I detect a certain degree of resignation among a subset of D.C. United fans regarding the CONCACAF Champion's Cup. The 1-1 draw with Chivas at RFK has led many to believe that the defeat in Mexico is inevitable, and that DC's best hopes are to avoid a complete humiliation. I can understand this, but it's wrong. The Anxious Auxiliary Brigades are quick to point out that 1-1 was the result after the RFK leg with UNAM Pumas, an uncomfortable prelude to a 5-0 beat-down. History, it seems, would dictate these worries.
Readers of the DCenters know a few things: First, we don't believe that large margins of victories in single games are true indicators of talent so much as multiple small margins of victory. Five-nil is definitely within the fluke classification. Second, we don't believe that history is determinant. Just as people will be quick to say "Those that do not study history are bound to repeat it" people seem just as quick to equate that to "I've studied history, and this is what has happened, so this is what will happen." That second statement of historical determinism is bullshit of the highest order. Things change. DC doesn't lose in knockout competitions to MLS Teams. Unless it is the Chicago Fire. Until it was New England. Similarly, on the reverse side, DC is not doomed because of some macro-historical pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo.
Let me ask you a question, those of you that watched the Chivas match either on-screen or in-person: Did you feel that D.C. United looked bad because they weren't playing as well as they could, or because Chivas was so much better that D.C. looked bad in comparison?
I personally feel that many of the problems in the Chivas match were not caused so much by Chivas, but rather by United. That's not to say that Chivas wasn't a skilled team, and didn't cause United problems. But I didn't feel like I was looking at a team destined to play United off the pitch. DC made DC look bad more than Chivas did (although Chivas played their part.)
All this is saying that I think United can play a better game in Guadalajara. Of course, they may well play a better game and see Chivas step their game up a notch or two as well. But it's not set in stone that this is a repeat of the 2005 Pumas second leg. The forces of history are not necessarily a match for Ben Olsen.