2017 was a year D.C. United would, for the most part, like to forget. The black and red finished the season with 32 points, -29 goal differential and was tied for last in the league for goals scored (31). That can be attributed to a few things, but the season is done and dusted and the team will have to just wait until the 2018 year.
Aside from the frustrating matches and the final season at RFK Stadium (assuming United don’t return for one of their two home games that aren’t at Audi Field next year), United had some bright spots in the year. While the good moments were drowned out by the bad, it’s good to recognize the positives of what was a year to forget, but also to take the lessons from the negatives.
Worst Moment of the Year
Where does it start? D.C. United had an overall horrendous year. They went 0-2-1 against archrivals New York Red Bulls, got beaten by expansion side Minnesota United FC 4-0 and got bounced by the New England Revolution in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16.
While those were bad, the single lowest moment all year was on July 19, 2017. D.C. United faced a tough away game against the Seattle Sounders. Nobody expected the black and red to win, but the capital club stunned the crowd at CenturyLink Field and grabbed a 3-0 lead by the fiftieth-minute. What happened next is the epitome of D.C. United’s 2017 campaign.
In what seemed like an avalanche of goals, Seattle scored four unanswered and became the first club in MLS history to come back from three goals down and win in regulation.
There’s no bitter rivalry between D.C. and Seattle, nor was there any serious implications on the line. What makes it the lowest point of the year was it really looked as if it’ll be United’s turn around. Sure, they probably weren’t going to make the playoffs, but to not be last in the conference or flirt with eighth or ninth would’ve been a step in the right direction. But losing a 3-0 lead after the fiftieth minute? Total gut punch.
Best Moment of the Year
Despite the long losing streaks, D.C. United established itself as Atlanta United’s bogey team. Playing three matches, D.C. won all three. However, the best moment wasn’t a game or a goal, but rather an overall event.
Going into the 2017 season, it was known that this would be RFK’s final rounds as a sports team’s home. From the Redskins to the Nationals to D.C. United, D.C. sports fans have learned to love the stadium despite its quirks.
The best moment for D.C. United in 2017 was October 22nd, 2017, otherwise known as the “Last Call at RFK”. Fans, former players and club legends piled into the concrete mass on East Capitol Street in order to create a memorable goodbye. Despite losing to their archrivals RBNY 2-1, the day still had its positivity. The stands were bouncing, the fans were singing and it was no better way to leave what became home for many fans.
Best Signing of 2017
United’s front office finally broke out their wallets. With a few big signings, the biggest (and best) was Paul Arriola. With USMNT experience and notability, Arriola not only was a name that people would recognize, but he would be the spark on the right side of the field. He would often times find him involved in United’s attacks. Arriola had 1 goal and 2 assists in 11 games, but as he gets more acclimated to the team in the offseason, he’ll be more productive.
Surprise Signing of 2017
It was a signing that not many knew who he was, but he has become the central-midfielder that D.C. United needed. Russell Canouse was fantastic from the start and is a key cog in the machine. He was involved in build-up play and seemed to be everywhere. Look for him to keep improving in 2018 and be a big part of United’s hopeful turnaround.
2017 wasn’t very kind to United. Balls didn’t bounce their way and they simply didn’t perform. 2018, however, will be the year they start to look optimistic. Audi Field will become the new home for D.C. United, the club will look to make big signings that’ll fill the seats and have United turn the ship around and start to compete. At the same time, it’s crunch time for people like Ben Olsen and the front office. No more “Wait until we move into the new stadium” excuses. If the results don’t come, responsibility has to be taken. Because of that, 2018 is set to be a pivotal year in the club’s storied history.