It’s not a year to remember for Washington sports fans. In fact, it’s a year that many probably can’t wait to be over.
From baseball to basketball, not to mention football, the capital has had a miserable 2022 so far. But some teams have not been as bad as others and for some there are signs of life, even in difficult form.
Sportsmail looks at where things went wrong.
DC United is last in the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference rankings in a difficult season
For much of the Major League Baseball season, the story of the Nationals was intertwined with the story of Juan Soto. The Nationals threw everything to keep their star man, making a stunning 15-year bid worth $440 million. And he still said no.
The 23-year-old, who has and is still counting 22 home runs, eventually left before the trade deadline for San Diego Padres.
And he returned to DC this weekend for a series of games against his old team. San Diego won two out of three, but Soto received a warm welcome from his former supporters.
“It feels pretty cool,” Soto said of his return. “It’s kind of sad in the same way because it’s still the Nationals and you were there and it was a really good team by the time I got there.
“But it is what it is, it’s a business now and I’m on a winning team. I’m very happy. I’m happy for myself that I get to play with Manny (Machado) and Jake Cronenworth and all those guys who are here.
‘They are very good guys. So I’m glad I’m here.’
But as Soto and the Padres make the world series bigger, the stark reality for the Nationals is that it has won 39 games and lost 79 games this season and is last in the National League East standings.
It has lost more games than any other team in MLB and there are still two months of the season to go.
Juan Soto left the Nationals for San Diego even after being offered a $440 million contract
Things are probably going to get better at DC United now that Wayne Rooney has become the coach. But so far it’s not going great.
DC was defeated 1-0 on Tuesday night by LAFC, leader of the Western Conference and has scored five goals in the last eight games and failed to hit the net in the last four. It is last in the Eastern Conference, seven points out of 13th-place Atlanta and 11 points away from the playoffs.
But there are reasons to think it will get better. Rooney has proven to be an astute coach and worked well on a shoestring budget at England’s third-rate team Derby before returning to Washington.
He’s moved quickly into the transfer window – Victor Palsson, a defensive midfielder, came on a free transfer from Schalke and looked good on his debut in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to New England Revolution.
However, the big talk is about Christian Benteke and his imminent arrival from Crystal Palace. The former Liverpool and Aston Villa forward is a coup for Rooney and DC and exactly what a goal-shy team needs.
He could qualify for his debut against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night. It can’t come soon enough, but he needs to get started soon.
DC United haven’t even scored in the last three games let alone won but it should improve with Wayne Rooney as coach
The Washington Mystics have had the best year of all teams in DC
The women’s basketball team in DC is doing the best for the city in terms of sports this year. Maybe it’s no surprise.
Currently, it is third in the Eastern Conference after a 22-14 record and enters the playoffs, where it faces Seattle Storm.
The first game between the two is Thursday.
The Mystics and Seattle made it to the 2018 finals and Seattle then emerged as the winner and the last four WNBA championships were shared between the two teams.
This time, Seattle is favorites to win again with the Mystics fifth seed in the playoffs and the Storm fourth.
No pressure from Mike Thibault, but it’s the city’s best hope for sporting success this year.
Where to start with the Spirit this year. Technically, it outperforms the men’s team – Rooney’s DC United – in the sense that it is the 10th out of 12 teams in the NWSL and not the last.
But it has won once this season, out of 16 games. The two teams below have three and four games in hand, respectively, and are just two points behind.
The Spirits’ 12 points come mainly from nine draws – credit where it comes, it’s a team that finds it almost as hard to lose as it does to win – but with Chicago in sixth place with an 11 point lead and Controlling the final playoff spot, it seems unlikely the Spirit’s campaign will extend beyond the regular season this year.
The Washington Spirit has had a tough season, winning just one of 16 so far
DC United coach Wayne Rooney won’t find much to get excited about in Loudoun United’s season
DC United’s reserve squad Rooney is unlikely to look at his second-rate squad and find too much to get excited about as he tries to rebuild the club he recently joined.
Loudoun is the 11th of 14 teams in the USL Championship Eastern Conference, a league that hosts a number of second teams after the Major League Soccer outfits.
Loudoun won just five of his 23 games, lost 15 and drew only three. A sobering record.
The NBA season was over months ago, but the Wizards collapsed after a promising start. Last season’s opening was excellent and it topped the standings with a record of 10-3, but then spiraled to finish 35-47.
As it stands, the Wizards are considered a possible contender for a low-end playoff spot in the upcoming season, which starts in October.