28 July 2006

Jumping the Gun

It is between one and three games too early for stories like this to start appearing in the media. (But you've been doing it for about three weeks... Yes, but we're irresonponsible fan boys on the internet, it's fine when we do it.) I'd prefer that responsible publications (and yes, snarky folks, that includes MLSNet) hold off until after the all-star break. Yet the questions are starting to bubble to the surface, as years like 1998 and 1999 are tenatively invoked. So let's put things in perspective. DC United has 12 games remaining. Let's just say, for the sake of argument, they pull a straight .500 record for the remainder and go 4-4-4. Currently United's is getting 2.25 ppg, and that would represent a fall off to 1.33 ppg for a final record of 17-5-10, 61 points. Would that be a historic, dominating team? Perhaps not. But at the beginning of the season, would you have taken it? Damn right I would.

We can't argue yet as to whether this is one of the greatest regular season teams of all time. Quite simply put, we won't know for at least another eight games. And don't get me wrong, I want to see this United team enter history as one of the great MLS teams of all-time. But just a reminder: Let's not cry in our beer if they just finish as a pretty damn good team. That's all I wanted at the beginning of the season, and as a fan, our expectations should be maintained to that standard, not reevaluated higher. I don't demand history, just quality. The fact that DC has pretty much sewn that up means I'm curious to see how much my expectations are exceeded by. That's a great situation. This team should not be considered a disappointment if they are not the second coming of 1998. That we can ask the question is a joy. But let us not presume the answer yet.

8 Comments:

At 28 July, 2006 10:32, Blogger David Lifton said...

I know I've been talking about it occasionally on the podcast, but I don't think we should argue about where this team stands in comparison to earlier teams until after the season is over. After the RSL away game last year, I began a BS post on this very same subject, saying that, if United were to win the Cup, this could very well be considered the best MLS team ever.

We all know how that turned out.

 
At 28 July, 2006 10:54, Blogger Brian said...

I agree. We who do not get paid for writing this stuff can speculate as much as we like. Those who actually do this for a living need to show some restraint.

It is like in baseball whenever a guy starts the season hot, like when McGuire was with the A's and started the season with 17 home runs, they were predicting back then that he was gonna hit over 60, until he sat on the DL for about a month.

Wait until they get over 55 points, see how they handle the playoffs. After we see who wins the MLS Cup, the SS and the USOC, we can see if the United squad is one of the greatest.

 
At 28 July, 2006 11:05, Blogger Oscar M. said...

The DC United website is there to market the team as well, granted it's not necessarily reaching a wide audience but that's why the organization sees it.

The fan in me agrees that it might be too early to discuss this and potentially jinx the team's run.

But, do you honestly want casual fans to not know how well this team is playing? That it is on pace to be on of the best teams ever? That, maybe, they should come out to RFK between now and October? If you say yes, well, you can't complain about how more people should have come out to see this team or the local media should have paid more attention to them.

 
At 28 July, 2006 11:11, Blogger D said...

Dave/Brian: Yup.

Oscar: Yeah, you have a point there. My worry isn't a jinx so much as unrealistic expectations. The remaining games will answer whether DC 2006 is one of the greatest teams of all-time, and the question can legitmately be asked. However, all I'm saying is that we shouldn't presume the answer is yes.

 
At 28 July, 2006 11:36, Anonymous David Lifton said...

Brian: I've seen what Charles drives. Suggesting he does this for a living is pushing it. That said, he's a cool guy.

 
At 28 July, 2006 11:44, Blogger Oscar M. said...

D:

I didn't get a sense from that article that they were pushing any unrealistic expectations, see the comments from Olsen and Nowak in there. I especially like Ben's dismissal of the regular season.

 
At 28 July, 2006 11:50, Blogger D said...

The Team isn't. I'm more worried about the fans. I think they could see these articles, and expect destiny. Always a danger to think you own fate. As Big Soccer poster "O. Rex" wrote "yeah, you're big now, but wait until the end of the season." He was promptly neg repped into oblivion by the DC faithful.

And I should second Dave's comments on MLSNet writers. They really seem to have additional duties, and file articles in addition to that. They're not paid for it, as far as I can tell. And they, all of them that I have met, are decent chaps.

And when I saw that I'm worried about the fans, I include myself. I have to keep my own expectations in check. That's tough sometimes.

 
At 28 July, 2006 12:19, Blogger Oscar M. said...

D,

"Keeping your expectations in check?" where's the fun of being a fan if you do that to yourself?

 

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