03 October 2007

The Last Thing in Pandora's Box Is Also One of the World's Ills

There's something about crashing out of this tournament in particular that puts me in a more philosophical frame of mind. So I'm scrapping the debrief from the agenda (unless someone is really itching for it.) If you need something along those lines, go ahead and read the Bog Man's gamer. Your must-read is actually us, for once, as Oscar them all down for convenient use. For reference, I am Numbers 3,6, and 10. Also, my apologies to everyone for the lack of an audio feed via DCUnited.Com. We had asked the team about it, were told it would happen, and then it didn't happen. It's possible it was just technical difficulties or something, and maybe we'll know more later. Okay, there's the standard news stuff.

Here's the thing about cup events. The losses are profound, terminal, striking. You may try and say live-and-learn, but there's no game next week, or month, to apply the lessons to. Cup events bring out the emotions in a way that league games simply do not.

If I can draw an analogy, the match last night was like being in the final months of a doomed relationship, provided the emotional impacts are compressed into 90 minutes. Nick Hornsby, by the way, has ruined this kind of writing for most of us, simply because he did it so well in Fever Pitch. But that ultimately was a fulfilling story, this was the opposite. I knew we couldn't play for a 0-0 draw, yet Tom Soehn and the team made a judgment that not surrendering a goal to Chivas was infinitely more important than putting pressure on Chivas. I knew this, I had the warning signs, and yet I still chose to believe. It's like knowing that the woman you are dating was a lesbian for three years before you dated her, but somehow convincing yourself that it didn't matter. And I clung to that belief, denying more own analysis and instincts and observations, even as Chivas continued to apply pressure and out players tired and found themselves straddling the ball, unsure how to untangle themselves and ultimately surrendering. I didn't want to believe my own thoughts, or facts, I wanted to believe that somehow it would be all right.

Part of me understood that for at least 100 minutes of this 180 minute encounter, Chivas had done more to earn advancement. But I didn't want to care about that either. Even after Chivas scored, I clung to the idea that somehow, despite the situation, we could come through. Soccer can do that, you know that teams get goals counter to the run of play, and you start looking for it, even expecting it, demanding it from a game that says "Sure, it can happen, but you'd be a fool to rely upon it." At this time, all your friends know the relationship is doomed, but you still think that there might be one last second moment where it will all be reversed and you can celebrate and laugh and say "So much for you, logic and analysis!" I wanted, needed, United to equalize, even in an event that I told myself I didn't care about. And it's true when I wrote that, intellectually there was nothing for me in this tournament. Even emotionally, until the starting whistle at RFK a week ago, I was fully invested in the Supporter's Shield and MLS Cup runs. But Copa Sudamericana was a pretty girl that turned my head around, and lust sometimes overwhelms. And even after it became apparent it would end badly, hope is a treacherous force.

Labels: ,

18 Comments:

At 03 October, 2007 09:34, Anonymous Charlton Heston said...

This loss is on Soehn's head. What a stupid tactical approach incompatible with our current roster.

 
At 03 October, 2007 09:36, Anonymous Joanna said...

So you've been cheating on MLS Cup?!?!? ...you crack me up, D. :-)

Slightly OT, but you mentioned it. I love Fever Pitch and read it about fifty times or so, but wasn't the ending completely stupid? I mean, Hornby spends the entire book laying out in infinitesimal detail how he's happy when Arsenal does well and depressed when they lose, and then at the end he goes, ...but they won this championship and now my depression is gone and I'll never be depressed again. YAH RIGHT! Did anyone actually believe the ending?

 
At 03 October, 2007 09:39, Anonymous Joanna said...

ch -- according to the quotes on Goff's blog they didn't intend to bunker, it sort of worked out that way in reaction to the Chivas attack.

 
At 03 October, 2007 10:00, Blogger Kinney said...

They really didn't intend to bunker. They just couldn't hold possession in the midfield without Fred. It unbalanced the midfield because Gros can't hold the ball against a team like Chivas, not to mention our best cross-field passer was also out. The only way to counter-act this was by Jaime coming back into the mid-field for the ball. This works sometimes in MLS play, where United does a good job of breaking out of the midfield but Chivas just had too much speed for that to be effective. Which left Emilio up all alone and us basically in an ad hoc bunker.

When we went forward we went the whole way. Let's just say this, you don't play an offsides trap 40 yards from goal against a faster team if you are trying to bunker. That is what United was doing in the first half.

 
At 03 October, 2007 10:28, Anonymous bdr said...

If you don't risk getting dumped by the pretty girl you end up dating the Columbus Crew your whole life.

 
At 03 October, 2007 11:18, Blogger The Bird said...

"If you don't risk getting dumped by the pretty girl you end up dating the Columbus Crew your whole life."

shudder....

 
At 03 October, 2007 11:23, Anonymous GUTuna said...

"If you don't risk getting dumped by the pretty girl you end up dating the Columbus Crew your whole life."

There's gotta be a Crewzers joke in here somewhere...

 
At 03 October, 2007 11:24, Blogger John said...

Thank you for writing this. It perfectly encapsulates how I'm feeling today. This heartbreak is strange because there was so little build up.

It's like a hot stranger smiled at me and then kicked me in the nuts without any explanation. I mean we lost by LESS THAN A GOAL!

 
At 03 October, 2007 11:30, Anonymous Goose said...

Definitely wasn't a bunker job. DC didn't not go forward because it was the game plan. DC didn't go forward because the midfield couldn't hold up the ****ing ball to release runs at goal.

 
At 03 October, 2007 11:48, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least you could see the pretty girl. I had to settle for hearing others chat about her on Goff's blog.

Somehow there's a (completely irrational) sinking feeling that if I could have been there -- even at the pub -- to see it happen, it could have turned out differently.

She would have known I was there. She would have seen me, and smiled again...

It's my fault. Sorry to let you all down.

 
At 03 October, 2007 14:52, Anonymous teeps29 said...

Damn you, anonymous!

 
At 03 October, 2007 15:40, Anonymous Jeremy said...

The only good thing about watching on tape delay:

The whole game I knew the goal was coming, it was inevitable. You just can't keep a team like that from scoring. However, I didn't think that Chivas looked that good either and I hoped that the soccer gods would frown upon the class-less thugs.

Once the goal happenned, I just knew there was no way that we could possibly come back with the way that we were playing, so I looked up the final score to decide if it was worth watching.

It wasn't, so I was able to extricate myself from relationship before the exciting final minutes of break up sex that somehow make you think that the relationship can work out after all.

 
At 03 October, 2007 17:31, Anonymous Mickey said...

First, I will be clear in stating "there is no such thing as a moral victory."

That being said, in spite of last nite's loss (and notwithstanding Freeman's and Bueno's assessment over on SI), this series should be considered a positive incremental nudge forward for MLS in international performances because: (a) DC tied during regulation and lost the round on away goals - hardly a dismal performance compared to losses to Catolica and Pumas in the not-so-distant past, (b) Chivas fired their coach as a result of the first game of the series (the front offices for lots of teams in Mexico and South America surely took notice), (c) while a compliment to Chivas, their use of the Chinese Army School of Offence (i.e., throw as many men forward as possible) illustrates, among other things, their respect for DC, and (d) through-out the year, Houston's and DC's performances have ALL been competitive against Club America, Morelia and most of all Chivas and Pachuca.

Finally, while there is no need to pat ourselves on the back for losing last nite, let's not entirely write-off DC's performances in international play this year. Ironically, perhaps all of the dour grumbling can be viewed optimistically - MLS fans finally have high expections of their teams in international play.

 
At 03 October, 2007 20:02, Blogger The Goo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 03 October, 2007 20:17, Blogger The Bird said...

Well said mickey. DCU has proven that we can be consistent contenders in MLS. International tournys are the next level for us, and this was an admirable performance in a big competition. Our time is coming soon, and Chivas knows it...

 
At 03 October, 2007 22:38, Blogger Charles said...

I hate the away goals rule.
There was no way we were ever going to hold Chivas scoreless in Mexico.
DC didn't lose for lack of effort on Ben Olsen's part. It's never for lack of effert on the part of Ben Olsen.
Let's just win the double now, shall we?

 
At 03 October, 2007 23:47, Anonymous Nick said...

I didn't get a moral victory out of last night. I was kind of embarassed frankly, because I really did think that this team could get a result. I agree that we didn't bunker in, we just simply could not play under that pressure down there. We couldn't pass or dribble, forget about scoring or offensive chances. I didn't see the official possession stat, but it must have been something like 80-20.
I live and breath United, and last night's performance hurt really bad. It was a cold hard slap in the face that no matter how much I care and how much I believe in this team, its not even close to being good enough to go down to mexico and beat a team broiled in internal chaos. The scoreline was respectable, but the performance really wasn't, no matter how we try and rationalize it. I'm worried about a hangover here. I'm worried about this team's legacy. It seems like this is the DC team that just can't win a big game. It's discouraging. The one brightside: if we win the supporter's shield, we get another crack at concacaf and sudamericana next year, hopefully with Veron in tow. That's what I'm holding onto right now...

 
At 04 October, 2007 11:11, Anonymous Skippy said...

Since I just finished Fever Pitch I feel the need to comment that my experience is different and I tend to agree more with The Bird. Obviously, I was less than pleased with the result, but I can take solace in the fact that United and the MLS are young and they are showing marked improvement in international competitions. Yeah, I want them to win every game and every tournament, but I don't find a lose to Chivas de Guatalajara humiliating. Maybe I'm inventing excuses and remaining optomistic that this team will become more and more competative in international play. I haven't become depressed yet.

 

Post a Comment

<< Return to The DCenters Main Page (HOME)