19 June 2007

How will it be remembered?

It has always been simple for me, and I think many of you, to separate DC United history by its coaches. It may be overly simplistic, but as a narrative it has resonance. There was the inevitable invincibility of the Arena years (never-mind the pre-Moreno games), the erosion and collapse of the Rongren era (never-mind the one championship), the comical farce of the Hudson era (we remember it as comical primarily because of Hudson himself; the team was, in fact, a nasty bit of work that led MLS in fouls committed and cautions for both 2002 and 2003), the promising but almost Sisyphean efforts of the Nowak era (always one step was needed...). We use this shorthand to demarcate United's history, and we care about history almost, but not quite as much, as the present.

With barely a third of the season under Tom Soehn's belt, we can at least begin to speculate on what, in a sentence, the Tom Soehn United is. Even if we can't do that, we can at least try to speculate on what it could be. Yes, this is all premature, but it is still fun, and that's why I'm doing it even though it is patently ridiculous to do so at this time. It was once thought that newspapers are the first draft of history. So let's take our own shot at it.

If it could work out, I would like the Soehn era to be remembered as one where United was more adaptable, flexible, and unpredictable in terms of what we brought to the field. Soehn's line-ups have changed from week to week, he is fiddling but I doubt he will ever hit on a Best XI and stick with it from week to week a la Nowak. Instead, I would love to see more tactical decisions made in how the team plays and who starts. We've seen this a lot on the wing choices, where we've seen Casal, Moose, Olsen, Gros, and Fred. We've seen more movement up-top with Moreno, Emilio, Kpene, and Addlery. And we've seen changes in the backline.

If there's one thing Soehn may become known for, it's his willingness to experiment, toy with, and generally MacGyver the United lineup from week to week. That's a good thing right now (of course, one man's MacGuyver is another's overmeddling Mad Scientist...) And if I were to make a premature guess as to what we'll remember the Soehn era for, it would be for its adaptability.

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At 19 June, 2007 11:01, Blogger Will said...

The more guys you can get into the more positions where they are usesul and see meaningful time, the more flexible and adaptible to any team you are. This is good. I think the worf for the Novak time was 'rigidity'. If he couldn't find a way to fit a square peg into a round hole, he would run at it over and over and over for 90 minutes until the peg or the hole broke.

At 19 June, 2007 13:23, Anonymous bigkris said...

Well, this is less about Soehn specifically (although, to the point made in the intro to the piece, that's always been a bit of a shorthand anyway), but I think the last couple years, beginning with the success of drafting Boz and signing Gomez, marks the coming of age of our FO in identifying talent. Most telling, this off-season saw us proactively separate with two key starters from last year's team and upgrade both positions as a result. That's not just a ballsy move, it's a coup. Add in draft picks like Moose, Dyachenko, and Arguez, plus signees like Kpene and Casal, and you've got an argument to be made that we're out-scouting our competition. What a tremendous advantage!

At 19 June, 2007 15:23, Anonymous Max J. said...

Interesting, I don't view his tactical shuffles that way at all. I think in time he will find a Best XI, but for now he's still in the process of a) making sure they're fully recovered from the bad start and b) figuring out which team will really be his guys. There's an illusory aura of extreme flexibility because of the comparison to Nowak and all the crap that's gone on to start the year. I don't think it's a bad thing, but every coach wants to leave his distinctive mark and I doubt Tommy will be any different.

At 19 June, 2007 16:58, Blogger Fullback said...

No "u" in McGyver. Strange that we both
made a comparison
between Soehn and McGyver. Zeitgeist or merely Soehn's years kicking the ball around hockey arenas in the MISL?

At 19 June, 2007 17:04, Blogger D said...

FB -- Wow... here I thought I had figured out the next comparison, and I see you beat me to it by 48 hours. Ah well... I'm guessing it is a zeitgeist thing. It seems... apt, somehow. Although admittedly MacGyver was just a bit before my time, I'm more likely to recognize RDA from StarGate SG-1. I probably shouldn't admit that. And typo corrected.

At 19 June, 2007 17:16, Blogger Kinney said...

Raul Diaz Arce was in Stargate? :)

At 19 June, 2007 17:20, Anonymous Anonymous said...


"You ended that sentence with a preposition, bastard."

At 19 June, 2007 21:30, Blogger DCSportsChick said...

Great post. Definitely some food for thought there.


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