Everything in Context
Just as his team broke their losing streak with a four-point haul from last week's two home matches against New England and Chivas USA, Gomez showed signs of resurgence with a nimble goal against Chivas - and those around him noted a shift in his demeanor.It's a good read, and ultimately a positive vibe, although I will personally note that after Gomez got the goal, he then went right back to some odd passes that Chivas easily took the other way. If he's truly broken out of the slump, we won't know until after the game against Houston.
The graph above shows overall points-per-game (PPG) for all of DC United's first year head coaches for the first 10 games of the season. "Match 0" is the final number of points per game they finished at the end of the regular season. Shoot outs were considered draws. The gray line of Tom Soehn actually perfectly matches, so far, the blue line of a coach named Bruce Arena.
So what's the take away from this? Note the difference between the points-per-game between Game #10 and Game #0 (the end of year result). All first year head coaches other than Ray Hudson saw results in the final two thirds of the season better, on average, than the first third. I'm not going to draw an conclusions regarding MLS Cups from that data, but I find it interesting. If Tom Soehn is still averaging around a point a game after DC's tenth game of the season, it is still no reason to panic. Apparently all of our coaches other than Hudson, even Rongren who inherited a great team and started at a pretty good clip at the start of the season, see better results as the season goes on.
I don't think this is a deterministic thing. Certainly if United drops the next five matches you can panic. But even if United is mediocre through June, it tells me that you can't conclude that the season is pretty much consigned to the same level of mediocrity. Similarly, I note that Ray Hudson had the second highest PPG of first year head coaches in 2002, and we all know how that ended.
The season, despite being only 30 games, is longer than we think.CONSIDER DC UNITED: I sent over a small write-up to our friends blogging on Gateshead FC to try and explain what this United business is all about. They were kind enough to post it. Vamos United, and Heed Army!