- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On November 4, 2009
- 2 Comments
- 2009 Season Recaps, Ben Olsen, Christian Gomez, Jamie Moreno, Luciano Emilio, Rodney Wallace, Tom Soehn
We knew going into 2009 that the calendar for DC United could be a fairly packed one. Possibly Champions League matches, US Open Cup title to defend, summer friendlies, and of course the regular season slate. It turned out to be just the case as DC United played a schedule so packed this year it definitely raised some eyebrows about how little depth MLS clubs really do have.
Manager Tom Soehn rarely had time to get his club fully fit for a game as it seemed he would go from Open Cup game to regular season game to a Champions League game all within a week time and time again. He did have veterans like Ben Olsen, Jamie Moreno and Christian Gomez for the better part of the season but even they didn’t have enough in the tank to keep the Black-and-Red above water.
There were some bright spots though for United fans to hang their hats on. The club didn’t finish with a losing record, though having that many draws on the year does tell you a thing or two about how rough their defense was this year. We did see some promising things out of rookies Chris Pontius and Rodney Wallace. To think when Pontius was picked last January United fans called the team crazy for picking him, looks like he made them eat their words as he is a finalist for rookie of the year.
The club looked like a playoff team for the first few months of the season but yet again just like in previous season a dip in play during August and September did this club in for good. Blame the loaded schedule, blame injuries, blame poor defense, or blame whatever the club dipped badly in those final months of the year.
Now Soehn has moved on and United fans are left wondering where to turn next.
What Went Right In 2009:
When things were clicking the offense was easily one of the best. And when their defense did them no favors early in games this club was certainly the best in the league at coming from behind to at least get a draw. Early on in the year DC came back in games with loads of late goals from Pontius, Luciano Emilio and Jamie Moreno. Building a solid mix in the midfield should help out for years to come.
What Went Wrong In 2009:
Defensively things weren’t the best with this bunch. I recall earlier in the year I said this bunch was inconsistent and got blasted for the comment. Turns out it was pretty darn true as they gave up 44 goals this season, one more than their offense scored. Depth was also an issue in the back as Soehn had to basically redo his lineup for a lot of the games. I think the real kicker was losing the US Open Cup to Seattle though at home. I think that game kind of signaled to a lot of folks, including myself, that this bunch just didn’t have the makings of a playoff team after all.
First up is finding a coach (paging Richie Williams). After that it will come down to cutting some fat on the roster that just doesn’t produce. Important items to get this winter have to include a solid starting keeper (I think a trade for Kevin Hartman may be a wise move) and getting their defense back in order. I’ve always been a firm believer that defense wins in any league. This club really isn’t far away from being a big time contender again in the league but they just need to get better on defense.