25 October 2006

Talent. Not Talon. Talent.

Okay, before we talk about anything serious, go read The Far Post. Really. There's nothing in this post more important than you reading their writings for today. Trust me.

Back already? Okay, then I'll get on to what this is about.

Commenter BigKris raises an excellent point:

interesting question re: does Boz and Troy winning hurt Gomito's chances. My guess is no, but I DO think that having Boz, Troy, and Christian on his team hurts Nowak's chances at Coach of the Year -- the argument being, "with all those great players, you SHOULD win a lot."
Kris, I agree with you on all factors. It won't hurt Gomez's chances. I'll also go out on a limb and say that Piotr Nowak will not win Coach of the Year on October 31. It will go to Bob Bradley. About 50% of the reason for Piotr not winning will be the end of regular season record (although if you put together our record in any other order, he wins hands-down). The other 50% is exactly the mindset Kris describes by saying "with all those great players, you SHOULD win a lot."

Now, it's an interesting question to me on whether there is any truth to that. On one side, you have Bruce Arena saying (paraphrase) "DC United is an average team that has Moreno and Gomez." On the other side, "DC is stocked with talent!" The awards for Perkins and Boswell suggest the latter opinion holds more weight, but if so... is it really true?

Now, I'm not a professional scout, but my feeling is that DC United is really not that much more talented than other good MLS teams, even with Moreno and Gomez. Are Jamie and Christain great talents? No question, but if we're listing very good midfield/forward pairings you can add on "Dempsey/Olsen", "DeRosario/Ching", and pick any two of "O'Brien/Cooper/Ruiz/Mulrooney" from other teams. Would I take Moreno/Gomez over any of them? Yup, but it's not like there's nobody else out there in their tier of play on this. As for Boswell, and Perkins, and Gros, etc... Are they really that naturally talented? Or have they been, to borrow a phrase, "Coached Up" to play their position better in a system that makes full advantage of their skills? If the latter, it's an interesting irony, because it would mean Piotr Nowak (and Tommy Soehn, and Mark Simpson) are doing the right thing, and then not getting the credit for it, since it will be viewed as talent, not skill or system.

This would be sad if I thought getting Coach of the Year meant all that much to Piotr. It probably doesn't. In fact, I doubt the actual Cups mean all that much to Piotr. I think he just likes the feeling of beating another team, regardless of the stakes.

And speaking of awards, if you're curious, the DCenters BASA ballot was pretty much as homer-iffic as one can be, with the exception of Forward of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Young Player ofthe Year. Seriously. We submitted a best XI with Perkins, Boswell, Moreno, Olsen, Gomez, and six Gomez clones. (Not that scaryice let us get away with it, but we tried).


At 26 October, 2006 16:33, Anonymous Bill Urban said...

"...if we're listing very good midfield/forward pairings you can add on "Dempsey/Olsen..."

Did Ben's head suddenly increase in size, along with a newly-acquired propensity to disappear in important matches?



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