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If AEG Still Owned D.C. United

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Kevin Payne and Dave Kasper continue to insist that last week's coaching change from Curt Onalfo to Ben Olsen wasn’t about assessing blame. Maybe they don’t want to assess blame in comments to the media, but there’s nothing to stop us from doing it on a fan blog!

Obviously there’s plenty of blame to go around when your team has a 3-13-3 record. The players haven’t played to their abilities, the right players haven’t been acquired, the right tactics and lineups haven’t been used, and the right front office personnel have not been identified.

Yes, it would be fair to push some of the blame onto Ownership.

Denz from RSL Soapbox made a comment in our Olsen/Onalfo reaction story indicating that D.C. United has been in decline since the team was sold by AEG to Will Chang and Victor MacFarlane. At first, I was ready to argue and assess his comment as being off target. Afterall, we did win a Supporters’ Shield in 2007, Chang’s first season with the team. But then I got to thinking.

Is this so crazy a thought?

Some quick background if you’re new to following the team: D.C. United and several other clubs were owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group early in the league’s history. In fact, AEG was instrumental in founding MLS to begin with. As the league expanded and began to increase its revenue base, they issued direction that no ownership group should be in control of more than one team. Which makes a lot of sense. So AEG sold United to Chang and V-Mac, keeping full ownership rights of only the Los Angeles Galaxy.

What would D.C. United look like today if the team was still owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group?

1. D.C. United would definitely have a marquee name designated player. I’m thinking maybe Raul. He had expressed interest in coming to MLS, but reportedly wanted only a two-year contract when the league wanted to lock him up for at least three. Another option would be Ronaldinho, who has been strongly rumored to be heading to L.A. next season.

2. D.C. United would have a marquee head coach. Just like the Galaxy brought in Bruce Arena to rescue the franchise, United would have a savior of their own. Hell, they might have been the ones to bring back the Bruce. They definitely wouldn't have hired a two-and-a-half-year failure in Curt Onalfo. If AEG had targeted Caleb Porter, he wouldn't have gotten away. At least not without having turned down a multi-million dollar contract.

3. D.C. United would be an active participant in MLS 3.0. Defined as the new era of multiple DPs, rapid expansion, and "SuperClubs," MLS 3.0 is upon us. It's hard to imagine any team owned by AEG not being one of the top spenders. The rich will separate from the poor, but only in terms of spending, not necessarily in terms of wins.

4. D.C. United would not have any more trophies. United has won a Supporters' Shield and an Open cup under Chang's management. That's an average of 0.67 trophies per season - not too shabby. How many trophies has L.A. won in that time period? Uh, they were runners-up a couple times...