Well on paper RSL did the things they needed to do, they took 16 shots, had a passing completion rate of 83% from 483 passes, and had 63.4% of the possession against the Columbus Crew, but none of that mattered. The fact that RSL had given up just one goal in the first 15 minutes of matches, that didn't matter. The fact that the Crew had only scored one goal in the first 15 minutes of matches, yeah that didn't matter either.
It was a quick throw in that caught Chris Schuler flat footed and Robbie Russell jogging back into position and nobody covering a wide open Gaven in the box that gave the Crew an easy scoring chance and Eddie Gaven took advantage of it in the 5th minue of the match to give the Crew a 1-0 lead. Just 5 minutes later it was a cross by Robbie Rogers, yeah remember the guy I listed as the Crew wildcard in my match preview and yes the same guy with the pass on the first play, that got another quality ball past the outstretched leg of Robbie Russell. That ball found the head of Tommy Heinemann who was able to get some space from defender Chris Wingert and able to double the score in a manner of minutes and RSL found themselves down 2-0 in the 10th minute of the match and it would end that way as from that point all the Crew really had to do was defend and they are very good at that.
RSL had some chances but clearly they were not the better team, and the early mistakes cost them and on a Saturday when several other Western Conference teams struggled, except Los Angeles, there was no closing of the gap with a match in hand, there was only disappointment. It was a very strange month for RSL as we saw bad decisions by officials change matches, and even last night we saw just bizarre behavior from the official. I mean how often is it that an official who normally issues 3 yellow a match, won't even come close to issuing one in a match with 28 fouls? There were at least 4 plays, 2 on each team that I fully expected a yellow card to come, but they didn't and it makes you wonder if the official was simply trying to avoid controversial calls but created them by not doing his job?
2-1-1 in July just isn't good enough when all 4 matches are played at home and to me the reality check that will start on Wednesday will be huge for RSL as they have 5 matches scheduled for August, and just one of them is at home. I believe that they will need at least 3 wins and no more than one loss if they are going to keep any hope of the Supporters' Shield alive. It will start on Wednesday as they head to LIVESTRONG Sporting Park and will look to be the first team to hand Sporting Kansas City a loss at home.
OFF MY SOAPBOX