Monday, October 21, 2013

Done and Dusted

That D.C. United is terrible is no longer noteworthy. 

When United closes out the season on Sunday against Houston with 3 wins in 34 matches, the more remarkable measure of futility will be that if they are shutout, both Mike Magee and Marco Di Vaio will have a chance to score as many goals (both have scored 20 this season with a game to go) as D.C. United has scored collectively as a team (21).

Even more remarkably, the management of the squad is so spectacularly inept that there isn't a plausible basis for expecting significant improvement in 2014.

Ben Olsen, despite coaching the team to a U.S. Open Cup championship, needs to be separated from the team.  That he will not be -- based, ostensibly, on the U.S. Open Cup run -- is hysterical; this is a competition of so little meaning to the club that the games are not held at RFK but out at the SoccerPlex.  While we love the games and look forward to the trips to Boyds every season, this is not a venue that is practically accessible to many United supporters.  The feat is therefore largely a theoretical notion, abstracted because it happened entirely separate from the crap United supporters have had to endure for league games at RFK.

Still, we go.  And still, the club has found ways to make the gameday experience so enjoyable that it doesn't matter to my kids that the team we're supposed to root for is abysmal.  My girls have taken penalty kicks on the field, my eldest was able to "train" with United players on the pitch at RFK, my youngest asks to go just to get her face painted, we've seen a practice, and the Meet the Team Day 2013 was fantastic.  When the Fire ripped apart United, while the VW Garage was closed and there was basically nothing for the kids to do, they cracked themselves up by making up goofy cheers and encouraging other kids to join in.

Nevertheless, it is fitting that the lasting memory I will have of this D.C. United season will be unpleasant and took place at, of all places, Ludwig on Saturday night. 

We walked into the Wake Forest game a little late and, handing over our tickets, I looked up to see Josh Wolff standing next to us.  Two of Josh's sons trailed behind him, alongside my girls, and Wolff hustled them forward.  The reason Josh was asking his boys to move quickly became clear when we rounded the merchandise booth:  Standing over by the courtesy ticket overhang was an agitated and animated Kurt Morsink ranting at a staff person. 

Retelling the story at FedEx this afternoon, a friend called it the most pathetic "Do You Know Who I Am Story?" that he'd heard.  The total cost for bringing in the partial Wolff clan to the game was $20 at the ticket booth.  A dude who works for a professional sports club should appreciate, beyond most, the minimal discretion afforded to staff holding comps.  But there was Morsink, who looked, from where I stood, to be berating staff.

Now maybe this is wrong or maybe there was some good reason for Morsink's behavior.  I could have walked over to confirm what I think I saw, but by the time Wolff had pulled Morsink away, I was so viscerally angered by the sight that I was shouting epithets in front of my kids.

It is beyond comprehension that Morsink is a scouting coordinator for a first division professional soccer team.  Perhaps he's objectively great at the job.  But there is no way that I would ever treat someone working at DC United in a similar fashion.  And I cannot imagine behaving like that at a place that has produced several of the members of your first team roster and where academy players are currently housed.

This is a different D.C. United in terms of the boy's club that now runs the player side of the club.  Forget accountability.  Instead it is kerosene.

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