Sunday, October 4, 2009

New Beginning

I've made three trips to RFK in seven days and, leaving aside what has taken place on the pitch with DC United, it has been an eventful week. On Sunday afternoon my wife and daughter had a chance to meet United's players at an autograph session. Both were charmed by Fred, one of the nicest professional athletes that anyone will ever run across. The frustration that Fred must feel this season is evident and yet despite all the hostility he has felt from (moronic) supporters for subpar performances, it has not impacted how he interacts with fans. On Wednesday, after United's In-Name-Only Champions League rout, my sister and I had our first experience with being escorted out of the stadium by security after taking exception to an incredibly offensive slur screamed by the supervisor (?) of security at another United supporter. Last night, I took my daughter to the match all by my lonesome before she mercifully demanded that we head home after the 70th minute mark.

It would be great if that was all that I recalled about this last week. Unfortunately, this is also the week where I have fully paid up my membership on the "Fire Soehn" bandwagon. It is always dangerous (and somewhat messy) to try and apportion blame when a pro team disappoints. The Cubs this year are a good example. Jim Hendry should not shoulder sole responsibility for this year's disaster of a season, but he is probably more responsible than anyone else because he had the biggest hand in assembling a mixture of players that were noxious both to themselves and the fans. It is hard to argue that Pinella could have done much more with the team he was given than what he achieved.

Similarly, Soehn is not solely responsible for how bad this season has been, but he is, nevertheless, principally responsible. A vocal minority of United supporters have tried to lay the blame on a number of players: the aforementioned Fred; the formerly idolized Luciano Emilio; Christian Gomez; Josh Wicks; Marc Burch; Greg Janicki; etc., etc. In truth, this season's version of DC United is far more talented and has far greater depth than last year's version and, yet, the results have been roughly equivalent. When a team plays with no drive, no passion, no initiative, limited effort, and general disinterest, that is on the coach. When players have little to no idea where they will be playing and what their responsibilities will be, that is on the coach. Christian Gomez got pulled in the 43rd minute in a pointless, insulting substitution because everytime he got the ball up front, he had no options to play the ball to. No tactical change on the field with his surrounding players, just Gomez pulled so that Moreno could stand up by himself and achieve just as much as Gomez.

I am getting more and more used to heading to RFK with the expectation that United will be outcoached and outclassed in every match. Too much talent has been wasted and two seasons of embarrassment is two seasons too many.

No comments:

Post a Comment