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Dave Johnson: United Loses 2-0 To New York

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Dave Johnson: United Loses 2-0 To New York

Saturday, May 1st, 2010 6:15 PMBy Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comWashington---For DC United its too early to panic, but too late not to worry. A promising start in the first half evaporated early in the second half in a 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls before 12,089 sun baked fans at RFK Stadium.At 0-5 United is now dealing with its worst start in franchise history and its only two goals of the season came in a loss to Philadelphia. By contrast the Red Bulls are off to their best start in team history and at 5-1 have matched their win total from last season.The match turned in the proverbial New York minute when Salou Ibrahim forced in a goal to open the scoring in the 51st minute of a match where United had enjoyed the better of the play. The goal put the Red Bulls on their way to their first win at RFK since 2005.The Red Bulls Juan Pablo Angel was able to find speedy midfielder Dane Richard on the right flank. United defender Rodney Wallace, who had held Richards in check in the first half, was beaten and Richards was able to get to the end line in the box and slide a low cross to Ibrahim.Ibrahims first effort was blocked by sliding United defender Juan Manuel Pena, but before the ball went out of play Ibrahim was able to tap it across the goal line. Then in the 60th minute Angel, beat two United defenders, and scored on a header from a Jol Lindpere sent into the box from about 40 yards out on the right flank.The two goals in a ten-minute span left United stunned and searching for answers. It also brought back haunting memories of Uniteds 2-0 loss to New England when they had so much of the possession only two conceded two goals in the final ten minutes.This time Uniteds stumble was earlier in the match and even the insertion of Jamie Moreno and Luciano Emilio could not spark a come back. Moreno replaced Andy Najar in the 56th minute, while Emilio came on for Pena in the 66th minute as United sacrificed a defender to force the issue.Moreno as always was inventive but too often his crosses and service were left wanting. In the 73rd minute Moreno used his skill to draw in the defense just outside the box on the left flank and then played a ball to an overlapping Christian Castillo.Castillo then played a cross, intended for Adam Cristman at the six yard box, but it was driven away by Red Bulls defender Mike Petke. With a two-goal lead the Red Bulls, left Angel along up top and defended with at least eight players.Emilio, only signed this week, was active but did not record a shot.It was much different in the first half. Eager to shed an April filled with injuries and losses; United looked like a team ready to build on Wednesdays impressive 4-2 win over FC Dallas in the US open Cup.Clyde Simms and Penas return from hamstring injuries added to the confidence that United could find a way. With that confidence United used high pressure to win the ball and create several quality scoring chances.Cristman, who scored two goals, Wednesday night, was particularly active in the first half including a header from 16yards out that went wide. Simms had a 25-yard volley and a point blank header saved by Red Bulls goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul.A 7-2 advantage in shots at half-time seemed to indicated United would find a way to break through Instead the Red Bulls adjusted, Richards became more active on the flank, and United was left with many questions and few days to get ready for a league match at home on Wednesday against Kansas City.

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John Carlson agrees to big-money deal to stay with the Capitals

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John Carlson agrees to big-money deal to stay with the Capitals

On Friday, the Capitals shipped out Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to clear space on the salary cap for John Carlson's massive contract extension.

On Sunday night, Carlson signed on the dotted the line. 

The 28-year-old became the latest core Cap to sign a long-term deal, inking an eight-year extension that will carry an $8 million average salary. 

His cap hit is now the second highest on the team—behind Ovechkin’s $9.538 million charge and just ahead of Kuznetsov’s $7.8 million hit.

With Carlson locked up, the defending Stanley Cup champion now has the majority of its core signed through at least the 2019-20 season. Among the players with at least two years remaining on their deals are forwards Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nickas Backstrom and Lars Eller, defensemen Carlson, Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov and goaltender Braden Holtby.

The Carlson news did not come as a surprise.

The Caps wanted to keep him. Carlson, who makes his offseason home in Washington, wanted to stay with the club that drafted him 27th overall in 2008. And on Friday night in Dallas, GM Brian MacLellan all but guaranteed that a deal was going to happen when he said, “We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

It ended up taking a little more than 24 hours, but in the end MacLellan got his D-man.

“John has been an exceptional and consistent player for our franchise and has blossomed into being one of the top defensemen in the NHL,” said MacLellan in a statement on Sunday. “Defenseman like John are a rare commodity in our League and, at 28 years of age, we feel he is just entering his prime.”

Indeed, Carlson notched a career-high 15 goals and 53 assists last season, and his 68 points led all NHL defensemen. He also became the eighth defensemen in Caps’ history to record 60 points in a season and the first since Mike Green accomplished the feat in 2009-10. Meanwhile, Carlson’s average ice time (24:47) also marked a career high.

“As a right-handed defenseman, John plays in all key situations and has contributed greatly to our team’s success on the special teams,” MacLellan added. “We are pleased for both parties to have come to an agreement and for him to continue his great career as a Washington Capital.”

With Carlson under contract, the Caps now have a little more than $13 million in cap space underneath the $79.5 million ceiling, according to www.capfiendly.com. Michal Kempny, Jay Beagle, Alex Chiasson and Jakub Jerabek are all unrestricted free agents, while Tom Wilson, Devante Smith-Pelly, Travis Boyd and Madison Bowey are restricted free agents.

Carlson’s also signing kicks off a big week for MacLellan.

In addition to negotiating with the free agents he hopes to retain, he’s expected to have a formal interview with associate coach Todd Reirden, who is the leading candidate to replace Barry Trotz as head coach.

So buckle up, there figure to be a few more important announcements in the coming days.

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Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

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Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

Free agency does not start until July 1, but John Carlson's agent is already taking calls from other interested teams.

The interview period began at 12 a.m. on Sunday morning, which means teams are now able to reach out to any potential free agents, but no contracts can be signed until July 1. While Brian MacLellan said Friday that a new deal with Carlson to keep him in Washington was "really close," Carlson's agent, Rick Curran, has made it clear there was no deal in place yet as of Sunday.

So does this mean Carlson now has one foot out the door?

Not necessarily.

At this point in the negotiation, Carlson has a major advantage and that advantage is time. Sunday's interview period is just another way to hold the Caps' feet to the fire. The closer we get to July 1, the more pressure the team is under to get a deal done.

But the Caps still have some leverage too.

“I love it here and all that,” Carlson said during on breakdown day. “I want to stay here, but there's more to it than that.”

By rule, as his current team, the Caps are the only team that can offer Carlson an eight-year deal.

So Carlson may have turned up the heat a few degrees on the Caps, but it's not time for fans to worry just yet.

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