- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 19, 2007

When Clyde Simms is on the field, things go well for D.C. United.

The defensive midfielder has started all but one of United’s games in the team’s nine-game unbeaten streak. That success is nothing new: United is 18-2-7 in games in which Simms has started dating to last season.

Simms is a tough midfielder who wins crucial balls in the center of the field.

“They really want me to have a presence on the field and win as many balls as possible and be tough even if I’m giving up fouls,” Simms said.

United will need the 25-year-old more than ever when it visits the Chicago Fire on Sunday because it enters the game without much of its midfield.

Ben Olsen, Fred and Christian Gomez all were suspended after picking up yellow cards in a 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake last week at RFK Stadium. The three have combined for 20 goals and 19 assists this season, nearly half of United’s production.

“Offensively, they just want me to support the play, keep the ball and move it from side to side,” Simms said. “I’m feeling more and more confident on the ball each game and getting less nervous with each game. When you have a good attitude and when you put in a good game, it carries on to other players.”

Simms joined United in 2005 after a season with the lower-division Richmond Kickers. His performance for United that year was noticed by U.S. team coach Bruce Arena, who called him up for a game against England.

“My ultimate goal is to get back to the national team,” Simms said.

United is lucky to have two talented defensive midfielders in Simms and Brian Carroll, who sometimes alternate.

“There are no bad feelings between us,” Simms said. “It’s a better situation than if I was on a team where I had the spot no matter what and no one was challenging me. I think Brian is a great player.

“I learned by watching from Brian in my first year in the league. He’s a very smart player and uses that to his advantage. I don’t think there is too much difference between us.”

With three midfielders missing, Carroll, who has started 16 games and totaled four assists, likely will partner with Simms on Sunday.

“I’ve always played in the middle. I don’t mind playing on the flanks, but it takes more time to adapt to that position,” Simms said.

Note — The United players received four days off after the win over Real Salt Lake, and this will be the first time in months the team will have a full week of practice.

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