Ben Olsen made the right call Saturday, for sure, resting all his starters ahead of this week’s U.S. Open Cup final at Real Salt Lake.
Unfortunately the choice could also hasten D.C. United’s place toward history. Here is a quick look at those black marks that Olsen and Co. would surely prefer to avoid, some of the all-time worsts in league history — some of the sad benchmarks for MLS season-long futility:
- Lowest winning percentage in a season
The 2001 Tampa Bay Mutiny finished with a wretched .185 winning percentage in the grim year before if went away (a 4-21-2 record). United’s current .150 percentage (3-21-6) is worse.
Uh, yeah. And the might need to win a couple to scoot by the league’s second lowest historic percentage yet; the 1999 MetroStars and 2005 Chivas USA was both at .219.
The good news is that three of United’s final four matches are at home. The bad news is that all three are against teams that are likely to be desperate for points; Chicago, Philadelphia and Houston all remain alive today in the playoff race.
Oh, United’s one road match is at Eastern Conference contender Sporting Kansas City. That’s hardly encouraging.
- Fewest wins in a season
Again, the mark to beat belongs (in part) to that dismal 2001 Tampa Bay group, which won just four times. So did Chivas USA in 2005. (United, as noted in the record above, has three wins this year.)
- Fewest wins on the road in a season
This one is in real jeopardy, although United will have plenty of company … and that is something, at least. Four clubs went an entire season without a road win. Vancouver, just two years back, was the most recent doing so. The 1999 Red Bulls never found a “W” on the road, either.
Not being able to field a competitive team in Toronto today really hurts here, because that’s one for which a full version may have had a shot, at least. Regardless, that coming match at Sporting Park on Oct. 18 is the Black and Red’s final opportunity. The team is 0-13-3 away from RFK Stadium (pictured above) currently.
- Fewest goals in a season
Here’s one where United can surely get over the hump. With a goal on Saturday (a nice one at that), Olsen’s team has 20 this year. No, it’s not exactly the 98 Galaxy (85 goals, yo!), but the men of RFK need just two more to dodge further besmirch.
D.C. United’s 2010 team holds this particular dubious distinction with 21, back in the club’s previous, most woeful season.
So, four games to score two goals.
C’mon United! … You can do it!
- Worst goal difference over a season
Uh, more bad news here. Because Saturday’s three-goal loss got Olsen’s sad bunch too close for comfort on this one.
The current miunus-32 goal difference is just four off record pace. Chivas USA in 2005 and Tampa Bay were both at minus-36 after their campaigns of misery. (By the way, the ‘keeper for that awful, first Chivas USA side … none other than current Aston Villa standout and U.S. international Brad Guzan. Just some trivia to lighten the mood; it is a bit dark in here, eh?)