So I have to admit some things that struck me funny this weekend, two events at the Portland match just stuck out to me. First, was a fan trying to convince me that we should fire Jason Kreis for only getting 1 point in 3 matches at home and how it was proof that the diamond formation was a failure. Now that was funny because it was that same diamond formation that lead to the longest undefeated streak at home in MLS history, won a MLS Cup, had RSL in 3 conference finals in 4 years, in the Champions League final, oh and won a MLS Cup. So I just mentioned those things and then walked away.
The second event was one that evolved later in the match; some of you may have noticed the guy who was bringing the "trade Sabo" sign for most of the season. Well sometime after Sabo's second goal or maybe the PK for the 3rd I looked over in the South stands to get a picture or two and there was some pushing and shoving going on and it involved that fan. I don't know who started or did what, but I do know that eventually it was Sandy police settling things down.
It made me think about things, and as I write this a third thing comes to mind. Remember when I talked about how I thought the Columbus adventure might just bring RSL together, and I mentioned the hard foul on Andy Williams back in that 2009 friendly with Chivas. It looked a lot like that after a hard foul on Javier and a bunch of guys rushing to his defense; it may just be that the chip is back on RSL's shoulder.
some more thoughts after the jump:
Still while a 3 goal performance is nice and a second straight clean sheet is great, is this a single match or does it indicate a return to form? We will find a lot out on Saturday as RSL will head to Buck Shaw Stadium to take on the San Jose Earthquakes in a match between the #1 San Jose and #2 Real Salt Lake teams in the Western Conference as well as all of MLS.
So the question is did RSL turn a corner on their season after the recent streak that included the US Open Cup loss to the Minnesota Stars? I think it is too early to tell, June was a rough month for RSL and so far July has been better but there are still some very big matches this month, Saturday at San Jose, the 1st leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup on the 21st , the surprising Vancouver Whitecaps who come to town on the 28th, and then our first CONCACAF Champions League match on July 31st at Herediano in Costa Rica. We should know a lot more in the next couple weeks.
I would say that my opinion is that RSL didn't need to turn a corner, every MLS team has some dips during the long season. It was only last year that we actually had to deal with 2 wins in 10 MLS matches after the loss in the final of the Champions League, or the swoon at the end of the season last year. The 1-3-1 start in 2010, and a 3-3-4 run in the summer of 2009. You can look this year at other teams like Seattle that had a 1 win in 9 matches stretch, or the struggles of Sporting KC after the best start in MLS history.
Given the injuries, national team call ups, and integration of so many new players playing a part this year, having some rough patches was going to happen and very well could happen again this year. So even with those struggles we are at 1.80 points per match, which would equate to a total 61 points if we maintain this for the rest of the season, only two teams finished better than that last year. I would love to see the team get back to a 2.0 points per match average but while there were several teams that had that average earlier this season, the long season already has gotten them all below that mythical number.
Here is hoping that we have seen our roughest stretch of the season and that we can climb back into the top spot of both the Western Conference and MLS overall, the prize this year for the best record is a shot to play host for MLS Cup on 12/1/12, something I would love to see at Rio Tinto Stadium.
OFF MY SOAPBOX