Monday, November 29, 2010

The difference a year makes...

I had best come to grips with Kurt Morsink's tenure with D.C. United. The moment that the club chose to protect Morsink over Barry Rice, I should have put two and two together and recognized that Ben Olsen would become the full time coach.

United may have a particular way of doing things, but this iteration of the club is likely to eschew sublime displays of skill for blue collar work ethic more reflective of an Npower Championship side.

Last season, when Curt Onalfo's hiring was announced with some fanfare, my fellow season ticket holders and I attended the coach's welcome reception at Black Finn's. There was, amongst supporters, ardent enthusiasm fully on display and we chatted briefly with Jaime Moreno and, separately, Coach Onalfo to express our optimism for the start of a new season.

Tonight, I flew solo to the hastily organized reception for Mr. Olsen at the same bar. I was joined by a sparse crowd of no more than three dozen United supporters. Coach Olsen spoke for no more than three minutes and was received by polite applause. Kevin Payne left shortly after the coach's brief address and I followed shortly thereafter.

Nothing about tonight or what transpired earlier in the day will quell the negativity surrounding the team at present. United remains very much a club in decline. Despite having exceptional young talent in the guise of Andy Najar, attendance will undoubtedly fall again this year with season tickets dropping off as well. With no imminent prospect of a stadium, the long term prospects for Washington's MLS franchise are not good. But whatever role the front office has played in bringing about the current state of play, they are not shrinking violets. If a supporter wanted to have a go at Payne, he was there tonight. He might not have been there long, but he was there.

For my part, I am happy to see Olsen get the job and cautiously optimistic that United will be, if nothing else, competitive next season in a wide open league. They are unlikely to be entertaining, but the pieces of the team are largely in place (sans, perhaps, some additional attacking players).

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