Even during their darkest times -- in other words the near entirety of this season -- DC United fans have always had at least one thing to fall back on: their history.
As the franchise so eloquently pointed out during the run up to last year's U.S. Open Cup final, They Win Trophies. No other MLS franchise can match their 12 pieces of silverware, which includes four Supporters Shields and four MLS Cups.
Individual hardware is also abundant at United headquarters, with 12 such single-season honors, including three MVPs. There are three National Soccer Hall of Famers who have warn the United patch. From the very beginning, United was THE model franchise.
The last true tie to those earliest days also happens to be arguably the greatest player in MLS history. Jaime Moreno has been the standard by which all other MLS greats have been measured. Up until this year, he had held the career record for goals scored ever since passing Jason Kreis in 2007. For all but one season spent in New York, he has donned the United kit. Perhaps even more than the eagle crest, Moreno is the embodiment of soccer in DC.
Now that the most celebrated player in the history of the most storied franchise is set to play his final game, you'd think that would be an event worth televising. Turns out, Comcast Sportsnet -- United's sole broadcaster -- is planning no such thing. They've got an early season Washington Capitals game to show, after all.
Unsurprisingly, Black And Red United's Martin Shatzer is not particularly pleased with this predicament.
This should be one of the grandest events in D.C. sports this year, and I haven't yet seen a single advertisement for it. Sure, the team is promoting it heavily on their own website, but not anywhere else. How are the casual sports fans supposed to know about it? There must be plenty of folks who have been to a United match or two in the past, but don't follow the team closely, and want the chance to see Jaime Moreno for a final time in person.
Unfortunately, as Shatzer also points out, this is another sign that United is being passed by other MLS franchises, old and new.
With 21 points and just two matches remaining, United has already guaranteed that this will their worst season in franchise history. The last-place finish will be just their second in franchise history and they will miss the playoffs for the third consecutive year.
Making matters even worse is that barring a huge crowd for Moreno's final match, United will also set a new franchise low for average attendance (14,279) as it is becoming more and more obvious that they need to move out of aging and antiquated RFK Stadium. There have even been rumors of United leaving the District of Columbia. Failing to find a broadcast home for the final home game of arguably the league's greatest player is just the latest slap in the face.
MLS doesn't have much history as a league, but what it does possess is largely tied to United. It seem something should be able to be done to at least partially rectify this particular situation.