Hi. Ed here.
Even teams that win the NIT celebrate.
Though I don’t consider the Open Cup the NIT – and in fact, I’m kind of disturbed by that characterization of it. I want DC United to win every competition they enter – though simple scheduling and roster logistics make that wish a vast statistical improbability.
But any doubt anyone could have had about what tonight’s 2-1 win over a game Charleston Battery bunch meant would have disappeared had they stood, as I did, some 5 feet away from new goalkeeper Louis Crayton. The excitement in his eyes and in his gestures, even before the darn trophy was presented, as he was simply celebrating with the fans, was incredible to see. As was the thrill of the two fans who ended up with his goalkeeper gloves.
Luciano Emilio made the point in the match report about how this was the first major trophy for many players in the team (not counting the Supporters Shield, I suppose). The taste of any success is valuable for any athlete. Much of United’s problems this year, in my estimation, have been a lack of confidence. A lack of confidence that translates into a lack of knowledge over what to do in certain situations (I’m looking at you Zach Wells), and a lack of confidence in teammates to use them in a way that further damages the opposing team by putting them in bad positions through effective teamwork in defense and the attack.
Winning tonight can only help the process along (that and waiving Rod Dyachenko, that would help, too). This was a team that was genuinely thrilled about winning this trophy, and the hardcores that showed up on a weeknight (some 8,212 in number, I believe) are glad they did.
The only reason you play the game, in the end, is for trophies. That’s it. There are other things that come with it for soccer players like good money, hot women, nice cars, all that. But in the end, the only scorecard is trophies.
It’s why we make fun of Red Bulls, because they have the same number of trophies as I do, and I’ve never logged an MLS minute. It’s why we are proud of our club, for all that they have accomplished since play began in 1996.
I don’t know what’s going to happen the rest of the season. But I am happy to know that this won’t be a season sans silverware. Whatever you may think of the Open Cup, United won it – which means everyone else, including our biggest rivals, didn’t.
And that’s the scorecard that really matters.