03 July 2006

Rolling Like a River

Let's start our get back into DC United coverage mode with a quick review of the last few games. DC is winning. It's not clear, by the way, that they should be winning. But they are. Just as the Washington Metropolitan Subway System is helpless against a torrent of rain on any given day, so too is MLS against DC United. They'll put up the sandbags. They'll hack at Gomez and Moreno. They'll even give a concussion to Dominic Mediate, but somehow DC seeps through and floods the net with just a little more than they can deal with.

Right now, the second best team in MLSEast is the Kansas City Wizards. DC just completed their season series against them, and the upshot was this:

4 Wins. No Losses. No Ties.

About this time, the Red Roof Inn guy is supposed to show up and yell "Oooh! This team is hot!" At which point Ben Olsen will promptly beat him over the head with a two by four. Or is that just what I want?

Now, let's be clear. The last win against Kansas City was not necessarily a game I think DC should have gotten the win with. Listening on the radio to the game, it sounded like Kansas City had more and better chances against DC, and DC's goals came on the counter twice, or an own goal once. That's a little lucky.

Now, there are some will come out with the sport's cliche of "Good teams make their own luck." Well, that's crap. Luck does play a role in the outcome of a game. However, the outcome of a season features all of that evening out. And the thing about luck is that it isn't really a bank account you debit against. Every game is a clean slate on the books of The Lady. Even after the coin has come up heads twenty times in a row, the odds of it coming down heads on the next toss are still 50% (provided your team is not managed by Tom Stoppard). We've gotten some lucky wins. Last Wednesday at Kansas City was one of them. This team probably hasn't truly earned all 35 of its points. Off hand, I can think of three games that probably should have been draws but luck tipped the balance. But even if you change those wins to draws, DC is still in front of MLS with 29 points. Luck is real. But the skill on the field is real as well.

There's going to be a lot of talk about how the next five games in July will be the ultimate test for DC. What people will point to is four of five league matches on the road: At FC Dallas, At Columbus, Home for Columbus, At Chicago, At Real Salt Lake. There may be some truth to that, but I feel for some of these people that even if DC were to get 15 points, there would still be another test. And that's fine. The thing about MLS is that there is always one more challenge, up until the playoffs. But in terms of evaluating this team's regular season, I feel that June's opponents were of a higher quality, and with the exception of the draw against LA, the results exceeded my expectations.

What's the point of all this? I wrote previously that at some point we'd have to start thinking about history. Now I'm willing to say it. This DC United team has a legitimate shot to finish as one of the greatest Regular Season teams of all times. It's still in a race, but we should be thinking about this team in comparison to the 1998's DC United, the 1998 LA Galaxy, and the 2005 San Jose Earthquakes. It just happens that the regular season has some meaning now. And that matters to me. To put this in perspective, DC needs nine wins in the second half of its season to be the winningest team in MLS history. That's what I want. Really. Yes, I know some will think I'm jinxing this team by bringing it up. And it's not like the three teams cited above show much hope for the playoffs (Combined: 0 MLS Cups). It doesn't matter. Worrying about luck (see above) is for wusses. Are you a DC fan or not? Then if you are, you know that we spit fate in the eye, insult his mother, and then flip him the bird while walking under a ladder. This is about the regular season, and making a mark. I know the playoffs set everything back to zero. But right now, in the games I'm watching, I want to see nine more wins. If this team is to be jinxed, I did it a long time ago. So let's go for broke. Nine more wins, and at least 29 more points. Do you think it can happen?

5 Comments:

At 04 July, 2006 07:02, Anonymous Matt said...

It feels great to be kicking everyone's butt.....

Apart from a healthy New England I just don't see any team having near the talent as DC.

At times DC looks bored. ok...sounds a bit cocky but really....our boys are coasting and still wacking the league...

so....Nowak needs to find a way to get them more motivated...and not get too overconfident.

Oh and I do like Perkins now...good stuff

 
At 04 July, 2006 10:33, Anonymous Tom said...

While it would be nice to be considered among the best teams in league history based on regular season record, for me the real goal prior to the playoffs is to win the Supporter's Shield. Then United will be assured of participation in whatever competitions CONCACAF has next season (Champions League, Champions Cup, who knows?). With the Supporter's Shield under their arm, United can't be denied entry no matter what happens in the playoffs.

 
At 05 July, 2006 21:06, Anonymous Nick said...

Champions cup and sudamericana is what its all about. I get the feeling that this year's team is atoning for the incredible fear they had in big games last year that made it our most embarassing and frustrating season ever. I disagree that the playoffs is what its about--the supporter's shield is the most important thing this year. And if we do step up and do well in sudamericana (freddy would have to break out like an animal), then maybe we'll get an invite to libertadores, which would be the penultimate moment for american soccer and mls.

 
At 06 July, 2006 01:01, Anonymous matt said...

Further on what Nick said...

If we continue to make a mockery of the league with our incredible overall pts lead...then who cares if we win the playoffs....it's clear who the best team is...

I agree that the tournaments are bigger than the MLS....

 
At 06 July, 2006 09:14, Blogger D said...

I agree with what everyone is saying. The Supporter's Shield is the #1 goal right now. Setting the all time wins mark is gravy.

 

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