Looking at D.C. United’s personnel direction ahead

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One of the interesting items to come from Steven Goff’s ranging post-season Washington Post interview with D.C. United president Kevin Payne were thoughts on the club’s overarching personnel philosophies going forward.

Essentially, teams can go one of three ways when it comes to high-level signings:

There’s the Galaxy and Red Bull way, practiced to lesser extend by a couple of other clubs. That means going after pricey types whose value on the field is matched to some extent by value in sales and marketing.

There’s the “buy low, sell high” approach. Obviously, it’s tricky; so many clubs would like to perfect this practice but there are just too many moving parts.

And then there’s the most frugal model where, where it’s just about trying to build the best roster without spending much money.

Sounds like United, a club that might once have joined the name clubs in pursuit of bigger stars, will be a buy-sell club for now.

Here’ what Payne told Goff about player philosophies under new ownership:

The league is beginning to put more emphasis on younger, very talented players — potential DPs. Everyone appreciates the value of David Beckham or Robbie Keane to the commercial enterprise of the league, in particular, but we also want to explore whether there are opportunities to invest in appreciating assets — players who are going to increase in value in the time they are here.

“We have a young group and a young coaching staff. Some of these [potential big-name DPs] are very difficult to manage. They are big personalities. They become somewhat outsized in certain instances. They are accustomed to certain levels of treatment. Right now, at least, we are not sure we want to go down that road. There is nothing written in stone, but given the age of our team, the quality of our young players, and the age of our coaching staff, we think it may make more sense for us to look at players who are more peers of the players we have than are 10 years older.”

By the way, there’s nothing wrong with that. I know that some MLS fans don’t want to think of their league as a “stepping stone” association. But for now, in all honesty, that’s not a bad place for MLS to be.

Willian “edits” Conte out of FA Cup champions photo

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Willian is not a fan of Antonio Conte.

Come to another conclusion if you like, but it’s hard to argue the Brazilian wizard’s feelings following his Instagram post after Chelsea beat Manchester United in the FA Cup Final.

[ MORE: Matic wants squad changes at Man Utd ]

Willian covered his manager in trophies following the win, and it’d be a stretch to call that a tribute to the Italian’s tactical brilliance.

The player recorded seven goals and six assists despite playing less than all but 12 Chelsea players in league play (12th place Alvaro Morata had 11 and 6).

We’re accepting alternative explanations for the since-deleted Instagram photo below:

Elis scores twice as Dynamo beat Fire 3-2

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (AP) Alberth Elis scored two second-half goals to help the Houston Dynamo beat the Chicago Fire 3-2 on Sunday for their first road win of the season.

Elis, on a one-on-one breakaway, cut back to evade defender Johan Kappelhof and ripped a right-footer from the center of the box into the back of the net to give Houston (4-3-3) a 3-2 lead in the 74th minute.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

The Dynamo’s Romell Quioto opened the scoring in the fourth, running onto a long through ball from Tomas Martinez and rolling the finish past sliding goalkeeper Richard Sanchez. Nemanja Nikolic tied it in the 14th minute and then fed Diego Campos for a goal about two minutes later. Elis converted from the spot to make it 2-2 early in the second half after Mauro Manotas drew a foul in the area conceded by Sanchez.

Chicago (3-6-2) has lost three of its last four games.

 

Inter Milan back in the Champions League after late heroics (video)

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It’s been more than a half-decade since Inter Milan qualified for the UEFA Champions League, an infamous run that ended on Sunday.

Inter scored twice in the final 13 minutes to beat fifth-place Lazio and advance into the Top Four via head-to-head record.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

Lazio held 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but could not get the job done at home, collecting red cards in the 79th minute and stoppage time.

Uruguayan midfielder Matias Vecino scored his third goal of the season, redirecting a corner kick home in the 81st minute, as Inter clinched fourth place in Serie A.

Matic: Man Utd needs more experience in its squad

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Nemanja Matic would like to see a bit more veteran bravery in his Manchester United side.

The title-winning 29-year-old midfielder finished second in the Premier League this season, his first with the Red Devils after a strong run with Chelsea.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

The Blues beat United in Saturday’s FA Cup Final, and Matic says the answer to winning hardware isn’t in talent as much as it is wisdom.

From the BBC:

“The only team who is better than us this year is Man City,” said Matic. “Obviously, they play amazing football. But we are second and we are in the Champions League next year, which is the most important thing. I think we need some players with some experience to bring some more qualities to our team.”

United loses one veteran cog in Michael Carrick, and both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney have skipped town in the last year.

Who could fit the bill in terms of old hats in current United positions of weakness? Well, a full offseason for Alexis Sanchez will help, and perhaps the rumors of Toby Alderweireld make the most sense of any we’ve seen in recent weeks.