From the way D.C. Unitedcoach Tom Soehn talked about Joe Vide last Friday, it sounded as if the newcomer wouldn't even make the reserve list. Soehn used phrases like "still evaluating" and "still figuring out," when asked about the former San Jose Earthquakes midfielder's progress. But when game time arrived Saturday, Vide started alongside Clyde Simms in the United midfield against the Kansas City Wizards at RFK Stadium.
"There's been a number of injuries, so I figured I had a good opportunity to start," Vide said.
And it just so happened that Vide's debut coincided with the club's first shutout of the year.
"I was surprised to hear they hadn't had a shutout with the players they have," Vide said.
With Argentine star Marcelo Gallardo out with an injury, Soehn decided to use Simms and Vide in the 2-0 win. The formation succeeded with Vide playing his part.
"I think there was a lot of talking and communicating all over the field," United defender Marc Burch said. "I was talking to Ivan [Guerrero] and Clyde was talking to Joe and the center backs were talking to Joe."
Vide, a tough tackler, earned a yellow card in the 31st minute of the game, but settled down and began feeding passes to Fred and newcomer Guerrero on the flanks. It was a blue-collar performance from the 24-year-old that took pressure off Simms, United's iron-man this year, who has played every minute of every game.
"I'm not going to be the guy that beats people," Vide said. "I bring a sharper energy to the team. I try and get stuck in and throw the opponents off their game and bring a little bite to the midfield and make it easy for those around me."
Soehn praised Vide's performance because he helped give the team "width."
Vide, who spent his high school years playing youth soccer for German club TSV Munich 1860, worked well alongside Simms.
"Anytime you have two guys in there working hard and talking a lot it's going to make it harder for the opponent," Simms said.
Whether Vide has earned a starting role against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday remains to be seen. Vide said he would relish the chance after playing two seasons (2006-2007) with the Red Bulls.
"When I was in New York you were supposed to hate D.C. and now it's vice versa, but I'm looking forward to going back," Vide said.
Vide played four years at Virginia and continues a Cavaliers tradition of joining United.
Said Vide: "When I was younger, half the Cavaliers played for D.C. United, players like Richie Williams and John Harkes, who were my coaches in New York, and to be here in town, is carrying on a tradition, and hope I can win a couple of MLS Cups like they did."