D.C. United, the Decided Underdogs!

Jeff Zelevansky

Dear MLS fan: Please continue to underestimate D.C. United. Olsen's Army thanks you in advance for your cooperation.

What in the world is D.C. United doing in the Eastern Conference Finals? And can they really win the 2012 MLS Cup?

- Our league's official website wonders how D.C. United can keep this playoff run going with almost half their starters either out or questionable. Plus, they point out that United has to go on the road to Houston for the first leg, a place they have been woeful throughout their history.

- Goal.com says the smart money is on the Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference Finals series.

- The Houston Chronicle believes the Dynamo are a dynasty in progress and shouldn't be picked against in the MLS playoffs.

- The fans over at Dynamo Theory (SB Nation's Houston Dynamo fan site) are a pretty confident lot entering the Eastern Conference Finals against D.C. United.

- Of the final four coaches remaining, Bruce Arena has already won three MLS Cup titles, while Dom Kinnear and Sigi Schmid each have two titles. Collectively, they've also been the MLS Cup runner-ups five times! Ben Olsen, on the other hand, has led his team into a total of two playoff games during his coaching career.

There are no guarantees in the playoffs, but I love the fact that D.C. United is entering this series as the decided underdog. If anything plays into their hands, this is it.

It doesn't matter that of the final four teams remaining in the Major League Soccer playoffs, D.C. United is the highest seed from the regular season.

It doesn't matter that if they reach the MLS Cup, they will host it.

It doesn't matter that United accumulated more points at home this season than any team in the league.

And, finally, it doesn't matter that D.C. United enters their Conference Finals series riding a nine-game unbeaten streak, the third longest in MLS this season.

Please, just please, continue to underestimate this team--and write about, and tweet about it, and make predictions based on it. Please.

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