Maybe I'm just paranoid but I'm worried about the next three games.

Discussion in 'D.C. United' started by Knave, Oct 2, 2003.

  1. Knave

    Knave Member+

    May 25, 1999
    Perhaps it's just yesterday's Open Cup result. Maybe it's that Olsen went out injured ... and Rimando too. Or it could be that we've got a few key players serving or courting one game suspensions because of yellow cards. It might be that Nelsen will be away on international duty for the Revs match. Or maybe it's the sense that the team peaked a bit a few weeks ago and things haven't been going quite as well since then.

    Maybe it's all these things and some others but I'm frankly worried about the next three games. Columbus and the Revs are damned hungry teams. We're hungry too but there's a difference between a team that needs a win to clinch and a team that needs a win to have any playoff hope whatsoever. (Just ask the MetroStars about last year.) The better team may be the former but the more dangerous team is the latter. We've got three games in a row against very dangerous teams.

    I'm not predicting that we're gonna drop the next three games. I don't think that's going to happen. At the same time, it wouldn't totally surprise me if it did. Things haven't been lining up for us ideally these last few weeks. I'm honestly worried about a late season slide.
     
  2. CHICO13

    CHICO13 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Oct 4, 2001
    SECTION 135
    Club:
    The Strongest La Paz
    Nat'l Team:
    Bolivia
    "We are DC United. A Big club that rises to Big Occasions"

    Marco Etcheverry
     
  3. Knave

    Knave Member+

    May 25, 1999
    That's a nice slogan but I can't help but remember one of last year's big occasions. I'm sure you remember the one. We needed to beat Dallas at home in the final game to preserve any chance of our playoff hopes. We lost. And then there was yesterday's big occasion. We lost that too.

    I don't mean to be indelicate but that post wasn't meant to inspire a whole bunch of cheerleading and rallying around the team. I'd like an honest assesment from other posters about the next three games. I was hoping for some analysis, something slogans are woefully inept at providing.
     
  4. CHICO13

    CHICO13 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Oct 4, 2001
    SECTION 135
    Club:
    The Strongest La Paz
    Nat'l Team:
    Bolivia
    Well lets see. We've lost Rimando, Reyes, Quaranta, Olsen, and Barclay. The team could easily fold and who would blame them. All we have for leadership is the anti-christ and an over the hill Bulgarian. Call me stoopid, but I like our chances.
     
  5. Bison1997

    Bison1997 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 30, 2001
    RFK - Lot 8
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think the boys still have a chance, but Convey and Q2 really need to answer the bell and perform consistently from here on out. Benny's injury is a significant loss for this team, but you all knew that already.

    (I'm not saying that Q2 hasn't been performing, but it's even more important that he do so now.)
     
  6. Jose L. Couso

    Jose L. Couso New Member

    Jul 31, 2000
    Arlington, VA
    Yesterday's result was not a good one, but giving up 3 goals to an average MLS offensive team it's nothing to write home about. Especially considering that it was the starting defensive team that was out there.

    Ben Olsen's injury is a huge loss, somebody is going to have to step up.

    Rimando's injury is also a big loss, as his experience could have given us a safer path to the playoffs.

    All the yellows do not help the situation, but some of the youngsters are going to have to step up.

    Having said that, I like DC United's position.

    They have a lead in points over the other two teams.

    They do not have the pressure on them to win.

    And most importantly, DC United has more talent (even with all the injuries) than the other two teams.

    At this point ties against Columbus & New England are to DC United's advantage.

    I honestly think that DC United will make the playoffs, but with all the injuries this team will probably not advance as far as they could have (with all the healthy players). [But I hope they prove me wrong :)]
     
  7. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia
    I'm worried too.


    I'm most worried about our defense. We know about missing Dema and Petke vs C-bus. Then we miss Nellie vs NE and since Prideaux and Ivanov both have caution point warnings, we may lose them too and I don't like that possibility while facing Twellman.

    I'm also worried about our wingers. He's been dynamite lately, maybe the most important player we've had. Q2, after his big splash when he returned to the starting lineup vs Colorado has slowly become less effective and right now he's playing well below what Benny was doing. Convey has been real up ad down too. I think the grat thing that Benny was doing was being balls-out aggressive; neither Bobby nor Cheyo do that. And we have no one really to back them up.

    Weirdly enough I feel okay about our forwards- provided that the ball gets pushed to them quickly. The problem is the ball isn't forwarded quickly enough. So I'm worried.


    I don't see us now with much of a talent advantage over the remaining three teams we face, though we aren't at a disadvantage there either. Stewart and Cerritos do have good chemistry. Stoichkov probably has a spactacular goal or assist left- it's nice that we have him back now....

    So, once again, we come to how well the coaches performing in their game planning and adjustments (subs and tactical changes) in the game itself. Fortunately, in Andrulis, Nicol, and Gansler we aren't facing the best of MLS coaches, which should give Hudson and Trask a fighting chance.
     
  8. TCompton

    TCompton Member

    Oct 21, 2002
    Alexandria
    I can definitely see why someone can get worried about these coming games, but I'm not really sure if we need to worry or even if we have "peaked" yet. At least, I hope that we haven't.

    Let's start with the most recent games. We knew going into the three MetroStars matches that the flow of the game would be ugly. We really shocked New Jersey (and ourselves) when we went into their house and walked away three points closer to second place. But everyone knew that the next two games were going to be dog fights... and they lived up to expectations.

    We split the three games with the MetroStars, ended on the down side of momentum, but we did out score the MetroStars in the three game series.

    But here's the thing that leaves one to worry, and the thing that leads me to think that we have yet to peak. We haven't really strung two good/big wins together. Sure, we beat San Jose and LA back to back at home. They were important, but we failed to pick up a point on the road against LA. Then we win a big game in New Jersey, but follow it up with a sloppy pair of games where we lost the games (or lost the win in one) due to last minute mental lapses.

    We've still got a lot of things to work on to be considered strong contenders in the post season. But we've come a long long way since pre-season. Do you remember when we only seemed to be able to beat college teams?

    This is just a quick overview of disappointments from our season so far:
    1. The season loss of Milton Reyes, last season's star defender
    2. Hristo Stoitchkov breaking Freddy Llherna's (AU) leg
    3. Dema Kovelanko breaking Ronnie O'Brien's leg
    4. Losing Earnie Stewart to National Team duty
    5. Losing Bobby Convey to National Team duty
    6. Losing Ryan Nelsen to National Team duty
    7. The transfer of the armband from Marco Etcheverry to Ryan Nelsen.
    8. The sale (and rejection) of Bobby Convey to Tottenham Hotspur
    9. Season-ending injury to Devin Barclay
    10. Mid-season injury to Mike Petke
    11. Mid-season injury to Eliseo Quintanilla
    12. Season-ending injury to Santino Quaranta
    13. Season-ending injury to Nick Rimando
    14. Season-ending injury to Ben Olsen
      [/list=1]

      This has been an awful tumultuous season. And through it all, we've climbed out of the cellar to mid table. One could surely make the assumption that had the above not occurred; we'd be in much higher position in the fixtures.

      However, with all we've gone through and where we're at right now, Ray has somehow managed to keep this team's spirits high and confidence strong. After losing several key players, we could have folded and stopped fighting, but we haven't. We fought on. Even after losing Warren to a red card on Wednesday, we still fought on to equalize. We're a scrappy team that won't give up. We may not win the game, but for the most part, we have been in almost all the games this season. I can only think of two times where we just didn't show up to play.

      Don't lose faith here. The real season begins in October. This is where the fighting starts, and we're going to survive these matches. We may not play to the high standards set by United in its first four years. We may not be that same DC United anymore, but as Marco said (and Chico reiterated), "We are DC United. A big club that rises to big occasions."

      Ray put together a team with some pretty good players and some decent depth. We have been prepared for what has been thrown at us so far, and we will continue to fight on until the last man is standing.

      Do not lose faith.
     
  9. Th4119

    Th4119 Member

    Jul 26, 2001
    Annandale, VA
    Tell me you remember the 4 or so games before that which DC somehow won, and the late comeback they put into the Dallas match as well.
     
  10. Bear in mind that while we might be inconsistent, everyone else in the East is inconsistent too. If you look at recent form, no-one with the possible exception of New England has hit any kind of winning or losing streak. If all the teams perform roughly as they have done in the last month we will make the playoffs. It might be a little nerve racking, but I say we make it one way or another. Once there, remember we 'only' have to win a minimum of two games to make the final. Sounds weird, but its true.

    That said, how far we progress is governed by these factors

    - Olsen & Rimando out. Nothing we can do about that. If Q2 and Warren step up this partly makes up for their absence, but only partly. Q2 is just not enough of a physical presence to replace Olsen. Warren is probably not that far off Nicky for the most part, but he lacks experience working with this defence which could be a problem when the pressure is on.

    - Is Marco in a sulk ? From the reported comments in his radio interview and the fact he wasn't even on the bus to NJ on Wednesday I fear there may be some friction between him and Hudson. If so, that is bad news. Whatever you think about Marco's ability to play 90 minutes he gives us some creative options off the bench we simply don't have from other players. Then again he might have the sense to realize that there is a cup to be won and that he has a chance to go out on a high note.

    - Convey. He is clearly in some sort of post-Tottenham slump which is hurting this team. As with Marco, hopefully he will work out that there is a cup to be won and see that as the best way to stick it to the Home Office. OTOH if he continues his current form their decision will start to look quite reasonable.

    - Cerritos/Martins/Stewart. I see these three as being the next ' Magic Triangle' (or was it the Golden Triangle, I forget). Either way, they will need to gel quickly. Hopefully Hudson will stop playing around with the formation and settle on using Earnie in midfield with Cerritos and Martins up front. You know it makes sense, Ray !

    Realistically my money is on us having a scrappy run into the playoffs and probably going out in the semis or at best the conference final. But we will kick ass next season.
     
  11. mellon002

    mellon002 Member

    Jan 24, 2003
    Towson, MD
    Bobby Convey needs to step it up without Benny. I think that Convey has yet to return to complete form before the transfer that would not be. I'm sure he's still heartbroken, but it's time that he assumes a leadership role and leads with his play on the field.
     
  12. Knave

    Knave Member+

    May 25, 1999
    I think you missed my point entirely. I was only noting that sloganeering about how we're a big club that rises to big occasions strikes me as pretty absurd considering the last several seasons. We haven't been to the playoffs since 1999. We got knocked out of the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 1999 by Necaxa. In 2001, the LA Galaxy beat us in PKs at the LA Coliseum to knock us out of the Champions Cup again. (I was there. Marco and Olsen both had their PKs saved. A very bad night.) Since then what big occasions have we risen to? Have we even had big occasions since then? I'm sorry but that slogan strikes me as nothing but a relic from the DC United of old. I'd love for DC United to a big club that rises to big occasions. But right now we are not. We haven’t been for several years. Forgive me if to my ears that slogan rings with a hollow – or perhaps even mocking – tone. And now I have given that slogan far more attention than it deserves.
    That's another thing. I think people can point to the season ending run last year that ended with the (best MLS game EVER) against Dallas. But that whole run was on the back of an invigorated Convey. And as much as I'm in the Convey-camp I'm quite objective enough to note that his play hasn't been up to snuff lately.

    As for the inconsistency of the East, I'm not really sure it's so much inconsistency as parity. That come from behind Rev victory last week is a good example of that. Both teams played one excellent half and the game really should have been a draw. That's typical across a whole lot of the Eastern conference. How many games that we barely won or lost this season were games that really might as well have ended drawn? I suspect quite a few.

    But either way - parity or inconsistency - I'm not convinced that it's something to take comfort in. Sure there's no problem so long as everyone keeps doing what they have been doing but the thing about the end of the season is that teams don't keep doing what they've been doing. Look at us last year. Look at the Metros last year. That's why I think the Revs and the Crew are potentially so dangerous. They need in and WE'RE the ones in the way.

    As for Marco sulking - all we've got there for evidence is a second hand report from some radio interview and some BigSoccer rumors. I don't know what to make of it. But, again, like Convey Etch would have to significantly step up his game too.

    There is one "X" factor is Hristo. I'm not a big fan of his but one thing he can do is fill the super-sub role superbly. I doubt any of the next three games will be blowouts and he can be a difference maker in close games. (Yes, I will grudgingly admit that.)

    And the Stewart-Cerritos duo really needs to get things together again. It looked like they were going to light things up for a couple games there but that flame has fizzled lately. I don't know about Martins. I like him and I think he'll work out well in the end (next season) but right now he's awfully raw and he does make awful mistakes - terrible shots, shooting when he really should pass to name two. So I don't think we can rely on him.

    At the start of the season I was throwing fits because of all those draws. Everyone thought I was crazy because it's a long season and there was plenty of time to recuperate. But things are so close now that I'm looking back at all those draws and all I can think is "two points lost here, two there and two more over there." If we do the job on Saturday then that feeling will surely fade. And if we don't ...

    This is the biggest occasion we've had in a long time. (A rather pitiful fact, to be frank. Getting into the MLS playoffs shouldn't be a big deal since 8 of 10 teams make it.) It's even bigger than last year's almost into the playoffs run. Then we needed help from other teams even if we won everything. But this year we control our own destiny. I'd love nothing more than to see DC United rise to the occasion. But I think it's going to be very tough and I fear we'll be scraping till the end.

    And rattling off some slogan, no matter how much you want to believe it, isn't going to make the last games of the season any easier.
     
  13. Sundevil9

    Sundevil9 New Member

    Nov 23, 1999
    Reston, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You're right about Bobby needing to answer the call. I don't think he's really 'clicked' with the team all season. He was one of the lost boys running around in the begining of the season, but was away with the USNT when the team started to come together. Then he was off on a roundtrip transfer to Spurs.
     
  14. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait Member

    Aug 9, 2003
    Cary NC
    Club:
    DC United
    The Knave's concerns are valid. But let's factor in the other teams into this picture. I am presuming no other team will get hot and parity will reign:

    Columbus has the most potentially punishing schedule with six-point swings in every game -- a mixed home and away series with Chicago and United. I assume they'll split both which will be a wash in the standings.

    Dallas has the opportunity to mess up an Eastern team which I believe they will at home against New England but they'll lose to the Scum at the swamp.

    The Scum will not have Cletus for San Jose, and he'll probably succumb to his inner demons and pick up another yellow which will keep him out of one of the New England games. It can be argued that that will be to the Scum's advantage. Nonetheless, they'll lose to San Jose and beat Dallas. Which leaves a very interesting season-ending series with the Revs. Are the Scum loathsome enough to throw one or both of those games to force United to fourth place? I only ask. Actually, I think they'll split.

    I beleive New England will lose to a spirited Burn team in Dallas (the Dallas team will have their jobs on the line). And they'll split with the Scum at the end. Which leaves the United game after Dallas: if the Burn win a week earlier, the Revs will be under enormous pressure to beat DC, which unfortunately I think they will.

    As I said before, I believe United and Columbus will split their two games. Not a very bold predication, I know. Even less bold is my thinking that they lose their other games against New England and Kansas City. Knave has every right to be nervous about that -- our play has been inconsistent and our injuries really hurt.

    Still, in the end, I think the standings won't change:

    Chicago (point total - who cares?)
    Scum 44
    United 40
    New England 39
    Columbus 37
     
  15. GoDC

    GoDC Member

    Nov 23, 1999
    Hamilton, VA
    I agree with Knave but I think that Columbus is just bad enough that they will not catch us. They need to sweep us and split with Chicago to have a chance and with that hope that we do not get 4 points out of the other 2 games.
     
  16. shawn12011

    shawn12011 Member+

    Jun 15, 2001
    Reisterstown, MD
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Worried or not I prefer being on this side of the coin versus the other side where we were last season and where Columbus is now.
     
  17. BroonAleMagpie

    BroonAleMagpie New Member

    Apr 14, 2000
    Fairfax, VA
    I would disagree that this was or has been in any way a disappointment fro anyone (players or fans) except (possibly) Marco. Whatever the ultmate truth of the Marco situation, Ryan has been and continues to be a solid, reliable, inspiring leader for the team. He's the glue that holds our defense together; he's the peer who urges all our players to make their best effort; he's the star who provides a stellar example without getting a swelled head or (usually) losing his cool.

    Ryan as captain has been one of the up sides of this season.
     
  18. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Knave is absolutely correct about the need to be paranoid. That said, while our depth is depleted and I have no confidence with our outside mids really being a force (I think Convey is in a funk, his head is messed up and he's going to take an off-season to get straight, Quintanilla has some nice moments but I'll like more speed and defense in a winger), I think that an attack of Cerritos-Martin-Stewart is effective and deadly, we still have enough defensive depth (minus a bunch more cards or injuries) to be successfull at stopping people. Most of all, this is an incredibly gritty team. Lesser teams would have imploded much earlier. There would have been division or people would have quit. That hasn't happened with this bunch. It might be ugly--we might be going into the final game seeking to qualify but I think we'll do it b/c this team isn't a bunch of folders.

    I discount the goals given up to the Metros. Guevara has made the USOC his personal grail (much like he did in WC qualifying and the Copa America). And we were short-handed at the end. The defense has played well.

    As for the parity argument, I think the real truth is that a bunch of MLS teams have blown hot and cold. Look at the extended cold streak NE had, Colorado before that, where KC is now. Over the course of the season it means that teams are close in points. Columbus is a team to be wary of--all that talent. But there coach is a fool who hasn't been able to tap into that talent and they find ways to lose against the run of play.
     
  19. Footer Phooter

    Jul 23, 2000
    Falls Church, VA
    I really expect Ray to play for a tie in this next game. We all know how well that usually works out. Then we'll have some pressure. It's nice to have some margin for error though.
     
  20. BudWiser

    BudWiser New Member

    Jul 17, 2000
    Falls Church, VA
    I'm concerned too. That McGee goal may cause a downslide due to a loss of confidence. There's no way we should have lost that game. And as has been said, Olsen out, when he playing so well, is really going to hurt unless someone can pick up where he left off.
     
  21. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Last year (or with many other teams), you're right that giving up a last-minute goal that like would hurt confidence. And losing Olsen would be a gut-punch to most teams. But this team has been dealing with that stuff all year.

    1, DCU is one of the best teams in the league at scoring in the last third of the match and not giving up scores. You wouldn't believe it based on the Metro results but that's what Peter Hirts' data shows.

    2. This team has lost players (many on top of their games or in fine form when they went down) and just moved on.

    If there is anything we know about this team, it is that it's a mentally tough team. Say what you will about style of play, intelligence, finishing, skll, how youth fit in--whatever, but give this team it's due. This is one gritty team that fights for everything, doesn't quit, takes body blows that would stagger almost any other team and yet they soldier on and refuse to quit.

    I"m not predicting a win against Columbus. I'm not guaranteeing the playoffs. We've lost a lot of performers and it's possible we just don't have enough horses for the stretch run. But that said, I am absolutely, positively, completely and with-out-a-doubt sure that DCU is not going to fold or suffer a crisis in confidence or collapse. Live or die, this season's team will fight all the way. At times it might be ugly soccer but the team won't quit and it won't get down on itself.
     
  22. Detective40oz

    Detective40oz Member

    Jun 16, 2000
    Fairfax, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    I'm hopeful we will get results from these games but like others I have some worries going into the game against Columbus. A banged up roster that used to have lots of depth is now stretched thin. We have played 3 grueling games in the last week and Columbus only played one. COlumbus will definitley be the more rested of the 2 clubs, also we will be on the road which doesn't help the fatigue factor. Some say Columbus isn't dangerous? Any team with an attack starting with Martino up through Buddle and McBride with something to prove and playoffs on the line could be very dangerous! I'm not going to be overconfident, and think we will slip into the playoffs but it wont be easy!
     
  23. ursula

    ursula Member

    Feb 21, 1999
    Republic of Cascadia

    That's the sad thing. About a week ago I imagined the team had a very good chance to make the Cup final. Things were coming into place...

    But I feel a bit better with the projected lineup for the C-bus game: Stewart at a-mid with Martins and Cerritos up top. One of our continued problems is that we've been really unsettled in our attack: to go or not go with Etch at a-mid. Now I'm not attacking Etch here, but when the a-mid changes every couple of games then we have a problem with our attack. So I would like some stability, some confidence, in one guy and I do think that guy should be Stewart. Do I expect that Stewart at a-mid will solve all our problems? That he will put in a goal a game? No. I want consistancy. And I want to see Martins be a starter. I just hope Hudson doesn't reverse himself again and start Etch vs NE. Etch can still be valuable as a sub.
     
  24. JoeW

    JoeW New Member

    Apr 19, 2001
    Northern Virginia, USA
    BTW, the best thing going for us is the fratracidal mix of games among the East. For instance, Metros are 1 point above us. They play Dallas (they probably get 3 points there). But they're on the road against SJ (tough for anyone to win there and SJ is hot, hot, hot right now). They have 2 matches (home and away) against NE. You KNOW that NE will be fighting for every point they can get.

    This situation in the East is such that maybe one team will get hot and run the table. But otherwise, everyone else is going to be struggling against everyone else. For instance, it's quite possible that Metro gets 4 points (1 win and 1 tie) in their next 4 matches.

    So it's tight for us but again, I'd rather be where we are with our schedule than be NE or Columbus or have the Metro's schedule.
     
  25. dsheon

    dsheon New Member

    Jun 12, 2000
    I'm worried as well - and check out the dcu prematch report. No etch (that's good) but David Stokes starts...?
     

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