07 February 2008

Transition-In Planning

Okay, let's put my other thoughts on hold. There have been discussions regarding the start of United's season, and how it might take time to integrate all the new pieces. That we shouldn't panic if we have the same 0-3-1 start that we had last season. Well, with the release of the 2008 Schedule, I'm willing to say panic is a decent option. Your first two months:

MARCH: @Harbour View, Harbour View, @Kansas City

APRIL: Toronto, @RSL, Columbus, RSL

Even with our slow start last year, we still got into the semis of the CONCACAF Champions Cup, and I demand the same this year. That gives us five MLS regular season games, during which United was 1-3-1 last year. Our opponents last year were @Colorado, Kansas City, @Columbus, New England, Chivas. Those teams finished 2007 at 1.17, 1.33, 1.57, 1.67, and 1.77 ppg respectively, for an aggregate of 1.5 ppg when you consider them all.

Our first five MLS opponents this year had ppg of 1.33, 0.83, 0.9, 1.57, and 0.9 ppg respectively, for an aggregate of 1.11ppg. I know, Toronto brings the noise, RSL is a banana skin team for us and is better with the Argentinians, and Columbus is not as bad as people think. Excuses all. The fact remains that we are playing only one team that was in playoffs last year, and last year we played three. Even if you don't want to think of this as an easy opening schedule, you have to admit that the games, on average, will be tougher than this the rest of the season.

United may struggle and drop points in their opening five matches. Fine. But starting 0-3 or 1-3-1 is not, and should not be, acceptable. We are being given an opportunity to get things right before things get tough. We should take advantage of it.

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3 Comments:

At 08 February, 2008 13:15, Anonymous BigKris said...

Not compelling, D. Last year we started the season 1-3-1 and yet still won the supporters' shield. If you want to make the case that the first month of the season is critial and we have to get a fast start, you need to explain why it isn't relevant that in our own recent history we started the season poorly yet still were the most successful team in the league.

 
At 08 February, 2008 14:15, Blogger D said...

BigKris: That's a pretty good rebuttal there. You do have a good point: Even if we start 2008 at 1-3-1, we are not doomed.

However, I would say this.

1) The remainder of our 2008 schedule will be more difficult than our 2007 schedule. Maybe just by a hair, but it would still be true. We just won't have as many "easy" games later on the year to get points in (not that we always get those points, but you catch my drift)
2) Our history last year saw the integration of new players, a new coach, and ultimately a new formation. We have one of those three challenges this year, so a poor early start is less likely to be indicative of just player integration issues that will resolve themselves.
3) I won't call for Soehn's job after 1-3-1, but I will say that we should be more concerned at the same point in 2008 than in 2007. Panic may have been an overstatement, but the front office has made a big roll of the dice on our player acquisitions, and the difference is between thinking reasonably that 1-3-1 is a growing pain, or 1-3-1 is a preface for 3-9-3 by midseason.

Now, that being said, you do raise the natural counter argument. And it has some merit to it. And I should calm down on occasion.

 
At 12 February, 2008 13:42, Blogger David said...

The release of the scheudke was perfect timing as we just finished a post about how we think DC United will do this season. The link to the post is

DC United Season Preview

David

 

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