D.C. United: How D.C. United Can Return To Championship Form
Following the United's shortcomings in 2009, it seemed the club took major steps in rebuilding a team with the hope that it could return to its glory days. Evidently, this became anything but the case throughout the course of 2010, losing 20 matches in the process and only winning six.
It was a season that just brought new lows and piles of bad news each and every day.
As the club hits the post-season, here's a list of things that D.C. United should do to return with a stronger team than 2010...though shouldn't take too much. The first thing the club must to is to...
Take a Realistic Approach
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D.C. United's administration cannot look at this past season and expect the club to turn around into a winning machine, especially considering the lack of resources they have, and roster space available.
The club should set their goals to be to qualify for the MLS Cup playoffs, even if it means just barely qualifying. It is more than attainable, especially seeing the way the United play: they like to dominate play, pass the ball, and shoot frequently, they had plenty of bad luck and numerous off matches, but if they put more focus on the season, and less on other competitions, then they should be able to nab numerous wins.
Even if the United are to qualify for the playoffs, they shouldn't expect to earn a playoff spot that guarantees a spot in the U.S. Open Cup nor the SuperLiga. They should however, expect a final playoff spot, and have a solid run in the quarterfinals.
Getting there will take the right types of players, especially with their defense, which means they should...
Sign a Defender in The MLS SuperDraft
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The United was among the top clubs in MLS last season in allowing goals. Their starting back line features aging players such as Juan Manuel Pena and Julius James, and a majority of their younger defenders are inconstant with their play.
Depending on which defenders make themselves eligible for the draft, the United should capitalize on this opportunity. A club with a first round, third pick will have numerous options to select a solid player.
There is debate for an attacker, but I feel the defensive needs are first. The return of Chris Pontius along with the streaky Andy Najar should lead the way in the United's attack.
It's not only the draft the United need to emphasis on, it is additionally the...
Continuation Of Academy Products
Academy standouts such as Andy Najar and Bill Hamid have shown Major League Soccer and their clubs the potential in academy products.
Najar, a crafty, imaginative player with flare led the club with five goals last season; and netted an additional pair of goals in the U.S. Open Cup.
Hamid, though still a bit inexperienced, has come big huge in crucial situations, and became the youngest goalkeeper to have a win in league history.
It may be long term before they can really show their potential, but the impact they've already caused at their young age is unbelievable. The recent academy signing of Shanosky could be the preamble to more academy signings to come.
Quaranta Becoming Captain
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Entering his eleventh season in MLS, as well as his ninth with the United; Quaranta should be the successor to Jaime Moreno and be given the captain armband.
It's not just because of the experience, or because he's a fan favorite.
Quaranta has grown up and matured with the club and has become a consistent, hardworking player that will encourage and motivate the club to have a diligent mindset.
Having a strong team leader is good, but in terms of the front office, an important thing the office has to do is to...
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While Ben Olsen didn't lead D.C. United down the path Jason Kries led Real Salt Lake, Olsen accomplished as many wins as Curt Onlafo did, in half the time it took Onalfo.
It may sound unimpressive, seeing as Onlafo had a horrifying record with the club, but for a someone who has had very little to no coaching experience step up to the reigns as an interim coach and accomplish that, is fairly impressive.
And it's why the United should make sure Ben Olsen stays with the club.
But not as a head coach.
Even though Kevin Payne made it clear that Ben Olsen would not be the coach, it goes without saying that he's a bit inexperienced still. But, he should remain a part of the coaching staff and continue to further improve his coaching knowledge, but that comes with...
Hiring The Right Coach
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Obviously, that's a bit of a no-brainer. But, it's probably not the best of choices to sign a coach that was fired following a 6-0 defeat...
Whoever it may be, they need to be a coach that will give the team a positive, winning mentality.
And if that much can be done, the United should find themselves out of the league cellar and not even worrying about falling into the league's cellar.