After 16 Games ...

Discussion in 'D.C. United' started by Knave, Jul 12, 2005.

  1. Knave

    Knave Member+

    May 25, 1999
    So I broke out the calculator and figured out that with 16 games under our belt we’re officially halfway through the season. I think that’s a good point to sit down and take comprehensive stock of the situation. But I’m a little too lazy right now to do that. Instead I’m just gonna offer some disconnected and random observations and evaluations.

    The Record: 6-6-4. That’s poor. .500 isn’t good enough. The only team in the East with a worse record is Columbus. And unlike in previous years .500 probably won’t be good enough for the playoffs either.

    The Pace: Figuring 3 points home win, 1 point road draw. After 8 home games we’re -11 off the pace at home. (Pace would be 24 points, we’ve got 13.) That’s shameful. That people on this board aren’t more upset about our home field performance this year is actually a bit shocking to me. (See below.) On the road after 8 games we’re +1. That’s alright, but nothing really to brag about either.

    Whither Fortress RFK?: The only teams with worse home records than us (by points, not pace – figuring that’d require too much math for me) are Chivas, Real Salt Lake and Columbus. We used to be a very tough team to beat at RFK. This season we’re completely beatable at home. What the hell happened? (And does anyone else have a nagging suspicion that playing on a baseball diamond hasn’t really helped?)

    Stokes: My expectations were low going into the season. Stokes exceeded my expectations more than any other player on DC United.

    Boswell: I had no expectations, but he’s been a great find … rookie lapses and all.

    Rimando: I don’t like the way he plays. Never have. Just not my kind of keeper. But even I have to admit he’s done alright this year. Best of all he’s controlled some of his theatrics, and I haven’t seen him flailing away at crosses (and missing) as often as I used to. He’s definitely made the “Troy Perkins Now!” camp a bit quieter.

    Dema Kovalenko: Also not my kind of player, but I was gonna try to give him a fresh start in my mind this season once he returned from his injury. I think he’s been a real disappointment. Yeah, he’s kept himself under control (one of my major criticisms in the past) but thus far this season he’s really brought nothing to the game. The edge, the passion, the emotion, the energy – it just doesn’t seem to be there this season.

    Eskandarian: I’ve said since last year (even before he went on his scoring tear) that DC United’s fortunes will rise and fall on this kid’s ability to score goals. I’m not feeling good about his prospects right now.

    Moreno: He proves how essential he is to the team in three ways: First, sometimes he plays terrific games where he’s the cog around which the DC United wheel turns. Second, sometimes he’s injured and the team looks crappy without him. Third, sometimes he mails it in the team looks crappy with him. I’d like him to prove how essential he is to the team in the first way every week but the consistency really hasn’t been there this year.

    Nowak: Winning the MLS Cup last year may have made Nowak a worse coach. I sometimes fear he now truly believes his own bullsh’t. He thus far has not shown the kind of flexibility that Arena (at his best) demonstrates.

    Adu: He’s been mediocre in my book. Sophomore slump, I suppose. I don’t think it’s a big deal.

    Defense: Yeah, we have lapses. I’m fine with where we are as long as we get better.

    Midfield: The quickness I became accustomed to last year hasn’t been there this year. I’m not convinced it’s gonna return anytime soon.

    Forwards: My kingdom for a striker who actually scores goals.

    Fitness: I think we’re tiring too early in games.

    Overall: It’s easy to get used to winning and I’ve learned to cope with sucking. But I really can’t get used to being a .500 team. I’m getting a bit irritated with our progress this year, and I’m not really sure we’re getting better. We’re not dead yet, but I’d feel a lot better if there were some positive signs over the next few weeks.


    That's enough for me.

    So after 16 games what do you think?
  2. scaryice

    scaryice Member

    Jan 25, 2001
    DC was basically a .500 team last year, and lost two top players. Plus Alecko is not up to par. It's pretty understandable.
  3. Publius

    Publius Member+

    May 22, 2001
    Alexandria, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is quite true, but I think that DC management thought that they had put together a real solid team that should be able to pick up where last year's team left off. Sort of like how the '97 team became so dominant after the '96 team ended the season on a tear after a 1-6 start. There was also a lot of optimism that the team would be fine without Nelsen or that DC would at least be good enough that it would have enough time during the course of the season to find a suitable replacement for him without having to worry about lingering in the table outside of a playoff position.

    I think Stewart's departure has been more crucial than Nelsen's loss. With the exception of Rimando, no regular starter has played as well (or been as healthy) as last year, either. The new players have played well (Simms, Boswell, Wilson) but they're too inexperienced to expect them to deliver another championship.

    I too am pretty distressed by our home form. Even when we were dreadful, we were pretty good at home. Three home losses at the halfway point is unacceptable.
  4. beltwayrob

    beltwayrob New Member

    Jun 15, 2004
    Alexandria, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm concerned about the Drive for 5 in '05. We're looking pretty unpolished right now. I think like most people on this board there are several concerns about big holes in our team.

    1. Esky: Just not the guy he was last year

    2. Attack: Our lack of finishing has put us in a dismal spot and unless Moreno, Gomez, Esky and Q1 light it up soon I'm affraid our chances at #5 I aren't looking so good.

    3. Midfield: The loss of Earnie was huge no doubt, I was always critical of him last season because a lot of what he did for the midfield was pretty invisible, the way he kept things together, you can really tell how much on an impact he had on the team.

    4. Defense: Nelsen being gone is huge, but I think our defense is not that much worse than any other in the league, we've had some pretty bad plays in the back but I'm not totally frieghtened. Hopefully the Argie will provide a breathe of fresh air.

    5. Nowak: Hmm Knave, are you onto something here? Nowak's style is pretty inflexible and with a team like this you really have to be flexible.This is not the same team as last year which IMO was much more adaptable. He's played with a few deifferent lineups mostly out of necessity but overall same thing each game.

    6. Overall: This team isn't BAD, its just missing some spark. I'd really like to think we can put it together in time for the playoffs but in reality I think we're looking at best 4th in the East right now. Come on DC make me eat those words.
  5. MikeLastort2

    MikeLastort2 Member

    Mar 28, 2002
    Takoma Park, MD
    I'm a bit worried myself at this point. I'm not ready to jump onto the Kawon Erif bandwagon just yet, but something's got to be done to turn this team around.

    I agree with Publius - the loss of Stewart has really hurt us. I think Nowak envisioned Guppy to be his replacement, in that he's a proven veteran with an excellent track record. I'm not as worried about the defense as I am about the fact that our midfield doesn't seem to deliver quality chances to the forwards often enough. Hopefully Guppy can bring that extra dimension to the team when he comes back from injury.
  6. Red&Black

    Red&Black Member+

    Aug 30, 2001
    Lot 8
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    Burkina Faso
    so how long would the unabridged version have been knave? ;)

    i have to say i've been more puzzled than outraged (the same can't be said of the grillmaster however) about our sudden beatability (that can't be a word) at home. however, though we've lost a couple at home, they have been games where we didn't roll over but played tough.

    i'm not sure "fortress rfk" is gone, but i don't think this team finishes off teams at home the way they should. however, this is counterbalanced by the fact they seem to be a better road team this season--not great by any stretch but a lot more likely to come how with a point and even the rare three once in a while. the last few united teams didn't play as consistently on the road.

    i have to agree on the fitness issue--however this can be fixed.

    wow a stewart lovefest, who would've thought you'd see that on BS

    to me this season seems a bit like last season. i'm pretty sure if i dug up some posts at this point last season i'd feel the same as now--ok, mediocre performance. some cause for optimism but some real concern as well.

    i think there is plenty of reason to be optimisic, we can certainly put out a team that can beat most people and Coach has proven he knows how to make a run to win the cup, but you can also readily see the weakness of this team.

    i wonder if you wouldn't get the same sort of "half empty/full" conclusion looking at most the sides in the league.
  7. Hunter R

    Hunter R New Member

    Jul 7, 2003
    Me, Myself and I
    DC United
    I honestly think that if we can finish in 4th place in the East we will be okay. By that I mean, I really believe we can beat either Chicago or NE in a two game series. Finishing fourth shouldn't be that bad (though we have played really ************ against KC this year and they may be our number 1 competition for that space -- but we dont play them anymore this year!).

    Looking at the end of the season, I think we might could get on a roll (as far as MLS season games go). Our reserves will see a good amount of action also which will help their development. WC qualifying will also be going on so some our rivals better players may be gone for some stretches -- havent taken the time to figure if those dates match up with ours thus far. Though that one week in September is bad between us Sudamerica and Colorado -- the rest of the month isnt horrible (so far -- Open Cup??).

    August 4 - Open Cup

    August 6 @ Chicago Fire - Toss Up

    August 10 MetroStars - Should win

    August 13 Chivas USA - Should win

    August 16 @ Harrisburg City Islanders - RESERVES!

    August 20 Los Angeles Galaxy - Should Win

    August 27 @ New England Revolution - Toss Up

    August 29 vs. Colorado Rapids - RESERVES - HOF game!

    August 31 Real Salt Lake - Should Win

    September 3 @ Colorado Rapids Saturday, September 10 @ FC Dallas

    September 15 Team TBA - Copa Sudamericana Leg 1

    September 17 Colorado Rapids - Should win

    September 22 Team TBA - Copa Sudamericana Leg 2

    October 1 @ MetroStars - Should Win

    October 5 @ Real Salt Lake - Should Win

    Saturday, October 8 MetroStars - Should win

    Saturday, October 15 Columbus Crew - Should win

    Yes, I know this presupposes the goal scoring thing kicks in but i think there is reason to be positive.

    KC's schedule is kinda rough in the second half -- they play NE, Chicago and Dallas 6 times and only play Columbus and Salt Lake once each, no more Chivas for them and the rest of their games are against LA and Metros.

    Metros's schedule is ehhh - mix of everyone. Chivas twice. NE tiwce. Dallas and Fire once each. But they do see us a lot.
  8. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I too am distressed at our home record. I too think our midfield hasn't been as impressive as last season's. I don't think Nowak has been too inflexible--I think that's revisionist history. Remember, we ran out of mids last season due (I believe) to Nowak. This year he's tinkered with positions, with formations, with roles. On his rules, his practice expectations, his approach to the game--he's inflexible. On his tactics and how he uses players, I think he's gotten better.

    I also think Adu is a far better player this season than last. But a lot of folks naively (as opposed to Knavely?) expected this to be a coming out season for him. Hey--he's a young 16, playing A-mid. Last year, much of the time, he was a forward who was lost. As an A-mid, there are some teams and game plans he's a good fit for. Others, he's ineffective (NE has the same problem with Dorman and Cancela--those A-mids are not strong enough or flexible enough to fit all teams and all gameplans, so Nicol has to pick and choose who he uses).

    Our season can be boiled down to two primary issues. These issues explain why our home record is so bad (b/c we lose a match 4-3 to NE, we lose a match 1-0 to KC).

    1. Finishing. It was a problem at the start of last season too. We'd score. But not often enough. We had no clear finisher. We wasted too many chances. This year, Eskandarian got hurt before the season started, lost his form, struggled, got the concussion. Let's hope his season isn't a waste. Quaranta has shown some hopefully signs--but then the GC callup. Which may help him in the long run. But in the meantime we struggle to finish.

    2. Youthful backline. I think our defense is better than last year's at this time. I think we've got more speed on our backline, we go forward better, Rimando is clearly playing better than our GKs were at any time last year. But that youth (primarily Boswell, with assists from Stokes and sometimes Wilson, Prideaux and Petke when he was here, and then the injury to Namoff) have meant that once every 4-5 games, our backline has a brainfart. We give up 4 to the Revs. 4 to the Fire (in a loss). 3 to the Fire (in a win). I don't begrudge a 1-0 loss at Gillette to the Revs--fine goal by Noonan and if we finish earlier than one bone-headed play by Petke isn't so critical. I don't begrudge the goal to Victorine--mistakes by Carroll and Boswell there but if we'd finished in the first half we'd have won 3-1 or 2-1. Ditto with a 1-0 loss to Columbus.

    A finisher needs to step up. This is actually a golden opportunity for Adu (since he'll likely see some minutes up top even if it's in some kind of A-mid role). Maybe it will be Quaranta when he comes back. Maybe Eskandarian will get healthy. But bottom line, we need to have a finisher emerge from somewhere.

    And then our AAAA needs to solidify our defense. This means two things:
    --better technical ability out of the back (which will reduce our vulnerability to pressure, lead to quicker transitions which will get us more goals).
    --better organization and resilience and thus fewer "breakdown" games were we give up 3 or 4 goals (many of them on unmarked or poorly marked finishes).
  9. BigKris

    BigKris Member

    Jan 17, 2005
    Falls Church, VA
    Yeah, the more I think about this team, the more I find myself dwelling on this point. I'm concerned about the lack of flexibility and adaptability. This is a more talented team than what they've shown so far this year, but they don't play loose, they don't play creative. Players - especially those who aren't regulars in the starting lineup - are playing scared, playing to not make mistakes, like they know if they screw up they'll be right back on the bench.

    I don't think it's something easily changed: Nowak has defined himself and staked his credibility on his unwavering, "my way or the highway" approach, and it's not something he can just turn off. Things might have to get worse before they can get better.
  10. URwormfood

    URwormfood Member

    Mar 24, 2004
    6 feet under: LOT 8
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Havent we played more then 16 games?

  11. Cweedchop

    Cweedchop Member+

    Mar 6, 2000
    Ellicott City, Md
    I think Knave brings up some good points. However, JoeW kind of sealed the deal with our real problems.

    I'd be a hell of a lot more worried if we put up a few games like the one at home to FC Dallas, but we're not. I think out of our 16 matches, we had a legitimate shot to win 15 of the 16 games so far with our pace and dictation of the game.

    Obviously we are pretty much at the same pace as last season (actually we're ahead just slightly) but the bell curve is much more difficult with both Chicago and NE playing way above everyone else. This doesn't help our cause.

    The bottom line here is that we just need to take care of business. I would say that 5 more wins at home plus maybe two more on the road will get us in comfortable playoff position.
  12. fatbastard

    fatbastard Member+

    Aug 1, 2003
    Lincoln (ish), Va
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    not in MLS.
  13. vivzig

    vivzig New Member

    Oct 4, 2004
    The OC
    Yes, this is key. The whole conference was pretty tight last year--this year, for a change, parity is not the name of the game. However, this can also work to our advantage. We play a lot of weaker, Western Conference teams in the sencond half of the season that everyone has already been beating up on--Chivas (1), Crapids (3!), REaL (2), and our last 4 games are Metro (nothing gets us worked up more), Real, Metro, Crew.

    I think the second half of our season will not even resemble the first half.
  14. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think JoeW, amoung others, nails it--our problems in the back are understandable, fixable, and--in most games--not such a problem if we put the ball in the net.

    And I'm worried about the team's flexibility and creativity--there's far too much hesitation, far too little risk-taking. They've gone from being a possession-oriented team to a team that simply wants to hold on to the ball, and is too scared of losing it to take chances. Freddy, IMHO, seems better than most in this regard--he's still got his youthful bravado. Hope he doesn't lose it.
  15. DoctorD

    DoctorD Member+

    Sep 29, 2002
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Is Novak a "Buddy Ryan" type coach? I mean one of those guys who comes in to a sloppy team, boosts fitness, increases discipline, shapes everybody up, and gets results - the first year. The second year everyone either mentally or physically burns out and the team slides. My personal comparison of players last year vs this year shows most are playing worse:

    Worse this year:
    Eskandarian (before injury)
    Namoff (before injury)
    Petke (before trade)

    Better this year:

    About the same:

    Boswell, and Simms are nice additions, but it seems a lot of our starting 11 just is playing worse than last year.
  16. Sandon Mibut

    Sandon Mibut Member+

    Feb 13, 2001
    The reality is that Nowak is a .500 coach who caught lightning in a bottle in the playoffs - helped immensely by winning a PK shootout, which we all know is a crapshoot - that bought him a LOT of slack when the team struggles.

    Nowak as a head coach

    2004 - 11-10-9
    2005 - 6-6-4
    total - 17-16-13

    CCC - 2-1-1
    USOC - 0-1-0
    total - 2-1-1

    2004 - 3-0-1

    In fairness to Nowak, he took over a sub .500 team that hadn't had a winning season since 1999. But, it was also a team that was already improving and had made the playoffs the season before.

    Realistically, this is the third season in a row where DCU has been average. It's just that because of the playoff lightning we caught in the bottle, we have the expectations of a reigning champ.

    I guess my biggest concern is that under Nowak, the team doesn't seem to be improving. Granted, they lost some key players but DCU right now is about the same as they were this time last year.

    Again, that's OK in this league as long as you're the mac daddy in the playoffs, but that's a big roll of the dice. So, if United doesn't replicate its post season magic and is still a .500 team, we'll be a team that is stagnating, or even regressing, and neither of those is acceptable.
  17. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    Well count me as one fan who's not very worried yet. Frustrated yes, but the solutions are right in front of us.

    To have a successful year the team needs to do three things:

    1) Find the right creative players up front to score goals.

    2) Control the play in midfield- contain the other team at that point so that support for the front running players is there.

    3) Have a good enough defense and goalkeeping to allow the offense to win the game.

    Remarkably #3 is basically accomplished and with scant resources. I'd say that only the Pumas, Dallas, and maybe that first NE game has the defense really let the team down. Considering that you have to expect breakdowns every once in awhile, that's great. We need depth in defense and hopefully this Argentine will provide that.

    As for #2, this has been good, not great. part of that can be explained by not having Olsen (now) and Kovalenko (beginning of the season) around. Part of it can be explained by not having Carroll and Gros step up their playing effectiveness, particularly in helping the prime offensive players with viable options. This is where we miss the Earnie Stewart who emerged at the end of last year. Still for practically every game this unit (I'm talking about Olsen, Dema, Simms, Carroll, and Gros here) has controlled play.

    It's been #1 that been most problematic. Both last year and this, we've missed a decent target man. Even a good Esky can't fulfill that role. because we haven't had that target, that Nate Jaqua, United has been forced to rely on misdirection, on changing the point of attack quickly, in order to isolate our prime attackers 1v1.

    last year we took most of the season in figuring out how to use misdirection on a consistent to bend out of shape the opposing defenses. In fact the team did two things that propelled us to MLS Cup:

    1) Acquiring Gomez, who provided such a strong push up the middle that defenses tended to collapse. and

    2) Stewart's emergence as a viable threat on the wing which would cause opposing defenses to open up the middle.

    Both of these moves benefited Esky. Both were needed to benefit Esky. Now, since we haven't' replaced Stewart's contributions on a consistent basis, Esky- concussion or no - just can't get open. The forward down the middle push of Gomez and Moreno are there, but Esky needs someone who can cause defenders to vacate the middle of the field for him to be effective.

    But IMO there is hope on the roster. That hope is Quaranta. What caused me to get so high on this kid was that he provided (and not just in potential anymore) the ability to cause opposing defenses to bend out of shape. With all three of Tino, Jaime, and Christian on the field at once, the ball moves in unexpected ways for opposing defenses, bending them out of shape and thus allowing those three plus overlapping runs (mainly by Olsen and Dema) to be truly effective.

    I truly think that with Quaranta starting every game, the offense will score at least one more goal a game than previously. If so then there's another MLS Cup.

    So back to looking at the team overall, like last year the team is searching for answers, primarily on offense to enable to them to become elite. In my very strong opinion (IMVSO :) ) we have the solutions to d that. We just need to get everyone back and healthy.

    Look for a strong push from the team after the all-star game.
  18. NYAustinite

    NYAustinite Member

    May 9, 2005
    Speaking of the Argentine, what do we know about him? On mlsnet the article is a little light on detail. I didn't see a thread about him on the DC page, but I only looked at the first page. So who is this Erpen guy, other than 5'11' and 160?
  19. Bootsy Collins

    Bootsy Collins Player of the Year

    Oct 18, 2004
    Capitol Hill
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    A bunch of information about him is provided in the thread specifically about him (entitled "And the reinforcement is . . .").
  20. Bootsy Collins

    Bootsy Collins Player of the Year

    Oct 18, 2004
    Capitol Hill
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Cowlumbus conceivably just got better; although I suspect it's too late for them this year.
  21. MattMathai

    MattMathai BigSoccer Supporter

    Jun 28, 2004
    Maybe they'll bring in Sigi the Hutt. He'd play Edson Buddle as a wing midfielder, and Martino as a holding forward.
  22. doctorjim

    doctorjim New Member

    Jul 22, 2002
    Optimism is every fan's birthright and all of us hope that what looks like wishful thinking is really analysis.

    Nevertheless, the experience of the last season and a half demonstrates more than anything else that this is not a very good team. Nowak, I believe, has done just about everything a coach can do, but the horses are just not there. The veteran core of the team -- Moreno, Olsen, Gomez, Kovalenko, Rimando, Prideaux -- is just not talented enough. And the youngsters are, for the most part, just that, still youngsters.

    I admit I have never been a Moreno admirer, but, if he is truly the heart of this team, as some would have us believe, then the team needs a heart transplant. A .500 record over a season and half is more than enough evidence that the current approach is not working -- in the sense that it will not readily lead to more trophies.

    The path to success in MLS lies in the draft and DC has not drafted well enough over the years and then developed its draftees well enough to build a successful team. And here I would have to point the finger at our Ray. Perhaps the front office should share some of the blame, but our Ray seems the most likely culprit. His two years contributed remarkably little to the team's overall development. For the moment, I would offer Justin Mapp as exhbit number one. Justin may not be the second coming of Pele, but, right now, he is the sort of skilled young veteran that DC so sorely misses.
  23. Sundevil9

    Sundevil9 New Member

    Nov 23, 1999
    Reston, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    On the contrary, United has actually drafted quite well. Nelsen, Namoff, Gros, Tino, and Eski have all had various levels of success.

    The problem is sticking with the players. And you're right, Hudson did not have the patience or skill for that.

    Look at the various young cast-off players with solid roles around MLS: Albright, Armstrong, Denton, Lisi (bastard) to name a few.

    And at times (especially with the current Brian Carroll thread) wonder what might have been if Namoff wasn't converted from midfield to right back. He was everything that Carroll was defensively, but could make some very precise passes from that position as well.

    But I'm glad that Mapp is gone, Hudson was right that he's a very soft player. Throw a shoulder or two into him early, and he'll shy away from 50/50 balls for the rest of the game.

    If we really want to go forward from this point, though, we need to realize that we may need to rely on the kids for a bit, and dumping them for short term solutions may not be the best idea.
  24. doctorjim

    doctorjim New Member

    Jul 22, 2002
    It's not as if DC has nothing to show for its various drafts (starting with 1999). In fact, it has Van Siclien and Merritt (class of 2005), Adu and Gros (2004), Carroll, Stokes and Eskandarian (2003) and Namoff and Quaranta (2001). But the picture is not all that bright.

    DC also drafted Warren (2003), Mapp (2002), Lisi, Nelsen, Ziadie (2001) and Convey, Armstrong, and Denton (2000) -- all of whom played significant minutes in MLS, but are no longer with the team. Convey and Nelsen went off to fame and fortune, but the others all represent missed opportunities. In some cases, DC got something in return. In other cases, folks will be quick to cite various failings. We tend to see players' weaknesses much better after they have left the team. (I don't agree that Mapp is soft, and even if he is, his play against NE last Saturday night, for example, was far superior to anything we saw from Gros or Kovalenko Saturday afternoon.). But succeeding in MLS without making good use of the draft is tough.

    If you want to see a team that has done well in the draft, look at the Revolution. Of the 11 players with the most minutes (the only stats I could find included only 8 games, but I think the results would be the same for all games), seven were drafted by New England -- Dorman, Joseph, Noonan, Dempsey, Leonard, Parkhurst and Twellman -- all in the 2002 and later drafts.

    For DC, the comparable list (drafted players among those with the 11 most minutes for the season) would include Gros, Carroll, and Eskandarian. Freddy has the twelfth most minutes.

    Without injuries, in this year and in the past, Namoff and Quaranta might also be on the DC list, but, even so, NE's list is still a lot more impressive.
  25. Bootsy Collins

    Bootsy Collins Player of the Year

    Oct 18, 2004
    Capitol Hill
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Right. So your post shows that we haven't done as well in the draft as New England has. I agree with that. But that's not the same as saying that we've done poorly in the draft. How have we done compared to Chicago, KC, Cowlumbus, and the Metros? I know that's a lot more work; but it's hard for me to decide that we haven't done well with our draft opportunities simply because we haven't done as well as the team that's done the best with theirs.

    Then, of course, it's also complicated by the fact that draft picks are sometimes part of trades. If a team trades a draft pick for a veteran player that makes big contributions, does that count towards "doing well in the draft"? We didn't have many draft picks this last draft; did the deals we made in which we gave them up turn out to be worth it? Did we use the draft well then, if so?

    I'm not saying your basic premise is wrong, mind; I feel too ignorant to say that. It's just that the question seems harder to answer than what you've said so far.

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