D.C. United may join worst-ever club


Jared Jeffrey, left, scrapping here with Chicago Fire forward Mike Magee, joined United in July, but his arrival has not changed the fortunes of the team, which has only three wins. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

D.C. United has had a sorry season. The team must win its last two matches to avoid tying or setting the Major League Soccer (MLS) record for the fewest victories in a season. United’s record is 3-22-7 (three wins, 22 losses and seven ties). Pretty bad.

Sports fans usually talk about winning teams. But sometimes teams make history by losing. Let’s take a look at some historically bad teams.

The 1962 New York Mets: In 1962, baseball’s National League expanded and added two teams, the Houston Colt .45s (now the Astros) and the Mets. The Astros were not very good, but the Mets were terrible. The Mets stumbled to a record of 40-120.

Their manager, Casey Stengel, had led the New York Yankees to seven World Series championships. But he couldn’t work magic with the team he called “the Amazin’ Mets.” Stengel once told the newspapers, “Been in this game one hundred years [Stengel was actually in his 70s at the time], but I see new ways to lose ’em I never knew existed before.”

As bad as those Mets were, they were not the worst team in the history of Major League Baseball. The 1899 Cleveland Spiders — there’s an icky name for a team — had a record of 20-134. The Spiders were so bad that they averaged fewer than 200 fans for their games.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Here’s another expansion team that got off to a rough start. In 1976, the Bucs and the Seattle Seahawks were the new teams in the National Football League.

The Bucs lost all 14 of their games in 1976. (NFL teams played 14 regular-season games then instead of 16.) The Bucs also lost the first 12 games of the 1977 season before finally beating the New Orleans Saints. That’s a hard-to-believe losing streak of 26 consecutive games.

The Bucs got better very quickly. They made the playoffs in 1979 with a record of 10-6.

The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers: Just six years before this record-breaking failure of a season, the 76ers had won the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship, led by legendary big man Wilt Chamberlain. The 1972-73 team started the season with 15 straight losses and didn’t get much better after that, compiling a final tally of 9-73.

●Wondering who has the worst record in the history of the National Hockey League? It’s our own Washington Capitals. In their first season (1974-75), the Caps were 8-67-5. The Caps defense was so bad that it let in an average of almost 5.5goals a game.

If United doesn’t win a couple of games right away, another Washington team will make history. As one of the worst-ever teams.

Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is also the author of 19 sports books for kids. His latest is “Perfect Game.”

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