D.C. United Warm-Up
After D.C. United's training session Saturday morning at RFK, I asked Coach Tom Soehn if he planned to follow the six matches that evening, all of which had a bearing on the muddled MLS playoff race.
He laughed and said, "I tell the players not to [watch other games], but I do. Other results affect your status, but I've constantly told our guys, 'All we need to focus on is ourselves and if we take care of business, we will be fine.' "
For the most part, Soehn liked what he saw last night. Teams in the playoff hunt are hoping other contenders lose to lesser opponents and tie when they play each other. The reason: Three points are at stake, and if two contending teams end up with a one apiece, that means one point was left unclaimed. On Saturday, fading Real Salt Lake lost to Dallas. Toronto and Chicago tied. Beckham-less Los Angeles lost at Columbus, which has the Supporters' Shield in sight. Chivas settled for a tie with lowly New York. Colorado and barely breathing Kansas City tied. New England and Seattle seemed headed for a draw too, until Shalie Joseph's 87th-minute header. (Standings here.)
All of which leaves United in a promising position today (3 p.m., Telefutura, The Comcast Network). A victory would tie D.C. with Colorado for the top wild-card spot and pull the club within two points of Chicago for an automatic berth. A tie at home to a last-place team would feel like a loss. And a loss would simply be devastating.
Although Thursday's 3-0 victory over Marathon was a confidence-booster, Soehn said that "we're realistic to know that it doesn't start feeling good until you string a few together, and we know we still have to do that."
Added Ben Olsen: "That team [Marathon] had a lot going against it and, if we think we are a great team after that game, we are kidding ourselves. San Jose is going to be a much better team. It's going to be a tough one. There's no easy game in this league. That's what [MLS] is built for."
What's that supposed to mean, Ben?
"You know what I mean!"
"It's set up so every game is a battle. We don't have any [Lionel] Messis in this league and, with the salary cap as low as it is, every game is a battle. I don't think it's good, but that's me."
Soooo, what's the status of negotiations with the league suits concerning the collective bargaining agreement, which expires after this season?
"The CBA stuff is ongoing," said Olsen, who has been actively involved in players' issues. "There has been dialogue with the league. We haven't gone that deep into it right now. I don't think we are far enough along to judge it so far."
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