Well howdy, United fans. How does it feel to have your season officially at an end with three matches (two league, one Champions' League) to go? I know we're still mathematically alive, but...yeah, not looking so good, is it? Kinda makes you wonder if we had pulled the trigger on firing Tommy a month or two ago if we might still be alive and kicking, given a manager not intent on destroying his teams' confidence and making mysterious tactical and personnel choices? Should Tommy take all of the blame? Nope. Stott deserves more than his fair share, but Tommy set United up to fail. I'll try to do a few talking points here, but excuse me if I just give up half way...
* Fault #1: Tommy Soehn, Part I. Might as well fire him now. There's nothing left to do this season, and he's lost the team. Honestly, the expression on Gomez' face when Tommy yanked him on 42 minutes should be the defining image of this season. A mix of anger, disgust, and outright confusion played across the Argentine's features, and my only response was, "yep." How many times has Tommy pulled the first-half trigger of late? And what message does that send to guys already struggling for confidence? And bringing on Fred to save your season? Really? I just want to know how we managed to go the entire season without losing at home until we really needed to not lose, then we dropped three in a row. Unbelievable. Kinda says something about Tommy's motivation of the team and how much they wanted to fight for him, huh?
* Fault #2: Tommy Soehn, Part II. So weren't we all pretty much convinced that Tommy ran out a lot of "B" squad guys against Jabloteh to rest the big guns for this critical match? So why did we start three of the four attackers from the midweek match...and yank two of them before or at the half? What kind of idiotic game was Tommy playing? If you have a clue, please let me know. Best guess? We scored five against a clearly inferior side that didn't know how to defend as a team, and Tommy thought that putting the same guys out against one of the best organized defenses in MLS would yield the same results. Incredible.
* Fault #3: Kevin Stott. Okay, so blaming the refs is a mug's game, but...Stott was awful. First, he set himself up for failure by letting numerous semi-muggings go in the first half. Small surprise that he didn't send the Chivas defender walking for mauling Benny from behind, but saw fit to send off Benny for trying to hit a quick restart that happened to nail the guy who fouled him (at least that's what it looked like to my admittedly biased eyes). But the one that takes the cake? Down 2-0, and Jaime touches a ball ahead in the box, goes down as a defender comes across him, and gets...a yellow for diving. Is it possible to be helped to dive? True, we still would have had a lot of work to do, but the momentum certainly would have been in our favor provided Tommy nailed the PK. Wonder if we'll get another much-deserved criticism of the ref in the "week in review" nonsense that always seems to find fault with decisions that don't go in our favor? Small comfort, that...
* Fault #4: Tommy Soehn + Marc Burch. Seriously, is there anybody left on the planet that still thinks Marc Burch might morph into a defender some day? I mean, besides Soehn? Two consecutive defensive fiascos that destroyed what little hope we had of making the post-season should be a big neon flashing sign that even Soehn can't miss. Can he? Enjoy USL when we get a real coach next year who can spot the obvious, Marc.
I'm tempted to go on, but I'm just not feeling it right now. I half went into this match expecting to lose, but the manner of the loss is just disgusting. There were moments where we looked like we might grab a goal, but they came when we were already 2-0 down and down a man--dead and buried, in other words. Up until that point? An abomination for a team that needed to win if you ask me. And if you're wondering how I posted this so quickly, it's because I started typing it in about minute 70 of the match, only keeping half an eye on our huffing and puffing in trying to avoid completely embarrassing ourselves.
I just wonder what sort of damage we might have caused if Tommy had said "damn the torpedos!" and gone for it from the off, letting Pontius and Quaranta race at defenders as they were doing in the late going? This was a Chivas team using Bornstein in central defense after all. Pardon me now while I go drink myself into a stupor of frustrated regret and melancholy.