I, like many sports fans, can't just call a loss a loss. No, I need someone or some thing to look at and say "this is the reason, this is why we aren't champions". So I need to write this, I need to put some blame somewhere. I realize I'm focusing on the negative, no need to point that out. I've got plenty of positive things to say, but none of that does much to help me get over the loss. So follow through the jump and watch me point fingers, hopefully it makes us all feel a little better.
Who and what to blame, in no particular order.
1. The media for making us the flag bearers of our league and country. Its hard enough for an athlete to win something for himself, his team, and his fans. I think it was an unfair burden, and I'll start by being pissed off that our team was so willing to accept that weight. Shame on the Don and everyone else trying to cash in on the success that belonged solely to the Salt Lake organization.
2. Expending all of our energy so early, hoping to get a goal was a bad bet. I'm not sure if I wouldn't have taken the same gamble, but in 20/20 hindsight it seems a really poor decision. You don't walk into vegas with a hundred bucks and put $95 on your first hand of blackjack. You just don't do it. Those rare times you win it is great, but usually it goes more like last night and you end up trying to get through the rest of the night on a $5 spot.
3. After being exhausted after 30 minutes, the team really didn't have any other choice but to try to defend. I'm not happy that it was our only option though. It goes back to the disparity in payrolls of the two teams, and I don't blame RSL for having slower players at every position. Even so, trying to defend for 60 minutes against a team that is better than you reeked of John Ellinger. I hope this is the last hard lesson Jason will have to learn for a long time.
4. Arturo Alvarez was awful. He just wasn't what we needed. I felt this way when we acquired him as well. He is a player that just doesn't fit into our diamond midfield. He tried to do much and I think it was a bad sub. Again with 20/20 hindsight.
5. Alvaro Saborio. I'm not going to blame the championship loss on him. This is more related to RSL at large than it is to our losing last night. He has to come back from his Costa Rican vacation. After going to play with his national team, seeing family and friends, and playing at the purple monster, he just hasn't brought his head back this team. I don't think the problems in his head are the same ones Findley had last year. It is something different, I don't know what it is, but it needs to be addressed.
So for anyone that wanted some place to lay blame, those are you best options. I don't like to be negative, this is just part of the grieving process for me.
Salt Lake 'til I Die.