Ed here. So, it was a 2-0 loss at Marathon Wednesday night, leaving United pointless from its first two matches in the Champions League, and at least for me, leaving a feeling of wondering how it wasn’t worse. Marathon created some good stuff early, and really should have been clearly ahead at the intermission. United showed a bit more spark in the second half, but the breakthrough eventually came and there you go, another game down the tubes.
I made the comment on the Fighting Talker podcast (click the play button in the post below this one to listen) that if you are a real cynic, you could make the argument that United isn’t going to win another game this season in any competition. I don’t think that’s the case – I still believe they are going to squeeze out enough points in the league to make the playoffs – though how exactly that’s going to happen, well, I haven’t worked out that plan in my head yet.
But barring a last game scenario where United is playing a Marathon team at RFK in the final game of the season (not including playoffs), it’s hard to imagine United winning a match in the Champions League. Face it, they’ve played the two teams that appeared to perhaps be beatable, and fallen in both games – one at home. They next get Cruz Azul here next week, and while I don’t expect the match in RFK to be a complete blowout, it’d still be an upset were United to win.
To this point, injuries and such have handcuffed Tom Soehn with regard to lineup choices for these Champions League matches. From here on out, it should be based on common sense as much as possible. I hate to throw in the towel, but the MLS playoffs are the most important goal this team still has to strive for, and wasting valuable minutes for guys like Louis Crayton, Luciano Emilio, etc., on this tournament now carries more risk than potential reward. The league games are the important ones, and the top players should be as close to 100% as possible for those matches.
I hate to say that in a sense, because I don’t like giving up on a chance to win a trophy at any point, and I don’t like it typically when we rest starters for Open Cup matches. But in the Open Cup, it’s knockout, and anything can happen. Here, in the group dynamic, it’s clear to me that United are number four on a three-deep depth chart.
United’s not winning the Champions League. United’s not advancing out of the group.
It’s time to concentrate on the playoff push and let Zach Wells enjoy some time against international competition.
You know, if his toe doesn’t hurt.