Photo by Brad Smith/ISIphotos.com
Three Eastern Conference teams with serious postseason aspirations. Six games. No wins.
That's far from how the New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union and D.C. United planned on starting a season filled with promise and hope.
For the Red Bulls, the club has come out flat in two games, the team's new signings have not shown all that well and there's very little in the way of creativity coming out of the midfield. The Union's new-look lineup is not yet producing in the wake of the Sebastien Le Toux trade, and while goalkeeper Zac MacMath has looked strong at times since taking over for Faryd Mondragon, he has also made a couple of errors that have led directly to goals.
D.C. United, meanwhile, has yet to receive a return from Designated Player Hamdi Salihi, who was left out of this past weekend's match, and reigning league MVP Dwayne De Rosario has yet to get going after dealing with a groin strain during the preseason.
On the bright side, each team has reasonable explanations for its poor start as well as reasons to think that things will get better:
New York had to play on the road at FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake, gets Rafa Marquez back from suspension this weekend, Wilman Conde back from injury soon after and is still hopeful of Luke Rodgers' visa situation getting worked out.
Philadelphia had the dubious honor of opening the season at Portland and is still integrating a number of new faces into the lineup while overcoming Olympic qualifying absences.
D.C., which is also working in a host of new players and is affected by qualifying, has had perhaps the most treacherous schedule of them all, opening against Sporting Kansas City and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The Eastern Conference as a whole has struggled so badly, too, that all it takes at this point is one solid result to turn the teams' fortunes and places in the table around. It is still very early in a long season, and on paper, all three teams should have the ability to do that and perform at a high level; however, that has yet to be seen a couple of games into the new season.
With that said, which 0-2 Eastern Conference team that was expected to contend (New England, also 0-2, was expected to struggle, way more so than the Red Bulls, Union and United) is more likely to turn things around? Cast your vote here:
How did you vote? Which team in the East do you think has the best shot to turn things around?
Share your thoughts below.