The Current Situation

Discussion in 'D.C. United' started by Knave, Apr 12, 2010.

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  1. Knave

    Knave Member+

    May 25, 1999
    1) This is all Cweed’s fault. If he had not sent me back to look into the 2007 season, which I had previously overlooked, I wouldn’t have thought about any of this. Some of this has been discussed and posted in bits and pieces elsewhere, but I wanted to pull it all together and see what others thought.

    2) If anyone has been consistently negative about this team’s prospects since Nowak left (and admittedly even during the last few months of Nowak’s tenure), it’s been me. I’ve been nothing but a naysayer about Onalfo and the front office and it’s only politeness that’s kept me from naysaying about some of our players. I note this because when I say, despite three horribly embarrassing losses, despite arguably the most pitifully awful play this team has ever exhibited, that we’re not doomed yet, I don’t want anyone to mistake this for the inane ramblings of one of those totally insufferable naifs that you sometimes see peddling “hope” and “optimism” around these parts.

    3) Yes we stank up the joint early on in the 1996 season. We lost the first 4 straight matches, and then won only 2 of our first 9 matches before righting the ship. This is ancient history and the league no longer looks anything like it did back then. 1996 is irrelevant and the comparison invalid.

    4) Our worst year on record was probably 2000. We opened the season with 2 consecutive losses, then a win and then basically we averaged about 1 win a month for the rest of the miserable season. But, frankly, I think 2000 is totally irrelevant too. Again, the league today is just very different – and that goes beyond mere expansion.

    5) Which brings us to 2007. Most remember that year as the last year that DC United won the Supporters’ Shield. What you may have forgotten is that DC United started that season with 3 straight losses. This is not ancient history. Yeah, the 2010 MLS is a bit bigger than the 2007 version, but we’re talking about the recent past here. If you want a valid comparison for the current season, 2007 has got to be it.

    6) I went back and skimmed some of the old 2007 threads – mostly the first few match threads and some of the other more general threads. The reaction to the losses back then was nothing at all like the reaction we’re seeing today. I know that wasn’t because we were all somehow more sober-minded back then – hardly! This board’s always been fully capable of flipping out and going hysterical.

    7) So why was the reaction to opening the season with 3 straight losses so different in 2007 than it is today? 2007 was Soehn’s first year. New coach, just like now. Perhaps Soehn inspired a bit more confidence than Onalfo, but I really don’t think that was the decisive difference. The real difference was that we had confidence in our roster in 2007. Read the threads and that’s the sense you get. And it wasn’t without justification – United was fielding a much stronger team than it is now:
    8) In 2007, after that initial 3 game slide, we went on a 7 game unbeaten streak and that began a really powerful campaign that (with one other small slump) included two 4 game winning streaks and a long 10 game unbeaten streak.

    9) So now in 2010 we’ve pissed away three games and have squat to show for it. There’s little confidence about the team and the coach and the FO. Anyone hoping to make a run at the Shield like we did in 2007 – well, you’re hoping for a miracle. We don’t have the players for that. The real question is whether this team can remain in the playoff hunt over the long run.

    10) Right now, even if we don’t have the players to make a run at the Shield, we’re still perfectly well in the running for the playoffs. You’re talking a couple of good wins and we’re back in the thick of it. It’s easy enough (in theory) to catch the pack right now. But we have to start getting wins, because that pack is going to keep running ahead and in two weeks instead of talking about needing a couple of wins, we could be talking about needing three or four wins just to catch up. And it won’t get easier after that.

    11) The good news is it ain't over and this team has a very promising schedule for making a comeback – if it can. Looking at the league schedule, we’ve got a 3 game home stand – 4 if you include the USOC.
    It opens next week against Chicago, a team that’s been stumbling badly this year (but a team that last year had the best away record in the league). Next is Dallas. A win in the USOC won’t count towards the regular season, but it may count toward a trophy in the long run and toward confidence in the short run. After that we face a New York side that (until this last week) has been looking very impressive. If there was ever an opportunity to get a really big, confidence building win this game is it. Getting a big win in a rivalry game could bring major changes to this team (and the fans). Then we’ve got Kansas City again. Trouncing the team that trounced us in the opener would also do wonders for everyone.

    Yes, ideally we wouldn’t have blown the first three games. But we did. The question is whether we can recover from that skid – a question that, I think, will be answered one way or the other over the next four games.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. John L

    John L Member+

    Sep 20, 2003
    Alexandria, VA

    Shoulda stopped there
     
  3. elconejito

    elconejito Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Where Homer Lives
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    100% agree with this.

    I think in 2007, the success from Nowak was still fresh in our minds with mostly the same players (the core at least). Soehn was an unknown and there was a feeling of "give the guy a chance to settle in and figure things out".

    Whereas now, we've been through a few years of sucking and success is a distant memory. Onalfo has a history. And while his history may not be "bad", it's certainly not great. So people will naturally looks at symptoms now and relate them to symptoms from his previous history.

    I'll note that a lot of the issues that I had with Soehn in 2007 continued, and in some cases got worse, throughout his tenure. Meaning he never fixed them. I haven't seen much of the first 3 games (thankfully), but it will be really bad dejavu if the bad habits continue throughout the year.
     
  4. JoeSoccerFan

    JoeSoccerFan Member+

    Aug 11, 2000
    +1 - let's get Cweed!
     
  5. DC06

    DC06 Member+

    Oct 9, 2006
    Within amile of home
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I know we're going to give up at least a goal or two, especially with Jakovic suspended. My question is where are the goals going to come from? I really hope I'm wrong, but I struggle to see how we will win this Saturday.
     
  6. stangspritzring

    stangspritzring Member+

    Apr 3, 2006
    NorMD
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8lT1o0sDwI"]YouTube- Animal House: Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor[/ame]
     
    2 people repped this.
  7. itwasi

    itwasi Member+

    May 9, 2008
    I don't know
    Club:
    DC United
    The 2007 season started with something and showed us the team could play as a team before the regular season. They knew they could win in meaningful competitions and got angry after three straight losses.
    Both Olimpia and Guadalajara are far better than any team United has played so far.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Q*bert Jones III

    Q*bert Jones III The People's Poet

    Kingston Stockade
    Feb 12, 2005
    Woodstock, NY
    Club:
    DC United
    Great analysis, Knave.

    I fully agree that doing well in this homestand would indeed do wonders both on the table and in the heads of players and fans.

    Having said that, going into 2007, there was an air of confidence. We knew that DCU was a talented team. Talent and smarts in creative positions, brains and athleticism in defensive positions. When the team started off poorly, I think we had the sense that this was a sound ship that just needed to be turned around.

    Going into 2010, we all knew this season was going to be a long hard slog. On paper, this team is, at very best, a poor-to-middling team in MLS and much more likely to be worse. There's very little talent, no creativity, no muscle, no speed. There's nothin' to work with. I don't get the sense that this ship can be righted.

    I retain hope but I have very low expectations.
     
  9. YellowSpine

    YellowSpine Member

    May 7, 2009
    Portsmouth, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    When is Namoff and Burch coming back??
     
  10. nobletea

    nobletea Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 29, 2004
    HarCo
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Soda all over the screen.
     
  11. Q*bert Jones III

    Q*bert Jones III The People's Poet

    Kingston Stockade
    Feb 12, 2005
    Woodstock, NY
    Club:
    DC United
    Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Also, see: Fred.
     
  12. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I did not realize they were a package deal.
     
  13. BigKris

    BigKris Member

    Jan 17, 2005
    Falls Church, VA
    Wow, this is a pretty important point to have left out of the original theme/post of this thread. That sound you just heard was a straw man crashing to the ground.

    I remember this CCC - Emilio making his United debut against his old club; then the Chivas home tie that felt like a loss because we thought we had them on the ropes but Burch (?) got sent off early with a questionable red card; then the away game at Guadalajara where Jaime scored a beauty of a goal but Perkins was the goat by misplaying a long shot by Bravo (?) for the winning goal.

    No one who was watching in 2007 could've missed, after watching those four games, that DC was a talented team, well-coordinated, playing with a chip on their shoulders. During/after the first few games of the regular season the reason why there was no panic was because the key question being asked was, "why did the team's performance drop off?" You got the sense that the team -- or at least particular players who were key to the team's performance -- were demoralized at having dropped out of the CCC tournament and hadn't gotten their heads in to the regular season yet. Once they did -- wow, look out.

    Sorry, but i just don't see any useful comparison to draw from the '07 experience.
     
  14. DangSkippy

    DangSkippy Member+

    Apr 28, 2009
    MoCo Maryland
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    But. . . but. . . we did win the Carolina Cup this year!

    Don't hurt me, I'm kidding. Of course, since I didn't go down there and I didn't see them play, winning that tournament had me thinking that the DC was better than I thought and at least we would be a mid-table team, if not an upper-mid. My, how those hopes have come crashing back to Earth. No, seriously, those of you who went down Charleston, how in the blue jesus did they beat Toronto and RSL? Seriously, Philadelphia gave DC a draw and we couldn't hold it.

    Wrong thread sorry.

    For the record, I don't think there is any problem with throwing out the stats and numbers for consumption, especially if they offer a "shiny gold wire of hope" in what is otherwise gloomy.
     
  15. ncguy

    ncguy New Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    NC
    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  16. Knave

    Knave Member+

    May 25, 1999
    In a strange way I actually think the success from Nowak was a little too fresh in some minds. We won the shield in 2006, but what people forget is we did that on the basis of the first half of the season. In the second half of the season United actually had the worst record in MLS. It was really quite miserable stuff.
    I was aware of the CCC. It's actually why I initially missed the three straight regular season losses. I don't think BigKris means strawman -- his actual claim is that its inclusion makes it an apples to oranges comparison. My sense, however, is that if you get really granular comparing any season to any other season it's going to appear apples to oranges. Plus, including those games in the analysis actually just bolsters the point I made about having confidence in our players. We're just saying it differently.

    Part of the reason I posted this was because I was trying to figure out a metric for evaluating this season's prospects. Everything I've seen thus far tells me this team is really, very bad. I've been arguing that since the opening game and I've even cast aspersions upon the perceptive acuity of those who have been resisting the "this team stinks" bandwagon.

    Then came the Philly game. As much as I was saying "this team stinks," I must have been thinking "but I've been wrong about these things before," because that game and that loss really hit me like a ton of bricks because I realized after that game that maybe my negativity is totally justified. So the question became how long does the team have to disprove that view? Or at what point is doubt no longer justified? If the team can turn things around and make something of this season, when should I expect that to happen?

    And there 2007 was instructive to me because that team did go into a skid out of the gate, but they immediately turned it around with an extended unbeaten streak. Maybe that's too much to expect from the 2010 team. And one can ask what's "enough" out of these next 3 or 4 games. My point is only that these next 3 or 4 games are, I think, going to be decisive. It's a very favorable home stand and the team wastes that home stand very much at its peril.

    (Now, don't get me wrong. We're very clearly obviously not talking about mathematical elimination from the playoffs after the 6th game of the season. But I've tracked the magic numbers and tragic numbers enough to know that practically speaking walking dead, zombie teams exist very long before the tragic numbers hit zero. Maybe an exception or two exists in MLS history. The 2007 Galaxy came close, but even with Beckham and Donovan they couldn't recover in time to make the playoffs. And, frankly, even the 2007 Galaxy started out stronger than the 2010 United. Hell, even the 2001 Mutiny started out stronger than us.)
     
  17. Bolivianfuego

    Bolivianfuego Your favorite Bolivian

    Apr 12, 2004
    Fairfax, Va
    Club:
    Bolivar La Paz
    Nat'l Team:
    Bolivia
    It had to do with what we were building on from 2009 to 2010. Back then think about how good we were in 2006, then 2007. People are quick to hit the panic button because of how bad we've been lately. Not to mention the lack of possession and smart on the ground ball movement we were used to with gomez and moreno, fred, benny, among others. We had good older guys that knew how to play well moving the ball around. This year not so much. All our guys are american internals, and dont have much exterior experience, like gomez and fred, moreno, and I'd say benny too with his time with the USMNT. We look like a young team with how we play with no direction, and just look like 'kids' out there.
     
  18. Bootsy Collins

    Bootsy Collins Player of the Year

    Oct 18, 2004
    Capitol Hill
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    George?

    ("Rarely is the question asked: is our children learning?")
     
  19. Theopisa

    Theopisa Member+

    Pisa Sporting Club
    Italy
    Oct 7, 2008
    Venezia
    Club:
    Pisa Calcio
    Nat'l Team:
    Italy
    What worries me a lot is that we did a great preseason and now we suck.

    Which is exactly what happened last year at the RBNY, great preseason with wins and ties here and there against Argentinian teams etc, and then...
     
  20. Theopisa

    Theopisa Member+

    Pisa Sporting Club
    Italy
    Oct 7, 2008
    Venezia
    Club:
    Pisa Calcio
    Nat'l Team:
    Italy
    The next thing that worries me is that NYRB comes at RFK on May 1 and trashes us. It's probably going to happen in Jersey, but I really wouldn't want to see it happening here
     
  21. 1MADDOG

    1MADDOG New Member

    Aug 15, 2000
    DC
    On target.
     
  22. NattyBo

    NattyBo Member+

    Apr 30, 2004
    Nunya
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    Why in God's name anyone put serious stock into Carolina Cup results is beyond me. Did people really think a 36 year old forward was going to keep scoring at a goal a game pace?
     
  23. DangSkippy

    DangSkippy Member+

    Apr 28, 2009
    MoCo Maryland
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    No, but I did assume from the results that the team was capable of holding the ball long enough for Jaime to get into a scoring position. Apparently, the only one capable of that feat is Chris Seitz. Anyway, I assumed if Jaime was scoring, it was the result of sustained attack - he's not exactly a break-away counter sort of guy anymore. This was clearly a mistake on my part, either in the assumption of the sustained attack or the belief that RSL and Toronto weren't fielding their U-16s. Or both.

    I mean, "serious stock," okay no. But if the team was this dysfunctional the whole time, how did they actually manage a shot on goal the whole tournament? I thought we were going to be mediocre, not so god-awful.
     
  24. Cweedchop

    Cweedchop Member+

    Mar 6, 2000
    Ellicott City, Md
    It's all my fault..
     
  25. Untroubled by Reason

    Dec 5, 2007
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    OK, somebody get a PG County cop over here... :rolleyes:

    ... what, too soon? :eek:
     

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