D.C. United is a mess.
Yes, we know, D.C. is coming off a 3-2 home win against Toronto FC, so things should be looking up for the underachiving club. Right? Maybe not.
SBI Correspondent Joel Sanderson sees plenty of problems in the nation’s capital and they haven’t disappeared thanks to one home win.
Here is his take on the current state of D.C. United:
By JOEL SANDERSON
I sit here, writing, a humbled man.
Before the season, I sat out on the front porch of the DC United fan club, sipping my kool-aid, thinking about how Dave Kasper and Tommy “Jim Jones” Soehn had really set the team up for a potentially historic run.
It was Berry Blue kool-aid too. My favorite kind.
And out there, on the porch, I looked across the street and saw the Toronto FC compound. I thought, “Hey, they could have a competitive team this year. But how are they going to score on us? Better yet, who is going to stop us from scoring?”
It was delicious kool-aid. I had some pretzels too. Altogether, a nice day.
I thought, I even stated, before the regular season that DC United could have the best team the league has seen. Powerful, likeable foreign players. Young US kids that are hard to root against. Aging veterans and scoring stars. With all the new guys, my biggest concern was, “am I going to enjoy rooting for these guys?”
The answer has been, sadly, no. And that’s not because the team has been terrible, and it has been. And it’s not because they aren’t likeable players. It’s because they haven’t played like they had to earn it every time they stepped on the field. One player has looked that way every game he has played – Clyde Simms. And that’s just because his hustle is what keeps him on the field. He isn’t the most talented guy out there. It took them 10 games (10!) to actually play hard consistently.
The season has just gone wrong. The kool-aid was spiked I tell you!
It starts, as always, at the top. Tommy Soehn, you’re a nice enough guy. I don’t have anything against you as a person. Last season was great, but this year the team spent almost a third of the year walking onto the field thinking that it was entitled to victory. It’s your job to keep that from happening. Sure, it’ll be better when they gel. Then again, that’s what the offseason was for. I don’t want any more kool-aid.
And the players… It’s not hard to root for a losing team. I’ve done it before many times. It’s fun to watch young players grow. It’s fun to be able to rub it in the face of a powerhouse when you outplay them. But this team doesn’t look like it will every outplay a good team, never outhustle anyone. So much of soccer is getting to the ball first, but these don’t seem to want that. They don’t come back to passes all the time. There is a lack of gelling and comfort, but most pronounced that there appears to be a lack of desire. One game of effort does not solve that problem.
So the porch is lonelier now, with just these pretzels.
And we come to Dave Kasper. If I recall, last year the team had a pretty good year if anyone recalls. Why are we starting four players from that team? Last time I checked, winning is a good thing. You’ve made some great moves, but tossing out your starting line-up for unproven guys is just stupid. If I still had any kool-aid, I would hunt you down and throw it in your face.
I’m rooting for redemption for these players. Fred, Quaranta, Martinez, Gallardo, McTavish, and Kirk all look like keepers. But that doesn’t make a team and somebody should probably look into scoring some goals. I’m optimistic because there’s lots of soccer left to be played. But something has to change – attitude, coaching, players – something, because this is unacceptable. The team finally put together a game, but I don’t know how that happened. Until this becomes trend, not an aberration, I’ll continue to watch and be relieved when something good happens and someone hustles.
I hate feeling this stupid that I thought this team could be great. While I still really like kool-aid, and I assure you I’m getting thirsty, right now, I’d just like to punch someone in the kidney. I think Kasper just ducked his head out the window. I’m going to go hunt him down, I think we need to talk…