26 November 2007

The Offseason is Here. It Sucks.

Here's why it is important to win the Supporter's Shield - It makes the offseason shorter when the CONCACAF Champion's Cup comes around. Because the off-season is about trying to find hope where you can, and the pickings for United will be slim barring the signing of a Senior International of Designated Player Acquisition. The draft will be a crap shoot at best, and the news until then is likely going to be about who's not with the team as opposed to who is.

With the departure of Brian Carroll to San Jose, and the impending Josh Gros retirement, DC's midfield has thinned somewhat. The upside is that the midfield is where we arguably had the most depth, so the losses are not in the category of "What the hell do we do now?" Still, United is starting to look a bit fragile as a long term bet. Consider: Moreno has limited time, Olsen has limited time, Gomez and Emilio both are at least entertaining of moving if not this season then perhaps the one after, Vanney is old, expensive, and not appreciably above average... If we didn't rebuild in 2007, and we don't in 2008, 2009 may feature a very different looking team.

The other major question has to be Tom Soehn. While his early season adjustments deserved credit, it is clear that he has been outcoached on more than one occasion in the past season. One of the things I liked about Soehn was his willingness to adapt to circumstances in the first half of the year. Then, during the unbeaten streak, that ability was not quite as useful, and wasn't employed nearly enough in the final ten games of the season/playoffs. With the exception of the Addlery substitution in the Chicago game, I can't think of many moments where Soehn made a move to compensate for events on the field in a positive way. The winning streak may have been the worst thing for us in that respect, as we went back to the theory of "Beat them by playing our game better" and not "counter their strengths and exploit their weaknesses." I have always maintained that the latter is more useful in MLS play, where head coaches can really make a difference due to the closeness of talent in the league. What I want to see next year is Tom Soehn maturing more as a coach and tactician. There's no reason to panic, indeed there is reason for hope here, but there's no reason to take anything on faith at this point either.



At 27 November, 2007 07:18, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I recall D, you had a similar gloom and doom prognostication about last year's team which did win the Supporter's Shield... My perspective is that teams change, teams have a core group that changes and a constant flux of role players. The concern about the coaching is a bigger concern but I'm willing to give a pass for the first year coach who wins the Supporters Shield. It will take time to develop a system and Soehn's tactical prowess will evolve. The biggest thing I want to see is DCU maintain its strong scouting efforts in Latin America (maybe with a hairy chested Bulgarian or two for old times sake) Scouting has been DCU's competitive advantage (as the College draft has for New England and overpaying for washed up talent has been for New York)
The offseason sucks and yet... CCC is only 3 months away and this team needs depth-- here's hoping for a productive offseason because it won't last long.


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