Friday, May 23, 2008

DC Done For?

At 2-7-0, people are writing off DC United's chances for winning a fifth MLS championship. Oh sure, you still see quotes like this from Tom Soehn:

"I'll say this: As soon as this team gets it, I wouldn't want to play against us, and we're getting really close."

I don't think many of the DC fans expect much from this season, even with a possible coaching change. They're correct to feel that way, because no team has ever won the MLS Cup after going 5 games under .500. In fact, the worst off a future title winner has been is 3 games under .500, which has happened three times (1996 DC, 2004 DC, and 2007 HOU). Although, one team made it to the MLS Cup after going 7 games under: the 2002 New England Revolution.

There is a loophole here if you want to count shootout losses as equal to regular losses, which I don't do. Then, the 1996 United team was equal to the current team with a 2-7 record after 9 games. There is certainly a valid argument you could make about not changing them in this instance due to the fact that that's the way things were done in that season. I don't agree, however, because regardless of how the games counted in terms of points, either way they ended in a draw. If you want to count things that way, then a loss at home tomorrow to Toronto would send them to uncharted waters at -6.

Here is a table of former MLS Cup champions and runners up. You'll see three categories, which are as follows, from left to right: the last day of the season where the team was under .500, the team's record at that time, and the team's maximum # of games under .500 at any point of that season.

Teams with x's indicates that they were never under .500. Five of the twelve champions can make that claim.

MLS Champions

Date Record Max Under
1996 DC United 18-Aug 10-11-4 -3
1997 DC United xxx xxx xxx
1998 Chicago 16-May 3-4-1 -2
1999 DC United xxx xxx xxx
2000 Kansas City xxx xxx xxx
2001 San Jose 28-Apr 1-2-1 -1
2002 Los Angeles xxx xxx xxx
2003 San Jose xxx xxx xxx
2004 DC United 2-Oct 9-10-9 -3
2005 Los Angeles 21-Sep 11-12-6 -1
2006 Houston 15-Apr 1-2-0 -1
2007 Houston 7-Jun 4-5-1 -3

Runners Up

(note: 1997 COL & 2002 NE finished the season under .500)

Date Record Max Under
1996 Los Angeles xxx xxx xxx
1997 Colorado 28-Sep 12-15-5 -4
1998 DC United xxx xxx xxx
1999 Los Angeles 15-May 1-2-6 -1
2000 Chicago 3-May 3-4-1 -2
2001 Los Angeles 21-Apr 1-2-0 -2
2002 New England 21-Sep 12-14-2 -7
2003 Chicago xxx xxx xxx
2004 Kansas City 2-Jun 3-4-2 -1
2005 New England xxx xxx xxx
2006 New England 2-Sep 7-8-10 -1
2007 New England 7-Apr 0-1-0 -1

Comments on "DC Done For?"


Blogger Brian said ... (10:02 AM, May 24, 2008) : 

Nah, it's far too early to write them off. MLS regular season is largely meaningless for most of the year, especially this early. The East is tough this year so they'd better not take too much longer to get the stuff together. But as long as they make the playoffs, they'll always have a chance. It's not like European leagues where you can lose the title in the first few months.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:31 PM, May 25, 2008) : 

I have seen DC play several times this year, and I can see that this team is not missing pieces, just timing. Once their timing is right, they will be a dangerous team.


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