Mistakes were made: How RSL recovers for Portland after LA thumped league leaders

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

It would be far too easy to focus on individual mistakes made against LA Galaxy on the weekend, so we shan't be doing that. It would be an endeavor that is almost exclusively useless, as each goal we conceded was, at its core, a goal conceded as a team.

Individuals, sure, make up a team. And if a team concedes, maybe individuals play a role. But when, say, players in the midfield aren't closing down, and your center backs aren't quite on, and your full backs fail to make a run — well, that's about conceding as a team.

The questions now are about how we improve enough to stand a fighting chance tomorrow against Portland Timbers, and as ever, it's not so simple as telling the offending players (so, all of them?) to improve. Here are three things everyone can focus on, particularly in the midfield.

1) Close down dangerous players in the midfield

We are a side dependent on pressure from midfielders; when that's absent, bad things tend to happen. Our defenders are of immense quality, but they — and all defenders — thrive when players in front of them are pitching in their fair share of work. Against Portland Timbers, this will be as important as it ever is — but do count on fewer long passes from the midfield stripe.

2) Don't force your defenders into last-ditch challenges

This normally goes without saying, but there was sometimes a reluctance from our midfield to follow the opposition into dangerous areas was particularly damning on Saturday. We must return to our typically hard-working selves, because none of those goals featured particular commitment from everyone at the same time. Without full commitment from everyone, defenders will be forced into difficult situations.

3) When you're tied with plenty of time, don't lose your patience

Perhaps the moment when the match really changed was that second goal for LA Galaxy, before which occurrence we were in a fine spot for the match — and one I wouldn't have minded the preservation of, yeah? A draw would have been a fair result on the day, had we played for it. We didn't. I love that we wanted to win that one, but good word — relax.

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