What is the Masterplan?
Two quick links before I digress into a discussion for which I have no answers.
ACCORDING TO SIMON & GARFUNKLE, THEY NEED TO BUILD A BRIDGE: The Post follows up on their analysis of the Anacostia's rivers (I think Oscar posted a link about two weeks ago) with an editorial calling for the new Nationals and United owners to pony up for clean-up costs. Sure, fair, fine. The only thing is that you now have to consider that part of the cost of the buy-in to the area, which means that the idea of the city "giving away the land" is shown to be more and more of a false premise. It ain't a give away once you consider the environmental costs. So let's stop that argument right now, shall we? I'm sure the Post will get right on that.
WE LIKE VICTOR, CAN WE GET HIM FOR OTHER SPORTS? BlackAthlete.Com laments the failure of [Crazy Uncle Moneybags] Brian Davis to purchase the Memphis Grizzlies. In the process, you can almost hear "Why didn't he get into an ownership group like the one he's part of with United?" We don't know, but we're happy he did.
WHAT ARE THE WINDOWS? Okay, now to what I want to talk about. I had a wonderful time watching the Denmark/US game from Oscar's place. As you can imagine, there was much talk not just about the US National Team, but also about United. CVS, an occasional commenter in these parts, asked a telling question: "Do you guys feel like this is a rebuilding year?" I don't think so, but I understand where that sentiment comes from. We cleared out a lot of players for allocation cash, cap room, and draft picks. We didn't necessarily draft for need. We have a rookie head coach. Add to that the unspoken fear that this might be Moreno's last year (although no one other than Jamie would really know) and you have the feeling that DC isn't really in a "Win Now!" mindset.
I think "rebuilding" is too strong a phrase, but I agree that, as of today, this is a team with more questions than any team since 2003. If I had to offer a complete guess as to what might be in play, I would think that the 2008 and 2009 seasons are more important to the Front Office than this season. Yes, I know we have SuperLiga and the CONCACAF Champions Cup. But that'll be old news as we enter the stadium push endgame. When that time comes there will be real political considerations to having a team that looks strong. Remember that RSL supporters even theorized that the Freddy Adu deal was made to give Dave Checketts some momentum in his stadium maneuvers. I've made fun of Checketts for many things, but that made sense to me.
The fact is, the idea of "windows" popularized in NFL analysis doesn't really translate as well to soccer. Sure, there's a salary cap that comes into play, but it's implementation essentially means that all the teams have to deal with its restrictions all the time, as opposed to the boom and bust cycles of American Football. However, there are times when you can put out a stronger team than others. I think that DC United will be competitive next year, but I don't think you'd look at them as the odds-on favorite for anything. That could change by '09 when planning from this year and next comes together.
So, if I had to guess (and this is only a guess), I would think that United is going to try and be competitive, but not overwhelmingly intimidating, for the next year or two. After that will come the next real set of "Great United Teams." That's the hunch.