Twice off the left post, once off the crossbar, and goal for Columbus off the inside of the left post was enough for the Crew to eliminate DC United from the postseason. New York's sad performance on Thursday opened the door, but DC was unable to find the goals needed to keep playing in 2008. The Red Bulls now go into the Western bracket to face the defending champs from Houston.
DC's season was maddening. It started out with promise with the new faces coming in, then looked a little rough with a another elimination in CONCACAF and a slow start to the MLS season. Things came together though, and DC was playing the best soccer in the league in the middle of the season. The United that spanked LA on a Sunday afternoon before the Euro 2008 final was the best team in MLS. Unfortunately, the injuries started piling up quickly and DC went into a huge tailspin.
The good thing though was that the young guys, mainly forced into action due to fixture congestion and injuries, fought their asses off in the last few weeks. Boyzzzzzzzzz Khumalo and Greg Janicki came in from the USL-D2 and showed that they belong. Other youngsters contributed in strong performances in CONCACAF. About a month ago, I didn't think DC had any chance of playing meaningful games late in October. Somehow, they had a chance on the last day of the season.
What's next for United? Will Tom Soehn be back next year? Will anyone in the front office have to pay the price for some of the poor roster moves made? Who will be lost in the expansion draft? Who else will be coming and going heading into 2009?
If it was me, I think Soehn deserves to come back. He might be on a short leash, but I think he deserves another chance. He has won two trophies after all. I do wonder how the roster will be set up next year. I think the performances of Janicki, and to a lesser extent Zaher and Thompson, show that the high priced guys like the Gonzalos aren't the way to go. Their paychecks do not equal their performances.
Oh yeah, and if anybody can find Gallardo some heart in the offseason, that'd be great. Thanks. He was great when he found his form midway through the season, but give me ten Santino Quarantas who pretty much kill themselves for the shirt in a game like today than someone who wasn't even there.
I'll talk more later about the MLS playoffs, which I'm still looking forward to, but not now...