Some people call it fate, some people call it a perfect storm, but I prefer to call it poetry. I'm talking about the kind of things that tend to happen in sports that seem to be right out of a fairy tale. Storylines that are totally unbelievable which somehow naturally occur. These are the kind of circumstances that if you saw them in a movie you would criticize the writers and say how predictable Hollywood has become. Well, Hollywood is coming to Kansas City this weekend.
I call it poetry, because sports reflect life. And in life there are natural occurrences that are difficult to explain, and yet have inspired human kind for generations. Poets and artists have always appreciated and paid tribute to these inspiring elements, and this weekend, D.C. United, finds itself on the brink of a date with destiny to begin 2010.
D.C. United faces Kansas City. DC and KC have not exactly been heated rivals in MLS, nevertheless, this weekend will be the fourth time that the two sides have met to kickoff the season. This year for the first time, there are many story lines that make this meeting more compelling than ever.
D.C. traveled to Kansas City for the season finale in 2009. Entering the final weekend, United needed a win and some help to make the playoffs, but as the game kicked off, DC was already getting the help they needed. A wounded Julius James scored a late goal to put D.C. in front in the final minutes before the Wizards tied the match on a stoppage time penalty kick to keep United out of the playoffs. The team that made the playoffs instead of D.C. United was Real Salt Lake- the eventual 2009 MLS Cup Champions.
To start 2010, United travels right back to the exact same place where they left the field in frustration in their last League match together.
D.C. has a new coach, but not just any new coach, a coach whose only previous MLS head coaching experience was in Kansas City. Curt Onalfo was the head coach of the Kansas City Wizards from 2007 through 2009. Onalfo was fired near the end of last season by Kansas Citys general manager Peter Vermes. Vermes not only fired Onalfo, he proceeded to name himself head coach. Now, in his first match as head coach of the most successful franchise in League history, Coach Onalfo can begin his reign with a victory against the organization and individual that sent him packing months ago.The stage is set for a real storybook style opening match for D.C. United.
A new coach succeeding against his former team, a team quickly erasing the ghosts from one season ago, and a club earning its first opening day victory in five seasons. The forces that be have helped the stars align in such a way that there is a crystal clear opportunity to begin 2010 with beautiful poetry. Now its up to D.C. United to set the poetry in motion.