The alternative is to allow hubris, ego and a stubborn desire to be “right” about someone to rule your choices – and then watch as bad things fall your way as the result.

Kris Boyd and Portland? Same deal.

Why keep a mistake around? Managers feel pressure to play the pricey “star,” but the players aren’t stupid. They know the deal. They quickly spot the teammate not getting the job done. What daily practice field incentive can really exist if lesser talented figures, or laggards who aren’t dong the hustle and cover work or aren’t performing the tasks emphasized during daily sessions keep getting the benefit of the doubt … and the minutes?

Fans can see the product, too. If someone not passing muster keeps playing, they lose faith.  And rightfully so, because something has gone wrong along the chain of personnel command.

Besides, in the end, it all gets rolled into the long-term Win-Loss record.

So good on D.C. United, who have some options now in how they untangle themselves from the poorly conceived Salihi deal.

Better to untangle now, however, than to be dragged to the bottom.

STREAM LIVE: USMNT looks for 3 more points in Panama

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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The United States looks to finish the international break in an automatic qualifier spot in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table when it faces Panama in Panama City at 10:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday.

A lot of the faces are the same from the 6-0 demolition of Honduras in California on Friday, though John Brooks and Sebastian Lletget are out with injury.

Jermaine Jones replaces Lletget while Tim Ream moves into the fray for Brooks. Geoff Cameron played Friday’s match with a minor injury, and moves out of the XI for Graham Zusi.

LINEUP

USMNT: Howard; Villafana, Gonzalez, Ream, Zusi; Bradley, Jones, Nagbe; Pulisic, Dempsey, Altidore

Subs: Bingham, Rimando; Beasley, Besler, Camron, Zimmerman; Acosta, Arriola, Bedoya, Kljestan, McCarty, Pulisic; Wondolowski

Reyes header gives Mexico three points in T&T (video)

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Diego Reyes’ 58th minute header off a corner kick gave Mexico a lead it wouldn’t give up in a 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago at Hasely Crawford Stadium in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.

The win gives Mexico a table-topping 10 points, seven ahead of last-place T&T.

[ MORE: Honduras 1-1 Costa Rica ]

The Soca Warriors were in fine, stingy form early, and looked to have gone ahead on the counterattack when Joevin Jones belted a left-footer into the Mexico goal.

The linesman, however, ruled that Jones was offside. He almost certainly was not, as Mexico’s supreme luck in CONCACAF play continued for at least one night.

Hector Herrera hammered a shot off the far goal post early in the second half as Mexico attempted to grab control.

T&T goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams jammed Miguel Layun’s shot over the bar moments before the breakthrough from Reyes.

Williams then saved Javier Hernandez’s 64th minute offering as Mexico looked to put three points to bed.

Joevin Jones won a free kick in the 76th minute that gave a brief moment of light to T&T’s hopes, but Jones hit the wall and Mexico cleared the ball.

Honduras holds Costa Rica 1-1

AP Photo/Moises Castillo
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Honduras did the United States a favor by taking a point from visiting Costa Rica in Tuesday’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in San Pedro Sula.

Anthony Lozano pushed a 35th minute chance past an indecisive Keylor Navas, as Los Catrachos set the stage for a hopeful three points.

[ STREAM: T&T-Mexico, Panama-USMNT ]

Vancouver Whitecaps center back Kendall Waston’s haphazard defending helped allow the goal, but he scored off a late Costa Rica corner kick to ensure Costa Rica will finish the international break in second place.

With four points, Honduras moves ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and the United States before both sides play Tuesday.

Costa Rica beat the U.S. 4-0 in 2016, while the Yanks battered Honduras 6-0 on Friday.

WATCH: Video Assistant calls back Griezmann goal

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France and Spain used the Video Assistant Referee program on Tuesday in a friendly, and the French likely rue that decision.

Antoine Griezmann had an incorrectly allowed goal reverse for offside, while Gerard Deulofeu saw an initially ruled offside goal allowed upon review in Spain’s 2-0 win over France.

[ MORE: Bolivia stuns Messi-less Argentina ]

Here’s an example, as Griezmann’s barely offside goal was overturned in less than a minute (Both calls took less than a minute to decide):

At the risk of sounding like a caveman, I really don’t like these razor thin offside calls being subject to review.

When you consider the improbability of timing the moment of contact with the ball — how many times have you seen a freeze frame conveniently used to make a case? — it just seems to mess with the spirit of sport.

What do you think?