Ed here …
… I’m sure Aaron will have more once he returns from Columbus, but I wanted to share some quick thoughts minutes after United’s season ended with a 1-0 loss vs. the Crew Sunday evening.
First, it will go down in the record that this Columbus win was what kept United out of the playoffs. But that’s much too simplistic of a view. If you want to say that one result or one event kept United out of the playoffs, you can pick anything – say Jaime Moreno’s penalty miss vs. the Red Bulls at RFK earlier in the season. After all, Moreno scores, United wins, and this game today is meaningless because United is already in the playoffs after New York’s loss on Thursday (United would have had 39 points and Red Bulls 38, if all else had been equal).
But the fact of the matter is this. United didn’t make the playoffs because they didn’t deserve to. They just weren’t good enough this season. I don’t agree that today’s game judged Tom Soehn. Soehn played the lineup today that I thought he should have. But teams just don’t hit posts and miss chances and such by accident. It was in the cards early that United was never going to score today – no matter what Dave Johnson went on about regarding a “championship effort.” If it was a championship effort, Boyzzz Khumalo scores from right in front rather than hitting the bar. Fred makes himself available for balls in the 18, rather than simply standing there, hoping the passes come to him. Peralta, with fresh legs having just entered the game, would have at least tried to close down Brad Evans before he scored the lone goal of the game.
Today was far short of a championship effort. It was anything but. Finishing is as much a part of the game as any other skill. United were woefully ineffective in that skill today and that’s why they lost. It had nothing to do with the better team not winning or any of that other crap. The chances were there. United blew them. I don’t know if you can blame that on Soehn or not – though you can certainly hold both he and the front office to task for all the situations great and small that put United in this position of needing a win today that they couldn’t deliver.
You can argue, of course, that the Red Bulls don’t deserve to be in the playoffs, either, and I’d say that you are right, based on their season to date and then their gutless effort at Chicago on Thursday night. But the fact of the matter is, United had chances to inflict damage on the Red Bulls in the standings and failed to do so – both in the 4-1 loss at Giants Stadium (in which United led, 1-0, remember), and in the aforementioned match at RFK that ended 0-0, one that United had no business not getting three points from.
United fans have no one to blame but their own club (players, coaches, front office) for not making the playoffs this season. Anything else is, unfortunately, ignoring the real problem.