Hi, so I was in rainy North Carolina and didn’t really watch anything, but everything is apparently bad?

Recaps of D.C. United’s 2-0 loss to the Columbus Crew by us and WaPo. Massive Report (now at a new home!) with the other end of things. And with 13th place D.C. going North to play 15th place CF Montreal and former coach Hernan Losada, I can’t help but wonder what will be talked about this week.

USWNT April Friendlies: USA 2-0 Ireland – the hard fought first match gives the Americans a win (SSFC): Sure they were good, but losing Mallory Swanson stings.WaPo with more.

OFFSIDE REMARKS: If someone uttered an offensive comment, MLS should have zero tolerance and mete out an appropriate punishment (Front Row Soccer): This apparently occurred during the New York Red Bulls-San Jose Earthquakes game, with Dante Vanzeir and Jeremy Ebobisse being the parties.

Anyway, I wish I had more to add, but I’m still unpacking!

ByRyan Keefer

Doing D.C./Loudoun United things on here.

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I feel bad for Swanson. She’s remade her career since going to Chicago, has become the player she had the “potential” to become.

What I haven’t heard much of is how Ertz did in this game. And that’s a very important issue because if the USWNT is committed to playing a 433 and not ask the wingers to play more like midfielders, we’ve seen what happens against tactically astute teams like England, France, the Netherlands, Spain. The technical skills and tactics results in the US being bossed in midfield. I love Sullivan but she can’t be a single D-mid (especially with a relatively immobile Sauerbrun).

Annie Elliott

I thought Ertz looked good, and the team played well with her on the field. She was definitely playing more on the ball and higher up the pitch than Sullivan. Not sure if that is a difference in their play styles, coaching, or what.

I’m interested to see if she starts tomorrow.

Talonesque #

Swanson really did deserve to make it to the WC, and I hope whatever the injury situation, she comes back eventually just as strong. At least she got that incredible purple patch in the She Believes Cup to prove how far she’s come from wunderkind.

Riky Nary

I just wanted to make a quick note that I thought Pines had a quietly good game. He’s always been good defensively, but this week he only had one forced pass to a bad spot.

Talonesque #

He’s probably the player that has benefited the most from us playing further from goal, but you’re right, he’s exceeded at least my expectations. There will always be a bad touch or pass in him, but he should probably start for a bit.

Will Nelson

Hopefully he doesn’t get robbed of a goal on a corner kick again by VAR.

Riky Nary

The more games he gets the fewer there will be, but next week he should not be on the field. Montreal will take advantage of his tendency to overthink things when he’s in a scenario that he’s never seen. That is the Losada way.

Talonesque #

I haven’t checked the injury report, but it might be down to Pines, Akinmboni, or Sargis, if Williams is still out. I love me some Akinmboni potential, but think Pines for once is the safe option.


I went to that Washington Post article and just wow on that comment thread. It is a doozy. I thought that the commentariat in our Crew game recap was negative but we are very reasonable compared to that. The District Press posters who are negative are able to articulate reasons to be negative. The Washington Post commenters are just off in space and are negative just to be negative.

I just don’t get being that negative. It’s soccer. It takes time to turn a team around. Yes, the referees blew this one and decided the outcome of the game in ways you don’t see but once a decade. Yes, there is still stuff to work on. Yes, DC United might not make the playoffs but it’s way too early to tell.

Whatever. I guess it’s the same group of folks who shitpost everything over on Reddit. If that’s how they have fun, good for them I guess.

If you can’t see that the play is getting better and don’t get that the play usually gets better before the results, I don’t know what to say.

While we are talking about the Columbus Crew, they once won a championship in 2008. Do you remember their 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 seasons? That 2008 team didn’t come out of nowhere. They actually backed into a supporters shield off a ton of draws when that was possible in a 10 team league in 2004. They were coached by a D3 small-time college coach named Greg Andrulis who had no control over the locker room and was not good at keeping egos in check and channeling them into on-field motivation. In other words, the inmates ran the asylum.

The supporters’ shield 2004 team ran into the rising New England Revolution in the first round of the playoffs that was coached by an actual pro coach.

Then the bottom fell out in 2005. The team reverted to the mean and the lucky sluggish draws turned to losses as they should on such an incoherent and poorly coached team. The Crew missed the playoffs. Coach Andrulis was fired during the season.

Then they turned to an actual pro coach you may have heard of, Sigi Schmid. Coach Schmid started by destroying the previous mess of a team. He turned over the entire roster by 2008 except for Frankie Hejduk and Eddie Gaven. 2006 was an absolute mess on the field, winning the wooden spoon. Coach Schmid did it because he wanted to get rid of any player who had the stink of Coach Andrulis’s romp-a-room locker on them. He found he needed to start over completely as the team was just that broken.

In 2007, the Crew got better, missing the playoffs by 3 points. They were starting to get hot down the stretch but it wasn’t enough. They finally had gotten rid of the brokenness of the 2004 and 2005 teams and were starting to play together.

The Crew fans were calling for Schmid to be fired for missing the playoffs again. Good thing the front office didn’t listen, right?

MLS has changed a lot over the years. The standard of player quality is a lot higher, for example.

However, what hasn’t changed it the fact that you can’t really go from worst to first. The salary budget rules prevent you from turning over a roster completely year over year. Any new coach has to figure out how to fit together players from before them with their new signings. Any new coach is putting a new system with a stitched together roster against other teams that may already have an established core and system that hasn’t yet run its course. Any new coach is going to have to deal with figuring out which of the guys they inherited fit with them or not. That is all still true. Just look at Coach Curtin and Philadelphia. Just look at how many coaches Houston has gone through over the last 15 years.

In summary, let’s give Coach Rooney at least as much time as we gave the last guy.

Talonesque #

Congrats, you searched every comment section imaginable for takes you consider unreasonable. Glad it worked.
Seriously, let people vent online about their sports team. Venting about takes you took the time to seek out to prove a random, debatable point is in itself pointless.

Bryan McEachern

Easy now. Let’s keep our threads cleaner than the WashPost. I agree with Cavan, those (WashPost) posts regarding the game are bit venomous. I think our merry band is a bit kinder in assessing the worth of each of us in the grand scheme of things. And, to be clear, I agree with you that venting is fine. Slamming each other isn’t. (No one seems to be mean on our forum.)

Also, it is a fact that St. Louis came out of the gate pretty well. We don’t seem to muster that approach any more….frustrates the living daylights out of me.

Talonesque #

Maybe I have a more highly tuned passive aggressive meter than some of you, cuz there’s plenty of disrespect going on, including stuff that gets likes. Addressing it isn’t slamming.


I didn’t slam anyone here. I celebrated our commentariat and complimented everyone for explaining their views. I don’t regret anyone being negative. A 5 game winless streak will do that. I slammed whatever that thread was at the Post. There is venting frustration and then there is taking it to bed with you. Or, maybe getting into an echo chamber where you try to outgrouch the next commenter.

Bryan McEachern

The WashPost thread was an unfortunate read.

Talonesque #

Clearly others don’t register your disdain. So be it.


No one was being passive aggressive to you, and you seem sensitive so I will be direct: you are acting like a bully. Take care of yourself.

Talonesque #

Can’t get much tamer than what I said. Don’t like Cavan deciding to be hierophant of reasonability when it’s largely just venting. I appreciate directness. I think you’re not seeing the context.


I see the context and we are cool. We have communicated a lot over the years and we both know that each other are in good faith even if we deal with DC United losses differently. Much respect, Talonesque and see you here next week.

Talonesque #

Sounds good. For my own part, irritation is ever present with this club, and I’m aware that y’all want a more banter-centric experience. I probably could have found a way to express a point without attempted dunking, and I’d like to think there’s better to come from myself, whatever the club might or might not offer.


I guess you haven’t watched this team play since 2010. If you did, you would understand fans frustrations with how terrible this team and organization have become. Different players, different coaches and yet they still achieve the same results (hint hint, lots and lots of losses). You don’t see any organizational issues???


I’ve been going to games since 2002 when I was a senior in college and I’ve been a season ticket holder since 2013. I’m aware of all the organizational challenges and I don’t try to pretend they don’t exist. I’m somewhere between a naive optimist and those guys on the Washington Post thread.

It’s a work in progress and some stuff has gotten better and there is still a lot of work to do.

I look at movement and try to have some perspective. Nothing too complicated.


I should have read before I posted.


Haslam has made some all-time trash decisions in recent years, but firing Porter and replacing him with Nancy is among the best. Not only is/was their roster better than the results they were getting, now they have one of the best in the league in charge.

Us? Not competitive last year obviously. Many new starters, plus some holdovers who started the season on the injury table. Good as he was for Derby, Rooney is also a less experienced coach than Nancy. He’s still figuring out how all the pieces fit together. And I think he’s going to get out-coached a few times before he figures out how to make adjustments that don’t compromise his overall game plan. It’s frustrating for us, to say the least. I think with guys like Taxi and Benteke we should have more goals than we do, and we’re lacking in our transition play on both ends of the pitch. We have chances to get better, if the locker room doesn’t bottom out.

I do worry about playing Montreal, despite Losada’s record I think we’ll have a very difficult time with the pressure (going back to our poor transition play).

Brendan Cartwright

Rooney’s player evaluation probably needs some pretty serious examination. Let’s see who he brought in.

Miguel Berry
Ravel Morrison
Kristian Fletcher
Matai Akinmboni
Christian Benteke
Victor Palsson
Derrick Williams
Mateusz Klich
Pedro Santos
Mohanad Jeahze
Tyler Miller
Alex Bono
Luis Zamudio
Lewis O’Brien

Berry is already gone. So is Morrison (although still on the books).

Ruan and Palsson have been played out of their normal positions just about as much as they have in their normal positions. Benteke and Klich seem decent enough, though older. Santos is also older, and possibly decent enough. Tyler Miller is an upgrade in goal, but that’s mostly because our keepers were so bad. Fletcher and Akinmboni have plenty of potential, but are quite young (especially Akinmboni). I have a lot of good feelings about Lewis O’Brien, but he’s basically gone in July.

It was said that United was entering a “win now” mode to make use of Rooney while he was here. Getting so many veteran players fits in with that mode of thinking, and I think they’ve generally helped us play better. We’re not winning now, though. Besides the homegrowns (and maybe Zamudio), only Jeahze, Williams, maybe Ruan, and possibly Miller seem like they’ll be contributing in any meaningful way once Rooney leaves. I guess it’s not nothing, and homegrowns that predate Rooney like Hopkins, Ku-DiPietro, and Greene have gotten some good playing time under him.

Our issues are what they always are. We need a good GM with vision, longevity, and the trust of the owners, and then a coach that can implement that vision. It’s frustrating to see a team full of guys that give you half a moment of optimism, but just seemingly can’t stack up against the rest of MLS.

Talonesque #


The only thing I’d add is that, on top of the short term thinking, there seems to be this idea that, if the team improves from itself, that’s success. There are other teams in the league who are growing and coalescing, as well. We’re not getting results against those teams, and if that’s not a problem for those that are exclusively hunting for positives, that’s unfortunate.


When it comes to large news papers the best rule is: “Never read the comments”. They are uniformly awful and not worth your time.


You are right and it’s my first time in eight years or so. Joke is on me.


Expansion teams have passed us by and DC has been the pits during Kasper’s tenure. This is where the frustration comes from. Fans get upset because they have an irrational obsession with a team yet the people who run that club don’t seem to have close to as much concern about winning.



Bryan McEachern

Its the success of expansion teams that I find particularly galling.



True but there is also come context.

Expansion teams have been allowed to bend the salary budget rules going back to Atlanta and even a little bit with Seattle. The last expansion team that got no help was Philadelphia. Notice that they had to build themselves up over many years and build development infrastructure and the MLS 3.0 teams haven’t had to do so. Atlanta and forward got to use extra TAM borrowed against TAM from beyond year 3.

Notice that Atlanta hit a wall after year 3 and LAFC is now hitting a wall (they got an extra year due to 2020 COVID season). The same will happen to Austin and St. Louis.

The current DC United is completely shaped by being stuck at RFK when the other MLS 1.0 teams had gotten out in the 2000’s. Our ownership is only just beginning to learn what it doesn’t know. We are just behind with the internal infrastructure. I believe they are looking to learn but are just so far behind the curve.

Again, I’m not trying to say that our ownership isn’t behind the curve as it is. I just know that you need to understand context and how we got to where we are in order to build the next block in the right direction.

Hence why I am not ready to jump all over Coach Rooney yet. He inherited a difficult situation and is learning day by day what is missing from the organization. He also inherited a broken team, among the most broken the league has ever seen, and more broken than the 2013 team.

The 2013 was still fighting and playing hard despite their lack of talent. Coach Olsen was able to keep a few pieces, add better talent, update the system for the new talent and move back to the playoffs in 2014. The bullshit playoff format of the higher seed having to go on the road first is what kept that team out of MLS Cup as the east was weaker that year.

The 2022 team was demoralized in addition to being short on talent. They were psychologically and physically broken in addition to not fitting together. Coach Rooney clearly wanted to blow it all up and start over and he has done that as much as MLS roster budget rules allow.

It takes new teams time to gel and turn around and it takes more roster turnover. Hence why first time signings like Ravel didn’t work out as that’s common for total roster rebuilds. Look at the roster for Philadelphia in 2016 when they first made the playoffs versus what it looked like when they made MLS Cup. Granted, time and the pandemic took a toll too but compare the 2016 roster to their 2020 roster when they first became legitimate contenders.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x