Friday, September 14, 2007

Look Who's In the Playoffs

We don't write about the United very much. It's not that we don't like soccer or anything nefarious like that. It's likely more that we admittedly don't know much about the intracacies of the game, or the details of the United depth chart. In short, we don't write often because we don't want to look stupid like posers. The United are undoubtedly deserving of respect for their place as the lone DC team to have had consistent, long-term success.

With that in mind, let's look at the newly playoff-bound team and the optimism-hating they've had to endure at times during this season. Two key moments strike us as telling. First: the panic in some quarters after an 0-3 start. This April 29 hand-wringing (and needlessly sarcastic headline) seemed to us to be the most egregious example of reactionary pessimism and desire to surrender since, well, April 23. The implication seemed to be that the United didn't have it any more, that, given the losing streak that stretched into last season, they were done and it didn't matter how early in the season it was.

Optimism-hating incident the second: following a predictable surge by United through the early summer, they laid a dud in Salt Lake City. Not a cause for concern. Here we had the predictable blather about how bad Real Salt Lake was and how could the United possibly lose to them and look so listless etc, etc.

How appropriate, then, that the team put to rest concerns from both instances in one game, clinching a playoff birth against the very same dreadful Salt Lake team to which they lost in June? Can RFK possibly hold any more remarkable turnarounds this season? Will the aging monument to DC sports excellence collapse under the weight of 'tism before it can be (eventually) demolished? Not only that, there is now a healthy margin between DC at the top of the East and New England in second place. It's all the more remarkable since we might reasonably implicate the Revolution as cheaters by association, which is to say name-sharing.

In all, yet another example of why to avoid reactionary pessimism. That goes for all our teams.

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