So I hurried back to my hotel room after trying to find anyplace decent showing the RSL vs San Jose match on Saturday, and thankfully MLS Live was my saving grace to watch the match. Well I was thankful at first, listen I know that teams can't be "on" all the time, and I understand matches where a key mistake or two can cost you, but what confuses me is how a team can simply have many of the same pieces in place but play so differently.
There is no way I can blame a loss on the guys filling in for missing players, as we saw these same guys perform solidly against the Sounders just 10 days prior. So what was different? Is San Jose just better than RSL? I mean while RSL was flat in the first half, they had just given up one goal, they had controlled possession and created a couple of chances, so what happened?
Now some people will point to the official and say he lost control of the match, and point to the hard foul on Javier Morales by Sam Cronin that sparked the scrum as the point where a relatively new MLS official simply lost control of the match. They could point to the red card given to Kyle Beckerman (which was deserved) and wonder why the player who pushed him in the back causing his initial contact with the official wasn't even shown a yellow card. Or the fact that despite all the hard contact by both teams that only 21 fouls were called, which is a bit puzzling considering 8 cards were given.
more thoughts after the jump:
For me I could accept the 2-0 score given the circumstances, I wouldn't have been too upset, disappointed that it seemed that RSL was a bit disinterested in the match. It looked a lot like the team that took the pitch against Columbus, but there was not 90+ temps, no 24 hours without electricity, no 3 hours bus trip without AC, no on Saturday there simply were no excuses for for losing, but I can live with losing.
What upsets me as a fan is what happened in the final 15 minutes of the match, when it simply seemed as if a lot of guys simply quit caring. I get it you are down 3-0 on the road, down a man, and it has been a hard physical match, I get all those things. I don't know what players might be dealing with injury issues, but to me it seemed like RSL just quit and that is something I don't ever recall seeing from a RSL team since Jason Kreis took over. Even in the awful US Open Cup loss at home last month, I didn't see guys simply appear to give up.
Most of MLS is in action midweek, not RSL but I have to believe that Jason will not be cutting anyone a break in practices this week, and if you think it is just me who thinks RSL dialed it in, here is what Jason said post match when asked about the team's performance:
"It started with a really lackluster first half. At halftime down 1-0 I thought we were in the game with a chance, but everything fell apart with [Kyle Beckerman's] red card. I don't know why he decided to throw our guy out and none of theirs... Our team has lacked discipline this season and that especially showed after we went down a man. Some of our guys sleep-walked through the game tonight. It doesn't get much bigger than this game and I don't know how our guys didn't get up for it."
Now RSL has to get ready for a match that fans consider one of the most important of the season as the struggling Colorado Rapids (who lost 2-1 at FC Dallas) will come to town next weekend. RSL will be without Kyle Beckerman for the match, but unless the guys can lift their energy and effort up a huge amount next week, it could be a very ugly result.
OK, I am off to try and recover the $285 I should have won last night if RSL had actually seemed to give a crap and played like you and I know they are capable of.
OFF MY SOAPBOX