Retrospective: When did it go right?
A smarter blogger would wait until after this weekend before doing any sort of seasonal analysis. Why not let the important games this weekend play out before we make any assumptions? But, well, if there's a word I live by, it is premature. So let's breakdown the season to date, and see if we can identify potential turning points. That's the purpose of this post, and in a later post (soon, I promise. Yes, I've been deluged with real life work, but I owe you guys some quality analysis) we'll look at why things might have turned when they did.
For our starting point, let's take the pace graph, which we are all familiar with right now. However, I've just isolated United's performance, in an attempt to look at the variations we see. To my eyes, there are four distinct phases to this season. The early slide, the stabilizing games, another set of poor results around the all-star break, and the most recent run of results. Here's how it looks (click to enlarge):
So, to summarize, the season started badly, but then something happened to change things and United started getting results. However, around the all-star break, United dropped off again, until starting a run against New England and reeling off a few results. Why is this?
Of course, the conventional wisdom says this is obvious. The first turn around was around the time of the Chivas game earlier in the year, which is about shortly before United switched over to the 4-4-2. The second turnaround was United starting a new slide, with the At Houston, Dallas, and At New York matches. What was going on then? The simple answer might be "Moreno's injury and the Copa America" but do you have another theory? Finally, was it simply Moreno returning to the line-up that started the most recent run, or is there something else? I have some theories, but let's hear yours...