Feeding the Fire

August 7, 2010

One of the most common criticisms that players and clubs hear during tough spells is a lack of effort. A team losing isn’t showing  pride in their team, their city, and so on and so forth. A team goes one-nil down and they don’t possess enough heart.

For D.C. United fans, they are about to put this old sports cliche under the litmus test. Curt Onalfo after a poor run of results in the league has been dismissed as D.C. United manager. In the last six league matches for D.C. United they’ve only scored two goals, both of them by 17 year-old Andy Najar. Players like Santino Quaranta have been unable to make the impact they are expected to, and the root cause in many people’s eyes including the front office of D.C. United is a lack of passion.

That worry shouldn’t be a problem with newly appointed interim head coach Ben Olsen. There’s no questioning Olsen’s pride and love of the game and especially D.C. United. I can’t imagine any player not giving effort surviving under Olsen. That much is to be expected. But I don’t think that’s enough.

Onalfo was not getting results, and there cannot be too many complaints about letting him go. It wasn’t working and there didn’t seem to be any real plan to get it back on track, but I’m not confident that there’s a person out there that can get D.C. back on track, especially during this season. D.C. have a whole host of issues ranging from a lack of investors, to stadium issues, to personnel problems. They don’t have a consistent presence in the box, the backline is in constant flux, and youthful mistakes have plagued the team along with this supposed missing fire.

It’s a simple fact that D.C. cannot attract the big players that Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle are currently pursuing and landing. They don’t have the financial comfort and the only way they are going to consistently compete is if their front office can make solid moves on matters dealing with the team on the field and the club off of it. So far they’ve failed to do this.

The new D.C. United should show passion during the second half of the season. They may get some hard-earned results with the effort they put it. They will still drop quite a few points, but at least the front office won’t be able to go back into the old sports cliche book and will finally have to look at themselves in the mirror. At least that’s all D.C. supporters can hope for.