A horrible year, on and off the field

Discussion in 'D.C. United' started by Sandon Mibut, Sep 8, 2002.

  1. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    Man, how dredful this season has been. It seems like the Midas touch the team had the first 4 years has been completely replaced with an inability to do almost anything right. And, it's not just on the field but the front office, too. Here's a review.

    Ray's and Kasper's failures -

    *Worst record in the league.

    *Worst offense in the league… ever.

    *Missing playoffs for 3rd straight year - the 2nd worst stretch in league history. Only San Jose’s run of playoff futility between 97 and 2000 is worse.

    *Have now missed the playoffs 3 of the league’s 7 years. Only San Jose (4 misses) and New England (5, assuming they miss this year) are worse. Dallas, LA and Chicago have never missed the playoffs, Columbus has missed them once, Colorado, the MetroStars (the frikkin’ MetroStars!) and KC twice. Heck, Miami only missed the playoffs once and Tampa only missed twice - we’re worse than teams that don’t even exist anymore!

    *Winless on the road… Since LAST July!

    *Blew the superdraft. 4th overall pick has played 2 games off the bench, the 11th overall pick now starts for another team after we let him go FOR NOTHING. The 2nd round pick hasn’t played and none of the other picks are with the team.

    *A failure to land an impact player. They cut Conteh and made other moves to create roster room, cap room and international slots but never delivered an impact player and the ones they did get - Curtis, Lassiter, Quintinilla and Zambrano - have had minimal or no impact.

    *The Gazza fiasco. What a waste of time. Sure, the publicity was nice but are you saying that it took having him over hear to realize he still drinks like a fish, smokes like a chimney and might be a bad influence - not to mention a waste of money and credibility - on a young team? The energy and time spent chasing Gazza should have been used to bring a player who was sans all the baggage and could have helped.

    *Worst of all, the team often appeared unmotivated which is shocking given that Ray is supposed to the king of pep talks.

    Zack's (and Payne's) woes -

    *Attendance is down. Despite the league seeing its average attendance increase, United’s is off by about 5K per game even though the team had a doubleheader with the national team and 2 DHs with the Freedom. And, it’s not like this market doesn’t support summer teams as the Freedom and the Mystics lead their respective leagues in attendance.

    *The TV deal was terrible. A 10-game local package was the worst in team history and with the team sucking only a small handful of games were on ESPN meaning about half the games went untelevised. This, in a season in which, according to Garber’s State of the League address, local TV coverage for MLS teams increased.

    *Still no English language radio deal.

    *Print media coverage has decreased. Even with The Post being one of the 2-3 best soccer papers in the country, United’s coverage has shrunk with some games not even getting previewed or warranting a story with a by-line. Mid-season features have been non-existent. Even though The Times made a lot of mistakes, at least they covered the team. Now, it doesn’t seem like they ever have any United stories. While I know the team can’t force the papers to cover United, I think the shrinking in coverage is a result of the myriad other problems the team has and the blame for that has to go to the guys at the top.

    *No decent training facility for the second straight year and no change on the horizon.

    In fairness, there were some things that have been good and warrant acknowledgement.

    *The defense has been solid most of the year.

    *The Reyes acquisition was a good one, Rimando is the best GK the team has ever had, Prideaux is as versatile a back as there is in the league and Quintinilla appears to have promise.

    *As an extension of Quintinilla’s presence, the Salvadoreans returned. And, in concert with that, the team arranged - finally - for an increase in security and their have been no incidents since Q2’s arrival and the team deserves credit for being prepared for the pitfalls that his signing could have resulted in.

    *The All-Star game drew a good crowd.

    *The Internet broadcasts were a nice gesture and very well done. They don’t make up for a lack of TV but they were appreciated.

    *The new color commentators - Rongen and Lagerwey - both provided a great deal of insight not seen in past years.
  2. DigitalTron

    DigitalTron New Member

    Apr 4, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    I generally agree.

    I still believe in Mapp, in time he'll be well worth the #4 pick. Kante, in retrospect, has had more playing time and more impact than almost any defender taken after him. The most prominent exception being Jeff Stewart of Colorado. So, I'd say Kante's pick was justified, but why we refused to sign him to the full roster or pay him a decent wage was the reason he went to the A-League. I simply cannot explain letting the Revs have him for free though.

    Looking at the likely suspects for the 2003 SuperDraft, the only target forward finishers I see are a polished Nate Jaqua and a very raw Knox Cameron. Any other ideas for a finishing target forward deserving of the top pick (or at least a pick in the top 2)?

  3. Diceson

    Diceson Member

    Dec 21, 1999
    Cunningham or Washington from Columbus, Wolff from Chicago, and a couple of others throughout the league. A number one over all pick carries a lot of weight - and a huge decision to get rid of it! With the obvious off-season moves, and the potentially big moves, the team will have a great deal of salary budget to bring in someone from inside the league - the opposite side of the coin, many teams probably will run into salary budget issues.

    If inside the league talent isn't good enough, the team will probably have its SI slot open again.
  4. DigitalTron

    DigitalTron New Member

    Apr 4, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Well they're definitely all options, but I wouldn't trade the top pick for any of them, here's my take:

    • Cunningham is the focal point of Andrulis' offense, and he's not going to trade him for a SuperDraft pick.
    • Dante Washington is, at best, 4th striker on that team behind Cunningham, McBride and Buddle. Plus Dante makes far too high a salary to stay as #4, and he's old, so Columbus will get rid of him for a song, and we can get him for much much less than the #1 overall pick.
    • Wolff is quite tempting, he finishes, has speed to counter-attack, is unselfish, young, and improving ... but he has the one thing we simply cannot afford--he's an oft-injured max-salaried player. That would be replacing cyanide with stricnine ... choose your poison, an injured Moreno or an injured Wolff. That's not the answer IMHO.
    • A-League. McKinley Tennyson led the A-League in scoring this season as he tore it up on a regular basis. LA, who owned his rights, brought him into their squad towards the end of the season, and to my knowledge he still hasn't seen a single minute. LA has exactly 1 forward, so if Tennyson was the answer, he'd be starting next to Ruiz. But he isn't. Similarly, I doubt anyone playing presently in the A-League is a better choice for next season than the #1 overall pick in the SuperDraft. Obviously 5 years down the road the SD pick should be significantly better.
    • Senior International. Yes, I think the only way to get a finisher of starting caliber is to bring in an SI or two. That means moving Moreno, Etch or both. Moreno's time to show he's worth that spot is rapidly running out. Etch will be offered a much reduced salary next season, so it's pure conjecture whether he will return.

    I'm looking for at least 1 new SI up top next season to pair with Santino. Moreno, if he's here, may be an attacking midfielder or a forward. I'd try to get Dante Washington for very very cheap, if not then he's not worth it. I'd use a top SD pick for a young target forward finisher. The other 3 SD Picks I'd use for young (at least 2 p40) defenders. One of the defenders should also be able to cover either Dmid or winger in the future. Pirmarily just cheap p40 depth.

  5. CHICO13

    CHICO13 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Oct 4, 2001
    SECTION 135
    The Strongest La Paz
    Nat'l Team:
    The best part of this season for me has been the Barra Brava tailgate. Next home game I might stretch the pregame tailgate right into the postgame tailgate. :rolleyes:
  6. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    DT- why would you think that the team aquiring a new forward would make us a better offensive team when Hudson is still the coach?? I don't see Cameron or Jaqua making any sort of impact on our team next year. Another team, yes.
  7. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    Sandon- very nice summary.
  8. PumaJohnny

    PumaJohnny Member

    Nov 30, 2001
    Real Salt Lake
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    bright spo

    at least we can't go anywhere but up
  9. Jimbo

    Jimbo Member

    Dec 17, 1999
    Washington, DC
    DC United has rekindled a great American tradition: First in war, first in peace, and last in the MLS East.
  10. Bird

    Bird Member

    Sep 16, 2000
    San Mateo, California
    Hey, in all fairness to Kasper and Hudson, they weren't around the first two playoff misses and about a third of those road losses came during the Rongen era. Let's give credit (and blame) where it's due.

    I would add to the list of positives, the canning/trading of Bigsoccer favorites Scott Vermillion and Chris Albright.

    FWIW, here's a list of the major transactions/moves in the Kasper/Hudson era.

    My biggest gripe is the failure to land two impact players -- or at least one in the offensive end. Personally, I think we got one impact player in Reyes. And we probably got another half of one in Prideaux. However, we desperately needed an impact player in the midfield or up front. Think about all of the different moves that RH/JT made this season (Lassiter, Lisi, Villegas, Curtis, Albright, Zambrano, Conteh, Fahim) that ended up being window dressing.

    My second biggest gripe is the general lack of an offensive scheme or a reasonable level of cohesion in attack. But we probably should have expected that since Hudson said back in January: ""I think we prepare defensively, and we improvise in our attack. That's my whole philosophy of soccer. It ain't that complicated. It's all about the players, not me, not Bruce (Arena), not Thomas (Rongen), it's the players. You get the right horses, and you give them the right environment, and they'll carry it out onto the battlefield. That's my honest belief. "

    Well, RH did exactly what he said he was going to do. And that brings me back to the first point -- where were the horses? You can't go out onto the battlefield on donkeys.

    I guess we'll have to wait until the offseason to see. Personally, given RH's success in Miami last year (and our lack of success with many of the same horses under "offensive genius" TR), I'm willing to give him some rope. But not much.
  11. Marco10

    Marco10 Member+

    Sep 9, 2002
    Seems to me the failure is not so much that the DC braintrust failed to land an impact player, as it is that they were so unrealistic and naive about getting them to begin with. Ray has said recently that DC got burned because Dalglish, etc. raised their salary demands after the fact and so couldn't be signed. Seems to me, some better homework would have prevented some blatant salary moves that have subsequently hurt the team without the benefit of bringing in the desired player.

    Hoping for an immpact offensive player from college is a bit of a stretch, since none have emerged in recent memory. And there is hope of finding a solid SI in America. Kevin Jeffery in Richmond would already be in MLS if it wasn't for his SI status for example. I agree that better pickings can be found elsewhere, but a decent starting player (and less risky assimilation to MLS) can be found here as well.

    As for Kante, many seem to harp on that, but after drafting him, DC landed both McKinley and Reyes. Just exactly who's job was this guy going to take? And since the defense has managed to stagger along without him, doesn't seem much of a big deal to me.

    I think everyone will agree there's plenty of blame to go around. Amusing to think that Rongen might actually turn out to have won more with less players than Hudson.
  12. Mike Marshall

    Mike Marshall Member+

    Feb 16, 2000
    Woburn, MA
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Having seen Kante for seven games, and McKinley for seven years, I'd say Kante is easily better than McKinley. Younger, cheaper, and more athletic, too.

    I can see why RH let him go, but he's been a God-send for the Revs. They're something like 4-2-1 with a 0.86 GAA since he signed.
  13. monster

    monster Member

    Oct 19, 1999
    Hanover, PA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I like Prideaux, but having watched Kante, Prideaux and Armstong, we probably would have been better off keeping Armstrong and signing Kante. Of course, this runs into the whole SI problem, but I would have preferred these choices along with the tough decisions to get rid of Jaime or Marco.

    I know I hate dealing in too much speculation but I think Armstrong would have brought some more moxie to the offense.
  14. Mason16

    Mason16 Member

    Apr 11, 2001
    South Florida
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Another positive is the "Practice Notes & Quotes" work done by Diceson. We are lucky to have the coverage. Few if any other teams have such luxury.

    I like Kante but I'm happy with our back line. The problems are in the center of the pitch from Dmid up to the forwards. This is where RH & crew need to focus.

    It's been said: "you can't fall off the floor". There's nothing but pure upside for this team.
  15. Topo

    Topo Member

    Feb 15, 2001
    Re: Re: A horrible year, on and off the field

    This list is somewhat dated, I think and missed a few transactions.

    We also loaned Namoff to Richmond for the remainder of the season (or permanently) or some such which wasn't really well-explained.

    And, we traded Perez to Chicago for nothing in particular.
  16. Bird

    Bird Member

    Sep 16, 2000
    San Mateo, California
    Good catches -- the list was missing Eliseo, which I corrected, but I missed those two.

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